Sunday, July 29, 2012

The New Spring Garden

In May, I mentioned a new project at Gordon and Mary Hayward's garden, I am calling it the New Spring Garden as it is a re-design of the old Spring Garden. This spot used to be full of plum trees and spring flowering bulbs and it was beautiful, but difficult to maintain. Gordon and Mary called for a re-do and the entire garden was dug over. All the dying and suckering plums were removed and they build an axial path shown here, dividing the garden into four quadrants. This spring they ordered a slew of new perennials to create a meadow-inspired garden in the spirit of Piet Oudolf. When I returned from Great Dixter I was brimming over with new plant ideas and annual planting techniques and so Gordon and Mary charged me with the task of weaving annuals through their perennial plantings. We moved in some teasel that Gordon and Mary overwintered in their vegetable garden and this photo shows how well they have grown. This post is dedicated to what has happened in just two short months. I think we are all very excited about this garden and it does feel different from other areas of the garden- it is untamed and wild and packed to the brim with plants. See what you think.
(The above photo was taken by Gordon Hayward)

A quick "before shot" just after the new perennials were planted in mid-May

The annuals were all planted by late May and the entire garden has filled in to look like this by mid-July.

A slice of happy plants. The magenta pink is Oregano is 'Rosenkuppel,' with an Eryngium from the vegetable garden, and the small flurry of seeds are from the flower heads of the grass Sporobolus heterolepsis (see upper left). The annuals include white stems of Gaura in the front, tall feathery Ammi visnaga 'Green Mist, with bright spots of red from Emilia javanica, and the tall bright pink of Persicaria orientalis brought home as seeds from Great Dixter.

The fine mist of Sporobolus with the Oregano, plus Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Firetail,' with a mighty teasel lingering in the back ground.

A lively corner with that Oregano, a Coreopsis Mary started from seed a few years back, plus Gaura and nasturtium.

A snaking garnet sea of Sanguisorba officinalis 'Tanna' with Ammi majus and Verbena bonariensis. The Ammi and Verbena was a combination directly quoted from pictures I saw of Great Dixter last year. The bright red spots come from that great Emilia plant.

More sprays of Sporobolus with the Verbena, Ammi and Persicaria.

Even though it is a very new garden, there are still many of the old self-seeders representing a piece of the garden's former life. Here are the native tiger lilies and some of Mary's poppies.

A quieter shot of this pot display I helped assemble earlier this year.
(Photo taken by Gordon Hayward)

Bobbi Angell's Garden

Quite a few weeks back I visited my friend Bobbi Angell's garden. She is a botanical artist and illustrator and we met when she showed up to take an etching class at my studio. She now works there regularly churning out some of the most meticulously beautiful botanical etchings (to see her work click here). Not only do we share a love of printmaking, but we also share a love of gardening. She has traveled the world drawing plants in their native habitat, so she is a good one to ramble on about plants! She has a beautiful house in Marlboro, Vermont, on a steep hillside surrounded by beautiful gardens.

Her property is off the grid, hence the large solar panels. I like the poppies and digitalis springing up all around.

This Thalictrum flavum (possibly subsp. glaucum?) was one of the happiest, sturdiest specimens I've seen. It was so beautiful, billowy, blowing around in the wind with Calamagrostis 'Karl Foerster.'

Bobbi clues me onto new plants each year, such as this white umbel, Orlaya grandiflora. The little star blues are Amsonia 'Blue Ice.'

I like the formal rose arbor surround by beautiful country.

Digitalis lutea with Stokesia laevis, a really nice combination.

Cerinthe major

Big wide stone path outlined in more wild plants, self seeders, and shrubs!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

I have been off the blog wagon, but for good reason! Noah and I got married on June 23rd and then spent two weeks on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been and one of the quietest. We were lent a house near Cape North, at the very northern tip of the island, and the house was a half mile from the above beach (Cabot's Landing). In the 10 days or so we were there, we only saw about 18 people. It was a beautiful and lonely place, wild, dramatic, and remote. It was a perfect place for two very social people to spend their honeymoon.

A rocky beach a short walk from the house. The house was on Asbey Bay and the water was shallow and warm, perfect for swimming. We were told there were places to collect oysters, but we never made it there.  There were lots of beautiful coastal plants growing here.

Such as this lovely Artemesia stelleriana. This is our common Dusty Miller Artemisia, also known as beach wormwood, but when I saw it growing in the wild it seemed to unusual and so beautiful. It reminded me of Artemisia stelleriana 'Silver Broacde,' but I didn't actually think they were the same species. I think this plant is originally from Japan, but it has naturalized on the east coast of North America. This plant loves great drainage (it grows in rocks) and salty, misty air.

Another fascinating plant growing in luscious clumps out of rocks and sand, this is Seabeach Sandwort, or Honckenya peploides (syn. Arenaria peploides). I admired this plant immediately for its bright green, waxy foliage and its succulent, creeping, yet upright habit. This also happens to be a monotypic genus, which always appeals to me for some reason. I guess I love the individuality of a genus with one species.

One day we took a hike from Meat Cove to the Cape of St. Lawrence. We had to trek over a small, coastal mountain to get out to the wild and remote cape. Along the way there was a hillside of dripping moss covered in little blossoms of Oxalis montana.

The Cape of St. Lawrence, with clear blue water full of man-of-war jelly fish. Out on the horizon we saw thousands of blue- billed Gannets dive- bombing from great heights into the sea to catch their fish.

As we came down the hill and out of the woods there was this long headland covered in grass and other wild plants- it was wide open and beautiful. There were two different crumbling foundations where old lighthouses once stood. Today there is a small, solar powered light tower that takes the place of the old lighthouses. In amongst the beautiful granite foundation rocks are hundreds of Campanula rotundifolia swaying in the strong winds. This is a classic alpine/coastal plant- it can take blazing sun, drought, wind, free draining, rocky soil, extreme cold, and in this case salty sea spray. What a plant!

Thalictrum pubescens growing at the boggy edges. There were fields of this plant in full bloom.

View from the top of Sugarloaf Mountain looking down on Cabot's Landing beach.