GardenSmart :: EPISODES :: 2018 show21
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Show #21/5208. Our Gardens Connect Us To Nature

Summary of Show

Ft. Worth Botanic Garden
The OLDEST BOTANIC GARDEN IN TEXAS is located in Fort Worth just a stones throw from its vibrant, bustling downtown. The gardens are home to over 2,500 species that are carefully planted on 190 acres of rolling hills. There are 21 unique, specialty gardens that give visitors the opportunity to experience native, exotic plants in a wide variety of designs and settings. The gardens were built to be a sanctuary for the community and have focused on educating gardeners of all ages since opening in 1934.
For More Information Click here

Fuller Garden
The 1st stop on the tour is the FULLER GARDEN. This is a 3.25 acre strolling garden dedicated to Adelaide Polk Fuller. It resembles an impressionistic painting, combines light splashes of color and lots of shapes which provide the effect of a painting. At the same time it shows or mimics the journey that we take through life - childhood, adulthood and then the end of life when we have the opportunity to look back on life.
For More Information Click here

Blue Garden
The BLUE GARDEN is a wonderful contrast to the Silver Garden. It's a receding color which draws the eye from the brighter parts of the garden into the deeper, richer blue. The blue Mediterranean fan palm is a beautiful plant.
For More Information Click here

Rose Garden
The guys next visit the ROSE GARDEN. It is one of their signature gardens, certainly one of their oldest gardens, it was dedicated in 1933. It consists of 4 parts, the ramp, the Lower Rose Garden, then the Texas Rose Garden and finally the Oval Rose Garden. The 4 parts are different from a design standpoint.
For More Information Click here

Rose Maintenance
They next talk about MAINTENANCE, something our viewers and Steve's visitors are always interested in. Roses are the queen of the garden. It's nearly an obligatory garden plant. But they can often be tough to care for. That's why here they feature the Earth Kind roses because they require less maintenance. They're ideal for the homeowner who doesn't want to spend a lot of time maintaining them.
For More Information Click here

Calvin - A Young Gardener
The guys are next joined by Calvin who is already an avid gardener. CALVIN IS 14. He confesses he likes to grow anything you can grow although his favorite is cucumbers. But he also likes to grow corn. Calvin doesn't see a plant as what it is when he puts it in the ground, rather sees it as what it can be. If you plant a seed it turns into a cucumber, it's amazing to see that transformation from a little seed into a full grown plant.
For More Information Click here

Perennial Garden
The guys move on and start looking at PERENNIALS. Perennials are some of the most fun plants to use in a garden because they have so many crazy colors and a lot of interesting shapes. This is a whimsical garden with a lot going on. This used to be a cactus garden but they switched over to a perennial garden.
For More Information Click here

Japanese Garden
All the gardens at this beautiful Botanic garden are spectacular but the one people seem to have a particular affection for is the JAPANESE GARDEN. Steve thinks the history of this garden makes it very special. 40 years ago the former Director looked at the area, which at the time was a stone quarry and dumping ground for 2 world wars, and saw the topography and thought it would make a beautiful Japanese garden. In 1973 this garden opened and has now been here for 40 years. This is a 7.5 acre strolling garden.
For More Information Click here

Plants In The Japanese Garden
Steve discusses some of the PLANTS that have worked particularly well in this garden. And, they do have a wide variety of plants although they don't label those plants because they felt it would interfere with the setting and the tranquility of the garden. Steve discusses several favorites - hollies, Nandina Fatsia and lots of ground covers like Asian Jasmine, mondo grass, even dwarf mondo grass.
For More Information Click here

LINKS:

Ft. Worth Botanic Garden

Plant List

 

Show #21/5208. Our Gardens Connect Us To Nature

Transcript of Show

Whether a small patio garden or a hundred acre botanic garden the finest gardens have an amazing way of connecting us to nature. The garden we visit in this Episode is no exception. Join us as we GardenSMART from Texas.

The OLDEST BOTANIC GARDEN IN TEXAS is located in Fort Worth just a stones throw from its vibrant, bustling downtown. The gardens are home to over 2,500 species that are carefully planted on 190 acres of rolling hills. There are 21 unique, specialty gardens that give visitors the opportunity to experience native, exotic plants in a wide variety of designs and settings. The gardens were built to be a sanctuary for the community and have focused on educating gardeners of all ages since opening in 1934. From expansive views to private, quiet spaces, the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens have the artful touch of an impressionistic painter. Steve Huddleston is the Senior Horticulturist and has been with the gardens for nearly 20 years. He is the co-author of Easy Gardens For North Texas and a writer for Gardens Magazine. Steve, in this Episode, shares with the GardenSMART audience what makes this Texas oasis one of the finest botanic gardens in the United States.

