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Entries in ornamental (2)

Thursday
Jul302015

Adapting the English Cottage Garden 

The English Cottage Garden has become one of the most beloved garden styles, provoking images and visualizations of the idyllic garden.  The mystique and romance of the English Cottage Garden captivates every gardener’s imagination.  Interestingly, the earliest history of cottage gardens teach us that they were for the most part, strictly utilitarian, planted mostly with fruit trees, vegetables and herbs with a pen for chickens.  It wasn’t until the 18th century, when beautiful cottages were built for the ‘well to do,’ that the small working gardens developed into the beautiful flower gardens we admire today. This well placed bird house adds charm to an otherwise simple flower border.

It is a quandary, how we can love and want our gardens to emulate the cottage garden, but we abhor the idea of informal, messy looking flower beds, the very essence of the cottage garden.  Having had the pleasure of visiting Sissinghurst Castle in England, one of the great examples of romantic gardens, and Monet’s garden in Giverny, France,  I remember thinking that I would be tarred and feathered by my clients had I designed these gardens.  However, the overall effect was complete and total awe.  They have a wonderful random and haphazard quality about them that appeals to today’s most avid gardener. 

So how do we meld the nostalgia of the English garden with our busy lifestyles and need for minimal maintenance?   Let us begin with garden accessories. Maybe we can add a comfortable, well-placed bench where one can relax and enjoy the peace and tranquility of the garden, or an arbor covered with roses or clematis inviting one to enter.  A picket or antique wrought iron gate at the end of the front walk, or groupings of terra cotta pots filled with a riot of colorful annuals and situated in sunny spaces around the yard can mirror the charm of the English Cottage Garden. Jasmine, gardenias, rosemary, and other fragrant annuals or culinary herbs assimilated into the pots offer the visitor the lingering fragrance so important if one wants to achieve the true essence of the cottage garden. 

Meandering moss, stepping stone or gravel paths, cottage style bird accessories such as feeders, baths and houses are details that can also add charm to the cottage garden.   Raised beds planted with vegetables and herbs, a berry patch, dwarf fruit trees or a few pots of tomatoes are details so characteristic of these garden spaces that at least one should be included. A perennial border at Sissinghurst Castle in England.

To emulate the flower gardens of England, consider inter-planting your existing perennial gardens or annual borders with taller perennials and annuals.   Cleome, although it can’t possibly replace the allure of hollyhocks, is a great old fashioned annual that can represent the charm and informality of the cottage garden.  Other favorites include Salvia ‘Black and Blue,’ Salvia ‘Indigo Spires’ and Nicotiana.  Although perennials such as Filipendula ‘Venusta’ and Campanula persicifolia would certainly be more appropriate to the character of the garden, they cannot compete with the long blooming season annuals offer. Although located in Giverny, for me this bench in Monet's garden is a classic representation of English Cottage charm.

Whether you add a bench or plant the terra cotta pots you have hidden in the garage with a potpourri of color, or you add all of the above, you will be lured into the charm and nostalgia of yesteryear and simpler times.

If you would like advice or guidance creating your cottage garden, please call or e mail me to schedule a consultation.

Written by Maria Morrison – Ferrero

Photos by Maria Morrison – Ferrero

Wednesday
Oct162013

Long Island PULSE Magazine Article - Fall Takes Root

Fall Takes Root

 

Cool-weather gardening with landscape designer Thomas Rodler

 

Author: Ruth Thomas | Published: Friday, September 20, 2013 | Long Island PULSE Magazine

Spring has earned its reputation as the time to plant, but fall is also a good time to add an eye-catching mix of cool-weather plants to any landscape. Flower and shrub species that thrive in warm days and cooler nights can take root now and establish a full year of growth to come. Thomas Rodler, president of Goldberg & Rodler, offers a few pointers for establishing an autumn garden.

Long Island Pulse: What can be planted now for the biggest pop of color in the fall?
Thomas Rodler:
Ornamental cabbages and kale are popular and I haven’t had a deer issue with them. Montauk daisies are beautiful white perennial flowers that last until frost while sedums have interesting pink to dark purple foliage and will flower in the fall. Bugbane has a tall white plume flower and tolerates shade. Fall flowering asters come in pink, blue or white. Purple to pink Joe-Pye weed flowers until frost and Russian sage has spikes of blue flower that last into fall… Some fall flowering trees are sourwood (white flowers), witch hazel (yellow to gold flowers) and the autumn flowering cherry tree, which gives brilliant pinkish-white color. The Japanese dogwood tree has a fruit center that becomes a very pronounced pinkish color in the fall. Planting in the fall, when irrigation is often reduced, sometimes requires supplemental watering to avoid stressing the plant before winter. A good rule of thumb is to give a new plant about one inch of water per week throughout the fall.

LIP: What shrubs grow in quickly to add privacy shortly after planting?
TR:
For a shady property, plant skip laurel or holly shrubs. By the water, try more native plants like bayberry shrubs, eastern red cedars and junipers that fill in nicely. For a sunny location, plant evergreens such as the dark green ‘Green giant’ western red cedar (arborvitae), the bluish-green white pine, with bluish-green needles and the silvery-blue Colorado blue spruce for their height and because they provide a natural-looking border. In the wintertime if your yard has a lot of wind I recommend applying an anti-transpirant or anti-desiccant spray to newly planted evergreens to protect them from drying out and burning.

LIP: What are some specimen tree options and where should they be planted in the front yard?
TR:
Be very selective where you place a specimen tree as it is just an accent. Put it in a prominent spot but treat it like a unique piece of sculpture. The weeping white pine noted for its shape grows 8 to 10 feet tall and weeps down with its soft bluish-green foliage. The bloodgood Japanese maple has dark red foliage that is very contrasting. The weeping Norway spruce has lush dense foliage. Chances are the tree will be shaped at the nursery you buy from, but when it comes time to prune next year, do it between the end of August and the end of November, so the wound has time to heal before winter.

Fall Takes Root | Long Island Pulse Magazine - Covering Long's Island lifestyles, arts, fashion, business, nightlife and entertainment