Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wedding Bouquets

I recently grew, picked, and arranged flowers for the wedding of some dear friends. I ended up arranging 4 sap buckets, 5 large table arrangements, and 54 small table arrangements- all from flowers grown in my garden! It turns out that it is very difficult photographing bouquets, so most of these shots are close ups of flower combinations. The above photo is of all the flowers picked, ready to go, in the middle of my garden.

One of the large sap buckets arranged around the glorious sunflower!

A more formal sap bucket arrangement, very bridal!

A large bouquet using the de-petaled flower heads of Echinecea.

I pulled all the leaves off crab apple stems and added them to this hot-color arrangement.

Small vases decorating the tables.

First ever boutonniere

A bad picture of the bridal bouquet, using stems from the shrub clematis.


I have not done too much gardening these past few days as I have been fairly preoccupied by all the flood damage in my area, including the Whetstone Studio building where I have my printmaking studio. At least three studios emptied into the drink and the building is currently deemed unsafe for entry. We are hoping to be cleared sometime to retrieve our printing press and equipment. This is a small tragedy compared to what others have suffered these past few days. The cleanup will take a very long time as roads have been replaced by rivers, bridges are gone, and houses have moved hundreds of feet.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Garden of Plenty

My mother is a great gardener and she gave me my first introduction to flower and vegetable gardening at a fairly young age. The gardens and flowers look as much a part of the natural landscape as the rocks and the trees which is a great testament to working with the land. Her one acre back yard is a haven and everytime I go home I am in awe of all her work.

One of the first flowers I learned, Love- in- the- Mist (Nigella damascena) and has been in her garden forever! I think those seed heads are incredible.

A great entrance garden edging a stone path to the house.

The veg garden

This is her new shrub garden and she calls it her Putney Garden because so many of the shrubs came from very small cuttings from my garden. She continues to fill it with all the lovely herbaceous plants.

Cephalaria gigantea

This glorious plant is planted in front of the barn and I was exclaiming about its great beauty and my mom said, "You know who really loves this plant?" I guessed some friends and she said, "No, the bees!" So here they are, the most admiring of the Cephalaria.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ode to Queen Anne's Lace

Daucus carota

This lovely plant is probably considered an invasive weed in many parts of the world. At a landscape talk I heard that this plant is found on most airport tarmacs because the wings of the planes carry its seeds to far away places. According to the USDA plant database this plant is found in all 48 continental states as well as almost every province in Canada. I cannot help but love this plant- it fills the hay fields this time of year with its wispy blooms. I found Queen Anne's Lace here, at the Someville Landing, one of my favorite places in Maine.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Plants at Thuja

Hunnemannia fumariifolia 'Sunlight'
Mexican Tulip Poppy

I enjoyed all the stately Salvias, particularly this tall pink-red one, Salvia involucrata 'Bethellii.'
Actaea simplex 'White Pearl' and Rudbekia nitida 'Herbstonne' rising up in the back ground. Rudbekia nitida is synonymous with R. lacinata (though some think 'Herbstonne' is a hybrid between the two sepcies) and 'Herbstonne' is synonymous with 'Sutumn Sun.' Amazing stuff.

Lobelia x speciosa 'Compliment Series'
This Lobelia is a cross of various species Lobelia including cardinalis and syphilitca. The compliment series is a mixture of different colors which were grown in the cutting garden and this color was selected for the garden.

The pink globe flower is Gomphrena globosa 'Fireworks' intermingled with the Verbena bonariensis, which also has a similar firework-look.

Penstemon hartwegii 'Tubular Bell Mix'

Antirrhinum majus 'Opus Apple Blossom'
Priscilla had only the best things to say about the Opus Series Snapdragons.

Agastache mexicana 'Alcapulco Salmon and Pink'
This was its second year as a perennial and it was lovely.

Trachymene caereulo
Blue Lace Flower

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thuja Gardens

Thuja Gardens are public gardens of the Mount Desert Land & Garden Preserve on Mount Desert Island, Maine. This preserve was originally owned by Boston Landscpae architect Joseph Henry Curtis and he built three residences on the property including the beautiful Thuja Lodge (perhaps the coziest and most charming house I have ever seen?). Curtis also designed the Asticou Terraces which are stone terraces, paths, and granite stairways built on the side of the cliff leading up to the lodge and garden. After his death, Charles K. Savage was appointed trustee of the preserve and he designed and built the long borders (semi-formal herbaceous borders in the spirit of England's Gertrude Jekyll) and woodland plantings that became Thuja Gardens.

The head gardener today is Priscilla Hutton and is someone who I was fortunate enough to work with in the beginning of my gardening days at the Landscape company Deer Meadow twelve years ago. She was in charge of the greenhouses where all the annuals were grown and she was responsible for planting some of the best pots and containers I have ever seen! She is a really good gardener and she has done an amazing job at Thuja, the garden looks incredible! I ran into her at the garden and she showed me some of her favorite plants and new annual introductions.