Eric meets Steve and thanks him for joining GardenSMART. Steve in turn welcomes Eric to the Fort Worth Botanic Garden. Steve's parents enjoyed working in their yard, as did his grandmother and great grandfather so some of their enthusiasm was bound to rub off. He started working in their yard when he was 3 and when it was time to go to college he went to Oklahoma State, ultimately earning a Masters degree in Horticulture. He came to the Forth Worth Botanic Garden because there was a job opening, he applied, got the job and has now been here 19 years. Today he is primarily involved in garden administration, he manages the garden on a day to day basis. That involves budgets, purchasing plants, planning color displays, managing personnel, dealing with special events and setting up those events. Over the years Steve has done a lot of TV and radio work and co-authored a book so it's been an interesting job, he never gets bored. Eric is anxious to get see the gardens so they're off.

The 1st stop on the tour is the FULLER GARDEN. This is a 3.25 acre strolling garden dedicated to Adelaide Polk Fuller. It resembles an impressionistic painting, combines light splashes of color and lots of shapes which provide the effect of a painting. At the same time it shows or mimics the journey that we take through life - childhood, adulthood and then the end of life when we have the opportunity to look back on life. And, it is beautiful. Eric has noticed walking through that it looks like there a number of monochromatic designs or similar colors grouped together. It's an interesting way to see plants with similar colors put together in wonderful designs. It is true one goes through color zones in this garden. There is a gray area, a blue area, an area that features reds, yellows and oranges, then they have pastels as well, a lot of color zones.

They are in the gray or Silver Garden and Eric asks about some of the plants that perform particularly well. Steve pinpoints several - the Texas sage, a gray leaf shrub native to west Texas does well here on the metroplex, they have Powis Castle Artemesia which is a nice perennial and Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar is a beautiful accent plant, Petoni Aster makes a great focal point, silver leaf Texas mountain laurel, it's variety is Silver Sierra, has silver leaves and purple flowers in the spring. All of these plants make this a beautiful area.

The BLUE GARDEN is a wonderful contrast to the Silver Garden. It's a receding color which draws the eye from the brighter parts of the garden into the deeper, richer blue. The blue Mediterranean fan palm is a beautiful plant. It is accompanied by blue salvia farinacea and rosemary which has blue flowers in late winter, early spring. Amsonia is another blue flowering plant that catches the eye. These plants all have cool, refreshing colors. It is a wonderful area to stroll through, especially in the summer.

Eric wants to discuss the hardscape. There are some amazing stone walls that must have required extremely painstaking work. Steve explains, it is a nice layout, a lot of stone walls, retaining walls, walks that wind through the garden. This is a strolling garden and these hardscapes cause one to slow down and wind through the garden just as we wind through life and that is what this garden represents. The dry creek bed is another neat feature. On the western side of the garden, along the tree line the dry creek bed gives the illusion of water being there without water actually being there. It's a nice effect. Along that bed they feature a lot of Texas natives - their Texas State Grass, red yucca, Texas mountain laurel, Texas persimmon, Mexican buckeye, all are native plants that do well on less water. It's a beautiful place, Eric loves the design, the layout is thoughtfully prepared and it really does force one to slow down and contemplate every piece of this garden.

The guys next visit the ROSE GARDEN. It is one of their signature gardens, certainly one of their oldest gardens, it was dedicated in 1933. It consists of 4 parts, the ramp, the Lower Rose Garden, then the Texas Rose Garden and finally the Oval Rose Garden. The 4 parts are different from a design standpoint. The main area is what people come to see, there are a lot of weddings here. Adjacent to the Colonnade is the Republic of Texas Rose Garden. The Rose Society wanted to install a rose garden that represented the years of the Texas Republic and the roses that were in cultivation at that time. The years of the Republic were 1836 - 1845. All of the roses that they feature here are old garden roses, they were grown at that time. The Oval Garden is another garden, it has an oval shape, features a lot of old garden roses as well as some of the Earth Kind roses. Eric likes the architecture in this area. The ramp has an old world feel and incredible vistas. It was inspired by an Italian garden. Construction on this garden began in the 1930's with the civil works administration and was the 1st public relief project in this county. The Garden was completed in 1934 and dedicated then. This Garden has a lot of history, it is on The National Register of Historic Places. As mentioned there are some old historic Texas roses but they do work in some of the new roses. They do feature a lot of what they call old garden roses - Chinas, burbons, teas and polyanthus but additionally they have a list of 23 roses called Earth Kind roses. These are roses that have been tested by the Texas A & M Extension Service throughout the state of Texas for their performance in the state and 23 have been called Earth Kind roses because they have passed the test. They are tough, they have to be to pass the test and be called an Earth Kind rose. Those 23 varieties are featured throughout the rose garden. So the bulk of their roses are either Earth Kind or old garden roses and of course many of the Earth Kind are old garden roses. They have really gotten away from a lot of the hybrid roses although there are still some here.

