The gardener's eye

The Gardener's Eye

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Monadnock Area Open Days August 20-21, 2016

I have finally whipped the garden in shape in order to prepare for the Monadnock Area Open Days for the Garden Conservancy. I took a few photos of my garden this evening as a preview. We have had a drought this summer but thankfully last weekend we had several inches of rain which has perked the garden up considerably. Ed Bowen, of Opus Plants will be on site selling plants at my garden from 10 am to 4 pm. on Saturday, August 20th. Garden writer, Page Dickey, will giving a talk on Friday night in Peterborough. On Sunday, several more gardens are open in western New Hampshire and Westminster West, Vermont.  Check the Garden Conservancy website for details for what promises to be a great weekend.


  1. Wish I could be there -- sounds like a wonderful weekend.

  2. Looking marvelous. My favorite vignette (seen in two images) is of the echoing balls of an allium and Echinops. The Echinops here are all much taller than any of the summer alliums; do you have a particularly short-statured variety, or is that an effect of the drought, or...? In any case, wonderful effect.

    1. Thanks for the kind comments, Nell. That globe thistle is Echinops ruthenicus. You are exactly right. It is smaller, more gray and more refined than the more common Echinops rito. It is worth searching out to try.

  3. Well, I suspected I'd be thoroughly confused by an effort to sort out the globe thistles, and my suspicions were confirmed! I did find a source for one that looks like yours, with branched flowering stems and silvery foliage, at Annie's Annuals, so will try some next spring. They have it as Echinops ritro ssp. ruthenicus.

    OTOH, just today I visited Panayoti Kelaidis' blog for the first time in a while and lo, the top post is on globe thistles, with shots of them in the wild and in gardens. ( He describes E. ruthenicus as "one of the giants of the garden". Hm.

    The ones here came from Andre Viette in the mid-1990s, back when they carried a huge selection of perennials. I *think* it's a variety called 'Taplow Blue'. In abundant-rain years like this one, the foliage gets huge, though it doesn't swallow the steely blue globes, whose stalks respond to rain by getting taller (and extend further outward) than usual. In spring, it's very very hard to imagine how much space they'll take up; every year I make plans for something to put in that space around the thistly clumps, and by the beginning of June am reminded that the something would have to be early and ephemeral.

    The same four or five plants have bloomed strongly every year, and the seeds usually dry and drop before I get around to deadheading, but never has there been even a hint of a self-sown seedling. The soil is clay, so I guess the winter is just too wet for any sprouts, and the border's densely planted enough that there isn't a lot of the open ground they'd probably prefer. One of my favorite things about them is the reliable rebloom that is just as strong as the first flush. It was almost instant this season, but sometimes waits until September after the June-into-July opening round.

    I inherited from my gardener father a long border filled with daffodils and daylilies. After taking out almost half the daylilies, I replaced them with long-lasting, non-fussy perennials that bloomed in blue and white, guided by a pile of reference books. Pretty sure that the idea for globe thistles came from Perennials & Their Garden Habitats by Hansen & Stahl. Extremely successful choice, requiring only two sessions of attention a year of cutting back (end of winter, after first bloom).

    1. When I was looking up the plants names for this post I saw the same confusion you did with nomenclature. I think Echinops ritro ssp. ruthenicus is the same plant I have.



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