Tuesday, June 12, 2012

These June Days

Ahh June. A perfect month, except for the weather of course. Not that it is bad, I just wouldn't call it perfect exactly. Temperamental and heavily wet. However, the plants are happy, new plants especially, they are robust with loads of lush growth. A recent student of mine, inspired by Walt Whitman, went out into the woods and wrote a poem that included this line: "the growing; is growing." I think that just about sums it up.

These pictures are from my own, small garden, but this is about its third to fourth year and I am starting to see some of that time paying off. The plants are starting to fill in and I am moving them around less. I am particularly happy with the above rose -clematis combination that I planted to cover up the ugly water collection tank. Climbing Rose 'New Dawn' and Clematis 'Henryi' are blooming together.

A bright spot of Trollius chinensis 'Golden Queen' with blue Campanula persicafolia. Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Overdam' is here in the foreground. I love the shapely outline of those giant Thalictrum rochebrunianum, those specimens came to me folded up in a napkin as practically dead one inch sticks!

 Leonotis menthifolia
Walker Farm grows hundreds of unusual and incredible annuals.  I tend to buy at least ten or more plants each year that I have never grown before. I saw a Leonotis blooming in October in England last fall and was happy to find two different species at Walkers this spring. I picked this species for its tiny, textured leaves.

I think I am on the brink of having a penstemon problem! I have numerous different species and cultivars and the species P. digitalis is spreading itself around. Each year I find hundreds of seedlings, like this giant one on the path's edge. These elegant dark red spires with fuzzy pink buds are stippled all through the beds. I might start harvesting them and selling them soon, a real cash crop! The Physocarpus opifolius 'Gold Nugget' here in the corner is loving all the rain and heat. It is vibrant and lush and edging out its neighbors. The Continus 'Grace' is newly planted. I bought it for a client, but soon realized it was the wrong one. However, it was so beautiful with its big leaves and numerous buds I decided my garden could easily absorb it.

Our sweet little native blue eyed grass Sisyrinchium angustifolium.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Deb Shumlin's Garden

I have been working on Deb Shumlin's garden for a few years now, but it was only in the last two seasons that we started to make some real changes.  The garden pictured above was tweaked a few years ago. It once was full of iris and primrose and we have slowly added trollious 'Golden Queen,' Thalictrum rochebrunianum, Rodgersia pinnata, Lobelia cardinalis, Lobelia siphilitica, and a Salix integra 'Hakura Nishiki.' It is filling in nicely and really has a wonderful spring display.

This is her entrance walk. The walk way was rebuilt by Paul Bemis and we amended the garden. Once full of Phlox, Delphinium, and Echinacea, we have kept some of the originals and added lots more. Some of the great new gems are Pinus parviflora 'Arnold Arboretm Dwarf,' Boxwood 'Green Mountain,' Daphne 'Carol Mackie,' Sedum seiboldi, Actaea simplex 'Black Negligee,' Echinacea 'Green Jewel,' Centranthus rubra, Amsonia heubrechtii, Sidalcea 'Party Girl,' and Verbascum 'Clementine,' to name a few. It is full to the brim and exciting.

A nice cross cut view of over lapping gardens.

This year we decided to close off the far end of the lawn that dropped off down to the dirt road below Deb's house. So we built a hedge out of Taxus media 'Hicksii,' as recommended by gardening friend and fellow blogger Joe Valentine. We planted these in a large snaking S- curve and we used a tractor with an auger to dig the holes. Only a few mishaps (we cut the power line to her house, but no one was electrocuted...!) and the hedge was in. 

This is a before shot- the gardens on the property ran straight and narrow along numerous stone walls and over the years they had mostly filled in with ferns, phlox, iris, and peonies. Deb wanted more and so we have been working this year to bring out all the gardens significantly and making them curvy and irregular. Then filling them with interesting plants that will give year round interest; from evergreens to annuals, we are covering all the seasons this year.

The newly dug, transplanted, and half- planted bed.

Just opposite the previous photo is another long stone wall and we started to bring out the beds...

...and fill them with plants....

...then plant them and watch them grow. It will be exciting to see how this garden develops over time.