GardenSmart :: EPISODES :: 2009 show41
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Past Shows:

41/1802. Fall Cottage Garden

Summary of Show

Formal and Informal
When looking in at the garden Eric notices the FORMAL ASPECTS WHICH ARE INTERESTINGLY JUXTAPOSED WITH THE INFORMAL. The formal aspect is mostly created by trimmed Boxwoods in different shapes and different patterns. Importantly they offer a great deal of winter structure meaning the garden has a life in the wintertime. As an artist Ryan uses plants and flowers much like an artist would.
For More Information Click here

Multiple Layers Create A Sense of Intimacy
To reach the garden one must FOLLOW A PATH which leads to the greenhouse, the dugout, the folly and bungalow, all of which are functional parts of the garden and serve as out buildings. On the pathway Ryan has emulated nature by layering plants with combinations of foliage - mostly flowering shrubs and a collection of Japanese Maples that provide really nice fall color. Eric has always been impressed with the way Ryan has used multiple layers to create a sense of depth, as well as a sense of intimacy.
For More Information Click here

The Visitor's Garden
They reach THE VISITOR'S GARDEN and it is a peaceful place. Eric likes the intentional nature of its design and the fact that Ryan has built a place for people just to pause and soak in beautiful plantings and garden design aspects. This is called the Visitor's Garden, because it's right off the street and people can actually come in here, sit down and have a moment of repose away from all the chaos most live through. Design-wise it emphasizes changes in elevation; different levels are apparent from the garden below to the garden above.
For More Information Click here

The Terrace Garden
The next garden visited is THE TERRACE GARDEN and is called this because it's on the ground level. The Latin word "terr" is earth. Philosophically this garden represents the complete integration of the house and gardens as one. Because it's immediately off the back porch, which goes to the kitchen, Ryan can easily bring his lunch out, sit at the table and listen to the wonderful sound of running water and be completely removed from the rest of the world. Ryan has created an outdoor room. It's surrounded by plants, one can't see any other parts of the garden. The paths lead out of the garden creating a sense of wonderment.
For More Information Click here

Topiaries
The guys move on to other parts of the garden. In one area Ryan has used TOPIARIES TO FRAME THE GARDEN, more as edging, a classical approach. In another space the topiary becomes the central focal point. Two different approaches. Another garden is a topiary-featured garden, it's about 10 years old and started with very small Boxwoods that have grown. They now shape the Boxwoods into patterns. The corners are allowed to grow taller which makes a more interesting pattern garden. There are certainly many different ways to approach clipped forms in a garden setting.
For More Information Click here

Fall Garden
Ryan talks about FALL AND HIS GARDEN. Fall is a special time in the garden for him, it takes him back to his early childhood where he learned good gardening practices from 3 ladies - Mrs. Flowers, Mrs. Feld and Mrs. Floyd. They taught him different aspects of propagation and opened his eyes to the beauty of fall. In particular, Mrs. Feld grew beautiful rows of Chrysanthemums which he remembers vividly to this day and that memory has influenced the way he plants his garden. Their fragrance still reminds him of the fall season with its short days and long nights and cooler temperatures. That is what fall is all about. Ryan often says that fall is the forgotten season. In order for Ryan to have this great exuberance of color, that relates to his nostalgic reflection of fall, one must plan for it.
For More Information Click here

Fragrance In A Garden
FRAGRANCE HAS ALWAYS BEEN AN IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION for Ryan when planting his garden and fall is a great time to experience fragrance. There are some wonderful plants that make the garden smell fantastic this time of year. He tells us about several favorites. The Tea Olive is a favorite, thus he has planted it throughout the garden. He likes them because they are fall blooming and because of their fragrance which is actually shed on the air as one walks through the garden. And shed is a great word, one that most don't understand.
For More Information Click here

Chrysanthemums
There was a recent article in Flower Magazine which was a wonderfully well written article about fall flowering plants. The centerpiece of the article was CHRYSANTHEMUMS. Eric and Ryan visit a bed of beautiful Chrysanthemums and there is every color in the rainbow represented. Most of Ryan's Chrysanthemums and Asters are either gathered from ditch banks, old gardens or passed on to him by great gardening friends. Ryan's Pink came from a great gardener friend in Alabama, Sam Flowers. Ryan's Yellow is another given plant. Both are great in combination with Aster grandiflorus and Aster Rachel Jackson in a fall border. One of his latest plants came out of his Aunt Marie's garden.
For More Information Click here

