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GardenSMART Episode

Show #51/6212. Planning And Planting A Garden #5

Summary of Show

Walkways
Jim explains, what they wanted to do is to feature plant collections. They are on one of the main walks coming in from another garden and as you walk on this WALKWAY, it's designed to curve, to actually sort of let you meander through the garden. As one looks to the right, looking up above, one finds plant collections like the Drift series of roses, which are dwarf, then the Encore azalea collection is above that, then all the rare Japanese maples which are dwarf. As well there are the larger Japanese maples, which are the palmatums and the japonicums. As we walk through here on the left is a steep hillside, going down, where they’ve planted 980 azaleas on this hillside. For More Information Click Here

Surprises Around Every Corner
Eric loves the thoughtfulness of Jim's garden design. Eric believes one of the hallmarks of great design is creating these little SURPRISES AROUND EVERY CORNER. As they were walking up here, you could feel this great sense of excitement. You can't wait to see what's around the corner and these beautiful vistas are just an amazing way of framing these collections, they invite the gardener to spend time. One is going to have to take the time to walk around every single corner, because you don't want to miss anything. For More Information Click Here

Collection Of Dwarf Conifers
Eric feels the plant collections are so exciting and Jim put a lot of thought and work into those. Eric next wants to dive into the plants. The backbone of this garden is this amazing COLLECTION OF DWARF CONIFERS. They are what really what sets this space off. One feels like they're now in a completely new and unusual space. Eric knows that Jim is very passionate about conifers, but why the dwarf conifers for this garden? Well, of course dwarf conifers are evergreen, they're four season plants. For More Information Click Here

Varying Colors Of Green
One can see the VARYING COLORS OF GREEN in all of these plants. All different shades of green and chartreuse green add lots of excitement placed here and there. Scatter them so you see all colors around the garden. There are grays in the plant colors as well as blue-grays mixing in. All these various colors are evident even in winter. Then the dry stream flows down the hillside and through the valley. For More Information Click Here

Dwarf Ginkgo
Eric has noticed in this conifer garden one of his favorite garden plants and that's DWARF GINKGO. What many people may not know is that ginkgos are, of course, gymnosperms. They're related to all of the conifers in this garden and it makes a wonderful companion. There's no beating the fall color of ginkgos. That against the blue foliage of spruce and other chartreuse, pops in the garden. It's a wonderful companion plant and actually belongs with this family. Jim doesn't know if Eric knew, although he probably does since he's quite a horticulturist, but they have actually found in 200 million year old fossils in China, the ginkgo leaf. For More Information Click Here

Dwarf Japanese Cutleaf Maple
Another plant that's a companion plant for conifers is the rare DWARF JAPANESE CUTLEAF MAPLE. It too is a great companion plant and again Jim purchased them from Brent Markus who owns Rare Tree Nursery out of Portland Oregon. So mix the dwarf ginkgo collection, the collection of dwarf Japanese cutleaf maples, and the conifers and you create a lot more interest because you have the fall color of those plants added to the evergreens. They make a much nicer conifer garden. For More Information Click Here

Collection Of Azaleas
Another meaningful collection that's in this garden, in some of the higher elevations, that make it more of a woodland garden is the great COLLECTION OF AZALEAS. Eric loves looking at these collections and being able to walk through the paths and really get to know the plants. Sometimes the best way to get to know the plants is by being able to contrast them with other cultivars that are similar. For More Information Click Here

Roses
ROSES are the queens of the garden. They're revered for their vibrant colors and oftentimes their fragrance and there's been tremendous work that's been done in the world of new rose cultivars. It's made them a lot more accessible for the landscape and for the gardener. Eric loves the way that Jim has used them here. They’re planted in drifts as opposed to individual specimens, like we might see in a rose garden. Jim has done a masterful job of softening the lines of the pathway with them following these natural curves. Eric thinks it's going to be a wonderful way of experiencing these roses throughout the season, as they're in bloom. Jim agrees, everyone loves roses because they have flowers that are beautiful and they have fragrance, which is wonderful. What Jim has done is to feature the different series. For More Information Click Here

