GardenSmart :: EPISODES :: 2005 show29
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Show #29

This week we're in Philadelphia looking at trees, shrubs and perennial flowers. We're visiting Temple University, Ambler College which is an historic women's college of agriculture. It is where many well known gardeners have trained and has a beautiful arboretum and perennial gardens. Today we'll explore the arboretum looking at its trees and shrubs with beautiful bark and berries, colorful combinations of perennials and discuss ways to protect your trees this winter.

Beth Specker is the Vice President for Education at the Freedom's Foundation in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Freedom's Foundation runs about 45 educational programs a year bringing 3,000 students through the city of Philadelphia. The city of Philadelphia is known as America's most historic square mile. Contained within this historic square mile is Independence Hall, Franklin Court, the Liberty Bell, Congress Hall and those sites where our nation was actually born. It is where the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, the Constitution was drafted and signed in 1787 and where the first peaceful change of power occurred between George Washington and John Adams. Philadelphia is also known for one of its most significant citizens, Benjamin Franklin who celebrates his 300th birthday this year. Philadelphia is known for a number of firsts, Philadelphia was the first planned city, William Penn designed it in a grid. Contained within that grid were 5 city parks and those city parks still remain today, except one of those acres is where the city hall of Philadelphia sits with the huge 36 foot statue of William Penn. Pennsylvania had the first university hospital, the first library, the first fire department, started by Benjamin Franklin. There are 58 universities within the Philadelphia area. Philadelphia has the longest running theatre, the Walnut Theater and the longest running residential street, Alfred's Alley. Beth welcomes Garden Smart viewers to Philadelphia and Temple University, Ambler Campus, one of the first women's colleges devoted to horticulture.

Jenny Rose Carey is the Director of the Landscape Arboretum at Temple University, Ambler Campus. This facility has 187 acres of plantings and a rich history. It was designated an arboretum in 2000 but has almost 100 years of history. Jane Bowne Haines, a Philadelphia Quaker, founded this as the Pennsylvania School of Horticulture for Women in 1911. She trained girls in horticulture and agriculture in a practical way. The purpose was to send women out into the workplace as greenhouse managers or as farm managers enabling them to provide a living wage so they didn't have to get married. This school has evolved over time, at one time it was a dairy farm, it has had pigs, all depending on the needs of the day. Temple bought the school in 1958 and programs then moved away from agriculture towards horticulture and landscape architecture. Today it is a teaching laboratory. Some fairly famous people have been involved with the school. Starting with Jane Bowne Haines who was quite well known, then Louise Carter Bush-Brown was the long term school director who took the program to new heights especially during World Wars I & II when they were training women in the Victory Gardens and Beatrix Ferrand, a founding member of the American Society of Landscape Architects was involved here as well. There are also a lot of historic buildings and gardens and plantings here as well. The Haines House is the oldest house on campus, the historic red barn was the founding site for the Women's National Farm and Garden Association. There are historic trees on campus like an old Sycamore, a number of gardens used as teaching gardens and used to showcase different plantings. They have a formal perennial garden as a centerpiece that has been here since the 1920's, a sustainable wetlands garden, a green roof on the athletics facility and other gardens to show not only students but the general public how they can use plantings in their own gardens. There is a mix of the old and the new. Jenny comes from London and gardening has been in her family for a long time. Her father is a botanist. Jenny came back to school at Temple as a student and received a degree in horticulture and today is the Director of the Landscape Arboretum of Temple University Ambler.

The arboretum is filled with beautiful trees and shrubs. It's the fall and soon the place will be ablaze in color but a lot of the specimens have interesting bark and berries. You must be appreciative of details to enjoy evergreen trees. The Lace Pine Bark (Pinus bungeana) has exfoliating bark which peels off to reveal a variety of different colors that look a little like camouflage. It's a member of the Pine family and one of its more unusual features is that it has bundles of 3 needles. Other Pines may have 5 or 2 but this one had 3 needles in a bundle. The bark stays this way year round but as the tree matures part of the bark exfoliates or peels off. As a small tree it may not exfoliate but comes into its beauty as it ages. They also have a Paper Bark Maple (Acer griseum) on campus. It is beautiful, a small Maple and very good for suburban gardens. It has a wonderful cinnamon color as it exfoliates. The Sycamore (Plantanus occidentalis), discussed earlier, can get quite large, as can the Turkish Filbert (Corylus colurna) which has some very interesting bark. The bark is much more subtle than the brilliant leaves. To use these in a landscape setting or small garden you would choose very few trees therefore you would pick something special like the Paper Bark Maple. Then don't overplant around the base because you want to show off the bark. Also you might want to limb them up so you can really appreciate the bark and color even more.

