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9/2709. New Orleans National Landmark

Summary of Show

History Of The Property
Wayne is also involved with Longue Vue. This wonderful PROPERTY IS A NATIONAL LANDMARK. It is a house, museum and historic garden. It was created by Edith and Edgar Stern who were pivotal figures in the civic and urban progress of New Orleans. Edith was inspired by her father Julius Rosenwald who was the co-founder of the Sears and Roebuck Company.
For More Information Click here

Garden Conservancy Assistance
Katrina created many challenges, it was a definite setback but they've worked really hard the past 4 and a half years. THE GARDEN CONSERVANCY has been a huge help. The Garden Conservancy took on Longue Vue as a preservation project and early on sent a lot of volunteers their way.
For More Information Click here

Portico Terrace
They start in the PORTICO TERRACE which is a great example of one of the garden rooms at Longue Vue. It was designed by Ellen Biddle Shipman who started working with the Stern family in 1935. Ms. Shipman was very important in her field, she was considered the dean of women landscape architects and was a pioneer for women in landscape architecture. This garden is a great example of a little garden room that Ms. Shipman loved to design. Perennial borders were her signature style. She was striving for a stained glass effect of different colors with blooming perennials.
For More Information Click here

Plants In The Portico Terrace Garden
The perennial border is a wonderful COLLECTION OF ANNUALS, bi-annuals and perennials. Amy particularly loves Snap Dragons. It's an old fashioned favorite, has lots of different colors and provides a nice stand of blooms in the back of the bed. She also likes Foxglove. They are unusual and frequently photographed, they're very popular in this garden. Delphinium, named after dolphins for the beautiful curve they make, not only come in blue but lots of other colors as well. Gypsophila, or Babies Breath, is another favorite. Amy must grow them from seed as they are not readily available in pots. Poppies are another favorite. Eric likes the way the colors work together.
For More Information Click here

Beautiful Vegetable Garden
This was originally designed in the 20's but Ellen Biddle Shipman, in 1938, made some beautiful plans detailing what she determined at that time should go into this garden. She felt it would be pretty to put vegetables in perfect little rows and alternate colors. Generally to have fun with the approach to a VEGETABLE GARDEN. This garden is even more impressive knowing it has served as a vegetable garden all these years and was actually used as a victory garden by the Sterns during WWII. Of course it is a very functional, utilitarian garden and was designed principally for food but still has a wonderful design aesthetic.
For More Information Click here

Plants From The Grocery Store
She buys some seeds from seed companies but importantly often picks up interesting things from the GROCERY STORE. Many don't think of this but you can plant ordinary things you can buy at the grocery store right into the ground. Amy shows us some onions that are getting a little old. She removes the end, which could be eaten. Then just plants them in the ground, they will multiply, grow up and be pretty. These plants are probably a year old so time was saved from growing them from seed. Amy also buys the little pearl onions that can be expensive. When you see the suckers on the ends that means they want to grow, so just put them in the ground, give them a little room and they will multiply and save a lot of money. Amy does the same with french shallots.
For More Information Click here

The Wild Garden
The next garden is much less formal and appropriately named the WILD GARDEN. It was designed in 1940 by Ellen Biddle Shipman and is approximately 1 acre of native plants. It's clearly divided into 3 paths that have different things blooming at different times of the year. The Camellia path is at the far end. Camellias are not native to America but the Sterns really loved Camellias and they bloom beautifully during the wintertime. The Iris path blooms in April and the wildflower path has lots of different wildflowers that bloom throughout the summer. So, year round interest.
For More Information Click here

The Iris Collection
The IRIS COLLECTION is a huge success story for them. During Katrina they lost about 60% of their collection. The Garden Conservancy stepped in at that time and helped with a grant from the Stanley Smith Foundation. They were able to hire some native plant specialists who really knew what they were doing. One was from Cajun country and was obsessed with Louisiana Iris. He made it his mission to get this collection back in tip top form, calling his buddies in the greater New Orleans Iris Society. They dug specimens from their own yards and planted them here. So, they're now back to full collection strength, which is 2,000 plants, and this year they put on a magnificent show. It was incredible to see. Eric notices they are planted in what look like little troughs.
For More Information Click here

Native Plants
They move on, looking at more NATIVE PLANTS. One of Amy's favorites in the native garden is the native Oak Leaf Hydrangea. They are great for dry flower arrangements and in the winter provide fall color with their beautiful red leaves. Gallardia and Spigelia are other favorites. Gallardia and rube are both very drought tolerant and tend to spread quickly, thus excellent selections for a wild garden. Eric likes the native corepsis and noticed several different excellent selections. He likes the native viburnum which is a great plant for birds because later in the season it will set berries that attracts wildlife from all over.
For More Information Click here

