Garden Diary - July 2021

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Open Day Gardens to Visit:
The Garden at Federal Twist in Stockton, New Jersey
Saturday, 17 July 2021

Today there are four nearby gardens for the garden conservancy's Open Days program. Two, here in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, and two across the Delaware River in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. If the weather were not so hot and humid I might try for all of them. But with age comes wisdom (or so they say) and two will be sufficient for me to see and enjoy.

My second stop this morning is at James Golden's Garden at Federal Twist. I've been here several times previously and enjoyed every visit. Very much looking forward to seeing it again today. Paths weave through luxurious native prairie plants that reach towards the sky. As James explains, "You enter through a woodland garden to the side of the house, where you first glimpse the broader landscape behind: a large, sunny glade. Massed perennials and grasses evoke an Alice-in-Wonderland feeling (many plants are taller than you). Federal Twist is an immersive experience and is intended to evoke strong emotions. The garden is in the New Perennial tradition: plants grow in interwoven communities and emphasize structure, shape, and form - which are long-lasting - as much as flower."

Through the opened garden gate and into the shady woodland garden.

An inviting bench nestles amid the ferns. Our stroll has just begun and there's more to see.

A garden, it's been said, is never done. So true. Potted hydrangeas
have been sited for later planting, where they'll find a happy home.

There's a water feature, inviting hundreds of frogs and dragonflies.
Come, let's step across on a wooden bridge bordered with Petasites.

"Flowering begins in early June and peaks in mid-July, when the perennials and grasses
reach maturity." There are numerous stately Asteraceae, daisy family plants, from various
Silphium to this amusing Rudbeckia maxima, with its yellow petals and protruding center.

The lush growth of tall grasses and forbs creates tremendous biomass each growing season.
"The garden is ecologically similar to a wet prairie and is maintained by cutting and burning."

A path meanders past a stone retaining wall with lush Rodgersia above.
"Many gravel paths make garden exploration an immersive experience."

A pair of Adirondack chairs suggest that there is an option to sit.
But paths lead onward, and there's more to see and admire here.

Daylillies provide accents of vivid color. Yes, the garden is indeed fenced to exclude deer.

Stroll along a path, admire the tall grasses and listen to their susurrus.
Flowers add color while attracting a diversity of butterflies and insects.

And then you come across something that tells you, "people were here."
Something created for artistic purposes, more structured than planted.

A log forms a stage, creating a suitable display for a fern.

Button bush, Cephalanthus occidentalis, is a wetland native shrub. I stared at
the unusual flower. What does it remind you of . . . the covid-19 virus perhaps?
No matter. The flowers attract butterflies, ducks and waterfowl eat the seeds.

Today's plethora of visitors are sauntering along paths that leisurely meander back and forth along the garden's length. So tall and green, exuberant, luxuriant, and profuse is the growth that each path's portion is concealed from the next by a wall of foliage and flowers. The restorative power of nature in a garden.

Today's earlier visit was to Pretty Bird Farm

Gratis entry to the gardens provided by the Garden Conservancy.

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