GARDEN TREND: Monoculture Container Design

C O N T A I N E R S, GARDEN DESIGN, Landscape Design | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

GARDEN TREND: Monoculture Container Design, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

I give credit for the monoculture trend in container design to the brilliant container groupings by Danish gardener Claus Dalby. The groupings of containers he places at the entrance of his garden receive over 2,000 Instagram likes for the striking color and scale impact they create. Traditionally you see “mono” container groups of singular variety of specimen plants, such as begonias or succulents. However, this new trend focuses on a variety of plants curated based on color and texture. I compare it to a French or English florist showcasing the seasons best blooms at the entrance to their shop.  The work featured here is all by Claus, but there are a lot of Nordic designers that are creating amazing monoculture container groupings are large and smaller scale.

New Garden Design Trend - Monoculture Container Design showcased in the work by Claus Dalby. More on the trend at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

 

Generally, monocultures are not a good horticulture practice since they leave your garden vulnerable to pest and disease. Just ask anyone losing their boxwood to boxwood blight or dealing with the relics of Emerald Ash borer. However in container gardens, planting pots in a singular species gives you flexibility in swapping out under performers and revise placement based on height and spread.

 

New Garden Design Trend - Monoculture Container Design showcased in the work by Claus Dalby. More on the trend at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

 

HOW TO CREATE A MONOCULTURE CONTAINER GROUPING

 

SKILL LEVEL: This container design method is great for gardening novices, you can move and swap to keep it looking fresh and easily replant any unsuccessful pot. Also mono-containers can use smaller, less expensive containers and be placed in compact outdoor spaces. Plant geek level gardeners will also love this trend since you can highlight your unique plants and constantly fiddle with your groupings.

 

PLANT SELECTION: Following in Claus’ footsteps, I recommending following a strict color palate when selecting plants. Either go for variations on one color family or just warm or cool tones. If you are more confident in color theory, mix it up with using complementary colors, etc. But remember this is a designed collection, not a hodgepodge of random plants.

 

CONTAINER SELECTION: This design is great for smaller containers which don’t work with when building combo containers. Since using small and easily moved containers they can be made of just about any material; terracotta (just store indoors during freezing temperatures), metal, concrete, pottery, fiber-clay and reclaimed containers.

 

CARE: Smaller containers will have more frequent maintenance. Check soil daily for moisture. Some weather could require daily watering compared to their in the ground counterparts. Smaller pots provide less organic matter for growing and will result in root bound plants with a shorter plant lifespans for your plants. Outside of watering, remember to fertilize and feed your plants. Also lighter containers could be susceptible to strong winds blowing over, so just take note if placing on a balcony.

 

ARRANGING: For the height and impact, you need a multi-tiered surface. You can start with a grouping of tables nesting together or line a collection down your stairs. You can take it to the next level and find or build a tiered plant stand (try searching antique/vintage French and English plant stand for some ideas). The objective is to have a graduated height with focus on the plants not the stand. For the minimum I would start with 10 containers and a maximum only limited to what the space can hold.

 

GARDEN TREND: Monoculture Container Design, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

I am currently building my small container supply and designing a plant stand based on some antique French models to create my own grand display. I will share the plant stand design and planting results. Also, if you don’t already follow Claus on Instagram (with over 100,000 followers- I hope you do), I highly recommend you add him to your list and include posting notification. Outside of views into his own garden, Claus visits some beautiful gardens across Europe.

Random Gardening Links and Recommendations

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

This amazing spring weather we are having in February has been a blessing and a curse. We are able to get out and work and enjoy beautiful weather, but we all know winter is still here and hope she does not wreak too much havoc on the daffodils and spring flowers. Wanted to share a few quick links and thoughts.

 

 

Better Homes and Gardens March Issue, must buy! 

March is always the garden/outdoor issue for shelter and lifestyle magazines, but Better Homes and Gardens hit it out of the park with this issue. I highly recommend you pick up a copy, for not only the great information but to support the issue. There is a great dry climate garden by David Salman from High Country Gardens, excellent collection of artfully arranged expert advise and beautiful living carpet. Stephen Orr (@steporr) of The New American Herbal and Tomorrow’s Garden is the editor, which you can see how he is elevating the “Garden” in Better Homes and Gardens.  The cover story on tulips is beautifully shot with lots of great varieties showcased, just wish they showed how to actually add to your garden with companion plants, but that is just the designer in me wanting to highlight the entire experience not just single plants.

