Tag Archives: City Garden Ideas

Fenway Victory Garden Tour July 27th!

Hello City Gardeners!
Here’s a great opportunity to see some wonderful city garden spaces!
On Saturday, July 27th from 2 – 5pm, more than 25 Fenway Victory gardeners will open their FenwayVictoryGardenwithPrugates to visitors.

Come view beautiful flower and vegetable gardens, picnic in the meadow, play bocce, learn new gardening tips and get inspired!  Sounds like great fun!

There will be a sprinkler for kids of all ages to run through…come on down!  The gardens are located in Boston.  A map will be available at the flagpole.  Rain Date July 28th.
For more information, call 617-267-6650 or visit www.fenwayvictorygardens.com.

Advertisements

Landscape Institute Offering Summer Courses

Looking to learn more about landscape design, construction and drafting?

Heather HeimarckHeather Heimarck, a long-time friend to City Garden Ideas and the director of the Landscape Institute at the Boston Architectural College, sent along the Institute’s Summer Course catalog – Summer 2013 COURSE OFFERINGS

Check out the short, hands-on classes at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in Wellesley.  Think about attending the course by painter and a historian, Ma Qingxiong.  Students learn about Chinese landscape design and try their hand at doing oriental brushwork. Take a look at Ma’s website  http://www.maqingxiong.com

The Institute is offering many other courses including a three-week introduction to design intensive, M-F, in July.  Heather says it can be very rich to immerse oneself that way.  If you have any questions, call 617 585 0100.  Be well!

BAC

Selecting Plants That Grow – Encore Expert Advice

Tom Smarr1ENCORE!  Tom Smarr, now Director of Horticulture at the High Line in New York City, offers timeless advice on selecting plants that will grow.  This 2011 blog deserved an encore post!
_____________________________

“In the city, tough plants go into the ground. When you choose your garden plants, consider sunlight, moisture, bloom color and height. Know your exposure.  Notice how much sun and shade are in different areas of your garden.”   – Tom Smarr                               

Determine Your Sunlight Levels:
Full Sun – 6 hours or more of direct sunlight (in summer)

Part-sun – 2 to 6 hours of direct sunlight
Part-shade – 1-2 hours of direct sunlight
Light shade – Dappled sunlight, or shade below open sky
Here are some of Tom’s favorite plants by sun level:
1. Full sun:  Black-Eye Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’)
Dwarf New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae ‘Purple Dome’)
Husker Red Foxglove Beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’)
Daylilies (Hemerocallis cultivars)
Blue Licorice Giant Hyssop (Agastache scrophulariifolia ‘Blue Licorice’)
Blue Ice Amsonia
“All of these are medium to tall plants that would grow great in a perennial boarder or meadow style with ornamental grasses.  These provide a season of blooms and foliage interest and are hardy in urban garden conditions.”
2. Medium sun:
Heavy Metal and Shenandoah Switch Grass (Panicum virgatum) plus Little Blue Stem (Schizachryium scoparium ‘The Blues’) are two great grasses that are durable and have nice solid color.
Snow Flurry (Symphyotrichum ericoides) is a low growing, groundcover type aster.
Sheffield Pink Florist Daisy (Chrysanthemum x morifolium ‘Sheffield Pink’) is a hardy blooming chrysanthemum along with many other cultivars provide different colors in the garden for autumn.
All of these will do fine in full sun to medium light and mixed with plants in the full sun category.
A favorite shrub is Dwarf Witch-alder (Fothergilla gardenia) an early spring flowers with vibrant autumn foliage.
3. Part Shade to Shade:
Pachysandra is a dependable groundcover as is Liriope spicata that is a grass-like blooming plant.
•Tom’s favorites are Hydrangeas that provide good summer color and mounding shrubs.  Popular cultivars are mop head types like ‘Blushing Bride’ and ‘Endless Summer’ or a lacecap variety like ‘Blue Billow’.
•He also likes Oak Leaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) as it has unique flowers and leaves. •Barren Strawberry (Waldsteinia fragarioides) is a groundcover that does well in shady conditions like many other woodland favorites seen at Garden in the Woods in Framingham.
Tom admits that plants for shady sites can be tough as little or no light reaches the ground.  He recommends trying some of the groundcovers in Part Shade and thinking uniquely about the location for garden ornaments.

2013 Boston Flower and Garden Show Delivers Sights and Sounds of Spring

First of several posts.  Lots to share!
Spring GardenThe Seaport World Trade Center was abuzz yesterday morning with gardeners putting the finishing touches on their Flower Show displays.  The show opens today, March 13.

I dodged a forklift, piles of soil and a Zipcar backing into place but the activity did not interfere with my sense of enchantment.  The garden displays this year are rich – in color, design and size.  Beautiful flowers and trees are nestled along stone Imagewalls, patio spaces and above moon gates.  The sound of water is everwhere – in falls, pools, fountains and spouts.  There are parrots, hens, a rooster and a pair of sleek grey birds that look like small emus.   And there are plenty of hidden flower delights if you look keenly, like fairy houses near Hobbit holes and gentle beds of helleborus.
There are a several small displays.  The Hellleboruswindow gardens in the back of the main hall are delightful as is the Massachusetts Horticultural’s old-time flower display, complete with wash board and clothes on a line.  Overall, every display is evokes a smile and a deep inhale.
The Show’s first display as you enter the hall shows garden entertainment at its finest.  It’s a lush, multi-section outdoor patio with a man-sized Patio with BBQ and BarBBQ grill and stone bar with table seating for four and more at the bar.  It took me a minute to take in and appreciate the surrounding garden but there’s no denying I’d love to have this look in my back yard (if Patio with WaterfallI had one).  The BBQ space flows to a raised covered patio section with comfy chairs, a fireplace and two waterfall chutes splashing into a pool.  The chutes really got my attention. Overall, the display and its beautiful and lavish flowers and trees set the mood for a perfect summer evening.

