Visit our Sponsors and win.
Visit our Sponsors and win.

Show #36/3710
Fall And Winter Can Be An Interesting Time In Your Garden

Summary of Show


The Meadow
James and Eric start a stroll of the gardens. Eric is impressed. They start at one of the newest and most special parts of the garden, THE ANDRE BLUMEL MEADOW. Oftentimes people think that a meadow is what happens when one stops mowing the grass. But there has been a lot of thought that's been put into this space. They did stop mowing here and all they ended up with was a field of Pokeweed, which was not something they wanted. This meadow has been planted over a 5 year period, there are over 110,000 plugs and over 100 varieties of plants. Over the 5 years they did things in phases and learned as they progressed, especially in regards to plant selection and how to plant a meadow.
For More Information Click here

Meadow Plants
They look at some INDIVIDUAL PLANTS. There is a lot of diversity but James talks about some of his favorites and some that have been particularly successful. Even though fall has just begun there is a lot of color and texture. Plenty of yellows, even the pinks of the Asters. They have Solidago and Goldenrod, the Maximilian Sunflower can grow to 6 feet tall and is absolutely spectacular. The grasses with the different textures of their seed heads provide a stunning view, as well. Eric likes some of the plants that are past their prime - things like Queen Anne's Lace, the dried Humbles provide great texture dancing in and out of the yellows and purples.
For More Information Click here

Installing A Meadow Garden
James shows Eric how to put one in. They look at A SMALL SCALE MEADOW GARDEN, a perennial border garden that takes a lot of lessons from the meadow. There is Echinacea and Rubeccia in the front creating a good food source for birds and different animals, then the taller plants, Joe Pye Weed and Solidago, in the back which are great pollinators this time of year. Everything is planted closely together which helps with water consumption and cuts down on competition from weeds because as the beneficial plants grow up they fill those spaces, the weeds can't peek through once established. Eric, in his garden, does not use herbicides. The seed heads on the Rubeccia, provide an example of why. As the seed heads naturally fall to the ground and spread on the open ground areas little seedlings will then pop up and fill the area. If he were to use herbicide it would stifle that occurrence. Sedum is planted on the edge and Eric does see a few weeds but as the Sedum grows and fills the area it will keep the weed pressure down. So, there is a little maintenance at first but over time the plants will fill in. Keep the weeds out at first by hand, do everything to encourage the good plants to fill in and in short order this area will be filled with good plants.
For plants that work well in a meadow click here.
André Bluemel Meadow


Sod Sofa
The next area visited is most unusual. IT'S A SOD SOFA. James feels this is literally lawn furniture at AHS's River Farm. They got the idea from a Cornell Univ. website that focuses on living sculpture. It has been a great community activity. They created the sod sofa with their interns just before they left for the summer. They took about 8 yards of soil and sculpted it into the sofa shape, compacting the soil a little, watering it in to make sure that the soil was settling in. From there they literally upholstered it in sod, using sod staples. This couch required about 300 square feet of sod. Once the roots from the sod grow into the sofa, if you will, it holds everything together and surprisingly it's quite comfortable and has a very natural look. They kept the area marked off for about 5 to 6 weeks to let the root system set in.
For More Information Click here

Green Roof
GREEN ROOFS HAVE DEFINITELY GROWN IN POPULARITY over the years as a wonderful way of covering every square inch in green. This green roof is very unique, different from others we've seen. It's on a well house at River Farm which isn't very tall so it's something visitors can touch and really see what's going on. Sedums are predominant and there are a wide variety in this roof. Interestingly, this roof is in full shade and the Sedums do quite well, which surprises many. A modular system was used here. It is comprised of trays which were grown-in full then laid into the framework of this roof. All they had to do to put it on this asphalt roof was to put down a layer of fabric and plastic, put the metal coping around the side, then lay the trays in. It looked like this once the trays were set in, it was full and looked great from the start. The media is different and that's because drainage is important for a green roof.
For More Information Click here

