This week we visit the Jekyll Island Club Hotel in Jekyll
Island Georgia. Kevin Mclean is an extraordinary horticulturist
and in charge of the beautiful gardens and landscape.
We first visit a sunken garden at Crane Cottage. This garden
is 2-3 feet below the regular grade and provides a feeling
that is totally different from the surrounding space. This
sunken garden is particularly hot because there is less
circulation. It is designed with a lot of structure not
only in the hardscape, the bricks and paths, but the plants
as well. To create this formal look Kevin has used Japanese
boxwoods and placed them in an "X" formation.
This provides geometric shapes, diamonds and triangles for
additional plantings. The Japanese Boxwoods were chosen
because they are slow growing. They are a dwarf plant and
won't get much taller than 3-4 feet tall. He keeps them
clipped to about 18 inches and trims them every 3-4 weeks.
This keeps their pattern tight and creates a nice formal,
symmetrical look. In between, in the diamond area, in the
front he has planted Salvia, Victoria Blue. As well, Marigolds
have been used for their striking effect, something that
jumps out. These Marigolds have a pillow effect. That has
been accomplished by using two different types of French
Marigolds, this gives a layering, relaxed or a billowing
effect. This contrasts with the formal structure of the
Boxwoods. In areas like this that are arid or have well
drained soil Lavender, Lavandula works well. Kevin has chosen
Fern Leaf Lavender. He likes the bloom quality, the scent
and the fact that the flower is blue. He is bringing blue
flowers into this area because he doesn't see a lot of blue
in gardens presently. Additionally the leaf has a silver,
almost white tint which works well with the white walls.
In the evening or nighttime the silver and white reflect
the moonlight which adds to the beauty of the garden. It
also works well in this area because weddings are held in
this garden and these colors typically don't clash with
the bride's colors. Kevin has combined two tough-as-a-boot
plants and made them look like one. Artemesia, Powis Castle,
has nice silver foliage and the second plant is Gaura, Siskiyou
Pink. It is a great plant, blooms season round, lasting
into the fall. It doesn't require much cleaning. This combination
with light pink and strong silver go well together, they
provide a soft pastel look, pleasing to the eye. As well,
since this is a warm space with a lot of sun, hot colors
like reds or oranges would make one feel warmer and they
would tend to bleach out. In the long bed he has used Boxwoods,
then on the outside used a larger variety of perennials
with different layers and a looser plant material. The pathways
are Oyster shells which have been used here historically.
This building has several beautiful water features. They
bring a sense of coolness to the garden.
In hot arid parts of the country one of the biggest gardening
challenges is lack of water. Plant selection becomes crucial.
Select native plants. What grows in your area without any
help? Good choices for about any part of the country are
Ash or Honey Locusts. Most Oaks are great choices for low
water situations. For small or flowering trees consider
Buckeye, Dogwoods, Hawthornes or Junipers. Many of these
are exotics, they came from other parts of the world where
there was a lack of water, but they work great here. Native
perennials work well in low water use gardens. Baptisia
or Purple Cone Flower are great choices for low water situations
and make an interesting addition to a perennial border.
Kevin shows us another garden. This is surrounded by a loggia
or balcony. It is a courtyard garden at Crane Cottage and
is part of a working restaurant. It has seating areas surrounding
the garden. One problem, since it is an enclosed garden,
is that it has down spouts from the roof lines feeding into
the area. This creates drainage issues with the turf. In
one area the turf is perfect, in another the grass is suffering.
Kevin has used Star Jasmine to hide the drain pipes. It
has a beautiful white flower which is fragrant. It's a vigorous
vine that needs trimmed now and then. It will trail around
the down spout, every now and then they may wrap it around
but it seems to cling to anything it wants. When brushed
against, it releases an aroma into the air. It can also
be used as a ground cover. Some of the new foliage has Interveinal
Clerosis. This area has a sandy soil, it drains quickly,
probably creating a Magnesium deficiency, it is often seen
in this location. It doesn't seem to be destroying or harming
the plant, just causing some aesthetic concerns, so not
a tremendous concern. This plant, with the surrounding architecture
creates a very comfortable feeling. Kevin has also chosen
Nearly Wild Rose for this location. It is a good choice
because of its' blooming quality. It blooms all summer and
into the fall. It is a nice single bloom, a beautiful color.
This rose is more tolerant of shade , disease and insects.
Even though this area has high humidity it doesn't get much
Blackspot. It was placed in this particular area to keep
people from cutting through and trampling the grass. It
has thousands of thorns and they let people, animals, etc.
know that through traffic is not welcome. It's a little
shrub, doesn't need supported and will grow to about 3 feet
tall. It is a great choice.
Mosquitoes are a real frustration and problem. If you like
spending time outside, Mosquitoes can ruin your evening.
Kevin is using a fairly new machine to combat these pesky
critters. This machine uses propane, just like we use on
a gas grill. The propane is burned and it produces Carbon
Dioxide and heat just like our body. It has an impeller
which causes a sucking in rather than blowing out. The mosquitoes
are attracted to the heat and Carbon Dioxide, they come
to the space where the impeller is sucking in and get trapped.
This particular machine will cover about an acre of land
and takes about 3 weeks to clear the area of Mosquitoes.
But after that amount of time there will be a dramatic reduction
in the female population - the females bite. This is a professional
model and costs about $1,200. There are home models that
cost about $300-500 and they cover a smaller space.