One of my favorite displays at the Show is another outdoor patio surrounded by lush, aromatic plants.  Designed by Maria at Interiors by MS, the focal point is a vertical garden of herbs and geranivertical garden long viewums with a water feature of four simple copper spouts splashing into a large pool.  Maria told me that a vertical garden can reduce the temperature around it by 15 – 20 degrees. Comfortable, earth-toned furniture sit low and humble under a stained-glass pergola.  There is a pleasing, subtle aromas coming from the lavender, mint, roses and more that ring the relaxed space.  I could so live in this space.  That’s it for now.  I’ll share more pictures and details in my next post.
This year’s Boston Flower Show delivers on the sights and sounds of Spring.  It opens today, March 13 and runs through Sunday, March 17.  Go if you can!

Boston Flower Show Opens This Week!

ImageIt’s almost time for the Boston Flower & Garden Show!  I must admit I get so excited when the show opens.  It’s like going to Oz.  First it’s that lovely, earthy smell of mulch as you walk through the doors.  Then the vivid carpets of color from flowers in full bloom bunched close, overflowing from pots, arranged neatly.  Somewhere close by water is splashing from a fountain or wFountain and Urn of Succulentsaterfall.   And the people are abuzz – walking, talking, oohing, aahhing and yes, shopping.  The show always delivers inspiration and gets me all jazzed with new ideas for my own garden.
The Bost564on Flower Show returns to the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston this week!  It opens to the winter-weary public on Wednesday, March 13 and runs through Sunday, March 17, 2013.
This year’s theme is ‘Seeds of Change’ and will showcase new plants, methods and materials to increase the beauty, bounty and the ecological friendliness of gardens and outdoor spaces.
Since I’m a member of the Garden Writers of America, I plan to visit the show on March 12th during the Media tour.  I’ll write a ‘first look’ blog post with photos later that day.  Just for City Garden Ideas readers like you!
Tickets to the show are $20 for adults and $10 for children.  To buy tickets, click here.

Vertical Gardening Lecture – ‘Transforming Naked Walls with Nature’ – Enter to Win Tickets

Hello all and happy 2013!
Are you familiar with vertical gardening? The practice has been around for decades but interest in it has been growing for the past several years.

Living wall planter by Pamela Crawford

Living wall planter by Pamela Crawford

Vertical gardening differs from walls of ivy.  We’re talking about self sufficient living walls of plants that get their water and nutrients within a vertical structure and not from the ground.

I’ve loved the idea of vertical gardening for years… even before I knew it had that name.  Perhaps it’s because Boston has so many flat brick walls facing the alleys in the Back Bay where I live.  I always imagined something beautiful could be done with these blank canvasses.  Wouldn’t it be great to see the walls flowering in the summer with morning glories, mandevillas or hibiscus?  Ah, what a delightful sight that would be!

Vertical Garden by Patrick Blanc

Vertical Garden by Patrick Blanc

So when I read about Patrick Blanc, the inventor of the Vertical Garden, speaking on April 24th at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston called “The Vertical Garden: Biological Design and Urban Architecture”, I immediately bought tickets to attend.   I also bought another two tickets to give away to one lucky City Garden Ideas reader who is interested in vertical gardens.

That’s where the contest comes in.  Here’s what to do:

Hanging Gardens in Miami by Patrick Blanc

Hanging Gardens in Miami by Patrick Blanc

Comment on this post by March 15th and tell me – in 100 words or less – why you want to attend this vertical gardening lecture.

  • Tell a story about an experience you had with vertical gardening
  • Share something that inspires you about vertical gardening
  • Let me know why you want to  learn more.

Patrick Blanc says he’ll reveal ‘his methods for transforming naked walls with nature.”  This I have to see!  Hope you’ll enter to win or just buy tickets through the MFA.

And remember, Spring begins March 20th and it’s getting closer every day!

Other contest information:
One entry per person.  Entries will be reviewed and one winner will be chosen on March 22nd.  The decision of the judge (that’s me) is final.

Take 2 – The Balcony Gardener – Gift Recommendation

The Balcony Gardener

The Balcony Gardener

Hello… Sorry about sending out the empty post!  Pushed the Publish button by mistake.

With the holiday season upon us, I wanted to share a gardening book I recently found at Annie Bells, now K Colette, a store filled with interesting things in Portland, Maine.

The Balcony Gardener is a website and the name of an easy-read, tip-rich book that would be perfect for the beginner or intermediate gardener.  Isabelle Palmer is the author and, like me, loves beautifying small spaces.  I bought the book for $19.95 but see it on Amazon for $13.57.  You can also buy signed copies on The Balcony Gardener website.  The book contains useful tips about gardening basics like soil, tools and pots.  Plus very helpful chapters on growing herbs and other edibles.

As the inside book jacket says, “Even with the smallest of outdoor spaces it is possible to create a beautiful garden, be it on a balcony, roof terrace or window sill.”  I couldn’t agree more!

If you have a city gardener on your holiday list, this book is worth checking out.  If you have a favorite “go to” gardening book, please share!  We welcome your comments.  Enjoy the day!