Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden: Part 2

Posted in garden to visit, landscape design, Maine with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 1, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 

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A glimpse through the moon gate into the English-style borders at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden.

Last post I promised you a tour of the sunny part of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden in Seal Harbor on Mt. Desert Island, Maine, USA.  My husband and I spent four days this summer visiting Acadia National Park and public and private gardens on Mt. Desert Island. 

To see the beautiful photos in my Acadia post, Scenes from Mt. Desert Island and Acadia National Park, click here.  For photos of Asticou Azalea Garden and the Thuya Garden, both in Northeast Harbor, click here.  My last post toured the Chinese-inspired woodland of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden: click here to see the photos.

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is closed for 2016.  For announcements of spring 2017 events, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Let us know if you are local or mail order only and if you are particularly interested in snowdrops or miniature hostas so we can put you on the right email list.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

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The bottle gate in the previous post, which was Abby Aldrich Rockefeller’s  preferred entrance to the flower garden, is just visible in the back of this photo.  Visitors pass through it from the woodland side into an oval garden surrounding a reflecting pool with the enormous perennial beds spreading out to the north.

As mentioned previously, the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden is a private garden in Seal Harbor on Mt. Desert Island, Maine.  It is owned by David Rockefeller and was originally created between 1926 and 1930 by the well known garden designer Beatrix Farrand and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, David’s mother and the wife of John D. Rockefeller, Jr.   Reservations are required to visit, and tickets, which go on sale May 31, are very limited.

Our visit to the sunny flower borders is captured in the photos below, enjoy.

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After wandering through the woods, the sunny gardens are a startling contrast.  Although massive, they are hidden from the shady side by walls and have the feel of a secret garden. 

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eyrieAccording to landscape historian Patrick Chasse, the flower gardens were originally planned as cutting gardens for the Eyrie (photo above), the Rockefeller’s 100-room mansion, which was later torn down.   Plantings were calculated by the number of rooms, their colors, and the number of vases to be filled.  The whole area was flowers with minor access paths for servants.  

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Looking north towards the moon gate.  The lawn was added in 1936 when the maintenance of the flowers-only garden became too much even for the Rockefellers. 

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Map of the gardens from the brochure provided.  The lawn area is bordered by a rectangular gravel path.  Outside that path is a wide flower border split by a low rectangular granite wall and again enclosed on the outside by gravel paths, which front even wider borders extending out to the walls enclosing the whole garden.

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View of the northern end of the gardens.  Even with the addition of the lawn, the remaining gardens are huge.  They are also gorgeous and impeccably maintained.

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View of the southern end of the gardens.

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You can see the low granite wall splitting the flower bed between the gravel paths.  It is covered with clematis and other blooming vines.
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The very wide gardens on the east side in front of the pink Chinese wall.
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Some annuals are used but the plants are mostly perennials.
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img_1652We exited the garden into the serene Maine woods that envelope it, dazzled by the amazing flower borders we saw.

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Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden Part One

Posted in garden to visit, landscape design, Maine with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 

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The gravel path from the parking lot leads to the formal entrance to the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden, but the grandeur of this amazing site in the Maine woods already surrounds you.

In July, my husband Michael and I spent four very full days on Mt. Desert Island, Maine, USA, visiting public and private gardens and Acadia National Park, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary.  To see the beautiful photos in my Acadia post, Scenes from Mt. Desert Island and Acadia National Park, click here.  For photos of Asticou Azalea Garden and the Thuya Garden, both in Northeast Harbor, click here.  Today’s post covers our visit to the woodland of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden.  The next post will cover the perennial gardens.

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is closed for 2016.  For announcements of spring 2017 events, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Let us know if you are local or mail order only and if you are particularly interested in snowdrops or miniature hostas so we can put you on the right email list.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

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The formal gardens are enclosed by rose-hued walls topped by gold tiles, building materials reserved for the use of Chinese emperors.  Many of the tiles were actually salvaged from the Forbidden City in Beijing.

