Friday, February 27, 2009

Do It: 16th Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

The Epcot Flower and Garden Festival is always fabulous. I’m especially excited about this year’s Gardens of the World Tour. For an in-depth exploration of Epcot’s many different gardens, this tour is scheduled Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for the festival’s duration, March 18-May 31. Guests get the inside scoop on World Showcase gardens that re-create landscapes from around the world, as well as tips for adding some landscape magic to their own gardens. For guests 16 and up, $59 plus Epcot admission. Sweeping floral beds and exhibits will feature 30 million blooms. A Fragrance Garden at the France pavilion tells the “love story” of plants and perfume with Guerlain hosts guiding your tour. The English Tea Garden at the United Kingdom pavilion offers complimentary guided tours daily exploring the art and history of blending tea plants such as the camomile flower, peppermint plant, lemon tree and ginger root – all on display. The art of bonsai will “wow” guests at the Japan showcase. Do it!

Hot New Project: Clyde Hill Garden

Name: Randy Allworth
Title: Principal
Firm name: Allworth Design
Project location: Clyde Hill, Washington State

How did you first connect with this client?
We were referred by Rex Hohlbein, the architect who designed the house.

What were the clients' primary desires for their garden?
The couple wanted landscape and architecture that were integrated (designed with the same idea in mind). The site was very open to surrounding homes, so creating privacy while preserving distant views of water and mountains was essential. They wanted a modern landscape that contained water.

Any interesting obstacles to achieving the dream?
Achieving the privacy aspect whilepreserving views required extreme care in plant selection and placement.What are your favorite elements of the garden? The sequence of arrival from the parking, through the entry court, over the water, to the front door is very compelling and joins
landscape and architecture in a very successful way.

What does the client say now that the project is done?
They love it. Other notes: This is a newly installed (summer 2008) project. The entry sequence are the most filled in and photo ready. We are looking forward to posting images of the other
spaces within the overall landscape in Summer of 2009.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Check It Out: Floral Clock

Sneak an advance peek of the sesquicentennial floral clock at the Missouri Botanical Garden as it is planted beginning in early April, then view the completed creation from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, May through October. See the Floral Clock also on special anniversary Garden Party Nights, 5 to 9 p.m. on Thursdays, Memorial Day through Labor Day.

I spotted my first floral clock at Harry P. Leu Gardens in Orlando, Florida. At the time, it seemed like the ultimate folly. Floral clocks date back to the early 1900s, when they rose in popularity in England as a form of carpet bedding. The gardening style is achieved by placing small, colorful, low-growing plants in a variety of patterns or designs, similar to the look of Victorian carpet patterns. One of the most well-known floral clocks throughout history was located in St. Louis at the 1904 World’s Fair.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

You Should Know: Garden Photography Workshop

From April 24 through 26, one of our favorite garden and plant photographers, Andrea Jones, will be hosting a workshop with one of the UK’s foremost digital imaging specialists, Graeme Cookson, with technical support from leading retailer Robert White Photographic.

Students will get a rare opportunity to learn how to make the most of location, equipment and software when shooting gardens and plants. The course includes a visit to the nearby, exotic Logan Botanic Gardens, as well as the surrounding photogenic Scottish countryside.

The course is aimed at those with some experience of digital photography, basic computer skills and at least a basic knowledge of using Adobe Photoshop. The course, based at Andrea’s home Alton Albany Farm in the village of Barr, starts on Friday afternoon. Free transportation will be provided from Girvan Railway Station or Glasgow (Prestwick) airport.

Cost for the workshop is $554.00. For more details contact Andrea Jones on (0)1465 861150 or email

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I Love This: VERSA-Green Plantable Retaining Wall

We're putting our April issue to bed today, so things are wild around here! But a press release on the new VERSA-Green Plantable Retaining Wall didn't escape my attention. Our April edition of the Fresh department leads off with a story on Green-Wall designers, and this modular system connects back to that same concept. A homeowner-friendly product, the VERSA-Green is perfect for do-it-yourselfers. VERSA-Green is a modified version of VERSA-LOK’s Square Foot segmental retaining wall system. Each VERSA-Green concrete unit weighs 70 lbs. and covers nearly a full square foot of wall face. Inside each unit is a 6-inch-deep plantable core and a groove across the top to accommodate irrigation tubing that runs across each course parallel to the wall face. The core in each unit is filled with a planting medium and appropriate plants. If irrigation is installed, a drip irrigation nozzle is placed in each unit to keep the plants watered.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Do It: Spring Flower Shows at Portland Japanese Garden

