Posted tagged ‘containers’

American University’s Summer Look

July 26, 2013

Last week, on my way to LPI from an early client appointment, I made a quick pit stop at American University’s campus. Although this time of year there are fewer students in residence than usual, the plantings, designed by AU’s resident Landscape Architect H. Paul Davis and his colleagues, looked stunning. I wanted to share a few with you, taken with my Canon G11, before I take August off to re-charge my creative juices. (I’ll also be getting to know my new computer, which finally arrived this week after the old one died over four weeks ago.)

So enjoy the photos, and take a trip to AU (4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW in the District) if you’re in the area.

 

Garden Shoots will be on vacation until September. See you then!

M-Bracing in the Front Yard

March 22, 2013

A couple of years ago, I was hired by some new clients who were moving from a large house in the suburbs (with lots of deer) to a new house within walking distance of downtown Bethesda, Maryland, close to our firm’s offices. The lot was narrow and the front faced west. Most of the front yard was going to be taken up by a large two-car-wide driveway, and the husband wanted a shade tree to replace one that had been taken down. The wife wanted an ornamental tree, but she also wanted to be able to grow herbs and vegetables, something that hadn’t been possible in her other garden because of the deer. I proposed including some raised beds in the front yard because there simply wasn’t enough sun in the back garden, and she agreed.

So here’s the plan I came up with. I needed them to be as unobtrusive as possible, and far enough away from the street so that passers-by wouldn’t be tempted to pick tomatoes or nip off a few herbs.

Landscape Projects, Inc., raised beds

The front yard plan as you face the house from the street.

See the three rectangles on the right property line, in the center of the yard? Those are the three raised beds, about 4′ x 3′ each. Stepping stones allow access to the beds for maintenance, and we planted Mazus reptans between them.

To dress up the beds, especially since this was a front yard, I had them constructed of high-quality cedar, and used M-Brace brackets on each corner.

M-Brace, Landscape Projects Inc., raised beds

Brackets on the two outer beds have a “bamboo” design cut out of the steel; the center bed’s brackets sport a “carrot” design.

By now you see where this is headed. We didn’t want the beds to sit empty all winter, just waiting for warm weather to be planted with veggies and herbs. So we planted pansies and tulips, and voila! A wonderful effect was created.

M-Brace brackets, Landscape Projects Inc.

Tulips emerging from the pansies just as the hornbeams to the left of the beds start to leaf out.

The homeowners were delighted.

spring tulips, Landscape Projects Inc.

Almost (well, not quite) like being in Holland.

M-Brace brackets, Landscape Projects, Inc.

The beds now provide color in early spring, before the Okame cherry leafs out on the other side of the driveway.

The Mazus has filled in nicely, and recently we added some Knockout roses in a little row at the front of the beds. No more deer to worry about! (Now if we could just do something about the rabbits that are devouring the liriope in the tree beds . . . .)

Containers for the Shade

July 14, 2012

As I’ve confessed before, container planting isn’t my strong suit. Occasionally I get a burst of inspiration, but more often I consult my colleague Kripa here at Landscape Projects, who is a genius when it comes to putting together gorgeous pots. Here’s a sample, for a shady garden, which she created recently primarily using annuals we already had on hand.

shade planter, shade planting combinations, white gardens, Landscape Projects Inc.

I could look at this all day. I wish it were in my garden.

I love the simplicity and elegance of this design, created for a client who prefers only white flowers (with a touch of blue permitted – see the next photo).  The backdrop is a Boston fern from a ten-inch hanging basket (not hardy in the garden but gorgeous for summer), accented by Caladium ‘Ghost’ in front. White Scaevola and chartreuse Ipomaea ‘Sweet Marguerite’ (sweet potato vine) round out the composition. All the plants are shade-tolerant.  In a matching container not far from this one, white begonias joined the party, but I didn’t get a good shot of that one – it was in a sunnier area and the light wasn’t good. But trust me, it was just as beautiful.

In another part of the garden, Kripa played a variation on the white and green theme, adding just a touch of blue Lobelia.

shade containers, shade plant combinations, Landscape Projects

After only about two weeks, this is filling out nicely.

