Waiting on Spring…

Landscape Design, My Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Well at least the sun is shining today, but as I write the temperature is just above freezing with no foreseeable spring temps. Normally by the first week of April we have done 2 rounds of mowing, and this year we have yet to put mower to turf. Now we are into the “April showers” and the ground is over saturated with 3 inches plus of rain in just the past few days. As gardeners we forget how cruel spring can be for our anxiousness to get outside and work. The only good part is extending the winter off-season project completion timetable, which includes finally the site redesign which is just moving into development.

 

Since it looks like another week of cold, wind and threat of snow, here are some summer garden images of projects from last year to warm you up until more spring action starts in the garden.

The wedding Garden at Oak Grove. 100 year old Lord & Burnham greenhouse and tobacco barn surrounds a cocktail lawn. Design by McCullough's Landscape & Nursery.

The gardens surrounding Oak Grove, a wedding and event space outside Columbus, will be even grander this summer as they mature in their second year in the ground. Over the winter the space is expanding to include a 250 guest dinning space with the surround pastural setting taking center stage. More to come once the space opens in the coming weeks (previews on my instagram).

 

A small space garden with a large impact with seasonal color, dog friendly design and making the most of a smaller garden. Design, Install and Maintenance by McCullough's Landscape & Nursery

This garden was planted two years ago so this year it will be fully matured and ready for photographing extensively. (a good guide for planting expectations is first year it looks good, second year great, and by the third year best.) The back garden is about 100 feet wide by 25 feet deep, so every space needed to be functional and beautiful. This garden is great for showing how focusing on good bones and function combined with purposeful placement of seasonal color can maximize a homeowner’s enjoyment.

 

 

A french influenced garden located in the art of the Midwest, is planted with a large sweeping bed of fragrant lavender. Design, Install and Maintenance by McCullough's Landscape & Nursery

Every June we count down the days for when this large sweep of hybrid lavender (LavenderPhenomenal‘) comes into bloom. The entire courtyard of this home (and street) is overrun with the intoxicating scent. Last year we even harvested a few of the plant’s stocks for drying and creating lavender sachets for the client as a holiday gift. This is another garden that keeps getting better year after year and is ready for a full scale photoshoot.

 

This garden showcases the magic of landscape lighting with a selection Hinkley Outdoor lighting. More at thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

Last summer I worked with Hinkely Lighting at a client’s home for shooting Hinkely’s outdoor lighting collection in use. It was an amazing two days. I am excited to showcase how this garden evolves when the sun goes down and the lighting keeps the garden alive in a future post.

 

Well by the time I finished this post, I have been able to enjoy how much warmth the sun can provide even on a cold day. An old wives tale states, three snows remaining after forsythia blooms.  Our forsythia started blooming early last week and we have had two noticeable snows, that leaves one more and finally spring can arrive.

Plant ID: Amsonia

My Work, Perennials | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

While talking plant options for our garden at home, I looked at the three varieties of Amsonia growing around our offices. I use this plant in my designs predominately for the texture of the foliage, however the flower is a strong attraction in the garden in late spring. Amsonia is the perfect plant to showcase the subtle variation between the different varieties.  The three varieties we grow are are Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’, tabernaemontana, and hubrichtti.

Plant ID: Amsonia, Thinking Outside the Boxwood,  (Left to right: Amsonia 'Blue Ice', A. tabernaemontana, A. hubrichtti)

All the varieties are great for use in a perennial garden since they grow in a good sized clumps, flower from mid-spring to early summer, have great dense foliage and with some varieites (like hubrichtti) that provide a beautiful golden fall color.  Amsonia are great pollinators that require very little maintenance once established and are very tolerant to less than ideal soil.   It should be noted that one amsonia variety is not always a substitute for another so its important to know the different between each.  Below are the details on my favorite three varieties.

 

Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’

This cultivar is growing in a cluster at the edge of our gardens near a salvaged foundation stone. This species grows low, 1-1.5 feet tall and in a 1-1.5 foot cluster with very dense foliage that does a great job filling a border. It is low maintenance, deer proof and grows in full sun to part shade.  We have been growing this cluster for about 5 years and has preformed well from day one.  This cultivar has one of the best flowers of all the Amsonia and you can see by its beautiful blue color where it gets the name ‘Blue Ice’

Plant ID: Amsonia, Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Amsonia 'Blue Ice'

 

 

Amsonia tabernaemontana

This species of amsonia is one of the taller selections. This plant reaches 2-3 feet and with much longer stalks. We are growing tabernaemontana in two locations in our gardens, and due to the amount of sun each location gets the plants vary a bit in size from the sun to more of a shady area, but has adapted well to both locations.  The flower is a pale / sky blue.

Plant ID: Amsonia, Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Amsonia tabernaemontana

 

Amsonia hubrichtti

In our garden I designed a “river” A. hubrichtti in a 35ft long band snaking through our ever changing west perennial bed. Growing between 2-3 feet tall.  I really like using this species for the extra fine foliage which is not often seen in the garden.  It is great grown in mass and also as an individual specimen.  This flower is the lightest in color of the three species almost white with a hint of blue.

