GREAT GARDEN YEAR

Peace, quiet, birdsong, this is a great garden year!

Circle of Freinds at dusk

Circle of Friends at dusk

I am finally back into my garden! I did not realize how much I  missed it.  I spent the last years distracted by various life events and for a time ignored my own needs and passions. Learned some valuable life lessons and returned to my roots, my tribe.

20160604_161957                                  Design of pot attributed to Gertrude Jekyll

Thanks to a very mild winter, my garden this year has been sensational. EVERYTHING bloomed profusely.

Rose 'New Dawn' on old chicken house

Rose ‘New Dawn’ on the old chicken house

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Right now I am enjoying the blooms of Hydrangeas I have not seen (in my garden) for years.

'Fuji Waterfall' aka 'Starburst' these American names given to 'Hanabi'

‘Fuji Waterfall’ aka ‘Shooting Star’ these American names given to ‘Hanabi’

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Hydrangea serrata 'Miyama Yae Murasaki' (AKA Purple Tiers)

Hydrangea serrata ‘Miyama Yae Murasaki’ (AKA Purple Tiers)

The secret garden

The secret garden

It is, however, not just about what is blooming.  A ‘Garden’ must have structure and a narrative. Without these organizing principles, one simply has a collection of plants or chaos.

In my design lectures I talk about the 2 points of view on what makes a garden. One is that a garden is where one puts plants, and the other, to which I adhere, is that plants are used to create the garden.

The first is a ‘yard’. A garden is a refuge, an ongoing work of art to be honed and nurtured.

Below, a plant collector’s garden held together by it’s structure. (another post to follow about this garden & the gardener)

Ozzie Johnson's Garden

Ozzie Johnson’s Garden

 

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What are your thoughts? What is more satisfying a yard or a garden?

photos of my garden, taken with cell phone. Ozzie’s wonderful garden with a real camera!

GARDEN TOUR 2

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One of the joys of the Garden Tour Season I always look forward to, is the tour put on by Georgia Perennial Plant Association. Several chosen gardens are opened to the membership for one week- end a year. Most gardeners would have bottled water and iced tea available for the visitors. Margaret Moseley would serve her famous Almond Tea whenever her garden was opened. Last week Pimento Cheese party sandwiches were passed around on silver trays for the guests! (Did I forget to mention that in the last post?)

For several years I served as the Tour Chairperson of this organization as well as The American Hydrangea Society. I know firsthand about what it takes to create a successful event. So I was not surprised that in recent years the format has changed and only one garden is opened for a day. I like this change. One no longer has to budget their time and rush to see as many gardens as possible in the allotted timeframe. These are SPECTACULAR gardens where one could happily spend the entire day and still not take it all in.

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This year, the garden of Lyndy Broder was the featured garden. Lyndy is a dear friend and an expert on the genus Clematis. Her knowledge and talents however, go far beyond Clematis.  She has collected an amazing variety of unusual and seldom seen trees and shrubs to create a personal arboretum ‘par excellence’ on her property….and almost all are festooned with the most delicious varieties of Clematis one could imagine.

P1240753                                                                       A wall of  seed grown species welcome visitors

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P1240771                                                                            Golden Larch (Pseudolarix  amabilis) with Clematis

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The Canadian Geese Meadow leading to the lake above.

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P1240768                                            The Sanctuary of St. Fiacre, patron saint of gardeners ( loved working with Lyndy on this project)

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When a garden of this caliber is open….. everyone comes. This turned into a reunion of great plantsmen and gardeners,  a huge amount of talent here, the energy was palpable.

GARDEN TOUR SEASON

This is the first garden tour I attended this season, there are several more on the agenda.  I promise to post about them all.

Nothing says Welcome quite like a gate. I saw several that intrigued me on the  Gardens for Connoisseurs Tour to benefit The Atlanta Botanical Garden.

P1240474My friend Becky rushing in to get detail photos of this delightful gate. We were tripping over each other in excitement. look at these ….

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Clever designs and beautiful workmanship. We  loved all the details. Gates like these were in several of the gardens, a wonderful piece, both practical and whimsical.

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Several of Atlanta’s finest private gardens open for this annual event. These are all designer gardens with regular and knowledgeable  crews to tend them. They are perfectly groomed. One will never find a yellowing leaf, no space left where a plant was lost, some annual potted plant is placed in its stead, very tastefully.

Touches of whimsy…….

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The summer containers were packed with  perennial foliage plants and annuals.