Asters
One of the BEST BLUE FLOWERS IN ANY GARDEN ARE ASTERS. They are sun loving plants but will grow in partial shade. They come in every size under the sun and Ryan has some particularly nice selections. The Aster grandiflorus Ryan found in a ditch bank. He likes it because of all the Asters it's the most intense purple. Another quality it has is it tends to grow upright, whereas the more mauve lavender plant, called Rachel Jackson, tends to tumble. What one needs to know when planting a flower border of any kind, fall or whatever, is how plants grow. Determine if your plants grow upright or if they tend to tumble.
For More Information Click here

A Fall Arrangement
Perhaps one of the most wonderful things about having flowers in the garden is being able to bring them into the home. Ryan has A WONDERFUL FALL ARRANGEMENT that he wants to put together. In order to make a good arrangement and to make something very simple, one needs a simple mechanical device. Ryan has chosen a simple oasis ring. This has been soaked in water. Ryan notes that it has a plastic bottom, so it doesn't hurt the table. He's filled the form with nice greenery to offset the flowers. In this case he's used Eleagnus both the green form and golden edge form, some Nandina foliage and primarily Ivy. All of these things are readily available in most gardens, just go into the garden and pick the foliage for your foundation. Then start adding flowers.
For More Information Click here

LINKS:

Ryan Gainey

River Road Farms

Goodness Grows

Mark Mosley

Plant List

41/1802. Fall Cottage Garden

Complete Transcript of Show

In this Episode GardenSMART visits one of America's most unique cottage gardens. And, it has been designed specifically with fall in mind. Just because there's a nip in the air doesn't mean we must stop gardening.

Oftentimes when walking through a magnificent garden, the temptation can be to reduce it to a few design themes or attempt to discover shortcuts to having a great garden in just a fraction of the time. But, we learn something each time we take a stroll through a garden and the reality is that the best gardens are the culmination of years, often decades, of attention and devotion from a passionate gardener. That's certainly the story with this garden. Ryan was born in Hartsfield, South Carolina, to an agrarian family, then many very positive gardening experiences throughout his childhood reinforced his connection to the soil. Notably a handful of middle school teachers provided the encouragement that sparked a lifelong journey in horticulture. Ryan grew up, studied horticulture at Clemson University and from there left to join the Navy. After his time in the service, he opened 3 retail shops in Atlanta, Georgia and spent over 30 years selling plants, garden tools and accessories. In that time he established relationships that opened doors for design and installation jobs throughout Atlanta. His eye for design and his talent for gardening was apparent to all he encountered and in time he was designing gardens across the U.S. and even Europe. There was, of course, no resume more powerful than his own garden, which has been a labor of love since he set down roots here in 1978. Ryan's garden has been on the Atlanta Botanical Garden's Connoisseur's Tour for 25 consecutive years. He's widely considered one of the most talented garden designers of his time and his personal garden, one of the finest cottage gardens you'll find. Join us as we look inside this magnificent garden and meet the man who has left a lasting impression on a generation of gardeners.

Ryan has traveled extensively during the past several years primarily for the purpose of seeing what garden designers have done with their personal gardens. Many times, in the process, he has found what he doesn't want to do. But, he has found out a great deal about personal expression because any good garden designer is an artist. In the process he has become a student of garden history, in particular Renaissance garden history, which has had a huge impact on his garden design and greatly influenced how his garden has changed and evolved.

The biggest change in his garden this past year has occurred around the front entrance. Ryan has always been enamored with having a cottage garden look, especially for people walking by the garden and he has a lot of passers-by. Additionally, because of his interest in fall gardens he decided to utilize Chrysanthemums and Asters because they bloom in the fall. It's exuberant and colorful right now but is equally pretty in the spring with all the Ballerina roses. So, he gets 2 even 3 seasons of interest from this entrance garden. It is cheerful and inviting, absolutely beautiful. Many when thinking of fall think it's time to put the garden to sleep. Ryan has proven that does not have to be the case.