We next look at some wonderful shrubs that will have unusual berries that are quite colorful into the winter. Berries make the season last longer, because they will last longer than flowers. The Beauty Berry (Callicarpa americana) has incredible purple berries, some might call them vivid violet, they come in white as well. They go nicely with the Viburnum, Viburnum Setigerum, the Tea Viburnum as well as the Linden viburnum (Viburnum dilitatum) and American Cranberry bush (Viburnum Trilobum). There are a great variety available and they're a good garden plant-tough, you can prune them back, you can't really hurt them. They produce a lot of berries and many different colored berries. Some such as the Viburnum Nudum has a blue berry. You get a double season of interest from these plants because many have a white flower in spring as well as berries in the fall. They're a good landscape plant. Not only can we enjoy them but other creatures like birds appreciate these plants as well. Also their foliage is attractive, they can have both red berries and red foliage, thus very attractive.

We've looked at trees used as specimens in the yard but we next look at a garden where trees are used as an integral part of the garden design. Here an Ironwood Tree (Ostrya virginiana) has been limbed up allowing enough light to get down to the groundcover layer, this technique also affords wonderful views through the open network of the trunks. It obviously isn't a single trunked tree, it's multi-stemmed. When choosing trees at a nursery it's important to look at the basic framework of the tree. If you want one with a single stemmed look, look for one with a nice central leader. If looking for something with a network effect, then choose one with more than 1 leader. This garden is a ground cover garden thus the trees are essential for providing shade. By limbing up the trees you allow enough light for the Hellebores and other ground cover species to grow, plus you also get to enjoy the lovely design of the stems and bark. By limbing up it affords a beautiful view across the garden and outlines the next place we'll visit.

To keep your young tree healthy through the winter there are several maintenance tips to keep in mind. You need to protect them from mice and voles gnawing around the base of the tree because they can easily girdle the bark and cause a tree to die. A simple way to prevent this is to use a plastic wrap. Simply put it around the base of the tree about an inch or so below the soil line and wrap it around the tree all the way up. This will prevent the little mice teeth from gnawing on the bark. Another thing to remember in winter is that the south side of the bark may heat up during the day, then when cold temperatures come at night it causes the bark to split. To prevent that splitting or sun scald you can take some nylon tree wrap, wrap it around the tree, tie it at the bottom and the top and the white color will reflect the sunlight so it doesn't heat up so much during the day and the bark doesn't split. By using both these techniques you can help your young trees turn into healthy old trees.

In the fall in many parts of the country the leaves are turning ablaze. Have you ever wondered why they turn colors in the fall? The answer is simple. During the summer the leaves have chlorophyll which keeps them green because the chlorophyll pigment masks any other pigments that are in the leaves. In the fall when the weather turns cooler and the days are shorter, the other pigments start coming out-the reds, oranges and yellows. Certain weather conditions will actually enhance that color. If you've had a good summer with ample rain and sunshine the leaves build up a lot of sugars in the leaves so in the fall you get more pigments, more color. Also in the fall if you have bright sunny days and cool nights below 45 degrees you will get more of the sugar and more of the color, it will look brighter. However if you get really warm nights or cloudy, rainy weather, well too bad, maybe next year the leaves will look better.

