The gardener's eye

The Gardener's Eye

Monday, August 31, 2015

Teixeira Park Plantings in Early September

The native grass, Eragrostis spectabilis, adds a light frothy texture to the Ruin Garden. 

I didn't know Parthenium integrifolium, known as American feverfew, until a gardening friend shared a division. The white flat-topped, terminal corymbs are a useful contrast in color and texture at the Ruin Garden. It has a sturdiness that reminds me of cauliflower.

I added Sanguisorba officinalis to the mix at the West Rain Garden several years ago. It is indispensable for the red dots floating in the breeze. The goldenrod in the foreground is Solidago speciosa. Its common name is Showy Goldenrod. It is a good source for nectar for pollinators late in the summer. The ironweed in the back is Vernonia 'Bay State Border Selection'  from a local nursery in northwestern Massachusetts called Bay State Perennial Farm.

My favorite liatris is Liatris ligulistylis. It is about 4 feet tall and is robust. I was hesitant to plant the gargantuan  Silphium perfoliatum, known as the cupplant, but when I read the description in the Prairie Nursery website I had to include it in this bird/butterfly/pollinator garden. They claim that it was the "single best species for attracting birds! It provides food, water and cover. The leaves clasp the stems to form cups that catch rainwater. Songbirds, butterflies and hummingbirds come for a drink, and in fall, goldfinches descend upon the plants to devour the seeds."

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Desire and the new Love Path at Putnam Park

A minor secondary path was installed at the entrance garden at Putnam Park this week by one of our volunteers, Laura, and her sister. The original garden had a a dense hedge of fothergilla which was lovely in flower and during the autumn foliage display but was imposing and unwelcoming. We removed most of the shrubs and extended the size of the garden during the installation of the new pervious pathway.

It became clear during the design phase that visitors, who wanted to get to the other side of the garden, might ignore the main path and cut through the garden. This concept is called the desire path: essentially a path that wasn't supposed to be a path, usually a shorter route from an origin to a destination that wasn't intended to be there. College campuses are an excellent place to see desire paths beaten down in lawns and through gardens. After 15 years working in public spaces, I have gotten skilled at predicting what the masses will do before they do it. Sometimes I am surprised by a temporary art installation, but the concept of taking the most direct path, even if it is through a garden, has held true.

Laura's maiden name was Love. As I was researching shortcut paths and discovering the term desire path, I found it fitting that the Love sisters created a desire path. For me, this minor shortcut path will always be the Love Path.

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Boccelli Garden in Late August


The Boccelli Garden was the site for a wedding this past weekend. There could be no better use for a public garden.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Putnam Park Path Project III

The new pervious pavement sidewalk was installed at Putnam Park last week. The Public Works team has been busy adding compost to the garden areas which will be planted in September.

The hoop fencing will be readjusted before compost is added.

This is the site where brush was removed to create a woodland garden along the path.

This is the path along the existing garden in the park.

The path follows the original design from the 1950's. It is a very pleasing line that will be inviting once more now that the paths are clear, flat and navigable. I am hoping to see both strollers and wheelchairs being used in the park.

A look from the middle of the park to the new main entrance garden.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Malus Fully Loaded

The flower and fruit of the crabapple tree in the Upper Garden have remained a feature in the garden since we bought the house in 1989. Unfortunately, by the end of the season, most of the leaves have become diseased and fallen off the tree. To help hide the unsightly foliage late in the season, I planted Clematis tangutica 'Bill MacKenzie'at the base of the tree.

 The nodding lantern-shaped yellow flowers are a beautiful contrast to the shiny red crabapples.

The stems of Clematis tangutica 'Bill MacKenzie' hang elegantly from the tree.

The whispy seed heads are almost as ornamental as the flowers. Clematis tangutica 'Bill MacKenzie' is a quick-grower. I planted this vine in 2012 and in three years the vine has clambered up the entire tree. I will be interested to see how long the foliage remains green and attractive; it has a reputation of looking good into late autumn. Clematis tangutica 'Bill MacKenzie' blooms on new wood and can be cut back hard in spring without affecting the flower display. This vigorous vine will grow 15-20 feet and is an excellent choice for planting under small spring-flowering trees to offer a "second bloom" later in the season.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Nubanusit Terrace in Early August

The yew/boxwood hedges have just been trimmed and the contrast of Russian sage works nicely.

A veiw of the Putnam Park construction from over the Nubanusit River


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