The gardener's eye

The Gardener's Eye

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Boccelli Garden: the Completion of a Public/Private Partnership Project IV

The grass has grown in quickly at the Boccelli Garden Project which has been recently completed. This public/private partnership project was a great success. It involved a private donation for the retaining wall, terrace, shrubs, and grading of the site. The town of Peterborough paid for the new fence along the Nubanusit River, the herbaceous plants and a pair of new Peterbrough Adirondack Chairs, (designed specially for the parks by the Parks Committee) which are under construction. The Public Works Department did much of the heavy labor of the planting and has kept the site watered. And finally, volunteer gardeners have designed the gardens, planted the herbaceous layer and will maintain the gardens in the future. Probably the most important person in this project was our Town Adminstrator, Pam Brenner, whose leadership and support made the project possible.

The Boccelli Garden has not changed but its setting certainly has. The new terrace can be seen at the far end of the garden.

The Grove Street end of Boccelli Garden

The far end of the garden with the terrace and Peterborough Adirondack Chairs

The terrace looking out over the lawn to the newly pruned apple tree 

The new garden below the terrace will take a couple of years to fill in.. The fence and the Nubanusit River can also been seen beyond the garden. The Grove Street Bridge can be seen in the distance.

The terrace and Peterborough Chairs

A pair of Peterborough Chairs are on order to be placed at the granite table under the apple tree. The property across the Nubanusit River, that prompted the project, can be seen behind the apple tree.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Foliage Over Flower

Flowers, however beautiful, are fleeting but foliage can last the entire season. It is a rare plant in my garden that cuts the grade with beautiful flowers but lackluster foliage. Tulips and some of the alliums are examples that come to mind this time of year. I am looking for plants with foliage that has interesting textural qualities and attractive coloration. Arisaema fargesii is an example of my kind of plant.

I planted a pair of Arisaema fargesii in the Woodland Garden two years ago after seeing it for sale at Rocky Dale Gardens in Bristol, VT. They were small plants and looked like they might be marginally hardy but I gave them a try in a protected spot with good moist soil and drainage as instructed. The following year, the plants never came up. 

When I did my annual pilgrimage to Rocky Dale the following May, I saw a more mature specimen of Arisaema fargesii with the giant, glossy grass-green, trifoliate leaves it is known for. I decided I had to have this plant, so I tried it again. Amy at Rocky Dale informed me that it often emerges late in the season. When I planted the new plants in the same location in the Woodland Garden, I realized just how late Arisaema fargesii can be because I disinterred the tubers from the previous year. After a couple weeks, all my last year plants emerged. This year, all the Arisaema fargesii plants materialized the last week in June.

Arisaema fargesii originates from China and was discovered by the French plant explorer, Pere Farges, in the early 1900s. The wine-colored spathe has white stripes and resembles a cobra; thus the first common name, cobra lily. The maroon spadix inside the flower helps give this plant its other common name, jack-in-the -pulpit. No matter what you call it, this plant has a fantatic flower, but more importantly exceptional bold foliage, a perfect contrast to ferns, epimediums and grasses in the woodland garden.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Indian Pink in the Woodland Garden

Spigelia marilandica aka Indian Pink is a woodland plant native to south-central United States. I had never heard of it until several years ago when a gardening friend introduced this eye-catching perennial to me in her Dublin, NH garden. I must have been lusting after it because she promptly dropped off several divisions in my driveway the next week. Some of the literature states that Spigelia marilandica resents being moved but these plants survived and prospered in my woodland garden in a protected spot which has an hour of sun around mid-day.

The tubular flowers, which attract hummingbirds, are a very bright red color on the with a dramatically contrasting yellow center. This color threw me off as a woodland plant, at first, but I quickly become accustomed to being able to spot this plant from a great distance across the garden.

Pass-along plants, like Spigelia marilandica, are aways a satisfying reminder of a friend's garden and their generosity.