LINKS:

Gibbs Gardens
World-Class Garden | North GA Destinations | Gibbs Gardens

Jim Gibbs
Jim Gibbs | Gibbs Gardens

Buddy Lee - Encore Azaleas
Meet the Man Behind the South's Iconic Encore Azalea | Southern Living

Brent Markus - Rare Tree Nursery - Japanese Maples
Japanese Maples – Rare Tree Nursery

Tom Cox - Conifers
Cox Arboretum |

Plant List

Show #51/6212. Planning And Planting A Garden #5

Transcript of Show

In this Episode GardenSMART continues our in-depth series devoted to garden design and takes a close look at one of Eric's favorite topics, selecting the right plant for the right place. Over the years GardenSMART has made many trips to Gibbs Gardens and for good reason. With over 220 acres of carefully planned and manicured gardens, there's a lifetime of knowledge in these rolling hills. The unique topography and a host of micro-climates allows for an incredible diversity of plants, allowing visitors to experience 16 truly unique gardens in one day. For several Episodes GardenSMART has been following the process of Jim Gibbs' new edition, the Inspiration Garden. Jim has given us a rare look inside this project, from the early planning stages through its completion. In this Episode we spend the day walking through this new garden, discussing the incredible plant collections that make the Inspiration Garden so special. And we learn from the master what goes into selecting the right plants for our gardens.

Eric welcomes Jim back to the show. It's so great to see you once again. Jim thanks Eric and GardenSMART for showing its’ viewers this exciting new project. It’s great to see you again.

Eric is excited to see more of the Inspiration Garden. We've heard a lot about it for several years, then were here when Jim was just starting the construction process, breaking ground and working out the pathways. Eric asks Jim to give us kind of an overview. What was the thought process behind this garden and what is its' personality?

Jim explains, what they wanted to do is to feature plant collections. They are on one of the main walks coming in from another garden and as you walk on this WALKWAY, it's designed to curve, to actually sort of let you meander through the garden. As one looks to the right, looking up above, one finds plant collections like the Drift series of roses, which are dwarf, then the Encore azalea collection is above that, then all the rare Japanese maples which are dwarf. As well there are the larger Japanese maples, which are the palmatums and the japonicums. As we walk through here on the left is a steep hillside, going down, where they’ve planted 980 azaleas on this hillside. Of course they're all fragrant in the spring. However, with this collection some of them bloom in the spring, some in the summer, some in the fall. Then working down at the bottom of the hill is the existing Fern Dale, which is native to the site and has millions of native ferns that occupy the spaces along both sides of the stream. On the right he is introducing some dwarf junipers because we're approaching the conifer garden. In this area they will be building, in two weeks, the viewing deck right in front of us. It will lure one to that space, they will have benches there to rest and really take a moment to take in the garden, to just stand there and overlook the entire conifer garden and all the collections as they meander and wind around this walkway.

Eric loves the thoughtfulness of Jim's garden design. Eric believes one of the hallmarks of great design is creating these little SURPRISES AROUND EVERY CORNER. As they were walking up here, you could feel this great sense of excitement. You can't wait to see what's around the corner and these beautiful vistas are just an amazing way of framing these collections, they invite the gardener to spend time. One is going to have to take the time to walk around every single corner, because you don't want to miss anything. Jim feels one needs some real strong curves in a walkway, you can't see around the curve, your sight line takes you to the curve, then beyond that you'll see another curve in the distance. Around that is another exciting space. Walking from one curve to the next creates the sense of another exciting space to walk and view the garden.
As mentioned they're getting ready to build a gazebo on top of the hill, everything is leading to the gazebo. One can see it in the distance and all the walkways are following the contours of the land to meander and take one to the top and view the entire garden. Once the gazebo is constructed one will be able to walk toward the viewing decks, to be able to sit and rest a few minutes on the benches. While on the pathways you're on your way to the final destination, the gazebo, from there be able to view the entire garden.

