GardenSmart :: EPISODES :: 2003 show23
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Show #23

This week we visit Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina. Tracy Johnson-Crum is the activities director at Grove Park Inn and introduces us to this beautiful resort nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Grove Park has been in operation for 90 years. It was built by Dr. Grove, a pharmacist, and multi-millionaire from Paris, Tennessee as a get away for friends. Grove Park Inn today is an incredible resort with a 40,000 square foot subterranean spa, a Donald Ross golf course and stunning trees and plants. Maggie Young is the horticulturist in charge and responsible for the care and maintenance of the landscaping.

Today we'll discuss how plants survive in sunny versus shady conditions and suggest plants ideal for shade and plants ideal for sun. Plants that are reported to require "full sun" or plants reported to require "full shade" don't always require these conditions. Plants are amazingly adaptable. If you think about sun as an energy source, it can be compared to nutrition for people. People can live with a wide range of energy or calories. Plants too can survive in a wide variety of situations. PH or the acidity of the soil or water availability may vary widely but light is a critical part of a plants success. With it or without it plants either thrive or survive. Some need a lot of sunlight, others do better with little direct sunlight. The shape of the leaves will often tell us if the plant likes its conditions.

Persian Shield in this setting is an excellent example. This plant has leaves that are purple, almost florescent, with areas that have a silver-blue tint. It was chosen for this location because Maggie wanted its' color to break up the surrounding green of the trees. In this part of the country this plant is an annual, in other parts of the country it is a tender perennial, even a shrub. These will grow to 4 feet tall, it has a soft stem and the leaves can be up to 8 inches long. In this location, part of the plants are under the tree and in the shade, others aren't protected by the tree and out in the direct sun. It has much stronger colors in the shade, the plant looks healthy; it is scrawny and appears to be barely surviving in the sun.

We view two different containers, another example of sun versus shade. One container is in the shade most of the day but receives bright sun late in the afternoon, the other is in the shade all day. The Impatiens in the container that receives afternoon sun have leaves that look a little yellow, an indication that they are receiving too much sun. In this same container are other plants, specifically a new type of Impatiens, New Guinea Impatiens, that thrive in more sun. They are much healthier looking, yet receive the same amount of sun as the normal Impatiens. Placed lower in this container is Becopa, which is a cascading annual with small white flowers. Becopa likes full sun or at least several hours per day of direct sun and it is doing well. Also in this container is Blue Fan Flower, Scavolla and it too is doing well with ample sun. We next look at a similar container with similar plants, the only difference is that this container is in deep shade. The regular Impatiens are getting a little leggy but are looking good, they don't have yellow leaves like those in the other container that receives more sun. The New Guinea Impatiens are ok but not as floriferous and look dwarfed by comparison. They stay smaller because of lack of light. The Becopa has no flowers versus the container in sun that had many flowers. The Scavolla also looks puny. Plants may survive without proper sun or shade but to thrive proper sunlight must exist.

Oak Leaf Hydrangea, Hydrangea Quercafolia is a handsome shrub that thrives in the shade but will do well in the sun as well. It has awesome red foliage in the fall and exfoliating bark which adds interest in the fall and winter. In the summer the coarse textured leaf draws attention and in late summer it puts out a beautiful panicle of flowers. It grows to about 6 feet tall. If placed in full sun it seems to produce more blooms. However the leaves, in the sun, are much smaller than a similar plant growing in the shade.

In drought stricken parts of the country shade can provide an invaluable source for keeping your garden cool and well watered. Trees and shrubs can provided needed shade. They also pull moisture out of the soil and release it into the air, cooling the surrounding area. An arbor, trellis or vines will also provide shade but generally speaking they're not as effective as large trees. A large tree can pull several hundred gallons of water out of the ground and release some back into the air in one day. Some trees are more water efficient than others. Trees like Ash, Oak, and Walnut in particular save water. Understory trees, e back into the air in one day. Some trees are more water efficient than others. Trees like Ash, Oak, and Walnut in particular save water. Understory trees, trees grown underneath larger trees, are generally less efficient. Plants like Dogwood and Beech aren't as water efficient as others. Trees are particularly effective across hard surfaces. Hard surfaces heat up quickly and warm surrounding areas, causing stress to plants in these areas. Trees allow these areas to be cooler. Use caution when selecting plants for underneath these areas and utilize plants that thrive in low light and low water conditions.

