GardenSmart :: EPISODES :: 2018 show11
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Show #11/5111. Annuals - For Bold Displays Of Color

Summary of Show

Gibbs’s Gardens
Tucked away at the base of the Appalachian mountains is one of the unheralded garden wonders of the east coast. Born over 30 years ago, GIBB’S GARDENS is a labor of love. Jim Gibbs has spent years traveling the globe visiting the finest gardens and along the way has gleaned inspiration for his own masterpiece. 16 individual gardens joined by thoughtful paths that draw the eye through their long vistas and peak anticipation at every turn.
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Using Color In The Garden
Eric notes, today we are talking about USING COLOR IN THE GARDEN and at this point containers. There are any number of ways that we can use containers. It's a wonderful way to add a pop of color or interest or break up more rigid architectural features. How does Jim like to use containers here at Gibbs Gardens? We are standing on one of the entrance bridges to Gibbs Gardens.
For More Information Click Here

Selecting The Right Container
Jim talks a little bit about SELECTING THE RIGHT CONTAINER because he wants to set the garden up for success right off the bat and a lot of mistakes that people make start with the selection of the container. Most people will start off with a smaller container, or a container that they haven't really given adequate thought to the size of that container. Remember small containers need water every day.
For More Information Click Here

Color Is Very Important
To create the kind of effect that we want in a container, COLOR IS VERY, VERY IMPORTANT. A lot of the mistakes that gardeners make, a lot of mistakes that Eric has made in containers have evolved around not getting plant combinations right. Sometimes plants don't seem to work well together, maybe even the juxtaposition is too harsh. There are volumes that have been written about color theory but Eric would like for Jim to net it down into some of the the main principles. What does one need to think about when going to our garden center to buy plants to be successful with containers?
For More Information Click Here

Arranging Plants In A Container
Okay we have selected our plants, we are now going to ARRANGE THEM IN A CONTAINER. From a texture standpoint it is very important to think about the basic principles of our spillers, which are the plants that trail down the container, our fillers, and then our thriller, which is going to be our main focal point of the container. Making all of those textures work well together is important. What do we do now? Color was one of the more important things, but texture is just as important.
For More Information Click Here

Garden Beds
Moving into the garden one notices beautiful color displays and plantings that are, of course, quite different from the containers. Many of them are expansive in breaking up the landscape. There are many things that we have to keep in mind when we are looking at PUTTING A COLOR BED IN. One of the most important is how do we design the bed and where do we locate it. When Jim is working with clients or working here at Gibbs Gardens he first wants to think about the background.
For More Information Click Here

Narrow Color Beds
They next visit an area that’s a wonderful example of some of the more NARROW COLOR BEDS planted throughout the property. Jim’s approach to these beds is somewhat different from what was done with the more expansive plantings we just viewed and discussed. The smaller beds are much easier to maintain than the larger beds.
For More Information Click Here

Gardening From One Side
Behind us we’ve got another bed that incorporates a lot of perennials. In this bed we can’t access it from the other side so creating a nice structure that doesn’t have to be so intensively gardened is a really smart way to handle that. Of course perennials take up more space so the bed is five feet wide though we’re GARDENING MORE FROM ONE SIDE because there is a wall on the other side.
For More Information Click Here

Maintenance
Eric would like to discuss MAINTENANCE a little bit. That is something we need to think about if we really want our color beds to look as exceptional as they can all year round. Let's start with containers. How do you set up your containers, make sure we get enough drainage, enough water holding capacity, and also the correct nutrition? The first thing Jim does with containers is to start in the bottom of the container.
For More Information Click Here

Preparing In-Ground Planting Beds
Transitioning over into in-ground planting - The way they prepare the soil is, once again, very important to the plants. They are going to be living there, if they do a good job with that, the results will be fantastic which makes life so much easier. Eric wonders how do they PREPARE THEIR BEDS FOR PLANTING?
For More Information Click Here