Silk Moths And Butterflies
Amy has an unusual hobby, RAISING SILK MOTHS AND BUTTERFLIES. She has an assortment and shows us several. First she shows us a giant swallow tail. It eats citrus plants. If you see something eating your citrus plants this will normally be the culprit. Next is a black swallowtail which eats parsley and fennel. The big guy is a polyphemus giant silk moth. It's the largest silk moth in North America. They produce a big brown velvety moth. Amy shows us a Cecrophia caterpillar.
For More Information Click here

LINKS:

Longue Vue House & Gardens

Maison St. Charles

Plant List

 

9/2709. New Orleans National Landmark

Transcript of Show

Longue Vue, in New Orleans, is a stunning classical revival home and its gardens were designed by America's 1st female landscape designer, Ellen Biddle Shipman. The design lessons we learn here are as relevant today as they were in the early 1900's.

Wayne Amadee welcomes Eric and GardenSMART. Wayne is a board member at Longue Vue House and Gardens and tells us a little about himself. He's an artist, enjoys sculpture and painting and being involved in the community. Several months ago he donated a major piece of sculpture to the City Park that was entitled Grateful Laborers. It was a tribute to all that have helped in the ongoing recovery of the city, post Katrina.
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Wayne is also involved with Longue Vue. This wonderful PROPERTY IS A NATIONAL LANDMARK. It is a house, museum and historic garden. It was created by Edith and Edgar Stern who were pivotal figures in the civic and urban progress of New Orleans. Edith was inspired by her father Julius Rosenwald who was the co-founder of the Sears and Roebuck Company. Julius was also a benefactor of the Rosenwald Schools in the south for African-American youth. Longue Vue was the Stern's family home and serves to commemorate their commitment to equality and civic engagement.

Wayne is not only a Board member but additionally head of the garden committee and is pleased that Amy Graham, the head gardener, will lead the tour. Eric thanks Wayne for his time and insight and is off to meet Amy.

Eric meets Amy who tells us a little of her gardening background. She grew up gardening, watching her grandparents work in their gardens. They mostly grew vegetables and did lots of pea picking and harvesting corn back in Mississippi. Her grandparents were very talented gardeners, she learned a lot from them and Amy still has vivid memories of those times. She studied Fine Arts and Social counseling which does come in handy but she never had formal training in horticulture. Before this job she worked in a greenhouse as a grower for 9 years and has now been here about 8 years. Eric admits most great gardeners learn by doing, they learn what's going on with their plants and that's what makes them better gardeners.

Katrina created many challenges, it was a definite setback but they've worked really hard the past 4 and a half years. THE GARDEN CONSERVANCY has been a huge help. The Garden Conservancy took on Longue Vue as a preservation project and early on sent a lot of volunteers their way. These were not just regular volunteers but professional horticulturists who provided huge assistance and direction.
Top

They start in the PORTICO TERRACE which is a great example of one of the garden rooms at Longue Vue. It was designed by Ellen Biddle Shipman who started working with the Stern family in 1935. Ms. Shipman was very important in her field, she was considered the dean of women landscape architects and was a pioneer for women in landscape architecture. This garden is a great example of a little garden room that Ms. Shipman loved to design. Perennial borders were her signature style. She was striving for a stained glass effect of different colors with blooming perennials. Amy thinks Shipman did that here and did it well and Amy and crew have kept the design alive.
Top

The perennial border is a wonderful COLLECTION OF ANNUALS, bi-annuals and perennials. Amy particularly loves Snap Dragons. It's an old fashioned favorite, has lots of different colors and provides a nice stand of blooms in the back of the bed. She also likes Foxglove. They are unusual and frequently photographed, they're very popular in this garden. Delphinium, named after dolphins for the beautiful curve they make, not only come in blue but lots of other colors as well. Gypsophila, or Babies Breath, is another favorite. Amy must grow them from seed as they are not readily available in pots. Poppies are another favorite. Eric likes the way the colors work together. The pink, purple and white theme unites the plants together. Eric comments on several of his favorites. Salvia guaranitica is a blackish, purple perennial, a wonderful bloomer and works across a wide range of zones in the United States. Verbena bonariensis is a native plant that looks, to Eric, like little soldiers with pink hats. They've also utilized woodland plants. Columbine is an example and one of the most beautiful and one of the most unique flowers in any garden.

