Thursday, June 30, 2011

An urban garden at Chelsea

I suppose, since they're all in the center of London, all these gardens are technically urban gardens. There were a handful of gardens at Chelsea that were designed specifically as urban gardens. These interested me the most. They included smaller more intimate spaces, more use of vertical space, espaliered trees, reuse of materials and other sustainable ideas. They often contained items required for people -- seating, tables, work spaces, shelter and storage.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Carol & Tom's Vegetable Library

Carol & Tom have the garden of one million great ideas. Here's a shot of Carol enjoying the vegetables they've planted along the front of their garage roof. It's totally accessible thanks to Tom's installation of a library ladder on a rail. Isn't this awesome? They've got a densely planted yard on a small urban lot and had no room for a vegetable garden. I've never seen anything like this before.

I've posted in the past about their garden. Tom's designed and built a rainwater retention system that stores 150 gallons of water and is gravity fed into a normal water spigot/hose connected through the garage. The stored rainwater is MUCH better for topping off their fish pond than city water.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Father's Day Fish & Clips

Last week for Father's Day I was given these great fish-looking plant clips and a small garden ornament shaped like a very pretty concrete cupcake.

The plant clips came from a store in Germany. They are for my beloved espalier (no more beloved than my daughter though, but close). I've been using the plastic "ribbon-like" ties to hold the dwarf pear branches to the cables I strung to shape the espalier.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Come see my Garden Tourism Talk on Monday...

I've been asked to give a talk on garden tourism by the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library (the downtown main branch) this coming Monday, June 27 from 12 noon-1 p.m. (It's free!).

I'll do what I can to speak about the "growing" importance of garden tourism as an opportunity to draw new visitors and improve Buffalo's image. 

I'll also show some travel photos of gardens destinations around the world I've visited -- the Chelsea Flower Show, Stourhead (the inspiration for Olmsted's Delaware Park), Villandry (the most beautiful vegetable garden in the world), Longwood Gardens, Giverny, Keukenhof, Alhambra, Chicago's Lurie Garden, Holland's Aalsmeer Flower Market, NYC's Highline, the Loire Valley's International Garden Festival, Isreal's Baha'i Temple Gardens, and Austria's the "Sound of Music" garden - Mirabell Park. 

If there's time, I'll quickly go through some smaller, though significant gardens -- like those of Da Vinci, Reubens, Shakespeare, George Washington, Frank Lloyd Wright, chef Rick Bayless and a quick tour of less well-known homes & public gardens from Mexico, Greece, Germany, the Caribbean, Italy, and Belgium.

Add to all that a smattering of Washington D.C., Disney, a couple castle gardens and a pilgrim garden. Then, a tease of one of the best garden destinations in the U.S. -- Buffalo, NY (photo at top!).

See you on Monday?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Poet's Garden at Chelsea

One of the more elegant gardens we saw was designed by Kazuyuki Ishihara. It's titled A Beautiful Paradise (Making memories with a green poem). It was one of the most understated, yet exquisite gardens on display. And it was one that didn't have crowds around it as deep as the others. Around it were displays with towers, water wheels and a crane giving rides, so it slipped by many because it had no moving parts. It was layered with open plants -- many acer/maples -- nothing tight or dense. You could see through every plan to the next, giving a layered look that was very natural. Streams and waterfalls, with out the crowds, would have have provided spills, drips & drips to listen to.

And the pavilion? It looks like it came from a dream, I'm sure it was made of clouds, mist and marshmallow fluff.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Shag carpeting a new trend in the garden?

Looking more like an early '70s rec room, this garden from Chelsea seemed less of a potential trend and more of the "Shock Jock" version of gardening. It seemed intended to just get tongues wagging than to be a practical design decision for other gardeners to look to for inspiration. The unnatural blue, the hanging plastic chair. Definitely retro-cool. Definitely impractical. But it's a show garden after all. Set up for the course of a week, with no rules or criteria, just the whims of the designer.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Columbine Combinations at Chelsea

This gathering of Columbine blooms looked more like a subject for an impressionist painting than a flower display. It was stunning. I've got a few volunteer purple columbine that come up faithfully each year. They're not flowers I'd spend much time or effort with, since they're early bloomers and don't last long and you're left with tall, sad-looking stark stalks. But if I knew I could have displays like this in my own garden, I'd change my mind about Columbine.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Rectangular Flower Towers

From a distance, this display at the Chelsea Flower show, in the Flower Hall, wasn't too impressive. It looked like a gray wall. Only stepping up right to it and getting up close and personal could you appreciate the exquisite assemblage of flowers and the great skill someone (or many) had with placement, shape and color.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Something from Chelsea I'm really going to do

I was really blown away with the great colors and color combinations of the heuchera at one display at Chelsea -- oranges, pinks, chartreuse, gold, purples, forest green, maroon -- in variegated, solid, shaded, splattered -- matte or gloss finish. Even the little white/light-colored blooms add a light splash of color that Monet liked in his gardens at Giverny -- his “shimmery” small-flowering white flowers --  used to make other colors “pop.”

