Tag Archives: Clematis

Gardens of New York

Well I guess there are many private gardens in New York but lacking in the Squares that London abounds in and the Royal Parks, New Yorkers have to make do with two public parks as their joint and shared garden – and they certainly like them! The two I am referring to of course are Central Park and the High Line.

Whilst in New York earlier this year we went to both these parks – I was particularly interested to see what the High Line was really like having seen many photos and descriptions. It did not disappoint except I had thought it would be wider somehow.

It seemed to us that when we were walking the High Line the whole of Chelsea Village, friends and visitors were there too. It was very crowded where we got on but did thin out by the time we left it. I guess the ice cream vendors and coffee shops were close to where we got on and the sun had come out so…

The landscaping cleverly used much of the old railway structure with some stunning planting varieties in a prairie fashion including species tulips. But then it was Piet Oudolph who designed it, so what could you expect. And he handily provided a complete list of plants available from the website of the Friends of the High Line.

In May they also had a great art exhibition with 16 plus exhibits from photos to words to sculptures cleverly positioned so that they surprised you as you came across them. Some were very large and some small but all had something interesting to say.

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Of course the other public garden in New York is Central Park. We couldn’t walk all through it but did see the following plants: Judas trees; azaleas and dwarf rhododendrons; tulips; pieris; painted ferns; hellebores; American plane trees; American elms, oaks and sugar maples as well as other maples.

Before going I had thought that Central Park was mainly grass and trees, with perhaps a skate park – my impression from the TV programmes watched, but in fact there was much more to it as the list of plants indicates.

The old stories I have heard make it out to be pretty much of a no-go area but certainly on a sunny day it was full of people enjoying themselves – locals, mums and strollers, bikes and runners, and of course, tourists.

There was a very fancy restaurant, and cafes; flowers, trees, paths, water, large boulders – glaciated granite probably – the Citadel (castle as mentioned in some books) and Shakespeare’s garden. Now this intrigues us Brits – why a Shakespeare garden?

According to the official website:

“Shakespeare Garden is a four-acre landscape named for the famed English poet and playwright. The garden features flowers and plants mentioned in his poems and plays. Small bronze plaques scattered throughout the garden bear quotes from the Bard.

The garden was first conceived in the 1880s when park commissioner George Clausen asked the Park’s entomologist to create a garden adjacent to the nature study center in the Swedish Cottage. In 1913, Commissioner Gaynor dedicated it officially to the works of Shakespeare. After years of neglect, Shakespeare Garden, just as most of Central Park, fell into disrepair. In 1987, Central Park Conservancy restored and expanded the garden, repaving paths and installing rustic wooden benches and bronze plaques with quotations from the Bard’s masterpieces.” [http://www.centralparknyc.org/things-to-see-and-do/attractions/shakespeare-garden.html]. It is not really a flower park in the way much of Regent’s Park is but still very attractive for a stroll on a nice day.

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Now the clematis fanatic in me was interested to see that on the official website if you look to see what is in bloom in the spring the first 3 items are clematis:

‘Huldine’ Clematis

Botanical Name: Clematis x ‘Huldine’
Bloom Season: Spring
Typical Bloom Time: May to June
Location: Conservatory Garden

‘Perle d’Azure’ Clematis

Botanical Name: Clematis x ‘Perle d’Azure’
Bloom Season: Spring
Typical Bloom Time: May to June
Location: Conservatory Garden

‘Ramona’ Clematis

Botanical Name: Clematis x ‘Ramona’
Bloom Season: Spring
Typical Bloom Time: May to August
Location: Conservatory Garden

Pity not more of them but then as my article for the Clematis journal says, clematis are not that wide spread in the US as the winters are mostly too cold for many of them. Still there are several that are suitable for the climate depending on which zone you are in. The High Line has a set of 9 clematis also ranging from clinging vines to herbaceous including viticella and tangutica varieties and from red to yellow in colour.

 

 

 

A period of recreation and rest is here:

For those who engaged in gardening for recreation not profit, according to the Gardener’s Almanac. Certainly we are beginning to wind our efforts in my garden, but still our Yellow book (National Garden /scheme) doesn’t happen until mid July, so we need to keep up our efforts and maintain the peak of perfection (!) we have achieved.

According to St Phocas, a gardener from the 3rd century AD the so-called dog days are 3rd July to 11th August and are the hottest of the year. So clearly we need to keep a wary eye on our plants and ensure they are well watered. there is an argument raging about whether you water in the evening or  the early morning – ie about 6am or even 5am if you can get up. I guess it all depends on whether or not you can get a mildew over-night. Just how susceptible are your plants?

When we open again for visits we have decided to open in late May or early June as our garden is really beautiful now. so here are some of our flowers –

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White clematis and Bleeding Heart (Dicentra)

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Anemone Blanda

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Phormium and artwork

begonia and nettle

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Flowering pear and crab apple

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Red perennial wallflower

Elayne Coakes urban garden in North Lonodn featuring clematis integrifolia herbaceous

Elayne Coakes’ urban garden in North London

hellebore double yellow speckled

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Freckles: winter flowering

Hellebore_double_apricot[2]

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Clematis Wessleton

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Black Tulip magnolia

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Orange tulips and Euphorbia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and the roses are coming out too….

 

you can see more of our flowers on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/gardening4bees

and come and see our garden if you are in London on July 5th in the afternoon.

Spring is bouncing merrily in the garden

 

Euphorbia

 

 

This time last year (31st March) it snowed. And a Japanese magazine came to photograph it. What they actually photographed was the snow, me digging in the snow, and me tending plants in the garage bundled in a red duvet coat.

This week a reader of that same magazine article clutching a copy of the article under her arm, came to to visit the garden. It was cold but the sun came out and the flowers were wonderful.

Flowers in March 2014 march31st 2014 020 march31st 2014 021 march31st 2014 023 march31st 2014 024 march31st 2014 026 march31st 2014 027 march31st 2014 028

Ten – yes 10! I counted them – clematis are now in flower. The crab apple framed a view from the back walk through the pond meadow and grass bed to the back of the house and patio and pots with tulips.

  • Jim’s wedding cake tree with blossom forming on every branch was central to that view.

Some daffs and hellebores are fading but still many are flowering including flowers for early bees such as pulmonaria (the solitary bee proving very hard indeed to photoghraph with its proboscis extended) and comfrey and then there’s bergenia, epimediums and cyclamen still flowering since November (same plant).

I always the love the intake of breath and often an accompanying explanation that you can get from visitors when they come through our garden gate and look down from our patio (which is several feet above the rest of the garden) to the end taking in the water features and different beds and paths wandering through them.

So now off to Tenerife for a few weeks to see the mountain flowers there.. look out for them when I return!