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Friday, September 26, 2008

Ever wonder why?

Why? Have you ever seen a plant growing in a garden that you used to grow years ago? Do you ever wonder "why aren't I growing it now"?

In my very first, very beginner-like garden I grew a large patch of Chelone. I'm pretty sure I didn't know how to pronounce it back then since I'm still not sure of how to say it today. The nick name around here is false turtle head.

Back to the story, I had this big clump of Chelone. I thought I was the best gardener in the world because it was just thriving! Then I tried to dig a piece out of the ground. It had roots like I'd never seen before, they just twisted and turned and went all over the place. I was freaked out by those roots and have never grown it again.

How silly is that?

Last week when we visited Stonecrop I saw this nice clump of Chelone. Oooohhh, I wish I had a nice clump of Chelone in my garden. Look how lovely it looks even now in early fall.

I do have the white variety in my garden, it doesn't seem to be as fast growing as the pink variety. In fact, I don't remember seeing it bloom this summer but I was away much of July. It will be interesting to see if come spring I've matured enough to get past those weird roots and buy a pot of the pink Chelone 'Hot Lips'.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Stone Troughs - Part Two - Germany

This past summer I was lucky enough to spend two glorious weeks touring Germany with my mom. We have quite a large family in Germany so rather than see the big tourist sites, we also got to see small places that only the locals know about.

My cousin Ingrid took us to the most amazing place. I don't know what town it is in, I do know it's an easy drive from Frankfurt. The place was a mill stone museum and they had a charming restaurant and hotel by the name of Hotel Wambacher Muhle. If you are visiting Germany, I think this would be a great place to spend a day or two. Bring some hiking shoes as I understand there's some spectacular trails that start at this hotel.

At first I wasn't sure I wanted to visit a mill stone museum, then I saw that they also collected troughs. These troughs were real ones, carved out of stone, not the new light weight ones.

Here you can see how they were interspersed through out the mill stone display.

Germany was going through a cool, wet season while we were there so everything was amazingly lush and green. I really loved the way these troughs looked. Here you can see a spot where the stream was diverted through a channel alongside the hotel.

Resting over the channel in various spots were these beautiful troughs. You can see how different they feel as opposed to the dry barren troughs in my previous posts (taken in New York). I think both styles are fantastic.

This trough was filled with a Sedum that was at peak bloom. I don't have the name of the Sedum but it could have easily been Sedum 'Acre'.

Now we'll see some troughs with stones in them too. How about a dward hardy Geranium in the planting scheme? I love it!

Don't have any troughs near you? No worries, how about a big old wash basin? I know they sell them here at the hardware stores and they aren't terribly expensive.

I had to throw in a landscape shot showing the hotel in the backdrop. Oh if only I had a good pair of walking shoes with me.

This wash basin was filled with perennials, and yes, there are daylilies in it too.

Another trough, so lush and full. I think the different stone arrangements inside the troughs add great charachter.

As a last shot, I give you a tantalizing view of one of the walkways. This one was easy to navigate so I went down to the water. I can only imagine how lovely the walkways that went up into the mountains and woods must be.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Stone Troughs - Part One

The main focus at Stonecrop is their alpine collection. While I think spring is their peak season, we certainly had many wonderful things to see now in September.

This collection of stone troughs was set perfectly. I really liked how every now and then a specimen from the trough was also planted at the foot of the trough as if it escaped.

Here you can see how the different textures play against one another. Another thing I noticed is that they had no fear about leaving empty spaces. In my own garden I tend to cram in as much as possible but these troughs were very restful feeling.

This was my favorite of the rectangular troughs. I would really like to do something similar in my own garden.

This one was a very close runner up and I know I have these types of rocks around here. I think that this would be a fun project to do with children.

Be still my heart, when I came upon this type of planter I thought I had died and went to heaven. Kim and I both desperately want to make one of these now.

Here's a close up shot. Not much more than a jumble of rocks, just enough thought put into the placement to keep it from falling apart and yet loose enough to feel totally natural.

For those of you who have a shady corner that you can't get anything to grow in, you have to try one of these. Another pile of rocks but this time planted with shade plants. Ferns, miniature Epimediums, moss, mini Hosta, I can imagine all kinds of goodies to plant in these nooks and crannies.

Finally, another type of man made rock garden, these were on a larger scale. I bet you could even use broken up concrete from construction sites to make these cool beds.

These types of garden are not for the "flower" lover although most of these plants will flower at one time. Yet, I find they tug on my heart in a totally different way. Kind of a call to my wanderlust soul.

I titled this post as "part one" because I also have a wonderful set of photos of trough gardens that I shot in Germany this summer. They'll be popping up here some time this week.

Off to look at the stones in my garden,