Eric feels the plant collections are so exciting and Jim put a lot of thought and work into those. Eric next wants to dive into the plants. The backbone of this garden is this amazing COLLECTION OF DWARF CONIFERS. They are what really what sets this space off. One feels like they're now in a completely new and unusual space. Eric knows that Jim is very passionate about conifers, but why the dwarf conifers for this garden? Well, of course dwarf conifers are evergreen, they're four season plants. Especially in the winter, when the leaves drop off other plants, one could come here and see just the conifer garden and enjoy their visit. It would be worth a visit to see just the conifers in the winter time. When designing with conifers, we want the evergreen interest, but we also want to think about the varying forms, the textures and the colors of conifers. It’s exciting and educational when you mix all those plants up and plant them in a big space like this - it's an acre and a half for the conifer garden, Jim has over 200 varieties, name cultivars, that are covering the hillsides with dwarf conifers. Jim wanted to feature the dwarf conifers because they have the taller conifers like dawn redwoods and bald-cyprus, all those plants that grow 60, 80, a hundred feet tall, that are planted in the lower Japanese garden, the water gardens and places down there. They're in other collections. But this is strictly dwarf conifers. One would want to select four to six plants and determine their sun location. One finds full sun in this garden in one area, in another area, it's part sun. Full sun is six hours or more per day, part sun is four to six hours of sun and part shade is usually four to six hours of filtered high shade areas. Here they have all three. So they had to select the plants that would grow in each of those areas. It’s also important to select the plants that are going to grow in your zone. Jim’s zone in this garden is seven and eight. He doesn't have to worry about them freezing because they'll go to temperatures of minus 20, 30 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. So they don't have freeze problems, but do worry about the summer heat. So Jim had to make sure he came up with a selection of plants that would tolerate zone seven and eight summer heat.

One can see the VARYING COLORS OF GREEN in all of these plants. All different shades of green and chartreuse green add lots of excitement placed here and there. Scatter them so you see all colors around the garden. There are grays in the plant colors as well as blue-grays mixing in. All these various colors are evident even in winter. Then the dry stream flows down the hillside and through the valley. One is either looking up at the plants on one side or a view over the tops looking down. The typography of this space lends itself to a wonderful dwarf conifer collection. Also, conifers require much lower maintenance on pruning, they rarely need pruned because Jim planted them for their shape and of course for their form and for their texture and color.
Eric loves collector's gardens or specimen gardens because of the plant geek in him, but many of those gardens are not the most aesthetically beautiful. It’s often a collection of different plants that are wonderful from a plant id standpoint or learning what they look like, but Jim has accomplished both. The Inspiration Garden has this amazing collection of hundreds of dwarf conifers, but it's also aesthetically beautiful to look at. Jim you've done a wonderful job with the composition of this garden. Jim appreciates that comment.

Eric has noticed in this conifer garden one of his favorite garden plants and that's DWARF GINKGO. What many people may not know is that ginkgos are, of course, gymnosperms. They're related to all of the conifers in this garden and it makes a wonderful companion. There's no beating the fall color of ginkgos. That against the blue foliage of spruce and other chartreuse, pops in the garden. It's a wonderful companion plant and actually belongs with this family. Jim doesn't know if Eric knew, although he probably does since he's quite a horticulturist, but they have actually found in 200 million year old fossils in China, the ginkgo leaf. It’s a beautiful leaf, it's fan shaped with that bright yellow color in the fall of the year it turns a golden yellow, it's fabulous. But ginkgo's date back to prehistoric times, their history is almost unbelievable. Brent Markus has quite a collection of dwarf conifers, but he also has quite a collection of dwarf ginkgos. Jim bought one of every cultivar variety of every dwarf ginko and has spaced them through the conifer garden.

