Trade Secrets 2018- Wethersfield Garden

Thankfully the weather held out for the Sunday Garden tours this year unlike Saturday’s Garden and Rare Plant Sale at Lion Rock Farm. Wethersfield Garden in Amenia, NY is a beautifully manicured ten acre garden surrounding the home of the late Chauncey D. Stillman. The gardens were created in a classical style similar to the Italian villas found in the 17th century.

In every direction the Garden takes full advantage of the views and creates rooms and spaces with statues, steps, water features and plant materials. It was created on a north-south and east-west axis by Landscape Architect Bryan J. Lynch and then Evelyn N. Poehler.

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The Garden relies on the architecture of varying shades and textures of plant material that marry themselves into the natural landscape starting immediately upon arrival in the East Garden. Besides the sculpted yews there are Korean dogwoods, azaleas, lilacs, rhododendrons and magnolias. The four corners of this garden feature the most magnificent European Weeping Beech trees trimmed into cylindrical shape. Sorry the Garden geek in me was drooling!

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The north wall in the East Garden features the Cupid Fountain surrounded by a fieldstone retaining wall that supports Sedum, Campanula and Ivy.

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When you look to the south through the Arborvitae Arch which is flanked by two figurines playing pipes the views of the countryside unfold. These statues are called the “Pan Pipers”. This area features Witch Hazel, Hawthorne, Elderberry and Gray Dogwood.

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The reflecting pool has a black interior that allows the surrounding shrubs to reflect onto the water’s surface. The surrounding yews are shaped into globes and cones.

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The Inner Garden was originally designed when the house was built.

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In the Knot Garden the flower tubs on either sides of the steps supposedly were designed by the architect Stanford White so they plant them with white petunias in his honor.

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The Pine Terrace so named for the White Pine in the center of the stone terrace. A goldfish pond with its frogs and Iris and Agapanthas and Clivia that attract hummingbirds.

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The Allee is flanked with Cupid urns that encourage “silence” in the garden. This area features a 12′ wide lawn and a bronze statute “Naiad” by a Swedish sculptor Carl Milles.

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The Trade Secrets Garden tours are always a wonderful opportunity to tour private gardens that we can get ideas from for our own gardens even if only in our dreams.

Attracting Pollinators to your Garden

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Black Eyed Susans – Rudbeckia

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.

 

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Verbena bonariensis
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Yarrow

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:

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Joe Pye Weed

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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Bleeding Hearts – Dicentra spectabilis

 

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Phlox ‘David’
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Zinnias

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

 

Do you want more ideas for Pollinators? Here is a previous Blog-A few more Pollinators

A Day in the Country- Trade Secrets

With Trade Secrets being this weekend in CT I thought you might be interested in this blog I wrote several years ago on the Saturday event which is always a widely anticipated event by plant geeks everywhere.  People come from far and wide to attend, booking their hotel rooms a year in advance!  Many of the vendors come every year so although this blog is from several years ago the information is very relevant to this weekends show in Sharon!

Trade Secrets is a two-day event which started 18 years ago in Bunny Williams backyard. This event is the foremost fundraiser for Women’s Support Services which offers crisis intervention, counseling and education, as well as legal, medical, and housing assistance to fulfill its mission of creating a community free of domestic violence.  Women’s Support Services is a nonprofit organization that provides free and confidential aid to victims of domestic violence and abuse. WSS provides a 24 hour hotline, (860) 364.1900 short-term emergency shelter, counseling, legal advocacy, education and emergency support for those in need.

The proceeds from Trade Secrets 2018 will help WSS fund programs that teach children about healthy relationships and conflict resolution and will help fund operation of their 24-hour hotline. If you missed it this year mark your calendar for next year like Martha Stewart.

“Sadly 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence in their lives” (National Violence Against Women Survey, 2000)

The mission of WSS is to create a community free of domestic violence and abuse through intervention, prevention and education.

Trade Secrets is the premiere Rare Plant & Garden Antique Sale of the season on Saturday with Private Garden tours on Sunday! Today I will take you on a tour of the Rare Plant & Garden Antique Sale.

