Friday, 31 December 2010

A Private Roundabout

This cold and snowy winter I decided to spend one month in Kenya. So far I dont regret that at all. Here below you see some pictures from a little roundabout ourside a private garden planted with many different plants including cabbage plants, Tulbaghia violacea, Bougainvillea and Lavandula.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

The Allium structure

Allium is a very useful genus in nearly all kind of garden design. Especially the species with big rounded flower heads are good contrast makers among plants with different structure.  Here are three nice examples from England.  
Allium together with the delicate Salvia.

Allium goes wild with Ranunculus repens

Allium and the later flowering Hylotelephium

When you plan your perennial border you might want it to flower from early spring to early winter if possible. In that case, however, the border will probably never reach a real peak with sumptuous blooming. Instead it is better to put effort on a certain period of the year, for instance from late summer to early autumn.

Allium aflatunense and its cultivars are also very useful as a late spring or early summer element in such late summer flowering plantings.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Early winter on the prairie

Despite it is still November the winter already has bed down most of the park in Alnarp in soft white. We seldom have snow here this time of the year and if it comes at all it is normally during late December or early January. But today all trees are nicely covered by ice and snow and at the prairie the seed heads look even more beautiful in contrast to the white element.   

Rattle snake master, Eryngium yuccifolium and Canada Wild Rye, Elymus canadensis 

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Inside the green cave

Inside the cave, a newly made green playground for the kids

Beside all big scale garden ideas in the city park of Laholm we also can find some smaller ones. This is the Kid's Cave, a children’s hiding and playing place inside a group of old Rhododendron. The pruning of the interior of the cave has created a smooth and exciting playground for curious kids.

The entrance to the Kid's Cave in the city park of Laholm

Monday, 11 October 2010

The woodland is turning color

The woodland in Laholm is now changing from dull green to bright fall colors and most trees and shrubs are turning yellow, red and orange. Even the perennials want to join the color parade. The Foam flowers, Tiarella, goes brownish orange and so does the Gillenia, while the Geranium maculatum 'Vickie Lynn' turns more bright orange red.

Nyssa sylvatica, the Tulepo tree

At the moment one small Tulepo tree, Nyssa sylvatica, is glowing clear red while others just started to convert. The Honey locusts, Gleditsia triacanthos, have already dropped most of their bright yellow leaves and the Red maples, Acer rubrum, are only in the early stage of the color explosion.

The woodland in Laholm was planted in 2008 and is a part of the city park under development. New exciting departments are added constantly, now latest an amazing spring bulb planting and next spring we are creating a European meadow with both acid and more calcareous habitats with a huge diversity of meadow plants.

Tiarella, Gillenia and Acer rubrum

Acer rubrum 'Scanlon' just outside the woodland


Thursday, 7 October 2010

The Spring Slope

The Spring Slope starts here and follows the pathway to the left

Next week it's time for the first part of the Spring Slope in the city park of Laholm to be created. This is an area in the park there it formerly was a rough lawn beneath old beech trees. When next spring is here it instead has turned into a wonderful carpet of blooming bulbs and other spring flowers in white, blue and violet shades.

As dominating bulb for the slope we have chosen the dark blue Siberian squill, Scilla siberica. She will be accompanied by many other bulbs and corms like the true wild form of the italian Spring crocus Crocus vernus v. albiflorus, the Grecian windflower, Anemone blanda, many different cultivars of the Wood anemone, Anemone nemorosa, the Striped squill, Puschkinia scilloides and a lot of other lovely spring flowering plants.

I'm already longing for next spring.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

The Annual Perennial Course in Alnarp

In early September we arranged the annual three days course about perennials in Alnarp again. This course deals with every aspect of the use of perennials in gardens, parks and city spaces and is intended mainly for professional landscapers, staff from municipalities, garden journalists and people from nurseries and Garden Centers.

The second course day the participants are given three alternative places there they are supposed to chose one and make a planting plan with suitable perennials. They have to consider both aesthetic values as well as the plant habitat issue.

The coffee breaks are not only cozy interruptions of the lectures but also important moments of discussions and an opportunity to create new contacts.

The last day we focused mainly on habitats and biotope plantings. Peter Korn delivered a very much appreciated lecture about natural steppes and steppes as a garden theme. Hopefully the participants left the course with fresh inspiring ideas and new suitable knowledge.