TOP

When looking in at the garden Eric notices the FORMAL ASPECTS WHICH ARE INTERESTINGLY JUXTAPOSED WITH THE INFORMAL. The formal aspect is mostly created by trimmed Boxwoods in different shapes and different patterns. Importantly they offer a great deal of winter structure meaning the garden has a life in the wintertime. As an artist Ryan uses plants and flowers much like an artist would. They serve as a frame. It's very much like the painting nearby, which too is framed. Evergreens are important in this respect, they set off, often frame the wonderful colors and changes of the seasons. One can not imagine the winter without evergreens, the garden would look barren. They add a tremendous amount of life.

TOP

The guys decide to visit a much older part of the garden, an informal area. To reach the garden one must FOLLOW A PATH which leads to the greenhouse, the dugout, the folly and bungalow, all of which are functional parts of the garden and serve as out buildings. On the pathway Ryan has emulated nature by layering plants with combinations of foliage - mostly flowering shrubs and a collection of Japanese Maples that provide really nice fall color. Eric has always been impressed with the way Ryan has used multiple layers to create a sense of depth, as well as a sense of intimacy. Of course that's not possible to do within a few years. This is something that's been well thought-out, a very proactive part of the garden design and something done very well.

TOP

They reach THE VISITOR'S GARDEN and it is a peaceful place. Eric likes the intentional nature of its design and the fact that Ryan has built a place for people just to pause and soak in beautiful plantings and garden design aspects. This is called the Visitor's Garden, because it's right off the street and people can actually come in here, sit down and have a moment of repose away from all the chaos most live through. Design-wise it emphasizes changes in elevation; different levels are apparent from the garden below to the garden above. The steps mimic each other's patterns so when walking up, you're moving through the garden both visually and physically. It's a wonderful experience.

TOP

The next garden visited is THE TERRACE GARDEN and is called this because it's on the ground level. The Latin word "terr" is earth. Philosophically this garden represents the complete integration of the house and gardens as one. Because it's immediately off the back porch, which goes to the kitchen, Ryan can easily bring his lunch out, sit at the table and listen to the wonderful sound of running water and be completely removed from the rest of the world. Ryan has created an outdoor room. It's surrounded by plants, one can't see any other parts of the garden. The paths lead out of the garden creating a sense of wonderment. One wonders where do the paths lead, thus they create interest in other parts of the garden and they provide a clear picture of Ryan's design sense of connecting the residence with the garden and how they're totally integrated into each other.

Eric notices a picture in the garden that highlights the marriage between living areas and a garden. It is a rendition of a design collaboration between Ryan and Mark Mosley, his architect. The way Ryan approaches his work has been rendered artistically by Lance Carlton and Ryan feels presenting a portrait of a garden makes a much more picturesque and artistic approach. The picture portrays one of his first true fall border plantings. The client and visitors have been able to enjoy it for several years. And Ryan has continued to learn more about putting combinations of fall blooming plants together.

TOP

The guys move on to other parts of the garden. In one area Ryan has used TOPIARIES TO FRAME THE GARDEN, more as edging, a classical approach. In another space the topiary becomes the central focal point. Two different approaches. Another garden is a topiary-featured garden, it's about 10 years old and started with very small Boxwoods that have grown. They now shape the Boxwoods into patterns. The corners are allowed to grow taller which makes a more interesting pattern garden. There are certainly many different ways to approach clipped forms in a garden setting.

In the Temple Garden, Ryan features a lot of topiaries in pots. This area takes a whimsical approach. Robert, Ryan's assistant, is currently creating topiary forms. Robert takes a Holly and creates a chicken form, including the head and the tail. He gradually trims and shapes until he ends up with a topiary shaped like a chicken. It looks good now but will not be complete until next spring when it flushes out. So, if you make a mistake, don't worry, it can be corrected next spring. But it doesn't appear Robert has made many mistakes, it looks great right now. Eric likes the playfulness of the chicken topiary and notices a much larger version in a different part of the garden. It's huge and impressive.

Another part of this garden applies the art of topiary to fruit trees, which is referred to as espalier. One series of 3 was created by Peter Thevenot of River Road Farms and has been here for about 10 years.

