week we visit Barnsley Gardens in Adairsville, Georgia.
Barnsley's history dates back to the 1840's and 50's. Euan
McGlashan and Robert Stoney show us around this magnificent
resort. Everyone is amazed by the history and beauty of
Barnsley Gardens and to this day the Barnsley's provide
the inspiration for this exquisite resort. The landscape
was designed by Andrew Jackson Downing. The Civil War caused
the financial ruin of the Barnsleys, they didn't have the
financial means to rebuild, thus Barnsly Gardens is for
the most part what it was before the Civil War. It remains
a wonderful tribute to Downing, the father of landscape
design in America.
Downing used a lot of Irises. The Iris
is also part of the owners, the Fuger family, crest. There
are over 300 species of Iris. Iris in Latin means rainbow,
thus they come in every color but green. Richard has seen
rare reds, yellows, blues and whites. The Iris can be divided
into two groups. The Dutch and Siberian Iris grow on fibrous
roots which is different from the usual Iris that grows
on a rhizome. The rhizome is sometimes half buried and sometimes
exposed on top of the soil.
Within the Rhizome group is the Bearded
Iris. Typically the German Irises are true Bearded Irises
and they have showy forms. They are tall, called standards,
the petals droop down and are called falls. That's different
and distinct from the Crested Irises which have a crest
instead of a beard. Iris Tectorum is an example of a Crested
Iris. April is their peak time but Irises can bloom from
January all the way through November or December. Thus,
there are even fall flowering Irises.
Robert Stoney shows us several types of
Iris. The Dutch Iris has clear white colors as well as blues
and purples. The Siberian Iris is also beautiful in spring
and makes wonderful drifts if massed. Scented Iris, Iris
Pallida is light blue as is the Dalmation Iris, Iris Dalmatica.
Not all varieties are fragrant, but people don't typically
grow them for fragrance since the scent is rather delicate,
one can only smell them up close.
Iris are a diverse group in terms of size
and color., They can tolerate every condition imaginable.
Even when not flowering they have a decorative leaf. Some
have a variegated leaf providing another form of interest.
Once one decides which Iris they want,
then the decision is where should they go in the garden.
First think about color. If surrounded by muted colors,
blue or cooler colors, then it's best to go with other cool
shades. The foliage has a silvery blue color so they go
very well in cool color schemes. The flowers, although beautiful
are fleeting, so call attention to the upright sword-like
foliage. Place them where the eye can linger, in a perennial
bed or somewhere where they can dominate. Irises are easy
to care for, come in a wide variety of colors, shapes and
sizes. Massing them in groups of 50 to 100 plants makes
a potent display. However they can also be used in containers.
Some varieties are only 2-3 inches tall while some grow
to 6 feet tall. In either environment make sure they get
plenty of fertilization, a little bit of sun, then enjoy
Dr. Rick looks at a new type rake. When
buying a rake look for something lightweight, something
made of aluminum. That way there are no splinters and it
is easy to handle. This rake has a nice soft place at the
top and at the base where the hand fits, thus fewer blisters.
Where it picks up stuff it's curved so when pressure is
placed the rake folds back and is effective at moving grass
clippings, wood chips or anything else.
This is the time of year to prepare the
soil in your beds to get ready for summer annuals. Robert
is getting rid of old plants and planting the new. He's
taking Pansies out of slightly raised beds, these beds act
like large containers. It's easier to replace the plants,
don't turn them underneath. That way bacteria or fungus
won't be tilled into the soil, plus it takes a while for
the old material to break down in the soil. Robert first
adds compost. This product was made at Barnsley, the result
of decomposed residues from previous Pansies, grass cuttings
and weeds piled together and composted over a 6-8 month
period of time. Once everything is removed, an annual bed
can be tilled. With a perennial bed that is more difficult.
But perennial beds don't normally need such a heavy application
of compost. As well expectations with annuals is higher,
we expect them to bloom immediately and through the end
of the season. The raised beds will drop a little over time,
the compost helps them keep the right height.