The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden is a private garden in Seal Harbor on Mt. Desert Island, Maine.  It is owned by David Rockefeller and was originally created between 1926 and 1930 by the well known garden designer Beatrix Farrand (for more information on Farrand, click here) and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, David’s mother and the wife of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. 

We visited the garden because our Mt. Desert host, friend, and customer, Charlotte F., said it was a must and encouraged us to book reservations as soon as they became available on May 31.  The garden is only open one day a week (Thursday this year) in late July, August, and early September and advance reservations are required, and their availability is intentionally very limited.  By the time we visited in the third week of July all reservations were sold out.

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Looking back at the entrance from inside what Abby Rockefeller called the Chinese Garden.  The rams are 14th to 15th century Yi Dynasty, Korea.

We had a lot of plans for our Acadia visit and didn’t research the Rockefeller Garden in advance so were very surprised by what we found—an ancient Chinese-inspired garden filled with statuary dating as far back as the 5th century in the middle of the Maine woods!  As explained by Patrick Chasse in a lecture at the New York Botanical Gardens, the Rockefellers visited Asia for three months in 1921.  They were entranced by the architecture of the Forbidden City in Beijing and decided to build a garden at their Seal Harbor home incorporating ancient Chinese design elements, including building materials, walls, gates, a north-south axis, and statuary, among others.

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The Spirit Path runs the length of the woodland section of the garden on a north-south axis parallel to the walls surrounding the flower garden. Spirit Paths were a  traditional feature of imperial Chinese tombs.  The path is lined with pairs of imposing granite statues from 14th and 15th century Korea, which the Rockefellers purchased from a dealer in antiquities in Japan.

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A close up of one of the granite statues along the Spirit Path.

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A man made granite pool along the Spirit Path topped by a “snow” lantern, traditionally made from snow and lit from within.  This one is granite from 17th to 18th century Korea.

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The native woodland plants surrounding the carefully placed antiquities, walls, paths, and rocks are beautiful.
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A narrow rill carefully outlined in moss
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This path leads to a 17th century seated monk from the Edo period in Japan and carved from volcanic rock.
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The walled flower garden appears like a parallel universe visible through several gates giving access to it from various parts of the woodland.
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The moon gate looks into the northern end of the flower garden.
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The bottle gate at the southern end of the gardens was the gate through which Abby Aldrich Rockefeller liked to take her guests.   We will enter it in the next post!

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Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

Asticou Azalea and Thuya Gardens on Mt. Desert Island, Maine

Posted in garden to visit, landscape design, Maine with tags , , , , , , , on August 11, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 

Acadia Delphinium and MonardaThere is no more iconic Maine garden perennial than delphiniums in July.

My husband Michael and I recently spent four very full days on Mt. Desert Island, Maine, USA, visiting public and private gardens and Acadia National Park, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary.  To see the beautiful photos in my Acadia post, Scenes from Mt. Desert Island and Acadia National Park, click here.  Today’s post highlights two of those gardens: Asticou Azalea Garden and the Thuya Garden, both in Northeast Harbor.

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is closed for the year.  For announcements of spring 2017 events, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Let us know if you are local or mail order only and if you are particularly interested in snowdrops or miniature hostas so we can put you on the right email list.

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Ascitou Gardens 2016 7-20-2016 1-09-43 PMAsticou Pond in Asticou Azalea Garden, Northeast Harbor, Maine.

Asticou and Thuya were both designed and built in 1956 by Charles Savage, a lifelong resident of Northeast Harbor.  He was inspired by his desire to preserve the plants in the Bar Harbor garden of Beatrix Farrand, who was forced to sell her property for financial reasons.   Savage moved all her larger plants to the Thuya and Asticou sites with the financial support of John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

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Beatrix Farrand is an absolutely fascinating person and figures prominently in the history of American landscape architecture.  She deserves a blog post of her own, but, briefly, she was born in 1872 and began studying landscape architecture in 1895.  She went on to design gardens at the White House, the National Cathedral, Dumbarton Oaks, Princeton, Yale, and dozens of other prominent locations.  An early advocate for the use of native plants, Farrand was the only female member of the eleven founders of the American Society of Landscape Architects.  To read more about her, click here.