TOP

Ryan talks about FALL AND HIS GARDEN. Fall is a special time in the garden for him, it takes him back to his early childhood where he learned good gardening practices from 3 ladies - Mrs. Flowers, Mrs. Feld and Mrs. Floyd. They taught him different aspects of propagation and opened his eyes to the beauty of fall. In particular, Mrs. Feld grew beautiful rows of Chrysanthemums which he remembers vividly to this day and that memory has influenced the way he plants his garden. Their fragrance still reminds him of the fall season with its short days and long nights and cooler temperatures. That is what fall is all about. Ryan often says that fall is the forgotten season. In order for Ryan to have this great exuberance of color, that relates to his nostalgic reflection of fall, one must plan for it. One must allocate, find the plants that bloom in the fall, allocate a space in the garden specifically for fall and then work those plants into the garden.

TOP

FRAGRANCE HAS ALWAYS BEEN AN IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION for Ryan when planting his garden and fall is a great time to experience fragrance. There are some wonderful plants that make the garden smell fantastic this time of year. He tells us about several favorites. The Tea Olive is a favorite, thus he has planted it throughout the garden. He likes them because they are fall blooming and because of their fragrance which is actually shed on the air as one walks through the garden. And shed is a great word, one that most don't understand. Shed or to shed is used similarly in - a snake shedding its skin or a shed roof, which means to disperse. So, the fragrance is dispersed throughout the garden. It's called Tea Olive because it's in the Olive family which in Latin is Osmathus. Osma indicates fragrance and anthus, flower. Another fall bloomer is True Tea, Camellia sinensis Tea Camellia and hence when the Japanese take their tea in the fall they float the blossoms of the Osmanthus in their tea, hence it's called Tea Olive.

Fragrance adds a 4th dimension to the garden. On top of color and texture and all the other things we experience in the garden there's something amazing about having fragrance in the garden. One of Ryan's favorites for fragrance is Eleagnus umbeffata Autumn Olive which is planted throughout his garden. Eleagnus along with the Tea Olive are both evergreen, which enriches the palette of the garden. Another Ryan favorite is Citrus tryfoliata which is hardy citrus. It too is evergreen, it flowers in the spring but the fruit comes in the fall. Fill a bowl with them, put them in a kitchen and it will fill the room with its fragrance. It's heavenly.

TOP

There was a recent article in Flower Magazine which was a wonderfully well written article about fall flowering plants. The centerpiece of the article was CHRYSANTHEMUMS. Eric and Ryan visit a bed of beautiful Chrysanthemums and there is every color in the rainbow represented. Most of Ryan's Chrysanthemums and Asters are either gathered from ditch banks, old gardens or passed on to him by great gardening friends. Ryan's Pink came from a great gardener friend in Alabama, Sam Flowers. Ryan's Yellow is another given plant. Both are great in combination with Aster grandiflorus and Aster Rachel Jackson in a fall border. One of his latest plants came out of his Aunt Marie's garden. She was another garden mentor for Ryan. About 3 years ago, on Thanksgiving Day, Ryan was visiting a friend and spied a wonderful Chrysanthemum growing in her garden, turns out she had actually gotten the plant from her husband's gravesite, probably planted after a funeral. Ryan got cuttings, took it to nurserymen friends, like Goodness Grows, Tapestry Greenhouses and a great gardening growing facility in Knoxville called Riverdale Nursery. Eric likes the Thanksgiving plant. Nothing says fall like rustic oranges, reds and yellows. Putting them together in an arrangement is very, very impactful. But Eric sees a number of other different hues. Ryan explains that when they propagated Thanksgiving the plant went through a transformation called chymeric and all of a sudden instead of just having Thanksgiving they ended up with 12 or 15 different pastel colors of single Chrysanthemums. They decided to refer to them as Ryan's Rainbow and, they are beautiful with all their different corals, oranges, etc. Very nice. Eric comments on the fragrance of Chrysanthemums. Oftentimes one must get a little close but when the wind blows in just the right direction, it's fantastic. Another thing Eric notices is the honeybees crawling all over the Chrysanthemums. That's another reason Ryan likes to grow this plant. Bees like everyone else get hungry in the fall before they go to sleep, thus they come for a visit. If you have fall flowers, then you get honeybees in the fall instead of just in the spring or summer. This is Ryan's way of serving them their last meal before they go dormant. And what a wonderful meal.

