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“Don’t knock the weather. If it didn’t change once in a while, nine out of ten people couldn’t start a conversation.” – Kim Hubbard

 

**spring green lilies chamaecyparis thermopsis

Spring Green 1: Six-pack Violas, Daylilies, “Scheherazade” lilies, Chamaecyparis, Miscanthus and Carolina Bush Pea, Thermopsis villosa.

**spring green elder lemon banana

Spring Green 2: Elderberries on the left (Sambucus canadensis “Burroughs Creek”), native Fleabane upright in the background, fronted by a cutting-grown Korean Boxwood (Buxus koreana), a potted Meyer Lemon, and on the left a Banana gifted by friends as a pup last September, overwintered on the back porch. In the foreground is Northern Sea Oats, Chasmanthium latifolium. I appreciate this plant for it’s bambooish appearance but I pull at least 30 seedlings every morning. The two plants I have in half-shade are slower, skinnier and sparing re-seeders.

**spring green verbascum amsonia thermopsis overhead

The rosettes of gray leaves on the left belong to white-flowered Mullein, Verbascum “Governor George Aiken,” a favorite of bees.The yellow groundcover up top is Creeping Jenny, Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’. The feathery leaves below belong to Amsonia hubrichtii, a Bluestar, in it’s fifth year from seed and finally bulking up. The compound leaves at far right belong to the Carolina Lupine, Thermopsis villosa, with wild Violets (Viola papilionacea), and Calamint seedlings underfoot.

The end of May marks the start of one of the biggest annual events in the garden: the Fruiting of the Mulberries. Avian anticipation is sky-high, as much parking lot activity as a 1970s Grateful Dead concert. Grackles, Cardinals, Robins, Thrashers, Catbirds, Chickadees, Bluejays, Waxwings and wingless Squirrels inspect the fruit many times a day, awaiting that moment. One male Cardinal——nesting with his partner in the light above the garage door—staked turf on the big Mulberry, taking up his position on a high perch in the tree at dawn, forcing other male Cardinals to the younger, less fruitful Mulberries in the back of the garden. The fruit is still tight and red but if this heat keeps up, they’ll ripen in a week. Once the mulberry feast is over, the grackles move north, following the Fruiting up to Minnesota, leaving behind a minefield of purple and white ejecta that cling to plant leaves like Super Glue. The best part of the Fruiting is that the grackles are gone until March next year. And mulberry pancakes, of course.

– Other birds: Barred Owls, a Merlin, Red Tails, Turkey Buzzards, and a newcomer whose call starts with short, rhythmic chucks that sound like rosewood sticks, followed by several liquid gulps, all unusually loud—a rainforest sound. Reports that the raptor boxes installed on the nearby grain silos are all occupied account in part for the decrease in the rabbit population.

**allium christophii 2

I was strangely satisfied with this picture, taken on May 25: Star of Persia, Allium christophii, bursting out; Giant Coneflower, Rudbeckia maxima, the glaucous leaves at left; Helenium ‘Rubinzwerg’ rising in back; Red Clover, Trifolium pratense on the sprawl; and bright Creeping Jenny on the ground. I can’t deny my admiration for the Hayefield style–my ideal garden is a cross between Ninfa and Harry Dodson’s walled Victorian kitchen garden. I often consult Nan’s site, particularly older posts, and came across a shot from Bloom Day, June 2013, below.

 

dscf3024_thumb

Ahem. The persistence of inspiration. Hayefield.

Chelsea Chop: Sedum, Asters, Monarda, Patrinia, Buxus
Delays bloom and directs growth—you can stagger and prolong the blooms of particular plants by cutting back only half of the plant. The uncut half will bloom at the usual time, the cut half a few weeks later.

In July, the Hampton Hack (also named after an RHS plant show), rejuvenates herbaceous plants after their initial flushes of bloom (Geraniums Nepeta, Alchemilla, Calamintha—anything looking spent), spurring foliage growth and occasional repeat bloom. The key is to divert the plant’s energy from making seed to overall vigor.

**beans bush dragon tongue

Seedlings of Bush Bean “Dragon’s Tongue,” long flat pods, yellow streaked purple, purportedly tender with extra-beany flavor. A rainy day on the 16th.

**garden entrance

That same rainy day.

**bunny beds peach

The Bunny Beds on the 20th, another gray day.

**cat graveyard 2

Small pond, Cat graveyard and garage.