Finding plants with color for these conditions is a problem since plants that love shade often don't flower and the flowers that might bloom in the shade are normally Annuals. Annuals are labor intensive, they must be planted each year. Variegated plants are a good choice for this situation. They offer color in the shade and are low maintenance. The Variegated plants are Perennials, they come back year after year.

One example, Lamium or Variegated Ivy is a tough plant. It isn't as aggressive as standard Ivy, yet is very attractive.

Sweet Flag looks like Leriope or Monkey Grass. It has a finer texture, isn't as upright but has a nice strong variegation.

Daphne Odora or Winter Daphne, Marginata is close cropped and has yellow margins on the edge. It is called Winter Daphne because it blooms in January, February and has a great pink blossom that is very fragrant. It has year round interest. It may be difficult to establish, well drained soil is important. Plant it a little above ground level, dig up the surrounding soil, bring in some soil and place the plant on top of the soil. This should keep water away from the roots. In drought conditions water it in the summer just to keep it moist.

Another way to bring color into a shady area is to put plants in containers. That way if there is too much sun or not enough sun the container and plants can be moved to accommodate their needs. Maggie has utilized Double Impatiens, with variegation, in a shade container. The term double is sometimes confusing to gardeners. Double doesn't mean two flowers, instead it means more than one layer of petals. These are considered Impatiens because as the seed pods mature they start to become brittle, if touched they explode, the seeds are impatient to leave the pod. This is an outstanding bedding plant, but requires a good amount of water and loves the shade.

Maggie has used Impatiens in several unusual environments on this property. In one case she had a tree stump left in the ground. A stump grinder could have been used to completely take out the stump. Instead, Maggie turned this eye sore into a container. She hollowed the stump, filled it with potting soil, then planted Impatiens. To hollow it she first used a chainsaw, then a hatchet, then picked out parts with her hands. This can be done with an old, rotten stump or a new stump. To add to this beautiful picture, Maggie planted Impatiens on the ground as well. It ties the two together, adding height and more presence in the garden.

Impatiens come in a wide variety of colors and flower types. Maggie shows us a bi-colored variety that has two different colors of petals. They range from clear white to almost florescent pinks and oranges. The little spur on the back of the flower gives away the fact that they are Impatiens. To keep these looking good they need to be moist most of the time, don't let them dry out. She feeds them every two weeks with Miracle-Gro and pinches them when they start getting tall. Pinch the top off and they will continue to bush out. In one container Maggie has planted them not only on the top but on the sides as well. The edges are filled with Moss, she then makes holes in the sides and plants Impatiens and Vinca. Plants are trailing down the side providing a hanging garden effect.

Another place one finds shade in our yards is under large trees. In these areas Maggie has hung planters from the large trees. She screwed a bracket to the tree and then hung the container from that. Some would fear screwing into the tree, but it doesn't damage the tree. If one were to girdle the tree, put something all the way around the tree, not allowing it to expand in circumference, that would cause damage. In these containers Maggie has planted Becopa which cascades over the edge and Caladiums. The Becopa normally likes more sun but is doing OK in this environment, it is even blooming. Most of the color comes from the leaves of the Caladiums. She has turned a normally unattractive area into one that is spectacular.

