The Lurie Garden – Our Great Midwest Road Trip

G A R D E N S, Garden Tours, Gardens, Landscape Design, Piet Oudolf | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Back in early August I had the great opportunity to speak at the Perennial Plant Association Symposium in Minneapolis.  The event aligned with the last full week of summer for our son and made it the perfect time to make the drive into a family road trip. On the drive to Minneapolis, we stopped at the Lurie Garden in downtown Chicago. Our stop over also aligned with Lollapalooza at neighboring Grant Park, which provided a unique soundtrack to the garden but somehow the garden still was an extremely intimate experience with the crowds just outside its borders.

The Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodThe Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

On the Lurie Garden website is an amazing article by Megan Wade titled Breaking Ground: The Influence of Piet Oudulf’s Perennial Gardens. This article provides great detail on why Piet planting style, the New Perennials Movement and the design of the garden is breaking form within public garden spaces.

The Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodThe Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

To be honest, I am really debating making the 5.5 hour drive again next week for a preview screening of the Piet Oudulf documentary and the Lurie Garden tours with Piet and Shannon Nichol, along with a designer panel. This is a huge FREE event that if you are in the Chicago area (or in my case a five hour drive) it would be amazing to attend. Below are a few of the highlights of the event, but you can register and get more details at the Lurie Garden website HERE.

  • August 30, 5:00 PM Screening of the Piet Oudulf Documentary with a Q&A with the director, Thomas Piper and Piet.
  • August 31,11:00 AM and 2;00 PM- Garden walkabouts with Piet Oudulf and Shannon Nichol.
  • August 31, 6:00 PM, Lurie Garden Design Team Panel, panel and Q&A with the team who designed and planted Lurie Garden: Piet Ouldolf of Humelo, the Netherlands, Shannon Nichol of Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, Roy Diblik of Northwind Perennial Farms and Laura Ekasetya, Lurie Garden Head Horticulturist.

The Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodThe Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodThe Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodThe Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodThe Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the Boxwood  The Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the Boxwood The Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the Boxwood The Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the Boxwood  The Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the Boxwood The Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the Boxwood The Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the Boxwood    The Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the Boxwood The Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the Boxwood The Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the Boxwood The Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the Boxwood The Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the Boxwood The Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

The Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

So those are my “edited” list photos from Lurie garden (I took at least 100). I am lucky the kids enjoy gardens, because there were many more stops along The Great Road trip and from the PPA conference to share next. Stay tuned.

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

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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

Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm

G A R D E N S, Garden Tours | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Last week I had the pleasure of attending Garden2Grow at P. Allen Smith’s farm in Arkansas, Moss Mountain Farm, with a group of diverse social media influencers. The event, which was organized by Allen and his team, provided us the with opportunity to discuss how we can grow connections through creative and social content, and Moss Mountain Farm provided the dramatic backdrop for those conversations. While we spent two days touring the different areas of the farm from the legendary Poultryville to the vegetable garden, I found the twilight hour of our last day the most empowering at capturing farm’s beauty.

Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodTwilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood   Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodTwilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

There is something magical about the lighting at the twilight hour in the garden, the plants seem to glow. Also helps that the other Garden2Grow attendees were sipping cocktails and I had the gardens to myself. The image above is one of my favorites I took that night.

 

In addition to the gardens, another highlight of the event was the stories woven through our guided tours by P. Allen. With my only previous exposure to P. Allen from his books and TV shows, I enjoyed how his personal stories brought additional life to the garden and home.  He is an amazing storyteller (and not to mention quite funny), and you can see how he allowed Moss Mountain to continue tell that story with the details incorporated into the house, gardens and animals on the farm.  Allen was a tremendous host and I hope I have an opportunity to visit with him again in the future.

Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

The gardens surrounding the house were divided by elevation, structures, hedges and gates to create different rooms. This helped create different vistas in the garden and guide you from space to space.

Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

garden2grow (9 of 116) Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Hedges throughout the property help provide mystery to what is around the next corner or force you to engage within the immediate space.

Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Another favorite space that included hedges, fence and structure. My favorite juxtaposition of this elevated design moment is 180 degrees behind you is a wild path overlooking a pond below.

Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Outside of being a passionate landscape designer and tv most Allen’s passion also lies in heritage bread poultry.  “Poultryville’ is his palatial poultry playground where he and his staff and preserving the genetics strains of birds that might otherwise be lost over the next few years.  You can hear the passion in his voice when he speaks on the topic.

Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

P. Allen Smith's poultry barn at Moss Mountain Farm with style influences from Palladian architecture . Image from Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com P. Allen Smith's Home viewed from near the poultry barn.  Moss Mountain Farm outside Little Rock, AK

I really enjoyed my time at Moss Mountain Farm with the team from P. Allen Smith, Garden2Grow influencers and the sponsors of the whole event. I wish I could have spent a bit more time in Little Rock explore the amazing food and drink scene!

SPONSORED: My trip to Moss Mountain Farm for the Garden2Grow event was paid for by the following sponsors.

 

In Bloom – May 4, 2016

Arrangement of the Week | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I start each spring watching and anticipating each new bloom, watching the succession of daffodils and hellebore blooming to the burst of the foliage on trees. Now that I am surrounded by blooms and fresh greens, taking the time to walk the gardens each week and cutting blooms allows me to pause and appreciate the ever evolving selection.

 

Right now we still have a few daffodils and hellebore hanging on, the allium are just starting to open and the peony heads are ballooning larger each day. One of the hellebore plants is now completely covered over by a hosta, so I clipped as many blooms I could to make the focal point of the arrangement. Everything else is a collection of items bloom in the gardens and on the perennial pads waiting to be planted in a client’s garden.  I wish I could include the roses, they were absolutely beautiful. Maybe next week.

Thinking Outside the Boxwood - What is in Bloom this week, May 4, 2016

 

You can tell from my collection below, I don’t focus on editing. I try to get as many different varieties gathered together, much like I cut  blooms within a specific perennial border to bring inside. My arrangement below includes seven different plants.

Thinking Outside the Boxwood - What is in Bloom this week, May 4, 2016

 

The blooms collected this week are listed below and included in the image below for quick reference. If you have any questions about a specific plant, let me know. Our gardens are in a zone 6a for reference.

  • Camassia leichtinni ssp. suksdorfii ‘Blue Danube’- Blue Danube camass
  • Aquilegia vulgaris ‘Black Barlow’ – Granny’s Bonnet Columbine
  • Penstemon ‘Dark Towers’ – beardtounge
  • Narcissus poeticus var. recurvus – Old Pheasant’s Eye daffodil
  • Salvia longispicata x farinacea ‘Playin the Blues’ – Playin’ theBlues Sage
  • Polygonatum odoratum var. pluiflorum ‘Variegatum’ -Variegated Solomon’s seal
  • Helleborus “Royal Heritage’ – Lenten Rose

Thinking Outside the Boxwood - What is in Bloom this week, May 4, 2016

 

Bountiful Blooms with Longfield Gardens

Landscape Design, Perennials | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bountiful Blooms, a jeweled tone perennial border highlighting the spherical, fluffy heads of alliums from Longfield Gardens and Thinking Outside the Boxwood.

The National Garden Bureau has designated 2016 as the year of the allium! To celebrate, I have partnered with Longfield Gardens to design two perennial boarders highlighting the unique spring explosion of these rounded blooms.  I frequently include allium bulbs in my perennial border designs for their color, which goes with my typical cool palette, deer resistance, and unexpected texture. Since alliums are spring bulbs you plant in the fall, we’re sharing our first design now during its bloom; the second we’ll reveal in the fall, during planting season.  The bulbs and peonies included in this first design are available to purchase directly from www.longfield-gardens.com along with all the images and details of the design.

