Okay I know you are thinking: WHAT!!! It’s still summer, but in many parts of the country bulbs go in the garden in the fall from late September until frost so start perusing those catalogs now and get your orders in. If you have favorites, you’ll want to order them quickly in case those special bulbs get sold out!
If you are on Instagram you can’t miss all those lovely photos of fields upon fields of tulips just waiting to be sent to us 🙂
Here are just a few varieties and collections for you to consider when planning your spring garden. Combine Daffodils, Muscari, Alliums, Hyacinths, Tulips, and Camassia for a long lasting display!
Day Lily is just what it means! A new bud opens and then closes every day. There are daylilies that start early in the summer and others that open later so it is completely possible to have daylilies for months! They are reliable, simple to grow, require no fuss and I have to say a favorite of deer in some yards, thankfully not mine! I have had some deer damage this year but for the most part they have left them alone.
Olallie Rose Ring
Francis of Assisi
Daylilies are good companions to many perennials like Shasta daisies, Black-eyed susans, Phlox, Coneflowers, Liatris, Russian Sage, Bee Balm, Grasses, Catmint, Shrubs and annuals.
Daylilies are great flowers for beginner gardeners as they are not fussy plants in any way! There are literally thousands of varieties in every color and form. The actual name for a daylily is Hemerocallis from the Greek words dayand beauty. As I mentioned blooms last only one day but each scape has multiple buds!
If you are truly devoted you might consider becoming a member of The American Hemerocallis Society (AHS) They recognize seven main daylily types, including singles, doubles, spiders, sculpted, minis, multiform and others. New varieties are being hybridized daily by hundreds of gardeners who are truly passionate. There are nearly 90,000 varieties registered with The AHS.
Many gardeners start out as casual lovers but quickly get consumed with this lovely plant. Most can be grown in Zones 3 through 9 and vary in height, bloom size and basically prefer sunny locations.
A great benefit is that if you want more you can divide the clumps every 3-4 years either when they first come up or after bloom is finished.
Daylily with eyezone
Unknown Spider daylily
Have fun and trade with friends! There are many daylilies to try beyond the reblooming daylily- ‘Stella de Oro‘ seen everywhere.
The New York Botanical Garden was founded in 1891 and is a National Historic Landmark world renown for its plant research and conservation programs.
Georgia O’Keeffe was an American artist known mostly for her paintings of oversized flowers from New Mexico and Hawaii. She achieved worldwide acclaim for her innovative impressionist images. She is widely considered the “Mother of American Modernism”. Known for her paintings of Oriental Poppies, Cow’s Skull, Heliconia to name a few.
Start your visit in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory:
The Visions of Hawai’iexhibit reflects her depiction of the Islands of Hawaii while on commission for the Dole Pineapple Company in 1939 for their promotional campaign. Her works are a study in understanding the natural environment of the islands.
The exhibit highlights the flora of Hawaii both inside the Conservatory and outside in the Garden showcasing the flowers and fruit of Hawaii like pineapple, papaya and bananas. There are more than 300 varieties of plants including ti plants, frangipani, bougainvillea, heliconia, hibiscus, bird-of-paradise, ginger and other tropicals.
In the Conservatory courtyard pool you will find aquatic plants like Water lilies and Lotuses. The Lotus is a sacred plant symbolizing eternal life in Buddhism. Chose your color! You will see the lilies and lotus in yellow, pink, purple, and blue. Pineapple plants surround the pool.
There is also an incredible collection of 17 paintings in the Mertz Library Gallery not seen together since 1940 highlighting the influence of Hawaii’s dramatic landscapes and exotic plants. The exhibit includes Heliconia, Crab’s Claw Ginger, Pineapple Bud, and Hibiscus with Plumeria to name a few. There is a short film featuring letters to her famous husband who was a photographer, Alfred Stieglitz. NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY ALLOWED! These are photos of her paintings only.
