I took some wonderful garden tours this month beginning with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society's Ambler Garden Tour near Philadelphia and ending with the Monroe County Garden Club Tour in Stroudsburg. The highlight of the Ambler tour, for me, was Northview Gardens, home of Jenny and Gus Carey. You may remember Jenny Rose Carey from previous blog postings: click here and here to learn more. Jenny Rose is the author of Glorious Shade and I was anxious to see the gardens for myself, having spent hours poring over the beautiful photographs of them in her book. Northview covers 4 1/2 acres with 31 distinct areas: from the Blast From the Past Garden, Italian Garden, Dry Garden, Herb Garden, and Victorian Stumpery, to the Fountain Garden to name a few. I cannot begin to do justice to these fabulous gardens in the space of my little blog and include just a few photographs here. The lead picture above shows some of Jenny Rose's June blooms -- of course they were way ahead of ours in the Poconos. Note the bottom left picture of the three -- that is a Blacklace elderberry Sambucus nigra with a rose entwined through its branches. This is typical of the beautiful plantings throughout the gardens. Don't you love the pink of that poppy and the deep blue of the bell flowers?
As I said, this posting shows just a small number of the garden spots (and plantings) I fell in love with:
|The Forgotten Garden's Grasses, Shrubs, and Evergreens|
|Top: Redbud Allée. Bottom: Magnolia macrophilia.|
Jenny Rose practices sustainable gardening, using no pesticides. She mulches with leaf mold, pine needles, and small rocks. She also uses ground covers such as the patchwork of sedums pictured below. Since the tour I purchased a tray of various types of sedums which I planted hoping they will form, eventually, a small patchwork quilt under my delphiniums. Well, that's one of the reasons for garden tours, isn't it -- to find ideas you can use in your own garden? I do like to use ground covers rather than mulch. And mulch was on my mind during this tour -- I'll explain this later.
|Various sedums form a patchwork ground cover.|
Of course, I fell in love with Jenny Rose's sheds. The top photograph shows Jabba the Hut, a summer house. The bottom one is Rose Cottage, the most beautiful 'potting' shed I have ever seen. (The actual potting takes place in the Potting Area behind Rose Cottage.) Here we met Hanna, Jenny Rose's head gardener. She showed us inside Rose Cottage which houses a seed repository and tidily arranged tools on beautiful tool racks. (I felt embarrassed thinking back to when Jenny Rose visited my gardens and I showed her the inside of my tiny, untidy potting place.)
|'Jabba the Hut' and 'Rose Cottage'|
The water gardens were crystal clear. (We are still working on ours. I'm hoping the new skimmer will do the trick.)
|Top: The Waterfall Garden. Bottom: The Pond Garden.|
Finally (yes, I know there was so much more), I loved the many whimsical elements at Northview, but my favorite was the copper teapot fountain. So appropriate for an English gardener.
|Whimsical elements add charm at Northview|
I hope you enjoyed this little taste of the loveliness that is Northview.
There were several other gardens on the Ambler tour and I will feature one more here. This beautiful garden, originally part of the estate of an adjacent manor house, has a Tuscan flair with its fountains, stone walls, circa 1880's wrought iron, and flagstone terrace. As we climbed the hill to the property, I immediately saw it as the antithesis to Northview. With the straight lines of the flower beds and the neat, black dyed mulch, this garden has a very definite 'landscaped' look that is in stark contrast to the naturalistic feel of Jenny Rose's garden. The type of mulch a gardener chooses is based upon personal taste. Until this year, I used black dyed mulch on my beds; I like the way black mulch makes the flowers 'pop.' But lately I've had the desire for a more natural, organic appearance. Comparing these two gardens reinforced my feeling that I should give black mulch a rest.
|Straight lines, black mulch. A beautifully landscaped property.|
The question remains, if not black-dyed mulch then what? In the vegetable garden I use cedar mulch because it contains a chemical that limits bacterial and fungal growth. It is brown and has medium-sized flakes of wood in it. While it is great in the kitchen garden, I don't like the way it looks in my flower beds. As for other mulches: I don't have enough leaf mold, there are pine needles in the Woodland Walk only, I don't like rocks as mulch except in a dry garden. I must use mulch of some sort, however, to suppress those darn weeds and stop the rain from splashing soil/mud up the siding of the house. I puzzled about this for a few weeks.
The next garden tour we took was in our local area of the Poconos. Here are just a very few pictures from some of the gardens we visited:
|Hostas and a bog garden in Barbara and Kerry Teats' garden.|
|Praying mantis and dragonfly sculptures in Ken Lang's garden|
|Flower-decked gate inviting you|
into Cecillia Yost's swimming pool garden
|Robin and Brad Teets' entry garden and her glass garden art.|
One of my favorite properties on this tour has a stunning entry garden with a curved, stone pathway up to the front door. Instead of the usual shrubs in the foundation plantings, there are colorful perennials and vines. The large garden at the back of the house features several bird baths and sculptures made of glass -- the repetition of glass material giving the garden cohesion. Another idea to copy: the gardener buys large glass plates from flea markets and thrift stores and places them on plant stands for inexpensive and very attractive bird baths. BTW -- she uses a finely shredded brown colored mulch and it looks quite natural.
So where am I with MY mulch problem? I processed my experiences from visiting a multitude of gardens, did research online, and reread the section on mulches in Jenny Rose's book. Then it came to me! Natural cedar mulch that is shredded as fine as possible! I'll let you know how it works out.
Happy Fourth of July to all my American friends!
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