GardenSmart :: EPISODES :: 2014 show13
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Show #13/3513. Two Gardeners Carve Out Their Piece Of Paradise

Summary of Show

How Steve Started Gardening
This garden looks fantastic and Eric wants to know how STEVE GOT STARTED as a gardener. He started as an estate manager for a large estate on the Gold Coast area of Long island. It was owned by a not for profit and the budget was really small. He enjoyed the gardening aspects but as well enjoyed the research part of the job. He found it especially fascinating that 2 plants could be the same plant but be such different varieties and look totally different.
For More Information Click here

Overview Of Steve's Garden
Eric asks Steve for an OVERVIEW OF HIS GARDEN. How many plants are in this garden and how long has he been gardening this space and how did he approach the design? This is about 1/6 of an acre, so it's a small lot. When he 1st came here the yard and garden had very straight lines. He tried to create a lot of curves and tried to shape the garden in ways that pull you in.
For More Information Click here

Plant Combinations
Steve thinks about the plants he wants together, he thinks about COMBINATIONS. What plant would look good with another plant? For example, one plant may have a little gold coloration on its rim and another plant really bright gold foliage, then another plant next to it might be kind of grassy and textured and another might have purple foliage and provide a great contrast with the gold.
For More Information Click here

Plants That Play Well Together
As discussed, one of the challenges of a collectors garden is making the PLANTS PLAY WELL TOGETHER. Eric asks Steve to share some of the pleasant surprises, some things that worked well by design. Steve likes combining Butterfly Bush and Bleeding Heart. The reason is the Bleeding Heart comes into its glory in early spring, just around the same time that he's pruning back the Butterfly Bush.
For More Information Click here

Go Vertical
Succession planting is especially effective in gardens that don't have a lot of space but there is another way to maximize our space and increase our views. And that is by using VERTICAL ELEMENTS. Steve has done a great job of that with a number of interesting standards. Steve enjoys making standards out of vines or shrubs that would normally not be grown as a small tree.
For More Information Click here

2nd Garden

The Beginning
When they started they jumped in with both feet, they went big. They were standing on their back deck and overlooking a yard that had truly grown in. The English Ivy was taking over. They got the idea of 3 DIFFERENT GARDEN AREAS. Skip has a friend that is a builder and expert bobcat operator and they cut in some key features like the stream that leads down to a waterfall and into a pond.
For More Information Click here

The Grotto
The GROTTO is certainly one of the most interesting garden rooms and must have been a place that required a lot of energy. Skip is proud of the grotto and it did take a lot of work. Skip needed a way to get to the upper level, thus came up with this idea. He prowled the internet and found a guy in Pennsylvania with a wide selection of rocks.
For More Information Click here

Theme Gardens
Skip has THEME GARDENS throughout. The huchera garden is whimsical. Around every turn and corner there is a nice display and that's intentional. Skip loves hucheras and they thrive in this spot, which has partial sunlight. There are also quite a few perennials on the property. He has a fern garden next to an antique fence and pergola.
For More Information Click here

The Pond
But the punctuation point of the whole garden is the POND. It was one of the oldest and original features in this garden. Now it's grown in and mature and looks great. Skip feels this whole garden has been an evolution. It started with a lot of water lilies from native areas and now it's changed to a lot of yellow flag iris and arrowhead which is a delight.
For More Information Click here

 

LINKS:

Huntington Historical Society
HHS Welcome

Huntington Historical Society Garden Tour
Garden Tour

Glen Cove Mansion
Glen Cove Mansion | Long Island Hotel | Long Island Conference Center

Plant List


 

13/3513. Two Gardeners Carve Out Their Piece Of Paradise

Complete Write Up

Whether your garden is a small, intimate courtyard or a giant historic mansion the goal is the same, to carve out your own little piece of paradise. In this Episode GardenSMART looks at the handy work of 2 gardeners who have done just that on Long Island, New York.

