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GardenSMART Episode

Show #48/5409. Fall Gardening

Summary of Show

Jim Gibb's Book
THE TITLE "Gibbs Gardens, Reflections On A Gardening Life." It has more than two hundred beautiful, beautiful pictures so it's not just a storybook; it's a picture book. As Jim started working on it he decided it could be sort of a combination coffee table book. It takes the reader on a thirty year journey from the time Jim started transforming pastures and fields into Gibbs Gardens, which is a 326 acre, world class estate garden in North Georgia.

For More Information Click here

Fall, A Favorite Time Of year
There is so much that happens in the garden this time of year. Many gardeners consider fall to be their FAVORITE TIME OF YEAR, their favorite season in the garden. Eric wonders why that is? Jim thinks gardeners enjoy both spring and fall, they are both very popular, but in fall you have been through a hot, usually dry summer, a lot of humidity and then all of a sudden in the fall the nights become a little cooler, the day becomes shorter and you begin to see changes taking place.

For More Information Click here

Incorporate Texture In Your Garden
We talked about the need and the importance of being thoughtful in the way that we design our garden for different seasons, one thing that is very important to keep in mind is TEXTURE. How are all of these plants going to interplay. How does Jim think about that aspect of design in his gardening? The first thing he does is think about the texture of the plants. He believes there are three textures that have to be considered in every design.

For More Information Click here

Trees Add Structure To Your Garden
Let's talk about trees because TREES BRING SO MUCH STRUCTURE TO THE GARDEN and they tend to be more permanent features as compared to annuals and perennials, even smaller shrubs. What are you looking for in the way of trees from the standpoint of fall interest? Of course, the first thing Jim thinks about is the background which is normally going to be native trees. You have all the different colors for that background. As you move in closer you are going to be putting, usually, some understory trees in front of those more native type trees.

For More Information Click here

Japanese Maples
One category we can't overlook is the JAPANESE MAPLE. Eric would love for us to take a stroll through the garden and take a look at some of those. And Jim would love to show us those. As far as fall color goes it would be difficult to imagine a category of plants with greater impact than Japanese maples. They are the queens of the garden and this is the time of year where they really shine. For many gardeners if you start looking at the hundreds and hundreds of
cultivars and varieties that exist, it's a little overwhelming.

For More Information Click here

Choosing A Japanese Maple
Eric would like for Jim to discuss a way of looking at the category from a standpoint of different textures and different types that help it make MORE SENSE FOR THE HOME GARDENER. They are standing next to an area of Gibbs Gardens that has over a hundred cultivars and they are beautiful. There are so many that you can select from and as mentioned there are many gardening books where one can go and look at the colors in the pictures and select what you want. But they have so many, many different textures, but for most homeowners we have to think about a smaller garden.

For More Information Click here

Berries
Another element in the fall garden that can bring some tremendous value are BERRIES on either trees, shrubs, even sometimes ground covers. Jim has many, many examples of those here at Gibbs Gardens. Eric would like to know what are some of Jim's favorites among berry producing plants?

For More Information Click here

Ground Covers
Another category of plants in a fall garden that we definitely should not overlook is GROUND COVERS. They have a way of cohesively bringing everything together and also defining different areas of the garden. The contrast of the different greens and the different textures with trees and shrubs and the beautiful fall color is so important. There are so many wonderful examples here at Gibbs Gardens from sedges to grasses and of course, tons of ferns.

For More Information Click here

Tips To Extend The Fall Season
Eric would like for Jim to leave our viewers with some ideas and some tips that they can use to EXTEND THE FALL SEASON. Many gardens experience fall colors quickly, it's just basically a couple weeks of interest. But here at Gibbs Gardens they have nearly two months of significant fall interest. What would you say would be the best way to approach looking at extending fall interest? The first thing Jim always likes to do is select plants that are going to give you that six to eight weeks of extended color.

