Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Joining In: My favorite Plant in The Garden This Week

 Celebrating the return of my camera from the the hospital , and jumping on board with Loree ... I do love her fave plant posts and what a great way to ensure weekly blogging. Win-win !

 I am thrilled with the Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Rosea' , purchased last year from Digging Dog on our Mendocino Coast. These large imposing Persicarias are not seen much around here, and I was triumphant to find this one when I visited the nursery last summer. It's comforting to have something that isn't bloomed out and flopping in the garden this time of year.

 The foliage can get a tad ratty late in the season, but looks great right now, and after the ratty period, (which mostly involves the leaves near ground level) I get some nice fall color.

Pleasantly architectural.

Monday, July 22, 2013

My Garden Is a Mess

 We are in the awkward stage here..overgrown and bloomed out. The mistakes of fall and spring are clearly evident; planted too close, unfortunate color combinations, wrong exposure etc etc. My 'real' camera is still in ICU, so I went out with the trusty old point and shoot and got a few images of the carnage. As all good gardeners, I didn't photograph the very worst areas.

Lily flops onto (and clashes with) reverted P. Norah Leigh while Salvia 'Black and Blue' looks on .

From another perspective.

 Moving a little further west, 'Black and Blue ' has it's way with with Phlox and Autumn Joy, while Aster frikartii peeks out at the bottom of the pile.

In the upper third, you may notice that Eupatorium 'Gateway' has engulfed an entire rosebush. That's Austin rose 'English Garden' barely visible just above the Phlox 'David'.

 A Robin Parer Geranium , Santolina  'Lime Fizz, Teucrium all hang out together. One can view about half of each plant. They are dukeing it out.

 Teucrium 'Purple Tails' and the chives have bested the french tarragon...which reclines beneath them all. I believe there is a Basil 'Pesto Perpetuo' in there as well..have not seen that plant for months, now that I think about it.

Reverted variegated Oregano with Gaillardia and more Teucrium. Somewhere in the midst of this there are Fraises des bois.

 Love my new Miscanthus 'Rigoletto' . Too bad I can't see it.

Symphytum 'Axminster Gold'  is encroached upon by Rozanne and a seedling Veronica.

Crappy Daylily foliage ..

 Symphytum attacks are a trend. Here we see it in the jaws of Trachelium caeruleum .

The up side ? I can't see the soil, and I can't see the weeds.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Madoo Conservancy

  I don't recall when I first read about Madoo, but I would guess it was a magazine article or perhaps a review of 'Notes From Madoo' , Robert Dashes' book published in 2000. How I wanted to visit , but at that time in my life it seemed quite impossible. But opportunities sometimes present themselves and this summer my friends and I stepped through the portal into a garden I  thought I would never see.
  Visiting dozens of gardens every year puts you in a position of  discernment. It's easy to be disappointed when the garden toured  lands under the ever-rising bar. The more gardens , the higher the bar climbs. As grateful as I am for the existence of the venerable Garden Conservancy, there are invariably  duds on Open Days .Sometimes the garden is just not to my taste, sometimes it's just not that great--and how subjective our vision of gardens is! These gardens all belong to someone,  someone loves them, cares for them or hires someone to do so . As the reports from 2013 Garden Bloggers Fling appeared, my favorite garden may have been someone elses least favorite. We stroll, we raise an eyebrow, we swoon with envy or sneer discretely with disdain and the gardens sink or swim. Madoo sank. But why ? Some of us assumed that the conservancy had some serious funding issues ..though you would think almost any concern in the Hamptons would be showered with cash, especially when it involves an artist and a garden that is considered iconic .So sure was I of the resource issue , when I arrived back  home from New York I began to research the garden, assuming I'd find info about needed restoration, angst-imbued  fund raising requests, calls to rally the troops to Save Madoo ! etc. In fact there was nothing of the sort, only the usual solicitations for membership you would be accustomed to seeing for any public garden in the nation. On the conservancys website  there are announced events, weddings, classes, with no hint of  desperation.
  In my quest for information this is what I discovered: Mr Dash is still in residence, an octogenarian , but still it is his garden.I looked at images of his paintings. I found a You-Tube video featuring in interview with P. Allen Smith (ed. note : Do you call him P ? Or Allen ? And does his hair ever get messed up ?)  in which Smith was appropriately reverential , and Mr Dash may or may not have known exactly who he was. Both Dash and Madoo are revered as an important presence in the community. On the website I found links to several delightfully Perenyi-esque columns in the local newspaper written by Dash,  every one of which I loved.   It seems that the general population of the Hamptons do not feel that Madoo is in decline. So is it me ? Did I just not 'get it ' ? I have no problem with art in the garden (preferably good art) or the garden AS art. I have no problem with interesting pruning or sculpting of shrubs if done well-and here though the forms were unique it looked like the local mow and blow guy from the corporate park has been in with his scalping tools.There were weeds, fading paint (though the most famous views were well maintained) creaky infrastructure. There were many things that were clever, many things that were disheveled. The latter could describe  great swathes of my own garden(though I don't charge 10 bucks for you to come over) and so who am I to dismiss Madoo ? In the words of the King of Siam ..tis a puzzlement.

