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Show #50/4611 - Early Season Color

Summary of Show

Gibbs Gardens

In this Episode Jim shows us his masterpiece, GIBBS GARDENS. Jim tells us in his words the path he's taken. In 1973 he knew that he wanted to build a world class garden but also knew what he needed in that Garden. He knew he needed an abundance of water, needed a mature forest setting and he wanted to make sure that it had rolling topography to feature all of the plant material that would follow.
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Different Blooming times

What many don't realize is that daffodils have 4 DIFFERENT BLOOMING TIMES. Jim refers to the times as the -- early/earlies, the ones that bloom in January and February, then the early daffodils that start blooming the 1st two weeks of March, and bloom for about 2 weeks, then the the mid-season daffodils that will bloom usually for 2 weeks and that takes you from the middle of March to the end of March, then the late blooming daffodils that are usually fragrant and usually start blooming about the 1st of April until about the 15th of April.
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Daffodil Beds

They next look at a particularly BEAUTIFUL BED of daffodils. Jim has the smaller daffodils, the miniatures at the front, then intermediate height bulbs in the middle and the taller daffodils towards the back. Even in this naturalized environment as one is driving or walking by one notices a great contrast, in foliage color and in the height of the plant.
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Jim's Favorite Daffodils

Jim does have some FAVORITE DAFFODILS in each of the groups. He likes Early Sensation because it always blooms in January, even if covered in snow. When the snow melts they cut them and bring them into the house. In the next group he likes February Gold, it's a wonderful early blooming daffodil and always blooms in February. And, he likes the miniatures-Tete A Tete and Jetfire, they bloom a long time probably because it's cooler then. For the early season daffodils Fortune performs well. Florists often grow it , then cut it for flower arrangements.
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Daffodils-Sun or Shade

Eric typically thinks of daffodils as being a full sun kind of plant but here the lions share are planted in what otherwise would be a full shade environment. Daffodils WILL GROW IN THE SUN, if one has a sunny location, you can select almost any daffodil and it will grow. One needs to be careful in shade areas.
For More Information Click here

Proper Planting Depth

Eric wants to know about planting depth and is there any kind of special soil preparation needed prior to planting these bulbs. Jim explains. The DEPTH FOR A DAFFODIL is always determined by the size of the bulb. If you have, for example, a 2 inch bulb you would plant it 3 times its depth, or 6 inches. The other consideration is to dig your hole deep enough.
For More Information Click here

Companion Plants For Daffodils

One of the marks of a great garden is the gardeners attention to detail from the standpoint of having many things in bloom throughout the entire year. If one visited Gibbs Gardens 6 weeks from now there would be a whole other range of plants in bloom, and six weeks after that, for the rest of the year. Typically, right now in late winter, early spring there are not a whole lot of plants in bloom. But that's not the case here. Eric wants to know what are some good COMPANION PLANTS for daffodils? Jim feels that daffodils have a number of companion plants. Quince, for example, is a wonderful companion. It comes in different colors.
For More Information Click here

Flowering Trees

Jim also has some great examples of FLOWERING TREES that also bloom during the time that daffodils bloom. Redbuds and Flowering Cherry are first and it all crescendos into the magnificent bloom of the Dogwoods.
For More Information Click here

Pruning Crepe Myrtles

ThSpring is one of the best times to prune deciduous trees and one of the most frequently asked questions from our viewers is how do I PRUNE CREPE MYRTLES. Jim has some particularly good examples on this property thus is a great person to ask. Some of his Crepe Myrtles appear to have not been pruned at all, some appear to have had some intermediate pruning, yet others seem to have been cut more severely. What effects his decision as to how to prune a Crepe Myrtle? Jim likes for Crepe Myrtle to be to be more in a natural form. He likes to take out the inside limbs, let the plant grow up and feature the trunks.
For More Information Click here

LINKS:

Gibbs Gardens

Plant List

 

Show #50/4611 - Early Season Color

Transcript of Show

In this episode GardenSMART visits a garden that's a 300 acre masterpiece. Even though it's late winter it looks great and is proof one can have color in the garden even during the most difficult seasons.