 

 

Bountiful Blooms, a jeweled tone perennial border highlighting the spherical, fluffy heads of alliums from Longfield Gardens and Thinking Outside the Boxwood.Inspiration: The highlight of this garden is the rich jewel-tone blooms, which are a reprieve from the pastels and bright sunny hues often associated with spring gardens. The spherical, fluffy heads of alliums sway above the heavy, lush peonies in a dense English garden-style border. Rich fuchsia, amethyst and mauve-hued blooms are grounded by the shocking chartreuse foliage of the lady’s mantle (Alchemila mollis). The design also incorporates low-maintenance perennials like Dwarf Catmint (Nepeta x faassenii), ‘Caradonna’ Sage (Salvia nemorosa) and ‘Little Spire’ (Perovskia atriplicifolia) to extend the beauty of this garden well past spring’s blooms.

 

 

implementingdesign

What excites me most about this partnership is the ability to implement the design. You get the knowledge of the supplier, designer and installer all in one design. I’ve shared all of the planting steps and tips for installing this garden design below, but be sure to visit Longfield Garden’s site for additional details, allium varieties and other spring flowering bulbs.

 

WHEN TO PLANT:

SPRING. You can start planting the perennials (the entire plant list expect the allium bulbs) as soon as your ground temperature reaches about 55 degrees. In Ohio, this is generally mid-April, but you can contact your local extension office for the specific date in your area. Planting early spring gives the plants a cool season to root and get well watered before the hot summer and provides a long growing season in the first year.  Find your local Extension HERE 

 

FALL. You can order your alliums starting in September from Longfield Gardens. Plant the bulbs once the ground has started to cool, which for us is normally mid-October to beginning of November. If they’re planted too early, the warm soil will rot the bulb.

 

SELECTING PERENNIALS:

Bountiful Blooms, a jeweled tone perennial border highlighting the spherical, fluffy heads of alliums from Longfield Gardens and Thinking Outside the Boxwood. Details of peonies included in design.Peony ‘Bowl of Beauty’ and Peony ‘Bunker Hill’ – These plants are shipped  bare root. When your plant arrives, store in a cool dark location until you are ready to plant.

 

Bountiful Blooms, a jeweled tone perennial border highlighting the spherical, fluffy heads of alliums from Longfield Gardens and Thinking Outside the Boxwood. Details of Alliums included in design.

Alliums ‘Gladiator‘, ‘Purple Sensation’, christophill and drumstick – When these arrive as bulbs from Longfield in early September, store in a cool, dark location until you are ready to plant.

 

Bountiful Blooms, a jeweled tone perennial border highlighting the spherical, fluffy heads of alliums from Longfield Gardens and Thinking Outside the Boxwood. Details of the perennials included in the design.

Lady’s Mantle, ‘Caradonna’ Sage, Cranesbill, Dwarf Catmint and Perovski ‘Little Spire’ Look for these perennials at your local garden center in 1-2 quart containers. They may offer larger sizes, but larger size does not guarantee better growing success, will cost more and require more work planting.

 

 

PREPPING FOR PLANTING:

When selecting the location for your border, look for a place that gets full sun. I recommend a location that gets really good southern light. These plants all do great up next to the house, along a driveway or along the property edges.  Once you have your location, prep the bed by tilling the soil and adding an organic matter. I use leaf compost made from the previous year’s clippings, but you can purchase a similar product from your local garden center. You want to make sure you are providing the best soil for the plants that drains well and has plenty of nutrients to help them establish and grow.

 

PLANTING:

When you have your bed prepped and plants purchased, use the design as a guide and place the plants still in their containers on the bed. This allows you to work out spacing before you start to dig. Start in the center of the bed and work out to the ends. If your bed is narrower or deeper that our 10ft x 18ft design, this will give you a chance to make some changes in spacing.

 

Once you are happy with your placement, you can start planting. If your design is against a building, start at the back and work forward. You want to plant in the harder to reach areas first and work your way out.  Regardless of where you are planting, I recommend planting the peonies last. You need to ensure that the eye of the plant is not placed more than ½- inch below the soil surface or you will not get prolific blooms.

