Dr. Rick has ideas about formal
gardens. Another word for formal is symmetrical, everything
on one side of the garden is the same as the other side.
This is appealing because humans are symmetrical and like
shapes that are symmetrical. Be careful about too much symmetry
in your garden for several reasons. First, it can be boring,
once you've seen half of the garden, you've seen it all.
Secondly, it is difficult to get plants to grow at the same
rate, this means plants on one side will have a tendency
to grow bigger or faster than the other side.
A growing trend in gardening has been placing and utilizing
water features. We'll explore other ideas in upcoming weeks,
but this week we take a close look at a water garden with
Tom Harvey at Atlanta Botanical Garden. Tom says we don't
necessarily need a pond, even a big pot that doesn't have
a hole in the bottom would work on a smaller scale. Water
Lilies are hardy aquatic, tropical plants. They start coming
up and out of dormancy in late April or May and will continue
to grow and bloom until a killing frost. Depending on the
part of the country this could be November or even later,
providing 7 or 8 months of blooms. Typically at night they
close, then the next day open, some earlier in the day than
others. Tom thinks darker Lilies (red or blue) open earlier
while the lighter colors (like white or yellow) open later
in the day. The depth Lilies are planted is important. Tom
places their container on a support, like a rock, brick,
blocks, etc. and puts the top of the container no more than
10 to 12 inches below the surface of the water. They are
in containers with no holes in the bottom. Water temperature
is important for blooming, if the water isn't warm they
won't bloom. They grow in a medium of clay, cut or mixed
with 50% granite sand and pebbles are used to hold the mix
down. The mix must hold the pot down and hold nutrients,
the stones hold it all together so the plant can root in
the first year. These plants can be over-wintered, place
them in a warm place in the house, a basement, for example
and keep them moist. They go into a dormant state during
this time. Tom shows us Texas Dawn, it is creamy yellow.
The leaf on Water Lilies is unique in that the Stomata,
which exchanges gasses back and forth is located on the
top of the leaf. The leaf is designed to lie flat so that
it maximizes all of the sunlight, they don't curl or ruffle,
they're flat. They're a perfect landing place for Dragonflies
and Frogs. The leaves come in different mottling, some are
red, some silver or burgundy. As they photosynthesize they
turn green and change to different shades of green. When
you see new leaves you know the plant is growing and healthy.
The plants are normally problem free but fertilization is
a critical factor. They are heavy feeders and at ABG they
fertilize every two weeks in the growing season. Plant tabs,
compressed fertilizer, could be used, Tom prefers a 10-10-10.
Put it in a paper towel and shove it down the sides of the
pot every 8-10 inches around the pot. Algae will form, but
other aquatic plants and Goldfish should keep it clean.
The Goldfish should also keep Mosquitos under control. Aquatic
plans are a great way to keep cool and a beautiful part
of your garden.
Sig Guthman is a volunteer at ABG and is involved with procuring
land art for the Garden. Sig believes that a symbiotic relationship
develops between sculpture and plants in a garden. The plants
develop another dimension because of the art. It is fascinating
to view but in one specific case, a garden gate, it is also
functional. The gate we view was made by Andrew Crawfoot
a local Atlanta artist, who attended the Rhode Island School
of Design. He also produced the gate at the entrance to
ABG. The Herb Garden gate is adorned with tools, garden
implements that are whimsical. He produced them using blacksmithing
techniques. Another sculpture was produced by a husband
and wife team, Tina Stern and Don Morgan. This is a bronze
or iron frog with cattails and was donated by the Frasier-Parker
foundation. These works of art do enhance the gardens and
add to the total enjoyment.
Kara Ziegler is curator of Bromeliads at ABG. She will provide
tips on growing and care of Bromeliads. Bromeliads are a
member of the Pineapple family, the Bromeliaceae. They are
a very easy household plant to grow and are native to southern
Florida south to South America. Tillandsias are Epiphytes
which means they don't need soil to grow. It is best to
mount them on branches or cork slabs, they don't need much
water and like to be misted in the morning and allowed to
dry overnight. They create beautiful blooms as can be seen
on Tillandsia Mallemontii. Tillandsia Funckiana has red
flowers when in bloom. These are best mounted by placing
wire around the roots on a cork slab then tighten the wire
at the back of the slab. The next Bromeliads need a soil
mix. The best mix is an epiphyte mix, consisting of very
chunky sponge rock, fir bark and charcoal mixture. Guzmania
Ligulata requires this mix, it requires semi-shade and a
water filling tank. The water is for nutrient uptake and
the tank is the best way to water. Tillandsia Flabellata
is a different kind of Tillandsia and differs from the Guzmania
because it has a different bloom spike. It blooms in summer
and is a tank Bromeliad. Nidularium Innocentii is also a
tank Bromeliad but differs from the others in that it needs
more sunlight to develop its' beautiful purple leaves. It
is a red bloomer, with white centers. Aechmea Retusa requires
full sun, has unusual spines and has an unusual orange and
yellow flower that occurs in the summer. They are easy to
propagate because they develop offsets. These offsets can
be pruned at the base of the offset, then propagated in
the mix mentioned above. It will develop roots in weeks.
Viric Bromeliads grow in the desert in sandy, rocky conditions.
We view one called Cryptanthus Acaulis, in full sun it develops
a red flower and when it blooms it has yellow flowers. Bromeliads
should make a nice addition to anyone's home.
Sally Wright is a volunteer at ABG and has been volunteering
there for 14 years. She shows us some of her dried flower
arrangements. She has taken River Birch and secured it in
a flower pot with some foam. She then wraps wire around
it to ensure it stays compact. She then winds Spanish Moss
around it in a kind of rope like shape all the way to the
top and secures it all with glue from a glue gun. She has
dried Gumfrina by hanging it upside down. She then works
with a Hydrangea that has dried on the plant until about
July, then put it in water until the water dissolves and
it feels papery, when the blooms are a little woody spray
them with Design Master Wedgewood Blue Paint. It looks natural,
but keeps the blue color and doesn't fade. Sally then adds
Yarrow, the yellow adds to any arrangement, but beforehand
she hung it upside down in a dark place like a closet. When
all are dry she puts them all together. The finished arrangement
has different shades and looks elegant and sophisticated.
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By Dan Heims, president, Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.
Photographs courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.
So many perennials have faded, lost their verve, stopped blooming. Enter the coneflower! In the opinion of Dan, the author, of this article Terra Nova has created, in form and function, the best coneflowers on earth. To learn more click here for an informative article.
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