Collecting Tomato Seeds
Eric's favorite times in the garden are the later seasons. It is then he starts looking around the garden and finding seed pods that can be collected or certain fruits and vegetables from which he can COLLECT SEED. He then decides on spots in the garden where those seeds could be planted in the spring. A favorite vegetable whose seed people love to collect is Heirloom Tomatoes. James shows how to collect the seeds and then store them for the next year. Tomatoes are a favorite but Tomato seeds are difficult to collect. It's a multi-step process. 1st find a fully ripe tomato, cut it open and one sees all the seeds held inside. Scoop out the seed material, move it into a glass. The gelatinous material on the seeds actually suppresses the seed germination, so it's important to get that material off. By soaking the Tomato seeds in water, it will slowly separate. It takes several days for the fleshy material from the tomato to separate but the fleshy material will eventually float to the top.
For More Information Click here

Other Examples For Seed Saving
Tomatoes are one of the more challenging seeds but THERE ARE EASIER EXAMPLES FOR SEED SAVING. A pepper is very easy. Again, start with fully ripe fruit. When cutting into it the seeds are right on the edge and are fresh and ready to go. Set them out on a paper towel, let them dry and they'll be ready for storage. With something like beans get them past ripe and in the shell. Open it up and one sees the seeds are ready. Put them into a storage container and save them for spring.
For More Information Click here

Fall Planting
Eric and James next visit the nursery. James has ordered a lot of plants for fall planting because FALL IS A GREAT TIME TO PLANT, especially with the hot summers in the DC Metro area. On the table there is plenty of color represented. The Russian Sage, a shorter variety, is perfect for purple color in late summer and early fall. Plumbago and it's striking blue is a great color for shade. It's one of the best blues available, especially as a ground cover. It's rare in that respect. Companula Pantaloons is another great plant. It hasn't been in the trade that long and Eric would call it a double. It's got another petal on top of the normal Campanula flower. It's a very nice and very interesting plant for the garden, and a great fall bloomer. We saw Solidagos in the meadow. James has a dwarf variety, Crown of Rays. It provides an excellent pop of yellow and only gets 2-3 feet tall.
For More Information Click here

Indoor Gardening
Eric loves the way they have BROUGHT THE BEAUTY OF THE GARDEN INDOORS. In particular 2 arrangements inside the home are quite stunning. They've made use of Physocarpus and its deep, deep purple foliage. The sunflowers and the Asters from the meadow mixed into the arrangement are striking. Even the ornamental grasses give the arrangements a very wispy, light texture. But the star of the show would be the Limelight hydrangeas. They provide a nice, thick white pop of color. The arrangements are fantastic. They do a great job of bringing the outside in.
For More Information Click here

Plants For Winter Interest
James wants to show Eric some WINTER INTEREST as well. Hellebore is a great plant and one of the few plants that blooms in winter. This variety was selected for its foliage. It's called Silver Lace and has iridescent foliage which is wonderful. One can't overlook foliage for winter interest plants. And fall is a great time to plan for those plants.
For More Information Click here

LINKS:

American Horticultural Society

AHS - River Farm Home

George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens

Plant List


Show #36/3710. Fall And Winter Can Be An Interesting Time In Your Garden

Complete Transcript of Show

GardenSMART visits one of America's oldest horticultural organizations. They have beautiful display gardens and artfully use many of their flowers inside their lovely historic home/headquarters.

Stephanie Jutila is the Director of Programs and Outreach at the American Horticultural Society (AHS) and provides background on the organization. AHS is a national nonprofit educational organization. It began in 1922 and to this day strives to support the American gardener in their pursuit and interest in gardening. Their members range from young to old, from people who garden in an urban setting to those that garden in the countryside. Their educational programs are offered both in person and online. AHS offers reference materials, such as books, and they also have the American Gardener Magazine, which comes out 6 times a year. AHS supports gardeners throughout the year with information for every season of gardening.

The headquarters of AHS is River Farm. The property has a very unique history and was once one of George Washington's 5 farms in the Mt. Vernon area. The home today is a 1920's era estate and was acquired by AHS in 1973. Its grounds are a celebration of American horticulture and gardening at their best, showcasing a variety of plant material and landscaping styles.

The gardens are magnificent. James Gagliardi is the River Farm horticulturist and has a keen eye for detail. Particularly considering that it's late autumn, the gardens are magnificent. Eric thanks Stephanie and is off to meet James.