The Portland Japanese Garden will host not one, not two, but three flower shows in the months of March and April. First, on March 21-22 from 10am-4pm, the Ohara School of Ikebana brings to the Garden more than a dozen beautifully created flower arrangements. Oregon Camellia Society will hold its Annual Spring Camellia Show on Saturday and Sunday, March 28-29 from 10am-4pm. Visitors can view over 100 varieties of beautiful camellias and learn about their care, feeding, pruning, and identification. On April 4 and 5, from 10am-7pm, the Saga Goryu School of Ikebana will hold their Hana Matsuri (Flower Festival) Exhibition in celebration of the birth of Buddha. All shows are free with the price of admission to the garden.

The Portland Japanese Garden has been proclaimed by his Excellency Nobuo Matsunaga, former Ambassador of Japan, to be “the most beautiful and authentic Japanese garden in the world outside of Japan.” That’s great shakes, people! The Garden is located at Washington Park at 611 SW Kingston Drive in SW Portland, Oregon.

Engagements: Owen Dell to Speak

Owen Dell, author of Sustainable Landscaping for Dummies, is on the lecture circuit. In March he’ll be at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and Oak Park Community Center. Hear him in May at Hanson Agricultural Learning Center and Montecito Library. Click here for a complete schedule.

Sustainable Landscaping for Dummies will give you the 4-1-1 on cutting your maintenance costs by half, supercharging your plants by adding one natural element one time only, not to mention virtually eliminating the need for fertilizer by using the "chop and drop" technique. Sound like your cup of tea? Buy the book here.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Pleased To Meet: Helleborus x hybridus 'Velvet Lips'

The top feature in the 2009 Heronswood catalog is Helleborus x hybridus 'Velvet Lips' which they bred and developed through tissue culture. Grace Romero, the lead researcher for Heronswood and also point person in charge of designing the trial and display gardens at Fordhhok Farm (Burpee's original estate), has this to say about the introduction: “Hellebores clones like this one are best in a landscape, when planted in drifts. We place hellebores in part shade, preferably where there is more of a slope. Here, we used the red hellebore as an understory ground cover to contrast with: Elaegnus pungens 'Clemson Variegated' with waxy, bright yellow-centered, green-edged leaves; Viburnum rhytidophyllum 'Cree' with bluish-green leaves and bronzy stems; Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Kamani Hiba' with finely-dissected golden-yellow leaves which soften the rather shaded spot. The olive green leaves and stalks of the Hellebore 'Velvet Lips' highlight similar undertones in the companion plants.”

Do It: Northwest Flower & Garden Show

For those of you who have not already heard, Rebecca Cole's garden "Sky's the Limit" received a Gold medal and also placed Best in Show at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show in Seattle. Our features editor Jenny Andrews is there for a "meet the editor" event, so stop by the show this weekend to see her, this fantastic garden, and all the amazing displays at the show.

I Love This: Tiny Tanglewood Conservatory

Full-blown conservatories are exclusive—so much so that I never dream of having one. But this littler version from Tanglewood Conservatories is actually accessible.

Inside this 175-square-foot greenhouse there’s enough space for several small trees, rows of colorful begonias, a potting sink and a bistro table with chairs for two. Simple but well thought out details set the tone.

The unusual contour of the roof was designed to mimic the lines of the main house. The cupola is glass but the lower roof is clad with lead-coated copper on the outside and trimmed with mahogany bead board on the inside.

Go to and fall in love with the full-scale models, too.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Check It Out: Mimetes Anon

At first glance, the Economist Plaza at 25 St. James's Street, London appears empty – the usual centrally positioned sculpture absent. But scanning the perimeter a lone figure is seen to be lurking amongst the passing crowd. To our surprise - or perhaps more to his - a fully grown male chimpanzee is perched ominously upon the southern railing of the space. The chimpanzee is more closely related genetically to humans than to gorillas or other apes, and here we find our closest living cousin sitting within the fabric of this busy urban plaza, quite inconspicuously but resolutely staring back at us.