The plant and antique sale is held yearly at Lion Rock Farm in Sharon, CT.  This is a stunning property overlooking Amenia, NY located in one of the most scenic areas in northwest CT. There were antiques of every variety, rare plants that you can only find here as well as perennials, vegetables and annuals for sale.  There are trees and shrubs, containers and planters, statuary and towers, peonies, roses, and lavender.  You name it and I am sure you can find it here.

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Lion Rock Farm
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Plant towers

Plants in every shape and color to buy

 

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Lion Rock Farm
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Pool at Lion Rock
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Lion Rock
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Pots from Campo de’ Fiori, Sheffield, MA
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Topiaries in all shapes and sizes

 

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Ready for take off

 

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Every garden needs one of these

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Need backyard furniture?

 

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Splish, splash!

 

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I want this gate!

 

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Antiques

 

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Lilacs

Bye till next year!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas can add drama to the garden whether pink, white, green or red.  They make great cut flowers!  Early spring is a perfect time to plant Hydrangeas because the ground is still cool so they are less likely to get stressed.

Hydrangeas are basically low maintenance shrubs and highlight the summer and fall gardens. Just prune occasionally for shape and they will serve you well. The key with Hydrangeas is to site them properly to start with so they have the appropriate room to grow and don’t need pruning. You should however remove spent flowers and dead wood. They prefer sun and some shade.  If you do need to prune it should be done after the years’ bloom cycle has ended to ensure blossoms for next year for some that is late summer or even late winter.

I’ll try to explain some of the many varieties of Hydrangeas:

Hydrangea Paniculata – Blooms on new wood and has large coned shaped flowers and are very cold hardy.

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Hydrangeas

Quick Fire’ – turns a lovely rosey-pink in fall and blooms up to a month earlier than other Hydrangeas; Bobo’ – compact with lime green and violet blooms; Pinky Winky’ –  has large white panicles that turn turns pink at the base during the fall creating a two-toned effect; Pink Diamond’ – white blooms fade to pink and Limelight’ – huge, bright lime green panicles that changes to deep pink, red and burgundy in fall.

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Pink Diamond
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Hydrangea ‘Pink Diamond’
Hydrangea Pink Diamond
Hydrangea ‘Pink Diamond’ on left
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Hydrangea ‘Quick Fire’

Hydrangea Quercifolia – Oakleaf Hydrangeas – These have a lovely, peeling bark on older stems and a felt like bark on newer stems. They start out white and turn pink as the season progresses and have amazing burgundy red leaves in fall. Shown below is ‘Alice’ which I use in my garden in a group of 3.  Give it lots of room to spread out! The inflorescences are about 10-14″ long. Others to consider: ‘Snowflake’; ‘Ruby Slippers’ and ‘Gatsby Moon’

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Oakleaf Hydrangea in fall

Hydrangea macrophylla- “Bigleaf Hydrangeas” – these have large round mophead flowers particularly in June, July and August. They have beautiful dark green leaves and can provide some but not great fall color. Also in this category are the Lacecaps.

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Hydrangea ‘Bloomstruck ‘Endless Summer’

Flower color can be determined often by the acidity (blue-purple) or alkalinity (pink or red) of your soil. Some of these bloom on new growth as well as last year’s stems. So prune right after flowering to be safe if in doubt which you have. Deadheading spent blossoms unless you are going to dry them will help produce more blossoms.

Endless Summer – Bloomstruck’; ‘Nikko Blue’; ‘ColorFantasy’; and ‘Vanilla Strawberry’

Hydrangea arborescens or ‘Smooth Hydrangeas’ – which bloom May – June on new wood so they are good for colder climates although there is little fall leaf color. Most notably ‘Annabelle’ is one of the most hardy with large inflorescenses. Also ‘Incrediball’ is another variety

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‘Annabelle’  (Source: Missouri Botanical)

Yet another popular Hydrangea anomala petiolaris: the Climbing Hydrangea: This Hydrangea has lovely white lacecap blossoms and a thick vine that also produces horizontal branches and nice thick green leaves and clings to any structure. The bark is also distinctive with its cinnamon colored bark that exfoliates and is lovely in winter.

