The gardener's eye

The Gardener's Eye

Monday, July 28, 2014

The East and Ruin Gardens at Teixeira Park in Late July

These gardens are planted with primarily American natives and pollinators. The aim is to compliment the wild landscape near the Nubanusit River to attract birds and butterflies in particular.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Boccelli Garden: the Completion of a Public/Private Partnership Project IV

The grass has grown in quickly at the Boccelli Garden Project which has been recently completed. This public/private partnership project was a great success. It involved a private donation for the retaining wall, terrace, shrubs, and grading of the site. The town of Peterborough paid for the new fence along the Nubanusit River, the herbaceous plants and a pair of new Peterbrough Adirondack Chairs, (designed specially for the parks by the Parks Committee) which are under construction. The Public Works Department did much of the heavy labor of the planting and has kept the site watered. And finally, volunteer gardeners have designed the gardens, planted the herbaceous layer and will maintain the gardens in the future. Probably the most important person in this project was our Town Adminstrator, Pam Brenner, whose leadership and support made the project possible.

The Boccelli Garden has not changed but its setting certainly has. The new terrace can be seen at the far end of the garden.

The Grove Street end of Boccelli Garden

The far end of the garden with the terrace and Peterborough Adirondack Chairs

The terrace looking out over the lawn to the newly pruned apple tree 

The new garden below the terrace will take a couple of years to fill in.. The fence and the Nubanusit River can also been seen beyond the garden. The Grove Street Bridge can be seen in the distance.

The terrace and Peterborough Chairs

A pair of Peterborough Chairs are on order to be placed at the granite table under the apple tree. The property across the Nubanusit River, that prompted the project, can be seen behind the apple tree.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Foliage Over Flower

Flowers, however beautiful, are fleeting but foliage can last the entire season. It is a rare plant in my garden that cuts the grade with beautiful flowers but lackluster foliage. Tulips and some of the alliums are examples that come to mind this time of year. I am looking for plants with foliage that has interesting textural qualities and attractive coloration. Arisaema fargesii is an example of my kind of plant.

I planted a pair of Arisaema fargesii in the Woodland Garden two years ago after seeing it for sale at Rocky Dale Gardens in Bristol, VT. They were small plants and looked like they might be marginally hardy but I gave them a try in a protected spot with good moist soil and drainage as instructed. The following year, the plants never came up. 

When I did my annual pilgrimage to Rocky Dale the following May, I saw a more mature specimen of Arisaema fargesii with the giant, glossy grass-green, trifoliate leaves it is known for. I decided I had to have this plant, so I tried it again. Amy at Rocky Dale informed me that it often emerges late in the season. When I planted the new plants in the same location in the Woodland Garden, I realized just how late Arisaema fargesii can be because I disinterred the tubers from the previous year. After a couple weeks, all my last year plants emerged. This year, all the Arisaema fargesii plants materialized the last week in June.

Arisaema fargesii originates from China and was discovered by the French plant explorer, Pere Farges, in the early 1900s. The wine-colored spathe has white stripes and resembles a cobra; thus the first common name, cobra lily. The maroon spadix inside the flower helps give this plant its other common name, jack-in-the -pulpit. No matter what you call it, this plant has a fantatic flower, but more importantly exceptional bold foliage, a perfect contrast to ferns, epimediums and grasses in the woodland garden.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Indian Pink in the Woodland Garden

Spigelia marilandica aka Indian Pink is a woodland plant native to south-central United States. I had never heard of it until several years ago when a gardening friend introduced this eye-catching perennial to me in her Dublin, NH garden. I must have been lusting after it because she promptly dropped off several divisions in my driveway the next week. Some of the literature states that Spigelia marilandica resents being moved but these plants survived and prospered in my woodland garden in a protected spot which has an hour of sun around mid-day.

The tubular flowers, which attract hummingbirds, are a very bright red color on the with a dramatically contrasting yellow center. This color threw me off as a woodland plant, at first, but I quickly become accustomed to being able to spot this plant from a great distance across the garden.

Pass-along plants, like Spigelia marilandica, are aways a satisfying reminder of a friend's garden and their generosity.


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