Eric is interested in the Fox Glove Amy mentioned earlier. It and some of the other bi-annuals that they've used in this garden can be a challenge for some American gardeners. Amy feels the trick is to buy those plants in November when they're green. Get them in the ground at that time so they have the whole winter to set roots, allowing them to get really strong and healthy. If you do that they'll send up multiple blooms in the spring and generally will be a lot healthier plant. It's tempting to wait until spring, when you see those beautiful blooming plants in the nursery but that's not what you want to do. Put them in in November, when they're green. Eric likes the tip. He's made that mistake himself in the past.
Top

The next garden although walled, is not unlike the Portico Garden. This was originally designed in the 20's but Ellen Biddle Shipman, in 1938, made some beautiful plans detailing what she determined at that time should go into this garden. She felt it would be pretty to put vegetables in perfect little rows and alternate colors. Generally to have fun with the approach to a VEGETABLE GARDEN. This garden is even more impressive knowing it has served as a vegetable garden all these years and was actually used as a victory garden by the Sterns during WWII. Of course it is a very functional, utilitarian garden and was designed principally for food but still has a wonderful design aesthetic. Amy grows a lot of plants from seed because many are not readily available otherwise. She has a lot of fun with the colors and textures and tries to make both work together, to make it a beautiful area. And, she uses a lot of vegetables as cut flowers. Eric likes the combination of dark foliage, then towards the back some wispy gray foliage. There are a lot of different textures and he particularly likes the way Amy has paired the plants. It's visually stunning.

There is an old sugar kettle in the middle, originally used in Cajun country for making sugar out of sugar cane that certainly serves as a focal point. And it's as great water feature.

Vegetable gardening is one of the fastest growing segments of the green industry. That's probably because people are attempting to reconnect with the soil and reconnect with the process of growing one's own food. There are any number of plants that American gardeners can grow, some do well in most parts of the country. Those would include - tomatoes, squash, eggplant, all of which are very bountiful plants that put out a lot of fruit and outside of the extremely hot parts of the country are the plants most folks can be successful with. Amy particularly likes several. She can actually grow lettuce right through the winter, so that's unusual. They also grow cabbage, leeks and sorrels. Artichokes are a lot of fun as well. Many don't think of artichokes because they think they might be difficult to grow but that's not necessarily true. Amy has a good stand and the blooms are beautiful.

Amy has the seasonings next to the vegetables one would cook. She has a great collection of herbs. The leeks are a favorite, beautiful in the garden and useful in a number of ways. One can cook the bulb or use the stem and foliage for cooking and of course it's a food plant for the swallowtail butterfly. She has thyme and oregano. In addition to being great spices both plants make a wonderful ground cover. The lemon thyme has a decorative yellow edge on each leaf and is a great matting plant for the front of the perennial garden or anywhere in an herb garden. Amy grows most from seed. She thinks that's really enjoyable, plus it allows her to utilize unusual varieties.
Top

She buys some seeds from seed companies but importantly often picks up interesting things from the GROCERY STORE. Many don't think of this but you can plant ordinary things you can buy at the grocery store right into the ground. Amy shows us some onions that are getting a little old. She removes the end, which could be eaten. Then just plants them in the ground, they will multiply, grow up and be pretty. These plants are probably a year old so time was saved from growing them from seed. Amy also buys the little pearl onions that can be expensive. When you see the suckers on the ends that means they want to grow, so just put them in the ground, give them a little room and they will multiply and save a lot of money. Amy does the same with french shallots. She sticks them right in the ground. Mirliton, a squash, grown mostly in the south is also called chayote is a vine so should be grown on a trellis and it too thrives. Ginger is another great plant to grow. Look for the tips, possibly divide into several pieces, thus getting several plants. With ginger lay the plant out flat to plant. Again, it's a relatively expensive item in the grocery store but it won't take too long before you have a really nice crop. This approach can save a lot of money. When at the grocery store, we're going to find what we want to eat anyway so as you're looking around there are tons of things we could take home and put into our garden.
Top

The next garden is much less formal and appropriately named the WILD GARDEN. It was designed in 1940 by Ellen Biddle Shipman and is approximately 1 acre of native plants. It's clearly divided into 3 paths that have different things blooming at different times of the year. The Camellia path is at the far end. Camellias are not native to America but the Sterns really loved Camellias and they bloom beautifully during the wintertime. The Iris path blooms in April and the wildflower path has lots of different wildflowers that bloom throughout the summer. So, year round interest. The paths have numerous curves and one can't see around any of the curves. Of course, that was a deliberate part of the design. It provides a feeling like one is in the woods, especially on the Iris path. There one gets the feeling they're in a canoe inside the Iris stands. It's a very clever design.