For More Information Click here

LINKS:

Gibbs Gardens
World-Class Garden | North GA Destinations | Gibbs Gardens

Jim Gibbs book - "GIBBS GARDENS - Reflections On A Gardening Life
Gift Store | Gibbs Gardens

Carol Skapinetz - Original Watercolors
cgskapinetz.com - Home

Plant List

Top

Show #48/5409. Fall Gardening

Transcript of Show

In this episode GardenSMART visits one of our favorite southeastern gardens to discuss fall color as well as how to keep your garden vibrant year round.

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower" that quote from Albert Camus has never been truer than in the foothills of the north Georgia mountains. The rolling hills, abundance of springs and streams and mature shade trees create a truly unique backdrop for fall color.

GardenSMART returns to Gibbs Gardens to visit with our friend Jim Gibbs. Gibbs Garden's has an amazing diversity of trees that provide a spectacular display of color during the months of September, October, and November. In the process we'll discover which plants, trees and shrubs you can use to brighten up your surroundings when summer is over.

Eric welcomes Jim back to the show. It's so good to see you. Jim returns the compliment, thank you, it's great to be back. In this episode we are going to be talking about gardening in the fall, a super exciting topic. But before we dive into that Eric would like for Jim to talk a little bit about his book that just came out. Jim is really excited about the book, it took two and a half years to write. THE TITLE "Gibbs Gardens, Reflections On A Gardening Life." It has more than two hundred beautiful, beautiful pictures so it's not just a storybook; it's a picture book. As Jim started working on it he decided it could be sort of a combination coffee table book. It takes the reader on a thirty year journey from the time Jim started transforming pastures and fields into Gibbs Gardens, which is a 326 acre, world class estate garden in North Georgia. In the book he first points out that gardening is in your genes. Most gardeners have gardening genes. For example, Jim's two grandmothers were avid gardeners. His mother and four sisters were avid gardeners. He listened to them talk gardening all the time. And that was fun but as he wrote the book he had to think about the dream, how to keep the dream alive. This garden was 30 years in the making, it took 30 years to build the gardens. He started in 1980, bought the property then, completed the gardens and opened them to the public in 2012. That was a long time to keep the passion and the dream and all of it alive. So the book explains that and tells about it. If people are interested they can go to gibbsgardens.com (link below) and they'll be able to order the book there.

Today we are talking about fall gardening. There is so much that happens in the garden this time of year. Many gardeners consider fall to be their FAVORITE TIME OF YEAR, their favorite season in the garden. Eric wonders why that is? Jim thinks gardeners enjoy both spring and fall, they are both very popular, but in fall you have been through a hot, usually dry summer, a lot of humidity and then all of a sudden in the fall the nights become a little cooler, the day becomes shorter and you begin to see changes taking place. He loves to see the changes that occur every day in a garden but none change more than in the fall of the year. How do we maximize fall color? Jim believes that takes planning, really think about how we can accomplish that in the garden. It gets down to serious studying of the plant materials you are going to select and what you are going to do, how you are going to design the walkway, where you are going to put your features or your sculptures or whatever you are going to be using. Jim typically looks around and takes notice of the different colors in the garden. Every one is a flower, it is just magnificent. The color excites you, most everybody gets excited in the fall of the year.

We talked about the need and the importance of being thoughtful in the way that we design our garden for different seasons, one thing that is very important to keep in mind is TEXTURE. How are all of these plants going to interplay. How does Jim think about that aspect of design in his gardening? The first thing he does is think about the texture of the plants. He believes there are three textures that have to be considered in every design. Some leaves have a sharp point; some leaves have a very feathery look, some a loose texture. You want to mix those with the sharp and they contrast. He always goes with a sharp, a smooth rounded, and a feathery texture. If one thinks about those three textures in every area, or each, area of your garden you're also going to create different greens in your garden. The light greens, medium greens, and dark greens all mix together well. Once you come up with your texture you just need to keep going from one garden space to another. Always use the three textures in each area.

