GardenSmart :: EPISODES :: 2003 show35
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Show #35

Dr. Rick has ideas about formal gardens. Another word for formal is symmetrical, everything on one side of the garden is the same as the other side. This is appealing because humans are symmetrical and like shapes that are symmetrical. Be careful about too much symmetry in your garden for several reasons. First, it can be boring, once you've seen half of the garden, you've seen it all. Secondly, it is difficult to get plants to grow at the same rate, this means plants on one side will have a tendency to grow bigger or faster than the other side.

A growing trend in gardening has been placing and utilizing water features. We'll explore other ideas in upcoming weeks, but this week we take a close look at a water garden with Tom Harvey at Atlanta Botanical Garden. Tom says we don't necessarily need a pond, even a big pot that doesn't have a hole in the bottom would work on a smaller scale. Water Lilies are hardy aquatic, tropical plants. They start coming up and out of dormancy in late April or May and will continue to grow and bloom until a killing frost. Depending on the part of the country this could be November or even later, providing 7 or 8 months of blooms. Typically at night they close, then the next day open, some earlier in the day than others. Tom thinks darker Lilies (red or blue) open earlier while the lighter colors (like white or yellow) open later in the day. The depth Lilies are planted is important. Tom places their container on a support, like a rock, brick, blocks, etc. and puts the top of the container no more than 10 to 12 inches below the surface of the water. They are in containers with no holes in the bottom. Water temperature is important for blooming, if the water isn't warm they won't bloom. They grow in a medium of clay, cut or mixed with 50% granite sand and pebbles are used to hold the mix down. The mix must hold the pot down and hold nutrients, the stones hold it all together so the plant can root in the first year. These plants can be over-wintered, place them in a warm place in the house, a basement, for example and keep them moist. They go into a dormant state during this time. Tom shows us Texas Dawn, it is creamy yellow. The leaf on Water Lilies is unique in that the Stomata, which exchanges gasses back and forth is located on the top of the leaf. The leaf is designed to lie flat so that it maximizes all of the sunlight, they don't curl or ruffle, they're flat. They're a perfect landing place for Dragonflies and Frogs. The leaves come in different mottling, some are red, some silver or burgundy. As they photosynthesize they turn green and change to different shades of green. When you see new leaves you know the plant is growing and healthy. The plants are normally problem free but fertilization is a critical factor. They are heavy feeders and at ABG they fertilize every two weeks in the growing season. Plant tabs, compressed fertilizer, could be used, Tom prefers a 10-10-10. Put it in a paper towel and shove it down the sides of the pot every 8-10 inches around the pot. Algae will form, but other aquatic plants and Goldfish should keep it clean. The Goldfish should also keep Mosquitos under control. Aquatic plans are a great way to keep cool and a beautiful part of your garden.

Sig Guthman is a volunteer at ABG and is involved with procuring land art for the Garden. Sig believes that a symbiotic relationship develops between sculpture and plants in a garden. The plants develop another dimension because of the art. It is fascinating to view but in one specific case, a garden gate, it is also functional. The gate we view was made by Andrew Crawfoot a local Atlanta artist, who attended the Rhode Island School of Design. He also produced the gate at the entrance to ABG. The Herb Garden gate is adorned with tools, garden implements that are whimsical. He produced them using blacksmithing techniques. Another sculpture was produced by a husband and wife team, Tina Stern and Don Morgan. This is a bronze or iron frog with cattails and was donated by the Frasier-Parker foundation. These works of art do enhance the gardens and add to the total enjoyment.

Kara Ziegler is curator of Bromeliads at ABG. She will provide tips on growing and care of Bromeliads. Bromeliads are a member of the Pineapple family, the Bromeliaceae. They are a very easy household plant to grow and are native to southern Florida south to South America. Tillandsias are Epiphytes which means they don't need soil to grow. It is best to mount them on branches or cork slabs, they don't need much water and like to be misted in the morning and allowed to dry overnight. They create beautiful blooms as can be seen on Tillandsia Mallemontii. Tillandsia Funckiana has red flowers when in bloom. These are best mounted by placing wire around the roots on a cork slab then tighten the wire at the back of the slab. The next Bromeliads need a soil mix. The best mix is an epiphyte mix, consisting of very chunky sponge rock, fir bark and charcoal mixture. Guzmania Ligulata requires this mix, it requires semi-shade and a water filling tank. The water is for nutrient uptake and the tank is the best way to water. Tillandsia Flabellata is a different kind of Tillandsia and differs from the Guzmania because it has a different bloom spike. It blooms in summer and is a tank Bromeliad. Nidularium Innocentii is also a tank Bromeliad but differs from the others in that it needs more sunlight to develop its' beautiful purple leaves. It is a red bloomer, with white centers. Aechmea Retusa requires full sun, has unusual spines and has an unusual orange and yellow flower that occurs in the summer. They are easy to propagate because they develop offsets. These offsets can be pruned at the base of the offset, then propagated in the mix mentioned above. It will develop roots in weeks. Viric Bromeliads grow in the desert in sandy, rocky conditions. We view one called Cryptanthus Acaulis, in full sun it develops a red flower and when it blooms it has yellow flowers. Bromeliads should make a nice addition to anyone's home.

Sally Wright is a volunteer at ABG and has been volunteering there for 14 years. She shows us some of her dried flower arrangements. She has taken River Birch and secured it in a flower pot with some foam. She then wraps wire around it to ensure it stays compact. She then winds Spanish Moss around it in a kind of rope like shape all the way to the top and secures it all with glue from a glue gun. She has dried Gumfrina by hanging it upside down. She then works with a Hydrangea that has dried on the plant until about July, then put it in water until the water dissolves and it feels papery, when the blooms are a little woody spray them with Design Master Wedgewood Blue Paint. It looks natural, but keeps the blue color and doesn't fade. Sally then adds Yarrow, the yellow adds to any arrangement, but beforehand she hung it upside down in a dark place like a closet. When all are dry she puts them all together. The finished arrangement has different shades and looks elegant and sophisticated.

Link :: Atlanta Botanical Garden

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