Eye of peony - plant eye within .5-1 inch below hte soil surface. Test soil for moisture, properly watered soil will stick to your finger.  Details for planting Bountiful Blooms garden design from Longfield Gardens and Thinking Outside the Boxwood.

When you have everything planted, provide each plant with a deep watering. You can use a small overhead sprinkler. Proper moisture is the key to establishment. I do the finger test, stick your finger in the soil. If soil sticks to it, you are fine. If not, it’s too dry and you need to water.  After everything is watered you can go back and cover the bed with a leaf compost mulch. Keep the layer no more than one inch thick and a ½-inch ring away from each plant stock.

 

 

FIRST SUMMER MAINTENANCE:

The first year your garden will look good, the second year will be better, but the third year and beyond will be the ultimate pay off for all of your hard work.  For the first summer, cut back the plants a 2-3 times and deadhead after blooming. Since pushing blooms takes a lot of energy for the plant, cutting back blooms will send that energy into fortifying its root system instead, establishing the plant earlier.  Over the summer keep an eye on the plants to make sure they are getting adequate water (use finger test).

 

 

 

FALL ALLIUM PLANTING:

Use our bulb design for helping with placing the bulbs; you can place the bulbs before digging each hole to ensure you’re happy with your spacing.  We use a 4-6 inch auger bit to drill holes for the bulbs, but you can also use a hand shovel. Once you dig a hole, place bone meal as a starter fertilizer at the bottom of the hole. Once all the alliums are planted, you can place chopped up yard leaves over the bed. I prefer to cut back my perennials in the spring.

Bountiful Blooms, a jeweled tone perennial border highlighting the spherical, fluffy heads of alliums from Longfield Gardens and Thinking Outside the Boxwood. Allium planting design for fall planting.

 

 

ALLIUM MAINTENANCE:

The following spring, keep your eyes open for the allium breaking through with the rest of your perennials. The alliums will require little to no maintenance from you. After the blooms are over, you can either cut back the stocks or keep the dried seed heads in the garden for their extra texture. For the bulbs, allow the foliage to die back naturally and you can pull by hand. This will ensure the bulb has stored enough energy/food for the next year.

Bountiful Blooms, a jeweled tone perennial border highlighting the spherical, fluffy heads of alliums from Longfield Gardens and Thinking Outside the Boxwood.

 

Phew! I hope I provided all the details needed to give everyone the confidence to plant the design. Please let me know if you have any specific questions, I will be glad to help answer. Longfield created a great information sheet to print and use when planting and purchasing the plants (See Below). Also, Longfield Gardens has created a great landing page with the design and the ability to purchase the alliums and peonies directly. In September, we will release the second design just in time for ordering your allium bulbs.

 

Since this is the year of the allium, a few other bloggers have written about alliums throughout the week, each with a different experience and point of view. Check out the sites below:

 

Bountiful Blooms, a jeweled tone perennial border highlighting the spherical, fluffy heads of alliums from Longfield Gardens and Thinking Outside the Boxwood.

 

Beauty in Decay

G A R D E N S, Perennials | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Fall came quickly, but thanks to a wet spring we had some amazing fall color over an Indian summer for the past few weeks.  There is not much left in the garden in bloom, just a lot of leaves to haul back for composting. However, I love the form of the fall garden- I truly think there is beauty in decay  There are few plants I don’t appreciate for their form.  Below are a few plants I really enjoy having throughout the winter for their ghost forms in the often barren garden. I am not one of those gardeners who come through and clear cut the garden come fall.  I enjoy the transition of the seasons.  The autumn color palette, though it is not my favorite, plays an important role in reminding us of the season that was and the anticipation of the seasons to come.

Beauty in Decay, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Here is a breakdown of the plants I gathered for the arrangement.