**front lonicera major wheeler

On the chain-link out front, “Major Wheeler” had his first flush mid-May.

**front elder darlow ninebark

In front on the creekside, left to right, Burroughs elderberry, “Darlow’s Enigma” rose (fifth year), and dark-leaved “Summer Wine” Ninebark, Physocarpus opulus ‘Seward’.

**rosa darlow's enigma close

“Darlow’s Enigma,” close.

**front pseudo-shrubbery 5:25

The Pseudo-Shrubbery on the front walk.

**elder bed new

The New Elders bed, from six-inch cuttings 15 months ago, now pushing eight feet and budding.

**echinacea mutation

Unusual flower color and form, and very early bloom, on a Purple Coneflower, Echinacea purpurea, by the main path. There was a phyllodic mutation in this patch of Coneflowers last year—perhaps more interesting variations are forthcoming.

**iris gerald darby fronting ipomoea batatas

Iris “Gerald Darby,” a yellow Ipomoea batatas, tropical Plumbago at left.

Bugs return mid-May: Chiggers, Mosquitoes, Oak Mites (humans), Loopers, Hornworms, Flea Beetles (plants), Fleas, Ear Mites (cats). Many Bumblebees, few Honeybees. Fireflies and crickets back in force. Fireflies are Earth magic.

The Shiitake logs flushed after the first rain, two pounds in five days, three good dinners.

**color wheel

Slaves to the Color Wheel would hate this.

**face west

On the Main Path facing West, May 30.

**main path little path

Main Path and Little Path, May 20.

**peppers beans

Peppers and Beans, mid-May. Tomatoes on the stakes.

**snapdragons 2

Snapdragons on the Little Path. Never grown Snaps before–bees all over them. This location seems too hot and sunny; a bit more shade next time.

**sporobolus solanum nasturtium

Left to right: Prairie Dropseed grasses, Sporobolus heterolepis; Nasturtium “Moonlight,” a pale yellow trailing type; and Naranjilla, Solanum quitoense.

**main path pots 2

Main Path pots, from the left: a coral Diascia; seedlings of Zinnia “Profusion Apricot;” a remarkable yellow Lantana camara, a Zone 8 tropical who survived the Winter of 2016 (-12 degrees), in open ground; variegated Aptenia cordifolia; a Tangelo Barberry and pale yellow Moss Roses, Portulaca grandiflora, in the big red pot; and a seedling “QIS Red Globe” Amaranth in the pot in front.

**tomato barrows need groundcover

Barrows of “Cherry Falls” cascading Tomatoes, orange Nasturtium “King Theodore,” “Genovese” Basil, and Red Globe Amaranth in the pots. Seventy-five percent of this garden is from seed or cuttings.

**trellis seedlings

Pole Beans on the left, Cucumbers and Bitter Melon on the right. Bush Beans below.

**mulberry face north

Mulberry One, facing North.

**mulberries

What we’re waiting for.

**garage bed last year for raised bed 1

The last year for this old raised bed.

Forcing a plant, or any living thing, to subsist in unnatural conditions is a cruelty to the creature; a waste of time, hope and resources for the gardener; and a bad effect on Life. It goes back to Beth Chatto’s dictum: “Right plant, right place,” though, as Chatto always averred, she wasn’t the first to make that observation, (Theophrastus, Historia Plantarum, 300 BC).

Case in point: the ubiquitous Verbena bonariensis, almost a garden cliche now. It grew itself in my California gardens, reseeding at a welcome nuisance level, yet here it languishes in our muggy heat. It really is a desirable and charming see-through. This is my third attempt to bring V.bon into this garden—the first two from seed, this time from nursery plants—and its not looking good. Even in part shade, they droop drastically by noon. Drooping is not a reason to fill the watering can; it is a survival tactic for extremes. Usually, when the hard sun passes, plants perk right up. V.bon perks up in the shade but with each 90+ day, it’s will diminishes. Desired plant, wrong place. I don’t like to witness unearned suffering; sometimes, the greatest mercy is a quick kill. Perhaps Hesperaloe is a better see-through option in this changing climate.

**pond path

Path around the Big Pond.

**robert burns 2

Robert Burns isn’t so shy anymore. He heads to the creek around 7:30 am most mornings and returns to the pond at 6pm. Punching the Snapping Turtle clock. I see him in transit a couple of times per week.

**snake path face west 3

Snake Path facing West.

