AtHome Garden Issue
Many thanks to AtHome in Fairfield County for featuring our potting shed design in their latest issue! Please pick up a copy today to check out the full editorial — so many gorgeous photos of this special project!
We are so honored our project made the cover of AtHome Magazine this month! Check out this potting shed which we designed for a special project. A huge thank you to Amy Vischio!
New Perennials for 2015
It is never too early to start thinking about your gardens!
It is never too early to start thinking about your gardens! In the fall, we begin to prepare the garden by planting bulbs that will bloom in the spring and putting plants in the ground so they become established over the winter months.
I am always looking for perennials that are different, whether it be color, shape, or size, to add to the garden. Looking over the new variety of plants for the 2015 year, there were quite a few which caught my attention. I would like to share a few of them with you, though I have to admit I had a hard time choosing!
One of the earliest plants to bloom are Hellebores. They bloom in late winter to early spring, though mine have bloomed through the summer. A woodland plant, they prefer dappled sun. I loved the color of this variety.
David Austin English Roses are on top of my list. I started a rose garden last year and love these roses. They combine the forms and fragrance of old roses with the repeat flowering of modern roses. They are easy to grow and are disease resistant. Their extensive collection contains a rose for almost every garden situation. This year there are four new releases and I have included two of them.
Another favorite plant variety of mine is the Hydrangea. I have to admit, I do have quite a few varieties including trees. They make gorgeous cut flowers. The newer varieties are repeat bloomers and bloom on old and new wood. There are quite a few new varieties available. I may have to add this blue variety to my garden this year; it is such a beautiful color.
Clematis are graceful vines meandering over fences or trellises, or arched over doorways. With so many varieties to choose from, try to look for one that will rebloom. Here are two beauties, the latter being a shorter variety.
Echinacea are easy to grow, blooming summer to early fall. They make great cut flowers and are the perfect addition to your butterfly garden. I love all the different colors, sizes, and varieties. These are a must for your garden. I love this color!
Astilbes are mainstay of shade and woodland gardens; their foliage is attractive for the entire season. They look great planted in groups. This new variety is especially gorgeous.
When shopping for perennials, there are a few websites I would recommend for choice and quality. Bluestone Perennials is one good source. Another site I like is Monrovia, and for roses I enjoy the selection at David Austin Roses.
Many of these perennials can be potted in containers for those who do not have space for a garden. Try planting a rose bush or dwarf hydrangea in an attractive container. There are so many different and quite beautiful varieties of perennials available; do you have a favorite?
After a very long winter, it was a pleasant surprise to see the beautiful array of spring flowers blooming in my garden.
After a very long winter, it was a pleasant surprise to see the beautiful array of spring flowers blooming in my garden. I had quite a display of daffodils and tulips gracing my gardens this year. In the fall I had planted quite a few varieties, including Tulip Angelique, a beautiful scented tulip that closely resembles a peony with long lasting blooms, Mount Hood, a white trumpet daffodil, and White Lion, a gardenia-like daffodil. All were a sight to see!
Right now the Alliums are putting on a show of their own. Alliums are plants of exquisite beauty. A member of the onion family, they are so graceful with their large mop heads, exotic and unique with their shape and form. They are most interesting, easy to grow, and come in a broad palette of colors, heights, bloom times, and flower forms.
Globemaster and Gladiator are the tallest and most architectural Alliums, with huge deep purple, globe shaped flower heads on 3 to 4 foot stems. The white flowering Mount Everest is a bit shorter. Purple Sensation is one of the most popular varieties. Drumstick Allium blooms in early July and the two toned burgundy-green heads are fantastic.
Ornamental alliums are hardy and love the sunlight; there is only one time of the year to plant them, which is in the fall. I started planting them quite a few years ago and have been adding to them ever since. They are a favorite in my garden and maybe they will also be a favorite of yours!
This year it was a pleasant surprise to see my gardens showing color longer than usual.
This year it was a pleasant surprise to see my gardens showing color longer than usual. The warmer weather has kept the gardens alive. I am not a fall or winter person, but I love to see the trees turn and with the red, pink and orange hues, the gardens take on a whole other dimension. When planting the garden you have to plan so there will be constant color throughout the season. There are quite a few plants that bloom late in the season, adding color to the gardens into the fall.
Hydrangea Trees are a wonderful addition to your garden if you have space for them. I have a few different varieties, but one that I love is Hydrangea paniculata “Pink Diamond,” which starts out white and turns a deep pink and is so beautiful this time of year. Other late blooming plants are Chelone “Hot Lips,” a dark green leaf with a pink flower; Chelone “Alba,” which has a white flower, and Anemones “September Charm,” which is a wonderful plant with a delicate light pink flower. I also have Asters, a vibrant light blue plant variety called “Woods Light Blue” that is quite gorgeous. Eupatorium Rugosum “Chocolate” is a variety that has white flowers with chocolate leaves and looks great mixed in a bouquet of roses.
Of course knock out roses and shrub roses will keep going for quite awhile. “Lady Elsie May” is an ever-blooming shrub rose which is great. Dahlias make great cut flowers this time of year. Grasses they are the true beauty of a fall garden, especially when the sun glistens through them and they sway in the breeze. There are so many different varieties to choose from. A few of my favorites are Miscanthus Sinensis “ Morning Light,” Penniseteum Orientle “Karly Rose,” and Panicum V. “Red Switch Grass.” Of course, do not forget the sedums! “Autumn Joy” is my favorite.