Random Gardening Links and Recommendations, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

 

Lexington Road Trip Highlights:

Every February, our son has a 4 day weekend and we take advantage with a quick family road trip. Last year we went to Nashville for the Antique show, and this year we went to Lexington, KY with some stops on the Bourbon Trail and Horse farms (which was amazing). However there were other highlights which included connecting with Jon Carloftis and Dale Fisher from Jon Carlofits Fine Gardens at their amazing home, Botherum. It was an evening that the whole family will never forget, and a showcase of true Kentucky hospitality.

 

We also stopped at two nurseries, Pemberton’s (from Jon’s Recommendation) and Michler’s. Even though it is still Feburary, we had an amazing time exploring both spaces. Michler’s was a maze of old greenhouses with crazy details in the old buildings and Pemberton’s greenhouses packed with winterizing tropicals was like a private botanical garden. Not to mention the greenhouse knowledge of the fifth generation (maybe 6th) family running the nursery.  We need to make a return visit sometime soon, to see the spaces in their Pre-Derby prime and visit a few more Distilleries and Farms.

Botherum, Jon Carloftis Fine Garden , Thinking Outside the Boxwood Random Gardening Links and Recommendations, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Random Gardening Links and Recommendations, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Random Gardening Links and Recommendations, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Random Gardening Links and Recommendations, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Random Gardening Links and Recommendations, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Random Gardening Links and Recommendations, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

 

ENTER TO WIN A TRIP TO ANY BOTANICAL GARDEN.

Every gardener needs to enter this contest to win a trip to any American Botanical Garden of your choice.  Enter at this link –http://swee.ps/tivnxcIo and select your desired botanical garden and list why to be entered before April 30. I entered with a desire to visit the New York Botanical Garden, which I still to this date have not visited. I also selfishly would take the trip to also visit the High Line and the Russell Page garden at the Frick. If looking for some ideas where to visit here are a few  recommends

 

This Tuesday I am heading up to Cleveland to hear Patrick Blanc speak on vertical gardening. Other than that I will be in the garden as much as I can or working away getting everything moving forward for spring.

 

Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap

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Well this is a long over due (about 6 months past) recap of the 2016 Perennial Plant Association Symposium this past summer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Since this was a six day conference over the summer, we made it a road trip from Ohio up to Minneapolis with a few stops in Chicago and Wisconsin along the way. The trip alone was amazing and while I was attending the conference the family had a great time exploring the city and meeting up with us in the evening. (I shared stops in Chicago and the Olbirch Botanical Garden).

Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

The Perennial Plant Symposium is the annual conference for the members of the Perennial Plant Association or PPA. The PPA is run by Dr. Steven Still and his wife Carolyn, both of which are retiring this year after years of creating an amazing association,  symposium and not to mention garden tours abroad. I enjoy this conference for the mixture of design professionals with the growers/plantsmen creating the new and unique varieties along with growing the best specimen. At this event you get to meet the folks that cultivate and hybridize the perennials and  grasses that we use in our gardens along with trailblazing unique methods for growing.  The wealth of knowledge and experience is second to none.  Truly the whos who of the ornamental plant world attend.

 

For the conference, it includes a trade show, classes, speakers and garden tours. Generally there are three tracks to choose from for those in the wholesale nursery trade, retail nursery trade and garden design. You are able to attend across sections based on the topics and speakers you are interested and tours between the three trade disciplines, with a final stop/meet up at the end of the day for the groups to reconvene. I did not take many photos during the classes or trade show, but did capture while on the tours and end of day meet ups. One of my favorite speakers was Jeff Epping , from Olbirch Botanical Garden who talked about the planting techniques of gravel gardens popularized by Beth Chatto.

GARDEN TOURS – DESIGN FOCUS;

No surprise I attended the design tours, which included public and private homes.TIP:  while on these tours, drop pins on your phone so you can return back to neat areas or nurseries to purchase more plants to take home (benefit of driving). A great end of day stop was at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. We had a great time walking, driving and resting around the different areas and found the ornamental grass test plot that has different cultivars side by side to make it easy to compare size, color, shape, etc. I need to share that whole experience separately, especially the library.

Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood 'Thicket' by weaver Kelly English at Lyndale Park Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

A Tour stop included Tangletown Gardens and a farm to table dinner at Tangletown Garden Farm outside Minneapolis. On our drive home we had a departing breakfast and stopover back at Tangletown and their restaurant, Wise Acre. One of the stops we made a stop and a return visit was to see Tangletown Gardens and eat at Wise Acre. Both our meals on the farm and at Wise Acer were delicious, and picked up a few plants to take home from the nursery.

