GardenSmart :: EPISODES :: 2004 show52
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Show #52

This week we're at Barnsley Gardens in Adairsville, Georgia. Euan McGlashan is the general manager and gives us a little background on Barnsley. The architecture of some buildings dates back to the early 1800's. The resort has 72 suites and is on 1,300 acres. The amenities are endless, they have a Fazzio designed golf course, horseback riding, biking and a european spa. There are two restaurants and a beer garden. This resort is owned by a German. Barnsley has been open three years, yet has been named by Conde Naste as one of the top 700 properties in the world and one of the top 50 in North America.

Barnsley takes great pride in providing good old fashioned hospitality, it has the personal touch. Euan feels there is no where else in the world where the guests are as well cared for. Barnsley Gardens has spectacular gardens. Those gardens are tended to by their horticulturist Robert Stoney, from Ireland, and he too is extraordinary. Dr. Rick and Robert discuss Pansies and raised beds. These Pansies are planted in the shape of the emblem of Barnsley Gardens, a fleur de lis. He's chosen a smaller, flowering variety of Pansies, Violas. They a more winter hardy than the larger regular Pansies and they are self cleaning. Meaning, they shed the old petals when the flowers are through. Their faces are very clear, they have a uniform color and don't have the eye that regular pansies have. These are planted in a raised bed, higher in the back than front. This allows for easier viewing when driving by and allows for improved drainage. It's probably ideal to have raised beds in the winter and level beds in the summer. If you have heavy clay soil, incorporate a lot of organic matter, compost, and some nice loomy soil, even sand. Raise the beds about 6 inches higher than the final, ideal height because they will settle that much. This will provide a wonderful, porous draining medium for all sorts of annuals, particularly Violas for winter color. In the south these should last until about mid April. Robert has no mulch in this bed. In winter it is best to not have much mulch because most mulches don't stay put and wash away with the winter rains. Also mulches keep the soil from warming; if sun gets directly to the soil, it warms more quickly making a better bed earlier in the spring. At the back on the edge of the bed is a steep area which isn't planted. There Robert used a coarse mulch, a chunky pine bark mulch, this is just for looks. They avoid fertilizer during planting, use their own compost and top them off with Nitrogen every week to 10 days as growth starts in the spring. If too much Nitrogen is used early on Botchritis, a sort of rot, makes the plant loose flowers.

Robert shows Dr. Rick his "cheater containers." They are a great way to get some interest in your pots before everything starts to grow in the spring. They're called "cheater" because everything is just stuck in the pots, not rooted. He's taken cuttings from the garden, evergreens for example, and stuck them into soil or compost or wet Sphagnum Peat. Peat allows for moisture uptake, is acidic, kills bacteria that would rot the base of the plant and actually preserves the plant for a period of time. Some cuttings may actually start to root. Robert places Dogwood branches, Cherry blossom, Blue Cedar, Eucalyptus,Southern Magnolia, etc. in the container. These are long sprays, often they would be removed in the spring anyway. Arrange them as you would a flower arrangement. Put in conifers or other plants that might not be seen otherwise. This method only works when it is cool and in the shade, it won't work in summer. Make sure the Peat is as moist as possible. These can then last 4-5 days.

Slow release fertilizer is an amazing product. It is a complete fertilizer that's been encapsulated with a substance that allows it to slowly, yet consistently feed our plants. Place it around the outside perimeter of our plants and over the next 3-4 months it will gently release fertilizer based on the amount of water and temperature. The more water, the higher the temperature the more fertilizer released. The lower the temperature, the less water the more it holds. It is a great way to adequately and consistently feed your plants.

One approach to planting a garden is to plant everything that blooms at the same time in a general area. That way you get a real visual punch. A lot of energy, but it is short lived. Another approach is known as a succession garden, it creates a space that blooms over a longer period of time. Robert has created just such a garden. He's started with Hyacinths to begin the show. Then over- wintering annuals like Violas and Pansies are placed. Next are Herbaceous plants, then flowering shrubs. This is very European, it allows more liberties. You can put in anything you like as long as it flowers in succession. Place low plants in the front, larger ones in the back and intermediate plants in the middle.

