Happy New Year & Welcome 2019

January 2nd, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

Acer palmatum Wears a Cloak of Ice

Welcome, a very warm welcome indeed, to 2019. Last year was a tough one, filled with great loss, and I am eager to turn the page. Although we must wait until March for rebirth to begin in the garden, extra minutes of daylight have already begun to add length to our days.

I am grateful.

Secret Garden, Bejeweled for New Year’s Celebrations

Article and Images copyright Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden, all rights reserved. All content on this site (with noted exceptions), is the property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used, reproduced or reposted elsewhere without written consent.

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Shopping locally for garden plants supports your community

May 22nd, 2009 § Comments Off on Shopping locally for garden plants supports your community § permalink

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WALKER FARM

Route 5, Dummerston, Vermont – (photo: road-side display and entry)

Well here it is again – Memorial Day Weekend. And for many of us, this weekend means it is finally time to shop for warm weather vegetable starts and flowering annuals. What better place to go for plants and free advice than your local grower ? Here in southern Vermont, Walker Farm in Dummerston is the source for organically grown vegetable plants, including all my favorite classics like “sungold”cherry tomatoes, “raider” cucumbers, bell peppers, walla walla onions, and every other potager plant you can imagine. But more than that, at Walker Farm I can find hard-to-locate heirloom tomatoes, herbs, old-garden nasturtiums and even berry-patch additions like strawberries, raspberries and blueberries.  At this time of the year, a visit to a local grower can inspire the green-thumb in anyone.

Over the years Walker Farm has made a name for itself with unusual specialty annuals and beautiful hanging baskets as well as hard-to-find perennials and rare trees and shrubs. Jack (Walker) Manix and Karen Manix have been operating their farm for more than 35 years now, and it has been in their family for more than 200 years.  Their daughter Kristin and son Dusty are also part of their farm-business, which has grown from a classic Vermont dairy operation to an organic fruit, vegetable and flower farm.  The picturesque farm-stand on Route 5, heading north out of Brattleboro, Vermont, belies the complex, modern nursery sprawling down below the bank and into their fertile fields.  Gorgeous greenhouses, filled with every unusual flowering annual and exotic plant you can imagine, have been steadily added to the property.  Charming potting sheds dot the farm, overflowing with classic and novelty seeds, beautiful ceramic pots, watering cans, hand-forged tools and other gardening supplies and necessities. Specialty plant connoisseurs  from hours away make the drive to Walker Farm to buy plants that will fill garden beds, urns, clay pots and window boxes in such far-away places as New York and Boston. Many of my garden design clients request Walker Farm plants by name. Among the note-worthy mentions too numerous to list, Walker Farm has been written up by Ann Raver in her garden column for the New York Times, and the farm was also mentioned in Ruah Donnelly’s, The Adventurous Gardener, as a favorite plant-shopping destination. Authors Wayne Winterowd and Joe Eck, long-time customers and friends of the Manix family, credit Walker Farm in their beautiful books on gardening and designing with rare and unusual annuals. (Winterowd and Eck will be at the farm for a book signing this Sunday, May 24th, from 11 am to 1 pm). But to understand what all the fuss is about at Walker Farm, you really must see for yourself.

Walker Farm is staffed by real-gardeners, and knowledgeable employees, and they are always ready to help out with plant selections and helpful advice.  Like many organic farms throughout this country, Walker Farm is an important part of the local economy and community.  It is important to remember that buying local is not only a healthy thing to do for yourself, but it is also a socially organic thing to do for your friends and neighbors. Farms and nurseries provide jobs and experience for the young and the not-so-young; helping college students get a start in agriculture, horticulture or science, and helping part-time workers like parents and retirees make a living in a healthy, positive way. Businesses like Walker Farm also support other farmers, by buying and selling locally grown produce and products as well as their own. I buy whatever I can at my local organic grower, Walker Farm, and I hope that you will do the same… wherever home is.

Visit the Walker Farm Website HERE.

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Rows and Rows of Gorgeous annual bedding plants and hanging baskets…

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The Grand Central Greenhouse at Walker Farm, filled to the brim with unusual specialty annuals, exotic plants and herbs…

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From top: entry to perennial display and sale area, trees and shrubs in front of Grand Central…

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Smiles at the Stand

HAPPY PLANTING !

