Friday, April 30, 2010

Some Photos from the Big House Garden this Morning

We're midway through switching out the container arrangements for the summer, and have started switching out some of the annual color beds, as well.  As a result, it was a good morning for Chuck to roam around with the camera for a little while early this morning.

The breezeway is "bright shade," and is the most-used family entrance, so it's an area where we focus on some of their favorite colors and textures.  Here is Xanadu philodendron that we overwintered in the greenhouse, along with Kimberly Queen ferns, "Salmon with Eye" Butterfly Impatien, Torenia,  Heliotrope, and a Gold-Edged Ivy whose name I don't remember.              

Near the breezeway I hung this gothic planter last fall.  When looking out a bay window, the view is of this big blank brick wall, so the planter serves its purpose well.  The planting box itself is actually pretty small (28 inches by about 8 inches deep), but I jammed it with plants so that it would really "make a statement" there. 
It has many of the same plants as the breezeway pots, plus a passionflower vine to climb up the trellis, as well as white scaevola, butter yellow million bells, and chenille plant.  I'll get more pictures as this flushes out through the season, but I think it's going to be pretty awesome!
In the gazebo near the pool, we have a situation with four planters that need to look the same but have noticeably different light conditions.  We came up with the solution of putting them on wheels, so we can move them every couple of weeks.  Here is one pair, with Kimberly Queen ferns, those salmon butterfly impatiens, and assortment of ferns we've overwintered, Algerian ivy, and some Rex begonias.
Above those planters (on each side of the gazebo), I just got new hanging baskets.  The photo is deceptive, since you can't get a good feel for how HUGE this baskets are.  They are 26 inches across, and each one holds one of those gigantic bags of potting soil for starters!  Then it takes 22 plants to fill each basket (the smallest in a four inch pot, the largest in a 12-inch pot of its own.)
Here's a wide shot of the gazebo to give a feel of just how beautiful this space is.  We try to bring the colors from the surrounding space into the container arrangements.
Perhaps the most challenging of the containers are the ones which hang off the sides of the footbridge that crosses the creek.  Again, it's hard to grasp the size of this group, but each side has four baskets, each 60 inches long.  That means "one" container arrangement that is 20 feet long.  The challenge with installation is really weather dependent, since two of us need to stand on ten foot ladders placed in the creek, and then we have an assembly line of people handing plants over the railing.  Again, these haven't "flushed out," but I'm hoping they will grow as I've imagined them. 
Just as a footnote, we line these baskets with a natural dried moss basket liner from Kinsmon.  When they get wet, they reconstitute to give this pretty cool look.  They can be a bit of a nightmare to work with the first time, but we've figured out lots of little details that make it easier.  If anybody is trying these for the first time, I'm happy to share some of the tricks that work for us if they are helpful.  And, as always, feel free to steal ideas if they appeal to you! 


  1. I don't do many containers, but those are gorgeous. You do nice work.

  2. beautiful.....please come plant my garden:)

  3. Tom, at my own house (The Stepchild), I have about 10 containers, all on the little patio, and all just because of the upcoming tour. I'm confident they'll be dead by June, since I never remember to water them. Typically I have no containers at home.....I think I overdose on them at work.

    Steven, happy to do it.....get your checkbook out!

  4. Tim, I have been enjoying pics from this garden for a while now. It looks like a sweet gig being able to garden on a budget greater than my own, in such a nice setting.

  5. So how many staff are their maintaining the garden and grounds? I'm getting my first look at estate gardening because the founder of the public garden I work at is right next door. I know she has a full time horticulturist, a grounds keeper and three seasonal helpers. It's easily three times the man power per square foot at the estate when compared to the public garden. It must be nice.

  6. The containers are coming along so very nicely. The Ferns really look happy there. I need to refresh our pots, as well. Often, I tend to keep my plants too long, when sometimes it's just better to start over. Happy weekend! Lidy