The following photographs were taken at Michael B. Gordon's garden in Peterborough, New Hampshire. Michael is an optometrist and a garden designer and has designed many of the small parks and gardens in Peterborough. His own garden is a small garden, but intricately designed and packed with an amazing collection of plants. In my usual way, I was on the ground examining the delicacy of his spring flowering treasures. Above is a wonderful stand of Bergenia. I loved them with the old iron urns, the red bricks, and the blue bench, all standing in front of the wonderful deep green of the boxwoods.
The garden is situated on a hill and Michael has created three levels, the top two are more formal and the lower slope is being developed into a woodland garden. I thought the more formal elements (the arbors with vines, the yew hedges and box topiaries) were so well designed and offered such an inviting space to display his exciting plant collection.
I made the mistake calling this the Cornus mas, it is actually Cornus officinalis!
Ranunculus ficaria 'Brazen Hussey' was seen flowering on the upper level. Michael tells me that he planted this plant in combination with Crocosmia 'Lucifer, as suggested by Christopher Lloyd (which this very morning I randomly opened Lloyd's book on Succession Planting to the very page that suggested this combination!) I saw this Ranunculus in flower at The Courts garden in England and so was excited to see it here in Micahel's garden.
Here is that wonderful combination of Euphorbia myrsinites and Sedum rupestre 'Angelina,' although much improved by the addition of the dark leafed Euphorbia.
When I got home I emailed Michael to ask him who this amazing Epimedium was because I had never seen any other quite like it. He wrote back,
"I was walking around the garden after work today wondering what on earth looked decent at this time of year and the one thing I saw that seemed like it might spark some interest was the epimedium you are asking about. Isn't that funny? Is called Epimedium grandiflorum 'Queen Esta'. I got it for the story as much as beauty of the plant. The late and legendary plantsman, Harold Epstein named it after his wife, Esta. It was the first seedling he ever introduced from his garden. Epstein was an epimedium connoisseur who died about a dozen years ago. Before he died, his garden was open on the Garden Conservancy Open Days and always regret not driving down to Larchmont, NY to see his garden. That is the wonderful thing about plants--having a piece of someone else's garden in your own garden." - Micahel B. Gordon