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Climbing Hydrangea (Source: Missouri Botanical)

 

A good source for Hydrangeas is White Flower Farm since they also ship if you are not in the CT area. www.whiteflowerfarm.com

Spring Arrangements & Flowering Plants

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!

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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:

Purple tulip
Tulips

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.

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Magnolia x soulangeana ‘Alexandrina’ saucer magnolia
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Flowering Cherry
Lilacs Robert Courturier
A Lilac allee’

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Forsythia on the Hudson River at 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!

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Muscari
Allium
Alliums
Daffodil field- Laurel Ridge
Daffodils as far as the eye can see!
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Pasque flower

Here are my top picks for more spring flowering perennials and bulbs.

Hellebores, Siberian Iris, Primrose, Feverfew, Alliums, Wisteria, Amsonia, Baptisa, Bleeding Hearts, Lady’s Mantle, Epimedium, Roses, Hypericum, Solomon’s Seal, Hosta leaves and Lobelias

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Bleeding Hearts – Dicentra spectabilis
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Siberian Iris

Also, don’t forget veggies when making arrangements.  Think about baby carrots, artichokes and curly kale and parsley.

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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.

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My spring garden

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

Trade Secrets 2017 – The Major General Ashley House

This eighteenth century house sits on an incredible piece of property overlooking the Housatonic River. Mature sugar maples, black locusts and an ancient willow make this property one to behold. The property is naturalized with daffodils and ferns beneath these mighty trees as well as other spring bulbs. The lawn slopes down to the bend in the river compelling you to stop and take it all in!

A formal garden of boxwood parterres and brick paths frame the front of the house. Wooden tuteurs in the center are clematis supports with the beds being filled with tulips in spring and Peonies and Russian Sage in summer.  The garden is enclosed with the quintessential wooden picket fence and a spirea hedge with crabapples surrounding the garden giving some relief from the road.

Parterre

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Have you ever tried to espalier a tree? Look how beautiful!

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If this doesn’t say come relax and enjoy the beauty I don’t know what does!

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Housatonic River

Entry into the pool area is through this door a unique element in the privet hedge encouraging you to see what is beyond.

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The pool house

 

The gardens were filled with blooming bleeding hearts in several varieties and color variations

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Bleeding Hearts
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A child’s swing just waiting for you to play.

Did you miss the other Trade Secrets Open Gardens? Here is a link to Coltsfoot Garden 

For more information on Trade Secrets and Women’s Support Services see earlier blogs.

See all the Blogs on Garden Conservancy Days, trips to Italy, and stay tuned for my upcoming trip to Tuscany and Venice in the coming weeks.

Road Tripping in CT

Every year we say it couldn’t get any more beautiful and then the next year comes and surprises us.  After an extremely dry summer here in CT the Fall is turning out to be amazing.  Okay we have our ups and downs.  Today it was snowing, then cloudy, then sunny, then snowing.  Wow Mother Nature seems confused but she is bestowing the most amazing colors in the leaves.  Enough said!!  Here are some of the many photos I shot this weekend in Northwestern CT. If you can’t get here in person I hope this will make you “FEEL” the magnificence that is all around us.  Do not take any day for granted and live each day to the fullest of your ability. Life like the seasons are short.  Make the most of your time!

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Barn in Cornwall, CT
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Covered Bridge West Cornwall
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West Cornwall
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West Cornwall Housatonic River

 

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Salisbury, CT
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Salisbury all dressed up for Halloween
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Pumpkins in Norfolk, CT
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Can’t live without mums in the fall
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Pleasant Valley, CT town green ablaze in yellows
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View from Mohawk Mountain in Goshen towards NY
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Farm in Goshen, CT

 

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Farm life in Northwestern CT
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Town Bridge in Collinsville, CT
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Farmington River in Collinsville, CT

And of course what would October be without late blooming annuals

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Cleome

and those leaves!

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Bittersweet and Berries

And pumpkins, pumpkins and more pumpkins!