Pruning
Maintenance and pruning of a garden are important. And to Eric PRUNING is a very relaxing, cathartic part of gardening. Others perhaps don't enjoy it as much. Care of annuals can be a much more intensive approach than, say, the annual pruning of trees and shrubs. Whereas they may be pruned one time in the winter or possibly twice during the season with annuals it's more hands on.
For More Information Click Here

LINKS:

Gibbs Gardens
World-Class Garden | North GA Destinations | Gibbs Gardens

Kinsman Planters
Kinsman Garden | EverEdge Lawn Edging, Pamela Crawford Planters

Plant List

Top

Show #11/5111. Annuals - For Bold Displays Of Color

Transcript of Show

There are so many beautiful and exciting opportunities in gardening with annuals today. In this episode GardenSMART explores everything from design to implementation to maintenance.

Tucked away at the base of the Appalachian mountains is one of the unheralded garden wonders of the east coast. Born over 30 years ago, GIBB’S GARDENS is a labor of love. Jim Gibbs has spent years traveling the globe visiting the finest gardens and along the way has gleaned inspiration for his own masterpiece. 16 individual gardens joined by thoughtful paths that draw the eye through their long vistas and peak anticipation at every turn. Gibb's Gardens is the realization of a creative vision and a delight for every visitor. Jim is also an amazing repository of horticultural knowledge who’s design sense is second nature. As we tour his garden, we get a sense of a life’s work nearly realized, but always pressing for greater heights. In this episode we are going to take a close look at garden design and growing plants in containers one of our favorite topics. We'll tap into Jim’s experience to help us understand the underling principles behind color theory, success with containers, and using plant textures to design amazing gardens.

Eric meets Jim Gibbs and welcomes him back to the show. It is always special to spend the day with Jim and, of course visit, Gibbs Gardens. Gibbs Gardens is Jim's legacy, it's a labor of love, he has poured so much of himself into this place. For thirty-six years Jim has been transforming his dream into Gibbs Gardens, it has been a passion and he's loved every minute of it. He believes that if one can take their passion and natural talents, where those two meet will put you in that person's element, and when one is in their element it is no longer work, you're just having fun, you’re at play, enjoying every day to its fullest. Jim feels he has been blessed because his vocation and his avocation are the same. So as he looks through this garden he thinks about making sure that this is his legacy. And, Gibbs Garden is his legacy and he would like for people, future generations, to be inspired and educated by coming to the gardens. So he is going to continue to have a good time here and hope other people will enjoy the gardens as much as he has.

Gibbs Gardens is truly a year round garden. Every time GardenSMART visits there is always something new and exciting going on. Eric is anxious to see what Jim has in store for us. Jim comments - Eric is a gardener and as such knows a gardener's garden is never complete. Absolutely.

Eric notes, today we are talking about USING COLOR IN THE GARDEN and at this point containers. There are any number of ways that we can use containers. It's a wonderful way to add a pop of color or interest or break up more rigid architectural features. How does Jim like to use containers here at Gibbs Gardens? We are standing on one of the entrance bridges to Gibbs Gardens. And Jim would like to point out is it's very important to take a flat area, create some elevation, change it and make it more interesting. What Jim has done is chosen the Kinsmen planter because it has a standing cradle planter and a window box planter. Notice how one planter is on the deck itself and then the window box is up on the rail. So all across the bridge we are getting this up and down movement, which continually keeps the eye flowing back and forth across the bridge. Jim could have used other kinds of containers, and there are many, many containers to choose from, but for this particular bridge he thought it was important to use these containers because they provide the “wow" factor. One is able to look at this area and it's got a lot of pizazz and for an entrance, he wanted to introduce that “wow" factor.

