Ramblings of a "New American" Gardener

Celebration!

December 14, 2012

I woke to a frosty morning, an icy crust on the garden, a low brilliant sun lighting the mess that remains from Hurricane Sandy, the worst storm in local recorded history, and a heavy wet snow that fell a few days after. I thought the garden was at an end, but these photos give the lie to that. Instead, they celebrate the strong, intricate structure of the grasses and perennials at Federal Twist. The frost and light create a delicate, ephemeral landscape.

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I rarely take a “how to” approach to blog posts, but it may be helpful to see how some plants weathered the storms and remain to give pleasure, so I’ll name the survivors below. The empty spaces usually incidate plants there earlier in the season didn’t last through the storms. I’ll name some of them too, though I certainly don’t suggest you avoid them.

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Eupatorium perfoliatum, Sedum ‘Herbstfreude’ in back

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Asters, stalks of Filipendula Rubra, Calamagrostis acutiflora ‘Karl Foerester’ at back

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Same plants with Sedum in front

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Rudbeckia maxima added

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Rudbeckia maxima

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Filipendula

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Filipendula, Calamagrostis

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Asters, Panicum ‘Dallas Blues’

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Flattened plants: Aster puniceus, day lilies, Sanguisorba, Filipendula. Standing: Euphorbia palustris, Miscanthus purpurescens, Miscanthus ‘Silberfeder’, Vernonia …

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Rudbeckia maxima, Calamagrostis a. ‘Karl Foerester’, Filipendula, Sedum ‘Herbstfreude’

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Eupatorium perfoliatum (again), Panicum ‘Shenandoah’

Most of the remaining plants have been identified at least once, so you’re on your own.

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Eupatorium perfoliatum, Bergenia, boxwood, Hydrangea quercifolia, miscanthus and Thuja occidentalis

The Hydrangea quercifolia in the next three photos turned very late, leaving this dark wine color.

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Panicum ‘Dallas Blues’, outstanding in icy raiment.

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The Filipendula and Eupatorium atropurpureum will retain dried flowers and leaves in most winters. But the extraordinarily violent winds of Sandy left only the upright structure.

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This view of the house explains the reason for a naturalistic garden.

The boxwood and Thuja evergreens add more than just color interest in winter. They make an important contribution to structure. I plan to add more.

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The large empty area is home to a community of Filipendula rubra ‘Venusta’, a source of pleasure from late spring, usually well into winter. It’s weight even took down patches of Joe Pye Weed, as well as asters and sanguisorbas.

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Pycnanthemum muticum

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Salix sachalinensis ‘Sekka’ pruned high to reveal sculptural trunks

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Miscanthus ‘Silberfeder’, Pycnanthemum muticum

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Andropogon virginicus, Sedum

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Vernonia, Panicum ‘Dallas Blues’, Silphium terebenthinaceum, Pycnantheum muticum, Miscanthus ‘Silberfeder’ across the back, Inula racemosa ‘Sonnenspeer’, Aster tartaricus in front

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Miscanthus giganteus (the big one)

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At risk of boring some, I want to add many more miscanthus next year. It can’t be beat as a ruthless ground cover, and it lasts through all kinds of weather. I do want to introduce more named cultivars. I have only two Ferner osten, which has extraordinary autumn color and a well controlled form.

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Marc Rosenquist’s sculpture, Pay Dirt, looks great with the forest trees.

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Time: about 8:30 in the morning.

To read comments from the original posting of this article from December 2012 please visit http://www.federaltwist.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/celebration.html

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

william martin January 31, 2013 at 10:26 pm

Splendid photographic series James. And Happy New Year to you both. Best Billy

Reply

James Golden February 1, 2013 at 2:37 am

Thank you, Billy. Your opinion means a lot to me. I hope this is a good new year for you.

Reply

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