Tuesday, 27 July 2010

De Tuinen van Hoegaarden

Next week I’m going to Belgium together with my dear wife and our sweet baby boy to meet Jan Spruyt and Geert Derom.

Jan Spruyt runs a very special perennial nursery of great interest in Mostenveld. The assortment is vast and really exciting. I’m also excited myself to finally see the nursery in real life I have heard so much about and even bought plants from to several of my former projects.

Prairie inspired planting by Jan Spruyt

I’ve known Jan for many years and the first time we met was at one of our ISU-meetings, in Germany I think it was. Jan also works with a kind of naturalistic plantings, prairie inspired, with many different perennials and ornamental grasses. These I’m also very curious about.

Geert Derom I don’t know that well yet but also him I’ve met through ISU. He is the head gardener, or Hoofdtuinman as it is called in Dutch or rather Vlaams, of a very interesting park in Hoegaarden in Belgium there I am supposed to create a model garden in the future. In the park, DeTuinen van Hoegaarden, there are already many different model gardens and borders as the shade garden, the exotic garden, the pond garden, the bulb garden and many others. Jan Spruyt has also made a prairie inspired garden there. I’ll come back with a report and hopefully nice pictures from the trip.

In the meantime you can read about the nursery and park here below and I also added a link to ISU, the International Perennial Union.

Jan Spruyt Nursery http://www.vasteplant.be/

Internationale Stauden-Union http://www.isu-perennials.org/site/index.cfm

De Tuinen van Hoegaarden http://www.detuinenvanhoegaarden.be/

Grasses in the winter from one of Jan Spruyt's plantings

Sunday, 25 July 2010

The Sea Spot in Trosa

Normally a new planting needs at least two seasons to establish, but sometimes it can happen very fast. The picture above is from Trosa municipality just south of Stockholm in Sweden. At the little city square in tiny Trosa I renewed two existing vegetation spaces last year. A small area with old trees and suffering lawn below them was turned into a lovely woodland plot with benches and magnificent spring aspects from the understory of flowering herbs and azaleas.

An even much smaller spot was before a planting with some low shrubs – if I remember right the Shrubby Cinquefoil, Potentilla fruticosa. Nothing wrongs with that of course, however a bit boring. This space was converted into a planting inspired by the shore nearby the city and named the Sea spot.

It was made in the spring 2009 and already in late summer the same year it had settled rather well. The photos are from the end of October last year. The area was first covered by a layer of 20-25 cm sand and then we added round boulders, stones and pebbles. Both true sea shore plants as Sea Wormwood (Artemisia maritima) and Sea Holly (Eryngium maritimum) were used as well as fake ones as Pearly Everlasting (Anaphalis triplivervis) and Spear Grass (Stipa calamagrostis). As late fall aspect the European Michaelmas Daisy (Aster amellus ‘Veilchenkönigin’) was used.

The other planting at the square, the Pocket Woodland, needs however at least all this year too to turn really enjoyable. I’ll come back to this place as soon as I have pictures to show.

Stipa calamagrostis or Achnatherum calamagrostis

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Monarda for dry sites

Today I again visited Laholm and the famous citypark to discuss its continuing development. Later this year we are going to create a meadow for biodiversity and a planting beneath big beech trees with great spring aspects from bulbs and other early flowering perennials. Two amazing plantings for the future.

At the savanna in Laholm now the Wild Bergamot, Monarda fistulosa, recently has began to bloom. This Monarda is suitable for dry sites and tolerates water stress much better then the common garden cultivars. They belong all to the Monarda didyma-group or are hybrids between these two species. Monarda didyma prefer instead moist or even wet conditions.

The Pale Coneflower, Echinacea pallida, thrives well together with the Wild Bergamot

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

The Prairie Junction in Mariestad

Planted in late autumn last year this new prairie isn't really established yet. Except from some grasses (Andropogon, Schizachyrium and Sporobolus) most plants at least have survived the long and harsh winter. But will they stand the drought? When I visited the planting it appeared to be very dry in the root zone and most plants were suffering from the lack of water. Unfortunately it is not possibly to irrigate this planting so let's hope for some really rainy days soon. We also planted a lot of seeds among the perennials, but not many of these seeds seem to have taken root.

The whole area of 1500 square meters (0.4 acres) was before we started to plant covered by a layer of about 15-20 cm of macadam. This to create a good drainage and more important to prevent the planting from weed seeds in the existing soil under the macadam layer.

I guess we have to wait two or three seasons before this prairie planting has established properly. But I do think it then will be a real stunning show place so it is for sure worth all waiting.

The plants are suffering from the terrible scarcity of water  

Most planted perennials have survived, but where are all the expected seedlings?

