Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Planting Unusual Plants

It has been a very full, busy, and exciting couple of days. I have already learned a years worth in one week. I have mostly been working on planting projects in different areas of the garden, Monday we were in the Long Borders where we planted Rudbekia triloba (a northeast U.S. native), Digitalis, 'Apricot', Larkspur 'Azure Blue,' and Ammi majus as well as transplanting the precious forget-me-nots and Verbascum olympicum strategically here and there. 

On Tuesday we worked on planting out the Ledge (as seen in the above photo). The first two pictures are before pictures and the last few were taken after the project was finished. I have mostly been working alongside Rachel who is the current Christopher Lloyd scholar. She is great, knows a million plants, and so far we make a great team. The initial goal was to select 5-7 cow parsleys (Anthriscus sylvestis) to keep and then transplant the rest back into the bed. Then we would do the same with the Oxide Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare). Once that was finished we were going to thread a smaller umbellifer, Trinia (possibly glauca? from Hungary) through the bed. In any given project, Fergus pops in an out, to check how things are going, and then you watch the project unfurl! Once we cleared space, Fergus decided to go looking for odd plants to add. The three of us went on a hunt. All along the nursery, along the driveways, and along the edges of everything are hundreds of special and random plants in pots waiting for their moment to shine. These are special places to hunt for just the right thing. We filled four crates with things that caught our eye. He encouraged us to pick up plants we liked. I selected a Euphorbia and Fergus smiled and said, "That was one of Christo's favorites." In the crate it went. 

We got back to the site and started arranging the plants, mindful of what was there, what we thought the plants might like, and how the different shapes, inevitable sizes, and colors all fit together. We stood back and Fergus asked what we thought. I always like a tapestry of interesting plants; and Fergus thought it was interesting because there is no other place in the garden quite like it. It was a dream project for me because there were so many gems planted, many I didn't know and many interesting species of some of my favorite genera. They all might require different environments, but Rachel is charged with monitoring their relative happiness or unhappiness! Once all those specimen plants were in, we planted the Trinia throughout the whole planting.

 Before we started, the ledge was overrun with cow parsley. The conifer is Cryptomeria japonica 'Bandai-sugi.'

After it is all planted...
with Euphorbia characias 'Portuguese Velvet'

Plant List: Many of these plants were brought back from De Hessenhof nursery in Holland

Scutellaria integrifolia (another east coast U.S. native!)
Thalictrum ichangense 'Purple Marble'
Thalictrum rochebrunianum
Saxifraga fortunei 'Rubrifolia'
Aquilegia chaplini
Meconopsis cambraica
Athamanta vestina
Angelica japnica
Succisella inflexa 'Frosted Pearls'
Euphorbia 'Blue Haze'
Geranium sanguineum 'Glenluce'
Hepatica nobilis 'Alba'
Hepatica transsylvanica 'Azuga' (this looks amazing!)
 Epimedium rhizomatosum
Geum 'Mrs. W. Moore'
Patrinia sp. (heehee) was literally written on the tag.. a mystery!
Trinia (glauca?)
Nigella 'Mulberry Jam'

Foliage of the Aquilegia chaplini

Saxifraga fortunei 'Rubrafolia'

The Euphorbia 'Blue Haze' that Christopher Lloyd loved


  1. wow. that sounds like such a fun project! keep the pics coming Helen!!!

  2. How fun to have such a nursery to choose from. From the list it seems this area will fill out pretty quickly. I hope that you will be able to see the results later in the season!