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Ascitou Gardens 2016 7-20-2016 1-16-33 PMSmokebush in bloom

Charles Savage studied Japanese gardening and was a lover of Maine native plants.  The garden he designed combines these two elements in a unique and interesting way.   The Asticou website explains Savage’s vision:

The Azalea Garden is styled after a Japanese stroll garden with many traditional Japanese design features adapted for the natural setting and vegetation of coastal Maine. A meandering circular path leads visitors through a succession of garden rooms that inspire serenity and reflection or bring to focus a particularly lovely vista. The garden’s design creates an illusion of space, of lakes and mountains and distant horizons.

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Ascitou Gardens 2016 7-20-2016 1-05-58 PMAsticou’s gravel paths are edged with bamboo, and native moss and ferns (and low bush blueberries) provide groundcover.

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Lilium canadense Ascitou GardensNative Canada lily in Asticou
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Wooden gates open to reveal the Thuya Garden, Northeast Harbor, Maine.
Thuya Garden is part of a 140 acre preserve given in trust to the residents of Mt. Desert Island by Joseph Curtis, a prominent Boston landscape architect who died in 1928.  Charles Savage was appointed trustee, and in 1956 he transformed what was then an orchard into the garden that exists today using plants acquired from Beatrix Farrand.  Unlike his Japanese-inspired Asticou garden, Thuya was designed as a semi-formal English garden in the Gertrude Jeykll style as interpreted by Farrand after many visits to England to learn from both Jeykll and William Robinson.
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Charles Savage and Augustus Phillips carved the gates at Thuya.
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The English style perennial borders at Thuya are gorgeous.
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Thuya also has beautiful rocky outcroppings surrounded by native plants.

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A final view of the delphiniums.

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There is more to come with a visit to the amazing Abby Alrich Rockefeller Garden plus photos from the Garden Club of Mt. Desert Open Garden Day.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.  Please indicate if you will be shopping at the nursery or are mail order only.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

Scenes from Mt. Desert Island and Acadia National Park

Posted in garden to visit with tags , , , , , , , on July 27, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

 View from The Boathouse at the Claremont Hotel, Southwest Harbor Maine

View from The Boathouse at the Claremont Hotel, Southwest Harbor, Mt. Desert Island, Maine.  They make an excellent blueberry martini!

Of all the subjects that I write about, I get the most positive feedback from my customers on my posts from Maine.  For the last three years, Michael and I attended the Camden (Maine) House and Garden Tour, and I featured photos from the Camden-Rockport-Rockland area in my Maine posts.  This year is the 100th anniversary of Acadia National Park located on Mt. Desert Island, which is about two thirds of the way up the Maine coast southwest of Bangor.  As we had never visited that area we decided to spend four days in and around Acadia and attend the Garden Club of Mt. Desert Open Garden Day.

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is closed for the year.  For announcements of spring 2017 events, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Let us know if you are local or mail order only and if you are particularly interested in snowdrops or miniature hostas so we can put you on the right email list.

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Northeast Harbor Maine

Northeast Harbor, Mt. Desert Island: Many families from the Philadelphia area where I live summer on Mt. Desert so it was fun to see all the locations I have heard so much about.

In the days before the garden tour, we visited three public gardens on Mt. Desert, many of the little villages on the island, and most of the major sites in Acadia National Park.  I hope to do more in depth posts on the gardens once I figure out how to transfer my photos efficiently from my Apple iPad, which I used to take the pictures, to my PC, which is where I compose posts.  Its not as easy as it should be—if anyone has any tips let me know.

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Fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium)

US native fireweed in a field on a back road.  Mt. Desert was much less developed and crowded than I thought it would be.  We were often the only car on the road.

Acadia National Park was gorgeous and not crowded at all even though it is one tenth the size of Grand Teton National Park and gets the same number of visitors, in 2015, 2.8 million.  One reason that I have never visited it before is that I thought it would be similar to the Maine Coast that I am used to around Portland.  I couldn’t have been more wrong—the geography is totally different even down to the type of rock, which is an arresting pink granite.  Beautiful lakes have been scraped out of the rock by glaciers, and there is even the only fjard on the East Coast, Somes Sound.  Mountains abound and, although they are not tall by many standards—Cadillac Mt is the tallest at 1,530 feet—they soar straight up from sea level.  Gorgeous coastal vistas and lovely beaches abound.