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

A very dry setting

This dry habitat planting in Sävsjö was made in 1999 and extended in 2001. The mixture of gravels, sand and soil were put directly on an existing lawn. Only at the edges of the planting area the lawn was removed. Beside stable perennials we also used some short lived perennials and some true hoppers, biennials like the Verbascum bombiferum. Today 10 and 8 years later the planting still is okay. As this was meant to be a dynamic planting it of course looks very different nowadays compared to its early stages.

The planting is never irrigated, except from the first establishing year of course. If a plant species can't stand the conditions and die it will not be replaced. The hard world of dynamics rules!

Lychnis calcedonica, a short lived perennial has increased in number

The Alpine Thistle, Eryngium alpinum excist in some few specimen

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Traffic Islands

Dry and colorful traffic island spot with Nepeta and Origanum

Let's stay in Sävsjö for a while. Not far from the calcareous slope we can find some rather interesting traffic islands. They were all planted in 1998 and are still in very good shape although they do look a bit different today.

The sunny shore theme with Crambe, Artemisia and Geranium

A steppe style planting embrace the parking area

Along the head street in the small little city we planted several small plots and close to parking places also some bigger plantings. At the sunny side of the street all plantings were created as dry sites with high amount of gravels and pebbles mixed into the soil. At the shady part instead woodland style plantings with Hosta, ferns and other shade perennials were choosen.

Good contrast makers here are Stachys, Origanum and Nepeta.
Hosta and variegated Aegopodium in the shade

Thursday, 8 July 2010

The Calcareous Slope

We used 40 tons of limestone, both boulders and gravel, when we in 2005 created a calcareous slope in acidic Sävsjö in the middle of the county of Småland in southern Sweden. Until yesterday I had never visited this landscaping project during the peak flowering period in June and July. Six years have passed and nowadays most of the bare stones and gravel are covered by vegetation. Some planted species have gone completely extinct, while others have increased enormously in number. Most abandoned is the soft Hairy Melic (Melica ciliata).

All plants chosen for this limestone planting are true lime lovers and they all tolerate very high pH.This time of the year the slope is filled up mainly by the lovely Carthusian Pink (Dianthus carthusianorum), the free flowering Pincushion Flower (Scabiosa columbaria) and the colorful Broad leaved Thyme (Thymus pulegioides).  Other species that can be found in bloom in July are a rose form of Bloody Cranesbill (Geranium sanguineum), St Bernhard's Lily (Anthericum liliago) and Viper's Bugloss (Echium russicum).

Broad leaved Thyme (Thymus pulegioides)

Melica ciliata, commonly called Hairy Melic or Silky Spike Melic  
together with Carthusian Pink (Dianthus carthusianorum)

Pincushion Flower (Scabiosa columbaria) and the Viper's Bugloss (Echium russicum)

Carthusian Pink and Pincushion Flower

The single flower of  Carthusian Pink, Dianthus carthusianorum

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Landscaping project tour

Tomorrow am going for a two days landscaping tour to visit some of my latest projects. Especially I'm interested to see the development of the big prairie planting in Mariestad. It was planted in late autumn last year and I haven't been there since then, so of course I'm very curious about the result. The prairie will increase in size by stages and the next planting is planned to take place during autumn 2011. Yes, I will give a report here when I'm back of course.

Planting the prairie in Mariestad 2009

Sunday, 4 July 2010

The Prairie in Alnarp

The prairie in Alnarp was created during 2007 and planted in late fall in cooperation with the students at the University (SLU). It is a plot of 1000 square meters (0.25 acres) with solely native prairie plants from the true prairie in Mideast US, apart from one exception, the Common Camas, Camassia quamash from the northern Pacific states.

In late spring the prairie is tinted blue by 10 000 Camassia. In late summer instead the gayfeathers (Liatris) are predominating together with scattered groups of Rattlesnake Masters (Eryngium yuccifolium), False Sunflowers (Heliopsis helianthoides), the Upland White Asters (Aster ptarmacoides) and some others.

All shoots are from August 2009

The Honey Locust Savanna

In 2008 we created two biotope plantings in the city park of Laholm inspired by the biomes from North Eastern North America. The Honey Locust Savanna with sparse groves of trees and a understory of savanna and prairie forbs is located on a west facing slope in the park.

Linum perenne and Coreopsis lanceolata

Penstemon smalli and Coreopsis lanceolata

All pictures above are from last year, 2009

This year the flax is overwhelming

First contribution

Welcome to this new blog about naturalistic landscaping. It's my aim to publish pictures and brief essential information from my landscaping projects. I also hope my blog will cause an eagerness and increased curiosity about biotope design and dynamic plantings among gardeners and landscapers all over the world.

Blue flax, Linum perenne in peak bloom in the city park