The gardener's eye

The Gardener's Eye

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Best in Plants at Chelsea

While I was at the Chelsea Flower Show last week, I was struck by the interesting plant selection in two Show Gardens. The best plantings, in my opinion were The Arthritis Research UK Garden designed by Chris Beardshaw and the Best Show Garden winner, The Trailfinders Australian Garden designed by Philip Johnson.

The focal point of the Radiant Garden was a sculpture by Anna Gillespie called To the Limit

The planting used a palette of pinks, purples, blues and oranges including Iris germanica ‘Supreme Sultan’, Lupinus ‘Masterpiece’, Lunaria ‘Corfu Blue’, Tanacetum parthenium, Escholtzia californica, Echium pininana, Geranium palmatum and Anchusa ‘Loddon Royalist’.

The orange of Escholtzia californica pops on edge of the planting while the spires of Echium pininana tower above

The gigantic umbels of Angelica edulis add texture to the planting to this Show Garden which also won the People's Choice Award

A studio structure appears to float above the The Trailfinders Australian Garden consisting of plants native to Australia. The garden incorporates a sustainable design in an urban environment that includes water capture and conservation, the use of recycled materials and the promotion of biodiversity. The studio has solar panels that provide enough power for the entire landscape.

It was the tapestry of textures in the foreground of the garden that caught my eye.

None of the plants were familiar to me. Maybe my blogging friends from Australia will help with some plant ID's!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Deny Yourself Nothing

I visited Great Dixter with The Best of English Garden Tour on Tuesday and had a very inspired and erudite tour of the gardens lead by Siew Lee Vorley, Assistant Head Gardener at Great Dixter. The motto at Great Dixter, we learned, was "Deny Yourself Nothing." I had never heard that before but it was very appropriate. Great Dixter is all about trying new plants and experimentation. One of the benefits of England's cool, and late, spring was that all the tulips were near peak in the gardens. It was clear that they had denied themselves no tulips this year, especially the red ones.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Prunus x 'Hally Jolivette' this morning

The trio of Prunus x 'Hally Jolivette' (originally whips from Blue Meadow Farm) make a lovely picture each May. The bark of Acer griseum x 'Gingerbread' shows up nicely in the foreground.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Garden Vision Epimediums

Yesterday, I drove to nearby Phillipston, MA for the Garden Vision Epimediums Open House. The more I work on the woodland garden, the more I value epimediums as a ground cover for dry shade. I have collected about 15 cultivars so far. It is very helpful to see the plants in a garden setting to get a look at the size and texture of the foliage as well as the color of the flowers in bloom.

 The Display Gardens

Epimediums Labeled, in the Ground

All the epimediums are labeled in in alphabetical order

 One of my picks: Epimedium grandiflorum 'Bicolor Giant'-- 16 " tall with "pink spurs and deep raspberry sepals"

Another pick as seen in the display garden: Epimedium x 'Domino' This plant forms a 12"mound has elongated foliage with maroon speckles. The flowers, arecreamy white and maroon flowers have reddish-purple outer sepals and dark purple pedicels.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Saruma henryi: Better Every Year

"Saruma henryi:  From Western China, this close relative of the Asarums is not often found in cultivation.  Gorgeous felty, heart-shaped leaves are purplish when they first unfurl in spring. These are followed by subtle, soft yellow flowers which continue to appear, often until late fall. Extremely choice. 18". "  Blue Meadow Farm catalogue 2003. 

It is hard to believe I got this plant from one of my all-time favorite nurseries a decade ago. Alice and Brian McGowan ran an amazing nursery in Montague, MA for the first ten years of my gardening career. At the time, I had no idea how lucky I was. They had unusual annuals, perennials and woody plants that I had never heard about but it seemed any time I read about some spectacular plant, they carried it. This plant is a favorite. It looks great all season long. Excellent foliage and form. It even has politely self-seeded in unexpected shady spots in the garden. I have divided it over the years and have some handsome stands of it in the woodland garden. It has been quite happy in the dryish shade there. Blue Meadow Farm closed in 2005. I wish I had bought more of their plants. I still use the catalogue as a resource. Brian now works as the Assistant Director of Horticulture at Wave Hill in the Bronx and I often run into him there when I visit. Our loss here in New England was Wave Hill's gain.


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