 This was my favorite device..the archy conifer , the blue gate.

We've all seen this ; near the entrance the paint was fresh.

This was another favorite area, but one that I think you need to walk into to fully appreciate: the trees and boxwood interrupt the path ..perhaps the goal was to make the visitor stop, slow down.

This made me think of Heronswood..forest temple vibe.

I liked the irregularity of the pruning here, but the skeleton was in plain view. Shrub revival needed.

This Hornbeam (?) arch was fabulous...

 ....this weedy and sparse garlic patch was not.

Madoo badges.

I've reconsidered the imperfections here..If I tried to do a rill it would probably look like this. These borders are likely very colorful now, a couple weeks plus after this image was taken.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Planting Fields Conservatory

My camera malfunctioned at the end of day one , Garden Bloggers Fling . I have added the point-and-shoot to the Permanent Electronics Packing List . It was somewhat liberating to be camera-less for 2 days of garden touring, but now that I have been liberated once, I don't care to be so again. Thanks to Alison at Bonney Lassie who did in fact have the forethought to pack an extra camera , and kindly allowed me to borrow it for Saxon Holts' photo workshop on Saturday morning. Are there any people better than gardeners ? How splendid it would be if we ruled the world.

 The point here is that I was unable to take images at The Hall of Flowers in San Francisco so I am reverting to the previous weekends visit to New York -my camera was fully operational at the Planting Fields Arboretum, and this is my substitute conservatory gig.Over the years I've visited a fair number of conservatory facilities, and it seemed that they were uniformly dusty and ill-maintained spaces , full of mundane plants that were not very well cared for ; San Francisco was no exception. In 1999  an 8 year restoration began on this Victorian landmark, and I am ashamed to say this was my first visit since it reopened . It won't be my last ..and next time I'll have my camera.
 So this winding dissertation brings us back to Long Island, and a first rate glass house at the the Planting Fields.

 The bromiliad displays were particularly well done, the Spanish moss adding a romantic touch  .

All was pristine.

There was a particularly nice Begonia collection.

Nice containers too.

.Love this guy..a cycad Zamia furfuacea maybe ?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Old Westbury Gardens

  There has been a frenetic pace this June , visiting gardens from coast to coast . Denise and I speculated on the Fling bus Saturday...were we 'gardened -out' ? Just a little I think, though the freak heat-wave may have been a contributing factor. Just for the hell of it I totted up the numbers : 11 gardens on the east coast starting the 19th , fly home on Monday the 24th, go to work for a couple of days , and then 13 more gardens over the weekend in the Bay Area. Whew !

Looks like Sue up there ...

 ...taking a photo of this...

 The walled garden featured classic perennial borders , and hardscape I can only dream of.

My travel companions taking in the views.


The childrens garden was tastefully cute .

How about a folly and a lake in your back yard?  Not in the budget this year I'm afraid.

Old Westbury Gardens is in Old Westbury New York, on Long Island.