Jim talks a little bit about SELECTING THE RIGHT CONTAINER because he wants to set the garden up for success right off the bat and a lot of mistakes that people make start with the selection of the container. Most people will start off with a smaller container, or a container that they haven't really given adequate thought to the size of that container. Remember small containers need water every day. These planters are forty-four inches. That means they only have to water these once every three days. So the maintenance is much less. Also don't forget the plants will have a deeper root system meaning they are able to go longer without water. So it is very important to think about the container you are going to select and make sure that it’s large enough for maintenance reasons.

And they have a wonderful array of large containers. Whiskey barrel containers, giant trough containers and of course the wide ranging world of ceramic containers. But go bold and go large when starting with containers.

To create the kind of effect that we want in a container, COLOR IS VERY, VERY IMPORTANT. A lot of the mistakes that gardeners make, a lot of mistakes that Eric has made in containers have evolved around not getting plant combinations right. Sometimes plants don't seem to work well together, maybe even the juxtaposition is too harsh. There are volumes that have been written about color theory but Eric would like for Jim to net it down into some of the the main principles. What does one need to think about when going to our garden center to buy plants to be successful with containers? Well the first thing that Jim addresses when selecting colors here at Gibbs Gardens is considering the many viewers that will visit. He wants to make sure everybody gets to see their favorite colors. If working with a client, the client sees the container in their garden, he wants them to select their favorite colors. Don't worry about what anyone else thinks. Choose your favorite colors. Once his clients they tell him what colors they like then Jim goes to the color wheel. He recommends that everybody go to the internet, go to color wheel artist dot com (Color Wheel Artists) and look at the color wheels. When Jim looks at a color wheel he first wants to look at the primary colors, then look at secondary colors but wants to think most about the analogous colors. Those are the colors on the color wheel that are next to each other. For example if you like red, next to that would be orange and then next to that would be orange red so those three colors group used together are very serene and they compliment each other. Across the color wheel, directly opposite, would be complimentary colors. For example, yellow is a complimentary color, purple or red would have a complimentary color of green so decide on those complimentary colors. If you’ve chosen orange, and yellow as warm colors next you have got to think how do we cool the warm colors? So we would select flowers that have blues and lavenders and purples. These are your cool colors. By doing that you have a combination of warm colors and cool colors, which is very satisfying to the eye.

Okay we have selected our plants, we are now going to ARRANGE THEM IN A CONTAINER. From a texture standpoint it is very important to think about the basic principles of our spillers, which are the plants that trail down the container, our fillers, and then our thriller, which is going to be our main focal point of the container. Making all of those textures work well together is important. What do we do now? Color was one of the more important things, but texture is just as important. Jim likes to use a bold texture, a spiky texture, and a dainty texture. Those are the three just mentioned. For example, in this container Jim has used is a spiky texture plant, Dracaena. One could use yuca but notice how this gives a finial effect to this arrangement. Once you put your spiky in you might want to use a bold textured plant. Caladium has a big leaf, very bold. And then put your filler plants in all around these two. Since the cascading spillers come over the edges there are so many to choose from - the hanging basket petunias, lantana, beautiful, blue scaevola. Texture in a basket makes the container just as interesting as the color in each of the containers. There appears to be kind of a wildness to it although that is not really the case, it is very well thought out, taking all of those items into consideration. The questions - what are we doing with colors, what are we doing with textures? Bringing all of that in together is how we get this amazing product. Jim definitely has the “wow" factor look and created interesting containers.

