Garden Diary - April 2013

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Tuesday, 30 April 2013
The Azalea Garden at the New York Botanical Garden

Superb Spring weather and a day in the garden. It doesn't get much better than this. Joan and I agreed that since the Azalea Garden is located so close to the Native Plant Garden, just a simple stroll down the aptly named Azalea Way, we would be remiss if a visit was not part of our outing. It was just two years ago, in May 2011 that the renovated and redesigned Azalea Garden was opened. The canopy trees were mature from the garden's inception. The eponymous plantings include 'Kurume' and 'Torch' azaleas planted here in the 1930s and 1940s. Recently added varieties, 250 of them, include the 'North Tisbury' hybrids developed by Polly Hill of Martha's Vineyard in the 1960s and 'Encore' azaleas, which rebloom in the fall. The herbaceous plants, especially, have had time to establish their place in this woodland garden. Nearly a mile of woodland paths gently curve through a collection of 3,000 azaleas and rhododendrons from around the world, planted beneath ancient native oaks, tulip trees, and sweet gums. Tens of thousands of new plants in the garden include bulbs, herbaceous, shade-loving perennials and ferns, and more than 3,000 trees and shrubs.

Dogwoods in bloom add grace and beauty to the understory layer of trees, along with azaleas.
in rich pinks and lavender. The azalea and rhododendron plantings were designed "in house"
by Garden staff, and diverse companion plantings of perennials Oehme, van Sweden & Associates.
Nearly a mile of woodland paths meander through an 11-acre garden set in and on gently rolling hills.

Massive stone outcrops, erupting like the bones of the earth, make a wonderful backdrop.

Hot pink azaleas cover this shrub with vivid flowers before its leaves even appear.

Japanese woodland peony, Paeonia obovata ssp obovata, opens its gold centered white chalice-like flowers.

Enormous, the fat, furled leaves of a brobdingnabian hosta thrust up into the sunshine.

A superb combination of Hakonechloa macra 'All Gold', a shade tolerant
Japanese grass, with a hosta whose leaves display a wide brim of the same hue.

Bronze flushed new leaves as a backdrop to the rosy pink flowers of Epimedium grandiflorum'Waterfall'.

Wonderfully soft color, pale cream flowers blushing pink. Aptly named Epimedium versicolor 'Strawberry Blush'.

Ajuga is that lawn pest with oval green leaves and spikes of bluish purple flowers, right? Not always.
This much more elegant version is Ajuga incisa 'Bikun', jaggedly cut leaves and variegated to boot.

Curled, rounded, rush-like leaves identify Narcissus jonquilla, with small clusters of dainty yellow flowers.
Paired with Phlox stolonifera for a summer sky blue and soft butter yellow combination in the meadow at the knoll.

Azaleas and rhododendrons from Spring into fall, with a late summer hiatus. An assortment of other shrubs. Understory trees such as witchhazels for Spring and fall. Don't forget the dogwoods. And arching over all the canopy provided by mature oaks and tulip poplars. And when you've completed the winding path that leads you up the hill and down again, pausing to enjoy the occasional vista and the numerous horticultural delights, do remember that the Native Plant Garden is just a slow stroll away, for a wonderfully convenient pairing of gardens, plants and landscapes.

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