Wise Acre and Tangletown Gardens A visit to Tangletown Gardens in Minneapolis, MN - More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

Birch trees in Containers at Wise Acres, in Minneapolis, MN - More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.comA visit to Tangletown Gardens and Wise Acres in Minneapolis, MN. Birch log and greenwall screening used to cover utilities - More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.comA visit to Tangletown Gardens in Minneapolis, MN - More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.comTangletown Gardens, Minneapolis, MN - More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.comField to table dinner with the PPA at Tangletown Gardens Farm, Minneapolis, MN - More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.comField to Table PPA Dinner at Tangletown Gardens Farm, Minneapolis, MN - More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

When we arrived to Minneapolis, we spent time wondering around the downtown shopping and eating. The bummer was the day we where to spend exploring neighborhoods and leisurely driving to Minneapolis included heavy rain, so we did not get to explore outside of a return visit to Tangletown Gardens at breakfast at Wise Acres.

Edible Curb Plantings seen in downtown Minneapolis, MN - More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

I just returned from a long weekend in Lexington, KY and am reminded how traveling (no matter how short the distance) is a great reboot and inspiration revitalizer. This year the PPA symposium will be in Denver CO with all the details released earlier this week on speakers etc. Visit http://ppadenver.com for details and to register.

Olbrich Botanical Gardens – Madison Wisconsin

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

Back in August, we made a family road trip out of attending the Perennial Plant Association (PPA) conference in Minneapolis, MN. On the drive up to the conference we made a stopover in Chicago at the Lurie Garden (See post HERE), and on the way home we stopped at Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, WI and the Chicago Botanical Garden (I am lucky that the kids still enjoy visiting gardens as a vacation).

Olbrich Botanical Gardens, gravel garden - Madison Wisconsin, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Olbrich was a planned stop on the way home, however after hearing Jeff Epping, the Director of Horticulture at Olbrich, speak at the PPA conference, we left Minneapolis early to ensure we got ample time in the gardens. Our time was a little more compressed than planned with a Midwest storm approaching, but hands down one of the best botanical gardens I have visited.  The 16 acres features amazing rooms that transition you from different spaces almost disorientating your direction and allowing you be in awe of each different experience.

Jeff’s talk at the PPA conference was about the gravel gardens they have installed at Olbrich. The method involves planting hardy plants in a base of 3-5 inches of gravel to fend of weeds and provide a low-water lifelong solution. The plants will grow into soil below the gravel for water and nutrients, and the inches of gravel will prohibit weeds from growing. Overtime the plants will grow to cover the gravel for a dense planting. The requirements of the planting method require attentive watering while the roots mature to the soil level and vigilant removal of plant debris at cutback and while establishing. My first few photos here are of one of the four gravel gardens at Olbrich.

I have known of Olbrich for a few years and it was always on my list of place to visit and I am so happy my travels to me there.  Olbrich is a garden destination that needs to be high on your list.  For a plant nerd, design nerd, or just looking for a stroll in a beautful garden- it will not disappoint.  I hope you enojoy my photo journal!

Olbrich Botanical Gardens, gravel garden- Madison Wisconsin, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodOlbrich Botanical Gardens, gravel garden - Madison Wisconsin, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodOlbrich Botanical Gardens, Prairie Dropseed  - Sporobolus heterolepis - Madison Wisconsin, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodOlbrich Botanical Gardens, Prairie Dropseed  - Sporobolus heterolepis - Madison Wisconsin, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodOlbrich Botanical Gardens - Madison Wisconsin, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodOlbrich Botanical Gardens , Prairie Dropseed  - Sporobolus heterolepis - Madison Wisconsin, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodOlbrich Botanical Gardens, Prairie Dropseed  - Sporobolus heterolepis - Madison Wisconsin, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodOlbrich Botanical Gardens - Madison Wisconsin, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Olbrich Botanical Gardens - Madison Wisconsin, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Olbrich Botanical Gardens - Madison Wisconsin, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodOlbrich Botanical Gardens - Madison Wisconsin, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Olbrich Botanical Gardens - Madison Wisconsin, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Olbrich Botanical Gardens - Madison Wisconsin, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Thai Pavilion and Garden - Madison Wisconsin, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Olbrich Botanical Gardens , Thai Pavilion and Garden - Madison Wisconsin, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Olbrich Botanical Gardens,Thai Pavilion and Garden  - Madison Wisconsin, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Thai Pavilion and Garden  - Madison Wisconsin, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Thai Pavilion and Garden - Madison Wisconsin, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Olbrich Botanical Gardens - Madison Wisconsin, Thinking Outside the Boxwood   Olbrich Botanical Gardens - Madison Wisconsin, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Olbrich Botanical Gardens - Madison Wisconsin, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Olbrich Botanical Gardens - Madison Wisconsin, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Olbrich Botanical Gardens - Madison Wisconsin, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Olbrich Botanical Gardens - Madison Wisconsin, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodOlbrich Botanical Gardens - Madison Wisconsin, Thinking Outside the Boxwood  Olbrich Botanical Gardens - Madison Wisconsin, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Olbrich Botanical Gardens - Madison Wisconsin, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Olbrich Botanical Gardens - Madison Wisconsin, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

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.

