Ramblings of a "New American" Gardener

Hold that date … June 29 … Federal Twist will be open for the Garden Conservancy Open Days

March 20, 2013

On Saturday, June 29, the Garden at Federal Twist will be on The Garden Conservancy’s Open Days garden tour.

autumn grasses

Garden designer Carolyn Mullet regularly posts photos of gardens around the world on Facebook. I’m using the occasion of her recent post on my garden to extend an invitation. You can see Carolyn’s photo selection on Facebook by clicking on the photo above. (If you’re not a Facebook user, I don’t know if that will work.)

As Carolyn wrote, my garden is all about seasonal change which, unfortunately, isn’t something to be seen in one visit. So I welcome return visits any time.

The garden will also be on the Open Days tour in the autumn, on Saturday, October 19.


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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Emily March 20, 2013 at 10:38 pm

That’s a really lovely picture. I am so envious of your excellent Fall color.


James Golden March 21, 2013 at 3:36 pm

Thanks, Emily. Fall color is my favorite time in the garden, but it’s highly unpredictable–and subject to whims of increasingly violent weather (or so it seems the last few years).


Lorraine Smith December 18, 2013 at 9:39 am

Hi Mr. Golden,
I have recently acquired property on Federal Twist Rd. (6 1/2 acres) and plan to enclose a garden portion to provide native plants, particularly Monarch Butterfly Support plants.
Probably will install small solarium-greenhouse, etc.
I will be moving in starting Feb 2014. I just subscribed to your email source. Will value your input, and when I am set up I hope to visit your garden.
Until then, kind regards,
Lorraine Smith and Carl Klein


James Golden December 18, 2013 at 9:53 am

Welcome to Federal Twist. I assume you know how wet and difficult our soil is. You may want to try swamp milkweed. But if you have some higher, better drained places there are others you can try. With our deer population, you’ll definitely need to enclose your garden. I’d love to talk to you about your plans.


Lorraine Smith December 18, 2013 at 10:44 am

Got it at my Jersey Shore home. Lots of swamp, common and tuberosa, also a spread of Jack-in-the-pulpit which survived the big storm. Hope to move some of it into a naturalized palette of grasses and seed pods, winterberries, etc. Love your photos and I’m looking forward to planning a smaller version of your beautiful paradise.

Liisa Wihman March 20, 2013 at 11:51 pm

James, I would love to come, but all too far away this year… As always, your gardens look just wonderful, both.


Cindy at enclos*ure March 21, 2013 at 6:14 am

I so wish! It’s a little far from Kigali however.

Carolyn’s page is worth joining Facebook.


James Golden March 21, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Yes, I was very happy to find Carolyn’s page. With the decline in magazines, I really enjoy getting her feeds on gardens.


Rob (OurFrenchGarden) March 21, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Anyone who can get there – should! If I could, I’d visit on both dates, just the darn geography problem.

I’ve just checked out Carolyn’s page on the book of face.


James Golden March 21, 2013 at 3:42 pm

So you are on facebook! I’ve looked for you but couldn’t find you.


Laurrie March 21, 2013 at 2:46 pm

My husband and I will be there on the 29th. We have booked a B&B in the Phila. area at the end of June and will first visit Chanticleer (for me), then Valley Forge (for him), and then on the 29th we plan to visit your garden as we head home from PA to CT. It will be a great getaway for us!

Can’t wait to see in real life what I have studied for so long in your pictures.


James Golden March 21, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Glad you’re coming, but I don’t think I can compete with Chanticleer so perhaps I should lower your expectations. I’m giving some thought to doing the British thing and having cake and tea/coffee, but that’s hard to plan, not knowing whether to expect 7 or 70. When I visit Chanticleer, I always long for a place to sit in the peace of the garden and have coffee and a refreshment.


Michael B. Gordon March 21, 2013 at 7:12 pm


Tovah and I have penciled it in on our calendars. Hopefully we will be able to make it down. I would love to see it in early summer!


James Golden March 21, 2013 at 8:52 pm

I’d love to see you and Tovah, Michael, but I realize it’s a hell of a long drive. On another, almost unrelated note, I just ordered an Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Sasaba’ for (I read) intense fragrance in the Brooklyn garden (in November, no less).


Michael B. Gordon March 21, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Hopefully I’ll return to take a whiff in person! Love to hear you are getting plants I can’t do. I can live vicariously through you and the Brooklyn garden.


Sibylle March 22, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Hey James, thanks for your comment on my blog to Petra Pelz.
Well to fare to come, otherwise I would bring you a book.
But I am going to California in August. We are /familytrip not workingtrip)going from San Francisco to Vegas, Loo Angeles and back Route Nr. 1 to SanFran. I am looking for private gardens to visit and to take picture in it. Are there präriegardens as well? or is it to hot? Maybe you have some advise for me, some “must see”. Or do you know some gardenblogger on the west coast?
Greeting from a very cold and winterly Germany Sibylle


James Golden March 23, 2013 at 4:57 pm

Sibylle, I don’t know California gardens well. I’ve visited there several times and these are public gardens I could recommend: in Los Angeles the Huntingdon Library and Gardens (extensive gardens including cacti and succulent garden), Lotusland in Santa Barbara (a must see), also the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden, the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek (inland 20 or 30 miles from San Francisco), the San Francisco Botanical Garden, and the gardens at CornerStone Sonoma, near San Francisco. I’m sure locals could recommend many private gardens that I don’t know. I also recommend you check the Garden Conservancy web site near the time you plan to travel. They will list many gardens, I’m sure, that are open for public tours on specific days. Good luck. You might also check with the owner of a good California blog, A Growing Obsession (http://agrowingobsession.com/) for a local’s recommendations.


Sibylle March 24, 2013 at 12:57 pm

Thank you very much for your advices. I will start with the californian blog. The problem is that I can’t see so many gardens, so the choise must be good. Yes, Lotusland was recommended, I saw pictures in the Gardens Illustrated magazine. Must be very interesting. Still some time to prepare everything. Sibylle


Donna April 14, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Hi James,

Love your picture! Les Schoof is my brother-in-law. Since he is such a great guy and all – would you come and help me put a garden in at my house? You’re welcome to come any time. Tee Hee….


carolyn mullet August 4, 2013 at 8:39 am

Just came across your mention of my page. Thanks so much!!!! Hope the Open Days went well for you.

Warmest wishes,


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