photo: Stewart Hass & Associates - click to enlarge
You always have to wonder what Frank Lloyd Wright would've done if he'd designed all the gardens to go along with his houses. This is the Turkel House in Detroit, the only built example of a two-story Usonian. It was commissioned in 1955 for Dorothy Turkel, later passed through several owners, fell into vacancy and disrepair, and then was bought by Dale Morgan and Norman Silk, owners of a floral business in the nearby suburb of Birmingham, who restored it over the next four years.
I saw the house and gardens last summer on an APLD tour ... and it's well worth a visit if you're ever in the area. The extensive gardens were designed by landscape architect Norman Hass, who explained that the landscape's predominant new wave and new perennial plantings complement the modern design of the house.
Hass also noted that the owners have added a number of whimsical touches of their own, as seen near the terrace fountain. There's another full size standing buddha statue elsewhere, and the glass globes appear in numerous garden beds.
Inside the house, there's a red tile floor, and although there was not originally an outside terrce, Hass designed one and matched the concrete pavers to the color of the floor inside. It works beautifully to extend the house out into the new landscape and tie the two together.
The owners also wanted a place where they and visitors could enjoy their modern sculptures, so Hass designed a sculpture court, (also seen from above in photo number two), placed between the street side of the property and the house.
I don't know if FLW would have approved of all the garden elements, but it's definitely a standout, as is the house, unlike any other you're likely to see. The house is open to visitors from time to time, so check the website frequently for tours and special events.
The Perennial Plant Assn (PPA) has named 'Northwind' switchgrass (Panicum virgatum 'Northwind') as its perennial plant of the year -- and it's certainly a great choice.
Switchgrass, of course, is native to the United States; it has a lovely airy form, no serious insect or disease problems, and deer don't like it either.
This cultivar, selected by plantsman and designer Roy Diblik, emerges in spring with bluish-green leaves and turns a gorgeous golden amber color in fall.
Diblik noticed this particular plant growing along railroad tracks in South Elgin, Illinois, and propagated it from wild-collected seed. It was particularly desirable because it grows upright rather than arching over like other panicums.
'Northwind' grows best in full sun, but will tolerate some shade. It grows in almost any soil and is hardy in Zones 4-10. A true winner for almost any garden.
I kind of like these Fiddlehead stakes from Kinsman.
They'd look the part in a shade garden, and I like the whimsical air about them. Made of steel, they are clear coated and come in two sizes -- so they can be used either in garden beds or in containers. The large ones are 32, 40, and 48 inches tall. The smaller ones are 14, 19, and 25 inches. Hand-crafted as well.
Cornelia Hahn Oberlander is one of the most influential landscape architects of the 20th century, known particularly for her dedication to the principles of sustainability. Now, there's a new book out about her life and career, Cornelia Hahn Oberlander: Making the Modern Landscape (University of Virginia Press, 2014) written by Susan Herrington, Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of British Columbia.
The foreward to the book was written by E. Marc Treib, Prof. of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley. He says that throughout her long career, which began shortly after the end of World War II, Oberlander has held the belief that one may control, through the design of form and space, "the perceptions of landscape that lead to enjoyment, instruction, and even revelation."
Oberlander was born in Germany in 1921 and escaped with her family to Britain in the 1930's and settled in the United States. After graduating from Smith College and Harvard's Graduate School of Design, she eventually settled in Vancouver. She's best known, perhaps, for her work on Robson Square and the Provincial Law Courts in Vancouver, but also for the design of children's playgrounds and her dedication to sound principles of conservation.
Herrington takes the reader chronologically through Oberlander's life and her major projects with great detail about her design process. As Herrington notes, Oberlander's "willingness to experiment and invent has enabled her to realize design solutions that challenger conventional approaches, providing an alternative vision of practice." The book is filled with photos and images of her plans, both residential and commercial. The book is engaging and very informative, and anyone in the field of design should find it mandatory reading.
Photo: Douglas Daly, Ph.D., NYBG - click to enlarge
The New York Botanical Garden has established a major program to conserve Amazonian trees. Perhaps it will help alleviate that sinking feeling I get every time I see a landscape design using lots of Amazon hardwoods, the reason being the photo above, showing deforestation in Brazil.
Program director Douglas Daly, who's been studying Amazon flora for more than three decades, said a key factor in preserving the Amazon is the proper identification of trees. "The accurate assessment of the region's biodiversity, including the correct identification of tree species, has profound implications for the fate of the forests, from sustainable management to estimates of the carbon that is locked in the trees -- or released as greenhouse gases by deforestation," he said.