Let's talk about trees because TREES BRING SO MUCH STRUCTURE TO THE GARDEN and they tend to be more permanent features as compared to annuals and perennials, even smaller shrubs. What are you looking for in the way of trees from the standpoint of fall interest? Of course, the first thing Jim thinks about is the background which is normally going to be native trees. You have all the different colors for that background. As you move in closer you are going to be putting, usually, some understory trees in front of those more native type trees. The one thing that Jim always likes to use are sourwood trees. But you also have Sassafras with that electric sort of orange neon color that is so beautiful. Then you have the dogwoods that, of course, have that sort of reddish to purplish cast. As we move in we've got black gums, American Beech which have the bright yellow leaves. There are so many plants that we can select that are going into a garden that provide some of that understory year round interest.

One category we can't overlook is the JAPANESE MAPLE. Eric would love for us to take a stroll through the garden and take a look at some of those. And Jim would love to show us those. As far as fall color goes it would be difficult to imagine a category of plants with greater impact than Japanese maples. They are the queens of the garden and this is the time of year where they really shine. For many gardeners if you start looking at the hundreds and hundreds of
cultivars and varieties that exist, it's a little overwhelming. There are enormous books that have been written about Japanese maples.

Eric would like for Jim to discuss a way of looking at the category from a standpoint of different textures and different types that help it make MORE SENSE FOR THE HOME GARDENER. They are standing next to an area of Gibbs Gardens that has over a hundred cultivars and they are beautiful. There are so many that you can select from and as mentioned there are many gardening books where one can go and look at the colors in the pictures and select what you want. But they have so many, many different textures, but for most homeowners we have to think about a smaller garden. Some people only have enough space for maybe three Japanese maples but they love Japanese maples. Jim believes that it is important to first think about the taller Japanese maple; those would be placed in the rear of the garden, then you would come down in front of that with, maybe, a size that's a little smaller and then you work forward to one of your dwarf Japanese dysectum maples that are much lower. So where ever you are, you are building up to the background or coming from the back working your way down. Jim personally would want to select a yellow Japanese maple with beautiful yellow color. That one is easy to select, he would always select Sango kaku which is the coral bark Japanese maple. It has a beautiful yellow green when it first comes out, then it turns more of a bright yellow and then it goes to sort of a peach color with sort of yellow orange in it. Then the nicest thing is when it drops its leaves, all of the stems are coral or reddish color. It has great winter interest and then in the spring it comes out again with beautiful sort of chartreuse leaves that then turn green with beautiful, dainty little lacy leaves. So it is a beautiful little maple. The other maple everybody wants is a red maple. So if you are going to use a red maple go with the tall one in the background, which of course could be a Bloodgood. It is very popular because it has bright red leaves in the spring, not just the fall. Emperor, has sort of a reddish purple leaf through the spring and then in the fall turns a bright red. The nicest thing about that particular maple is it is heartier for frost, late frost because it comes out a little later. The Bloodgood will come into fall color first, completely finish, drop its leaves and then you have Emperor One, which is a cultivar, that is going to be that beautiful bright red for another two or three weeks so you extend your fall color. Then, for Jim the smaller dissectum maples with the beautiful lace leaves is ideal. Everybody wants them. They're dwarf. If you do have a sunny area, to Jim, there are only two dwarfs that do well in the sun - Tamukeyama and also Crimson Queen. They also do great with morning sun up until two o'clock. Now all Japanese maples do best if they have morning sun until two o'clock but there are some areas out in the sun Jim uses Crimson Queen or Tamukeyama. They will do well in either full sun or part shade. If you have an upright Japanese maple, there's no maple any prettier than that. You could use that as the background also. Eric loves those selections and importantly most of those selections are generally available in most garden centers. Independent garden centers especially will typically stock nearly every single one of these. They're easy to find.