**urn bed herbs dianthus lychnis allium

**main path face northeast

**ride face west pm

**cypress pole

White Cypress seedlings, Ipomoea quamoclit, have germinated at the base of the pole and are reputed to climb to 15 feet. A white Daylily at right in front, Tradescantia ‘Sweet Kate’ at left, Lemon Balm milling around, and Tritunia ‘Blue Star’ in the pot.

**view from table 5:25

View from the table, 5/25.

*robin on bones

Las Condiciones del Pajaro Solitario
Son cinco.
La primera, que se va lo más alto;
la segunda, que no sufre compañía, aunque sea de su naturaleza;
la tercera, que pone el pico al aire;
la cuarta, que no tiene determinado color;
la quinta, que canta suavemente.
– San Juan de la Cruz, Dichos de Luz y Amor

 

 

 

*garden 2014 windowsill

September 2014. Photo Dayton Segard.

 

garden 2014 garage bed spring

Kitchen garden, mid-May 2014. Photo Dayton Segard.

garden 2014 garage bed mid-july

Kitchen garden, early August 2014. Photo Dayton Segard.

*garden 2014 deer leg

Found this under the peach tree in early Spring 2014. Photo Kerri Conan.

*garden 2014 brush fence

Honeysuckle path in the woods. Photo Dayton Segard.

Seed-swapping is one of the great traditions of gardening and gardeners are generous souls. I’m very pleased to be growing plants from seeds obtained from gardeners around the country–specifically Nancy Ondra at Hayefield, Alicia Maynard at Sweetbay and Rob Broekhuis at Rob’s Plants. They have introduced me to many fine garden plants–several now indispensable. Here are some that did well in my northeastern Kansas garden in 2014.

HAYEFIELD
Verbascum thapsus ‘Governor George Aiken’ (Click title for photo at Hayefield.)
I had long heard tales of a white-flowering Mullein, Verbascum thapsus, and came across a picture of V. ‘Governor George Akin’ on the Hayefield blog in 2013. As luck would have it, Nancy was giving away seeds of that same Verbascum, and even more luck produced nine healthy plants set out last Fall. I’m hoping for five-foot spires of snow-white flowers from June through September but V. thapsus is tricky in the garden. These are not plants to be coddled. They grow in profusion in sun-blasted, bone-dry rubble along train tracks and riverbanks, but too much shade and water in the garden and they soon rot away. I planted them in sun-scorched earth but Kansas winters are wet and mucky, so fingers crossed for the Governors.

One Plant, Three Seasons: Amsonia hubrichtii (Click title for article and photos.)
“Here in southeastern Pennsylvania, Arkansas bluestar comes into bloom in the first or second week of May and continues into the first or second week of June. Its light blue color looks great with white, silvery, and pastel partners. …After the bloom period, the key summer features of Arkansas bluestar are its rich green color, its fine texture, and its dense, mounded habit. …Toward the end of the growing season, Arkansas bluestar really takes center stage.” – Nancy Ondra, Hayefield.

A Winter-sowing of Amsonia hubrichtii yielded 13 plants, nine making it through to wispy, foot-tall youngsters in gallon pots, now buried and mulched to overwinter. Amsonia seed need cold to germinate, barely covered and pressed into the soil. Sow seeds in pots no later than early January (I sow in Autumn), put them outside, and start looking for seedlings as weather warms up at the end of March. My two-year-olds should make airy 3′ x 3′ mounds in three years, with pale blue, star-like flowers in May and brilliant yellow foliage color in Autumn. The young plants hinted at their forthcoming glory last Fall, bright yellow threads in the dying grasses. I’ll follow Ondra’s lead and inter-plant my patch of Amsonia with blue asters. You can’t go wrong with yellow and blue.

One Plant, Three Seasons: Patrinia scabiosifolia (Click title for article and photos.)
“Is it possible for any gardener to have just one favorite plant? For most of us, I imagine, it’s tough to get closer than a top 5 or top 10. But if you asked me that question at this time of year and insisted on one top pick, I wouldn’t hesitate to choose Patrinia scabiosifolia (or scabiosaefolia, as some sources prefer to list it).” – Nancy Ondra, Hayefield.