Long Island, New York is a mere 180 miles long and 23 miles wide yet it houses a population of over 7.5 million people. It once was called the Gold Coast due to its tremendous wealth and opulence. It's residents have over time included the Vanderbilt's and Guggenheim's as well as famous entertainers such as Groucho Marx and today Jennifer Lopez. One of the premier manors on Long Island is Glen Cove Mansion. It was the estate of Charles Pratt and typified the amazing residences that inspired the Great Gadsby. Today Long Island is still well known for its beauty and charm as well as its love of gardens. In this Episode we explore 2 of Long Island's hidden gems.

Eric feels that one of the best parts of this job is finding the tucked away, diamonds in the rough gardens that most folks will never get to see. In many cases there is a rich story that accompanies these gardens and chronicles the passion and determination of the men and women behind these amazing places. In this Episode we visit Steve Young and Skip Lowell, both learned how to garden by starting small and seeing what works. Over the years their gardens have evolved into their own versions of paradise and reflect their personalities. We discuss what it takes to build a beautiful garden and how to work with dynamic plant combinations. Skip and Steve give us behind the scenes tours and discuss how they overcame the challenges they encountered as well as the many unanticipated surprises they found along the way.

Eric next meets Steve Young. Steve is an avid home gardener as well as a consummate plant collector. Eric welcomes Steve to GardenSMART. Steve in turn welcomes Eric to his garden. This garden looks fantastic and Eric wants to know how STEVE GOT STARTED as a gardener. He started as an estate manager for a large estate on the Gold Coast area of Long island. It was owned by a not for profit and the budget was really small. He enjoyed the gardening aspects but as well enjoyed the research part of the job. He found it especially fascinating that 2 plants could be the same plant but be such different varieties and look totally different. That piqued his interest in collecting plants, growing a collection and watching them develop. The design aspect developed from that. Some of Eric's favorite gardens are those designed and developed effectively by folks who don't have a garden design degree but instead look at what the plant is doing and then figure out how they would work together. That is a lot of what Steve did as an estate manager and what he is doing here in the front yard. The estate manager job provided Steve a lot of time for practice, experimentation and research. Now when he designs in his yard he takes into consideration textures of the plants and colors of foliage as opposed to flower colors and when they bloom. When they bloom then becomes the icing on the cake. It's always important to remember we will be looking at the foliage of the plant through the lions share of the season and the bloom is just the occasional sneeze.

Eric asks Steve for an OVERVIEW OF HIS GARDEN. How many plants are in this garden and how long has he been gardening this space and how did he approach the design? This is about 1/6 of an acre, so it's a small lot. When he 1st came here the yard and garden had very straight lines. He tried to create a lot of curves and tried to shape the garden in ways that pull you in. He has about 300 varieties, so its quite a collection. And it's been fun to collect. Steve has tried to take in a lot of information from catalogues, gardening books, gardening magazines and design books. But he is always asking himself if he wants to use that information. Just because it says he should or shouldn't do this, should he? He's constantly asking himself what do I really want to create, what do I want this garden to be? He wants his garden to be what he wants. And he thinks he's done that and continues to do that as the garden develops and matures. He finds it enjoyable to see the plants develop and grow and mature. Eric feels that every individual garden we visit evokes a very different experience. What we're getting is a little piece of the gardeners personality. And collectors gardens are particularly interesting because it's a smattering of plants that gardener finds interesting as they go through catalogues and visit nurseries. Eric finds it interesting to see how gardeners incorporate that input into their gardens.

Steve has winding rows lined with grass and really interesting plants and Eric wonders the process Steve goes through after he finds the perfect plant, then brings it home. How does he determine where he wants that plant to go? Steve thinks about the plants he wants together, he thinks about COMBINATIONS. What plant would look good with another plant? For example, one plant may have a little gold coloration on its rim and another plant really bright gold foliage, then another plant next to it might be kind of grassy and textured and another might have purple foliage and provide a great contrast with the gold. So he thinks of groupings as he goes along and decides how he wants each individual area to look. Eric wonders if Steve is the type gardener that comes in later with a shovel and moves a plant that didn't work in one particular area. Yes, Steve is guilty as charged, absolutely. Sometimes something just doesn't look right or sometimes a plant just doesn't grow in an area like he wanted, so it might just be happier in another area. He will move it and there it will do what it was supposed to do, it comes in to its full glory and seems happy and Steve is then glad he moved it so will then move another plant and experiment. And that's an important thing to remember when gardening. Gardening is often a progression and oftentimes the 1st space we pick for a plant is not where it's ultimately going to end up. Having the flexibility and creativity to make sure the right plant ends up in the right space can be a fun part of gardening.