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Acadia Somes Sound MaineSomes Sound at sunset

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Acadia Sand Beach

Sand Beach in the park looks just like beaches I have visited in the Caribbean, although the resemblance stops at the water line as the water temperature was 54 degrees F (12 C).  There was much warmer swimming in the ocean at Otter Cove and at Echo Lake.

In this first post from the area, I am just showing some beautiful scenes to give you an idea of the setting.  Once I get my images straightened out, I hope to go into more depth about the gardens in the area.

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Acadia Mounument Cove
Monument Cove in the park is spectacular with its namesake pillar and a beach composed of perfectly round granite rocks.  It is not on the park maps, and I found it while reading Down East Magazine’s Summer 2016 issue dedicated entirely to Acadia for the 100th anniversary.  If you plan on visiting Mt. Desert, I highly recommend you get this issue because I used it for much of my planning.  To access Monument Cove, enter the Park Loop, which requires a $25 7-day pass) and park in the Gorham Mountain Trailhead Parking.  Cross the street and Monument Cove is to the left.
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Moss, Rockefeller Garden, Seal HarborBeautiful stands of moss are everywhere, here the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden.
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Bass Harbor Head near the lighthouse, which is part of the park, features the characteristic pink granite plunging to the ocean.
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Acadia Delphinium and MonardaDelphiniums and monarda at the Thuya Garden in Northeast Harbor.  I wish delphiniums would grow like this in Pennsylvania, but it gets too hot and humid for them.
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View across Jordan Pond to the North and South Bubbles
A view across Jordan Pond to the North and South Bubbles.
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I hope that you will have a chance to visit Mt. Desert Island and Acadia National Park.  A special thanks to my wonderful customer and friend Charlotte F. who welcomed us into her beautiful home during our trip and provided crucial planning advice.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

Mt. Cuba Part One: Formal Gardens

Posted in garden to visit, green gardening, landscape design, native plants, sustainable living with tags , , , , , , on June 30, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Mt. Cuba formal gardens 5-8-2016 12-54-50 PMThe Colonial Revival manor house built at Mt. Cuba in 1935 by the Lammot du Pont Copelands.

For Mother’s Day my family surprised me with a visit to Mt. Cuba Center in Hockessin, Delaware. Although I had visited this garden in the early 1990s before it was open to the public, I haven’t been there since.  What a mistake!  I was so enthralled by what I saw that I went back three days later to explore the gardens more thoroughly.

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is closed for the year.  For announcements of spring 2017 events, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Let us know if you are local or mail order only and if you are particularly interested in snowdrops or miniature hostas so we can put you on the right email list.

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Mt. Cuba formal gardens 5-8-2016 12-56-17 PMThe courtyard in front of the manor house as well as the gardens surrounding it are all very formal.

Mt.  Cuba Center is the former home of Mr. and Mrs. Lammot du Pont Copeland.  Mr. Copeland was the President and Chairman of the Du Pont Company while Mrs. Copeland was a pioneer in the movement to protect and appreciate US native plants.  In the 1960s, the Copelands began installing extensive native, woodland gardens on their 582 acre property.  In the 1980s, they focused their efforts on developing a private botanic garden to study native plants of the Appalachian Piedmont.  When Mrs. Copeland died in 2001, Mt. Cuba became a public garden with limited access.  In 2013, it was opened for general admission in the spring, summer, and fall.

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Mt. Cuba formal gardens 5-8-2016 1-23-16 PMThe house is beautiful from every angle, here the terraces in the back.

Mrs. Copeland wanted Mt. Cuba:

…. to be a place where people will learn to appreciate our native plants and to see how these plants can enrich their lives so that they, in turn, will become conservators of our natural habitats.”