If you want information about the most recent perennial course you can find that on the blog "utan stängsel" at the page Stora Perennkursen.

Monday, 23 August 2010

The Star of the Month: Prairie Blazingstar

The real peak time for the prairie in Alnarp is now in August. At the moment hundreds and hundreds of Gayfeathers or Prairie Blazingstars (Liatris pycnostachya) color the whole planting area in lilac shades.
In natural habitats in North America the Prairie Blazingstar normally prefer mesic to moist and even seasonal wet sites although it sometimes can be found also on fairly dry ground. The mature plants can resist drought well, but young seedlings are more vulnerable.

In Alnarp it grows on a fertile but rather dry soil together with Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium), Upland White Aster (Aster ptarmicoides), Ohio Goldenrod (Solidago ohiensis), Smooth Oxeye or False Sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides) and some other typical Prairie forbs and of course grasses as Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis) and Sideoat Grama (Bouteloua curtipendula).
Ohio Goldenrot (Solidago ohiensis)

Browneyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba) and Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)

Here the Blazingstars flourish in harmony with Rattlesnake Masters (Eryngium yuccifolium)  

Prairie Blazingstar (Liatris pycnostachya)

Liatris pycnostachya in full bloom

Monday, 16 August 2010

A Great Park in Vlaams-Brabant

De Tuinen van Hoegaarden is the city park of the little village Hoegaarden in the province Vlaams-Brabant east of Brussels in Belgium. If you travel in this part of Europe a visit in the park is a must. However remember that the park is still under a process of change.

The head gardener Geert Derom and his staff has already made a great work with renovating and developing the old park and still much are on the schedule for the future. So the park will be even more worth the visit in the next couple of years I suppose. In my opinion the staff has to increase in number though, to be able to manage the maintenance of this big and diverse park even in the future.

Here I now publish a cavalcade of pictures to show some of the interesting parts from this wonderful park.

The most interesting plot in the park at the moment is a newly planted prairie inspired garden made by Jan Spruyt. Here the grass Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster' is dominating and interplay well with a great number of sun loving perennials and other ornamental grasses.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

The Private Prairie Style Garden

At the front garden Jan Spruyt has two square formed prairie style plantings surrounded by a formal lawn

In the great private garden of Jan and Anna Spruyt we admired the large prairie style planting just outside the big greenhouses with the huge tomatoes.

The big prairie style planting in Jan and Anna Spruyt's garden

Vernonia arkansana `Mamuth', the Ironweed  has sturdy stem and violet flowers

The Swamp Milkweed, Asclepias incarnata, prefers moist or wet sites 

The Pale Coneflower is followed by the Largeleaf Phlox, Phlox amplifolia 

The Pinnate Prairie Coneflower, Ratibida pinnata

Prairie inspired plantings

On several places in the nursery Jan has created small plots with very expressive perennial plantings. Here there are some excellent combinations especially with structural perennials together with soft, sweeping grasses.

All plantings are made in a very beautiful naturalistic style. Jan use to call them all for Prairie plantings and there we have a small disagreement. In my opinion a true Prairie planting has to consist of or at least be dominated by plants from North America and preferably from the Prairie itself of course and not be a mixture with European or Asian plants.

Here the the Red Feather Clover, Trifolium rubens, earlier made this spot glowing hot. 

If possible I also want it to mirror the ecosystem of the prairie, there all species has different roles. The typical prairie grasses are important to use because of their ability to penetrate and nearly totally occupy the upper layer of the soil. This makes it more difficult for unwanted plants to take root. They also grow extremely deep into the ground and can therefore tolerate long periods of severe drought.

The American Pale Coneflower, Echinacea pallida, does well
with the Giant Feather Grass, Stipa gigantea, from the Old World

There are so many true Prairie plants to choose between so it is really no need for the use of plants from other regions. But still Jan’s plantings of course are very enjoyable and nicely composed in all other aspects. Although Jan is a nursery man by profession he has a great talent in garden design as well. However I prefer to call his plantings for naturalistic or prairie inspired plantings. I hope he can forgive me for that...

Outside a big tank for storing water for irrigation a little bigger spot with a really nice prairie style vegetation can be found.