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My least favorite display at Chelsea

Reminded me of some generic wedding banquet hall at some "Wedding Land" facility found almost anyplace. Sorry, there's probably some bride or future bride out there ooohing and aaaahing over this display. White, cold, sterile, plastic-y.  Didn't do it for me.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Chelsea and Buffalo's Front Yard Garden Competition

Last year, when we were locked in a room concepting what a National Garden Festival could entail in Buffalo, Garden-meister Mike Shadrack suggested we do a front yard garden competition between area landscapers just like they do at Chelsea. At Chelsea, front yards (really doorways) are mocked up by a few different designers. Below are a few that we saw at Chelsea.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Chelsea - The Art of Yorkshire Garden

I loved this little garden. It was one of seven small-space gardens called "Artisan Gardens." Designed by Gillespies, it's representing, obvious the art & artists of Yorkshire -- including Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, David Hockney, Andy Goldsworhty and JMW Turner. It even had a Hepworth sculpture in it.Traditional field patterns form the foreground, rolling moors in the mid-ground, complete with the undulating rocky hills in the background are framed -- with a frame -- for the viewer.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Chelsea - A Cancer Journey Metaphor Garden

This garden is a contemporary, abstract, version of a coastal garden using water, coastal plants, timber and rock. The design thought behind it is the journey, a steady climb up through the landscape from a barren shore to a lush refuge representing a cancer survivor's journey through their illness phases. The route is not direct, and involves changes in direction, and highs and lows -- much like the cancer survivor's experience. I found that to be a rather nice thought. Pretty and poetic.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Chelsea - Eureka! A science & production themed garden

This Garden, designed by Marcus Barnett features plants used for their beauty & utility. The pants in this garden have medicinal, commercial or industrial uses. It was created in coordination with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Chelsea New Wild Garden

This garden, designed by Nigel Dunnett & The Landscape Agency was a garden studio made from a re-purposed shipping container with a planted roof. It incorporates "habitat walls" of dry-stacked stone walls intended for insects to find a happy home. The garden is the first full-sized rain garden built at Chelsea.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Kickoff Party for the National Garden Festival - 2011

Stop by for the kickoff party for the National Garden Festival. Last year around 200 came by to learn more about the Festival -- from Open Gardens on Thursdays and Fridays; AAA garden-themed bus tours on Fridays; the Front Yard Garden Contest on Newman Place in South Buffalo; the workshops, speakers and other events; and the 15 great garden tours during the five weeks of the Festival.

We're expecting many of the Open Garden participants to attend, the residents & landscapers from the Newman Place contest, and many of the gardeners from all the garden tours -- nearly 900 gardens to see this summer!

Kerry Ann Mendez, author of two books on perennials,  will be speaking before the party -- complete with a Botanical Gardens walk-through with Sally Cunningham (a Garden Rant hero). How can you say no to that?

Well, if you do say no to that, please at least come to the party!

To order tickets, visit here.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

And so I get quoted in the Wall Street Journal...and Cleveland starts a garden walk!

I was contacted by an AP reporter about garden tourism and the effect of Garden Walk Buffalo as a tourism draw specifically, and garden tours in general. We talked for a bit and I sent her names of other folks that I know are experts in the field of garden tourism (Richard Benfield, okay, so, he's the only one), or are just starting on their own endeavors (the folks from Cleveland's first-ever garden tour). The AP report was picked up by the Wall Street Journal, CBS News, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Huffington Post,, Seattle Post Intelligencer, and more.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Chelsea - A Monaco Garden

This Mediterranean-inspired garden, complete with a pool built for the event, represents a landscape and design that reflects the Principality of Monaco -- interaction of architecture and garden. never having been to Monaco, I'll have to take their word for it. The designer of this garden was Sarah Eberle. working with gardener Peter Dowle. To see a 360˚ view, visit here.


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