I now have seven plants of Hayefield’s Patrinia, four of which bloomed last year. The tallest reached seven feet before toppling in a storm. The flat-topped clusters of small, chrome-yellow flowers looked great against vines of white morning glory and orange black-eyed susan, and the foliage turned bright red in October. Like the chartreuse bracts of the Euphorbia clan, Patrinia‘s bright flowers complement most color schemes. A good see-through plant–I have several at the front of a border so passers-by can observe the great variety of insects swarming the flowers. So far in this garden, Patrinia rivals Sedum x ‘Autumn Joy’–now Hylotelephium telephium ‘Autumn Joy’–as a bug attractor.

Patrinia transplants best in early Spring, just as the leaves emerge, and goes into a deep sulk otherwise. I agree with Nancy Ondra: this is a Top 10 plant.

Sanguisorba tenuifolia var purpurea, Japanese Burnet (Click title for picture at Hayefield.)
Sanguisorbas are the height of fashion right now, and deservedly so, for they provide flowing movement and have an elegant willowy presence. They have finely toothed pinnate foliage, above which long-lasting flowers hold themselves high on wiry stems. They associate brilliantly with equally tall, airy grasses, spired and whorled veronicastrums, and taller daisies.” – Telegraph

I planted four young Sanguisorba tenuifolia purpurea, Japanese burnet, among Miscanthus, Gaura, Nepeta and white Verbascum last Autumn, germinated from a Winter sowing in early January 2014. Might be too hot and dry for them in Summer, though extra mulch and water will help. I’m hoping they’ll be as tough as Hayefield’s Patrinia.

SWEETBAY
Fields of Gold: Bidens aristosa (Click title to link article at Sweetbay.)
“April/May and September are peak months in my garden. In September the big star is Bidens but there are other things in bloom too. All of that golden yellow needs some contrasts.” – Alicia Maynard

Bidens aristosa in full glory at Sweetbay. Photo Alicia Maynard.

Three years ago, Alicia Maynard of Sweetbay sent me seeds of Bidens aristosa after I expressed admiration for her spectacular Bidens borders. I now have plenty of Bidens and the September garden shimmers. Almost too much of a good thing; Bidens self-seeds easily and several species are considered invasive. In garden beds, it takes diligent weeding to keep in check but three-inch seedings pull up easily and transplant fairly well. Bidens is a great asset to the Fall garden, masses of mustard-yellow flowers, and an end-of-the-season boon for insects. I did some research on Bidens in a previous post: Three Bidens: aurea, aristosa, coronata.

ROB’S PLANTS
Eryngium yuccifolium, Rattlesnake Master (Click title to link article at Rob’s Plants.)
“Scattered along the stiff, upright stem of this unusual perennial are tough, blue-green, yucca-like, parallel-veined leaves. Smooth, rigid stem bearing thistle-like flower heads made up of small greenish-white florets mingled with pointed bracts. The individual, greenish-white flowers cluster into unique, globular heads. These occur on branch ends atop the 6 ft. plant.” – Native Plant Database

Flowers of Eryngium yuccifolium, Rattlesnake Master. Photo Crazytwoknobs, Wiki Commons.

Flowers of Eryngium yuccifolium, Rattlesnake Master. Photo Crazytwoknobs, Wiki Commons.

Seed for Rattlesnake Master–Native Americans reputedly used it as a snakebite antidote–came from Rob Broekhuis of Rob’s Plants four years ago. I now have a 5′ x 4′ clump of three plants that bloom reliably in late July–insects love the branching scapes of spiny, spherical flowers. A member of the Carrot family, it does indeed resemble a fleshy Yucca with barbed, glaucous leaves–a somewhat modest plant after flowering when it tends to flop and flatten smaller neighbors. Plant something substantial around Eryngium yuccifolium or use twiggy branches for support. Good mingling with roses.

Calamintha nepeta subsp. nepeta, Lesser Calamint (Click title to link article at Rob’s Plants.)
“The LESSER CALAMINT (Calamintha nepeta) is a variety of the herb possessing almost superior virtues, with a stronger odour, resembling that of Pennyroyal, and a moderately pungent taste somewhat like Spearmint, but warmer. It is scarcely distinct from C. officinalis, and by some botanists is considered a sub-species. The leaves are more strongly toothed, and it bears its flowers on longer stalks. Both this and the Common Calamint seem to have been used indifferently in the old practice of medicine under the name of Calamint.” – Botanical/A Modern Herbal

Calamintha nepeta subsp. nepeta. Photo chhe, Wiki Commons.

Calamintha nepeta subsp. nepeta. Photo chhe, Wiki Commons.

