The gardener's eye

The Gardener's Eye

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Garden Talk: Succession Planting for New Englanders

Today I will giving a talk to the Garden Club of Amherst, Massachusetts called Succession Planting for New Englanders. I am particularly pleased to be speaking in Amherst because several of the members of this garden club were on The Best of English Gardens Tour in 2014, so I will be having a reunion of sorts.

I first learned about succession planting from an article Fergus Garrett wrote in the now defunct White Flower Farm periodical called The Gardener.  The article, written in 2002, was titled "Making a Mixed Border" and was the nucleus of Christopher Lloyd's 2005 book called Succession Planting for Year-Round Pleasure. Garrett's article had perfect timing because I read it just as I was designing the Boccelli Garden in Peterborough. The article had plant lists and a map of the garden Garrett and Lloyd were designing for a new Zone 5 garden at White Flower farm in Connecticut. 

I carefully studied the article making notes in the margins on plants I wanted to include in the Boccelli Garden. The next step was to procure these plants which I did from a variety of local and mail-order nurseries. Sadly, my three main sources of plants, Blue Meadow Farm in Montague, MA, Heronswood Nursery in Kingston, Washington, and Conway's Nursery in  Little Compton, Rhode Island are all now closed. Fortunately, I was able to get my hands on some top notch components of a mixed border: trees, shrubs, perennials, biennials, annuals and bulbs from these nurseries. My talk today will be about my successes and failures in trying to adapt a watered down and simplified version of the planting style at Great Dixter in the cold soil of New Hampshire.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Chanticleer's Cut-Flower Garden Before the First Frost

I was in Pennsylvania for the Perennial Plant Conference at Swarthmore College last week. I spent Saturday afternoon at Chanticleer, the 'Pleasure Garden' in Wayne, PA. One of the many highlights of the garden was the Cut-Flower Garden. It overflowing with flowers, foliage textures and teeming with pollinators and birds.

The Head Gardener at the Cut-Flower Garden is Emma Seniuk. Emma worked at Mt. Cuba Center and was a student at Longwood Gardens and Great Dixter before becoming a full-time gardener at Chanticleer. The Cut-Flower Garden is divided into four quadrants and is planted with perennials, annuals,  biennials and bulbs. The central spine of the garden is a series of rebar arches, covered with driftwood that is woven with vines from her father's garden.

Dahlia 'David Howard'

Arundo donax 'Peppermint Stick', the giant reed grass

Canna ‘Bengal Tiger’

 Dahlia ‘Purple Gem’ (I may be wrong about this dahlia)

Eupatorium capillifolium ‘Elegant Feather’

If you are interested in identifying plants at Chanticleer, there are plant lists available at each garden and on line: Cut-Flower Garden Plant List. The plant lists are expertly compiled by Chanticleer Information Coordinator, Eric Hsu. Eric also writes a blog with a gardener friend called Plinth et al. The plant list was a great resource for plant identification when I returned from my trip. I intend to use it again next spring when I am ordering and buying plants for my garden and the gardens in the Peterborough Parks.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Gone, But Not Forgotten, After the First Hard Frost

The flower box at the front of my house:  Coleus 'Dark Heart', Begonia 'Summerwings Deep Red', Fuchsia magellanica 'Aurea', Begonia luxurians, Begonia 'Marmaduke' and Begonia repens.

The pot/planter combination at my office: Coleus 'Dark Heart', Senecio petasitis, Begonia 'Summerwings Deep Red',  Begonia repens, Pteris cretica 'Albo-lineata' and Fuchsia magellanica 'Aurea',

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Putnam Park Path Project IV

The new pathway project at Putnam Park has been nearly completed. The lawns have been hydroseeded and the gardens have been planted.

The Desire Path through the Entrance Garden has already been used and has accomplished its goal of keeping the garden from being trampled by visitors trying to take a short cut. This garden was designed and planted by volunteers. The plant list included salvias, asters, ornamental grasses, hellebores and many other plants. Hopefully it will have a long season of interest. In the next two weeks, bulbs will be planted.

 The new woodland garden was planted with a wide variety of plants chosen for a long season of interest and textural qualities.

 This is the woodland garden from the opposite end of the park. The foliage of Hydrangea quercifolia can be seen to the far right.

The triangular bed containing a large oak tree at the convergence of two paths was planted with Epimedium pinnatum ssp. colchicum from divisions from my garden. This vigorous groundcover has  glossy dark green foliage throughout the season and is extremely drought tolerant. It has bright yellow flowers in April just as the new foliage emerges. The circular bed was planted with Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Goldgehänge’, Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Fat Domino’ and Cirsium rivulare ‘Atropurpureum’.

The existing mixed border along the path looks full and lush this time of year. I am looking forward to the day when the new gardens have filled in and matured.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A Last Look at the Lower Garden Wall Before Frost

The hot colors of the Upper Garden overflow the granite wall into the Lower garden. Tagetes 'Cinnabar', a bright orange marigold from Great Dixter and Solidago rugosa 'Fireworks' are exceelnt performers in the Upper Garden, while Dahlia 'Happy Single Juliet', Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘S’cunnet Pink’ (an Opus Plants introduction by Ed Bowen) and Colchicum 'Waterlily' steal the show in the Lower Garden.

Nice Combo at the Boccelli Garden

Dahlia 'Happy Single Juliet' and Aster novae angliae 'Marina Wolkonsky' make a stunning combination at the new terraced garden at the Boccelli Garden. I especially like this dahlia because it is extremely sturdy, floriferous and has dark contrasting foliage. The shade of pink in the flowers almost glows yet combines well with both hot and cool color palettes. I first became acquainted with Aster novae angliae 'Marina Wolkonsky' at the New York Botanical Garden's new Native Plant Garden. It took over a year to track it down but it was worth the effort.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Woodland Garden in Autumn

Cercidiphyllum japonicum is the central feature of the Woodland Garden. The goldenrod in the foreground is Solidago sphacelata 'Golden Fleece'.

Foliage textures below the the wooden steps flanked with Prunus x 'Hally Jolivette' under-planted with Hakonechloa macra.

The white spires of the native Heuchera villosa 'Autumn Bride' beyond a pair of Adirondack chairs.

The seed pods of the woodland peony, Paeonia obovata.


Related Posts with Thumbnails