As discussed, one of the challenges of a collectors garden is making the PLANTS PLAY WELL TOGETHER. Eric asks Steve to share some of the pleasant surprises, some things that worked well by design. Steve likes combining Butterfly Bush and Bleeding Heart. The reason is the Bleeding Heart comes into its glory in early spring, just around the same time that he's pruning back the Butterfly Bush. So instead of having an empty space, the Bleeding Heart is the star. Then as the Bleeding Heart is starting to decline the Butterfly Bush is coming on and filling the space. Thus Steve finds them to be great partners especially for a garden that has limited space. And, that's a good point, particularly in tight gardens, have plants that perform at different times of the year. It's a great tip to have plants occupy the same footprint knowing that as one is declining the other is coming on. And that is a tip often employed with spring bulbs. Most bulbs are going to bloom early in spring, then their foliage declines throughout the mid part of the season. That's not always the most attractive thing to look at but we do need to leave the foliage on so that the energy produced in those leaves is able to be returned to the bulbs enabling the bulbs to have nice blooms again the next season. Eric has often seen annuals planted with spring bulbs, Steve has geraniums coming through his tulips and in time will completely cover the bulbs foliage. This provides the luxury of allowing that foliage to stay but not look unsightly. Steve thinks they work well together. He also likes to combine ornamental grasses with Quince. We cut the grasses in early spring, leaving an empty space. The Quince is beautiful in spring, so planting it behind the ornamental grass shows off the Quince. Then as the Quince declines the grass is coming up which then hides the Quince which doesn't look so great in the off season. Eric noticed another great combination. The Deutzia Chardonay Perls, one of Eric's favorite shrubs, with its wonderful chartreuse foliage and mountains of white flowers has been paired with some neat hostas. Steve is picking up some of the color characteristics that are very compatible with these two plants. Steve likes doing this, he feels it's fun and playful and he likes to have a playful garden.

Succession planting is especially effective in gardens that don't have a lot of space but there is another way to maximize our space and increase our views. And that is by using VERTICAL ELEMENTS. Steve has done a great job of that with a number of interesting standards. Steve enjoys making standards out of vines or shrubs that would normally not be grown as a small tree. He enjoys the process of taking a plant like Hydrangea paniculata, weeping beech or Catinis or certain types of Crepe Myrtle and from year to year pruning off side branches and getting it to the height he wants and then letting it do its thing. It's fun. He typically starts them off as small plants. The hydrangea started very small, the same with the Wisteria which is in its 2nd season. Eventually it will be about 6 feet tall. And that's a good tip for gardeners. Start with small plants, often times it can be tempting to plant something large. By starting with something small your relationship with that plant is one of the biggest advantages. They are allowed to integrate into the native soil better when you start small and with younger, smaller plants one typically doesn't end up with circling roots that can oftentimes occur with older container plants. And it gives you time to figure out how that plant will integrate into your landscape. Steve enjoys that part of the process.

Eric is enjoying Steve's garden but there is another garden to visit. So, he thanks Steve. Steve has done an amazing job of taking these rare and unusual, crazy, variegated plants with different foliage and textures and married them together into a wonderful design that feels intimate and is beautiful. Thanks for sharing your time with us Steve.

The 2nd stop on our tour is the home of Skip and Linda. Skip tells us a little about himself. He is retired now but started at Syracuse University, College of Forestry. He majored in wood and chemistry but it was later in life that he learned about plants, their structure and habits and found that interesting. He didn't start really gardening until about 20 years ago after he and Linda returned from France. They visited Giverny and Monets Garden and were so thrilled by it they wanted their own. They both thought maybe they could do something like that. Maybe. That is one of the things about wonderful public gardens they inspire folks to get involved in gardening. So they decided to dig in.

