Category Archives: Landscape

Glorious, Gorgeous Gardens Galore

by Categorized: Garden Design, Gardening, Gardens, Landscape, Landscape Architecture Date:

IMG_1185For many people, including yours truly, this is the time of year when one’s garden often starts to look, well, rather raggedy around the edges.

So it is hard not to marvel at the great number of private gardens that are still in such spectacular, well-tended shape that they are open to the public this weekend.

The national Garden Conservancy, sponsor of the wonderful Open Days program, is moving toward more in-depth, regional programs, and a slew of gardens are open around the state this weekend.

Visitors are welcome to stop in at as many or few as the schedule permits. Admission to each private garden is $7; free for children 12 and under.

On Saturday, gardens are open in Redding, Weston, Wilton, Meriden, Canton and Glastonbury. The action moves for the most part to Litchfield County on Sunday, with gardens in Roxbury, Bridgewater and several in Washington open for ogling.

The weather should be delightful, and the gardens inspirational. For complete details, including garden descriptions and directions, go to www.opendaysprogram.org.

Meanwhile, here’s a sneak peek:

Acclaimed potter and photographer Frances Palmer is opening her garden in Weston, pictured above and below, Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is especially noted for dahlias and her “Alice in Wonderland” flowers.

CTFF_Palmer_clyde_s_choice_barn_webThen swing over to Pixie Perennials in Wilton, where there will be a plant and local artisans’ sale as well as a beautiful garden to stroll through, pictured below:

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Fashion designer Linda Allard of Ellen Tracy fame is opening her garden, Highmeadows in Washington — pictured below, and featured recently in an article by Tovah Martin in Architectural Digest — on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The fashionably designed garden with exquisite sense of color features a pleasing mix that is part formal garden defined by boxwood hedges and part more informal potagere, with fruits, vegetables and flowers. The new woodland garden is said to have been inspired by William Robinson’s 1870 classic, “The Wild Garden.”

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And among the other gardens open on Sunday is Maywood Gardens, pictured below, the largest private estate in Litchfield County, with 1,000 acres. It includes a sunken perennial garden protected by 10-foot stone walls, a gazebo garden planted with butterfly- and hummingbird-attracting flowers and shrubs, a rose garden arranged in a French design surrounded by a circle of hemlocks, a woodland path, a heather bed, a white garden, an herb garden, an ornamental kitchen garden, a 4,000-square-foot greenhouse and more. Phew!

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Outstanding American Gardens Cover ImageThis special weekend coincides with the release of the Garden Conservancy’s new book, “Outstanding American Gardens: A Celebration – 25 Years of the Garden Conservancy” (Abrams).

 

‘I Am So Ready For Spring’

by Categorized: Flowers And Floral Design, Garden Design, Garden Ornaments, Gardening, Horticulture, Landscape Date:

2015-02-19 04.24.14The temperature was in the 20s, yet flowers were in bloom everywhere.

The Connecticut Flower & Garden Show, which opened today and runs through Sunday at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, comes at just the right time of year.

I overheard this refrain at least three times this afternoon: “I am so ready for Spring.”

People were out in force, shopping for vegetable seeds, garden ornaments and big bunches of pussywillow branches, checking out landscapers’ displays, picking up ideas and brochures and inspiration, and delighting in the experts’ seminars (I caught Roger Swain’s delightful and information-packed talk on “Vegetables That I Have Known & That You Will Love”).

Vendors displayed everything from fencing, fountains, peonies, pavers, jewelry, soaps, outdoor kitchens, tools and tulips to books, bonsais and butterflies.

Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory & Gardens of South Deerfield, Mass., displayed a case filled with exquisite, fluttering butterflies from around the world, and was selling cups of tiger swallowtail and black swallowtail butterfly eggs, which will hatch when the time comes. General manager Kathy Fiore also offered information sheets on which plants will attract specific butterflies to yards in New England. She said many people had been approaching her table to talk about the plight of monarchs and the need to plant milkweed, which monarchs require to lay their eggs and which newly hatched caterpillars need to feed.

“”People are aware of it, conscientious about it,” she said. “The plight is out there.”

The lovely sound of waterfalls and water features splashed gently through a number of the 18 lush landscaping displays, including Creative Contour Landscape Design in Middletown, which took best-in-show honors for landscape design (photo at top).

Creative Contour owner Jennifer Noyes created a marvelous gazebo topped with sedum and succulents, over an inviting outdoor table. A river literally ran through it: Water flowing through a narrow trench along the middle of the length of the table then cascaded into the shallow pool surrounded by daffodils and other plantings.

“My whole goal is to make people think differently about their yards,” Noyes said.

2015-02-19 03.34.37The landscape designed by Pondering Creations in Terryville (photo above) as a rock garden packed with plants also featured little waterfalls and a pond. It was honored with the Best Horticulture Award.

And Hillside Landscaping Co. of Berlin earned the Best Design Award.

A waterwheel gently rotated through the koi pond in the display created by Comets to Koi of Branford.

2015-02-19 03.40.53And Rob Townsend, owner of Aquascapes of Connecticut in Portland, had built an Oriental azumaya, hand-cut and hand-planed, with a panel of etched glass. The display (photo above) was landscaped with tulips, Lenten roses and Japanese maples, and an unusual copper fountain sculpted like a Japanese maple shimmered with droplets of water.

The Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut’s flower show boasted several hundred entries in a variety of categories, all with a “Ports of Call” theme —  from the “Far East” (very petite arrangements) to “Caribbean Cruise,” “Jacob’s Ladder” trained plants, “Haku Lei” floral hair wreaths, and, in keeping with weather outside the show, “Into the Arctic,” where one cool arrangement paired orchids with silvered English ivy.

2015-02-19 03.08.27In the “Coral Fringed Barbados” division, the arrangement created by Alice Luster of Country Gardeners of Glastonbury (photo above) — with Asiatic lilies, green spider chrysanthemums and dried palm fronds — had collected a number of ribbons, including first place in the design division, the Designer’s Choice Award, Terry Stoleson Award and an Award of Design Excellence.

The show continues Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For details, Click Here.

Photos on this page by Nancy Schoeffler.

For more photos at the show by Hartford Courant photographer Stephen Dunn, Click Here.

 

 

Spring Fever? Here’s An Intoxicating Cure

by Categorized: Composting, Crafts, Garden Design, Garden Ornaments, Gardening, Gardens, Horticulture, Landscape, Nature, Plants, Seasons, Vegetable Gardening, Wildlife Date:

CTFlower&GardenShowCascade“After that hard winter, one could not get enough of the nimble air.”  — Willa Cather, “My Antonia”

If you’re yearning for the intoxicating fragrances that are the very breath of spring, “the throb of it, the light restlessness, the vital essence of it everywhere” that Willa Cather so aptly described, there’s no need to feel discouraged by the mounds of snow that still abound.

The 34th annual Connecticut Flower and Garden Show opens Thursday and runs through Sunday at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, and while the show is not the same as an actual spring day, it does offer a tantalizing preview of springtime to come, which is particularly welcome this time of this year.

Photo SwirlThe show covers nearly 3 acres and includes 18 professionally designed gardens that cover more than an acre. Yes, these gardens are indoors, but the sights and scents are so pleasing to one’s winter-weary senses.

Nancy DuBrule-Clemente of Natureworks in North Branford said her winter-battered spirits were completely turned around when she started setting up for the show earlier this week. “Huge witch hazel trees forced into perfect bloom, piles of mulch and sod, flowering plants absolutely everywhere — my soul was soothed and I came home singing a joyful song!”

CTFlower&GardenShowFlower&FireplaceThere are more than 300 booths with displays of flowers, plants, garden ornaments, bulbs and seeds, gardening books, patio furniture and more. If you can dig beneath the snow in your yard, bring along a half-cup of soil to the UConn Cooperative Extension’s booth for a free soil test.

I always love the eye-popping creativity of the Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut’s Advanced Flower Show — more than 250 entries that could inspire you to new heights of artistry when arranging a few flowers of your own.

And through the show there will be more than 80 hours of seminars by horticultural, garden design and gardening experts, including:

Mar Jennings on “Creating Casual Luxury in Your Home and Garden”;

Garden photographer and author Ken Druse on “Making More Plants: Propagation” and on “Natural Companions”;

Garden author and photographer Amy Ziffer of Sherman, whose “Shady Lady’s Guide to Northeast Shade Gardening” is an invaluable guide, on “Shade Revealed”;

Roger Swain, former host of “The Victory Garden” on PBS and HGTV’s “People Places & Plants on “Vegetables That I Have Known and You Will Love”;

Bob Buettner, Connecticut Florist of the Year in 2010, on “Floral Arranging”;

Organic gardener, photographer and lecturer Karen Bussolini of South Kent on “40 Great Plants for Connecticut Gardens” and “Gardens in Winter.”

The list of seminar topics goes on and on — “Create and Enhance Wildlife Habitats in Your Surroundings,” “Rain Gardens,” “Daylilies,” “America’s Romance with the English CTFlower&GardenShowDaffodilsGarden,” “Composting and Soil Health,” “Water Gardening Basics,” “Working with Wetlands on Your Property,” “Disease Control in Home Vegetable Gardens,” and many more. For the complete seminar schedule and details about the presenters, Click Here.

The seminars are included in the price of admission, which is $16 for adults, $14 for seniors age 62 and over (Thursday and Friday only); $4 for children age 5 to 12, and free for children under age 5.

Hours are Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Convention Center is at 100 Columbus Blvd.

For more information and details on parking, including free parking, Click Here.

DSC05134Photos courtesy of Connecticut Flower & Garden Show

 

 

 

 

Tree Troubles? Send Us Your Photos

by Categorized: Gardening, Landscape, Trees Date:

2014-03-01 00.14.55So many of us have trees that have been damaged in severe weather in recent years or that are just seriously overdue for a pruning facelift.

Before trees leaf out, it’s easier to assess the situation, see what needs doing and determine how to proceed.

If you have a challenging tree, or are just unnerved at the prospect of possibly damaging a beloved tree with your loppers and chainsaw, send us a photo (you can include some closer detail views as well). We’ll consult with experts and arborists and offer as many pruning pointers as possible in a story here and in The Courant.

Send your digital photos (minimum 300 dpi) to nschoeffler@courant.com, with the subject field “Tree Troubles.”

Photos: Storm Sandy tore off most of the back of the Bartlett pear tree (at top), but what remained bloomed prolifically this spring. The October 2011 snowstorm broke off about 25 percent of the branches of the cherry tree (below), including its leader. (If the tree were a clock, virtually all of the branches from midnight to 3 o’clock were snapped.) Most of the broken branches were pruned back, but now vertical branches have filled in that area, and a lot of interior pruning is needed. We’ll ask arborists if it’s healthy to let a tree’s vertical branches fill in gaps. (Photos by Nancy Schoeffler)

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