With that goal in mind, the Copelands developed the 50 acres surrounding their home into display gardens highlighting native plants in formal and informal settings.  All of it is spectacular, and I hope to write two more posts on the woodland gardens and the trillium collection.  This post will focus on the use of native plants in the formal gardens directly around the house.

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Mt. Cuba formal gardens 5-8-2016 1-22-17 PMThe view from the terraces.

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Plants native to the US and particularly the Delaware Valley are a favorite of mine so I loved every part of Mt. Cuba, but I was most intrigued by the use of natives in the formal mixed borders.  Mt. Cuba demonstrates that native plants work just as well around the house as “foundation plantings” as they do out in woodland gardens where they are usually found.  In the following photos, almost all the plants are native species found on the East Coast of the United States or cultivars of natives:

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dwarf ninebark and native azaleas
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Baptisia 'Carolina Moonlight'‘Carolina Moonlight’ baptisia
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Mt. Cuba formal gardens 5-13-2016 10-47-16 AMContainers filled with native plants decorate the terraces.
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If you would like more information about using native plants in a formal design, click here for an interview on this subject with Travis Beck, Mt. Cuba’s Director of Horticulture.  He states that native plants were chosen to achieve the character of an English garden without staking, fertilizing, or watering.  The all-native redesign of the formal gardens has resulted in a very significant increase in pollinators.

I hope that you will have a chance to visit Mt. Cuba Center and its amazing display of East Coast native plants.  I found it inspirational and a source of many ideas for my own gardens.

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

Japanese Maples and More: Ambleside Gardens

Posted in garden to visit, Shade Shrubs, Shade trees with tags , , , , , on June 4, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

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Just like Carolyn’s Shade Gardens, no part of Ambleside Gardens looks like a regular nursery.

I discovered Ambleside Gardens in Hillsborough Township, New Jersey, last year when I was searching for a place to shop for Japanese maples.  Their website said they had 125 varieties so it seemed like the place to go.  Little did I know that I would find one of the most beautiful nurseries I have ever visited!

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is closed for the year.  For announcements of spring 2017 events, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Let us know if you are local or mail order only and if you are particularly interested in snowdrops or miniature hostas so we can put you on the right email list.

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The main path through the nursery display area.  All the shrubs and trees are for sale but are artfully displayed to create an intimate garden space.

Ambleside Gardens is a family business started in 1965 by the father of the current owner David Scudder.  It bills itself as New Jersey’s most unusual garden center, and I would agree.  The woody plants for sale are not lined up in rows for customers to select but are integrated into a lovely and intimate system of garden paths shaded by large trees and pergolas.  Each specimen is placed to highlight its color, size, shape, and texture and to harmonize with the plants around it.  The effect is magical. 

Here are some views of the nursery displays:

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David Scudder is the enthusiastic plantsman who makes all this magic.  He knows the details of every plant in his inventory, and the arrangement of the gardens are a testament to this knowledge.  He can also help you find exactly what you want.  We were looking for an upright, white variegated Japanese maple to compliment the “floating cloud” maple in our woodland, and he immediately came up with every candidate available at the nursery—and there were many—and the pros and cons of each. 

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Ambleside Gardens 6-2-2016 11-32-32 AM

My husband Michael talking with Ambleside owner David Scudder.

But Ambleside is not just a Japanese maple nursery.  David has assembled for sale an amazing collection of out-of-the-ordinary woody plants in mature sizes and unusual forms.  If you are looking for an eye-catching centerpiece for your gardens, Ambleside is the place to go.  As we wandered around admiring plants, David pointed out tree-form witch hazels and clethras, dwarf dawn redwoods and bald cypress, huge specimen fringe trees, exotic connifers, and much more.

Here were some of my favorites, but there are hundreds of specimens to drool over (and hundreds of smaller, less expensive woodies too):

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Ambleside Gardens 6-2-2016 11-12-38 AM

An ‘Arnold Promise’ witch hazel grown as a tree—I would love to see this in bloom.

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Abies koreana Ambleside  6-2-2016 10-40-47 AM - Copy

The beautiful cones and white dipped needles of a large Korean fir.