Rob sent seed of the species Calamintha nepeta subsp. nepeta three years ago and Calamint is now an indispensable plant in the garden–over two dozen plants to date. Fragrance, flowers, butterflies and bees, tough and compact, great filler, makes good tea… A beautiful, useful, care-free plant. Mine get to about 18 inches tall and wide, a bit sprawly but smaller and bushier if cut back by half in May. The cultivars ‘Blue Cloud’ and ‘White Cloud’ are tidier.

Drought-tolerant Calamint prefers full sun in its Mediterranean home but in Kansas requires little water when mulched and grown in some afternoon shade.  If it wilts, water quickly, nip off withered stems and all will be well. It seems to like my barely amended clay soil and starts blooming here in early July, tiny bluish-white flowers borne in thousands, a low haze in the border. Calamint propagates easily through division and cuttings, and regularly self-sows–it is a mint, after all. If you don’t want volunteers, shear the plants immediately after flowering.

 

poncirus trifoliata charles university prague photo karelj

Fruit of tree Trifoliate orange (Poncirus trifoliata), from the Botanical Gardens of Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic. Photo Karelj, Wikimedia Commons

Any close and worthwhile contact with the earth tends to make one original or at least detached in one’s judgments and independent of group control.” – L.H. Bailey

Plants exist in both reciprocal and antagonistic communities, just as humans do. Plants shield their progeny, respond in their own ways to countless stimuli, adapt over time to their situations and, now we know, smell danger. Their lives are no less complex, no less vital than the lives of human beings. Think of the lives dependent on plants: soil, bacteria, worms, insects, birds, reptiles, mammals, humans and who knows what our bounding technologies will discover next. Now think of the lives dependent on humans.

In the year 2013, it is way past time for treating plants solely as means to a selfish end, as “material” for the design conceits of landscape “professionals” or as fodder for the nefarious ambitions of Monsanto, Big Ag and Big Hort. It may sound trite and yet so true: plants are people too.

These blogs, listed alphabetically and all by creative and joyful plant stewards, are my most valuable refuges and references.

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens
The silky hairs glow in the light, and the plant looks like it is covered with hundreds of silver flowers–simply breathtaking.  …It is a multi-stemmed shrub that forms an almost perfectly rounded umbrella shape of cinnamon colored branches.” – Carolyn on Edgeworthia

For the introduction to Edgeworthia alone, Carolyn’s blog is a frequent port of call. Good to find a nurseryperson motivated just as much by the love of plants as the pressing need for the buck. The nursery business is about as profitable as restaurants–for those who make it past two years, its still mostly a labor of love. That’s Carolyn’s key to success: love of plant life and generosity with practical advice. Carolyn specializes in shade plants but no mail-order–this is a home nursery, in the truest sense.

Dirt Simple
Those gardeners that never water anything are not really gardeners. Those gardeners that water over and over again given a tough summer season are fearful gardeners. I understand that fear-I reacted to the steamy heat and dry with my hose, open full blast. But I see now that my off the top of my head reaction was harmful. Thoughtful watering makes for a great landscape and garden.” – Deborah Silver on watering

Gardeners are nearly always creative, generous folk and Deborah Silver is our Queen. A true professional (she gets up before dawn), Deborah is a master of restraint; restraint is the seed of elegance and good living. Most of civilization’s enduring gardens take a lot of money and Silver has earned the level of working with monied clients. What discreet, appropriate hardscapes! What boxwood! What exuberant containers! Deborah makes timeless and restful gardens, homes for vigorous plants all suited to place. She is today’s Russell Page. Or today’s Deborah Silver.

Hayefield
…For those of us who garden simply for our own pleasure, I can’t see any reason to judge our success on how closely our gardens conform to the guidelines of “good design” – unless that’s the standard we want to use, of course.” – Nancy Ondra, “Its Personal, Part 1”

To say that Nancy Ondra has a green thumb is an understatement. Hayefield, Nan’s Pennsylvania garden, is a plant lover’s dream. And while most gardeners have cats or dogs as gardening allies, Nan has alpacas. Think of all that good poop! Nan’s many books are essential references, her book on grasses a particular favorite. A natural photographer, Nan’s blog is packed with inspiring visuals and down-to-earth, practical advice. You want to be a virtuous plant steward and make a beautiful, happy garden? Follow Nancy Ondra.

