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Archive for July, 2013

Blooms in my garden- July

Friday, July 12th, 2013

This spring was a banner year for hydrangeas, roses, and alliums, and


Rudbeckia laciniata 'Herbstonne'

summer blooms are equally abundant.   The secret is the rain!  It has been raining for days, really.  Today it was hot and muggy but so far no rain although I hear thunder as I write this.  With the exception of problems like flash floods or storm damage, I’ll take the rain over the drought any day.  Of course in my garden the weeds are keeping pace with the more desirable plants but the flowers help distract me from noticing the weeds.  Below are a few of the plants that look good right now.  There are so many shades of green to enjoy even when there are no flowers.

Echinacea Sombrero Coral Red

Echinacea Sombrero Coral Red

Clematis 'Princess Diana'  and Physocarpus 'Diablo'

The first time Clematis 'Diana' has bloomed in my garden

Hemerocallis 'Autumn Minaret'

'Autumn Minaret' one of my favorite daylilies

Rosa 'Perle d' Or' July

Rosa 'Perle d' Or'

Gardens of the Delaware Valley-Spring 2013 and future tours

Monday, July 8th, 2013

meadow at Longwood Gardens

A month ago yesterday I was headed back to Atlanta after leading a three-day  tour of private and public gardens in the Delaware Valley (June 4, 5 and 6 ).   The fabulous gardens, the good weather (the rain started the day after the tour ended) and a great group of keen gardeners all made for a wonderful trip.  Our first stop was Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA.  While Longwood is known for many things including elaborate fountain shows and colorful seasonal displays, there are other features worth noting including large mature trees, interesting topiaries, the meadow and the massive twisted trunks of the Sargent’s weeping hemlock, Tsuga canadensis ‘Pendula.’

Sargent's weeping hemlock trunks

Topiary at Longwood

Being in David Culp’s garden again was a delight.  The last time I visited was years ago when we were filming an episode for “A Gardener’s Diary.”  On this visit in early June the garden was spilling over with color and texture and the air was filled with fragrant roses.  We also had the opportunity to purchase David’s inspiring book The Layered Garden written with Adam Levine and with sumptuous photography by Rob Cardillo.

Carex, Alchemilla, salvia and barberry at David Culp's garden

From David’s we headed to Chanticleer where we had lunch and a tour.  Alliums were present in almost all the gardens we visited.  At Chanticleer I especially like the combination of Allium ‘Lucy Ball’ and Penstemon digitalis.  It’s hard to single out any one area that I enjoyed more than the rest but the teacup garden with colorful but unlikely pairings of coral bell, Heuchera ‘Caramel,’ the bromeliad, Aechmea blanchetiana and selections of Phormium, also known as New Zealand flax was a favorite. (hard to get good photos with the harsh sunlight)  Other horticultural highlights for me included seeing Magnolia sieboldii, (which I can’t grow but continue to wish I could) and masses of poppies.

Allium 'Lucy Ball' and Penstemon digitalis

teacup garden

Magnolia sieboldii

We ended the day at  the Jenkins Arboretum, where we had an informative tour with Director Dr. Harold Sweetman.  While the focus here is on spring wildflowers, rhododendrons and azaleas, (next time we’ll visit earlier in the year)  there were plenty of native plants to appreciate and every shade of green.

trillium foliage and ferns

On the third day we visited Swarthmore, PA where  we spent a morning visiting private gardens and then headed to the Scott Arboretum (on the Swarthmore College Campus) for lunch and a tour.  One of the best jobs I ever had was at Scott where I was the Education Coordinator for about ten years.  I always enjoy returning to see favorite trees like the Nyssa sylvatica near the amphitheater or the huge weeping lindens,  as well as the many new plantings throughout the arboretum.

Cornus controversa 'Variegata' private garden in Swarthmore

From Scott we went on to visit one more private garden in Media, PA. On this tiny lot

(about 60 by 100 feet) Tom Borkowski and Adam Levine have created a gem, packed with interesting plant combinations.   A few of my favorites in early June include

Rosa ‘Peach Drift’ with a campanula and Indian pink, Spigelia marilandica with oxalis.

Spigelia marilandica and Oxalis in Adam and Tom's garden

These are just a few of the highlights from our tour.  Each garden offered lots of inspiring design ideas and striking  plant combinations.

If you are interested in joining me on a future garden tour, I will be leading a tour for Earthbound Expeditions to southern Italy in 2014, in late spring or early summer. For more information contact me at .

If you are interested in a behind the scenes tour of the Philadelphia Flower Show and more, Rosemary Bathurst will be leading a tour in 2014.  For more information on this tour contact her at