Moving into the garden one notices beautiful color displays and plantings that are, of course, quite different from the containers. Many of them are expansive in breaking up the landscape. There are many things that we have to keep in mind when looking at PUTTING A COLOR BED IN. One of the most important is how do we design the bed and where do we locate it. When Jim is working with clients or working here at Gibbs Gardens he first wants to think about the background. Usually the background will be an evergreen screen, so what he likes to do is step level the plantings down from the evergreen screen working all the way to the grass. Once at the grass he then wants to design a curve in the bed that flows out into the grass and creates interest. You want your location of the bed to be such that there is visibility from wherever one is. For example here they have three sight lines so he wanted to think about each sight line and what one would see. He was able to bring this bed out into the grass to break up the grass and to also show the green grass being defined next to the plantings of annuals and perennials. If one is going to create a bed of this size you want to think about having some cut-throughs for maintenance. Although one doesn't actually see it but if you look carefully they actually have three different pathways that go through this bed. The pathways are five feet wide which means one can easily go in and maintain the garden from both sides. Jim thinks that is important. The other thing he thinks important with a big bed, which is fun, you get to use annuals and perennials. Looking at one bed they have perennials with fountain grass, Pennisetum, a perennial that comes back every year. They have knockout roses which bloom nonstop from March, April, all the way through fall. It has ansonias and sedum, Autumn Joy. All of these perennials are here year after year. All they have to do is intersperse the Mexican petunias or the Verbena, or different angelonia. This means they have a mix of annuals and perennials that one can see wherever they walk in this location. It satisfies the viewer and is very important in breaking up the grass.

They next visit an area that’s a wonderful example of some of the more NARROW COLOR BEDS planted throughout the property. Jim’s approach to these beds is somewhat different from what was done with the more expansive plantings we just viewed and discussed. The smaller beds are much easier to maintain than the larger beds. What they like to do with smaller beds is make sure they are at least five feet wide. That way if one is gardening and standing on a walkway it is easy to garden in two and a half feet to the center. If you are on the grass you turn around and can garden in two and a half feet so five feet is a great width for an annual bed. Notice they have come up with some nice patterns to use so a little bit of repetition. They want your eye to carry through the bed and they want it to balance, they don't want it to be just one horizontal plain so they start again on the edge of the border with the smaller, dwarf annuals then will go up to an intermediate with the salvia and then a little taller with the coleus. So when looking at it from either side the bed its gently sloping up the center and back down the other side. Then we come back and use some color accent plants, put those in to break it up, again to give some vertical movement to the garden. So we have a five foot bed and it still has an up and down movement, its not boring because everything is working from the sides to the center and the pattern is carrying your eye from one plant to the other. Jim thinks it important to create something that is familiar, the strength of the pattern like with a beautiful piece of wallpaper or an oriental rug where the same colors and the stopping points allow your eye to rest and there are repeated themes. That is important. And that’s why it works so well in the garden.

Behind us we’ve got another bed that incorporates a lot of perennials. In this bed we can’t access it from the other side so creating a nice structure that doesn’t have to be so intensively gardened is a really smart way to handle that. Of course perennials take up more space so the bed is five feet wide though we’re GARDENING MORE FROM ONE SIDE because there is a wall on the other side. Thus they let the back grow a little taller. The pruning is done from the edge of the walk in two and a half feet so you get a sloped up affect. They will be dead heading more in the front than the back and they try to use perennials that bloom for at least 6-8 weeks. The annuals are going to go from the 15th of April to the 15th of October. That’s the power that annuals have, they have really extended seasons of color. Some of the perennials will provide interest throughout the winter. But this particular bed will start blooming in March, then in April you have some other perennials, in May, June, July, August and September you begin to see perennials go to seed. So they are going to perform more from April through August.

Eric would like to discuss MAINTENANCE a little bit. That is something we need to think about if we really want our color beds to look as exceptional as they can all year round. Let's start with containers. How do you set up your containers, make sure we get enough drainage, enough water holding capacity, and also the correct nutrition? The first thing Jim does with containers is to start in the bottom of the container. You've got to make sure you have good drainage. They usually put a filter cloth down in the bottom, then put fifty-seven gravel in, maybe an inch and a half, two inches. They fold the filter cloth over the top, you don't want those particles of soil mix to go into the gravel because it stops it up and it won’t drain properly. After the gravel is in place at the bottom of the container we next want to make sure that the planter is filled with good soil. At Gibbs Gardens they handle a lot of that themselves. They make compost, leaves are great compost, collect them during the year from the garden then the next year you have compost. Use that. Mix that in with some top soil, you can mix in a little bit of bark, then add vermiculite and pearlite. That provides good aeration and good drainage. The roots of plants will go deep into that soil mix, which means you don’t have to water as often because if the roots are deep down it is cooler, up near the surface it is always going to be warmer which creates more difficulties.