Georgia this week visits with Mark Mariani, a noted landscape developer, at Mark's beautiful estate. Mark introduces us to an Allay. Allay is a French word that basically means a lined roadway or pathway. One typically sees them in formal gardens. In Mark's case, to create his Allay, he has utilized Hornbeams. There are two types of Hornbeams, European and American, he has used American. He has pleached them, meaning cut them very sharp, very straight and cut the tops straight. He also used Barberry because he likes the red color and it grows higher than the Ilex, which is the Japanese Holly. To contrast nicely he uses as a base, beige gravel. It all provides a layered look. The Hornbeams become like sentinels, guiding the pathway. It leads ones eye to a statue - one of the four seasons (fall harvest) at the end of the pathway. Additionally there are two cherubs, one for his son, one his daughter, which represent when they were born. These look spectacular at night when lit up. There is a path off the Allay that leads to the tennis court and through to the orchard. Mark likes symmetry, he likes for things to be straight on, crisp. This provides a perfect view and goes straight through to the orchard.

Mark has done a wonderful job, he has created a spectacular view. This is a beautiful, exquisite, relaxing spot in a wonderful landscape. Thanks Mark, for showing it to us.

We've talked about shade plants, we now address plants that thrive in the sun. We receive many emails and phone questions about plants that will tolerate full, bright sun. Maggie shows use plants ideal for this environment.

Bidens Ferulifolia, Bidens looks very much like a Red Leaf Coreopsis. The flower smells a bit like honey. It's sprawling, often creeping into other plants. To keep it under control, Maggie uses a weed eater. In this case the plant borders the lawn and there isn't a barrier between the flower bed and the lawn. When it starts to creep into the lawn she uses the weed eater and cuts it back. On the other side it borders a rock wall, then asphalt. It cascades over the wall and provides a nice foil against the asphalt.

Behind the Bidens is planted Victoria Blue Salvia. The Victoria Blue is heat tolerant, upright and compliments the Bidens very well. The strong blue against the strong yellow is striking. As well, the change of form from upright to rounded makes a beautiful combination.

Mexican Sunflower, Tithonia provides a vibrant, bold look in any garden. Its blossom is a strong orange and it has velvety green leaves. It likes full sun, moderate moist soil and will tolerate humidity. These can be started from seed, Maggie started with a four inch plant. Because it is tall and has such a strong color it can tend to overwhelm everything else in a garden. Maggie likes to pair it with Cosmos because it is a similar height and the white flowers and pink of Cosmos goes well with the orange of the Mexican Sunflower. It will grow to 4-6 feet tall and is a gorgeous plant. White Fly and Leaf spot could be a problem towards the end of the season but generally it outgrows most of its problems.

Mandavilla is a great plant, actually a vine, for full sun and a lot of heat. It blooms late, the temperatures need to warm. Typically this plant is thought of as a tropical, a Perennial vine, but will grow in cooler climates as an Annual. Maggie uses a slow release fertilizer, a 14-14-14, when planting and that will take it through the season. It is a twiner, it needs help to support itself. Maggie uses a stake and lets the plant wrap itself around. Once up, she has fishing line or nylon twine available for the plant to attach itself. The twine isn't visible, it looks like the plant is supporting itself, it loops around the twine, providing the needed support.

Galardia Grandiflora, Blanket Flower likes heat, well drained soil and full sun. It has an extra long bloom period for a Perennial. Once the bloom is finished the seed head is also spectacular.

Begonias and Lantana are "bread and butter" full sun Annuals. This bed is not irrigated and in full sun, as well, these plants are next to asphalt and heat radiates into this area. Maggie used Bronze Leaf Begonias because they do well in full sun. She chose Lantana because it is drought tolerant. These plants provide color all summer. In this area people drive by in cars rather than walking, thus something with a bold impact, something large, with a simple color scheme is needed.

Sedum, Autumn Joy provides multiple seasons of interest and it is very tough and durable. Maggie likes this variety because it blooms late, August, September, even into October. The clusters are beautiful. As they mature they open and turn bright pink. They attract Butterflies and Bees. In the winter, when the heads dry they turn brown, almost black. It is an beautiful, unusual plant with four seasons of interest.

Dr. Rick thanks Maggie for showing us plants that survive in sun or shade and plants that thrive in sun and plants that thrive in shade. We know from the phone calls and emails we receive that this is a subject of interest to our viewers. Maggie has provided answers to many often asked questions.

Link: Grove Park Inn

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