Pineapple Bud 1939
White Bird of Paradise 1939
Heliconia, Crab’s Claw Ginger 1939
White Lotus 1939
Native Plant Garden highlights plants native to the Northeast including trees, shrubs, wildflowers, ferns and grasses. The pool is fed by recycled stormwater as it flows over stone weirs.
Rosen Seasonal Walk showcases perennials, grasses and bulbs highlighting their shape, structure and color throughout the season as emphasized by Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf.
Jane Watson Irwin Perennial Garden was just exploding with color and textures. The path winds through four themed garden rooms each with its own distinct personality. Here you will find daylilies, hydrangeas, black-eyed susans, nepeta, yarrow, begonias, caladiums, chives, salvia, crocosmia and amsonia to name just a few. Each garden room is devoted to a color scheme: The Fall Room: plants at their peak in autumn; the Bog Room: plants that love the moist and wet soil; the Hot Room: here bright flowers and foliage dominate like red, yellow and orange; and then the Cool Room: flowers and foliage in the silver, pink, blue and purple families.
This garden changes seasonally so if you can try to visit during every season as you will never see the same exact landscape twice! I guarantee it!!!
Pollinators are crucial to the production of most fruits, nuts and berries including apples, oranges, tomatoes and blueberries. There are many plants that will attract hummingbirds, butterflies and bees to your property. In order to attract these pollinators plant a succession of blooming annuals, perennials and shrubs so pollen is available throughout the growing season. Planting flowers in large drifts and different shapes will also help attract pollinators. Just as we can’t find a ‘needle in a haystack’ neither can they. One plant will not say ‘COME HERE’ to my yard! Be Bold!
Butterflies are attracted to red, yellow, and purple blossoms that are flat topped or clustered and have short flower tubes and they prefer to feed only in the sun. Sunflowers, Zinnias, Lupines, Red-osier Dogwood, Chokecherry and Asters are a few. Female butterflies select specific plants on which to lay their eggs. The Monarch butterfly relies on Ascelpias – Butterfly weed as it serves as a Host and Nectar plant.
Hummingbirds are attracted to scarlet, orange, red or white tubular flowers sipping nectar from long tubular honeysuckle flowers as well as Verbena, Zinnias and Penstemon.
Bees are attracted to bright white, yellow or blue and purple flowers so plant several colors in your yard to attract a variety of pollinators such as Black-eyed Susan’s and Sunflowers. Bees, unlike Hummingbirds and Butterflies feed only on flowers gathering nectar and pollen.
You will get hours of enjoyment watching the hummingbirds and butterflies dance around your garden and think of all the cut flowers you will have for bouquets!
Some Plants that attract polliantors:
Salvia guaranitica; Asceplias; Agastache; Asters; Verbena bonariensis; Rudbeckia – Black-eyed Susans; Lavender; Lespedeza; Leucanthemum- Daisy; Ligularia, Coreposis, Helianthus annus- Sunflowers; Baptisa, Catmint, Solidago – Goldenrod, (not to be confused with Ragweed); Lilacs, Antirrhinum – Snapdragons; Buddleia – Butterfly Bush; Zinnias, Penstemon; Phlox; Allium, Cosmos, Monarda- Bee balm- Eupatorium- Joe Pye weed; Columbine; Echinacea- Coneflower; Achillea millefolium – Yarrow to name just a few.
A great source for plants to attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds to your garden is White Flower Farm. They can help you select a variety of plants to keep a steady supply of pollen and nectar available all throughout the growing season. You can find them at White Flower Farm
Roses are perhaps my favorite flower! There are so many varieties, some with glorious fragrances, others with prickly thorns that always seem to get me through my garden gloves. Roses are quite versatile in the garden as they can be used in mixed borders, as a hedge, in a Rose only border as climbers or container plants and of course they make wonderful cut flowers. Planting in groups of three or more makes a big impact if that is what you are after. What is your favorite way to use Roses?