GardenSMART has been traveling the country for years visiting beautiful gardens. And, it is rare that we find a new garden, certainly one as impressive as Gibbs Gardens. Jim Gibbs travelled the world viewing gardens of every style and spent 6 long years looking for the perfect location. What he wanted was land with a rolling topography, with plenty of water to build streams, ponds and waterfalls. He found 292 perfect acres. On that acreage he built 16 gardens, 3 water features and a manor house. It was important to Jim to find just the right plant. He wanted plants that were unique, that looked mature. He would even go as far as to knock on peoples doors and ask them if he could buy the plants that were in their front yard. Surprisingly in many cases they sold him the plant.

Jim Gibbs is also the founder of Gibbs Landscape in Atlanta. He has had a lifelong passion for plants that he shares with us in this episode. In his words "passing down seeds and plants from generation to generation provides the kind of love that only a gardener understands."

Eric next meets Jim Gibbs and thanks him for joining us on GardenSMART. Eric wants to know what initially sparked Jim's interest in gardening. To Jim, gardening is in the genes and for most people, if you look back, it is somewhere in their genes. For Jim it was his grandmothers who were both avid gardeners. As well, his mother was an avid gardener, her 4 sisters were all avid gardeners, so he listened to them talk about gardening and had the experience of gardening with them. They always told him that when he had his own home and property he would then really appreciate a garden even more. Jim realized later on in life that was true. When someone has their own plot of land they can then enjoy gardening more. A lot of his experience was hands on but he additionally had formal training in horticulture. He graduated from the University of Georgia with a major in Horticulture and a minor in Landscape Architecture. While studying landscape architecture he decide he wanted to start a design, build company in Atlanta. He knew then and there that he needed not only the 3 years of landscape architecture but additionally and importantly needed a BS degree in horticulture so he would know more about the plants, how they grew and what plants to select.

In this Episode Jim shows us his masterpiece, GIBBS GARDENS. Jim tells us in his words the path he's taken. In 1973 he knew that he wanted to build a world class garden but also knew what he needed in that Garden. He knew he needed an abundance of water, needed a mature forest setting and he wanted to make sure that it had rolling topography to feature all of the plant material that would follow. He wanted to make sure that that land was located between Interstates 400 and 575. So he started searching for land. In 1980 he found this beautiful piece of property. There was no question it had all the needed water, it had hundreds of springs everywhere, it had a valley which would allow him to create all of the ponds, 32 ponds he wanted to build, with bridge crossings and of course waterfalls. This property also had some amazing giant, old trees. This garden has a very old look about it. Even though Jim started in 1980 or about 30 years ago this looks like it has been here for over 100 years. Many people that visit ask if he inherited this property from his parents because it looks so established. If one can find property like this with all the natural formations this has, it makes a huge difference. So many gardens that have been built over the years started as prairie land, it then takes at least 7 years to start to get that garden to have an aged and mature look.

This garden has 16 garden venues, 3 of those are feature gardens and serve as the 3 magnets that pull people from 1 point to the next. Within those 3 magnets they have been able to develop the other 16 garden venues. If one were to visit Gibbs gardens every 3 weeks you will see something different in bloom. It was designed so that from the time it opens the 1st of March to the middle of December visitors will see something in bloom. They have a bloom calendar that also shows the music festivals and flower festivals.

As Eric and Jim start walking through the garden it becomes apparent to Eric that Jim has a deep affinity for daffodils. Daffodils are one of his favorites, it was one of his grandmother's favorites as well. All of his grandmothers loved daffodils. Every spring he would hear about the 1st daffodil and everyone pointing out the beautiful flowers. He feels they usher in spring, the yellow color is so warm. After a winter of cold weather it's wonderful to see daffodils, they are definitely a harbinger of spring.

Jim estimates that he has over 50 acres of daffodils. They started planting daffodils in 1983 and every year he would plant anywhere from 100,000 to 150,000 new bulbs. Plus a daffodil divides and doubles, so the number of daffodils in this garden is enormous.

Jim has planted a wide variety of daffodils. What many don't realize is that daffodils have 4 DIFFERENT BLOOMING TIMES. Jim refers to the times as the -- early/earlies, the ones that bloom in January and February, then the early daffodils that start blooming the 1st two weeks of March, and bloom for about 2 weeks, then the the mid-season daffodils that will bloom usually for 2 weeks and that takes you from the middle of March to the end of March, then the late blooming daffodils that are usually fragrant and usually start blooming about the 1st of April until about the 15th of April. So they have an 8 week period with daffodils in bloom. Many don't realize they can get that amount of blooms.

