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Saturday, June 27, 2009

SUNY Farmingdale - The Rockery

This past Thursday was not the first time I've visited the Horticulture gardens at SUNY Farmingdale. I've been there well over a dozen times so it was most surprising to me to find myself in love with an area that didn't excite me too much on previous visits.

The difference wasn't in the garden itself, the difference was me, my taste and desires in gardening right now.

The Rockery (as Dr. Iverson called it) begins at first with a small rock courtyard showcasing a few shade plants that have charmingly worked their way into the cracks and crevices of the stone walls and floor.

A few steps later though you come across the most wonderful, secret, shaded grotto just filled with a treasure trove of shade plants.

The predominant color here is green and yet it was as exciting to me as the long perennial border and the riot of color in the summer garden.

The day was damp and cool (what else has been new this season) and the plants were in prime condition.

I didn't think to take an overview of the whole area but it wasn't much larger than what you see here in this photo.
The contrast of the Hakonachloa (forest grass) against the gravel was magnificent.

There were lots of large rocks that you would swear were put there by Mother Nature and not by the diligent staff and students at the university. More plants were showcased in the cracks and crevices. I just loved seeing the Asarum europeam (European Ginger) in the garden. It's become a big favorite of mine.

Look! I did find a flower, although the garden would have been awesome even without this little beauty.

The perfect garden needs the perfect ending. How's this as the path to take you up and out of the rockery and back to the "real world".

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

SUNY Farmingdale

Today I met a few women from my garden club and we were treated to a tour of the horticultural learning gardens at SUNY Farmingdale University.

This first shot was taken at the entrance gate.

Although we were there for a short time, I think I'll break down the visit into three posts. This first post is just to share some of the awesome images I brought home with me.

The plant material was grown to perfection, even with the never ending rain we've been getting this season. I love this combination of the dwarf Aruncus athusifolius and the Pulmonaria 'Mrs Moon'.

I didn't take a photo of the name tag for this so I'm not sure if it's a Heliopsis or a Helianthus (I always get them mixed up). Behind it is Physocarpus (Nine bark).

Another combination that blew me away is Astilbe 'Deutschland' and the variegated Symphytum 'Axminster Gold'.

Sheer luck! How's this for a shot of a butterfly on Stachys bloom? I can't believe it came out this clear as it was in constant motion.

Centaurea macrocephala is something I've tried by mail order but I need to get myself a large one of these so I get to see it grow in my garden.

Papyrus in the entrance garden. This garden is planned to peak in late summer, I hope to get back and see it then.

Clematis and a Rose, sheer heaven.

Finally, the blue on this little bulb Brodiaea laxa 'Queen Fabiola' is just Fabulous! I think I'll be looking for this beauty for my own garden.

The next post will be either about the structure in the garden or the shade rockery. Both were just awesome.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Crabby Claws

Iris ensata, Japanese Iris are blooming in my garden right now. I used to have more varieties, now there are 4 or 5 different ones. A few years ago I didn't remember to remove the seed pods from one of them and it went to seed. There are two seedlings out there, one I forgot photograph because the other one is really strange.

What kind of form is this?

Here's what a Japanese Iris should look like, aren't they beautiful? Nice and graceful, amazing buds even before the flower unfolds.

The pale blooms on 'Gracius' are just as stunning even if they are a bit less lush.

I love the stripes and color breaks in this one.

So what do you make of this? Should it stay or go? I think it's really weird and don't particularly like it but maybe there's an unusual form classification in the Iris world? If so, I think I'll call it 'Crabby Claws'.