In Bloom – July 21

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First, want to ask for a favor and your vote for best Professional Landscape on Gardenista’s Considered Design Awards. It was a surprise on Sunday to hear we were a finalist and are a few days behind on voting. I would greatly appreciate your daily vote here:

Gardenista Considered Design Awards. 

 

Now to this week’s In Bloom post. To mix things up this week, we are featuring the flowers in bloom as boutonnieres made by our resident floral designer at McCullough’s Landscape- great job Steve!  Both of these boutonnieres feature thistles from previous weeks with additional foliage now previously used. The benefit of the thistles is the heads are long term beauties in the garden, hence their feature for the past few weeks.

 

In Bloom - July 21, Thinking Outside the Boxwood- Plant Id at http://thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com/ In Bloom - July 21, Thinking Outside the Boxwood- Plant Id at http://thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com/

Top: Erygium alphium, Erygium yuccifolium (foliage) and Echeveria ‘Lola’

Bottom: Erygium yuccifolium, Foeniculum vulgare (Bronze Fennel) Plectranthus ‘Cerveza n Lime’

See the blooms from the previous two weeks:

July 7

July 14

 

I see that my past three posts all feature arrangements, so need to get back on the design posts more to come this week feature ideas and inspiration from my annual trip to Detroit.

 

In Bloom – July 14

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Last week I shared the first arrangement of blooms found in the garden and nursery.  This week’s arrangement is more dense and rich blooms compared to the previous’ wispy and organic feeling. Even though these flowers were all blooming last week, I must be in a darker mood this week to select over last week.

In Bloom - July 14, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

In Bloom - July 14, Thinking Outside the Boxwood In Bloom - July 14, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

 

In Bloom - July 14, Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Bloom ID at thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

 

Left to right: Row 1: Dahlia ‘Queen of the Night’, Monarda didyma ‘Jacob Cline’, Row 2: Cotinus coggygia ‘Royal Purple’, Eryngium planum ‘Blue Hobbit’, Sanguisorba officinalis ‘Morning Select’

 

 

In Bloom – July 7

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During the spring we appreciate every flower bloom as the hellebores lead to tulips and daffodils, and by the time the forsythia is done blooming we have so many blooms we can forget to appreciate the weekly progression. I am trying to sit back and really appreciate what each week brings in the garden and make arrangements of the blooms to share each week. I shared these arrangements a few times last year, but plan on keeping the series going for as long as I have blooms to share.

 

This week the arrangement features a collection of plants that I appreciate for their striking round heads and lack of floral petals. The distinctive shape of these plants make them great for floral arrangements when arranged with softer petals, but also work great together.

 

In Bloom - July 7, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

Here are some detailed photos of the arrangement:

In Bloom - July 7, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodIn Bloom - July 7, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

All these flowers were gathered from our display gardens and in the greenhouse. I selected to grow some for perennial gardens and others for selling in floral markets so it is a random mix of flowers. Here is a breakdown of the individual flowers that complied the arrangement: Listed left to right- Row 1: Rudbeckia occidentalis ‘Green Wizard’, Echinops bannaticus ‘Blue Glow’, Echinops bannaticus ‘Star Frost’.  Row 2: Liatris spicata ‘Kobold’, Erygium alphium, Erygium yuccifolium. Row 3: Allium sphaerocephalon, Combination arrangement.

In Bloom - July 7, Thinking Outside the Boxwood- Plant IDs at thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

 

Keep checking back each Monday to see how the blooms and arrangements change through the seasons.

The Benefits of an Edge

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Sometimes borders are a good thing and that includes in the garden. Edges help provide a transition between elements and can help contain gravel, mulch and turf from spreading. Besides its use for providing a barrier, edging provides an additional design element and should be considered detail.

The Benefits of an Edge, Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Metal edging w/ Green Velvet Boxwood (Buxus 'Green Velvet') and Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla mollis 'Thiller')

Metal edging along a gravel pathway.

 

 

The Benefits of an Edge, Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Brick Edging

 Bricks on edge between turf lawn and a perennial garden. 

 

Where and How to Edge: Edging is used in areas of loose stone to prevent from spreading into turf or beds, such as walkways, driveways and patio spaces. It can also be used to provide an edge along turf to prevent the spreading of grass into plant beds. Common materials used include brick, cut stone, slab stone and metal. Below is a visual ID of four major edging types in use.