There are advantages to having a wild garden. Native plants are becoming more and more available and, of course, people asking for them at their nursery will help. Importantly, native plants are adapted to growing here, thus will be happy. They're great for wildlife, they throw off seeds which feeds the birds and the seeds will grow more plants meaning your plants will continue to grow rather than dying which is what happens with many exotics.

Amy also feels it's important for gardens like Longue Vue to have a wild garden so visitors can see great ideas in use. They then can try the plants and ideas at home. So, it's a wonderful proving ground for folks to come out and see what they like and figure out what does well in the area.

A wild garden has a rustic nature, much more so than formal gardens. And, in most cases once established will not be as labor intensive as they might look. Once they start filling in, which doesn't take a long period of time, there isn't a lot of weed pressure. Natives are well adapted to growing in the area and will out compete the weeds that will blow in. So, it is a beautiful garden that doesn't take a tremendous amount of work. And, they work well for people that have a really large, wide open space and may not have either the time nor money to plant thousands of plants to fill in in a more formal way.
Top

Amy and Eric start looking at the plants on the Iris path. The IRIS COLLECTION is a huge success story for them. During Katrina they lost about 60% of their collection. The Garden Conservancy stepped in at that time and helped with a grant from the Stanley Smith Foundation. They were able to hire some native plant specialists who really knew what they were doing. One was from Cajun country and was obsessed with Louisiana Iris. He made it his mission to get this collection back in tip top form, calling his buddies in the greater New Orleans Iris Society. They dug specimens from their own yards and planted them here. So, they're now back to full collection strength, which is 2,000 plants, and this year they put on a magnificent show. It was incredible to see. Eric notices they are planted in what look like little troughs. He assumes that must be important for their growth and survivability. It is. Louisiana Iris really like to have their feet wet so the way these troughs are designed is the cement trough is higher on the backside than on the front. They keep the water in. They actually lay a little soaker hose in the trough which keeps the plants watered. And, this method should work at home as well, if trying to grow this species. Also, they do have to periodically divide the Iris, the trough makes it easier to divide them. One can put a flat shovel down one side and lift up because it has a bottom.
Top

They move on, looking at more NATIVE PLANTS. One of Amy's favorites in the native garden is the native Oak Leaf Hydrangea. They are great for dry flower arrangements and in the winter provide fall color with their beautiful red leaves. Gallaria and Spigelia are other favorites. Galleria and rube are both very drought tolerant and tend to spread quickly, thus excellent selections for a wild garden. Eric likes the native corepsis and noticed several different excellent selections. He likes the native viburnum which is a great plant for birds because later in the season it will set berries that attracts wildlife from all over. It's in bloom right now and beautiful. Another plant gardeners may not know about is the Itea virginica and Amy has a nice stand of those. It has dainty white bottom flowers and great foliage. It's a deciduous plant and a fairly fast grower. Eric is impressed. Amy has a great collection of plants in the wild garden.
Top

Amy has an unusual hobby, RAISING SILK MOTHS AND BUTTERFLIES. She has an assortment and shows us several. First she shows us a giant swallow tail. It eats citrus plants. If you see something eating your citrus plants this will normally be the culprit. Next is a black swallowtail which eats parsley and fennel. The big guy is a polyphemus giant silk moth. It's the largest silk moth in North America. They produce a big brown velvety moth. Amy shows us a Cecrophia caterpillar. It is beautiful, as is the tufted moth moving on her arm. Eric is holding the Spicetail Swallowtail. They eat sassafras and produce a little pup tent that they can close so they can hide from birds.

Only 2% of caterpillars live to be butterflies or moths so Amy likes to do her part in trying to save them from being bird food. She knows everybody needs to eat but she really enjoys raising caterpillars and sharing them with the kids that come to visit. It's a lot of fun.

Amy is able to raise them from an early stage because she understands their life cycle. She can normally find the eggs because she knows what food plants they eat or she'll find young caterpillars and then feeds them. She allows them to pupate inside a little box or inside a bag on a tree, then hatches them out and releases them. It's a great learning experience for the kids, they go crazy for them, they love the experience.

Eric finds them very colorful, it's an amazing hobby. Amy is indeed a woman of many talents. We've had a wonderful day visiting with her in her garden. Thanks Amy for sharing your knowledge and passion for plants. Longue Vue is truly a treasure.
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LINKS:

Longue Vue House & Gardens

Maison St. Charles

Plant List


   
 
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