We next visit their more formal gardens that feature perennials and some tropicals. Charlie is impressed. This garden was started in the 1920's and 1930's by the young women from the Pennsylvania School of Horticulture. The design is inspired by Gertrude Jekyll and features mixed perennial borders with hedges on either side. The evergreen hedges and the twin arbors at the end add to the symmetry. It is not in its original design but it is a similar layout. It is a mix of annuals and perennials and several different people have contributed to its layout over the years. Stephanie Cohen and Rudy Keller did a redesign of this garden in the 90's because gardens do need redesigning. We all know that perennials need dividing to keep them fresh. Since its a teaching garden there are a lot of different varieties, one of this and one of that, much more than the usual display garden. Students need to know their perennials and annuals so this is the space for teaching them. The garden has themes running through, especially color themes. At this time of year, fall, there is a dark purply red color theme that links the 2 sides. It's not a symmetrical planting but you see how the color echoes on either side, it links the whole garden creating the feeling of 1 space. Charlie likes the color combinations and the texture combinations of the plants. A Cardoon (Cynara cardunculus) is nice in a perennial border garden, it's interesting to have the nice bold leaf of the Cardoon next to a small Aster to provide contrast. The eye jumps from the big leaf to the little flower. Speaking of Asters they have a beautiful combination of native Asters with Ornamental Grasses. Charlie likes the way the light dances off the ornamental grass, it is wonderful this time of year because you get a low angle of sunlight and it comes through the grasses beautifully. The self sown Asters seem to be hardier than others that were planted. The airy feel of the Pennisetum Grass plays well with the solid feel of the Aster. Peeking out between these plants is a Salvia Involucrata. They have added quite a few tender perennials that would be hardy further south, here they add them for late season color, and they do provide bright color. In another area an Amaranth is growing, it is a nice dark color. Some colors hold the borders together, this is repetition of that color. Helianthus is a composite yellow flower, it's nice and bold at this time of year. They are combined with more Asters. It's nice to have those repeated throughout the garden, it ties the whole border together. Charlie likes not only the bold colors, from reds to yellows to blues, but also the different textures. This garden has composite flowers like the hair-like Amaranth (Amaranthus caudatus), then a Pennisetum with a feathery look. If you have tall plants like a Helianthus in your garden you might want to put them in the back or put them around other tall plants that will support them so they can stay upright. That way you can enjoy the view and they won't fall down. Another big brute is a Celosia (Celosia spicata). Most are familiar with the bright red and yellow varieties which are more of a bedding plant. These fit better in a perennial border garden because of their color and form. It is a big plant. It is an annual, its little black seeds are apparent. Behind it is an Eupatorium that looks like an Aster, fills the same role but is related to Joe Pye Weed. Charlie likes the way the Celosia comes through the Eupatorium, its kind of a mystery, then it gets revealed. Charlie notices a Verbena Bonairiensis. Butterflies like this plant, it has a flat head so butterflies can land and suck the nectar. It has an unusual structure, it's what is called a see-through plant, even though it's tall it is placed at the front of the border. With the airy square stems one can actually see through the plant and to the back of the border. The Verbena, like the Celosia is a rampant self sower. This means a lot of seeds, thus in the spring many babies will come up. You'll have to thin them so you only have a few or they will crowd themselves and the flowers won't look very good. Next a Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) is coming through an Aster. Charlie likes the way the color of the Black Eyed Susan, picks up the dark color of the grass. The ornamental grass with its dark red leaves really provides a nice backdrop to the brighter colors in the front. The Celosia has self sowed and has established itself here as well.

Fall in the perennial garden is a great time to enjoy the flowers but there are a few maintenance tips that can make a difference next year. One is to water deeply, especially if you've had a drought in your area. When watering make sure the water goes down into the soil at least 6 inches. That way the roots will get the water they need and they'll survive the winter better. If they don't go into the winter healthy they may not make it to the spring.

Eva Monheim is a horticulturist and garden writer and today shows us how to create a beautiful pumpkin arrangement. Take a large pumpkin, cut off the top and clean out the seeds. Then take a 2 pound deli container and place an oasis or wet foam into it. Fill the container with water and place it into the pumpkin. Put the top on a shish kabob skewer and position it in the container. Then do the same with miniature gourds and small pumpkins, then insert flowers and other items such as Viburnum berries. Place the berries close to the base so they hang over the container. This is an easy arrangement to make and is perfect for the holidays.

The last garden we visit today has a wide diversity of plants and is the tropical corner. Adding tropicals is a great way to add late season color. They are a little small in the spring but they grow up and become magnificent specimens by fall. The Banana and Cannas are in their full glory this time of year. This garden also has Coleus, Salvias, Plectranthus and Dahlias, which add nice color this time of year. Salvia Discolor is unusual, it has black flowers and the underside of the leaves have a white color. When the wind blows you get a striking contrast between the black and white, it's spectacular.

Thanks Jenny for showing us Temple University, Ambler Campus. The arboretum is fantastic. The trees, shrubs and perennial flowers are amazing. We hope our audience will visit. It's truly spectacular.

Links:

Golden Pheasant Inn

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

Temple University-Ambler College

Freedoms Foundation

 

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