Georgia Raimondi is visiting today with Mark Mariani, a
noted landscape developer. Mark says a landscape developer
is a person who comes onto somebody's property and makes
their dreams come true. Mark has certainly done this with
his own home. Today Mark will introduce us to pergolas.
A pergola is a covered structure that takes you to a place.
His pergolas are on each side of the pool. They provide
some shade and are covered with Roses and Wisteria and provide
a sense of framing. When standing on the terrace you see
the pergolas, they draw the eye in and out. It takes you
to a place with your eye that you might not see if the space
were open. In Mark's case there are beautiful vistas framed
by the pergolas. His pergola's are made with stone columns
and oak timber beams. The stone is a mixture of granite
and fieldstone both local to the area. The Wisteria is climbing
all over the pergola. Since Wisteria is invasive, Mark cuts
it back hard every year. He cuts it back hard in the winter,
then a little when the new growth hardens in July. To maximize
the flowers he root-prunes the root structure. Root-pruning
is cutting back the roots, by doing this it develops double
the flowers. More energy goes into the plant instead of
into the root system. The Roses are a little behind because
of the late winter. Petunias are placed in hanging baskets.
They add vertical interest and color. Periodically place
them in the sun, since it's a little shady for them underneath
the pergola. The Wisteria grows and blooms, then the roses,
then the Petunias are the only color. It is beautiful.
We often think that a formal garden requires a lot of space.
Kevin shows us a garden that is small and intimate, yet
formal. By using repetition a nice formal courtyard garden
has been created in a small space. By repetition he means
- there is a repeated use of circles and diamonds. All accomplished
by using the same plants in the same pattern. There is a
pond, the circles repeat the shape of the pond and there
is a circle behind the pond. There is turf around the pool
but mulch or another material could also be utilized. It
depends on your preference for maintenance and do you want
green or another color. This is a well behaved garden, very
structured, it feels like it fits the space. It would work
well in an apartment or condominium. In any small space
it gives a sense of order. And it's low maintenance. Kevin,
in this garden, has used Pennisetum Rubrum, Red Fountain
Grass. It works well in most climates, it has beautiful
foliage, nice blooms of purplish, reddish flowers. It grows
to 18-24 inches tall and goes great with the strong Chartreuse
Alteranthera or Joseph's Coat. This looks great in the summer,
in the fall it really pops full of color as it gets cooler.
Another plant Tropicana Canna is fairly new on the market,
it is used for it's foliage as much as for its flower. The
flower is a bright orange but he foliage is also stunning.
Gaura, Siskiyou Pink is the same as earlier and comes in
white and pink. The pink is a hybrid and probably reverting
back to the original plant that was white. It softens the
wall. Creeping fig is also softening the brightness of the
wall. Kevin next shows us a woodlands garden. It is more
casual. Originally there was nothing but a Live Oak and
Cedar tree in this area. Since people were strolling by
on the walkway, Kevin felt the area needed something appealing
to the eye, some foliage plants were needed. He added an
autumn Fern. It is a great plant with beautiful foliage.
The color is always changing in the plant. In the spring
it has a pink or coppery color, in the summer strong, green,
pointed frawns and in the fall a darker green with some
of the new bronze foliage coming out, in the winter it is
dark green and the spores on the bottom are bright red.
It is a fern with four seasons of interest. It is hardy,
surviving in zones 2-9, so it can be used almost anywhere.
It doesn't get much higher than 2 feet tall.
Another of Kevin's gardens has half walls. It is symmetrical,
very formal and has a homey, comfortable feel. The half
walls allow one to borrow a view of surrounding areas. The
backdrop has Bamboo, Palms and Magnolias. The walls give
a sense of intimacy, yet allows one to have another layer
behind the walled garden. It is symmetrical. He has used
Scaviolla or Scaevola, Purple Fan Flower. It is a beautiful
plant, spring or summer. It blooms non-stop, has a trailing
habit, works well in containers or beds and is deer resistant.
It has a little, tiny bit of yellow in the center. He has
mixed in some Marigolds to tie that in. He again has used
a Boxwood. It reminds Dr. Rick of an English garden, the
partier effect. Plants were placed in the center, not for
protection but to provide a nice, aesthetic look. To add
visual interest, Kevin has added tree-form Crepe Myrtles.
In the evening these are uplighted to raise the eye. He
prunes these every winter, usually about January. They are
pruned to keep them full at the top and they keep everything
stripped down at the base to give them a tree-formed effect.
The garden is structured but because each tree is different
provides informality. In the center is a fountain. It's
a non working fountain, basically still water. It provides
a sense of calm, it's very soothing.
Another garden used to be a reflecting pool but its been
turned into a beautiful garden. Since it was a reflecting
pool they're using bog-type plants. Most of the plants are
tolerant of wetter soil. Kevin has used a variety of annuals
and perennials. Brugmansia, Angels Trumpet, which used to
be called Detura is a perennial. They leave it outside,
cut it to the ground in the fall, mulch it heavily and it
comes back every year. It will grow to 6 feet tall, possibly
taller. It makes a nice addition to any garden with its
large flowers, the flowers only last a day but there are
always more coming on. It is filled with flowers all summer
and into the fall. It is a heavy feeder. Kevin gives it
liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks.
Dr. Rick thanks Kevin for showing us these beautiful gardens.
We appreciate all his hard work.
Island Club Hotel
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