Thursday, February 3, 2011

Open for Business

Last fall I sent a few pictures of my property to the Garden Conservancy. The Conservancy is a national organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of important gardens across the country. As with all non-profits they rely primarily on the generosity of individual donors. They also raise money through their lecture series and the Open Days program, which gives the general public a chance to tour private gardens of note. To date more than 2,500 properties throughout the country have been presented and I was thrilled to be selected for their 2011 season. I was even more flattered to find that they had chosen a picture of my garden for the cover of the Open Days Directory. The directory lists the gardens that can be viewed by visitors this year along with dates, descriptions and directions. If you enjoy visiting gorgeous gardens as much as I do, you might want to order a copy, Of course, if you happen to be in my neighborhood, I hope to see you here on June 18th.

As my pal, Puck, can attest, this winter has turned into quite a snow-fest. I haven't glimpsed even a patch of bare ground for weeks now and more of the white stuff is on the way. While a thick blanket of snow provides wonderful insulation for dormant plants,the sheer quantities of icy precipitation have damaged many of my woody ornamentals. Though I regularly shake the snowflakes from their needles, the columnar yews are no longer standing straight and tall and will require some intensive staking. Snapping under the weight of the last deluge, most of my butterfly bushes have been reduced to a tangle of broken branches. Hopefully they'll sprout from the roots in the spring once I give them a good pruning. Saddened by winter's ravages, I have turned to my garden catalogues for solace.

This week, in an effort to lift my spirits,I placed an order with Edmunds' Roses, I haven't used their catalogue before but I found its descriptions to be informative with regard to both the pros and the cons of their various offerings. Edmunds' is based in Wisconsin, which bodes well for the hardiness of their stock, and I'm hopeful that I'll be pleased by its quality. In addition to a number of tempting hybrid teas, I ordered four Eden roses,a beautiful climber pictured above. I credit my friend, Baruch Kirschenbaum, for bringing this wonderful bush to my attention. A number of years ago he gave one to my mother and I've coveted it ever since. This spring I'll plant the teas in my rose and dahlia cutting garden and the Edens on the archway that marks it's entrance.

I also ordered the Dahlia, Otto's Thrill, as well as two different gladiolus from Dutch Gardens, . Despite their reputation for being rigid and funereal, I like gladiolus in the garden. As with tulips and daffodils, I always plant single varieties in groups of eight or more. Clustering the bulbs helps counteract the plant's innate stiffness. I think the one pictured below will be particularly striking in my hot colored garden.

And this pink variety should be lovely in the front cottage garden, where I'll use it in the summer to fill a hole left by a species of late-flowering narcissus.

I can hardly wait for spring!