Archive for the ‘Botanic Gardens’ Category

I know, I know….I’ve been neglecting this blog and you my readers! I had all good intentions over the winter to keep up with posts but I guess I got lazy and I was doing lots of posting on facebook….so does that count as an excuse??? I thought not. So now that the spring season is really, really here…at least it is here in Vermont, I will try my very best to add posts every now & then. This first of the season is about the latest primrose show that our New England chapter of the American Primrose Society hosted on the first weekend of May at Tower Hill Botanic Gardens in Boylston, Mass. What follows are a few photos I took during my few moments of free time when I wasn’t vending plants, attending meetings and slides shows and doing lots of visiting with old friends and making new ones.

All the photos are of plants that were entered into the show. I never took the time to get any photos of people!


All the best in division winners and the best in show went to Joe Philip for the large pot of yellow hose-in-hose polyanthus.




This mixed container was entered by Matt Mattus in the five different plants in one container class….it’s a winner!



These are P. denticulata and the white one is mine…no ribbon, I just couldn’t get it to open more flowers. That was a problem for everyone this year.



An auricula benched by Judy Sellers of New York who always has the most beautiful plants and usually wins many of the ribbons. You can just see the blue ribbon and the best in division ribbon this plant won.



This is one of my P. rosea and it won a first! I entered another one that took a second. These primroses always open first and are the brightest pink. Some of my plants still have flowers on them and that never happens in a normal spring….but what’s normal anymore?



Another winning auricula!


Here is a P. vulgaris with a silver edging entered by Susan Schnare from New Hampshire. She grew this one from seed and it was highly coveted. Bruce Lockhart got to take it home in trade for some other primroses that Susan wanted from his garden….plant people are always looking to trade and no offer will go unconsidered.


Another one of my plants. This is a polyanthus primrose that I bought a few years ago at Pine Knot Farms in Virginia. Every spring they hold a few open houses where some other growers set up tables to vend their plants and this one caught my eye.




This plant was the talk of the show! It was benched by Debby Wheeler from Massachusetts and she got it from a cousin in Virginia. It’s not available for sale in the US yet. And we’re not sure of its hardiness but it sure is pretty!


One other thing!! There is now a facebook page dedicated just to all things Primula! It’s called The Primula Group click the link and you’ll be taken right to it where you can post your photos of primroses.

So there you have it…..now that I have made a new start I will promise (sort of) to get posts out more often.


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Not much happening here in the gardens except putting the borders to bed, getting the tender plants inside and into the basement. So I thought this might be a good time to reminisce about the past year in multiple parts. Come along with me as we revisit some of the places I’ve been and things I’ve done this past year.


I’m going to start with one of the most recent….the Montreal Botanical Gardens and the Mosaicultures Exhibit. This is an international competition started in 1998. “Its mission is to promote gardening and horticulture as both an expression of new millennium values and a vital component of the urban landscape”. It’s held in a different venue every 3 years.

Steve & I planned a short anniversary trip in September up to see this fantastic exhibit that I had been hearing & reading about all summer. A hotel was booked right nearby and the route was planned.

The day we got there had to be the hottest of the year, up into the 90’s! We started out first thing in the morning and decided to see the hothouses first before it got too hot & crowded….good decision! The following are a few photos from the conservatories.






After our pretty private tour of the greenhouses out we went to discover what this Mosaiculture thing was all about. And WOW were we in awe and wonder!! Just take a look!







And this is just a select few! There were many others that we didn’t see and loads more that I didn’t get good photos of. The most amazing one..in my opinion..was the ‘Bird Tree’. Unfortunately the crew was working on it so we couldn’t get a pristine view of it…but stupendous all the same. All of the sculptures are formed from a mesh that small rooted plugs of mostly brightly colored foliage is then inserted following a precise pattern to create each block of color.



We then wandered about the gardens. I really wanted to see the famed Alpine Garden, while it was huge and impressive, it will be much better to see it in the spring when the early blooming plants & bulbs are in their glory.




We also toured the Chinese gardens which were beautiful with a Koi pond and pavilions.


See the slanted building in the background? That’s part of the Olympic Park right across the street!



We also strolled through the woodland gardens which had a really beautiful Monkshood in full bloom and some huge Hosta specimens. This garden would also be best seen in the spring.

