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Show #13/2313
Springtime At Atlanta Botanical Garden


SUMMARY OF SHOW

Atlanta Botanical Garden History
This GARDEN HAS AN INTERESTING HISTORY. And, it all started with volunteers. Mary Pat loves the fact that people in the community back in the early days really had a vision for this garden. They believed that every great city should have a great botanical garden like the cities of Europe.

Click here for more info

Garden Art Enhances The Garden
The bulb display has a lot of pinks combined with silver and bluish foliage. The ornamental kale, the stachys all come together in a very refreshing way. But, THE GLASS SCULPTURE ties everything together, the colors of the sculpture and bulb plantings are unifying. And, that is on purpose, they do take the glass sculpture into consideration when planting this garden. Blue isn't a color one finds a lot in nature so they use complimentary colors to show off the Chihuly sculpture.

Click here for more info

Tulips
They next talk about the bulbs. At ABG they have gone with a lot of wonderful major bulbs. Eric notices one bed features primarily hybrid tulips. They plant tens of thousands of TULIPS every year. This garden features primarily pinks and whites to compliment the Chihuly. But they have an array of other colors in other places in the garden.

Click here for more info

Daffodils
Eric was impressed when walking into this garden with the number of DAFFODILS that are still in bloom. It's the middle of April, yet the daffodils are still in bloom and there is an impressive amount of color.

Click here for more info

Minor Bulbs
They also have a nice collection of MINOR BULBS which are some of Amanda's favorites. Not a lot of people know about them, they're a bit lesser known but still beautiful. The Ipheion, the starflower, is a favorite. It has a beautiful little blue flower.

Click here for more info

Combining Annuals And Bulbs
Amanda has been particularly creative in the way they have COMBINED PLANTINGS OF ANNUALS AND BULBS. Typically they pair daffodils with trees and shrubs while Amanda and crew typically underplant tulips with pansies.

Click here for more info

Summer Flowering Bulbs
Something many may not know is there is a whole range of SUMMER FLOWERING BULBS. Plant them in the spring time so they bloom in summer. And, some of these summer bulbs are near and dear to Amanda's heart. Amanda recommends several. The Rain Lily, Zephyranthes is a favorite. It blooms after a rain storm, thus providing a nice little treat after a rain event.

Click here for more info

Planting Bulbs
A question we frequently receive is - HOW DO I CORRECTLY PLANT BULBS? Some may be difficult to figure out which way is up or how deep they should be planted. The general rule of thumb is to plant a bulb twice as deep as it is high. Amanda shows some Rain Lily bulbs, one could even measure them on a trowel. Put it at the end of the trowel, then measure twice as deep in the soil and that should be a good depth for planting.

Click here for more info

Shade Garden
Amanda and Eric move on. Eric always enjoys a well planned SHADE GARDEN. ABG from a standpoint of being a display garden offers a lot to learn for determining what blooms well, what performs well in the shade. Shade can be a challenging part of the garden to grow anything. Plants require sunlight for photosynthesis and a lot of the plant pallet in other parts of the garden feature plants that need a lot of sunlight.

Click here for more info

Shade Trees And Shrubs
They're standing under a BEAUTIFUL BUCKEYE which blooms this time of year. Cornus florida is a native. It has smaller flowers and starts blooming earlier. The Cornus kousa is a bit larger and later blooming but between the two they have a lot of blooming power.

Click here for more info

 

Pruning
Amanda and Eric look at one particular tree that has leaves on most branches but one limb has no new growth. This indicates that the branch is most likely dead and needs to come off for the health of the plant. When we look at removing a limb we want to make sure the cut is as close as possible to the main trunk. The plant has a wonderful mechanism of sealing itself off and that occurs around the node or where a group of buds are located. As we look at PRUNING we must first think of what we're trying to accomplish - are we're looking for structural pruning or are we trying to create a stronger architecture for the tree.