The piece, a meticulously cast bronze chimpanzee with a photo-realist surface, is by Alastair Mackie, and will be on display until April 19, 2009.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Do It: Dale Chihuly Exhibit at Desert Botanical Garden

The "Chihuly: The Nature of Glass" exhibit has been making its way around the botanical garden circuit--and it has set up residence at Phoenix's Desert Botanical Garden. Even if you saw the installation in Missouri or New York, this desert context offers a fresh foundation that is not to be missed. Ongoing until May 31, 2009. For more information:

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hot New Project: Roxborough Garden 2

Name: Lisa Rapoport
Title: Partner
Firm Name: Plant Architect Inc.
Project Location: Toronto

How did you first connect with this client?

The client called us cold. They had seen some of our work published in newspapers and magazines, and had seen some work that we had done down the street from them, in a front garden.

What were the client’s primary desires for the garden?

The client had just done a massive gut and renovation to their three-story house and the front and rear gardens had been trashed. The house is dark red brick, and all of the new work was wood stained black. The front was dominated by a large Norway Maple (a light and water sucker), and the ground floor at the rear was almost a whole story above the native ground level with fantastic views. She was looking for a strong modern project to match the house. In the front, she was looking for a gracious entry from the street to the porch, with little maintenance, and no grass - hardly survivable under the Maple. At the rear she was looking for a way to get down to the ground level, provide outdoor dining space, an herb garden, and a large shed for bikes and garden equipment. The yard needed to accommodate their small kids. She also specifically requested some red Japanese Maples, but otherwise did not have a large plant agenda.

Any interesting obstacles to achieving the dream?

The project was bid out during an intense period of construction in Toronto, and many contractors were pricing projects out of this world. Although the project was substantially done, there are some additional details still missing. We are pleased that the bones of the project were not reliant on these last details.

What are your favorite elements of the garden?

The front of the house is very dark because of the black walls and the tree cover, so we planted a dense field of red dogwood, so that the foliage would be white and light green against the dark walls, and the bark strong red in the winter. For the entry we devised a casual route which asymmetrically alternated black paving and variegated or limey green foliage, again, to create a strong contrast to the dark walls.

In the rear we created an alternating cascade of wood decks, planting and metal stairs to interlace the planting and the social spaces. The planting is all red flowers or foliage.

What does the client say now that the project is done?

The client was really pleased with the solution. One thing that has been difficult however, is finding a person to help her to do maintenance as the plants are all native - this proves to be more of a speciality than we like to think. The last gardener pulled out all of the Monarda for instance because it was a spreader (we picked the least weedy, but spreading is in fact exactly what we wanted).

Friday, February 13, 2009

Hot New Project: Dawson Garden

Name: Matthew Klyn
Title: Designer, Owner
Firm name: Matthew Klyn / Garden
Project location: Atlanta, Georgia

How did you first connect with this client?
I built the next door neighbor's garden on 2.5 acres to be featured on the Atlanta Botanical Connoisseurs Tour.

What were the client’s primary desires for the garden?
My client had been through a few other designers and companies and none of them made any sense, or shall I say the designs were too complicated or lacked meaning or soul. I'm all about simplicity, lushness, functionality and lower maintenance--although I can't build totally low maintenance gardens--I think they are boring and cookie cutter.

Any interesting obstacles to achieving the dream?
Not many. The only challenge was a family wedding approaching fast. The wedding was to be performed in the garden, so the pressure was on. We generally do our best work in the 11th hour anyway.

What are your favorite elements of the garden?
The simplicity of it with all its elegance, the lush diversity of the plant material, the clean lines of the hardscape, and most of all, the family I built it for.

What does the client say now that the project is done?
Done? A garden is never done.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hot New Project: Lopez residence

Name: Jorge Sanchez
Title: President
Firm name: Sanchez & Maddux, Inc.
Project location: Cocoplum, Coral Gables, FL

How did you first connect with this client? We were somehow recommended to the client & the client knows of us through magazines.

What were the clients’ primary desires for their garden? They had purchased the house as “the ugliest house” in the area, but with very good docking facilities for their yacht. They had been “challenged” to convert it to the best-looking house in the area.

Any interesting obstacles to achieving the dream? The house itself. We were part of a great team: the architect, interior decorator and us.

What are your favorite elements of the garden?
The lay of the land there. How it all meets together; pool, terrace, water, canal.

What does the client say now that the project is done? They knew we could do it. They are delighted. We all had a good time with it.

Hot New Project: The Thatch House

Name: Raymond Jungles
Title: President
Firm name: Raymond Jungles, Inc.
Project location: Bahamas

How did you first connect with this client? He contacted me based on research and recommendations.

What were the client’s primary desires for his/her garden? Quality, quality, quality. Time and money were taken out of the equation. A dream job!