As I write this the gardens are fading and in a few weeks it will be time to get the gardens ready for the winter by cutting back the perennials and cleaning up the beds. If you have any delicate trees or fruit trees, you will want to cover them for the winter. It is also the time to think about next year. Fall is a great time to plant any new plants and shrubs, and to transplant any plants that you want to move or divide. It is also the time to plant bulbs for spring flowers and place a thin layer of mulch down. When this work is done, you’ll have all winter to look forward to new blooms in spring!
Connecticut Cottages and Gardens Project of Note
The finished potting shed gave my client the ideal space for spending time on his favorite hobby.
Last summer I shared my plans for a potting shed design that was a work in progress. Looking back on those initial plans, it’s interesting to see how many of those details were incorporated into the final design. And yes, it is possible to use grow bulbs with sconces! The finished potting shed gave my client the ideal space for spending time on his favorite hobby and has now been featured by Connecticut Cottages & Gardens as a Project of Note. To see photos and read about details of this project, pick up a copy of the magazine today!
With the start of the gardening season, I am looking forward to one of my favorite forms of gardening: container planting.
With the start of the gardening season, I am looking forward to one of my favorite forms of gardening: container planting. I love to plant flowers in containers, and when the seasons change I will plant containers to reflect the time of the year.
Summer is by far my favorite time to plant because there are so many different flower varieties to choose from and all are so vibrant with color. It is an art to be able to create and design with plants, and the type of containers you choose to showcase your plants is almost as important as the flowers themselves.
First, you will need to decide if your pots will be placed in a sunny location, a shady spot, or where they’ll receive a mix of sun and shade. The type of plants you use will depend on the amount of sun in each location. There have been times that I have had to replace plants that did not last the season, either due to using incorrect plants, overcrowding, or, of course, the weather.
If you do not have any knowledge of plants, you will have to depend on your local garden shop. I have been fortunate to learn from a knowledgeable person for years who has taught me a great deal about plants and the planting of containers. There has to be symmetrical balance of the plants, and the size of the pot will determine the amount of plants used.
Annuals are plants most widely used for containers. I decide on a color palette and then choose the type of plants I will use. Some of my favorite annuals to use are geraniums, calibrachoas, verbena, angelonia and bacopa.
Rose Standard Topiary Trees and Bougainvillea Topiary Trees make a great focal point. I will under plant them with an annual such as verbena or bacopa. Another favorite option of mine is putting Dwarf Hydrangeas in containers. They need a shadier area or else they will wilt. After the season is over, you can transplant them in your garden.
I also like to do containers of mixed sedums, or a container of a creeping sedum. They are quite interesting. Boxwood Topiaries make a simple statement and, come winter, the Topiary looks great alone or under planted with greens.
My containers sit amongst my perennials and herbs as well as on ledges and walkways. They are a menagerie of all shapes and sizes. A lot of planning and work is involved in planning a container garden, but there is a satisfaction you get in knowing you have created something that is beautiful to behold all season!
I hope you enjoy some of the containers I have done. I am getting ready to start a new season and cannot wait!
Work in Progress: Potting Shed
I’m currently working on a unique project for client who loves to tend his beautiful gardens: a potting shed!
Just before this past Father’s Day, I met with a client whose beautiful home I’d been contracted to accessorize. The home itself is really lovely and well done, and only needed to be enhanced with further details. While we were discussing the house project, we started talking about the beautiful gardens surrounding the home. The gardens are completely tended by the husband and he has created just a spectacularly gorgeous environment.
Looking at the set up of the garage area, I saw a potential use for the space that just begged to come to life for this particular client. The home has three garage bays, one of which is separated from the others by a breezeway. This space had only a small bench for a workspace and my client expressed his wish for a true potting shed. As we talked about the possibilities, I could see my clients becoming excited by the idea. In the end, they gave me carte blanche to transform this garage into the ideal working potting shed for a enthusiastic gardener. Creating renderings of the space with a layout designed to cater to an avid gardener was the first step in this exciting project.
We then worked out what features should be part of the perfect potting shed. A large bench for work space, plenty of storage, light to work by and grow lights for germinating seeds, drainage in the floor, and a deep sink large enough for watering cans and large pots. Aesthetically, I wanted to incorporate a lot of texture and take advantage of the high ceilings. With these things in mind, I decided to sheath the walls and ceiling in reclaimed oak and install a beautiful, deep soapstone sink with a really tall back splash. The potting bench will have a zinc top and back splash for a touch of an industrial feel. As for the lighting, I really love the idea of using beautiful sconces. Can we get grow bulbs to fit these great lights? I don’t know, but I certainly plan to do whatever it takes to make that idea work!
The flooring presented it’s own challenge. We needed something durable and appropriate to the space, but also with a look suited to the rest of the elements in the potting shed. I explored ceramic stone and antique pavers, but ultimately concluded that a blue stone floor would be ideal. It’s a simple, worry-free element with great texture and large scale. It also echoes the use of blue stone from the nearby pool.
All of these grand designs will be built by my clients’ amazing handyman. The gardens around this home are so divine, my client truly deserves this space and I am really excited to watch this project take shape. Stay tuned for a future update when I’ll post a final reveal of the finished potting shed!