How to add Dahlias to Your Garden

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As peony madness fades with the summer heat, it’s time to hail the beauty of dahlias. Dahlias are an easy addition to any existing garden and offer a large range of colors, petal shapes and sizes to fit your desires.  Also, planting a tuber around the frost free date will provide you with beautiful blooms in July and August, a quick, and bountiful payoff not often common in the garden.  There is a bit of maintenance of digging and storing tubers over the winter in very mild climates like zone 9, but you should have no fear in planting these in your garden and will have a great time selecting the varieties to add.

Dahlia 'Cafe au Lait', Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple'- How to add Dahlias to Your Garden, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

How to add Dahlias to Your Garden, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

 

 

WHERE TO PLANT:

Since you can add tubers to an existing garden, you have lots of options to place dahlias. Look around your home to see if you have any of the locations below that meet the full sun and well-drained soil requirements, if you do then move on to selecting the varieties you want to order!

 

– In a perennial border, or in an existing bed at your home. Looking at the existing foundational plantings around your house, see if there are spaces you can place a few dahlias.  The taller varieties are great in the background or mixed near taller plants, while place some of lower varieties in the front.

How to add Dahlias to Your Garden, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

This is a client’s front yard perennial bed. It is located behind a boxwood hedge and is filled with a mixture of blue/purple perennials. We have a few containers spaced through the bed to add seasonal color, along with these cafe au lait dahlias.  

 

 

– In a container. Anyone with a front porch, stoop, balcony or patio that gets full sun can do this option.  Use the taller varieties (30-40 inches) as the “thriller” in your container.  Or fill an entire container with the shorter varieties (20-24 inches).

How to add Dahlias to Your Garden, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

This is a garden created by Deborah Silver from Detroit Garden Works I visited a few years ago with the Association of Professional Landscape Designer (APLD). Deborah added dahlias with other perennial and annual flowers in these large containers. You can also do in smaller container, with 1-2 of each plant variety. 

 

 

– With your Vegetables. Pollinators love dahlias and so will your vegetables. Since you are already in with the vegetables watering, feeding and harvesting, this is an easy location to add some dahlias. You can add these along the edges our outside the fence line. This is a great place for the taller varieties.

How to add Dahlias to Your Garden, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Here is a client’s vegetable garden which features a pollinator and cutting garden  inside the vegetable garden. To the left of these dahlias there is a swing and the dining table in the center allows the homeowners to enjoy the blooms while they are still in the garden. 

   How to add Dahlias to Your Garden, Thinking Outside the Boxwood  

Here is a harvest of both the dahlias and vegetables from a client’s garden. Fresh food and flowers for dinner is a great combo. 

 

HOW TO PLANT:

The best place to plant is in a location that gets full sun and well-drained soil. Since you are planting these for the blooms, provide lots of organic matter when planting and weekly feeding once buds appear for the best blooms.

 

How to add Dahlias to Your Garden, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

SELECTING THE VARIETY:

I mentioned earlier there is a wide variety of distinctive features to dahlias, giving you lots of options in color, petal shape and size to select. Two great sites for selecting which colors, shapes or varieties you like are the following;

The National Dahlia Collection – This site provides you with a vast listing of dahlias that helps you see the options in shapes and colors. Broken down into; ball, cactus, collerette, decorative, dwarf, pompon, semi cactus, waterlily, miscellaneous.  –  https://nationaldahliacollection.co.uk/selecting-dahlias

Floret Flowers – A specialty cut flower grower extraordinaire in the pacific northwest, she is a big fan of dahlias, and shares all favorites with successes and failures in beautiful flowers.

 

 

HOW TO BUY:

Since dahlias are typically planted from tubers, online ordering is very easy and offers a large selection. You will want to time your ordering to get the best selection – think early January to place a preorder for spring shipping. But you can start pre-shopping suppliers now for your selected varieties and confirm when they expect to start taking dahlia orders.

 

If you are a bit more impatient to get blooms this year – you can check at your local garden center to see if they have some established plants growing for you can transplant into your garden. However, at this point it will be slim pickings for the varieties (if any), but worth a try.

 

 

 

Plant ID: Amsonia

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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.

 

 

Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm

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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