Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Native N.A. Plants in Landscape Designs

Leucothoe axillaris - Spring Foliage
Coastal Leucothoe

Hydrangea quercifolia - Emerging Leaves
Goosefoot / Oakleaf Hydrangea

Cercis canadensis - Pine Background
Eastern RedBud

It is possible for gardeners in eastern N.A. to successfully plant and grow ornamental plants despite heavy populations of Virginia white-tail deer (Odocoileus virginianus).

Most of the deer-resistant shrubs and small trees that are useful in built landscapes are native to eastern N.A. Fortunately for gardeners these choices are easy-to-maintain and perfect choices for informal or natural appearing landscapes.

There is also a wide choice among deer-resistant spring-flowering bulbs and herbaceous plants. Some of these are native, while others are Asian or Mediterranean.

Plant lists presented in some of the articles below are derived from my own experiences and those of trusted horticultural professionals.

Caution: No plant is deer-proof! Hungry deer will browse and even destroy deer-resistant plantings when weather is severe or food sources are meager.
Appetites of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) include ornamental landscape plants. Choosing native deer-resistant shrubs equals landscape success.
Eastern redbud trees and cultivars enrich landscape gardens with varieties of form, silhouettes and unusual seasonal color. Site selection is essential for good display.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Spring Arrives in Eastern N.A.

Cercis canadensis 'Alba' - Springfield, MA
©Georgene A. Bramlage, June 2007

Here is a list of some of my spring articles and blogs - some current, some from previous years. They include my favorite trees like redbuds and witch hazel, annuals like petunias, perennials like the new breed of echinacea (cone flower), and spring-flowering bulbs.

Crabapple Trees in the Landscape
Eighteen kinds of crabapples form the backdrop to a Memorial Garden in a western MA orchard. Autumn crabapple display begins with warm sunny days and cold nights.

Eastern Redbud Trees in Landscapes
Eastern redbud trees and cultivars enrich landscape gardens with varieties of form, silhouettes and unusual seasonal color. Site selection is essential for good display.

Hamamelis: Best Landscape Sites
Choosing optimal site and microclimate for Hamamelis (witch hazel) planting locations facilitates growth and generates best spring and autumn performance.
Wave® Petunias in Built Landscapes: Growth Specifics, Care Requirement, and Garden Landscape Design Use
What are Wave® petunias? Wave® petunias solve garden landscape color and design needs. Growing and maintaining Wave® petunias is easy with no deadheading needed. Photos.
Wave® Petunias Design Solutions: Design and Complete One Weekend Projects
Wave® petunias provide inexpensive and eye-catching design solutions. Develop and complete a project in one weekend using these planning tips. Photos provided.
Wave® Petunia Landscape Designs: Garden Landscape Color and Design Solutions
Wave® petunias solve many garden landscape color and design problems. Plant them in containers or garden plots, alone or with other ornamental plants. Photos included.
Up-to-the-minute Echinacea Hybrids: Enhance Prairie Landscape and Meadow Garden Designs
Echinacea (coneflower) hybrids are up-to-the-minute plant breakthroughs. American plant breeders work to bring bright flower and plant color to landscape garden designs.
Echinacea Selections in Landscapes: New Cultivars Can Enhance Prairie and Meadow Gardens
Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) selections and cultivars can enhance prairie and meadow gardens. These native N.A. plants tolerate some shade and moist soil.
Leap Day and Spring Flowers : February's End in Plant Growing Zone 7
Winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis) and Crocus Tomasianus, reminders of Sissignhurst Gardens and Vita Sackville-West, surprise us here in Zone 7 at the end of February.
Spring Arrives in Plant Zone 7: Snowdrops and Winter Jasmine
Early spring in Virginia (USA) arrives with the blooming of snow drops (Galanthus nivalis) and winter jasmine (Jasminium nudiflorum).
Mini Flowering Bulbs Proclaim Spring!
Early spring bulb displays are important features at many National Trust (UK) properties. Many have early openings, beginning in February, to show off displays of snowdrops, aconites, crocuses and daffodils. Observing these displays shows gardeners new species and cultivar to try in their own garden

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Spring in Plant Hardiness Zone 7

Here I am, for my first Spring time, nestled into the embrace of the Blue Ridge Mts., VA.
This has been, I am told, an exceptionally mild winter. But for someone who is escaping New England winters, I am certainly not complaining.

I first wrote about my transition in November (2007) in A Gardener's Soul: Growing Zone 5 to Zone 7. Moving from growing zone 5 in western MA to growing zone 7 in VA allows landscape gardening experimentation and realization of decades-old dreams of warm weather gardens.

Winter months quickly passed. We tallied up:
  • one small snow storm that left quickly melting snow,
  • an ice storm after which the ice also quickly melted, and
  • high winds which brought down utility lines causing power outages and forest fires.
Recent writings about spring in zone 7 include an entry for early February (2008):
  • Spring Arrives in Plant Zone 7. Early spring in Virginia (USA) arrives with the blooming of snow drops (Galanthus nivalis) and winter jasmine (Jasminium nudiflorum).
And another for last week - late February (2008):
  • Leap Day and Spring Flowers. Winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis) and Crocus Tomasianus, reminders of Sissinghurst Gardens and Vita Sackville-West, surprise us here in Zone 7 at the end of February.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Landscapes of Love

Happy Valentine's Day

Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.
Love bears all things; believes all things; hopes all things; endures all things.