Beauty in Decay, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

Chasmanthium latifolium- norther sea oats, Beauty in Decay, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Above: Chasmanthium latifolium- norther sea oats

 Asclepias syriaca- common milkweed, Beauty in Decay, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Above: Asclepias syriaca- common milkweed

Amsonia hubrichtii- blue star, Beauty in Decay, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Above: Amsonia hubrichtii- blue star

Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracillimus'- eulalia grass, Beauty in Decay, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Above: Miscanthus sinensis ‘Gracillimus’- eulalia grass

Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracillimus'- eulalia grass, Echinacea purpurea- coneflower, Hakonechla 'All Gold'- Japanese forest grass, Beauty in Decay, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Above: Miscanthus sinensis ‘Gracillimus’- eulalia grass, Echinacea purpurea- coneflower, Hakonechla ‘All Gold’- Japanese forest grass

Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle' - smooth hydrangea, Beauty in Decay, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Above: Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ – smooth hydrangea

Garden Inspiration – Chanticleer Gardens

Gardens, Inspiration | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

I have been absent all summer from blogging, but am back with a post crammed with garden porn to make up for lost time.   In mid-October I was outside Philadelphia speaking at the Perennial Plant Conference hosted by Chanticleer Garden, Longwood Gardens, and Scott Arboretum (Swarthmore College).  Put it on your calendar next year!  The lineup of speakers was second to none- excluding yours truly!   What amazing event!  Make a trip of it and go next year- you will not be disappointed!  The day after the conference the fellow speakers and I had the opportunity to tour “America’s Garden Capital”, which is the greater Philadelphia area.

I have had some amazing opportunities to visit gardens across North America and Europe and true-be-told nothing gets me going like Chanticleer Garden.  There is something about the place….maybe it is the merging of art and horticulture?  Whatever it is, it is horticulture at its highest level.  It has been a few years since I last visited, which was on a hot July day. This time it was different, summer had come to an end and autumn was setting in.  The plants and borders were at their height of maturity but had not yet given up the ghost to the cool temperatures.  We were walked the garden with a few of the gardeners: Dan Benarcik, Lisa Roper, Jonathan Wright, and Bill Thomas (Executive Director & Head Gardener).   As we walked through the garden we were able to talk shop with them- stuff all gardeners love to do…..To hear their insight, their struggle, and see their successes made the garden that much more special to me.  The garden is ever evolving and pushing the envelope of what we know as gardening.  If you haven’t visited- go!  If you have gone- go again!  If you can’t make it- buy their new book from Timber Press… Both beautifully written and shot!  I know I am not the only gardener out there hoping this day would finally come!

The Art of Gardening: Design Inspiration and Innovative Planting Techniques from ChanticleerBy The Chanticleer Gardeners and R. William Thomas, Timber Press 2015

The Art of Gardening: Design Inspiration and Innovative Planting Techniques from Chanticleer By The Chanticleer Gardeners and R. William Thomas Photographs by Rob Cardillo. Timber Press 2015. Thinking Outside the Boxwood

This was an amazing opportunity to talk horticulture with fellow plant geeks and use my camera which has spent way too much time in the closet over the summer.  There is much more to come from this trip soon in up coming posts.  In the mean time enjoy some garden porn!  And thank you Geoff, from Utah, for your words of encouragement!

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What’s in Bloom This Week

Arrangement of the Week | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

What's in Bloom This Week- July 13 , Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

We have had a wet spring and summer to say the least. Besides making our working schedule crazy (and muddy) it has created for a plethora of blooms in the garden.  Today before the storm, I walked through the garden with my wife and my Felcos and trimmed a few blooms into an arrangement.  There is no science to the collection other than I try to stay in a color family and since the Thomas Edison dahlias were in bloom, I used they as the starting point.

 

What's in Bloom This Week- July 13 , Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

Below I have included a breakdown of all the perennial and annual cuttings I included in the arrangement for reference.  What's in Bloom This Week- July 13 , Thinking Outside the Boxwood