Garden Diary - August 2018

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Plants and Gardens at Wave Hill

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Another month, another visit to Wave Hill. I want to see the high summer gardens.

A gray day, with some heavy mist. No matter. Here I am at Wave Hill.

First I visit the front garden, outside the conservatory. The two wings - one for begonias, ferns, and such, the other for cacti and succulents, are filled with plants even in summer. The central display space is empty, other than permanent plants rooted into the ground. The two ground level beds just outside the structure are embellished with containers and plantings.

For example, an Aeonium arboreum 'Atropurpureum', one of several.

Or this superb pairing of Senecio 'Angel Wings' with a dark purple acalypha.

Equally exotic and funky, Dyckia, a bromeliad with delusions of cactus-ness.

Turn my back to the conservatory and I'm faced with the front garden. Formal, in the sense that there are four large square beds. In which beds there are shrubs, bulbs, perennials, annuals intermingled in wild abandonment. Last month's white hydrangea have "aged" and turned pale green. There's a tuteur in each bed too. After all, the vines need something to cling to.

Here's a pretty thing, Gladiolus 'Carolina Primrose'. It's winter hardy.

Exit the garden and walk along the end of the conservatory towards the herb garden. There's a planting bed plopped into the lawn that changes on a regular basis, different not merely year to year but also with the seasons: fall planted bulbs for early spring display, summer annuals, something else for fall.

And this year . . . wow! Let's call it Geometry in the Garden.
Thin PVC pipe arched and curved, joined together into arbors.

There's an explanation of the summer 2018 design: bronze, silver, and glory.

Silver bedding plants: Helichrysum petiolare and its dainty cultivar, 'Silverstar'.

The people here at Wave Hill are so clever and imaginative.
Love it. Caged vine. And begonia cultivar peering out.

A narrow, more vertical tuteur, its form a structural element.

This structure needs must be sturdy, as the Argyreia nervosa,
woolly morning glory wraps its vines and clambers upward.

Eventually I leave the Paisley Bed and wander off to the herb garden.
After a glance I decide to give it a pass and go to the Wild Garden.

Fun! Would you believe this is a native plant? It is indeed, and an annual
at that. Call it Euphorbia cyathophora, or fire-on-the-mountain.


In the very formal days of herbacerous border design there were precise guidelines: little edging plants in front, then a space for bearded iris, etc. Daylilies were to be something that would be placed for mid-height bloom in the garden. Not these. Of course, in the Wild Garden any pretense of formal design has been tossed to the wayside and Hemerocallis altissima is invited to sprawl as it will. The leaves are like any other daylily in size, but then it changes scale and lifts its flowers well up above them, to catch the attention of passing pollinators.

The occasional mist is now an occasional drizzle. Umbrellas unfurl as visitors seek shelter. I walk towards the river, to Wave Hill House and the panna cotta cooking demonstration.

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