They next talk about MAINTENANCE, something our viewers and Steve's visitors are always interested in. Roses are the queen of the garden. It's nearly an obligatory garden plant. But they can often be tough to care for. That's why here they feature the Earth Kind roses because they require less maintenance. They're ideal for the homeowner who doesn't want to spend a lot of time maintaining them. Here all they do is prune. They prune in February, Valentine's Day, then apply spring fertilization before they bloom, after they bloom, then again around September 1. They fertilize 3 times a year and mulch heavily, 2 to 3 inches of good, organic mulch, a shredded, hardwood mulch. Then they irrigate. But importantly, choosing the proper plant is a lot easier than having the right maintenance schedule. That is especially true with roses and that is why they are happy to have the Earth Kind roses because they require so much less maintenance. Importantly they are beautiful, whether landscape roses or shrub roses.

Eric finds that many gardeners developed their love of gardening growing up with a parent or relative who gardened and oftentimes that gardening experience centered around vegetable gardens. He remembers vividly the moment his kids first really got excited about gardening and it wasn't that different for him. With his children it was the point they came to the vegetable garden, they were 6 or 7 years old, and they were figuring out that the seeds they put in the ground just a few weeks earlier were now plants. They were now picking tomatoes, peppers and some really cool vegetables, like Japanese eggplant, and there was so much excitement that they were going to fill the giant basket of food, bring it inside and Mom was going to cook it. They were going to eat what they grew. Really cool. Thus he finds it rewarding to visit a public garden that devotes space to vegetable gardens. They have done that here and it's called The Backyard Vegetable Garden. It's a place where children of all ages, young and old can come to learn how to garden and specifically how to plant vegetables, maintain those vegetables and harvest those vegetables and fruits. Steve adds, they offer a lot of classes for children and adults, even Master Gardeners. It's a very accessible space, it's ADA accessible from both entrances. It features ground beds, raised beds, an orchard of fruit trees, a pomegranate selection, a fig collection and areas that can be cultivated or changed out 2 or 3 times a year. Thus they have permanent plantings as well as seasonal plantings.

There is a lot of activity in this garden today. This is a special day because they are dedicating this garden today. The Mayor will be here, dignitaries will be here to open the garden and to celebrate its renovation and opening to the public. GardenSMART is fortunate to be here this day, we hit it just right.

The guys are next joined by Calvin who is already an avid gardener. CALVIN IS 14. He confesses he likes to grow anything you can grow although his favorite is cucumbers. But he also likes to grow corn. Calvin doesn't see a plant as what it is when he puts it in the ground, rather sees it as what it can be. If you plant a seed it turns into a cucumber, it's amazing to see that transformation from a little seed into a full grown plant. And, it's not that tough to do, in fact it's easy. Calvin gives us a planting demonstration. He has some sunflower seeds. Of course they are not only beautiful but additionally attract birds and wildlife and we can eat them. Calvin shows us how he plants them. One can dig a little trench either with their finger or a shovel, dig it about an inch or so deep, just use good judgement, then plant each seed, just lay it down about 4 inches apart, then cover it up lightly and pat it down. Once that is done water the area, it will start germinating and by the end of the season one will have giant, beautiful flowers full of more seeds. It's almost too easy. Thanks Calvin, it was great to meet you and to know the next generation of gardeners is out there.

