Garden Diary - June 2023

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Designed For Nature
Saturday, 17 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. Modestly priced tickets are $10.00 in advance, $15.00 on the day of the event. 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, a friend and I decide to see if we can visit all five gardens Paul plots out the most efficient circuit for the five gardens. Weather is cooperative, with comfortable temperatures and some overcast that makes for better pictures. And we're off!

Designed for Nature: Garden of Kevin and Susan Baker

A Master Gardener Embraces Native Plants

This couple moved into their home in February 2019. Shortly after that, Kevin was accepted into the Master Gardener Program of Bucks County where his gardening hobby moved to a whole new level. These homeowners have been rehabilitating their property, which had become overgrown. New hardscaping was created that invites you into the garden. Trees were removed or pruned to open up the front area. Once they started to redo all the gardens it was only the next step to move to natives. In the back, a huge bed of pachysandra was removed and a variety of native plants such as coneflowers, summer phlox, tufted hairgrass, goldenrod, blue mist-flower, butterfly weed, bee balm and native ferns can be seen. Some favorite non-native flowers are also blooming in this large bed. Look for the beautiful mature holly tree, dogwood, and redbud trees. Two years into the makeover they have seen tangible results with improved insect life, more bees and birds. Monarch butterfly visits have increased two-fold. It is is a wonderful illustration of a gardener who is growing in his knowledge and use of native plants and who has transformed his property in a very short timeframe.

text courtesy of
The Woman's National Farm & Garden Association Bucks Co. Branch
in partnership with Bowman's Hill Wild Flower Preserve

It will be interesting to see how it develops in the next two years. Or more. This is a young garden with some older elements. For example

There are two mature American hollies, Ilex opaca. Dioecous, one is female,
setting a good crop of berries. The other is the necessary male that pollinated.

Kevin told me that when he and Susan moved in the trees were scruffy and
struggling. After several pines were removed to let more light into the back
of the property's garden the hollies came back into healthy growth and fruit.

A huge bed of pachysandra, 60 square feet or more, was removed and replaced
with native plants such as cultivars of Echinacea purpurea with yellow or orange
flowers rather than typical rose-purple. There's still space between the perennials.

Give them a year or two to fill in and knit together. Here, coreopsis and ferns.

Favorite non-natives - hosta and hemerocallis - were allowed to remain. After all,
this is a personal home garden and not a re-creation of a wild native landscape.

I paused to say hello to their lovely Weimaraner. If what I overheard is correct, then
her sweet nature and training allow her to work as a visitor to a hospital. Good dog!

An appealing shed with a purple door and shutters. A black walnut tree behind it
and a magnolia to the side. Natives, you see, may be anywhere. And here, they are.

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