Click here for more info

 

Fertilizing Trees And Shrubs
They next discuss fertility because we receive many questions on this topic. What time of year should we FERTILIZE TREES AND SHRUBS? And what kind of fertilizer should we use for trees and shrubs? One can use anything as broad as a 10-10-10 all the way down to very specific fertilizers for azaleas or camellias, for example.

Click here for more info

 

Roses
Amanda and the Atlanta Botanical Garden have a very nice collection of ROSES which is a plant that many people consider very high maintenance. Yet as Eric walks through this garden he sees very little black spot and no powdery mildew. Roses do tend to be thought of as tricky and finicky and plants that need a lot of effort. If one can figure out their pruning schedule and their fertilization schedule the old fashioned roses can actually be easy to grow.

Click here for more info

 

LINKS:

Atlanta Botanical Garden
Home | Atlanta Botanical Garden

Brent and Becky's Bulbs
Brent and Becky's Bulbs!

Plant List

Plant of the Week


13/2313.
Transcript of Show

Nestled beneath the shadows of some of Atlanta's most stunning skyscrapers is one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the southeast. And what better time to visit than during the spring.

The Atlanta Botanical Garden (ABG) was born in the 1970's and over the last 3 decades has undergone many exciting evolutions. Mary Pat Matheson, the Director of ABG, joins Eric and GardenSMART. Mary Pat has had a lifelong passion for gardening and tells us a little about herself. She loves gardens and plants and particularly likes the connection between people and plants which is what they're all about at ABG. Whether a beautiful spring day and she can hang out in the garden and watch their bulbs come up or watching her husband gardening at home, she loves being in the garden. She feels fortunate to be in this position and have this wonderful garden that connects people from all parts of the community.

Eric first visited this garden in the 80's, then came back in the 90's, then has visited as recently as 8 months ago. It has been incredible to see the maturation process of a garden that started relatively small but through a tremendous amount of effort has developed into what we see today. It has taken a tremendous amount of effort, they have been very busy. In fact during the past year and a half they have opened 60 million dollars of new gardens. And, it has been well received by the community. They've opened the new canopy walk in the edible garden. That garden has been transformational in the last few years. But the growth has been a result of decades of involvement and great support by a very generous community.

This GARDEN HAS AN INTERESTING HISTORY. And, it all started with volunteers. Mary Pat loves the fact that people in the community back in the early days really had a vision for this garden. They believed that every great city should have a great botanical garden like the cities of Europe. They worked hard to get the City of Atlanta to dedicate this property as a botanical garden and many key individuals have been raising money and building gardens ever since. It's a testament to the generosity of the community that they have raised over 130 million dollars since Mary Pat started many years ago.

It is near and dear to Mary Pat's heart to connect the community of Atlanta and the broader region to public gardening. It's her philosophy that one can't be just a garden for the gardener, you must be more. There are many people in the community that enjoy being in the garden but also many that don't realize the beauty of gardens. So they have programs to drive visitation for all people, whether it's children or families coming for the Scarecrow Festival on Thursday evenings in October, or cocktails in the garden which tends to attract people in their 20's or 30's. These events provide great networking opportunities while enjoying the garden. There are concert series, programs for the orchid aficionado who come for the orchid care clinic. They have something for everyone, they think outside the box. Eric is impressed, the gardens look great and there are a lot of visitors. Nice job Mary Pat.

They have a lot planned for GardenSMART and the audience, so Mary Pat thanks us for visiting and tells us Amanda Campbell, the Manager of the Display Gardens, will show us more. And Eric is off.

Amanda tells us a little about her background. She has always liked to be outside, she grew up on a farm in Georgia where her dad was the manager of the farm. So, she's always been outside and always wanted to have a career outside. She went to the University of Georgia, got a degree in horticulture and has been in the field of public gardens ever since. Amanda did her internship with the Chicago Botanic Gardens, then came to ABG after graduating. This is an amazing job and location. How did she end up here? She knew she wanted to be in public gardens. Education plays a huge factor with botanic gardens and she loves telling people about plants. So this was a natural fit. There are a lot of exciting things happening at ABG and Amanda has had a great time here.