Another element in the fall garden that can bring some tremendous value are BERRIES on either trees, shrubs, even sometimes ground covers. Jim has many, many examples of those here at Gibbs Gardens. Eric would like to know what are some of Jim's favorites among berry producing plants? Of course one of Jim's all-time favorites is Nandina domestica. It has beautiful clusters of red berries that hang down and drape, they almost waterfall if you look at them. They have, of course, the white flowers in the spring and then the white flowers later turn to red berries. Beautyberry is another very popular one here. They have both the white beauty berries and the purple. The nice thing about Beautyberries is they will seed and you'll get a lot of new ones around and if you then want to transplant them you can or give them to friends and neighbors. As you know, part of gardening is to share seeds and to share cuttings and plants with other people. The other plant would be, of course, hollies. The great American holly, lex opaca has the red berries. Remember, you get more berries near the end because a lot of those berries are green and they're going to turn red later and will then carry through. Of course you have got the birds that are going to come in for the berries later. Viburnums are wonderful for berries. By the way, Michael Dirr has just come out with a brand new book, "Viburnums, Flowering Shrubs For Every Season." He's one of our favorites and shows pictures of all the viburnums and all the ones with the beautiful berries and beautiful flowers. Jim loves Winterberry because it's just covered with red berries. Now that's the one that you are going to need to have a male pollinator. Two male pollinators that would be great are Jim Dandy and Mr. Poppins. Both are very easy to find and they work out well.

Eric also mentioned ground cover. The Nippon Lily is wonderful. They have many of those in the garden. They're very low plants that have the sort of dark green lily leaf but have the clusters of red berries that right now are beginning to extend their stem and they really come up through the foliage and make a big show. So they are beautiful also.

Eric thinks another group that we often times don't think about in terms of berries yet can be quite showy is just the broader family of junipers. Glaucus purple berries that birds love to eat. And they're beautiful with the red berries to contrast. So you've got the contrast in color, they too are wonderful.

Jim mentioned viburnum, they're one of Eric's favorites. They have an incredible range of colors, from almost black to something like blueberry muffin, a bright blue color. And most of the plants we've mentioned also have great fall color which means you are getting the benefit of the wonderful fall color. So they have the berries as well as something that is going to hold up through the winter and additionally provide structure. Another nice thing about berries, for example, the Nandina berry is totally different where you get berries in groups clustered on branches, that makes a garden different in winter. Look at the foliage and the way the berries show up against the evergreen foliage. It's important to sort of mix the different kinds of berries together.

Another category of plants in a fall garden that we definitely should not overlook is GROUND COVERS. They have a way of cohesively bringing everything together and also defining different areas of the garden. The contrast of the different greens and the different textures with trees and shrubs and the beautiful fall color is so important. There are so many wonderful examples here at Gibbs Gardens from sedges to grasses and of course, tons of ferns. Eric would like for Jim to talk about some of the ground covers that he really likes or have been most successful for this garden. How do they work into your fall garden design? We are in a nice area that is a good example of what Eric just mentioned. Notice we have trees, even the Dissectum maple. Once those trees start getting larger their fibrous roots spread out. If you start earlier with ground cover and let them move into the base of the tree, when these trees drop their leaves you have winter interest. Not only do we have the ground cover giving us some winter interest but look at the colors of the ground cover. For example, Ogon, you get a beautiful chartreuse. Or Pachysandra, which is a darker green, they have mondo grass, you have acorus which is, again, the chartreuse sort of green, you've got the cephalotaxus, spreading plum yew, which is a different green. All of these provide varying greens. They have ferns like Christmas ferns and evergreens, all of the ferns and different plants are working together and still have great winter interest. This little garden is probably more beautiful during the spring, summer, and fall but there is no question it is still a beautiful winter garden. So ground cover has to be considered because they keep your eye moving from one area to the other, going back and forth across the spring, going back and forth between the walkways. So all this is important in garden design. Absolutely, there are so many different textures available to us and, at some point, all of these beautiful Japanese maples are going to be dormant. In thinking about the garden in a year round, multi-season faceted way we need to think about what this area is going to look like in the dead of winter. Really any time of year that you come through, this garden is going to look fantastic. It has pretty much every different texture imaginable and all are represented in these wonderful ground covers. There is the round leaf of risonicial, all these nice feathery leaves on many of the sedges, the grasses, etc., then even some really soft, textures with some ground cover junipers. It's a beautiful year round garden. Jim you've done just what you've said. It's all created with ground covers which provide beautiful color and beautiful texture. You have a fantastic winter garden.