 

The Benefits of an Edge, Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Edging by Type

 

The Benefits of an Edge, Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Metal edging separating pea gravel and turf

 Metal edging used to separate gravel bed and turf.  

 

Edging Problems: In areas where there is freezing and thawing, some edging material will heave out of the ground and will need to be periodically re-set. Edging is not a 100% foolproof barrier, gravel and grass will cross the line and will require maintenance. Also if the wrong gravel type is used or layered too thick, the barrier will not provide the intended function.

The Benefits of an Edge, Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Metal edging on a green roof in Columbus, Ohio, USA

Metal edging along gravel path on a green roof. 

 

The Benefits of an Edge, Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Metal edging creating a meandering path

Metal edging along a gravel path into a perennial garden. 

 

When Not to Using Edging: I don’t typically use edging around flower/perennial beds. I prefer to use a technique that includes a deep trench surrounding the bed. I use a sharp flat spade cut to make minor adjustments in the shape and insuring separation of the turf and bed.

Also please stay away from those plastic edging. If you use the method above you will have better result of keep beds shaped and materials contained. I cannot think of too many cases where plastic is ever the best solution in the garden.

 

(All photos from work by McCullough’s Landscape & Nursery)

 

Kurt Bluemel – Horticultural Royalty Remembered

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Last week I received a copy of Kurt Bluemel’s obituary, the Grass King, pioneer of ornamental grasses. (Read the obituary here from the Baltimore Sun). Last year at the Perennial Plant Association symposium in Vancouver I was on a garden tour with Kurt….. While touring a botanical garden he corrected the botanical name of grass for a master gardener.  The master gardener stood his ground and insisted he correct (poor guy didn’t have a clue), Kurt bluntly asked, “Do you know who I am?” The few of us who witnessed the interaction tried not to burst out in laughter- the master gardener underestimated the tourist- who we all knew as the Grass King and the unequivocal expert on ornamental grasses. While on your evening walks this week, when you see the tall plumes or blades of an ornamental grass, think of Kurt and be thankful for his passion and ethic in spreading ornamental grasses and the New American Garden Style. To see and purchase from the library of ornamental grasses Kurt curated visit www.kurtbluemel.com. There is also a wonderful tribute on the site written by Allen Bush for Kurt’s 75th birthday (here). In honor of Kurt Bluemel, here is a selection of a few of my favorite grasses.

 

Below is Piet Oudolf’s private garden, Hummelo, which bodes hundreds of grasses that catch the light and create the scene on this summer morning when I was visiting.Hummelo, Piet Oudolf's Private Garden: Kurt Bluemel - Horticultural Royalty Remembered -Thinking Outside the Boxwood,

A mass planting of one of my favorite grasses, Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Goldtau’, at the revolutionary garden of historical dutch garden designer Mien Ruys in Dedemsvaart, Holland

Deschampsia cespitosa  'Goldtau' at the garden of Mien Ruys : Kurt Bluemel - Horticultural Royalty Remembered -Thinking Outside the Boxwood,

Miscanthus ‘Cabaret’ with Cotinus ‘Velvet Cloak’ on one of my projects in New Albany, Ohio.

Miscanthus sinensis 'Cabaret' with Cotinus : Kurt Bluemel - Horticultural Royalty Remembered -Thinking Outside the Boxwood,

A huge drift of Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ paired with Japanese Painted Fern in New Albany, OH.

Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' : Kurt Bluemel - Horticultural Royalty Remembered -Thinking Outside the Boxwood,

Calamagrostis × acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ and Acorus gramineus ‘Oborozuki’ play an important part of creating contrast and in both texture and color in this modern perennial garden.

New Albany, Ohio Private Garden by Nick McCullough: Kurt Bluemel - Horticultural Royalty Remembered -Thinking Outside the Boxwood,

Strategically placed Calamagrostis × acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ weave the garden together at Piet Oudolf’s garden outside his studio.

Hummelo, Piet Oudolf's Private Garden: Kurt Bluemel - Horticultural Royalty Remembered -Thinking Outside the Boxwood,

Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ line the path of the modern display garden at Appeltern (De Tuinen van Appeltern) in Holland the contrast of the fine foliage and the board cobbles and hedging caught my eye.

Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' : Kurt Bluemel - Horticultural Royalty Remembered -Thinking Outside the Boxwood,

Posh Agritourism

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I grew up taking a week “field to table” vacation every summer to my grandparents pig farm in rural Ohio. Our excursions included early morning feedings, trips to the feed mill, swimming in the pond, picking bramble berries, helping in the fields, and sleeping outside listening to the cicadas. When I was younger I assumed everyone grew up with a connection to the farming community, but now realize my Midwest childhood exposed me to the real field-to-table system that most never experience. There are sites like FarmStayUS.com and Agritoursimworld.com that connect urbanites with agritourism or farm stay vacations on real working farms, but the very posh can stay at places like Daylesford, Blackberry Farm and Babylonstoren, where the field to table lifestyle has been coated in beautiful potagers, swimming ponds and spas.  They are a far cry from staying on my grandparent’s farm, however even I am transfixed and inspired by their bucolic gardens, stone farm houses and swimming holes. Here are some photos of agritoursim to inspire you.

 

Babylonstoren. Located outside Cape Town, South Africa, Babylonstoren is an old world working farm in the style of the historical Cape of Good Hope farms along the ancient trading route, supplying sailors with fresh produce. Visitors can walk among the acres of gardens, visit the winery, swim or relax at the spa. Babylonstoren invites its visitors to help with the harvest or tour the fields, but you are just as welcome to enjoy its bounty at dinner. Images below from Rue Magazine (1) and Babylonstoren (2-5)

Posh Agritourism-Babylonstoren- Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Posh Agritourism-Babylonstoren- Thinking Outside the BoxwoodPosh Agritourism-Babylonstoren- Thinking Outside the BoxwoodPosh Agritourism-Babylonstoren- Thinking Outside the BoxwoodPosh Agritourism-Babylonstoren- Thinking Outside the BoxwoodPosh Agritourism-Babylonstoren- Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

Blackberry Farm. Capitalizing on the great southern food tradition, Blackberry is a true foodie destination in the foothills of the Smokey Mountains, pulling in top chefs from all over.  Less on the designed landscape and more about the natural beauty of the foothills.

Blackberry Farm Images from: Town & County Magazine (1)  and Williams-Sonoma Taste (2)

Posh Agritourism-Blackberry Farm- Thinking Outside the BoxwoodPosh Agritourism-Blackberry Farm- Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

 

Daylesford. Mixing both argitourism with anglomania, Daylesford is Pinterest porn dotting just about every garden board. Daylesford markets and cafes beautifully display the produce from the farm and is like its own city filled with livestock, gardens, buildings. Image Sources from Pinterest (1,23) Cylde Oak (4)

Posh Agritourism-Daylesford Organic- Thinking Outside the Boxwood Posh Agritourism-Daylesford Organic- Thinking Outside the Boxwood Posh Agritourism-Daylesford Organic- Thinking Outside the BoxwoodPosh Agritourism-Daylesford Organic- Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

Topping Rose House. Bridgehampton is not exactly in the heartland of America, however Topping Rose House is a hotel and restaurant operated by celebrated chef Tom Colicchio with a focus on fresh field to table food. The hotel features an one acre garden and sources food from other local fisherman and farmers to feed the guests. More of the middle ground of the Hampton’s lifestyle with garden design and rows of vegetables. Images from Topping Rose House website.

Posh Agritourism-Topping Rose House- Thinking Outside the Boxwood Posh Agritourism-Topping Rose House- Thinking Outside the Boxwood Posh Agritourism-Topping Rose House- Thinking Outside the Boxwood Posh Agritourism-Topping Rose House- Thinking Outside the Boxwood Posh Agritourism-Topping Rose House- Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Garden Design Magazine

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On Tuesday evening a box of fresh off the press copies of the relaunched Garden Design Magazine arrived at my house.  I know I cannot provide a truly objective point of view since I contributed an article (page #62 ) and pretty much stop every ten minutes to confirm it is really there. But the magazine is must subscribe and great coffee table book.

GARDEN DESIGN MAGAZINE IS BACK! Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

When the magazine shut back in 2013, it was sad but not initially mourned. Its last issues were too west coast, uber high end, and less grounded in horticulture. Then I started reading shelter magazines for their garden features and just got annoyed. Great photos, but plant IDs were limited to boxwood, roses, lavender and hydrangeas and never helped readers gain any plant knowledge. Worse yet, articles always skipped over the often amazing landscape designers and architects that created the spaces. Garden Design needed to come back!