Robert has a steep slope at the front
of the bed, there he forms a valley or gutter. That helps
with watering. The water sits in the gulley and doesn't
erode the bed too badly. He shapes it with a hard rake.
The bed could be higher in the back than the front. By slightly
compacting the soil, everything doesn't get washed away
with a hard shower, etc. Bark chips, mulch or pine straw
will also help in this area.
With the bed now ready for planting, Robert
turns to the plants. In the back, because they're tall,
he has placed the Pennisitum, Purple Fountain Grass. Next,
Verbena, their pink goes well with the purple of the Fountain
Grass. Silver Argentea, Silver Salvia and Alternathera,
yellow or green leaf color will also be added. In these
beds the planting process is relatively easy because the
rich bed is loose. When removing the new plant, Robert breaks
the roots if they seem to be swirling at the bottom of the
plant. With bigger plants it's nice to have two people,
one to place the plant the other to dig the hole. It's important
to place the plant about the same height as it was in the
container. After planting, if you don't like how you've
arranged the plants you can change them until you like the
arrangement. In the front are the Salvia Argenteas. It has
a coarse texture that contrasts well with the finer texture
of some of the other plants, providing a lot of interest
with not only the flowers but the leaves as well. A formal
row could be planted in the front, Robert prefers to mix
it up and has a little triangle. These will grow about a
foot and a half across, the leaves will be almost 10 inches
later in the summer. The fuzz on the leaves doesn't seem
to mind irrigation and they don't require too much water,
in fact if these plants were kept too wet they could rot.
A lot of silver flowered plants, plants like Dusty Miller
don't like over watering or too much humidity, this one
has a prettier flower and tolerates wetter conditions. Next
Robert adds Alternathera, they're chartreuse and contrast
with the other plants. These he plants in informal patches
of three to five plants rather than planting in straight
lines. And they're planted about 10 inches apart. They will
grow together and fill in, although they won't have flowers,
just an intense foliage color. Once in the ground, water
all plants completely, then water every day, especially
when hot and sunny, After established Robert starts a weekly
regimen of liquid fertilizer. It's a beautiful combination
of Evergreen, Deciduous plants, Ornamental Grasses and flowers.
It looks very nice.
If you have an important tree or shrub
in your yard, you want to make sure is well fed. Consider
tree spikes. They are concentrated and compressed fertilizer.
Place them into the ground, place a plastic cap over the
top and hammer them into the soil when it is moist. The
roots grow down and around the spikes. The roots then remove
as much nutrients as they need. They last for several years
although it is recommended that in the first couple of years,
as the plants become established, that spikes be added several
times a year. Place them around the drip line. If the diameter
of the plant is 4 feet, place 1 spike, as the diameter increases
increase the number of spikes accordingly.
Vines are an intriguing plant and we need
to use them more often. Clematis has about 200 species,
most are deciduous, they loose their leaves in winter. There
are a few evergreen Clematis, they don't have a lot of high
maintenance requirements. One must remember that they like
to keep their heads in the sun and their feet in the shade.
Mulch around their root system heavily. A good location
is near a porch so the roots can grow down underneath. They
do need adequate moisture, rich, loose, well drained soil.
They need to be supported, an easy way to do that is to
use string. Allow the leaf to twirl around the string. When
pruning, if Deciduous, and just planted, say the first year,
cut it back to about 12 inches or count up from the base
three nodes or three sets of leaves, which ever is the lowest.
Prune it back to that point. If using the flower indoors,
cut as much of the stalk as possible, take a lighter or
match and sear the base. This allows the juice or the vascular
system to stay open and water to enter the flower, enabling
it to look good for a longer period of time.
We view a Chinese Snowball Vebernum and
it is absolutely spectacular. It is in full flower, in fact
the blooms are so large that they are weighing down the
branches and Robert worries they might break.
Thank you Robert for showing us the garden.
As always it is beautiful. Everyone should visit.
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