Another plant that's a companion plant for conifers is the rare DWARF JAPANESE CUTLEAF MAPLE. It too is a great companion plant and again Jim purchased them from Brent Markus who owns Rare Tree Nursery out of Portland Oregon. So mix the dwarf ginkgo collection, the collection of dwarf Japanese cutleaf maples, and the conifers and you create a lot more interest because you have the fall color of those plants added to the evergreens. They make a much nicer conifer garden. Eric agrees, this would be a brilliant year round garden, even without those being tossed in. Jim has been emphasizing the importance of color, texture, structure, form, all of that and these are just natural companions that grow together in nature. Because they would all be growing together naturally they work together. They just add so much more interest and beautiful focal points. By adding in some of the burgundies and the reds from the Japanese maples, the bright yellow fall color of the ginkgo and that splashed against these amazing evergreens, it's a symphony.

Another meaningful collection that's in this garden, in some of the higher elevations, that make it more of a woodland garden is the great COLLECTION OF AZALEAS. Eric loves looking at these collections and being able to walk through the paths and really get to know the plants. Sometimes the best way to get to know the plants is by being able to contrast them with other cultivars that are similar. Not every lavender plant is the same hue of lavender or reds or whites when they're in bloom. Jim has this impressive collection of Encore azaleas. Eric doesn’t recall ever being in a garden that has featured every single Encore azalea. What an amazing and multipurpose plant, it is full of multiple seasons of bloom. He thinks this is going to be a really exciting collection over the years and really exciting just to see how it develops. He can only imagine what this hillside is going to look like when it comes back into bloom.
Jim says they have over 1200 encore azaleas. They're planted according to their color in groups based on the color wheel. Most of them have at least 15 in a group next to the dwarf group. You have the dwarf groups, then intermediate groups, the dwarfs are more near the walkways, then the intermediates which are taller are behind them. So they had to think about the colors and color coordinate them, which they did. They have all 33 varieties, but even have three of the older varieties, so a total of 36 varieties. Jim thinks they're only selling, now, 33 varieties and they have all of the collection. Encore azaleas are great because they will bloom spring, summer, and fall. They have heavier blooms on some in the spring and fall, then the summer bloomers sort of bloom in between. But the greatest thing about them, they can take more sun. In fact they can take full sun. Jim has seen Encore azaleas planted in Mobile, Alabama, in the median, planted in full sun and they're doing great although they do get irrigation. In fact, they are thriving. So look at the varieties and know that there are some azaleas that don't have to have filtered sun. Jim has some additional collections that will be added in with these that they'll plant next. He will add collections of the kurume azaleas that bloom earlier in the spring, followed by the indica azaleas that bloom after the kurumes, followed by the glenn dale azaleas that will bloom after that. Then following that would be all the satsuki azaleas that will take the summer heat of June and July, because they have a thicker petal, on the bloom itself, it's thicker and it can take the heat. So all of these collections keep the color coming from early spring, all the way through the end of fall. Jim points out some Encore azaleas that are still blooming and it’s the the 3rd of November and they still are in bloom. So you have a scattering of flowers and they are actually budded with more blooms coming. So they'll bloom right up until a heavy, heavy frost.
There are a lot of advantages in using collections of azaleas. And this garden because of its' large size allows Jim to feature large collections. As far as flower power goes, the Encore line is so versatile and it's so impactful. For Eric, as a gardener, there's always been something so nostalgic, especially in the southeast, about azaleas. It's hard to imagine a garden without one. And that's why this collection really, really excites him.
Jim has also planted a lot of native azaleas which is a wonderful fragrant, beautiful garden plant. Jim points out they have planted over 1800 native azaleas, over 100 varieties, name cultivars. They also have the native azaleas that'll bloom in the spring that are all fragrant. Some bloom in the summer, and some bloom in the fall of the year. You want to put the natives more in the background because they lose their leaves in the winter. These are evergreen. Jim has planted the native azaleas following the contours and they're all behind the knockout roses which is another collection that blooms spring, summer and fall. But they're going to drop their leaves so the evergreens are closer to the walkways as are the conifers closer to the walkways. One should think about the garden in the winter time. It's more important to put the evergreens near the edges of the walkway, then up above, the collection of rare dwarf Japanese maples along with the acer palmatum and the acer japonicum that they planted 15, 20 years ago. All the background plants are going to be coming into fall color. They will be in color for a couple two, three weeks. So, again, think about color when planning the garden.