 

The team at the magazine really listened to all the chatter about the magazine, interviewed readers, and realigned to create a garden magazine that can be enjoyed by people across zones, coasts, yard size and level of horticulture knowledge.  The magazine includes no ads or sponsored content and the paper is think with some heft to the magazine.  Congratulations to the team at the magazine and thank you for allowing me to be a part of it. I pinch myself you included me with the cool kids (ahem, Dan Hinkley) in helping to bring it back.

 

Ok, now go subscribe!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Design 101 – Arboretum & Botanical Garden Plant Sales

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Ok, so this is an insider secret for gardeners, but should be known by everyone – Local Arboretum/Botanical Garden plant sales. These are hands down best resource for finding unique, native and difficult to source plants, more importantly, the proceeds support your local arboretum/botanical garden. Over the past two weeks my area has been host to numerous plant sales that allowed me to pick up plants for home and clients that I have been having difficult sourcing this spring.

Design 101 - Arboretum & Botanical Garden Plant Sales- Thinking Outside the Boxwood

The plants you will find are a mix of cuttings from the arboretum or botanical gardens personal inventory or nursery stock from area growers whom bring their most unique based on the discerning clientele. Some sales provide a PDF list of their inventory (names and quantity) prior to the sale for you to research and plan your shopping list. Don’t worry if you don’t know your plants, the sales are well organized by annuals, perennials, edibles, trees etc with knowledgeable sales associates to help you. Above you can see I scored Silphium perfoliatum, Silphium terebinthinaceum, Colocasia ‘Elena’, and Colocasia ‘Black Magic’

 

The bad news is that most of these sales in the Northeast and south regions have already past, but you can use the database from The American Horticultural Society to find your local arboretum and botanical gardens to find the dates for sales to mark calendars for next year.

Garden Directory from The American Horticultural Society

Design 101 - Arboretum & Botanical Garden Plant Sales- Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

Another great sale (sorry, was last week so plan next year) includes growers bringing their newest introductions and unique plants is Trade Secrets in Sharon, CT. The plant and antiquities sale supports the Women’s Support Services (WSS), a non-profit helping those experiencing abuse in northeast Connecticut. The first day includes the plant sale and Sunday includes garden tours (which include Trade Secret founder, Bunny Williams’ garden). For those in the area a must do on your May Calendar.

Design 101 - Arboretum & Botanical Garden Plant Sales- Trade Secrets,  Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Photo from Flower magazine, 2013 Trade Secret Garden Tours, by Mick Hales

 

I hope I have not offended any plant lovers with sharing the secret, but it really is the best source for plants and benefits good causes it is hard not to share. I also spent this weekend in Springfield, OH at the Antique Extravaganza while everyone at the east coast was at Brimfield. I missed a (broken) Kramer Brother’s container to match my other three, but was also able to pick up some plants. For some reason every weekend in May is crammed with great stuff.

 

The Garden Museum & Tom Stuart-Smith

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This might be something everyone already has on their subscribe list, but if not you need to join the Garden Museum’s email list or at the very least periodically check in on what they have going on. The Garden Museum is the ultimate place for plant geeks, with exhibits of garden visionaries and garden tours with leading designers among the list activities for garden enthusiasts/professionals/plant geeks. The major drawback for Americans is the museum is located in London, so we can read and dream about these amazing exhibits and garden tours.

Garden Museum, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

This July the Garden Museum offers two garden tours featuring gardens designed by Tom Stuart-Smith in the span of three days with Tom on hand to speak and share his inspiration and philosophies.  I included Tom as one of my Master’s of Design post series here, so it is no surprise that I am a huge fan of his work, (okay, more like groupie.) The opportunity to hear him speak in the gardens he designed would be on par with talking with Piet Oudolf at Hummelo.  So as I do wishful airfare searches to make the trip myself, here are the details for you to also dream.

