Garden Diary - June 2022

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Designed For Nature: Beverley Rhinesmith and Paul Patent Garden
Saturday, 18 June 2022

There is a garden tour today, presenting five local residential gardens in transition to the use of native plants and creative water management. Organized and presented by The Woman's National Farm & Garden Association, Bucks County Branch, in partnership with Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve. Rain or shine, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Be inspired, we are told, to see what can be done to bring nature back into your own private oasis. Generously provided with a gratis media pass, I decide I will see as many gardens as my knee allows. Weather is cooperative, with comfortable temperatures and some overcast that makes for better pictures. And I'm off!

Garden of Beverley Rhinesmith and Paul Patent

As garden tourists arrive we are directed to parking along the nearby cross street by two men. Stroll back to the property, turn in the driveway, and two more volunteers under a pop up canopy welcome visitors.

There is a garden plan to peruse. But the property is quite open so I decide to just stroll.

Vignettes abound. Near the house is a shrubbery, accented with a cluster of native river birch,
Betula nigra, with its attractive exfoliating bark. Anemone virginiana is a native groundcover.

To begin, develop management plans for water runoff: asphalt driveway areas

were replaced with permeable stone and permeable grid paving blocks.

A small rain garden collects water and slows its discharge. Plants such as our native
sweetbay, Magnolia viriginiana, tolerate wet feet. Fragrant flowers welcome us today.

A Japanese style rain chain directs runoff from the gutter in a rainstorm.
And convenient umbrellas by the door hang ready for people to stay dry.

Nearby is a lovely bull bay magnolia, Magnolia grandiflora, in flower. Native alright,
but not around here. Try southeastern United States, like Virginia, Florida, Texas.

A good looking woodshed behind the house. Ash, I expect, after the die off
due to emerald ash borer. Excellent firewood, easy to split, burns green or dry.

There is a charming, roofed seating area behind the house. A circular wood rack holds fuel
for the covered fire pit. And just outside the seating area is a pot of Penstemon digitalis.
Pale pink flowers suggest this is the cultivar 'Dark Towers'. Roadside fields are filled with
native white penstemon, attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies, and deer resistant too.

Across the lawn at the far end of the property is a wet meadow. Tall native plants such as
this bold cup plant, Silphium perfoliatum, can be admired both from a distance or close up.
Rain water collects in the cup where leaves clasp the stem. Birds are know to take a drink.

Here and there in this garden (the other gardens too)
are excellent, rather detailed, plant information signs.

A compost system provides a place to manage garden debris, recycling it
as humus and nutrients for the diversity of plants that thrive in this garden.

Belgian block provides an elegant edge to the garage, permeable joints manage water.

Beverley and Paul have been guided by the belief that "if you don't have a relationship with something, you don't care about it." The property has become a beautiful sanctuary where a relationship with nature has blossomed. Or could it be that caring deeply about nature has flowered into a relationship with it.

The other gardens I visited are those of garden of Ann Boyer and Steve Auslander and the garden of Marcello and Priya Mangano

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