The gardener's eye

The Gardener's Eye

Sunday, June 28, 2015

No Need to Pardon Ogunquit's Appearance

I came across this new planting along the Marginal Way in Ogunquit, ME. The town has removed invasive species and replanted the area with Maine natives that attract monarch butterflies. The planting includes echinacea,  asclepias, blueberry, sweet fern and several species of native grasses.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Boccelli Garden in Mid-June

When the Peony 'Peter Brand' comes into bloom, the Boccelli Garden pops with excitment. I especially like the contrast of the chartreuse leaves of Catalpa bignonioides 'Aurea' and the orange flowers of Euphorbia griffithii ‘Dixter’, a selection made by the late Christopher Lloyd of Great Dixter.

Another Great Dixter plant in the Boccelli Garden brought to the United States by Dan Hinkley of Heronswood fame is Ribes alpinum 'Aurea', which can be seen in the center of this photo. Hinkley brought back a suckering stem of the plant at Great Dixter and propagated it for sale in 2004. I got great pleasure out of seeing the original plant at Great Dixter when I was there last month.

Nigel Dunnett's Roof Garden in the City of London

While I was in England last month, a gardening friend showed me Nigel Dunnett's newly installed garden in The City of London. My friend, Giacomo Guzzon, is a recent graduate from landscape architect school works for a firm that has its offices near the garden called Beech Gardens. Beech gardens is a roof garden that uses a modern and ecologically sensitive design approach that takes into consideration biodiversity and aesthetics in equal measure. Dunnett is perhaps best known for designing the  meadows at the London Olympic Park in 2012.

In this project, he planted over 22,000 herbaceous plants that were chosen for color interest throughout the year. Fourteen multi-stemmed trees, including silver birch, Betula pendula, and Prunus serrula.

A partial list of the plants included: Sedum ‘Jose Augergine’, Achillia ‘Terracotta’, Euphorbia characias 'Humpty Dumpty', Thymus ‘Silver Posie’, Salvia 'Caradonna', Limonium platyphyllum. The plants are combined in a way that appears to distribute the plants equally. As someone who is experienced in designing and working on public spaces, this approach will be challenging to maintain without knowledgeable gardeners. I was pleased that Giacomo showed me this garden because I have never seen Nigel Dunnett's work in person. I hope to visit the garden next year to see how it develops and matures over time.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Luciano Giubbilei's Border at Great Dixter

While we were at Great Dixter, our tour guide, Rachael Dodd, mentioned that she has been collaborating with last year's Best in Show winner, Luciano Giubbilei, on a trial border in the vegetable garden at Great Dixter. Giubbilei, an Italian, had designed gardens for clients that reflected his heritage and were comprised primarily of hardscape and clipped hornbeam, yew, boxwood and beech. After he created his 2011 Chelsea garden, he wanted to get a greater understanding of the herbaceous elements of garden design. Fergus Garrett invited him to have 'residency' at Great Dixter and gave him a small plot where Giubbilei can get his hands dirty and experiment with planting techniques and combinations. James Horner, also a former Christopher Lloyd scholar worked with him on his Chelsea Flower Show winning garden.

Euphorbias were a main feature of the garden in May

Cow's parsley was another feature

The garden will also have another peak in autumn when the tall Eupatorium are in bloom.

Rachael Dodd gave a tour that was delightful and informative. Rachael was a former Christopher Lloyd scholar and has continued on at Great Dixter. Fergus Garrett must be doing something right to attract such enthusiastic and knowledgeable students and staff.

Luciano Giubbilei's Gold Medal winning garden at the 2014 Chelsea Flower Show. This planting was a result of his collaboration with Dixter-trained James Horner who worked with Giubbilei, overseen by Fergus Garrett, on in his border at Great Dixter.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Chesea Then and New

Marcus Barnett's design for The Telegraph used a successful formula for design that it reminiscent of many recent Chelsea gardens: a modern patio with a clean stone/hedge backdrop, clipped blocks of yew and beech, elegantly limbed up trees and the ubiquitous low wildish herbaceous planting mixing flowers and grasses. In another year, it could have easily won Best in Show but this year, Dan Pearson offered something completely different.

Dan Pearson's design sponsored by Laurent-Perrier was very wild and intricately planted. It was inspired by the Trout Stream at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire. In fact, soapstone boulders from the estate were transported to Chelsea to form the hardscape of the garden. The complexity and details of the planting boggled the mind.  My main criticism of the garden was that it was a three-sided island garden which made photography difficult without having spectators and/or buldings in the backround. It also made the fantasy that transports one to another place and time impossible. That said, the triangular shape allowed veiwing the complexity of the plantings easier. The edges of the garden which were inches away looked as if they had been there for hundreds of years.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Rousham House and Gardens

Before visiting Pettifers Garden, I stopped to see Rousham House and Gardens in Oxfordshire. I am also hoping to include Rousham in next year’s tour. Rousham Gardens’ reputation preceded my visit. It is arguably one of the finest gardens in England. Rousham remains a private garden and was surprisingly quiet, especially as compared to another landscape garden we visit, Stourhead, which is owned and operated by the National Trust and had hundreds of visitors when we were there last week. I saw perhaps 10 visitors at Rousham and felt as if I had the garden to myself for the morning.

Rousham is an excellent example of an Augustan age (early 18th century when British artists emulated the original Augustan age in Rome 27 BC-14AD) landscape garden and was designed by William Kent (1685-1748). It is recommended to follow the circuit walk, drawn up prior to 1738 by the head gardener, John MacClary. My photographs follow the circuit which takes the visitor around the perimeter of the garden through a series of water features, statues and follies.

Rousham House and Gardens is still owned by the same family that created it and remains precisely as Kent envisioned. The brochure for Rousham says it all: “Rousham is uncommercial and unspoilt with no tea room and no shop. Bring a picnic, wear comfortable shoes and it is yours for the day.”

Rousham House from the Bowling Green

The view from the house with central statue made in 1740.

The Lion and the Horse by P. Scheemaker

The Octagon Pond

The Upper Cascade with a statue of Venus

The Watery Walk

The serpentine rill in the Watery Walk is elegant and feels contemporary even today

The octagonal Cold Bath

Temple of Echo by Kent and Townsend

 Paladian Doorway

View of the house; the ha-ha can barely be discerned

Statue of Apollo

Heyford Bridge 1255

The reverse view of Apollo through The Long Walk

The Lower Cascade with the Upper Cascade above

The Arcade

The ancient hedges that separate the Bowling Green from the Walled Garden

The Walled Garden predates the work of William Kent

The formal Pigeon House Garden


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