Rhododendron ponticum

Rhododendron has always been one of my favorite broad leaved evergreens.  There are so few plants that have the presence in a garden as a large specimen.  What seems like many years ago now, I lived in Yalova, Turkey working at the Karaca Arboretum. During this time I was afforded the opportunity to spend a good amount of time traveling and exploring.  One of the most beautiful areas of Turkey that is under appreciated is the north eastern coast of the Black Sea.  The people and surroundings are both captivating, as well as it is the native habitat of Rhododendron ponticum. I hadn’t gone through some of these pictures in years and just found these wonderful photos.

This is my favorite picture out of the group.  How do plants that we battle to grow, amend the soil and fertilize struggle while here this massive specimen is growing out the side of a rock wall?

The Rhododendron were amazing but this monastery clinging to the side of the cliff was equally amazing.

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Woolly Pockets

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A Man Obsessed

Most of the nurseries that you visit fall into one of two categories.  1) Bread and Butter Nurseries are full of all of the common plant material we use and that the market is flooded with.  These are typically very clean and well kept.  2) The Plant Nuts nursery is over run with options; often to many to choose from.  It has everything under the sun but is to messy and overgrown (I don’t have time to weed, look at this new plant) to be able to find anything.

Bill Hendricks of Klyn Nursery in Perry OH is the rare example of these two realities combined.  He has a perfectly clean and organized nursery with everything in its place and all weeds at bay.  On top of that he had one of the most diverse and unusual collections of plants available for sale I’ve found.  His real passion though are Cacti and Succulents.  I am grouping this into broad categories which he would never do.  I have attached some pictures of his personal collection which is overrunning the house they’ve been given.  If you are looking for something interesting check them out here.

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The Selby

I need your help.  My wife and I have entered our home in a contest through CB2 Homegoods called ‘The Selby is in your place’.  Todd Selby is a very accomplished interiors photographer and if we win he will photograph my home and gardens.  Please vote for us.  You can do so by following this link.  Here are the pictures as well so you know what you’re voting for.

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The Water Features of Longwood

Mr. du Pont was seemingly obsessed with the movement of water and Longshadow clearly demonstrates that.  I couldn’t even begin to count the number of water features amongst the gardens.  They range from tiny and discrete to ostentatious.  Mr. du Pont was such an autodidact that he studied hydro-engineering so that he could personally calculate the figures determining the size of the pumps he would need for the various water features and fountains throughout the property.  These pictures will give you an idea of the scope of his vision.

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The Plants of Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania is one of the most amazing places I’ve ever been.  I keep referring to it as the ‘Disney World of Horticulture’ because they have the seeming ability and for sure the funds to do what ever they decide to.  Here is a brief description of the property from wikipedia.  There are also many wonderful books on the gardens themselves and their founder Pierre S. du Pont.  For some of these titles check here.

Early history

What is now Longwood Gardens was originally purchased from William Penn in 1700 by a fellow Quaker named George Peirce (1646–1734). Although it started as a working farm, in 1798 Joshua and Samuel Peirce planted the first specimens of an arboretum. By 1850 they had amassed one of the finest collections of trees in the nation.

Industrialist Pierre S. du Pont (1870–1954) purchased the property from the Peirce family in 1906 to save the arboretum from being sold for lumber. He made it his private estate, and from 1906 until the 1930s, du Pont added extensively to the property. A world traveler from an early age, du Pont was often inspired to add features to the garden after attending world’s fairs, the most notable additions being the massive conservatory, complete with a massive pipe organ, and the extensive system of fountains. Mr. Du Pont opened his estate to the public many days of the year during his occupancy.

After the completion of the fountains, du Pont began planning for the sustained life of Longwood Gardens after his death. He founded the Longwood Foundation in 1937, and in 1946 the foundation was chartered with running Longwood Gardens for the general education and enjoyment of the public.

Longwood today

Today Longwood Gardens consists of 20 outdoor gardens and 20 indoor gardens within 4.5 acres (18,200 m²) of heated greenhouses, known as conservatories.  It contains 11,000 different types of plants and trees, as well as fountains. The Gardens also has extensive educational programs including a tuition-free two-year school of professional horticulture, a graduate program, and extensive internships. It hosts 800 horticultural and performing arts events each year, from flower shows, gardening demonstrations, courses, and children’s programs to concerts, organ and carillon recitals, musical theatre, fountain shows, and fireworks displays. It also hosts an extensive Christmas light display during the holiday season.

Longwood’s conservatory is one of the world’s greatest greenhouse structures. The conservatory alone is home to 5,500 types of plants. An exploration of the 20 indoor gardens spanning a half mile takes about an hour and a half. Gardens of the conservatory, each with its own exquisite displays of plants, include The Orangery, Silver Garden, Acacia Passage, Orchid House, Cascade Garden, Palm House, Mediterranean Garden, Tropical Terrace and the Outdoor Water Garden display. Since its original construction date in 1919, it has undergone expansions and renovations.[5] In January 2003, the East Conservatory was closed for a renovation project. On October 29, 2005, the main hall of the East Conservatory was once again opened to the public.

As you can imagine I took hundreds of pictures on my recent visit.  This post is going to show you some of the amazing plants they have on site.  I will follow up with posts on the gardens hardscape and architecture.

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Chanticleer Garden

This feels almost foreign to me at this point as it has been three months now since I’ve posted anything.  I have been lost in work and in turn took a break from the consistent responsibility of posting.  I am feeling motivated again and have some things I want to share.  I was just in the Philadelphia area and had the opportunity to visit some gardens that I had been anxious to see.  Chanticleer Garden was one of those.  For a large garden it was the most intimate and personable space I have been it; it’s size does not overwhelm you or make the garden seem unattainable.

Chanticleer is a true gardener’s garden.  The plan has not been laid out by a large design firm but is conceived and installed by the 12 gardeners on staff.  There is a great diversity within the garden itself, both in the horticultural pallet and in the eight distinct gardens that the property is broken down into.  Here are some of my favorite photographs from my visit.

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