Any interesting obstacles to achieving the dream? Work in the Bahamas is not as easy as on the mainland, but Bob Davids, the client, built an excellent crew.
What are your favorite elements of the garden? The client, the thatched roofs, the incredible beach, the pool and beach relationship.

What does the client say now that the project is done? The project is not completely finished, but I believe he would say that it exceeded his expectations. Bob is chilling in Burgundy, France as we speak.

Do It: Venice Garden Tour

Some garden tours are perfect fodder for scouting publishable gardens—others, not so much. The Venice Garden & Home Tour is a prince among men in this regard, and we’ve discovered amazing landscapes through it that have appeared in Garden Design over the past five years.

Also a wealth of terrific ideas for those of you who aren’t editors, this year’s tour, taking place May 2, includes landscapes by Jay Griffith and Zack Freeman. The $60 price tag is worthwhile as a benefit to the Neighborhood Youth Association’s Las Doradas Children’s Center in Venice. Go to for details.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Hot New Project: Los Angeles residence

Name: Calvin Abe
Title: President
Firm name: AHBE landscape architects
Project location: Los Angeles

How did you first connect with this client?
We were introduced by the interior design architects, Beardsley-Weiss, who knew of our work.

What were the client’s primary desires for his/her garden?
The client’s primary desire was to create an idea of “simplicity”. The question proposed to us was “how can we create beauty with the least number of materials?”

Any interesting obstacles to achieving the dream?
Importing 20 tons of river washed stone to a garden located on a hillside.

What are your favorite elements of the garden?
My favorite element of the garden is the “entry Ginkgo grove”.

What does the client say now that the project is done?
The garden has matured gracefully while providing a unique visual surprise of the fall color of the Ginkgos.

Hot New Project: Reitnouer Residence

Name: Heather H. Lenkin
Title: President
Firm name: Lenkin Design
Project location: San Marino, CA
How did you first connect with this client?
We were referred to them by their son and daughter-in-law. We renovated their son and daughter in laws home – and their parents loved it.

What were the clients' primary desires for their garden?
They wanted a space that had a good flow for entertaining, in which they could entertain small and large groups. They wanted a pool and jacuzzi, privacy, a very low maintenance garden – an herb garden, and a place to barbeque. They wanted places in which they could sit and enjoy being outside. (Their family room looks out onto this area). The wife had a piece of a holly tree from her grandfather’s that she wanted incorporated into the garden. She loves red – he loves daffodils.

Any interesting obstacles to achieving the dream?
She is 5’10” - he is 6’8” so we had to adjust the heights of everything to relate to them.

What are your favorite elements of the garden?
The garden suits them perfectly – and they love it.
We incorporated a new arbor and swing at the end of the pool. The arbor is tucked into the shade – surrounded by daffodils - and incorporates the holly from the client’s grandfather’s farm. It provides a beautiful restful place from which to sit and enjoy the whole yard. It is also a focal point from the rest of the garden.

What does the client say now that the project is done?
“This is my first garden and I love it”. “Sweeps of color, yellow, and red and white, so beautiful. Heather breathed life into this garden.” “The garden increases my feeling of harmony with my surrounds. You want to go out there, put your mind in neutral, forget any aggravations, and enjoy”.

Photo credit:
Jennifer Cheung and Steven Nilsson

Friday, February 6, 2009

Engagements: Demonstration

The Porter Garden Telescope by Telescopes of Vermont, a $37,000 cast bronze objet d’art, can now be seen at Nichloas Brawer, 28 East 72nd Street, New York. Russ Schleipman of Telescopes of Vermont will be there on February 7th and 8th for demonstrations. For more information, go to

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Engagements: Book Signing

Bobbi Angell, whose distinctive botanical illustrations grace the front of seed packets from John Scheepers (I fell in love with radishes and ended up growing them upon seeing one of these said illustrations) will be at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden for a book signing on Wednesday, March 4th. Angell is the illustrator behind Our Life in Gardens by Joe Eck and Wayne Winterrowd. Also that day, Eck and Winterrowd will present the BBG’s Special Winter Lecture, based on the book, covering the making of their garden at North Hill, five acres lovingly and ambitiously cultivated in southern Vermont, which the garden historian Mac Griswold has called “one of the ten best private gardens in North America.” Preregistration is required. Call BBG’s registration hotline at 718-623-7230. Fee is $10 for BBG members, $12 for nonmembers.
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