In addition to the Lobelia, she used Caladium ‘Candidum,’ Swedish ivy, white impatiens, some golden creeping Jenny, and Ipomaea ‘Blackie.’ Oh yes, and another Boston fern (smaller this time). The client was thrilled – instant elegance and beauty, and all she has to do is water!

Of course, you can bring color into your shady area containers or back yard with annuals like coleus. Last summer I had a container on my deck where I took that approach, which I wrote about here. Of course, these were in the sun, but they would have worked in the shade as well with maybe just a few adjustments to the coleus I used.

This year, my own containers have been mixed – I now have so much sun in the front yard that I need to re-think my front step containers. But I did manage to create one back-yard container about a month ago that is working well so far. It began with a trip to Home Depot, where I was looking for light bulbs but instead had the great good fortune to find some unusual looking caladiums. I added a self-seeded ‘Lady in Red’ fern (Athyrium felix-femina ‘Lady in Red’) from one part of the garden, stole some variegated Carex (sedge grass) from another part of the yard, and voila:

shade containers, shade plant combinations, Landscape Projects Inc.

The shade planter at the foot of my deck. The white flower hanging down over it is from a Ligustrum shrub.

What’s that lovely caladium named, I’m sure many of you want to know? So do I. The plant tag just said, “Shade plant.” On my way to my car two other gardeners stopped me and wanted to know its name and where I’d gotten it, but I had bought the only two on the shelf. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there when you’re decorating a shade garden. I may not have Kripa’s talent, but I think I made up for it in sheer luck.

Update: Jen’s comment below prompted me to do some Internet research. The full Latin name of a caladium is apparently Caladium x hortulanum, but with a little sleuthing I discovered my find is a variety called ‘Cranberry Star.’ My thanks to Jen, for spurring me to work a little harder. Now if I can only replicate my luck next year!

Chanticleer’s Cutting Edge

July 30, 2011

As most of you know by now, my favorite public garden on the East Coast (or in the continental US, for that matter) is Chanticleer Garden, in Wayne, Pennsylvania. I’m looking forward to this fall’s annual pilgrimage to the Master Garden Photography Workshop there in early October.

One of the many delightful aspects of the garden is its inspired use of cut flowers in (among other places) its public restrooms. Over the last couple of years, whenever I’ve visited, I’ve shot images both of the current “bouquets” in those areas as well as from the Cutting Garden itself. Here’s a sampling of the combinations I’ve found throughout the garden.

Let’s start with a ‘vignette’ of masterfully chosen perennials which begged to be photographed as well as serving as fodder for bouquets: sunflowers, liatris, lilies, and goodness knows what else:

Chanticleer cutting garden, sunflowers

An enormous sunflower anchors a gorgeous combination of summer flowers in the Cutting Garden at Chanticleer in July 2010. I like this image so much I've framed it and hung it in my own home.

Other summer shots from the cutting garden, cropped for effect in some cases:

An image from the Cutting Garden in August 2010

Chanticleer Garden, cutting garden

Ditto.

Chanticleer Garden, cutting garden

Lilies, rudbeckia, and other annuals in the Cutting Garden in August 2010.

And now, the masterpieces created from the Cutting Garden. Please note (ahem) that at least one of these photos was shot in the men’s restroom (albeit before the garden opened to the public).

Chanticleer Garden, cut flowers, cutting garden, cut flower bouquets

The restrooms at Chanticleer always have amazing cut flower bouquets at the washbasins.

Chanticleer, cutting garden, cut flower arrangements

In the other bathroom.

Chanticleer Garden

A late summer/early fall arrangement.

And visitors are always greeted with astonishingly beautifully arranged cut flowers in the outdoor visitors’ gazebo.

Chanticleer, cutting garden, cut flower arrangements

Gorgeous. What else can I say?

Chanticleer is open until the end of October. If you’re in the area, or within an easy drive, don’t miss it.

Garden Shoots will be on hiatus until early September.
See you in the fall!


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