ROSES are the queens of the garden. They're revered for their vibrant colors and oftentimes their fragrance and there's been tremendous work that's been done in the world of new rose cultivars. It's made them a lot more accessible for the landscape and for the gardener. Eric loves the way that Jim has used them here. They’re planted in drifts as opposed to individual specimens, like we might see in a rose garden. Jim has done a masterful job of softening the lines of the pathway with them following these natural curves. Eric thinks it's going to be a wonderful way of experiencing these roses throughout the season, as they're in bloom. Jim agrees, everyone loves roses because they have flowers that are beautiful and they have fragrance, which is wonderful. What Jim has done is to feature the different series. For example, all the drift roses in the drift series are planted in one area and they're dwarf roses, which means you only prune them one time in the spring. Jim cuts them way back then doesn’t do any more pruning the entire year. He doesn't have to spray them, they're maintenance free, no pruning. The only time they prune is early spring, before that new growth comes out. All of the series are planted in groups of maybe three of one color to harmonize with three of another color that compliments that color. Then go with a different color, in groups of three. They always plant the roses in groups of three or groups of five. Even though the contour is long, the colors blend side-by-side and that's important. Same thing up above, they have the knockout roses with all of that series, with all their colors. They only prune them one time, but you want to plant them far enough apart because from spring through summer to fall, you don't want to get disease in there, particularly black spot fungus. If you space them about five feet apart, you're going to have air flow and with that air flow you shouldn't have any problems with them. However, if you plant them too close and you don't have good air flow you will likely have a lot of fungus problems. So Jim recommends with knockout roses, five feet on center and on the drift series come down to three feet on center. Because they're dwarf, you plant them that way. They’re very low maintenance. Tea roses are beautiful, but they really have one big splash in the spring. High maintenance, very, very high. So think about the maintenance of roses. Jim is glad they came up with the drift series of dwarf roses and the knockout series of the more intermediate roses, because it adds color spring, summer, and fall and creates a lot of interest in a garden that's very much needed. And everybody loves roses. Eric agrees, it's revolutionized the way that roses are able to be used. Roses were basically just a garden plant that tended to be fussy but now with the drift and the knockout series, it's kind of blown the doors off the way we think about roses in the landscape because for the first time ever we're able to use them in large groupings, in drifts and in landscapes that may not get the correct irrigation, fertility, etc. And they've proven to be shockingly resistant to powdery mildew and black spot. So it really is a meaningful upgrade if you will. And a plant that we all adore. Very, very low maintenance.

Eric thanks Jim. Once again, thanks so much for spending the day with us. We always learn so much when we're with you. Eric can't wait to visit again. Jim thanks Eric and GardenSMART, he really appreciates the opportunity to show off his new garden.

We’ll return next week to take a close look at the exciting plants that make this garden so unique. Be sure to tune in and follow our progress on our website.

LINKS:

Gibbs Gardens
World-Class Garden | North GA Destinations | Gibbs Gardens

Jim Gibbs
Jim Gibbs | Gibbs Gardens

Buddy Lee - Encore Azaleas
Meet the Man Behind the South's Iconic Encore Azalea | Southern Living

Brent Markus - Rare Tree Nursery - Japanese Maples
Japanese Maples – Rare Tree Nursery

Tom Cox - Conifers
Cox Arboretum |

Plant List


   
 
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By Kelsey Minalga, Ball Ingenuity
Photographs courtesy of Ball Ingenuity

The flower industry is busy bringing new and exciting fall plants to the mix. And one of the most popular accent plants for the season is celosia, also know by the common name cockscomb. To learn more click here .


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