My favorite roses are David Austin English Roses www.davidaustinroses.com but there are many other types of Roses. Knock-Out Roses are very useful in the landscape as well. Roses are very adaptable plants and look great in a mixed border which is my preference. They continue to flower when many other plants are finished blooming providing color right through the end of the growing season here in CT.
One of my favorites is ‘Heritage’ which has a medium sized cup shaped bloom. It is a soft, clear pink at its center and the the outer petals are almost white. Thankfully for me it has very few thorns and is a nicely shaped shrub. The fragrance makes it one of my favorite for cut flower arrangements.
I have finally gotten ‘Munstead Wood’ and Old Rose Hybrid that I have coveted for years. It is a very deep velvety crimson. Hopefully this will take hold and become a lovely bushy shrub. They supposedly have good disease resistance so that is always a plus when it comes to Roses. The new leaves are a lovely reddish bronze and it has a very strong Old Rose fragrance that is a little on the fruity side. I am very excited for this to really take off.
Another new Rose for me is ‘Princess Anne’. This rose is a deep pink and blooms for a long period. An added benefit for sure! The blooms are in large clusters and this Rose has a medium Tea Rose fragrance. This too should become a lovely compact, bushy, upright shrub.
I couldn’t talk about Roses without showing you one of my all time stars – ‘Winchester Cathedral’. I have a few of these and have moved them with me from property to property since I can’t bear to leave them behind. This is an Old Rose Hybrid with a lovely fragrance of honey and almond and is a pure white Rose with just a touch of pink at the center. There are masses of flowers on this shrub and it blooms at different intervals during the season. It would be a superb selection for anywhere in your garden whether in mixed borders, hedges or flower beds. I can’t get enough of this Rose!
Another of my favorites is David Austin ‘Graham Thomas’ but it did not bloom this past year as I have transplanted it now so many times. This year I hope to see that lovely pure yellow bloom once more. This is one of the best known of the English Roses and is usually very vigorous and fragrant.
There are other varieties of Roses as I mentioned earlier, Climbing Roses, Knock-Out Roses, Shrub Roses. Here are some more photos to entice you into planting at least one rose bush this year whatever type suits your fancy!
Pink Knock Out Roses
Villa Cimbrone, Ravello, IT Rose
More from the home of Linda Allard. Sorry I don’t know the varieties.
“What’s in a name? That which we call a Rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
Art in the Garden is certainly not a new idea. It provides a practical purpose as a place for the eye to rest or be drawn to. It can be artsy, a container, a sculpture, a spiritual figure, an arbor, water feature or any type of vessel. It provides structural definition and architecture to the garden. It creates geometry.
This can also be accomplished with clipped shapes or allee’s which emphasize the geometry of your garden. In these instances maybe boxwoods or trees create the geometry and symmetry.
Merge your art into your planting beds. Your plants should be the frosting on the cake!
I spent today pruning shrubs, cleaning up leaves, removing the thick layer of mulch I put down around my roses and tender perennials. Finally I think we may have turned the corner and I took off the burlap coats that I bundled some of my newly transplanted roses and hydrangeas in last fall. I think the Boxwood that I have now transplanted 3 times made it thru as did my new Oakleaf Hydrangeas.
Use garden supports to create winter interest and structure.
Always when planning your garden start with the structure of the property! In reality 20% – 50% of your garden should be evergreen and shrubs. Remember we talked a few weeks ago about planting for winter interest. We need to think of our gardens as a year round canvas. A low maintenance garden might include 40% evergreens, 35% deciduous shrubs and 25% perennials, ground covers and bulbs. Try planting in masses of 9 -50 for broad sweeps of color, texture and pattern.
The goal is to create layers of interest throughout the year. Vertical elements will frame the garden views. Pay attention to the view from your windows. Where do you most often see your garden from inside. Create focal points around these axis points when creating major elements of your landscape, patios and walls.
