Thursday, March 3, 2016

"Blending in on May Hill..."


Finally, there's a version of the slide lecture I gave for Innisfree at the Cary Institute on November 15, 2015 up on the blog. We've posted it as separate page, available through a tab on the navigation bar at the top of any blog post (and now I may be able to get to more of those!) 

From the introduction to the lecture:
...but today we’ll look at images of the garden David and I have made... in Columbia County— how it fits into the surrounding landscape. Really, though, much of this program could be taken as homage to Innisfree. I want to show some ideas,  maybe a sensibility, in common between that— great garden— and our minor one. Themes in common are, first and last, respect for the site, with its inherent features (stone in particular)— but also, as Kate has written about Innisfree, a sensibility part Asian and part 20th century modernist. Kate did seem to hope that this talk would have Ideas, as well as plants and pictures. Presumably she won’t mind if some of the ideas are just cribbed from her (I love her, and she does make me think)— and then applied to looking at our garden.

(Lots of plants, too!)

I want to thank our great friend Kate Kerin, again, for getting me to undertake this big project, which has become among other things a sort of summary of our garden.  It stands in for the book I've often thought of but haven't written.

Supposing you have a device with a decent screen, the photographs should show much better than they could when overly magnified to fit the auditorium screen-- so I hope that even folks who attended the lecture might enjoy another look.

Friday, May 1, 2015

November 2014: Garden and Meadow

Circle terrace in snow

Entry courtyard

Entry courtyard looking down the curved path to the circle terrace

Mulleins in the driveway bed. The entry gateway to the fenced garden shows at the center-right.

The folly birdhouses, capped with snow

From the driveway down to the fenced garden and the hills beyond

Photographer in the garden

Sunrise through monarda

More mulleins

The dried flowerheads of Hydrangea paniculata 'Pink Diamond' hold the snow.

The arbor marking the transition from the entry courtyard to the curved path has just three legs, which helps ease the turn along that path. The twist of the arbor repeats that of the gabled roof, deck and steps for the entrance of the house (not in view here), which are turned a little to meet arriving guests.

Ilex verticillata 'Winter Red'

Stone basin in the entry courtyard

The brilliantly colored fruit of Winterberry Holly, Ilex verticillata 'Winter Red', behind the curving stone wall of the circle terrace, which echoes the mounding curve of Phudd Hill in the distance.

Amethyst (TM) Coralberry, Symphoricarpos x doorenbosii 'Kordes' was bred for the florist trade, and holds well when cut.

Bloodtwig dogwood, Cornus sanguinea 'Midwinter Fire' has bright gold foliage color very late in the fall, seen here against the scarlet fruit of our Winterberry Hollies, Ilex verticillata 'Winter Red'.

Another view of our three-legged arbor, showing, I hope, how its triangular footprint helps turn the eye along the curved wall and path beyond.

The circle terrace's form is emphasized by a dusting of snow.

Mullein stalks sometimes stand through the winter.

Winterberry Holly's fruit is obscured by snow and backlighting, but the dark, twisting branches are enhanced.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

October 2014: 2.More Garden and Meadow

Tagetes 'Villandry', a French Marigold that makes a plant big and loose enough for us. Its relatively long stems make it good for cut flowers. We pick a lot as frost threatens.

Silky, silvery seedheads of Turkeyfoot, Andropogon gerardii

Switchrgrass, Panicum virgatum, in the west meadow

Common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca

Hayscented Fern,
Dennstaedtia punctilobula, in autumn color under Gray Birches at the edge of the west meadow

Sunrise lights and colors the grasses of the west meadow.

From a studio window

Looking across the big island bed from the entry courtyard. A Bluestar, Amsonia tabernaemonta, has spread under the rock wall into the gravel of the courtyard; it is starting its good autumn foliage color.

Black chairs in the entry courtyard

This bed separates the entry courtyard from our driveway

Spiraea betulifolia 'Tor' has given so-so creamy white flowers in spring, but its autumn foliage color can be spectacular.

An ornamental oregano, Origanum 'Rotkugel' and the scarlet foliage of Spiraea betulifolia 'Tor'

Our house volunteer, self-sowing nicotianas have Nancy Ondra's 'Green Mix' and the pink and white species Nicotiana mutabilis, in their background.

Nicotianas with a white Japanese Anemone, Anemone x hybrida 'Andrea Atkinson' (and Verbena bonariensis) in the fenced garden

A monkshood we bought as Aconitum fischeri, apparently an invalid name-- but possibly useful to gardeners for indicating a relatively short form of A. carmichaelii

In this warm autumn our favorite home-grown seedling daylily (likely a cross between Hemerocallis 'Autumn King' and H.'Autumn Minaret') has just kept opening good flowers. When nights are too cold, daylily flowers do not open well.

We love the way its tall stems float this daylily's flowers high above its own foliage and surrounding plants.

Cuphea cyanea on the back deck

The hummingbirds who sipped its nectar left in September, but with mild weather the plant blooms on and on.

It will be worth bringing the not-quite-too-large pot indoors on freezing nights-- but we haven't had those yet.

A Japanese Anemone, Anemone x hybrida 'Andrea Atkinson'. The flowers last if the cut stem ends are sealed by dipping in very hot water.

Anemone x hybrida 'Andrea Atkinson' in the fenced garden

One of our resident strain of nicotiana hybrids

Chrysanthemum 'Hillside Sheffield Pink'

Tagetes 'Villandry', a French Marigold with a loose enough growth habit to be at home with us, combines here with Coreopsis 'Full Moon'-- the marigold is a even a little taller than the coreopsis.

Nicotiana hybrids, this plant resembling its 'Nancy Ondra's Green Mix' ancestors

Asclepia tuberosa, Butterfly Weed

Asclepias tuberosa with Symphyotrichum oblongifolium, Aromatic Aster

Chrysanthemum 'Hillside Sheffield Pink'

Looking across the big island bed and the circle terrace; but the big show is in the colors of the native woodland beyond.

The curves of the circle terrace echo the mound of Phudd Hill in the distance

Amsonia tabernaemontana foliage is turning yellow, but even the russet-pink dried flowerheads of hydrangeas behind it look gold in this early morning light

Frost at last, here on mullein leaves

Frost on Stachys byzantina 'Big Ears': silver on silver, with red gold from a stem of Rosa 'Corylus'

A first-year mullein rosette, silvered by the frost

Seedheads of Downy Sunflower, Helianthus mollis, with the bright colored stems of a Red Twig Dogwood cultivar, Cornus sericea 'Cardinal'

Harvest time: Jack, back from a morning run with wild blueberry foliage

Actaea pachypoda, Doll's Eyes or White Baneberry

Crisp and changing autumn light: the fenced garden in sunshine, the hill across the valley in shadow