Her job entails overseeing all of the outdoor horticulturists for the gardens. Anything that has to do with the gardens on the outside - whether planting, pruning, fertilization, any of the maintenance - the team takes care of. There are 10 or 11 horticulturists on staff and she coordinates them from day to day.

Eric knows she must be busy because there is always something going on, no matter the time of year there is something going on. It is spring time so Atlanta Blooms is the current attraction. All the way through to Scarecrows in October virtually every day in any season people can visit and see beautiful things. They have a lot of early season bloomers, so we start there.
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The bulb display has a lot of pinks combined with silver and bluish foliage. The ornamental kale, the stachys all come together in a very refreshing way. But, THE GLASS SCULPTURE ties everything together, the colors of the sculpture and bulb plantings are unifying. And, that is on purpose, they do take the glass sculpture into consideration when planting this garden. Blue isn't a color one finds a lot in nature so they use complimentary colors to show off the Chihuly sculpture. And Eric feels the blue of the sculpture makes the white in the garden that much more vivid. The complimentary colors help make it a focal point. The average gardener won't have a Chihuly in their garden but you may have a piece of sculpture or a piece of unique, to you, garden art that could be featured in your garden. And garden art is great at providing year round color in your garden. Even when there is nothing else going on in the garden bright garden art will liven things up.
Top

They next talk about the bulbs. At ABG they have gone with a lot of wonderful major bulbs. Eric notices one bed features primarily hybrid tulips. They plant tens of thousands of TULIPS every year. This garden features primarily pinks and whites to compliment the Chihuly. But they have an array of other colors in other places in the garden. Here they treat tulips as annuals. They plant them in the fall, then take them out in the spring, they enjoy them while they bloom. They don't overwinter well in this climate because of their chilling requirements. They do require a cool temperature for a certain amount of time in order to come back. That's tricky here, thus making them unreliable in this climate.
Top

Eric was impressed when walking into this garden with the number of DAFFODILS that are still in bloom. It's the middle of April, yet the daffodils are still in bloom and there is an impressive amount of color. In most gardens the daffodils have finished. Amanda tells us that is by design. They put a lot of effort into coming up with tulip and daffodil selections that will span all the way from January through April. There is a daffodil out there for any month of bloom, within that range.
Top

They also have a nice collection of MINOR BULBS which are some of Amanda's favorites. Not a lot of people know about them, they're a bit lesser known but still beautiful. The Ipheion, the starflower, is a favorite. It has a beautiful little blue flower. Grape Hyacinth Muscari is another that people may know, but not realize it's a bulb. The Cammassia's hyacinthus is lesser known and for the more advanced bulb gardener. The minor bulbs are perennials. There is also a group of species tulips which a lot of people don't realize can be reliably hardy in certain parts of the country.

Eric feels they've done a great job of amassing a wonderful collection of bulbs that jump start the spring garden. And in many gardens at this stage there is just a bunch of green foliage remaining so it's refreshing to see this much color, this late in the season. That is exactly what they were trying to do - show visitors what can be done in early spring.
Top

Amanda has been particularly creative in the way they have COMBINED PLANTINGS OF ANNUALS AND BULBS. Typically they pair daffodils with trees and shrubs while Amanda and crew typically underplant tulips with pansies. A lot of places in the country can't plant when Amanda does, October and November. One can put in tulips then, then come back later with the pansies. The tulips will still find their way up.