 

Saturday July 12, 2014: Tour of Broughton Grange, with Tom Stuart-Smith and Todd Longstaffe-Gowan. Broughton Grange features 350 acres of gardens, farmland and open meadows. The gardens include a wild flower meadow, knot garden, parterre, sunken garden and the Walled garden. In 2001 Broughton’s owner Stephen Hester commissioned Tom Stuart-Smith to turn 6 acres into a walled garden. The garden features three terraces, each with distinct individual features while sharing a tread of common characteristics to unite the overall garden. Watch a video of the garden here.

The gardens at Broughton Grange, Oxfordshire. Designer Tom Stuart-Smith, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

This tour includes a talk from the owner, along with Tom Stuart-Smith sharing his inspiration and design for the garden. Tom will also talk with Todd Longstaffe-Gowan about the role of space and enclosure in the garden.

See more about the tour and book tickets on the Garden Museum Website, here.

The gardens at Broughton Grange, Oxfordshire. Designer Tom Stuart-Smith, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

 

Monday, July 14, 2014: Tom Stuart-Smith’s Barn Garden and Serge Hall

The Garden Museum is also offering an open garden with Tom Stuart-Smith’s Barn Garden and Serge Hall (Tom’s sister ,Kate, garden). Once again this tour includes a talk with Tom (twice in three days!) talking about the garden during July. (There are also tours on May 12 and September 15.) The Barn garden is a 20 year passion for Tom and his wife, Sue. The personal gardens of plant lovers provide the most unique perspective of design, it’s where they experiment and throw all rules out the window for passion.

Tom Stuart-Smith's Barn Garden and Serge Hall, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodTom Stuart-Smith's Barn Garden and Serge Hall, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

For more information on the tours and book tickets, visit the Garden Museum site here.

 

Recommended Place to Stay: Touring Tom Stuart-Smith’s gardens will provide you with an overload of inspiration, color, texture and framing the greater landscape. Contrast that experience by stating at The Hempel while in London. The hotel features a Zen Garden, Hempel Garden Square, designed by Anouska Hempel. The simple, clean design will provide reprieve from Tom’s gardens and allow you to reflect on the contrast.

The hotel features a Zen Garden, Hempel Garden Square, designed by Anouska Hempel, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

The gardens at the hotel feature three symmetrical square ponds edged in Portland stone, raked gravel paths and strong bands of green contrasting the white stone. The garden was featured in the final scenes of Notting Hill if looks familiar.

 

What else to do: An added Bonus, the tours are scheduled during the RHS’s Hampton Court Flower Show (July 8 – 13), so you can tick off that from your plant geek bucket list too.

 

What to Read to Prepare for your Trip:

Container Inspiration – Art Deco France

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This weekend McCullough’s loaned containers for the Columbus Museum of Art’s Art in Bloom event. Placed next to the museum’s entrance, the containers nodded to both the Art in Bloom event and the current exhibit Toulouse-Lautrec 1880 – 1910 Paris. We took influence from the vibrant color of Toulouse-Lautrec’s artwork and deco cast iron to compiling the flowers and containers we used. Even though the containers are created using traditional spring plants (plus some amaryllis we had blooming in our greenhouse), combined in a small 3′ x 5′ area, the impact grand compared to the same flowers often lost in the landscape bed.  Sometimes coming out of a long cold winter going overboard with color is required.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1891, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Why this works and what we used:

The grouping of three different containers allowed us to fill the entire vertical area will color.  The curly orange willows in the tall background container allowed us to provide height that is often difficult to get in containers.

Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Toulouse-Lautrec inspired planters for Art In Bloom, Columbus Museum of Art

 

This rusty cast iron planter with its decorative feet and crest gave us some history to the grouping of containers that lean more to the traditional and modern design. The low height grounds the grouping with the rich reds and yellows.  The amaryllis are a off season flower, but the large trumpet flower looked right at home with the tulips and pansies.

Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Toulouse-Lautrec inspired planters for Art In Bloom, Columbus Museum of Art

 

We added only two lily plants to this container, but provided the hit of orange to reference the curly willows. The deep red tulips, dark pansies and sweet potato vine reference the low cast iron container while the yellow forsythia bridges the height between the tall curly willows behind.

Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Toulouse-Lautrec inspired planters for Art In Bloom, Columbus Museum of Art

 

Here is the containers next to the door for full scale and impact.  These containers are good advocates for investing in containers for  home, business or event entrances.  They are a small investment with huge impact.

Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Toulouse-Lautrec inspired planters for Art In Bloom, Columbus Museum of Art