Saturday, May 26, 2012

Gordon and Mary Hayward's Garden

I have been very sparse in my blog posting and I do miss the routine of sitting down, looking through pictures, writing and looking up plants, but life has been very busy this spring. I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel; soon all the plants will be in the ground, the gardens will be top dressed, the edges refined and all big projects finished or put on hold until fall. And summer will be here. Here are a few nice shots of Gordon and Mary's garden looking beautiful this late May.

Above Lamprocapnos spectabalis (once known as Dicentra spectabilis) 'Gold Heart.' This plant can wash out and look a little busy in some places, against a white house or planted with other chartreuse foliage, but here it looks amazing among a sea of Geranium macrorrhizum and against the faded gray of the gardening shed.

Looking down into the Orchard garden and entrance to the Brick walk. 

The woodland garden is as good as I have ever seen it- completely awash in a mixture of phlox stolinifera and phlox divericata.

Looking from inside the woodland garden and out to the fruit orchard and surrounding hay field. I love the jagged edge of the old wall against the bright green patch of mowed grass.

Looking down the lovely Long Borders

Peony 'Roselette,' an early, fragrant, large, single flowered, and tall peony that hardly ever needs staking. This one is a winner!

This garden used to be called the spring garden, but had a complete makeover this year. The path and bench are new as well as all the plants. I was given the task of planting annuals in amongst the new perennials, a la Dixter style.  I will keep you posted on how it all turns out...

This has been a glorious year everywhere for the Doublefile Viburnum (V. plicatum var. tomentosum). It is one plant that didn't mind this past winter.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Bodnant Garden

Bodnant Gardens has got to be one of the most impressive places I have seen. In northern Wales, this 80 acre garden is an amazing collection of plants, with an astounding variety of trees and shrubs. The upper section of the garden surrounding the house is more formal, with terraces, covered walls, long views, stately trees, and decorative perennial beds. The lower part is called the Dell and is packed with plant material- it feels like a large, wild park with a crazy assortment of extremely large trees, including US native giants like sequoia and redwood. It is a magical place, seemingly never ending, and a good place to lose track of time.

Asphodeline lutea just coming into flower in the entrance beds. I love the wavy, grassy look against that big, gangly tree hovering in the background.

Holboellia coriacea
It is always exciting to find something you are pretty sure you have never seen before, like this crazy climbing vine. It is called sausage vine or china blue vine and is noted for being hardy to Zone 9. However, it looks like there are a few reported instances where it has survived colder climates- case in point, northern Wales. It is a very slow grower, likes a protected space, and by the looks of it, long lived; this specimen has been growing contently here at Bodnant for a few generations!

 Lewisia 'Ashwood Hybrids' hanging vertically in the cracks in the wall.

Photinia x fraseri 'Red Robin' pruned flat against one of the many walls. A very unique way to use (and control) Photinia.

I was pretty captivated by this scene, coming down a grand stone stairway and into the dusky shade of this enormous, old tree.

Dramatic light as the day heads towards evening..

I think this was my favorite part of the garden. It was much less formal than the rest of the landscape and was comprised of some of my favorite plants, including an array of Euphorbias, an unusual Hellebore, grasses and one very large Phlomis fruiticosa. It had a Mediterranean feeling and was a bit more unkempt and weedy- I liked it.

An amazing Euphorbia griffithii 'Fireglow' emerging in a sea of Anemone nemerosa, with a backdrop of early chartreuse Crocosmia leaves and tufts of Stipa-like grass- all standing strong against the black-green of the yew hedge. Heaven!

The lush and wild Dell

Upper meadows aflush in daffodils

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Glaucidium palmatum

Glaucidium palmatum, a monotypic genus from northern and eastern Japan; it is, of course, in the Rannunculaceae family (all my favorites are!) This tiny woodland gem came to my garden as one sprout and one leaf. After two or three years it has survived (not prospered) through the cold winters, warm summers, periods of drought and flood, and this spring it put up its first bloom. And what a bloom it is. This solitary flower has been showing off for over a week, through heavy rains and heavy frosts.

I recently wrote a short piece for the Garden Diary on the Great Dixter website. You can see it here.