TOP

One of the BEST BLUE FLOWERS IN ANY GARDEN ARE ASTERS. They are sun loving plants but will grow in partial shade. They come in every size under the sun and Ryan has some particularly nice selections. The Aster grandiflorus Ryan found in a ditch bank. He likes it because of all the Asters it's the most intense purple. Another quality it has is it tends to grow upright, whereas the more mauve lavender plant, called Rachel Jackson, tends to tumble. What one needs to know when planting a flower border of any kind, fall or whatever, is how plants grow. Determine if your plants grow upright or if they tend to tumble. Knowing this will help make the plant more effective in your landscape. An interesting story about the Rachel Jackson, because so many of his plants are found, is that 30 years ago Ryan found Rachel Jackson at the Hermitage. Rachel Jackson was the wife of Andrew Jackson. He saw the Aster in bloom but had no idea what Asters were then. He let the crowd disperse and there was an old gardener and Ryan asked if there was anyway he could get a piece of the plant. The old gentleman said "there's nobody here but you and me and I'm not looking." And that's how he ended up with this beautiful plant.

There are some other unusual Asters in the garden and one that caught Eric's eye, one he had not seen before was 8 to 10 feet tall, which is quite unusual. That is another found Aster, found by his gardening friend, Bruce Garcia. They're in the process of finding the species. Asters are sometimes difficult to identify because there isn't much information about them. This plant, although 8 feet tall, dies to the ground every spring. That's another thing about Asters and Chrysanthemums - they all die completely down, so during most of winter you have a nice green mound, in the spring a nice green mound, you cut them back and by mid-summer they start to push up and shortly thereafter you will have really beautiful foliage on most of your Chrysanthemums. It's a low maintenance plant, doesn't require a lot of water, doesn't require a lot of pruning, unless you just want to pinch it back for a little compactness and maybe some additional bloom. It's impossible to beat the color. For many people Asters are one of the latest things that bloom in the fall garden. The display is amazing. Asters and Chrysanthemums are the stars of Ryan's fall planting and that's interesting because the word Aster in Greek means star. Hence the word asterisk and astronaut. They really are the shining star of this garden.

TOP

Perhaps one of the most wonderful things about having flowers in the garden is being able to bring them into the home. Ryan has A WONDERFUL FALL ARRANGEMENT that he wants to put together. In order to make a good arrangement and to make something very simple, one needs a simple mechanical device. Ryan has chosen a simple oasis ring. This has been soaked in water. Ryan notes that it has a plastic bottom, so it doesn't hurt the table. He's filled the form with nice greenery to offset the flowers. In this case he's used Eleagnus both the green form and golden edge form, some Nandina foliage and primarily Ivy. All of these things are readily available in most gardens, just go into the garden and pick the foliage for your foundation. Then start adding flowers. Ryan starts plugging in some Chrysanthemums and Asters and other flowers to add that pop. One thing about Chrysanthemums that makes them wonderful as a cut flower is they, instead of growing one stem, one flower, they always branch, so that means you get more flowers per stem and don't have to stick so many flowers. You don't necessarily stick them around in a circle, instead make them a little more nestled. Insert them the way you might find them in the garden, in combination with other plants. Ryan made a base of evergreen foliage, then the nice variegation of the Eleagnus and with the Ryan's rainbow has all the wonderful fall colors, the nice russet oranges, yellows and the playful pink. It's beautiful.

Eric thanks Ryan for having us in his garden. We learned a lot about fall plants. It's always an honor to visit, this garden is spectacular. Eric wonders if Ryan has any final thoughts for our audience.

Ryan does. It has been a great pleasure for him because he throughly enjoys sharing his garden. And often after sharing his garden he gets wonderful notes of thanks, many written by hand. Recently he received a note with a great poetic adage written by Frank Lloyd Wright who wrote that -- if you ignore beauty, you will soon find yourself without it, but if you invest in beauty, it will remain with you the rest of your days. Beautifully said. Thanks Ryan.

LINKS:

Ryan Gainey

River Road Farms

Goodness Grows

Mark Mosley

 
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