Eric would like for Jim to leave our viewers with some ideas and some tips that they can use to EXTEND THE FALL SEASON. Many gardens experience fall colors quickly, it's just basically a couple weeks of interest. But here at Gibbs Gardens they have nearly two months of significant fall interest. What would you say would be the best way to approach looking at extending fall interest? The first thing Jim always likes to do is select plants that are going to give you that six to eight weeks of extended color. Now, of course here they have hundreds of Japanese maples that are cultivars, they are name varieties. They also have seedling Japanese maples. As you know a cultivar is a cutting from a parent tree, a seedling comes from the seed and it won't be true to that plant but it may make beautiful, beautiful colors and some of them are the most beautiful of all. At Gibbs Gardens they have over a 150 name cultivars but have thousands, literally three thousand Japanese maples so many of those are seedling Japanese maples. And they continue to plant. This year they will plant an additional 1,000 Japanese maples, seedling maples, throughout the gardens. But as you look at the gardens and think about the garden they don't have a problem here and homeowners shouldn't have a problem with leaf droppage, because they have irrigation. If you have a hot, dry summer, and last year they did have dry weather in August, had it in September and then again in October. So most of the leaves in nature, there was not enough moisture, so they fell; but at Gibbs Gardens, with everything being irrigated their fall color is always beautiful. With a residence your fall color will be beautiful, no matter what. But select not only maples but as well the maple cultivars.

The yellows come in first. Always in nature the chlorophyll drops and you've got the yellow greens and then the yellow. The next thing you have will be the orange colors, after that you are going to have the reds come in. But lets not forget the other plants. Hydrangeas, oak leaf hydrangeas, are right now, turning yellow. But then the next color, and they are just beginning to show, orange red and more of a red even later. You have plants that will bloom in the fall, for example, the sasanquas. So you really want to be thinking about what plants can you select that will give you interest with flowers and leaf color. Remember, autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. The diversity in the garden of species and then even inside of certain species of different cultivars allow us to get sometimes two to three times more interest out of a season.

Of course, nothing is more boring than a monoculture in a garden. We don't find that at Gibbs Gardens. And that is what makes this Garden so exciting. It really shows all of the work and creativity and thoughtfulness that Jim put into every single aspect of this garden over decades of working tirelessly on it.

The most amazing colors in the garden don't end because summer is over. In this episode we met with a veteran gardener who talked with us about how we can keep our gardens vibrant and energetic year round. It's been a great experience, beautiful and informative.

Jim, it's a beautiful garden. Thank you so much for your time. It's been Jim's pleasure, great to see you again. Thank you.

LINKS:

Gibbs Gardens
World-Class Garden | North GA Destinations | Gibbs Gardens

Jim Gibbs book - "GIBBS GARDENS - Reflections On A Gardening Life
Gift Store | Gibbs Gardens

Carol Skapinetz - Original Watercolors
cgskapinetz.com - Home

Plant List

Top


   
 
FEATURED ARTICLE
GardenSMART Featured Article

By Kimberly Toscano, Encore Azaleas, Photographs courtesy of Encore Azaleas

When moving into a new home it is always tempting to start planting as soon as possible. But, before digging into planting take some time to get to know the landscape and develop a plan for success. For an informative article on the topic, click here.


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