Working with Brazilian scientists, the NYBG will take an inventory of Amazonian trees, as they currently estimate that 50 to 70 percent of tree species in the region have been misidentified. They will also train Brazilian forest workers in proper tree ID; develop long-term programs to preserve knowledge of Amazonian resources; and expand research in southwestern Amazonia, where forests are severely threatened by new development, including agriculture, mining, and hydroelectric projects.
The Amazon watershed covers in excess of two million square miles and is home to at least 40,000 species of trees, ferns, and flowering plants. And despite new settlements and deforestation, it is still the world's largest forest, with more than 16,000 species of trees alone.
The project is supported by a major grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, with previous support from the Beneficia Foundation, the JRS Biodiversity Foundation, the Overbrook Foundation and the Tinker Foundation.
When I lived in DC, I loved to use Japanese barberry in many garden designs, mainly the smaller ones that had burgundy foliage. My go-to nursery up here in New England does not even carry the plant because it's on the lists of invasives in this region. Barberry may be just fine in urban or suburban locations, but when it escapes into open spaces, it can choke out native plants and trees.
According to scientists with the Weed Science Society of America it's best to check the list of invasives for your area before you run off on a big shopping trip to the local nursery. WSSA member Mark Renz of the University of Wisconsin recommends checking the USDA's National Info Center on Invasives (here) ... to see what's on the list. They add new plants all the time, and the new ones on their list include Heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica), Golden Bamboo (Phyllostachys aurea) and the barberry.
photo: J.S. Peterson@USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
I was surprised that my nursery referenced above does carry Scotch Broom, which is also on the invasives list. I love broom for its early yellow or red blooms, but WSSA says that on the east and west coasts, it can crowd out natives, and each plant produces thousands of seeds that may remain viable for years.
Other ornamental plants on the WSSA list of invasives inclues Scotch thistle (Onopordum acanthium), Dalmatian toadflax (Linaria dalmatica), and Tamarisk (Tamarix spp).
For more local information, consult the National Assn of Exotic Plant Pest Councils here.
Thru Feb 23: Tropical Paradise, Bronx, NY NY Botanical Garden, Enid Haupt Conservatory, 718-817-8700 Thru March 30: Orchid Extravaganza, Kennett Square, PA Longwood Gardens, 610-388-1000 Feb 1-March 3, Orchid Show, St. Louis, MO Missouri Botanical Garden, 314-577-5100 Feb 1-March 9, Orchid Mania, Cleveland, OH Cleveland Botanic Garden, 216-721-1600 Feb 8-April 13, Orchid Daze, Atlanta, GA "Lasting Impressions," Atlanta Botanical Garden, 404-876-5859 Feb 8, French Landscape Architect Louis Benech, Great Barrington, MA 2PM, Lecture, sponsor: Berkshire Botanical Garden, 413-298-3926 Feb 15-March 16, Orchid Show, Glencoe, IL Chicago Botanic Garden, 847-835-5440 Feb 22-April 27, Orchid Symphony, Washington DC US Botanic Garden, 202-225-8333
Feb 5-7 New England Grows, Boston, MA Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. Classes, lectures, trade show 508-653-3009 Feb 5-9 Northwest Flower & Garden Show, Seattle, WA WA State Convention Center, 253-756-2121 Feb 7, Today's Horticulture Symposium, Kennett Square, PA 8AM-4PM, Longwood Gardens, 610-388-1000 Feb 7-9 Maymont Flower & Garden Show, Richmond, VA Greater Richmond Convention Center, 804-358-7166 Feb 7-9 Nashville Antiques & Garden Show, Nashville, TN "Inspiring Gardens," Nashville Music City Center, 888-405-7350 Feb 8-9 Camellia Festival, La Cañada Flintridge, CA Descanco Gardens, 818-949-4200 Feb 8-16 Great Big Home & Garden Show, Cleveland, OH I-X Center, 440-248-5729 Feb 13, Landscape Lecture, Boston, MA 7PM Landscape architect Laurie Olin, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 617-278-5156 Feb 13-14 LA Expo for Landscape Architects & Design Pros, Long Beach, CA Long Beach Convention Center, 714-979-5276 x 128 Feb 13-16, New Jersey Flower & Garden Show, Edison, NJ NJ Convention Center, 732-449-4004 Feb 14-17 Great Backyard Bird Count Help Audubon and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology keep track of our birds.