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I was particularly taken with a table centerpiece …..

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and of course the peaceful sound of water.

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Beautiful gardens…..

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P1240715All in all a no miss event. With our weather this year, the gardens will be more beautiful that ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PUNCTUATION POINTS

I love punctuation points. As a designer, I use them to break up large horizontal spaces, or to mark the transition from one garden room to another.

Above, four ‘Degroot’s Spire’ Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘Degroot’s Spire) mark the entrance to the Viburnum/Clematis Court from the Potager & Fruitery.

(Ilex crenata )’Sky Pencil’ announce the entrance to the Cutting Garden and it just followed that the  interior beds be punctuated with the same. (good contrast with the rounded Boxwood that mark the other beds)

Unfortunately, one of the ‘Skypencils’ has died.

To replace it, the brick edging will have to be  removed as well as part of the brick path. These plants are 9 years old with extensive root systems; locating another this size  at a reasonable price is unlikely.

Cause of death ? Unknown. Initially  spider-mites were suspected but then the other three plants would be affected since they are in such close proximity. Any thoughts out there?

AUDITION

Perfect for the part!

‘Shopping my garden’ for the plants to surround the Schiaparelli Bench.

The hot colours of the knockout Roses……

and these purple berries (Callicarpa dichotoma or Beauty Berry)….there is also the perilla.. and maybe some cleome.

This area is coming together…at least in my head!

REFINING THE GARDEN

When I ‘mapped out’ the gardens here at Hamilton House, I did not draw the plan on paper, rather I did it on-site; marking  out all areas with twine and grading stakes.  This is the ideal way to design, for me, ( translating that vision to a drawing takes time; then there are the endless details and decisions.)

First, the slow-growing plants that would form the foundation of the  landscape were put in… they required the time to bulk up while other areas of the garden were dug & created.

The Circle of Friends was first planted with the surround of camellias; these would form THE WALLS which would isolate it from the rest of the gardens and create a human sized room.)

This area was then left  for several years, before the hydrangeas were planted.

From a design point of view, the hydrangea planting should consist entirely of Hydrangea arborescens ‘ Annabelle’…. This would continue the planting leading to and from this area….

but I am an avid plant collector and sentimentalist, so here reside hydrangeas of all sorts…

cuttings from dear friends.. each with its own story and memory.

I was also fortunate enough to be a recipient of a tray of cuttings from Michael Dirr when he was heading research on  hydrangeas at the University of Georgia. So some of those plants are here as well.

A few years ago I planted the variegated boxwood, These serve a dual purpose;

1) they  ‘lead the eye’ as a  repeated element, which ties the garden together…

2) they articulate the space.

This fall I will execute the rest of the design by planting out the small hedge of Variegated Boxwood.

( I took these cuttings from the plants at the Mourning Bench in August/September of last year.)

The little plants are firmly rooted and healthy….soon it will be a beautiful enclosure for all the hydrangeas, like the tight little hedge in the photo below.

I could have gone another route here and planted shade loving hosta,  ferns, and the myriad of plants the enjoy these conditions.

This, however, is what I designed for the Camellia Walk /Woodland Garden and I wanted a more formal feeling for this room.

Also, for maintenance, one trim a year should keep it looking neat & contained.

I will wisely wait till the weather cools, in concert with  Mother Nature, to plant. Meanwhile, I will spread a nice layer of compost, shredded leaves & manure over the area , turn it in, to prepare the soil, then add more on top.

Please excuse all the leaves & debris… I am care-giving at the moment and unable to keep up with the garden the way I would like.

HYDRANGEA TOUR PART 2

                                                                     

The second garden on tour was that of Cheryl & Max Lenker.

It is a perfect English Style Cottage Garden; complete with rose arbor entrance, boxwood lined walk and welcoming plaque…

 The mixed borders are masterfully planted …

featuring an elegant shade structure that serves as focal point.

Adjacent to the house is an outdoor living room with all the accoutrements for gracious living & entertaining.

                                                                                                   

From this area one can enjoy the sound and sight of a split stream waterfall.

                                                                           

If one ascends to the upper level one crosses the waterfall.

Here the character of the garden changes and one discovers a quiet shaded walkway …

and a place for contemplation.

This garden has it all and of course the hydrangeas were fabulous!

We all see different elements in a garden, I have not touched on the amazing front of this house, so for more  on this garden see PRETTY OLD HOUSES  and LINDARAXA.