Tuesday, May 31, 2011

North Hill

Joe Eck and the late Wayne Winterrowd, garden writers and designers, have been creating the garden at North Hill for the past quarter century. The garden is open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays from 10-4 and I am anxious to return to see the next round of wonderful plants.

The above photograph is of the front steps leading to their house and is a quote from the steps leading to the house at Great Dixter.

The first thing I noticed once I stepped out of the car, was the incredible diversity of tree specimens. So many different types all woven together to create a rich tapestry. The gardens continued in this theme, of trees and shrubs and woody perennials all woven together. There were some perennial borders, but generally I found the garden to be composed of rich and varied plantings, emphasizing textural contrasts. It was spectacular and full of incredible plant material.

The perennial garden.

The perennial garden backed by the layered tree canopy.

Paris podophylla

There was an entire chapter devoted to this plant in Our Life in Gardens and when I read it I thought how could I not know of a plant named Paris. It is not hardy and requires over wintering care, but it is shockingly beautiful. Joe had three pots of Paris and mentioned that certain seedlings were from Christopher Lloyd and other were from Dan Hinkley.

Fritillaria pontica

Fritillaria camschatcensis

Cypripedium japonica

Aquilegia flabellata 'Nana'

A view from one of the greenhouses.

A Euphorbia from Dan Hinkley.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Bobbi Angell's Garden

I visited my friend Bobbi Angell's garden in Marlboro, Vermont this weekend. She is a highly accomplished botanical illustrator and I met her when she took an etching class at my studio Twin Vixen Press. For many years she published a weekly drawing in the New York Times and has illustrated many books, including Our life in Gardens. She is also a keen gardener and plants woman and I had a great time rambling through her garden, admiring all of her wonderful plants.

The house sits on top of a hill with a wonderful view, but it is rather steep. Luckily her partner Jim has all the equipment and know how to build fabulous rock terraces for her.

Cypripedium calceolus

The Orchids are all abloom these days. Today I found a large patch of our native and extremely rare Lady's Slipper (blog post sure to follow!) Exciting times!

Veronica gentianoides

Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris

The climbing hydrangea has been planted all around the natural spring fed stream that runs through the gardens. What a lovely use of this plant!

Akebia quinata

Somehow I missed the fact that the Akebia has different male and female flowers. I think I noticed a difference, but never put it all together. How incredible!

And she had blooming Wisteria!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Verbascum and the Bees

Verbascum phoeniceum ‘Flush of White’

Summer has officially arrived! I had a terrific weekend visiting some terrific gardens including the famous North Hill garden of Joe Eck and the late Wayne Winterrowd the co-authors of Our Life in Gardens. Before I can even sort through all the photographs I had to throw these pictures up of this incredible Verbascum covered in bees. This is one of those flowers that is so striking right now that everyone asks who it is. The bees are wild for it too!

This Verbascum is springing through the giant bleeding heart. A bee comes in for a landing.

Friday, May 27, 2011


These are poppies that have been here at Small Meadows farm for as long as anyone can remember. They are such a spectacular show, each day more and more come into flower until the whole area is ablaze in fiery orange.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Hayward's Garden

The plants looked so happy to see a little sunshine and I saw my first peonies opening in the Hayward's garden yesterday.

Geum in the Spring Garden.

Corydalis elipticarpa

The Crab Apples never really had their show for when they finally dared to bloom the petals were beat down in the rain. The stone path is pink with petals!

A shot from the back of the Long Borders

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

This morning is the first sunny morning I have seen in weeks and weeks! Here are some shots of spring, heavily featuring the pinks and purples. Above is the lilac and crab full flower combination.

A little creeping veronica found in my garden. I have been having trouble pinning down exactly which one it is, but my guess is Veronica chamaedrys? The various ground covering Veronicas are some of my favorite plants these days, even the weedy ones!

Another all time favorite, Phlox divaricata, so blue, so fragrant, so robust! I love it's cousin Phlox stolonifera too, similar, slightly shorter, and it creeps along creating a mat of color.

Geranium phaeum

Allium 'Purple Sensation' poking through a giant bleeding heart.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Crab Apple Galore

Constant rain and gray here, but it does help take nice photographs. The crabs are out in full swing in the Berg's garden. Here are many shots of the lovely garden on Rice Mountain.

The rain has beat the petals to the ground!

The Marble Terrace with Rhododendrons in full flower and layers of crab apple trees (see the bright pink one down below the wall?)

I don't remember ever seeing the crab apples and lilacs in full flower together? It is pretty terrific!

Here you can see three different types, from pale pink, to white, to deep pink.

A beautiful combination of Ajuga 'Chocolate Chip', bright green sedum, and blue fescue grass.

The Terrace Beds

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Colors of Spring

There are a few good things about a very rainy week, and one is that the colors in the garden seem almost electric. The green becomes so very green and every flower looks so radiant and brave! Above are Mary's tulips in full force!

The Orchard garden at Gordon and Mary's. I have taken this shot a few times already this year, anticipating the great crab apple show. Right now the soggy blossoms are awaiting a little more sunshine.

A view of the woodland garden. On the left are the new coppery colored beech leaves and in the center there are white blooming dicentra, all against that tapestry of spring greens.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Plants at Longwood

Rehmannia elata

An impressive flower, this Chinese Floxglove, and I was lucky enough to see this great beauty in flower in the Longwood Conservatory. I am told that this plant is an ever hopeful candidate for the newly re-designed Stilts Garden beds at Hidcote!

Prostanthera ovilifolia 'Variegata'

Mint bush, a special favorite because while at Hidcote I would brush past this plant in the Plant House and would always welcome its unusual smell.

Carex siderosticha cv. Variegata

Pittosporum tobira 'Variegata'

Seems like I am on a variegata theme here? This was also a Hidcote Plant House hit (though not the variegated one...) While I was there this lovely tree was in full flower and its pale lemony colored flowers filled the entire house with its fragrance.

Loropetalum chinense var rubrum 'Chang Nian Hong' (Ever Red TM)

I have a particular fondness for Loropetulum as it was an unusual specimen plant featured in a garden I worked closely with while living and working in Washington State. I worked for a woman named Laura Chandler and helped her design and build her dream gardens. She was an accomplished plants woman and I learned so many new plants during those two years working in her garden.

Podocarpus elongatus 'Monmal'

Just loved this plant, so blue, so gray.

Hebe 'Amy'

An incredible terraced lawn! Recently designed by the landscape architect Kim Wilkie.