Feb 20, 14th Land Ethics Symposium, Langhorne, PA 8AM-4PM, Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve, 215-862-2924 Feb 20-23, Rhode Island Spring Flower & Garden Show, Providence, RI 21st Show, Rhode Island Convention Center, 401-272-0980 Feb 20-23, Connecticut Flower & Garden Show, Hartford, CT CT Convention Center, "Backyard Paradise" 860-844-8461 Feb 21-23, Arkansas Flower & Garden Show, Little Rock, AR 23rd Show, Statehouse Convention Center, 501-821-4000 Feb 22, Mid-Atlantic Perennial Symposium, Baltimore, MD 8:45AM-4PM, Perennial Plant Assn & Hort Society of MD, 614-771-8431
Feb 24, Landscape Architects Lecture, Philadelphia, PA 6:30PM, Meyerson Hall, Penn Design. Sarah Weidner Astheimer & Lisa Tizona Switkin, of James Corner Field Operations, 215-898-6591 Feb 25, Landscape Architect Darrel Morrison, Bronx, NY 1PM-3PM, Lecture, Landscape Design: Where Art & Ecology Meet, NY Botanical Garden, 718-817-8700 Feb 26-27 Ecological Landscaping Assn Annual Conference, Springfield, MA 8AM-5PM, Conference & Eco-Marketplace, Mass Mutual Center, 617-436-5838 Feb 27-March 3, Nashville Lawn & Garden Show, Nashville, TN 25th Show, TN State Fairgrounds, 615-876-7680 Feb 28, Green Matters Symposium, Wheaton, MD 8:30Am-4PM, "Gardening in a Shifting Climate," Brookside Gardens, 301-962-1400
LOOKAHEAD: March 1-9, Philadelphia Flower Show, Philadelphia, PA "Articulture," PA Convention Center, 215-988-8899 March 4, Davidson Horticultural Symposium, Davidson, NC "It's All About the Plants," 206-979-6483 March 22, NW Horticultural Society Annual Symposium, Seattle, WA "Small Space - Big Impact" 206-780-8172 March 29, Lahr Native Plant Symposium & Sale, Washington DC US National Arboretum, 202-245-4523 May 20-24, Chelsea Flower Show, London, UK
Roses aren't exactly on the radar screen of those devoted to native plants and sustainability, but well, I like roses. Maybe it's because my father always struggled with them before the advent of so many disease-resistant cultivars. In any case, I have a number of them in my own garden and love to cut them and bring them inside, and of course at times delight in the fragrance.
Here are some new ones this year that are quite eye-catching. And click on each firm's website to see all of their new roses.
Look-A-Likes® BougainFeelYa (Rosa 'Meicknava') Yes, the flowers look like Bougainvilla blooms, only this is not a climber -- instead, a bushy, rounded shrub that's about 4 feet high and 3.5 wide. It blooms continuously throughout the season, and the flowers are followed by hips in the fall. Said to be resistant to rust and mildew with a decent tolerance for black spot. Hybridized by Meilland International, zones 5-9. I have one that looks like a hydrangea, and it's quite a standout in the garden. This one would be as well.
Eyeconic® Lychee Lemonade (Rosa "Sprolych") Another in Star's series of hybrid Hulthemia roses (they're native to Iran & Afganistan and have a dark splotch at the base of the petal) bred by Jim Sproul. This is a small, compact, bushy rose at just 18 x 18 inches, and it also blooms continuously. Obviously a candidate for small gardens, or patio/deck containers.
Dee-Lish® (Rosa 'Meiclusif') And if you want fragrance, try this hybrid tea, with a very strong citrus and verbena scent. It's about 6 feet high and 3 feet wide, an upright form, and excellent disease resistance. Bred by Meilland International, this rose won multiple awards in Europe. zones 5-9.
Rosa 'Boscobel' (Leander Hybrid) Named after Boscobel House, where King Charles II hid from Cromwell's forces in 1651 during the English Civil War, this rose has salmon blooms that fade to deep pink. It's an upright shrub about 3 feet high and 2.5 wide, with flowers that have a medium to strong fragrance of myrrh. Zones 5-9.
Rosa 'Royal Jubilee' (Alba Hybrid) Named after Queen Elizabeth's 2012 Diamond Jubilee, the flowers on this rose are very deep pink, against a background of grey-green glossy leaves. It has a scent of blackcurrant, grows to about five feet high and three feet wide with with an airy growth habit. Zones 5-9.
'Coretta Scott King' (Rosa 'WEKstohoco') This grandiflora has a tall, upright, bushy habit with deep green foliage, creamy white blooms that blush coral-orange, and a moderate fragrance of tea and spice. It also has excellent disease resistance. It's parentage is Moonstone x Hot Cocoa, bred by Christian Bédard.
'Good as Gold' (Rosa WEKgobafa') This hybrid tea has yellow-gold blooms with a tinge of red, an upright, bushy form and deep green glossy leaves. It has good disease resistance and the blooms have a citrus scent. Bred by Tom Carruth from Goldern Beauty x About Face.