Transitioning over into in-ground planting - The way they prepare the soil is, once again, very important to the plants. They are going to be living there, if they do a good job with that, the results will be fantastic which makes life so much easier. Eric wonders how do they PREPARE THEIR BEDS FOR PLANTING? It is totally different than containers. Containers have better drainage. In the soil you must make sure that you dome the bed so that it has good drainage. By doming the soil the water will slope to both sides. If a flat bed you want to start at the edge and gently slope it up. As long as you utilize the same soil mix mentioned earlier and till it all together you are going to have a great bed that will perform well. If you do that maintenance will be minimized. The success of the flower bed depends on how well you prepare the soil.

Maintenance and pruning of a garden are important. And to Eric PRUNING is a very relaxing, cathartic part of gardening. Others perhaps don't enjoy it as much. Care of annuals can be a much more intensive approach than, say, the annual pruning of trees and shrubs. Whereas they may be pruned one time in the winter or possibly twice during the season with annuals it's more hands on. Jim agrees, you definitely have to prune more with annuals. A little pinching is needed once a week but not on every plant. Go through your garden and the plants that need pinching, you will want to pinch them. But remember, pinching a plant back promotes new growth meaning you get more flowers. Many people think they can't pinch that back, they have so many flowers, they are so beautiful. They don’t want to pinch it. But here is an example. If you pinch this dragon begonia although it has a flower, don't worry about the flower disappearing you are going to have many, many more flowers that will appear. The terminal growth that will come out will have new flowers so you have to pinch to keep the plants in balance. Pinching them back importantly helps avoid plant diseases, which can be a real concern for the garden. By pinching plants back we are creating sturdier, more compact plants. And that keeps everything in place, it allows us to see the plants that are around, particularly the more aggressive plants. We don't want plants crowded out. We have gone through all the trouble of selecting these beautiful plants that work well together, they are not all going to grow at the same pace so it is just part of maintaining their space, the area we want them to occupy. Disease pressure can also be pretty intense in a garden especially when everything is planted so closely and pruning is a wonderful way of making sure that we get adequate ventilation and enough sunlight to hopefully prevent fungal issues. Fungus is the number one problem for gardeners especially on annuals. So if you do all those things just mentioned you are definitely going to open up the air flow which helps get rid of diseases. Also soil that is too wet causes root rot. And you will have less leaf spot, which is a fungus. Fungus is the most difficult to control. Insects are easy, we don't have to worry much about that because if a plant is being chewed on, you know it's an insect. You are going to spot where the insect is and you put insecticide on it. Fungicides kill fungus, insecticides kill insects, so look at your plant and decide which one does it need and spray appropriately. Jim has found by creating an environment where plants are happy and healthy goes a long way in preventing future problems with disease and insect pressure.

Annuals are impossible to beat for bold displays of color and by following the principles that Jim has laid out allows us to garden more confidently with these dynamic plants.

Eric thanks Jim for spending the day with us. We have learned so much and as always a day at Gibbs Gardens is an amazing day. Jim thanks Eric, it has been his pleasure.

LINKS:

Gibbs Gardens
World-Class Garden | North GA Destinations | Gibbs Gardens

Kinsman Planters
Kinsman Garden | EverEdge Lawn Edging, Pamela Crawford Planters

Plant List

Top


   
 
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By Karen Weir-Jimerson, Costa Farms, Photographs courtesy of Costa Farms

A Norfolk Island pine looks like a Christmas tree in miniature, so many people use these floor and tabletop plants as holiday trees. An interesting article, click here to read.


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