Hyacinth, comes in a huge range of colors from yellow all the way through blue and reds and oranges. Besides their visual quality they have a terrific fragrance. They provide instant color, they won't naturalize and will fade away every couple of years.

Iceland Poppy is tolerant of the cold. They are typically planted in the fall but can be planted in the spring, any of the cooler times of year these could be set out. They will then be poised to explode into a wonderful poppy bloom in the spring.

Primula is a low growing flower that adds a lot of interest deep down in the border. In the south they're treated like an annual because they tend to die in the heat. Put them out in the fall, they're beautiful in the spring and often last until June.

Peony's have an incredible flower, almost like a corsage. It blooms later in the season. They need support because they grow to about 2-3 feet high and flop especially in wet weather without a support system.

Any bed will have gaps or holes. To fill the bed Robert has used Violas and Pansies and biennials, Foxgloves as annuals. These are planted in the fall, they flower once, then pull them.

Dr. Rick likes the variety of foliage and different plants in this bed. It's a wonderful job.

Dwarf Flowering Almond, Prunus Glandulosa, offers only a week or so of flowers per year. After that it is rather nondescript. It is trouble free, prune it hard after flowering, that encourages fresh growth which provides a good show next season. When out, it provides a stunning display of double flowers. They are wonderful close up and stunning from a distance.

Robert wants some splash in a garden after a dreary winter. To accomplish this Celeste Harrs has designed a fire garden, a garden with a lot of bright, hot colors - yellows, reds and oranges. Yellow is the color of brightness and sunshine. The yellow around the front comes from Violas, the Daffodils are a variety called "Tahiti" and double Tulips called "Monsella." In behind, the Lily-Flowered Tulips look like flames. In the middle are Anemones, "Governor," which are red. You can almost feel the heat coming from the garden with these vivid colors. It won't last much past mid April, at that point all plants will be pulled and replaced with the next load of annuals.

If you like to give plants as a gift, Dr. Rick has a tip. Go to a paint store and buy a small paint bucket, they're less than two dollars, but they add zest and interest to plants. Punch a few holes in the bottom for drainage, then fill with a premium potting soil mix and plant basil or dill or anything you might want to give away as a gift. It's a unique, different container with pizzazz yet inexpensive.

Phlox Subulata or Pink is a great ground cover that tolerates poor soil and doesn't need a lot of attention and provides good color in the spring. It is a soft color yet intense. In evening light and early morning it comes into its own. It's ideal for mass planting, particularly on a bank or under a building. The foliage is reasonably attractive. Its an evergreen, thus cheerful all year round. It's an heirloom plant, thus sturdy. It needs well drained soil, is at its peak in spring and can look a little beat by the middle of the season. Be ruthless about weeding in summer otherwise it will be taken over by grasses and other weeds. It comes in blues, whites and pinks. Pink is most common.

Periwinkle, Vinca Minor has delicate very, blue flowers and blooms before its cousin, Vinca Major. It will spread but a mower will keep it in place. Some put their mower on the highest setting and cut it back after it stops blooming, around the end of May, when it starts to look ragged. They will root where they land where there is a little moisture and soil, thus they're good for erosion control. It's a good plant for steep banks and dry shady areas. Under large trees is an ideal spot. It contrasts beautifully with Daffodils, with the yellow and blue and they bloom at the same time of year. Vinca Minor, it's a trouble free plant.

Vinca Major is Vinca Minor on steroids. It is more aggressive, not as free flowering, but the flowers are bigger than an inch across. The flower again is intense blue and in the spring looks like patches of sky have fallen to the earth. It prefers the shade, but will survive in full sun if well watered. It is evergreen and hardy. A hard winter will knock it back but rarely kill it. Only put it where you want it and stop its spreading by mowing. It won't climb a tree, looks informal but natural. Vinca Major is a good choice.

Link: Barnsley Gardens

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