Pay attention to the traffic flow throughout the garden. Of course, you must remember sun and shade and check your Zone when selecting plants. Create different rooms in your garden so there is always something just around the corner and consider a separation of public and private space. There should be a reason to continue to meander through. Collect pictures that speak to you style, feelings and the light in your space. Dream as big as possible then evaluate your site. If you have an amazing view try to frame it, almost like a photograph!
If you are starting from scratch, I recommend a qualified garden designer. Like any renovation the job is always bigger than we anticipate and a knowledgeable professional can guide you thru the pitfalls. Remember that plants take time to mature. I usually tell people it takes 3 years for perennials to start to reach their full potential. If a plant is really struggling maybe try it in a different spot. Is it getting the correct amount of light and water.
Remember that every property has its assets and limitations created by sun and shade, soil and water. There are always plants that will thrive in each condition. Match the plants to the site and include ornamentals. Instead of all your containers being on the porch move them out into the flower garden where you can add some height and dimension. Plants requiring special needs can find a home here. Don’t forget to mix vegetables into your flower beds. No one says vegetables all need to be in a separate bed! I mix my herbs, especially sage, oregano, rosemary and chives into my beds. Last year I experimented with Kale and loved it! The dark green leaves were an awesome contrast to the surrounding plants and help hide some struggling shrubs that I transplanted, yet again!
Pay attention to the labels. We are all guilty of going to the garden center and falling in love with this and that only to realize we have brought home something that will not work in our landscape. Full sun means sun for the greater part of the day, typically 6 hours or more. Daylilies for example. Shade can be a little challenging. We see full shade, part shade, dappled shade, light shade, so confusing right! Full shade really means full shade for the entire day. Plants that need full shade often get scorched when sunlight fades them out. When considering part shade morning sun is always preferable as it is not as strong. Avoid afternoon sun when possible. Light shade means 2-3 hours of shade during the hottest part of the day. There are literally many, many plants for any given situation. Just like with painting, preparation is key. If you take the time to properly prepare your garden beds you will find success.
Try to get out and visit public gardens to see what combinations they have on display. Note how the plant is growing. Is it in shade, sun, water, very moist conditions. Remember that foliage is truly important as no perennials or shrub blooms all year. Plan your garden with a succession of bloom by selecting plants that bloom at different times of the season and then sit back and enjoy the show!
After a long winter I love to bring color back into my home as soon as possible. The houseplants have done their duty and brightened the gray days as best they can but now we all want some color!
When planning your garden or rejuvenating it remember to plan for a variety of sizes, colors, sounds, shapes and textures to provide movement for the eye and a wide variety for bouquets and of course, to support pollinators.
Here are some early spring stars for bouquets that can be used to create the base or backbone of your floral arrangements:
Trees and shrubs – use the branches and flowers: Magnolia, Lilacs, Viburnum, Quince, Andromeda, Forsythia, Fothergilla, Ninebarks ( Physocarpus), Serviceberry (Amelanchier), Spirea, Deutzia, Azalea and Rhododendrons, Redbuds, Mock Orange, Red or Yellow Twig Dogwoods, Corylopsis (Winterhazel), Crabapples, Cherry and Apricot trees.
Azalea Way @ NYBG
Spring flowers that are ideal for arrangements: Peonies, Hyacinths, Tulips, Daffodils, Lilacs, Alliums, Muscari, Pasque Flowers, Frittilaria, Roses, and Ranunculus to name a few!
Here are my top picks for more spring flowering perennials and bulbs.
Also, don’t forget veggies when making arrangements. Think about baby carrots, artichokes and curly kale and parsley.
I love to pair Siberian Iris, Nepeta, Sage, Allium Globemaster or Gladiator, Amsonia and Baptisa and I mix them with Daylilies, Heuchera and Grasses for all season bloom after the spring flush is done.
If you want to have flowers for cutting be sure to plant in large drifts not one here and one there. Planning for the next season now will yield you beautiful arrangements all year!