James tells us about himself. He's been working as a horticulturist at AHS for about 16 months. He plans their annual and seasonal plantings, overlooks their plantings, does some of the program work and leads tours and runs their national seed program. They have many great volunteers and a lot of interns and students that help in the gardens but James keeps very busy. James knew as a child growing up that he wanted to garden. His family lived in a 1780's colonial home in Connecticut where James gardened with his father. He enjoyed that immensely and went to the University of Connecticut and majored in horticulture. While there he did an internship at the Polly Hill Arboretum on Martha's Vineyard and found he loved public horticulture. So after his experience at U. Conn. he went to the Univ. of Delaware and studied in the Longwood Graduate Program.

James and Eric start a stroll of the gardens. Eric is impressed. They start at one of the newest and most special parts of the garden, THE ANDRE BLUMEL MEADOW. Oftentimes people think that a meadow is what happens when one stops mowing the grass. But there has been a lot of thought that's been put into this space. They did stop mowing here and all they ended up with was a field of Pokeweed, which was not something they wanted. This meadow has been planted over a 5 year period, there are over 110,000 plugs and over 100 varieties of plants. Over the 5 years they did things in phases and learned as they progressed, especially in regards to plant selection and how to plant a meadow. The most important thing they learned is to do it in smaller patches because in the first year there's a lot of work to get it established. A lot is required - watering, weeding - all essential to ensure that the plants selected for the meadow area have the greatest advantage to start off.

They look at some INDIVIDUAL PLANTS. There is a lot of diversity but James talks about some of his favorites and some that have been particularly successful. Even though fall has just begun there is a lot of color and texture. Plenty of yellows, even the pinks of the Asters. They have Solidago and Goldenrod, the Maximilian Sunflower can grow to 6 feet tall and is absolutely spectacular. The grasses with the different textures of their seed heads provide a stunning view, as well. Eric likes some of the plants that are past their prime - things like Queen Anne's Lace, the dried Humbles provide great texture dancing in and out of the yellows and purples.

Eric can tell that earlier in the year there were quite a few other plants because the seed pods are still visible. They want this area to have interest year round. A month ago this area was completely purple. The Arkansas Ironweed and the Joe Pye Weed were gorgeous. Spring, too, has plenty of color. They have Flax at that time, moving into summer the Coreopsis is in bloom. Even in the winter, the dried seed heads and the textures of the grasses add interest. When there is snow on the plants, it looks gorgeous.

They make a point of choosing plants that will be popular with hibernators, popular with animals, etc. Thus they have Hibiscus mixed in, there have clustered Mountain Mint, which is absolutely wonderful at attracting bees and different pollinators. They choose plants that are good for butterflies, Milkweed, Butterfly Weed, anything in the Asclepias species, anything that creates a food source. It's also important to provide a pollination source for butterflies.

This was a mowed area before they put in the meadow. And, there have been advantages to this meadow. When stopping and listening one hears birds and insects. It's a wonderful place and bringing wildlife back. Plus since it's not lawn they don't need to mow it anymore and 4 acres uses a lot of fossil fuel every week. There's no watering, except for the year it's establishing. There's not much maintenance, particularly compared to a lawn and since this area is overlooking the Potomac River and draining down to it, it offers great filtration. Low maintenance and beautiful, Eric is sold.

James shows Eric how to put one in. They look at A SMALL SCALE MEADOW GARDEN, a perennial border garden that takes a lot of lessons from the meadow. There is Echinacea and Rubeccia in the front creating a good food source for birds and different animals, then the taller plants, Joe Pye Weed and Solidago, in the back which are great pollinators this time of year. Everything is planted closely together which helps with water consumption and cuts down on competition from weeds because as the beneficial plants grow up they fill those spaces, the weeds can't peek through once established. Eric, in his garden, does not use herbicides. The seed heads on the Rubeccia, provide an example of why. As the seed heads naturally fall to the ground and spread on the open ground areas little seedlings will then pop up and fill the area. If he were to use herbicide it would stifle that occurrence. Sedum is planted on the edge and Eric does see a few weeds but as the Sedum grows and fills the area it will keep the weed pressure down. So, there is a little maintenance at first but over time the plants will fill in. Keep the weeds out at first by hand, do everything to encourage the good plants to fill in and in short order this area will be filled with good plants.
For plants that work well in a meadow click here.
André Bluemel Meadow