So plans will be made to get back to Montreal next spring to see this great botanic garden again and perhaps tour the old city.

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I was having a sort of blue day earlier when my camera battery died and I couldn’t find the charger or my other camera…..I think Steve has borrowed it. Very frustrating. So I walked around the gardens anyway looking at what was in bloom, and don’t you know it was mainly blue flowers! My garden & I were in sync. Although there weren’t many of them they were so very welcome indeed!

This fantastic plant is lighting up the front border!

This fantastic plant is lighting up the front border!

Gentiana x macaulayi ‘Kingfisher’ purchased a few years ago at Cady’s Falls Nursery in Morrisville, VT. There are more flowers on than ever and it has been in bloom for a few weeks already. This extended fall has been so great! Cady’s Falls is the nursery that all of us at Rocky Dale Gardens look forward to visiting every year. They grow most their plants on site from seed, cuttings, grafting, etc. And the selection can’t be beat!


Primula ‘Belarina Cobalt’ has sent up a surprise…and it is most welcome indeed! I am hoping it will be full of buds in the spring so I can dig it up for the spring primrose show at Tower Hill Botanical Gardens! I sent for this last spring from Sequim Rare Plants in Sequim, WA. I also ordered a few Primula auricula from them and they sent the biggest most beautiful plants. I highly recommend them.


Here we have another Gentian in the very small rock garden on the west side of the cabin. It bloomed in July and was the most glorious ever. I have moved this plant around so many times trying to find just the right spot for it and now I think I have. It has got a long tongue-twisting name…Gentiana septemfida var. lagodechiana…try saying that three time fast!IMG_3073

And lastly here is my lovely Aconitum x cammarum ‘Bicolor’. This photo doesn’t do it justice. It was huge and full of flowers while draping itself over an Azalea along the stream garden. this one also has never had so many flowers. I think the spring & early summer rains were so beneficial to the gardens along with the cooler temps all summer.

So after the garden stroll and a new knitting project getting cast on I’m feeling much less blue and quite a bit more jazzed about how well the gardens did this year. Time to start planning where to add a few more blue beauties.

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The fall plant sale at Tower Hill was a success. I didn’t expect to sell loads of plants as there wasn’t anything in bloom at the time! but I did have photos of each plant in bloom and so many visitors to my booth exclaimed at how helpful they were and that they added alot to my offerings. I also got lots of compliments on how healthy my plants were so that made me feel pretty dang good!

Following are just a few photos I took of my booth and it looks very much like my spring sales booth…..

I was representing the New England Primula Society again

I was representing the New England Primula Society again

I brought a small selection of Primula with me, non were in bloom at this time of course, but I did sell a few and talked up our spring Primula show on the first weekend in May at the gardens.

I had a few large Arisaema fargesii that caught people's attention and a few very tropical looking Sauromattum venosum.

I had a few large Arisaema fargesii that caught people’s attention and a few very tropical looking Sauromattum venosum.

Those large tropical looking leaves are from the Sauromattum venosum or Voodoo Lily. they are very easy to grow and increase quickly. I think they are hardy to zone 6 so I overwinter them in the pot in our basement with no water all winter.

I also had a few smaller plants of Arisaema fargesii & sikokianum which sold quickly. I have lots of seed pots of many Arisaema species growing as they are very easy from seed.

I brought my knitted accessories with me, and even though I didn't sell any there was lots of interest.

I brought my knitted accessories with me, and even though I didn’t sell any there was lots of interest.

I bought a hanging clothes dryer as a more portable displayer for the knits. It worked ok but I would like to find one made of wood and possibly vintage, but for now this one will do. the larger wood display stand my good friend made for me will go to The Blossom Basket in Middlebury where I work part time in the winter.  I did get a special order for a scarf from a nice lady that I am now working on!

My next upcoming sale will be at the Berkshire Botanical Gardens on saturday September 21st. The New England Primula Society will be holding their fall meeting that day with plans to work in the Primula garden and discuss the spring show. Please come if you can as I’ll be bringing a selection of Primula and their woodland companions.

Thanks for visiting and come back soon!

Leave a comment, I love reading what you have to say and I will always respond to answer any questions you might have

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