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Get out there and enjoy before it snows 🙂

 

Designing with Color

When planning your garden basic design color principles apply both inside and outside.  Color schemes can be used in several different ways depending on the mood you wish to create.  When talking about color the conversation automatically goes to the basic color wheel. (Color Wheel courtesy of Sessions College)

There are primary colors: Red, Blue and Yellow; then the Secondary colors of Violet, Orange and Green and Tertiary colors which are colors made by mixing a primary color and an adjacent secondary color.  An example would be orange-red; yellow-orange or lime green which is a mixture of green and yellow.

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So first let’s look at Complementary colors.  These are opposite each other on the color wheel like red and green, yellow and purple and orange and blue. These combinations offer the most contrast and provide visual stimulation.  Typically you will want to use more of the cooler color which recedes visually and that is balanced by less of the other color which will advance towards you.  The ‘Pop”!  But beware don’t pop”onesies” here and there.  It will cause the eye to jump all over.  Try to buy at least 3 of any plant.  You will be more successful if you plant in drifts of color and plants vs. trying to bring home one of every little goody you find.  I must say that I am also guilty of doing this.  Sometimes I just can’t resist and I will then use that one plant and test it out for a season and see if my soil, sun and climate will work for that newbie before buying more of them.  Experiment!  It is really hard to go wrong when planting since you can always move the plant if you don’t like where you placed it.

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Purple and yellow

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Red and Green
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Purple and Yellow
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Orange and Blue

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Analogous color schemes utilize neighboring hues on the color wheel.  They are typically warm or cool when most successfully used. Analogous colors lie between two primary colors like crimson. violet and violet-blue. These combinations are easy on the eye and the colors just seem to go together.  They are adjacent on the color wheel.

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Mohonk Mountain Hotel
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Yellow-Yellow Orange – Orange – Red Orange – Red
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Red Violet – Purple

When discussing color you will hear people refer to hue, value or chroma of a color.  The Hue is the name of the color such as red or blue. The Value of a color refers to its lightness or darkness and the Chroma is the strength of the color. Again, repetition is key in garden design.

Monochromatic schemes have one color used throughout.  In the case of the garden, green is a neutral color but even a garden can have too much green.  Look for different textures, heights and a variety of colors like, green, lime, yellow-green, blue-green so the view isn’t boring.  Hostas are a great example of the tremendous range of color available in a single plant species.  Heuchera is another! I bet you can find Heuchera in every color under the sun these days!  Always provide some darker and lighter plants for interest.  Relief in every color scheme can be added by sprinkling in whites.  This will break up the palette and keep the energy and the eye moving.  Remember that colors can be warm or cool.  Yellows can lean towards green or towards orange and this will guide you to the companion plants you might plant nearby.

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Verbena bonariensis
Brooklyn Botanic Gardens (35)
Brooklyn Botanic Gardens – Monochromatic
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Nepeta

 

Whatever your color scheme if you have a garden that you would like photographed call me!  I understand when the light is right, the bloom time is perfect and as a gardener I love my gardens and always want to preserve the moments that come and go and change almost daily.

You can find me at www.lensidesigns.com where you can link to my Flickr page that will showcase many of my photographs.  Need a gift?  I can help with that too.  I can have a print made for you to give as a gift, ready to hang on archival paper, no frame necessary.  Maybe treat yourself!!!

Happy Gardening!!!

Oriental Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus)

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Oriental Bittersweet has become established as this vine is highly attractive as an ornamental.  The fruits continue to be sold for dried flower arrangements and are frequently disposed of on compost or brush piles where birds and small animals can spread the seeds.  Why is this important you ask?

Oriental Bittersweet is invasive in many areas of the country.  It is a rapidly spreading deciduous, twining vine with clusters of bright orange pods.  This vine can smother plants and can strangle shrubs and small trees and weaken mature trees making them more susceptible to damage. (IPSAWG)

It is advisable not to buy, sell or plant Oriental Bittersweet so you can help to eradicate this plant.  It can be pulled out by the root and then removed from the site. Sadly Oriental Bittersweet can be mislabeled as American Bittersweet which is native and non-invasive.

When choosing any plants for your property ask for non-invasive species.

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