The gardener's eye

The Gardener's Eye

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wednesday 7 AM: Changing of the Guard in the Peterborough Parks

Mollie, Molly and Terry cleaning the Toadstool Beds.

Calamagrostis 'Avalanche' in the Toadstool Beds.

The Pavilion Garden in Depot Park.

Senecio 'Velvet Groundsel', A Landcraft Environments foliage plant, new to us this year.

The red leafed Hibiscus acetosella 'Maple Sugar' and the thorny Silybum marianum 'Milk Thistle Purple' getting ready to become huge and fill the gaps.

New Annuals mixed with perennials and boxwood.

Sesleria nitida in flower.

Nepeta gigantea 'Six Hills Giant' earning its keep.

Mollie raking the path with the foliage of Baptisia autsralis and bergenia. Briza media quaking in the foreground.

The freshly planted pot at Peter's Gate. This year we chose Coleus 'Compact Red', Dracaena 'Torbay Dazzler', Angelonia 'Angel Mist' and Centradenia 'Blushing Cascade'. By August, it will be overflowing.

Mollie and Terry weeding and removing the spent bulb foliage at Nubanusit Terrace.

Perovskia atriplicifolia gets ready to take over the beds and maybe Terry too.

The Boccelli Garden

Emerging Catalpa bignonioides 'Aurea' with Salix purpurea 'Nana' and Miscanthus floridulus 'Giganteus' behind.

The orange Eremurus 'Cleopatra' with Miscanthus sinensis 'Silver Shadow', the yellow-leafed tansy, Tanacetum vulgare 'Elsa Gold', and Picea pungens 'Glauca Globosa'.

On Wednesday mornings from April to October you will often find the Parks Gardeners working in the Gardens of downtown Peterborough. We usually meet at the the Pavilion Garden in Depot Park. This morning we were working on removing the spent foliage of the bulbs, weeding and tending to the newly planted annuals.

The Pavilion Garden is our most labor intensive garden. We treat it as a large pot and have a new display of tulips each year. Around Memorial Day, we remove all the tulip bulbs and plant unusual annuals in their place. The beds have a yew hedge spine with boxwoods to carry the garden from season to season. There are also a few perennials and ornamental grasses for three season structure. The most interesting aspect of the gardens are the annuals. We like them weird and wonderful.

The bulbs at Nubanusit Terrace have passed and Russian sage is taking their place. The Russian sage is contained in rectangular beds of yew and boxwood. I was inspired by a garden in Provence that had rectangular beds filled only with lavender. We substituted the very hardy Perovskia atriplicifolia to great effect. It looks wonderful from June to October and is very easy and elegant.

The Boccelli Garden needed only a quick clean up today. We were worked until about 11 AM and we were on our way.....until next Wednesday at 7AM.


  1. This all looks very nice. How many parks are there in Peterborough? I had a look at the Google satellite view of downtown. It's hard to tell what is park & what is just general greenery.

  2. Jordan,
    I am very flattered that you went to the trouble to Google map Peterborough! There are 3 parks in Peterborough. Depot Park is at the confluence of the Nubanusit and Contoocook Rivers. Putnam Park, the Boccelli Garden and Nubanusit Terrace are on either side of the bridge over the Nubanusit River on Grove Street. Teixeira Park is in West Peterborough on Union Street. It is also on the Nubanusit River. I hope I haven't overestimated your interest in the parks in Peterborough, NH! Thanks for your interest.

  3. How fortunate you live in a town that will fund public gardens (not to mention the fun of getting to design them). Even more fortunate that the town will fund the maintenance of the gardens. Looks great!

  4. James,

    It is a little more complicated then that. Yes, the town is very supportive of the public gardens, but this is a true collaboration of the public and private sectors. The plants in the Bocelli garden, for instance were funded by a wonderful local grant called the Goyette Fund. The town backhoed the garden (16ft x 60ft) and placed the granite edging. Then the town filled the garden with loam and manure. The volunteers have designed and maintained the gardens ever since.

    The more grants we get, the more the town is willing to support us. My model has been Lynden Miller's model of public and private collaboration for parks and public spaces in Manhattan. Thanks for your interest!

  5. Mike,
    These gardens are BEAUTIFUL!!

    From Reds' bedside...Love,
    Aunt Betsy

  6. Aunt Betsy,
    Thanks for the support! I wish I was with you.
    Love, Mike

  7. Just beautiful! I forget how long I've lived in the South, seeing that you are just planting things for the NH summer. The perovskia in the clipped rectangular hedges are quite perfect!

  8. Tim,
    I am always shocked to see what is blooming in your garden-aways weeks ahead of us here in new England. I'll post a picture of the Russian sage blooming next month.



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