The gardener's eye

The Gardener's Eye

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Rocky Dale Road Trip

The Annuals Area

Trees and Shrubs


Amy Rose-White and me with my favorite annual, Coleus 'Compact Red'

The Car Loaded

Yesterday, I took my annual 3 1/2-hour-trek to one of my favorite nurseries, Rocky Dale Gardens in Bristol, VT with two gardening friends. I have been going to Rocky Dale for over a dozen years and it is always worth the trouble getting there. Rocky Dale specializes in rare and unusual woodies, perennials and annuals for the discriminating gardener. They have lovely display gardens that the owner, Ed Burke, has been renovating since he bought the nursery in 2004.

Amy Rose-White, the nursery manager and old friend, is extremely knowledgeable about anything that is grown in Zone 5. Every year, I email her a wish list for unusual annuals. She usually finds them for me at two nurseries in New York, Beds and Borders and Landcraft Environments. Beds and Borders supplies a coleus called 'Compact Red'. I first saw this coleus when I visited Lynden Miller's Sharon, CT garden. She also used it in all her public gardens. 'Compact Red' is a cascading plant with claret, edged with chartreuse, velvety foliage. It makes a wonderful edge of the border or container plant that compliments any color on the wheel.

Amy found two foliage plants, Solanum quitoense and Senecio petasitis, for me at Lancraft Environments. They describe the senecio as "native to the mountains of Oaxaca Mexico." Also known as "velvet groundsel gets its name from the large, mostly green tinged with plum velvety leaves." It takes full sun and can handle dry conditions. I am planning to place it in the borders in front of the pavilion at Depot Park. I will use the solanum, a member of a large genus that includes the eggplant and potatoes, in two large metal pots from India near the terrace in my own garden. Last year, I paired it with the 'Compact Red' coleus to great effect. Solanum quitoense has huge velvety leaves with purple hairs and menacing thorns that always attract comments from visitors.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

'Purple Sensation' and 'Dixter' fill the gap in the Boccelli Garden

Allium 'Purple Sensation' and Euphorbia griffithii 'Dixter'

Picea pungens 'Glauca Globosa' is a good facer throughout the season

After the late tulips pass but before the peonies pop, there is a lull in the garden. Allium 'Purple Sensation' hits the mark with impeccable timing, tone and texture. The violet purple tennis balls float in the air above the foliage of the emerging perennials and stooled trees.

The perfect compliment is Euphorbia griffithii 'Dixter'. Dan Hinkley says that it "thrusts from the ground like spears of purple-orange asparagus upon which the the bronzed foliage unfurls as terminally borne, deep orange flowers appear." Allium 'Purple Sensation' is a fleeting pleasure while Euphorbia griffithii 'Dixter' carries on admirably throughout the season, often flowering again in the fall.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Putnam Park in Early May

Planter garden in Bloom

Tulipa 'Black Hero'

Mass Planting of Fothergilla major 'Mt. Airy' at Putnam Park Entrance

The fothergilla planting at the entrance to Putnam Park is in full bloom. We used it to replace a hedge of the invasive burning bush, Euonymus alatus about 5 or 6 years ago. Fothergilla major 'Mt Airy' boasts fragrant bottle brush flowers in May and claret-red fall foliage which competes admirably with the fall foliage of the burning bush. We selected the 'Black Hero' tulip this year because it would contrast well against the light grey granite planter.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tulip Time in the Boccelli Garden

Tulips in Boccelli Garden

Tulipa 'Prinses Irene', a 'Rembrant-type'

Tulipa 'Temple's Favorite', a Giant Late Tulip

The Lily-flowered Tulipa 'Ballerina' with Variegated Honesty behind

We have tried to select tulips for the Boccelli Garden that can be easily seen while driving along Grove Street and have subtle coloration and distinctive shapes that are beautifully unique when examined closely. We like to think that we hit the mark. We hope you agree!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A View From a Post Office

View from the Peterborough Post Office with Bridge over the Nubanusit River Beyond

View From the Street

Close up

Nubanusit Terrace is a wedge of land between the Peterborough Post Office and the Nubanusit River on Grove Street. This pocket park has had a granite bench with a tree lilac in the center for many years but was never an inviting place to sit and enjoy the river because it had no buffer from the street.

In 2002, we created a very simple formal entrance to the park that has turned out to be many people in Peterborough's favorite garden. It is three small rectangular beds with a blue stone and granite cobblestone edged entrance. The perimeter of each bed has a low hedge of Taxus media 'Hicksii' on the street side and Buxus x 'Green Mountain' on the inside.

Each bed has two shows that last nearly the entire year. The spring show is peaking this week and is a garden of white bulbs: Narcissus 'Stainless', Tulipa 'Maureen', Leucojum aestivum 'Gravetye Giant', Anenome blanda 'White Splendour' and Muscari botryoides f. album. Each year we add about 50 tulips to keep the display full. The summer show is a mass planting of Russian sage, Perovskia atriplicifolia. The grey foliage and blue flower spikes are stunning from July to October. When the flowers fade, they are an excellent scaffolding for frost in the early winter. I usually shovel the snow off the hedges each snowfall. It protects the hedges and the green walls produce a pleasing pattern throughout the winter months. Two years ago, we had our first occasion of yew-hedge-burning when the sidewalks were salted during the winter. Fortunately, we have had success protecting the hedges with burlap in the late autumn.

Nubanusit Terrace is a great example how less can often create more. The simple hedges are elegant and do not compete with the complex beauty of the Boccelli Garden down the street and the flower boxes on the bridge that are abundantly planted with annuals each Memorial Day by another volunteer gardening group in Peterborough called the Community Garden Project.


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