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Ambleside Gardens 6-2-2016 10-22-56 AM
A very large and mature Chinese fringe tree.
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Styrax japonica 'Pink Chimes' Ambleside 6-2-2016 10-33-41 AM

A 15′ tall, pink-flowered Japanese styrax.

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Ambleside Gardens 6-2-2016 10-32-23 AM

The styrax in the previous photo is on the right side of the path.  As you can see, there are many mature trees to choose from.

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Brick Farm Market

The Brick Farm Market in Hopewell, New Jersey, has indoor and outdoor seating and delicious food.

When you are done shopping at Ambleside, a delicious lunch awaits you at the charming Brick Farm Market, 15 minutes away in Hopewell, New Jersey.  The market serves food grown locally and sustainably by the owners at their nearby Double Brook Farm.  You can eat there and also purchase fresh meats, cheeses, baked goods, vegetables, and other delights to take home.  They open at 7 am and serve an equally yummy breakfast.

Brick Farm Market2

Inside the Brick Farm Market

Enjoy your outing to Ambleside Gardens and be sure to tell David that I sent you!

Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

Mini Hostas Make Excellent Groundcovers

Posted in groundcover, hosta, How to, landscape design, miniature hosta, my garden, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Mini Hosta Rock Garden

Part of my mini hosta rock garden in June of 2015.  Be sure to see it when you visit Carolyn’s Shade Gardens—it is one of the highlights of the garden right now!

When it begins to warm up (finally!), the weeds are not far behind, and customers start asking for groundcovers.  If garden beds are filled with plants, there is no bare soil on which weeds can germinate, and garden maintenance is greatly reduced.  Covering bare ground can be accomplished economically by choosing plants that spread rather than form clumps.  Spreading mini (and small) hostas are perfect for this task, but which ones work?  Here is your answer:

Nursery News:  You are welcome to shop at the nursery any time by appointment.  The 2016 Mini Hosta Catalogue is now on line here, and we are taking orders.  Our fourth open house sale, featuring summer and fall blooming shade plants, larger hostas, and miniature hostas, will be held on Saturday, May 21, from 10 am to 3 pm.  Customers on my email list will receive a detailed email. 

For announcements of spring 2016 events, please sign up for our customer email list by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Let us know if you are local or mail order only and if you are particularly interested in snowdrops or miniature hostas so we can put you on the right email list.

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Hosta Kiwi Golden Thimble

‘Kiwi Golden Thimble’ rapidly produces an adorable mound of golden leaves.

You can read more about mini hostas in these posts:

2016 Mouse Ears Hosta Update

Top 5 Favorite Little Hostas

The Mice Have Multiplied Again

New Miniature and Small Hostas for 2014, Part 2

New Miniature and Small Hostas for 2014, Part 1

New Mice for 2014

2013 New Miniature and Small Hostas

Miniature (& Small) Hostas

I LOVE Mice

Beyond Mice

Hostas Containers and Companions

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Hosta 'Twist of Lime'

‘Twist of Lime’ with its blue-green edge is a very fast grower and a favorite of my customers.

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.Hosta Little Wonder

‘Little Wonder’ has colorful leaves and a very dense growth habit.

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Hosta Lemon Lime
‘Lemon Lime’ is an outstanding groundcover hosta.
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Hosta Blue Mouse Ears

‘Blue Mouse Ears’ is the only mouse ears hosta that I would use as a groundcover because it is so vigorous.

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Hosta Green with Envy

‘Green with Envy’ is practically jumping out of my strawberry pot as it tries to expand.

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Hosta Rock Prince

‘Rock Prince’ filled in this whole area between the stones very quickly.

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Hosta Baby Bunting

‘Baby Bunting’s’ tiny leaves make a very fine-textured groundcover.

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Hosta Lemon Delight

‘Lemon Delight’ makes an excellent dense cover, and the wavy leaf edges provide a feeling of movement.

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Hosta Dragon Tails

Of course any mini, if planted en mass, provides groundcover, here ‘Dragon Tails’.

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Carolyn

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Nursery Happenings: You can sign up to receive catalogues and emails about nursery events by sending your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook Page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

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