*****

Copyright Michaela H. 2009

May at Ferncliff …

May 14th, 2009 § Comments Off on May at Ferncliff … § permalink

Ferncliff- Secret Garden -this week

Blooming in the garden this week… woodland phlox, daphne, sweet woodruff…     and more bulbs.  Fragrance fills the air …

Garden design and installation: Michaela H

Stonework by Dan Snow

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Designing for early spring garden interest: the first act in a dramatic garden year…

April 24th, 2009 § Comments Off on Designing for early spring garden interest: the first act in a dramatic garden year… § permalink

 

spring-looking-down-the-stone-stepsEarly Spring Entry Garden

Designing and planting a garden for all seasons reminds me a bit of theater. From the moment an audience stands at the entry of a garden, an opportunity exists. When guests emerge from their cars, or step inside a gate, what will they first notice? In early spring, perhaps the delicate scent of Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’ will lure them forward as they open the door, or the small, starry- blue blossoms of chionodoxa will greet them alongside a stone walkway. The bright colors of spring bulbs and the perfume of fragrant shrubs enliven a washed out winter landscape and awaken dormant senses.  Taking advantage of the very early days of spring in your garden design will lift your spirits and prolong the pleasures of the growing season.

From the creamy whites and cool blues of galanthus and muscari to the warm golds and peaches of eranthis and narcissus, spring bulbs are the first notes of music in the garden theater. When planned successfully, these early players will slowly fade back as the other acts roll out and fill in the story. Companion plants such as huechera, hosta, Alchemilla mollis, galium and Artemisia ‘silver mound’, (to name a few stalwarts), gradually nudge-out the spring bulbs as they take over the garden stage. Ideally, a complex tapestry of perennial foliage and flowers will camouflage yellowing bulbs as they die back for the year. Plan your plantings accordingly, leaving space for bulbs between perennials, and make note of your plans in your fall calendar.  Early spring photos can be a help later as well. When you return to the garden to plant spring flowering bulbs in fall, your notes and photos from spring will serve as your guide.

When choosing from amongst the vast array of flowering trees and shrubs for your garden, it is important to consider those varieties blooming very early as well as those extending very late in the garden year. The star players in your garden will shine best when each is given a moment of design consideration all its own, in addition to thoughts about how the plant will play in scenes created with other members of the garden cast. Try to select woody plants with staggering bloom dates for an uninterrupted show. And keep in mind that a carefully chosen cast of characters will provide not only drama when blooming, but will add interest and support to your garden story though out the year. Try to always consider foliage, a season-long contributor, in your choices.  And remember that many shrubs, will provide a full year’s performance, with structure, blossoms, lush foliage, autumn color and even winter fruit.

By the time many of the early blooming shrubs make it to local garden centers, they have faded out and become unlikely candidates for sale.  Hamamelis vernalis, (the spring witch hazel), Fothergilla gardenii, and Lindera benzoin, (spice bush), are three oft-overlooked early blooming shrub varieties for the garden.  All three of these garden-worthy plants provide early spring blossoms, structural interest, contrast, and spectacular autumn foliage. Early blooming trees for the garden, such as amelanchier, Cornus alternifolia, (pagoda dogwood), and Cornus florida (flowering dogwood), and the show-stopping Cercis canadensis,(eastern redbud), are some beautifully structured, smaller-sized tree choices for gardens. Amelanchier and cornus are valued for both bloom and later, vivid red and orange fall foliage and fruit. The plum-hued buds of Cercis candensis are followed by heart shaped leaves; dark green in summer and then turning a lovely golden hue in autumn.  In addition, all these shrubs and trees are natives to north America, making them environmentally sound choices for the landscape as well as beautiful additions to the garden.

A well designed garden will provide a steady performance, with early scenes seamlessly flowing into later acts.  Successful spring planting involves the big picture.  Carefully selected plants will provide a solid structure and a season-less stage for poetic vignettes of spring bulbs and vibrant perennial dramas through out the year. I am continually amazed by the design possibilities and endless combinations I discover when visiting friends gardens.  Take the time to visit public and private gardens in early spring, and make notes about what you see.  Add some new characters to your cast to extend your seasonal show, and enjoy the pleasures of your garden-theater throughout the year.

 

early-spring-walkwayPlantings pictured, (top and bottom photographs):

Stone steps and an entry walkway are lined with Daphne ‘Carol Mackie’ , Juniperus squamata,’Holger’, Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’, Fothergilla gardenii, and Acer palmatum x dissectum “Seiryu”. These shrubs and trees are complimented by an under-planting of various bulbs, including muscari, galanthus and narcissus and companion perennials such as heuchera, sedum, Cerastium t, sanguinaria and Phlox divaricata among others.

Along the walkway, emerging perennials are edged by a wide blue swath of ajuga.

Article, design and photos: ⓒ 2009 Michaela – The Gardener’s Eden

all stonework: Dan Snow

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Signs of Spring: April 2009

April 23rd, 2009 § Comments Off on Signs of Spring: April 2009 § permalink

Wet stepping stones enhanced by the beauty of early blooming plants…

Pictured here: Daphne “Carol Mackie”, various heuchera, sedum, cerastium t., and sanguinaria c.

Stonework: Dan Snow

Garden design and photo ⓒ Michaela, The Gardener’s Eden

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