It is a lot of work but at the end of the season when the tulips are finished they pull them up. They come in with a spading fork, lift the soil to loosen it so when you pull the bulbs, the bulb and all the foliage comes right up. They just take them out piece by piece. And it loosens the soil for planting in the summer.
Top

Something many may not know is there is a whole range of SUMMER FLOWERING BULBS. Plant them in the spring time so they bloom in summer. And, some of these summer bulbs are near and dear to Amanda's heart. Amanda recommends several. The Rain Lily, Zephyranthes is a favorite. It blooms after a rain storm, thus providing a nice little treat after a rain event. Gladiolas and caladiums, Blackberry Lilies, a whole range of lilies, and Iris are other summer bulbs that should be explored. There is a large world of summer bulbs out there that a lot of people don't recognize as bulbs. For almost any season there will be a bulb that extends color. And, they're carefree plants. Just plant them and they keep giving year after year.
Top

A question we frequently receive is - HOW DO I CORRECTLY PLANT BULBS? Some may be difficult to figure out which way is up or how deep they should be planted. The general rule of thumb is to plant a bulb twice as deep as it is high. Amanda shows some Rain Lily bulbs, one could even measure them on a trowel. Put it at the end of the trowel, then measure twice as deep in the soil and that should be a good depth for planting. Move your mulch away, exposing the ground, then go as deep as measured, put in the bulb so the pointy end is up and the roots toward the bottom, cover it up, move the mulch back in place and you're set to go. Amanda has a clump of dahlias and these tubers can be a little intimidating when looking them over. These plants have already started putting out a little growth so that provides a hint of the place to start. Again, take a gauge of the size of the bulb, use the twice as deep formula then plant. If you're not sure which is the top or the bottom the worst that could happen if planted upside down is the bulb will expend a lot of energy trying to turn the growth around but chances are good you would still get some foliage.
Top

Amanda and Eric move on. Eric always enjoys a well planned SHADE GARDEN. ABG from a standpoint of being a display garden offers a lot to learn for determining what blooms well, what performs well in the shade. Shade can be a challenging part of the garden to grow anything. Plants require sunlight for photosynthesis and a lot of the plant pallet in other parts of the garden feature plants that need a lot of sunlight. Here they've amassed a wonderful collection of plants that are for the most part flowering shrubs and small trees. And early in the season there is an amazing amount of color. Amanda agrees shade can be challenging for many. Particularly in the spring they like to display the understory trees and the smaller shrubs that bloom beautifully. Some have coral blooms, some have yellow blooms. They are a true asset to a shade garden.
Top

They're standing under a BEAUTIFUL BUCKEYE which blooms this time of year. Cornus florida is a native. It has smaller flowers and starts blooming earlier. The Cornus kousa is a bit larger and later blooming but between the two they have a lot of blooming power. And, they have introduced some new cultivars. Eric likes them in his shade garden because of the tremendous number of species, some have variegated foliage, some chartreuse foliage, some have red twigs, some yellow twigs. Even in the wintertime they provide interest with their bark coloration. And in the summer they can provide splashes of white and gold with the gold and green foliage. Definitely a tree to consider when putting your garden together. They add a real focal point, a plant of interest.

The Carolina Silverbells are wide open and in their full glory. They too are a tremendous selection. It's a beautiful plant that not many know. Totally covered in upside down white bells this time of year but the rest of the year it's a very pretty soft green.

When talking about plants that flower in the shade one cannot omit the Camellia. It is probably one of the most well known and well loved shrubs in the garden. It does very well in partial shade situations and can even go into deeper shade situations than other evergreen shrubs. People instantly recognize Camellia japonica and it comes in a wide array of blooms, colors and sizes. It can get quite a bit of size on it. As an evergreen shrub it's great for screening in a really hard shade situation. It has bright shiny leaves for year round interest. Eric feels it offers a double punch, blooms and beautiful foliage. They're a workhorse in a shade garden.