Monday, June 30, 2014

In Honor of My Sister, Mother and Grandmother

I planted Clematis  'Honora', a velvety rich violet-purple flowered vine in my garden for two reasons. The first was the name, Honora. The second reason was the description in the original Heronswood catalogue: "moderately vigorous stems to 12 feet...lovely grown through yellow-foliaged shrubs and small trees." I had already planted Ligustrum sinense 'Variegata'  in the Upper Garden and thought they would make perfect companions.

Dan Hinkley describes Honora as a Maori name but I know it as the girl's name brought to England and Ireland by the Normans which means honor or valor. My maternal grandmother was named Honora Glynn and went by Norie, my mother was named Honora Patricia Scanlan, and went by Trish and, most recently, my sister was named Honora Glynn Gordon and goes by the nickname, Honnie.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Boccelli Garden: the Continuation of a Public/Private Partnership Project III

The shrubs arrived yesterday. Yours truly moving a clethra shrub from the truck to the garden. The shrubs, landscaping, terrace and tree pruning were a private donation. The town paid for the new fence.

The Public Works Department provided much of the labor to plant the shrubs and water them. Volunteers have designed and will maintain the gardens. Here Lenny and Mike from the town, unload a yew shrub for the project.

The majority of the shrubs have been planted.

Four Taxus media 'Hicksii' will create a wall perpendicular to the retaining wall behind The Boccelli Garden.

Shrubs below the retaining wall. The herbaceous layer will be planted in the next two weeks.

A view from the terrace to the new building across the Nubanusit River.

The newly pruned apple tree in the park

Boccelli Garden as seen from the new terrace

The first two photographs are courtesy of Shelley Osborne

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Boccelli Garden: the Continuation of a Public/Private Partnership Project II

Today the site was graded and hydroseeded.

Tomorrow shrubs arrive to be planted below the retaining wall. Stephandra incisa 'Crispa' and Taxus baccata 'Repandens' were chosen to help hold up the steep bank beyond the garden and nestle the retaining wall into the land. Plants including Clethra anifolia, Hydrangea anomala petiolaris and Fothergilla major 'Mt Airy' were selected to echo and harmonize with existing plantings at the adjacent park, Putnam Park, and the newly renovated building across the Nubanusit River that prompted the project.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Bunker Farm: A New Source for Choice Plants

Helen O'Donnell, garden buddy and fellow blogger (Anemone Timeshas started a working farm with her husband and another couple in Dummerston, VT. Helen has studied at Great Dixter under the tutelage of Fergus Garreett on two occasions. She has become a knowledgeable and enthusiastic plantsperson. As part of the farm, she has started a nursery that has some cool Dixter plants (non-Dixter annuals and perennials too).

These plants are mostly perennials

Most of the annuals are in super-sized 6 packs, so the plants are nice beefy and ready to plant in your garden

Helen's greenhouse

My Loot.

This little gem called Salvia 'Crown Jewels' caught my eye. I have never seen before but Helen said the seeds of this plant, called Chia in Mexico, were used as a food crop by Native Americans and it is now a popular health food product. 

Helen's nursery is small and just in the very beginning stages but she has some choice plants to offer. The nursery is open Saturdays 12:00 to 5:00 or by appointment. It is located about 10-15 minute drive north of Brattelboro, VT. It is a little tricky to find, so be sure to have a navigation device. Note the farm doesn't have a sign yet. Helen is a delight. If you live in the area, please check Bunker Farm out!

Helen O'Donnell
The Bunker Farm
857 Bunker Road
Dummerston, VT 05346

email for appt:

The mission of The Bunker Farm is to:

Produce and market naturally grown meat, vegetable, nursery and forestry products in a sustainable and profitable manner.

Develop innovative and purposeful connections between producers and consumers in order to strengthen Vermont’s local food system and the social and community connections that nurture it.

Invest in community outreach and on-farm education to foster a sense of place, heritage, and identity for local students and community members.


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