The life of a gardener is spent with one foot in beds tending to what is currently growing and the other foot planning 2-3 seasons ahead. I think it is the anticipation or daydream of what we could be growing is what keeps us going as the gardens go to bed over the fall/winter season. My garden to do list is filled with cleanup tasks, but what has me excited is the collection of spring bulbs I am currently planting.
One of the spring bulbs we are planting at home and across client properties are daffodils. Along with many spring bulbs, daffodils are easy to tuck into your existing beds without disrupting existing perennials and easy to plant for any novice.
This year, my daffodil inspiration is the unexpected places you see the flowers blooming during the spring. At home we have masses of daffodils tucked throughout our woodland in sporadic groupings incorporated around the trunks in clusters of multiple varieties. These groupings are relics of a home burned down 20 years ago on our property and have naturalized over the years into this completely organic pattern.
The palate of whites, oranges and yellows allow you to mix many different varieties together without the flowers clashing, and depending on the combos, pull out the different features of each variety. The fallen leaves provide a great foil to the vivid green leaves, and help hide the foliage as it dies back later in the season. The combo image below showcases all the different daffodils we have growing in our woodland, however, I am sure there are more we may have missed photographing. Our diverse varieties provide us with blooms through the entire spring season and making woodland walks exciting to see the evolution of the prominent color as the varieties alternate peak bloom.
Earlier this spring we built a few bulb containers using our cluster woodland plantings as inspiration and I loved how reminded me of our home.
Next spring we have 60 black gallon nursery pots pre-planted with bulbs for building more unique containers of the more unique varieties. All the varieties we have for next year are from Longfield Gardens, and here is a sampling of what we are working with. The plan is to have these winter over and then as the push in the spring transfer into containers. Wish us luck.
Narcissus Baby Boomer
Narcissus La Torch
Narcissus Pink Pride
Narcissus Barrett Browning
I love a good gardening book, and when a new book arrives in the mail the first thing I do is sit down and flip through all the pages for initial absorption of the photos. When I first opened Paul Bangay’s Country Gardens to look at the photos, I had to stop a third through because I was exhausted. Every single image had elements I wanted to study, even at first pass. It took me three attempts to make it through the book for my first glance, each time sending my mind into a haze of inspiration and ideas. My copy now rests next to my desk for anytime I need to get my head back into that inspired haze.
The book is divided into 20 individual country gardens. However, I feel the classification of “country gardens” is misleading. Yes, these gardens are mostly fair outside any metropolis, however their structure and elements of Paul’s designs can be applied to any location and any size garden.
Here are a small sampling of the gardens in the book, even though they don’t do the book justice.
If you are looking to add any other books to your library, I also recommend Stonefields which follows Paul’s personal garden masterpiece from inception, creation, maintenance and continuing evolution. The last photo above is from Stonefields to give you an idea what to expect from the whole book.
Another stop our road trip from Ohio to Boston was to visit White Flower Farm in Morris, CT. We met with Elliot Wadsorth and he gave us a tour of the gardens and greenhouses. When we told family, friends and clients from Ohio to Connecticut about our planned stop, they all knew of White Flower Farm which showcases just how many gardeners White Flower Farm has touched.
One of the first areas we walked was the Lloyd Border, named after the late Christopher Lloyd, famed for his creation of Great Dixter in the United Kingdom. The border at White Flower Farm was designed by Fergus Garrett, the head gardener at Great Dixter, with the planting starting in 2011. The border is 20 feet deep and runs 280 feet long backed by a hedge European Beech and edge by a slate walkway. As you walk down the border, the mood, colors and textures constantly changes and you experience and walking back in the other direction gives a completely different experience.
Here are a few close-ups of the border. Focusing on individual groupings allows you to see how different foliage and flower textures play with one another. We visited at the very end of July, but walking this border through the different months you will have a completely different experience of how all the plants play together.
Another area of the farm to view the use of perennials is in the Moon Garden, featuring a collection of all white blooming plants. This border looked particularly breathtaking while on our walk with the moody overcast sky.
I need to also share this photo of the amazing garden shed at White Flower Farm. Love the mix of the solid and vented portions, moss growing on the roof, tapering stone wall and the ferns nestled at the foundation.
I cannot believe how much inspiration we found on this one trip to the East Coast. Still have all the gardens we visited with APLD to share, just need to find time to organize all the photos.