For Amanda one important facet of gardening is the year round maintenance of their plants. They want them to look beautiful from season to season and there are many things they do throughout the year to ensure that they do look good. They are constantly looking at the plants to see if there are steps they can take to make them more healthy or to improve their structure. This time of year with leaves and flowers coming out they particularly look for dead, dying or hazardous limbs. Amanda and Eric look at one particular tree that has leaves on most branches but one limb has no new growth. This indicates that the branch is most likely dead and needs to come off for the health of the plant. When we look at removing a limb we want to make sure the cut is as close as possible to the main trunk. The plant has a wonderful mechanism of sealing itself off and that occurs around the node or where a group of buds are located. As we look at PRUNING we must first think of what we're trying to accomplish - are we're looking for structural pruning or are we trying to create a stronger architecture for the tree. In that case we may want to favor one branch over another. By favoring one branch it may be important to make an angle cut allowing one branch to grow strong and straight. If there were a gap in the plant or you if wanted to make it denser or bushier it would require more of a heading cut, a cut that would allow all of the buds underneath to branch out. So when pruning think about what you're trying to accomplish with the plant, don't just go out with hedge trimmers and cut away. Think about what is the actual goal. And you may want to steer clear of sealants and paints, the plant has an amazing ability to heal itself naturally.
Top

They next discuss fertility because we receive many questions on this topic. What time of year should we FERTILIZE TREES AND SHRUBS? And what kind of fertilizer should we use for trees and shrubs? One can use anything as broad as a 10-10-10 all the way down to very specific fertilizers for azaleas or camellias, for example. Remember it is normally early spring before their leaves come out or flowers come out. That is the optimal time to fertilize but you can read the bags for more specific information about when to apply. As a general rule we shouldn't fertilize too late in the season and we don't want to fertilize too early, we certainly don't want to force young vigorous growth going into a freeze. And, don't apply too much fertilizer, you can love your plants to death.
Top

Amanda and the Atlanta Botanical Garden have a very nice collection of ROSES which is a plant that many people consider very high maintenance. Yet as Eric walks through this garden he sees very little black spot and no powdery mildew. Roses do tend to be thought of as tricky and finicky and plants that need a lot of effort. If one can figure out their pruning schedule and their fertilization schedule the old fashioned roses can actually be easy to grow. As mentioned, they do have many old fashioned roses but as well have some of the newer landscape roses. They want to show visitors that roses are accessible and fun to grow in their garden. So, they opted for some of the old ones and by old fashioned there is actually a class of roses called Old Fashioned roses. They have found them to be drought tolerant and somewhat disease resistant. On thing Eric notices in this garden is the incredible fragrance in this garden. And scent is another reason to grow old fashioned roses. People miss the scent of roses. The old fashioned roses will knock your socks off with their fragrance. Fragrance in the garden engages all the senses and there are very few things as impactful as roses and their fragrance.

An important part of this garden is that it is companion planted. By that Amanda means they have mixed some plants in with the roses. They've mixed in bulbs and shrubs and some perennials. And that has many different benefits. The companion plantings attract beneficial insects which keep the bad insect population in check and it also adds to the beauty of the garden particularly in the winter because roses don't look great in winter. So, if you have something else going on it adds to the all around interest in the garden for all seasons.

Eric notices a lot of perennials in this garden. They have daisies, they are very popular with roses, they bloom about the same time. They have irises, lilies, even some ornamental grasses to provide textured differences, even some sensory differences because people can hear the grasses rustling. These elements combined with the smell of the roses is quite impactful.

Eric particularly likes clematis with roses. Allowing clematis to ramble through a rose plant is striking. When the big purple jackmanii blooms pop out of a red rose it's stunning. Two very compatible plants. Don't keep your peas and carrots separate, mix them together, let them be one big happy family.

Amanda has 1 final tip. One of the big things she likes to tell people is to have fun in your garden. Plant what you like, do what you like and you will be in the garden more. And, that is the whole point of having an outdoor space - to enjoy. Well said Amanda.

Eric thanks Amanda for the garden tour. It's been fun and informative.
Top

 

LINKS:

Atlanta Botanical Garden
Home | Atlanta Botanical Garden

Brent and Becky's Bulbs
Brent and Becky's Bulbs!

Plant List

Plant of the Week



   
 
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