They next look at a particularly BEAUTIFUL BED of daffodils. Jim has the smaller daffodils, the miniatures at the front, then intermediate height bulbs in the middle and the taller daffodils towards the back. Even in this naturalized environment as one is driving or walking by one notices a great contrast, in foliage color and in the height of the plant. Jim believes that the miniatures because they're small, then the next size which is a little larger, then on to the grand flower, something like Gigantic Star, which is so large it makes a real statement, planted together really make a strong statement. As if on cue the sun comes out. Jim feels the daffodils make a statement but with the sun out it really makes the area very warm and cheerful.

Jim does have some FAVORITE DAFFODILS in each of the groups. He likes Early Sensation because it always blooms in January, even if covered in snow. When the snow melts they cut them and bring them into the house. In the next group he likes February Gold, it's a wonderful early blooming daffodil and always blooms in February. And, he likes the miniatures-Tete A Tete and Jetfire, they bloom a long time probably because it's cooler then. For the early season daffodils Fortune performs well. Florists often grow it, then cut it for flower arrangements. Then there is Ice Follies which is a good performer. For mid season he likes Red Devon which has a beautiful orange center combined with the yellow is absolutely stunning. For late blooming, Salome is pink and fragrant as are many of the late bloomers. They will bloom for a long time. Sir Winston Churchill is another favorite. Cheerfulness is yellow and gorgeous. Geranium is another favorite. There are just so many. They have approximately 76 varieties of just daffodils and every year they are planting new varieties because he's always finding new varieties he likes. Eric compliments Jim. This is one of the most impressive plantings he's seen, Jim has done a fantastic job.

Eric typically thinks of daffodils as being a full sun kind of plant but here the lions share are planted in what otherwise would be a full shade environment. Daffodils WILL GROW IN THE SUN, if one has a sunny location, you can select almost any daffodil and it will grow. One needs to be careful in shade areas. If you have a lot of trees be sure you plant only early daffodils and what he calls the early mids. The mids bloom early; if you have a lot of trees that are going to leaf out early you want the daffodils out and finish blooming and able to turn yellow before the leaves come out. The secret to a daffodil is to not cut the foliage when it is green, instead wait until the foliage turns yellow. Once its turned yellow the daffodil is safe, it has enough nutrients stored to produce a flower the next year.

Jim probably has as much experience planting daffodils as anyone Eric has met. Thus Eric wants to know about planting depth and is there any kind of special soil preparation needed prior to planting these bulbs. Jim explains. The DEPTH FOR A DAFFODIL is always determined by the size of the bulb. If you have, for example, a 2 inch bulb you would plant it 3 times its depth, or 6 inches. The other consideration is to dig your hole deep enough. Once you do that you don't need to worry too much because daffodils have tactical roots. A lot of people don't understand this. If you plant your daffodil a little too shallow, and one year he did just that, he found they have tactical roots and the root system will pull the bulb to the desired depth it needs for your particular zone, so the next year it will be fine. Daffodils are so easy, deer don't eat daffodils because the daffodil is toxic to deer. They are easy to grow and repeat themselves every year. After about 10 years you may need to divide them. Some years Jim and his crew will plant hundreds of thousands of daffodils. Eric assumes they don't do that with a trowel or bulb planter. Correct, they plant with power augers that can be rented from some rental places or just buy a little hand battery operated auger, put it in the ground and pull it up, it's a lot easier planting daffodils this way rather than with a bulb planter. By doing it this way planting daffodils can be fun. Here with 3 men working with 3 augers and 3 people putting in the bulbs, then covering them up they can plant 7,000 in 1 day. So when they are planting 250,000 in a season they are moving along at a rate of 7,000 per day. But at home one can plant 100-150-200 daffodils in 30 minutes with a power auger.