The Long Borders in full swing.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Asticou Azalea Gardens

The Asticou Azalea gardens were built by Northeast Harbor resident Charles K. Savage, owner of the Asticou Inn. The gardens were started in 1956 when Beatrix Ferrand dismantled her gardens at Reef Point and Savage moved many of Ferrand's beloved specimens here and built the gardens around them. His love of Japanese garden design and native plants inspired the overall design of the garden. The garden can be described as a Japanese Inspired Woodland Specimen garden as there is a fascinating array of plant material, particularly shrubs and trees. As the plants have filled in, there are some areas where evergreens have grown together to create vibrant textured walls, hedges, and mixed ground cover tapestries. These lush, green walls of plant material were very reminiscent of English gardening, which I found particularly exciting. 

The Sand Garden
"While this arrangement of sand and stones does not duplicate any known garden, it is similar in size to the celebrated gardens of Ryoanji in Kyoto, dating from about 1480. The sand represents water and the stones islets." Written on a sign post adjacent to the garden.

Cotinus corrygira 'Nordine'

The smoke bush floating above the evergreens.


Water paths! Waterways are heavily featured and the quiet, still reflections add so much to the way we see the garden.

Galax urceolata

I have read about this ground cover particularly in the book Our Life in Gardens, but I have rarely seen it. This was a beautiful stand growing on a shady stream bed. I enjoyed seeing large stands of some of the best woodland ground covers, including Vancouveria hexandra, Epimedium, Clintonia, and Uvularia perfoliata.  I would like more stands of the lovely woodland herbaceous plants as it will give more year round interest and more texture and variety to the predominantly shrub garden. Of course this is quite a bias opinion as the woodland herbaceous plants are becoming some of my favorites!

Laurentia axillaris 'Starshine Blue'
Syn. Solenopsis axillaris or Isotoma axillaris

This plant looked like a perennial, but apparently it is an annual here in Zone 4. I did plant a perennial ground cover Isotoma fluviatallis in my own garden and I suppose it has a similar look? This Blue Star flower was planted in front of Cotinus coggygira 'Pink Champagne' which has darling little leaves.

Another completely new plant to me, Chelonopsis yagiharana also known as Japanese Turtlehead. It has that wonderful foxglove look, particularly when in bud.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Mount Desert Island, Maine

I am spending two weeks on Mount Desert Island, Maine which happens to be the place that I grew up and the place that I first started gardening. It is indisputably one of the most beautiful places in the world and every time I come home, particularly on this visit, I feel like I am seeing the plants and the scenery with new eyes. The landscape is so different from Vermont and this Island is unusual even for the coast of Maine. Built by glaciers, the island is a solid granite rock with bald top mountains rising from the sea and a deep fjord spliting the island in half. The forests are mostly coniferous, with shallow, acidic soil hosting a fascinating array of plants, many of which we covet and tirelessly try to grow in Vermont. Without anything to do with the hand of man, the landscape of MDI is an example of nature as the perfect gardener.

Much of the island is comprised of this striking pink granite. Here it is covered with various lichens- a whole other world of plant/fungus discovery that I can only imagine trying to crack!


Potentilla tridentata

I recently discovered this plant in Vermont and began using it as a ground cover (it has amazing fall color), but only when I was on top of the mountain did I realize that it was extremely common and that I had seen it a hundred times before!

This is a sea of Juniperus communis, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, and the aromatic Bayberry, Morella caroliniensis.

Here is a mountaintop stand of Pitch Pine, Pinus rigida (needles in fascicles of three). Often confused with the less common Jack Pine, Pinus banksiana (needles in fascicles of 2). These pine trees grow under harsh winter conditions and they become very compact, with bent and twisted trunks, giving them a wonderful bonsai look. Most of the ground cover seen here is the delicious and beautiful native Huckleberry, Gaylussacia baccata. In the Ericaceae family and closely related to blueberry, the huckleberry sports a beautiful deep black, perfectly round berry that is very sweet.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Anemonopsis macrophylla

Anemonopsis macrophylla is a monotypic woodland gem native to the Japanese island of Honshu. The foliage is similar to Actaea and it sends slender ebony stems skyward. At the end of each thin, branching arm, a small perfectly sphered, mauvey- pink bud forms. I am not sure if I have ever seen a more perfect flower open? The plant likes cool, damp, shady sites and I have planted it here on the North side of a house in a wet site. I also love it against the green of house!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Allium pulchellum

Allium puclchellum, is another bulb surprise in my garden! I scattered these bulbs throughout one of my small gardens and they came up late on spindly stems. On top of these skinny stems, small tight buds formed and to be honest they did not look all that promising. Until one day, in very late July, they opened! They are a very sharp lavender color and they seem to glow in the understory of some of my taller perennials. Here they look lovely against the stem of a dark Heuchera flower.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Terrace Beds

The terrace beds at Peter and Teddy Berg's garden are in full swing this time of year and they look terrific. It has been a great year for growing, with lots of rain, sun, and heat, and the plants do look their best. The terrace beds are the most formal part of the garden and they are packed full of lush, glorious plants. There are a few grounding shrubs and many classic perennials that come into their peak in late July, particularly with the blooming of the day lilies.

Looking across the path in the hot bed. There are two major planting groups based on hot and cool color schemes.

Looking up through the hot bed towards the house.

The soft bed.

Looking up through the soft bed at the house.