Kansas Garden Musings
My feelings have run both hot and cold for Arundo as long as I’ve grown it.  I admire the easy-care maintenance of the grass because it requires only cutting it back to the ground each spring; no extra water, no fertilizer, no shaping. …On the other hand, even the variegated form is so uninspiring that I’ve never taken a picture of it.  Ever.” – Professor Roush on Arundo donax

Professor and Mrs. Roush live in rolling prairie, the Flint Hills of Kansas, gardening in increasing drought, blistering heat and incessant winds. The Prof, a veterinarian by day, is the go-to guy for tips on successful gardening in extreme and unpredictable weather–sometimes even Doppler can’t catch it–which the Midwest deals in spades. Quite the rosarian, Prof is the reason I gladly tussle with Pyracanthra (covers the view of utility boxes), and choke up in May with Madame Hardy’s first bloom.

Louis the Plant Geek
Silvery when young, the basal leaves of first-year plants mature to a chilly celery green. The leaf-to-leaf gradation of silver to celery-green is most prominent in first-year clumps, and is subtle as well as showy.” – Louis Raymond on cardoons

The things Louis Raymond does with plants will blow your mind: topiary Poncirus, espaliered quince, pollarded Paulownia and mini-forests of Cryptomeria. A maven of the color wheel, Louis is a modern Axel Erlandson but much more sensitive to a plant’s well-being than most garden designers of today and yore. Training plants is much like herding cats but Louis has the touch–nearly everything flourishes under his hand, which he often uses for scale in his pictures. Exacting, truthful advice and a perfect balance between design and stewardship are Louis’ hallmarks. I hit this site at least once a week and always laugh with wonderment.

Rob’s Plants
In late October, balloonflowers are strong contributors to the autumn foliage scene, their leaves turning a rich butter yellow that’s especially striking when the sun comes out to play.” – Rob Broekhuis on Platycodon grandiflorus

When I come across a new plant or want to do a better job of pleasing an existing garden resident, the first place I go is Rob Broekhuis’ invaluable reference site. Based in Pennsylvania, he grows mostly from seed and is scrupulous about germination records, making happy homes (check his pictures), for well over 1000 robust plants on less than an acre. Thanks to seed from Rob (check his trade/sale list), I’m now on increasingly friendly terms with Solanum atropurpureum, Thalictrum pubescens, Eryngium yuccifolium, Heuchera villosa and Platycodon “Sentimental Blue.” Many thanks, Rob.

Rock Rose
A garden without grasses just isn’t a garden. There is no lawn to mow in our gravelly garden but there are grasses. Not the sweeping vistas of grasses that are sometimes used in garden design but individual clumps scattered throughout. One of my favorites is the ruby crystal grass, Melinus neviglumis, with it’s pink puffs of seed heads.” – Jenny on grasses

Jenny should shoot for National Geographic, her pictures are that composed and insightful. Based in Austin, Texas, Jenny and her husband David travel to the great gardens of the world and her unprejudiced delight in the many ways of making gardens is inspiring and infectious. Her home garden is an oasis of desert blooms, grasses and pools of water, a resting place.

Sweetbay
Two butterfly bushes in a small bed by the back porch door are gone, so I added a couple of spare blue mist shrubs and mulched with hay to encourage the catmint to grow more. If the blue mist shrubs don’t make it through the winter I need to come up with a study woody plant on the small side that can cover the view of the hardpan underneath the back porch.” – From Alicia’s post on hay

Alicia Maynard’s is an ideal country garden: big in scale, careful in appointments but never contrived or fussy. Every plant in Alicia’s yard looks happy to be there. Hers is a garden for reflective strolling, lazy picnicking or dozing to the music of flowers, insects and birds. Her Bidens borders would make Gertrude Jekyll hit the drawing board. When I visit Sweetbay online, I always imagine the smell of honeysuckle and deviled eggs. The Sweetbay garden loves life.

What Ho Kew/What Ho Hidcote
Undoubtedly, one of the highlights of my time at Kew so far has been maintaining and becoming acquainted with the large Passiflora collection held in Zone 9! …The simplest way I can describe them is as the tropical version of Clematis; vigorous blighters that clamber about all over the shop on tendrils, and with delightfully beautiful flowers that are consistently showy and fascinating across the genus!” – Bernie on Passiflora

Bernie used to work at Hidcote, now he’s at Kew. What is it like to work at a global destination garden? Bernie will tell you, cheeky fellow, and illustrate with photographs that actually depict plants in garden contexts. A bona-fide plantsman, Bernie brings haute horticulture to the masses, laughing, covered with bugs and dirt.