Garden Diary - August 2009

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Tuesday, 4 August, 2009
Summer in the Four-Season Border at the New York Botanical Garden

Once upon a time this display garden at the New York Botanical Garden featured transient displays of massed tulips in the spring and annuals in the summer. It all changed last fall when Piet Oudolf and Jacqueline van der Kloet designed a Four Season Border, featuring perennials and bulbs for an extended period of interest. Here you can see the planting of bulbs in November 2008, then jump forward here to see them in bloom in April 2009.

And in August 2009 the four-season border looks like this.


Some perennials are growing en masse like these Echinacea 'Green Jewel'.

They're paired up with a wonderfully soft violet-blue aster, a delicious color combination.

At a distance, the garden appears painted in broad sweeps of color.
Step closer, and elegant combinations of just a few plants make
several various enticing displays that would be lost at any distance.

Dahlia 'Arabian Night', a deep burgundy black, paired up with Sedum 'Sunkissed'
with a wash of burgundy on its stems reinforcing the flower's rich dark color.

A sweet, "pink enough for a princess" dahlia coyly flirting with an airy froth of ornamental grasses.

Marvellous! Oxalis deppei (also known as O. tetraphylla speciosa)
commonly called iron cross oxalis, paired up with Incarvillea delavayi

Yet another summer bulb, now known as Gladiolus callianthus 'Murielae'
still found in catalogs as Acidanthera murielae, with crisp white flowers,
each petal blotched with maroon. It is, alas, not hardy, but readily available
and affordable, to embellish the summer garden even on a modest budget.

Bulbs are an important component of the Four Season Garden, not just those that bloom in Spring
and now dormant underground and away from summer's hurly-burly. There are seasonal players
like the tender dahlias and acidanthera. The occasional spikes of white bells are Galtonia candicans.

And queen of the garden, this fragrant Lilium speciosum
lends regal grace to the summer season of this garden.

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