The gardener's eye

The Gardener's Eye

Monday, November 21, 2016

Garden Visitors: Sharing Plants and Ideas

Morgan English, Helen O'Donnell, Laurie Merrigan and Maggie Tran

Helen O'Donnell, brought three of her gardening friends for a visit last month. Helen had just returned from a stay at Great Dixter and Maggie was the 2012-13 Christopher Lloyd & Historic Botanical Garden Bursary Scheme (HBGBS) Scholar at Great Dixter. I was flattered that they made the trip to see my garden in October.

I was happy to share this bergenia that I got from the late, great Joanna Reed about 20 years ago. That is one of the best parts of gardening: sharing plants from beloved gardening friends. Joanna was an important mentor to me and I was pleased to pass along her plants to a new generation of gardeners.

Helen snatched a few seedlings of Heleborus foetidus. I think I got this plant from Charles Cresson's Swarthmore, PA garden around the same time I got Joanna's bergenia.

Giacomo Guzzon, an Italian Landscape Architect working in London, also came for a visit last month. Giacomo has shown me around several public gardens in London and I was pleased to have him come for a visit. He is standing in front of one of my stewartias that he has long admired on my blog.

I have been playing with the idea of adding smaller stewartias with the two established trees to create a grove, rather than a pair of symmetrical verticals. Giacomo liked that idea especially because the trees are not exact clones.

He suggested that I support this smaller tree to encourage growth vertically rather than horizontally.  I staked the two main trunks, hoping to encourage a multi-stemmed tree, soon after Giacomo left to visit the New Hampshire White Mountains.

Another excellent suggestion was to move, remove or screen the door in my deer fence at the lower boundary of the Woodland Garden. The unsightly door is an unintended focal point that I stopped noticing many years ago. It was very helpful to have a friend critique strengths and weaknesses of the garden. Thanks Giacomo!


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