The next area visited is most unusual. IT'S A SOD SOFA. James feels this is literally lawn furniture at AHS's River Farm. They got the idea from a Cornell Univ. website that focuses on living sculpture. It has been a great community activity. They created the sod sofa with their interns just before they left for the summer. They took about 8 yards of soil and sculpted it into the sofa shape, compacting the soil a little, watering it in to make sure that the soil was settling in. From there they literally upholstered it in sod, using sod staples. This couch required about 300 square feet of sod. Once the roots from the sod grow into the sofa, if you will, it holds everything together and surprisingly it's quite comfortable and has a very natural look. They kept the area marked off for about 5 to 6 weeks to let the root system set in. At the beginning they watered it about 3 times a day, then less and less as it settled in. Now all that is necessary is trimming. It's an amazing feature, with a very natural look and affords a great view of the meadow. Well done.

GREEN ROOFS HAVE DEFINITELY GROWN IN POPULARITY over the years as a wonderful way of covering every square inch in green. This green roof is very unique, different from others we've seen. It's on a well house at River Farm which isn't very tall so it's something visitors can touch and really see what's going on. Sedums are predominant and there are a wide variety in this roof. Interestingly, this roof is in full shade and the Sedums do quite well, which surprises many. A modular system was used here. It is comprised of trays which were grown-in full then laid into the framework of this roof. All they had to do to put it on this asphalt roof was to put down a layer of fabric and plastic, put the metal coping around the side, then lay the trays in. It looked like this once the trays were set in, it was full and looked great from the start. The media is different and that's because drainage is important for a green roof. This isn't typical soil substrate. It's actually a very rocky medium, with a lot of porous rocks. It's a good soil for the Sedums but also helps with water runoff and drainage on this roof. It is a very full, nice looking roof. James has done a great job.

Eric's favorite times in the garden are the later seasons. It is then he starts looking around the garden and finding seed pods that can be collected or certain fruits and vegetables from which he can COLLECT SEED. He then decides on spots in the garden where those seeds could be planted in the spring. A favorite vegetable whose seed people love to collect is Heirloom Tomatoes. James shows how to collect the seeds and then store them for the next year. Tomatoes are a favorite but Tomato seeds are difficult to collect. It's a multi-step process. 1st find a fully ripe tomato, cut it open and one sees all the seeds held inside. Scoop out the seed material, move it into a glass. The gelatinous material on the seeds actually suppresses the seed germination, so it's important to get that material off. By soaking the Tomato seeds in water, it will slowly separate. It takes several days for the fleshy material from the tomato to separate but the fleshy material will eventually float to the top. It can get moldy and it might smell a little but keep taking that material off the top and washing it out. Since we're in TV land James has already done much of this work several days ago. Now the seeds are clean, there is no more fleshy material and all the good seeds have sunk to the bottom. He screens out all foreign material, then pours them in a sieve and washes the seeds to get all of the last material out. It's apparent that there is no more fleshy coat on the seeds. He then moves the seeds onto a paper towel for them to dry. From there you have seeds that are ready to go and plant in the garden. James has some that have been stored in a glass jar. They're from AHS's seed exchange program, a member in Wisconsin sent these black prim tomato seeds. The seeds have been kept dry, have been there for over a year and are ready to go.

Tomatoes are one of the more challenging seeds but THERE ARE EASIER EXAMPLES FOR SEED SAVING. A pepper is very easy. Again, start with fully ripe fruit. When cutting into it the seeds are right on the edge and are fresh and ready to go. Set them out on a paper towel, let them dry and they'll be ready for storage. With something like beans get them past ripe and in the shell. Open it up and one sees the seeds are ready. Put them into a storage container and save them for spring.

Eric likes to save seeds from many of his perennials. The guys look at several. Bellum Camden is one example. The pod is fully dry and it has beautiful black seeds. Of course, birds love these seeds. This time of year there's not a whole lot of fleshy material in this seed. There's a very thin husk, then the seed underneath. With this seed all that is needed is to clean that husk off, then store the seed. Their husk is really not impeding germination but since the husk is broken one can readily see there is a little hard seedpod inside. Move that to a storage container.

Pedi sedum grasses are wonderful plants and it's great to collect their seeds. The tassel, which is the ornamental part of the grass or at least one of the ornamental parts of the grass holds the little seeds. They're very easy to extract. Hold it at the top and pull the seeds off, they come off very easily. It's up to the gardener whether or not they want to try to remove the little tassels. These germinate very well providing hundreds of little Pedi sedum plants. All that is left is to choose a place for them to grow.