Plant ID: Amsonia, Thinking Outside the Boxwood, Amsonia hubrichtti

 

Here is a comparison of the three species we are growing for a comparison. I have provided more detailed images to showcase the flowers and foliage shapes in images further below.

Plant ID: Amsonia, Thinking Outside the Boxwood,  (Left to right: Amsonia 'Blue Ice', A. tabernaemontana, A. hubrichtti)

 

The color and petals varies from each variety. By viewing just the blooms you can see the subtle changes in each of the five petal shapes.  (Left to right: Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’, A. tabernaemontana, A. hubrichtti)  It is really interesting to see how A. tabernaemontana really is the combination of the deep blue of ‘Blue Ice’ and the white/greens of  A. hubrichtti.

Plant ID: Amsonia, Thinking Outside the Boxwood,  (Left to right: Amsonia 'Blue Ice', A. tabernaemontana, A. hubrichtti)

 

You can also see the variation in the foliage shapes between the varieties below.  (Left to right: Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’, A. tabernaemontana, A. hubrichtti)

Plant ID: Amsonia, Thinking Outside the Boxwood,  (Left to right: Amsonia 'Blue Ice', A. tabernaemontana, A. hubrichtti)

 

All the photos from above were taken during the spring season (this or last week), but it helps to see the plants throughout the seasons. Below are two images of Amsonia hubrichtti from a clients home in June (green foliage) and October (golden color) to provide the seasonal progression of the plant.

Plant ID: Amsonia, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

Amsonia hubrichtti has to be one of the perennials with the best fall color.  In October the foliage turns a bight gold / yellow.  It is truly a major highlight of this species.

 Plant ID: Amsonia, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

Let me know if you have any other questions on these varieties of amsonia.

 

 

Greenhouse in the Spring

My Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leading up to Memorial Day weekend is our busiest planting week across all clients and projects.  The weekend follows shortly after our frost-free date, which results in a buildup in the greenhouse followed by a mass clearing out by early June. The following photos show the progression of our greenhouse over the past few weeks leading up to this week and how quickly things change. I will follow up this post in early June to show the much altered state.

 

GREENHOUSE SPACE:

We order in about 5,000 perennials and 15,000 – 20,000 annuals plants for the start of the session for our own use, we are not a nursery that is open to the public. We start in February potting and organizing the greenhouse and continue for the remainder of the spring monitoring until the plants are loaded for client projects. We store these items between two greenhouses and one perennial pad. We also have dedicated space for larger shrubs and trees which is more real-time inventory system.  The photos below show our greenhouse spaces between April 20 – May 18.

 

IN THE GREENHOUSE, APRIL 20. 

This is the interior of our main greenhouse which houses are delicate perennials/succulent collection over the winter and our collection of annuals for the season. We use as much space as we can with overhead drip lines watering hanging annuals. It should be noted that we don’t use the hanging baskets as hanging baskets, rather we will take the entire 10″ basket and plant it in the ground for maximum impact.  By this date, we have been growing the annuals for 1.5 months. We plan that we will house the plants for 8-10 weeks from plug to install. Greenhouse in the Spring, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Greenhouse in the Spring, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodGreenhouse in the Spring, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

 

 

By this point we have moved our perennials out to the pad area.  This compact location gives us easy watering, access and ability to cover should we need during frost etc while freeing up greenhouse space for the more delicate plants.

Greenhouse in the Spring, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Greenhouse in the Spring, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

We have a second greenhouse that we use primarily to house more delicate perennials.

Greenhouse in the Spring, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

IN THE GREENHOUSE APRIL 27. 

We have reached our 2 month mark for annuals and we had a fairly mild spring with warm days and a few cold snaps. You can tell the

 

Greenhouse in the Spring, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

 

I love the graphic patterns in the placement of the plants on the tables. Greenhouse in the Spring, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Below you can see how the drip lines are feeding our hanging annuals. These plants will be going into the ground, not continue as hanging baskets. This method provides us with larger plants at installation compared to a traditional flat size.

Greenhouse in the Spring, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

You can see the growth on the perennial pads and the additional of a few more plants from the perennial greenhouse.

 

Greenhouse in the Spring, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Greenhouse in the Spring, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

 

This is a look at the perennial greenhouse looking from the other direction. We use use rice haul (the light brown surrounding a few of the plants) on a few of the perennials to keep the weeds down to a minimum.

Greenhouse in the Spring, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

 

IN THE GREENHOUSE MAY 18. 

By this point we had just started planting our annuals in the ground and the organization of the greenhouse gets distributed by the constant pulling for projects. The annuals in the hanging baskets are much bigger than back on April 27 and will make instant impact when planted in ground compared to traditional flats.  I took fewer photos this week, mainly because it started getting chaotic.

Greenhouse in the Spring, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

Here are a client’s window baskets planted and ready to load for install. We use the end of the greenhouse for easy staging, potting and loading.

Greenhouse in the Spring, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

By this point the center isle of the perennial greenhouse is getting tighter and tighter.

Greenhouse in the Spring, Thinking Outside the Boxwood