Gibbs Gardens offers blends of daffodils. All of their collections have 1/3 early, 1/3 mid season and 1/3 late season bloomers so one should get 6 weeks or more of blooms. It then becomes important to decide what colors you like. If you like yellows they have a collection, if you like yellow and orange they have a mix with yellow and orange, one mix has all fragrant daffodils.
For more information about daffodil collections click here: Gibb Gardens | Atlanta Daytrips | Gardens in North Georgia | North GA Destinations

One of the marks of a great garden is the gardeners attention to detail from the standpoint of having many things in bloom throughout the entire year. If one visited Gibbs Gardens 6 weeks from now there would be a whole other range of plants in bloom, and six weeks after that, for the rest of the year. Typically, right now in late winter, early spring there are not a whole lot of plants in bloom. But that's not the case here. Eric wants to know what are some good COMPANION PLANTS for daffodils? Jim feels that daffodils have a number of companion plants. Quince, for example, is a wonderful companion. It comes in different colors. One can find white, there is red quince and there are different shades of pink. Another companion plant would be forsythia. Yellow Bells Forsythia blooms here in February and they bloom for a long period of time, typically around 3 weeks because it is cooler then. Another plant would be Spirea. it has white flowers and is called Bridalwreath. It is beginning to bloom with the forsythia. A favorite of Jim's is Paper Bush which is Edgeworthia. It's currently blooming with the daffodils. It will start blooming with Silver Bells in December when nothing else is in bloom. Here they have many Silver Bells in January but it is all over in February. Then in March the wonderful fragrance takes over and in April the leaf comes out. It's also a brilliant yellow in the fall. Those are some of Jim's favorites. The other thing Jim likes about many of these companion plants is they are vertical elements. That is particularly helpful if you have a somewhat flat lot because a flat lot can become boring and monotonous, but by adding vertical elements they will make the daffodils so much more showy.

Jim also has some great examples of FLOWERING TREES that also bloom during the time that daffodils bloom. Redbuds and Flowering Cherry are first and it all crescendos into the magnificent bloom of the Dogwoods. And they all track along at the same time period as the earlies, the mids and the late blooming daffodils. The vertical elements are a great way to have color up top, then some of the shrubs conifers and hollies at mid level, then daffodils along the floor. All of these work very well together and make for a spectacular show.

Eric wants to know - Spring is one of the best times to prune deciduous trees and one of the most frequently asked questions from our viewers is how do I PRUNE CREPE MYRTLES. Jim has some particularly good examples on this property thus is a great person to ask. Some of his Crepe Myrtles appear to have not been pruned at all, some appear to have had some intermediate pruning, yet others seem to have been cut more severely. What effects his decision as to how to prune a Crepe Myrtle? Jim likes for Crepe Myrtle to be to be more in a natural form. He likes to take out the inside limbs, let the plant grow up and feature the trunks. He shows us a Natchez Crepe Myrtle, it has beautiful cinnamon bark and he wants to make sure that the blooms that are up on the top get a lot of sunlight. Crepe Myrtle blooms on new growth so if you let the plant grow taller it will put out new growth and that is what it will bloom on. Same thing if you cut the plant down lower, that new growth will too produce the blooms. Jim believes that people need to think about where they are going to put the Crepe Myrtle in their landscape. For example a miniature or dwarf Crepe Myrtle would work well for a smaller home. For a larger residence one can use the taller Natchez Crepe Myrtle. So everyone should think about Crepe Myrtles and the size of the Crepe Myrtle. But they do cut Crepe Myrtles back at Gibbs Gardens. For example at the manor house to be able to see the mountains they cut them back enough to keep the view but still try to keep the natural look. But he personally prefers the completely natural look, just pruning the inside branches. Eric agrees, if one makes severe cuts and goes back to the really thick wood it looks quite unnatural and it creates a very weak branch structure. Those weak branches then oftentimes get broken in rain storms or with snow, etc. but the worst thing is it just doesn't look natural. So, the best thing is to think about the correct plant for the spot.

Eric thanks Jim for sharing his amazing garden and for sharing all his amazing gardening tips. This is truly an impressive garden, Jim has done a wonderful job. Everyone should visit.

LINKS:

Gibbs Gardens

Plant List

 

 
FEATURED ARTICLE
GardenSMART Featured Article

By Lisa Bartlett, Smith Gilbert Gardens

Spring ephemerals are some of the first plants to flower in the early spring long before most trees leaf out. They tend not to like the heat and will quickly disappear if temperatures get above 80 degrees. Spring ephemerals leaf out, bloom, go to seed, spread themselves about and then enter dormancy; they don't really die. All this happens in a two-month period, making them some of the most efficient of the flowering plants. That is what makes these plants so very special. Read more...


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