Rubeccia and Echinaceas, any of the Aster-type flowers, have the basic seed structure and are easy to harvest. Break the seed head open and you'll see teeny seeds inside. These could be a little drier and later in the season they would be very easy to extract. Rubeccia are wonderful germinators and an easy plant to put into storage.

The next plant is an annual in the Snapdragon family, it has no trouble reseeding itself. It has an explosive seedpod and as it matures spreads seeds underneath or around the plant. By pushing on the seed the seeds roll or explode out. These can be stored, then put exactly where we want them next spring. So, as you're looking through your late season garden keep an eye on plants that are putting on mature seed heads, or plants that you may want to move to a different part of the garden in the spring. Of course, heirloom plants, perennials, vegetables and fruits that you love and that you want to keep going from year to year are ideal candidates and by preserving their seeds you make sure you don't loose track of them. Seed collection is a great tradition. The seed exchange program at AHS just celebrated its 50th anniversary and is going strong.

James welcomes Eric to the nursery. James has ordered a lot of plants because fall is a great time for planting, especially with the hot summers in the DC Metro area. There is plenty of color represented in these plants. The Russian Sage, a shorter variety, is perfect for late summer, early fall with its vibrant purple color. Plumbago is an excellent shade plant that also has a wonderful blue color. In fact it's one of the best blues, especially as a ground cover. Another stunning plant, that hasn't been in the trade very long is Companula Pantaloons. Eric would call it a double. It has another petal on top of the normal Companula flower. It's a great plant for the garden, a wonderful fall bloomer. We saw Solidagos earlier in the meadow, James has a dwarf variety, Crown of Rays. It provides an excellent pop of yellow and only grows to 2 to 3 feet tall. A wonderful garden plant. James will be planting more Asters this fall. We, too, saw them in the meadow, but they're great in the garden as well.

Eric loves the way they have BROUGHT THE BEAUTY OF THE GARDEN INDOORS. In particular 2 arrangements inside the home are quite stunning. They've made use of Physocarpus and its deep, deep purple foliage. The sunflowers and the Asters from the meadow mixed into the arrangement are striking. Even the ornamental grasses give the arrangements a very wispy, light texture. But the star of the show would be the Limelight hydrangeas. They provide a nice, thick white pop of color. The arrangements are fantastic. They do a great job of bringing the outside in.

James wants to show Eric some WINTER INTEREST as well. Hellebore is a great plant and one of the few plants that blooms in winter. This variety was selected for its foliage. It's called Silver Lace and has iridescent foliage which is wonderful. One can't overlook foliage for winter interest plants. And fall is a great time to plan for those plants.

Evergreens add a nice lively look in the garden. The Korean Fern has bright foliage, the cones are striking and it makes a nice addition to the winter garden.

One can't beat berries in the winter. Ilex Verticilata is a great example. It will drop its leaves and when it does the red berries will stand out even more. Another great berry plant for winter is Beauty Berry, it has a great purple berry. Birds love it. Others are Vibernum Cardinal Candy which too has nice bright red berries. Vibernum Blue Muffins has striking blue berries.

And one shouldn't forget about bark in winter. Large trees can really add interest at that time of year. Acer griseum is an example. It's hard to beat a Riverbirch for color. As these trees mature, they're an absolute kaleidoscope of different reds, russets and orange. And all those peel back to the silver bark underneath. Once the leaves fall off it makes a stunning display. The Sycamore tree also has fabulous silver bark and too looks good in winter.

Eric asks James if he has any lessons he would like to leave with our audience. He does. The one lesson from today to remember is that one should plan their garden for all seasons. There is plenty to show off during fall and winter. Think about selecting plants that can be featured then, even plants that stretch the seasons and offer interest multiple times of the year are a good choice. Fall and winter can and should be times of interest in your garden.

Great advice, James. Thanks for showing us River Farm, it's a wonderful garden, setting and learning experience.

LINKS:

American Horticultural Society

AHS - River Farm Home

George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens

Plant List

   
   
 
   
   
   
   
Copyright © 1998-2012 GSPC. All Rights Reserved.