Are you interested in how I created my garden from scratch in just a few months? Here is a link to: Anatomy of a New Garden
A private estate located in Bridgewater CT was the site of a this past weekend’s Garden Conservancy Open Garden Days. I started in the amazing 4000 square foot greenhouse where they are transitioning from the bedding plants to winter plants like poinsettias and cyclamens. There were some true treasures in there.
The Greenhouse Complex is the focal point of Maywood and is used to grow seasonal plants for display in the gardens and throughout the estate.
Surrounding the greenhouse are annual beds, two with espaliered apple trees and an ornamental kitchen garden planted in a pattern style from which the main house is visible up the hill.
Follow the pond up the hill to the house an pool area. The views are breathtaking overlooking the CT countryside and the hills of the Berkshires.
The loggia Garden is a formal boxwood garden featuring inlays of annuals this year salvia and artemisia. There is also a Perennial cutting garden to supply all those marvelous floral arrangements needed within the home.
There is a sunken perennial garden protected by ten foot stone walls and everywhere you turn there are places to sit and enjoy each expanding view. This garden is done in a traditional English style and features a wooden pergola absolutely covered in trumpet vines.
Continue up the woodland path to reach the grass tennis court and the Gazebo garden which has a more cottage garden look to it.
Thank you to Maywood Garden for this information and thank you to Leni and Peter May for opening their estate to The Garden Conservatory so we were all able to enjoy this remarkable garden.
The history of this garden goes back 250 years! Originally an Olmsted design it was carefully restored and updated by Kathy Metz, the homeowner, with some inspired help from others. With its formal and informal gardens it is gracefully accented by stone walls, unusual species of trees and a sunken garden surrounded by clipped yews. It is surrounded by the magnificent Sharon, CT countryside where Angus herds graze in the afternoon sun.
The trees are worthy of envy by any gardener who is just starting a landscaping project. They include maples, columnar maples reaching for the sky, birches, Ginkgo and dogwoods. The property owners have lovingly enhanced this property staying true to its original design while updating it so it works for them. Gone are the annuals that were so popular back when the garden was originally conceived and they are replaced by low maintenance perennials and native shrubs. Each area of the garden relates to another making for a relaxing experience while meandering around. Of course, taking care of it all I am sure is a joy but a full time project. A Labor of Love as most all gardeners will tell you, me included!
The landscape is dotted with bulbs, tulips, lilacs with their fragrances enticing you to come closer. There are pergolas, arbors, cutting gardens, a summerhouse garden and a sunken garden surrounded by clipped yews and is anchored with a central fountain. a brilliant tip for keeping yews healthy was to angle the hedge edges thus allowing light in on all sides. This should be applied to most all hedges so they don’t die out at the bottom. This was a particularly difficult winter here in CT and it is apparent the yews suffered greatly as did many of our boxwoods.
I love the Japanese Maples growing in containers. A great tip if you can’t get them to grow in the ground is to grow them in a container. In winter, in colder climates they can be moved to a garage or basement.
Peonies are about to explode everywhere both flanking the gated entrance to the sunken garden and around the pool and cabana. I wish I could go back to see them in a few weeks when they bloom.
The original rustic gazebo just beckons you to sit and take it all in. There is a clever use of statutes in this garden. Garden ornaments can make a garden feel loved and personal while adding personality and letting you see the homeowner’s whimsy.
Winding paths lead you around the gardens and the house showcasing Irises, Clematis, Roses, Solomon’s Seal, Hostas, Tulips, and Alliums just to name a few.
Barney the Basset hound was standing guard, or maybe just waiting for someone to pay more attention to him than the gardens. Sorry, Barney!
If you are a gardener The Garden Conservancy has Open Days all over the United States and these private and public gardens are indeed an inspiration to all gardeners. They showcase places to see how others have handled particularly challenging landscapes or just how to decorate a porch, maybe to highlight a plant combination you have been dying to try yourself. Experiment! What is the worst that could happen? If it doesn’t work out, move it or remove it! Gardening should be fun, not stressful! Be sure to check one out this summer!