The guys move on and start looking at PERENNIALS. Perennials are some of the most fun plants to use in a garden because they have so many crazy colors and a lot of interesting shapes. This is a whimsical garden with a lot going on. This used to be a cactus garden but they switched over to a perennial garden. They have water features here. The area has sun and shade which lends itself to a variety of perennials. They have hellebores and the yellow flowers are columbine, one is called Texas Gold, which does very well here in the spring. They also have more permanent structures here, for example Japanese maples and oak leaf hydrangeas. Plus they have a lot of bulbs that come up different times of year. And, they have spring blooming perennials, summer blooming perennials and fall blooming perennials. It's really a seasonal garden, one needs to visit each season of the year to see what is blooming. In many ways it's a balanced garden. Eric thinks some of the best perennial gardens are ones that are not exclusively perennials. Although there are some beautiful perennial borders we visit, when one adds things like woody plant material it provides structure and nice focal points. This garden has a lot of black leaf plants, Loropetalum chinense and Cotinus for example. Smoke trees add great, strong, vertical element and they create focal points in the garden. The pathways allow one to get a view from different sides of the garden and the water features flow throughout. It's a great garden, one that's interesting to see each season of the year.

They talk about the preparation of this garden. As mentioned, it was a cactus garden through the 1930's and this area is in a bit of a depression. Anytime they prepare a new bed they try to mix in or bring in the correct soil or at least amend the soil. That would have been originally done in the 30's. And, they do that with expanded shale and aged compost. Those are the 2 ingredients that they use to amend their heavy clay soils. They have done that in each of the gardens they have planted. Doing the right thing for the soil from the get go definitely saves a lot of headache down the road especially with perennials because they are going to be growing in this soil for years to come. So prepare the soil at the beginning, then maintain the soil during the ongoing years .

All the gardens at this beautiful Botanic garden are spectacular but the one people seem to have a particular affection for is the JAPANESE GARDEN. Steve thinks the history of this garden makes it very special. 40 years ago the former Director looked at the area, which at the time was a stone quarry and dumping ground for 2 world wars, and saw the topography and thought it would make a beautiful Japanese garden. In 1973 this garden opened and has now been here for 40 years. This is a 7.5 acre strolling garden. People can follow winding paths throughout the garden over varied topography as they enjoy different plants along the route. Steve thinks one of the prominent features of a Japanese garden is that you don't see a lot of blooming color as one might in an English garden or perennial garden. Here one sees lots of hues and textures of green. It does have color, primarily in the spring, from the flowering trees and azaleas and it has color in the fall from the trees that turn colors but other than that this garden consists of different shades and hues and textures of green. It evokes a tranquil feeling, it's a very serene place because of all the green.

Steve discusses some of the PLANTS that have worked particularly well in this garden. And, they do have a wide variety of plants although they don't label those plants because they felt it would interfere with the setting and the tranquility of the garden. Steve discusses several favorites - hollies, Nandina Fatsia and lots of ground covers like Asian Jasmine, mondo grass, even dwarf mondo grass. Then they have flowering trees, like peaches, red buds and flowering cherries which provide a lot of color in the spring. As well they have azaleas for spring color. There is also bamboo in this garden. As mentioned, this garden has some flowering plants, some color but mostly it is a study in textures which range from fine texture plants to wider texture plants like Fatsia, which looks great. The Fatsia is next to intermediate plants then some really big trees that surround the property. The largest trees in the garden are the Bald Cypress, there are several very big cottonwood trees and a wide variety of Japanese maples that provide great fall color. For the intermediate level there are quite a few hollies which are a wonderful evergreen. It's important to remember when planting a garden to include some plants that are evergreen so when the garden goes dormant the garden doesn't look like it's sleeping entirely. As well, this garden is very green in January and February because of all the green ground covers. Like the hollies Indian Hawthorne is an evergreen shrub, they bloom in the spring but the rest of the year are evergreen and provide nice form and structure to the garden. That's also true of Asian Jasmine which is probably the most ubiquitous ground cover in this garden. It does well here because it will withstand sun or shade, it's evergreen thus provides year round color.

Eric wants to know what advice Steve might have for a gardener with a small space but wanted something similar to a Japanese garden. Steve feels anyone can create something similar in a small space by using small or dwarf plants. Yaupon hollies, mahonia or ground covers such as asian Jasmine even turf such as zoysia, or a small water feature, or a pool with some goldfish or koi, even a rock or bolder can create a Japanese garden feel in a small space. One does not need a lot of space to have a garden with a Japanese garden feel.

Eric thanks Steve for this wonderful garden tour. He gets the sense as he walks through this garden that he is in a refuge away from all the noise and business of Ft. Worth. It's a very special place. Steve tells Eric that is the intention. This garden is a jewel for the city, it's a wonderful retreat for people in this urban area, they can come here and connect with nature, be among things that are green and growing. They can see water and fish and birds. That connection with nature is so important. Thanks Steve, we enjoyed our visit to the Ft. Worth Botanical Garden.

LINKS

Ft. Worth Botanic Garden

Plant List

 


   
 
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