In honor of the great saint associated with love on February 14th, Landscapes of Love
five historic landscapes that symbolize five extraordinary historic couples. Historic landscapes and landscape gardens usually chronicle the fashions and trends of the times that shaped them.

  • England -16th Century: Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and Hever Castle

Hever Castle & Gardens
Nr Edenbridge
Kent TN8 7NG

Resource: Anne Boleyn: A New Life of England's Tragic Queen Joanna Denny (Da Capo Press, 2006)

Sissinghurst Castle Garden
Sissinghurst, nr Cranbrook
TN17 2AB

Resource: Victoria Glendinning Vita: A Biography of Vita Sackville-West (Alfred A. Knopf 1983) Adams National Historical Park
135 Adams Street
Quincy, MA 02169

Bailyn, Bernard. First Generations: Women in Colonial America (New York: Hill and Wang, 1996)
Gelles, Edith B. Portia: The World of Abigail Adams. (Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 1992)
  • France -18th Century: Marie Antoinette,Louis XVI and the Petit Trianon

Resource: History of the Petit Trianon

  • India - 17th Century: Mumtaz Mahal, the favorite wife of Shah Jahan, the fifth Mughal Emperor and the Taj Mahal built as a mausoleum and memorial.

Uttar Pradesh

Agra District


Monday, January 28, 2008

St. Francis of Asissi
Courtesy of Carruth Studios

What do Great Thinkers have to do with St. Francis of Asissi and saints for the garden?

It may be cold outside, but my fellow writers at Suite101 generate warmth with their writing. Tel Asiado (Great Thinkers topic) recently wrote two polls -Medieval Thinkers and 19th Century Scientists - which kept many of us on our toes. To vote, we needed one out of five possible choices. Some of us went on to justify and expand on our choices.

How do Great Thinker polls relate to St. Francis of Asissi and saints for the garden? I argued with Tel that Francis was a mystic and not a thinker; she rejoined with her definition of Francis as thinker.

He was one " who shaped intellectual life during the middle ages - philosophical, religious and political thoughts central to that point in time." And her final argument that got me to yield, "he brought monastic life to a new level of humility that hadn't existed before in thought, word and deed."

Ultimately, the discussion got around to St. Francis and garden statues. Tel, being an Australian, has never seen one. I'm a great fan of this monk, so friends seem to think I need statues of him!

Francis garden statues and Francis as the "patron saint of ecology" are relatively new. Earth Day and the ecology movement as we know it began in 1970, and earth people and gardeners probably latched on to Francis shortly afterwards. We utilized Francis mythology, springing up after his death with publication of Fioretti (The Little Flowers), a collection of legends and folklore about him.

Other saints for the garden have followed Francis: Isadore, Dorothy, Barbara, Elizabeth of Hungary, and Fiacre. The impetus for these garden patrons was probably the little paper booklet Saints in My Garden (about 1970) by Adelma Grenier Simmons, now deceased, founder of Caprilands Herb Farm nr. Danielson, CT.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Travel Time Again!

Traveling and visiting gardens is one of the delights of my life. It may just be January, but it is never too early for those of us with the traveling bug to begin our plans for this year's garden excursions. I've just made my reservations for a trip to Holland during tulip time. And I've begun my yearly review of gardens I visited last summer.

I share the first of these garden reviews in my article: Massachusetts Bridge of Flowers: Shelburne Falls Early 20th Century Trolley Bridge. This article received an Editors Choice Award for the week of January 14, 2008. The Editor's Choice Award exemplifies the quality content, excellent presentation, and high standards at Suite101.

format allows only five photographs per article. So, I am posting a few more here:

Archway Enterance to Bridge of Flowers
Buckland Side of Deerfield River

Bridge Railings Buckland Side of Bridge

Purple-leaf Form of Cotinus coggygria
Late Afternoon Sunlight

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

New Plants for a New Year!

photo courtesy of IT Saul Plants
  • Hybrid Echinaceas and selections of Echinacea purpurea are among the most spectacular new plants for American landscape designs in 2008. I write about them in my latest articles at Landscaping@Suite101:
  1. Echinacea Selections in Landscapes: New Cultivars Can Enhance Prairie and Meadow Gardens, and
  2. Up-to-the-minue Echinacea Hybrids: Enhance Prairie Landscape and Meadow Garden Designs.
  • These new offerings, when seen in catalog photos, are a lot like eye-candy. Will they really work in your landscape garden design as well as their stalwart North American native ancestors like Echinacea purpurea? Only time will really tell. But meanwhile you might get some good ideas about evaluating and shopping for them at New Plants for the New Year.
  • I hope you enjoy the lovely photos that accompany this Blog entryas much as I did!

Echinacea 'Sunrise' and Echinacea 'Sunset'
photo courtesy of IT Saul Plants

Echinacea 'Harvest Moon'
photo courtesy of IT Saul Plants