When they started they jumped in with both feet, they went big. They were standing on their back deck and overlooking a yard that had truly grown in. The English Ivy was taking over. They got the idea of 3 DIFFERENT GARDEN AREAS. Skip has a friend that is a builder and expert bobcat operator and they cut in some key features like the stream that leads down to a waterfall and into a pond. He carved some depressions out, made some berms and used logs to back up the berms. They scraped off all the ivy resulting in a lot of brown dirt. They went back in with beautiful flowering shrubs initially. They found closeout garden centers which had rhododendrons that were small at the time. Skip has kept them pruned back over the years. They also purchased Andromeda's and Azaleas, many at close out prices. These bigger plants have provided the bones of this landscape.

They next talk about the hardscape. Skip has used a lot of stonework for the walls and the beautiful patio. Many of these rocks came from an art center and were used for curbs. One can still see some of the yellow curb marks on the blocks. The grotto is another area with a lot of stonework as does the waterfall inside the grotto. The waterfalls are made out of Pennsylvania fieldstone. It's easy to lay up. As well rocks line a 30 foot stream that feeds the main pond.

The GROTTO is certainly one of the most interesting garden rooms and must have been a place that required a lot of energy. Skip is proud of the grotto and it did take a lot of work. Skip needed a way to get to the upper level, thus came up with this idea. He prowled the internet and found a guy in Pennsylvania with a wide selection of rocks. Skip told him he needed many different types of stones. He didn't want regular skids, instead 16 skids with steps, big stones, flat ones, everything he could think of. And that's what he did. A big flatbed truck arrived with 16 skids of stones. It works, the grotto transports one into something that feels very old world Europe. And, it's grown in nicely, he has Leucothoe, willow leaf cotoneaster, silver edge fern, yellow flag iris and wants to add caladiums.

Skip has THEME GARDENS throughout. The huchera garden is whimsical. Around every turn and corner there is a nice display and that's intentional. Skip loves hucheras and they thrive in this spot, which has partial sunlight. There are also quite a few perennials on the property. He has a fern garden next to an antique fence and pergola. Another path has a great stand of hostas, including many rare hostas. There is something lush and tropical about the foliage of hostas, it's one of the gentlest plants in Skip's mind. It's leaves are so large and they seem to thrive underneath the Yew trees and in the shade.

But the punctuation point of the whole garden is the POND. It was one of the oldest and original features in this garden. Now it's grown in and mature and looks great. Skip feels this whole garden has been an evolution. It started with a lot of water lilies from native areas and now it's changed to a lot of yellow flag iris and arrowhead which is a delight. Unfortunately duckweed has found its way into this garden. The moss stands out to Eric. Many gardeners hate moss, others want it, Skip has encouraged it. This looks like a soft, woodland carpet. How did he establish the moss? It grows naturally here because the soil has a relatively acidic PH. He's learned that if he puts acidic fertilizer it promotes new moss growth. He likes moss because he doesn't need to mow, it's low maintenance and looks very natural.

Skip comments on the partition at the back of his garden, basically a wall with lovely bamboo. It started with 1 inch canes and now gets 40 or so canes every year, many are 40 feet tall and 2 inches in diameter. He likes the noise of it swaying in the breeze, he can hear it all the way up on the deck. But it will spread and Skip is mindful of controlling its expansion into the rest of the garden.

Our time has come to a close. Eric thanks Skip for joining us today and for showing us his garden. It's obvious this has been a labor of love. Skip notices Linda and tells us he would be remiss if he didn't acknowledge her help with this garden. She is his partner and brings the garden inside with lovely cuttings each day. And that's a thrill.

Few things are more special than spending the day with a gardener and their garden. They share with us their passion for their plants as well as the many lessons they've learned over the years. Thanks Steve, Skip and Linda. You have wonderful gardens.

 

LINKS:

Huntington Historical Society
HHS Welcome

Huntington Historical Society Garden Tour
Garden Tour

Glen Cove Mansion
Glen Cove Mansion | Long Island Hotel | Long Island Conference Center

Plant List





   
 
FEATURED ARTICLE
GardenSMART Featured Article

By Stacey Hirvela for Proven Winners® ColorChoice®, Photographs courtesy of Proven Winners® ColorChoice®

Specimen plants because of their structure, color or sheer flower power make a dramatic statement. They are the plants that set your home apart from everyone else's. Read more....


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