Blue Heron landscape Design | 2011 May

May 2011

24 May Garden Designers Roundtable: Stone!

I’m very excited this month as Garden Designers Roundtable welcomes two very talented designers joining us as we discuss ‘Stone’ in the garden. Sunny Wieler of Stone Art from West Cork Ireland, and Deborah Silver of Deborah Silver and Co. from Detroit Michigan. You’ll find links to their posts as well as our GDRT members at the end of this post. Now, lets talk about stone!

Stone is timeless and ancient. It tells a story. It holds us up, both literally and figuratively. Its decorative and functional. It reminds us not only of our surroundings, but ties us to a history begun millions of years ago. There is nothing that establishes a sense of place, more than stone.

Here in New England, one cannot travel far without encountering stone of some kind. Our soils are rocky, our main streets are lined with building built of brick and stone made or quarried within a short distance, and forest and field are lined with miles of  aged stone walls, harkening back to this region’s agrarian beginnings.

An old stone wall deep in the woods tells a tale of change to this area.

The tools used for trade and survival during those early years, often prove extremely ornamental, as this gristmill stone shows, set here into a brick patio.

Gristmill stone at Hollandia Nursery.

With no place to remove it to, farmers would pile stones on the edge of fields as they cleared for planting. These walls would later define properties, and eventually become ornamental boundaries.

Stone wall along property frontage.

A beautiful and very old step through built into a wall.

The use of native stone as ornament can also take one to a special place, or set the mood for a business, as these granite pieces do at The Sport Shop in Avon, CT.

Granite hints at the craggy mountains patrons will soon ski and snowboard down.

Finding interesting stone onsite adds character to the garden, and provides winter interest.

Found stone on a job.

Wood stone and evergreens are a match made in heaven, and when grouped together well, such as this stone, cedar trellis and Yakushimanum Rhododendron, are simply beautiful!

Stone, Cedar, and the dark green of a dwarf Rhododendron.

This granite stoop and blue stone walk being installed, will be much more attractive than the typical precast step and concrete pavers, and will be around a lot longer.

A granite stoop and bluestone walk being installed.

Stone can be machined also, into ornate and functional objects, such as this amazing table and chairs.

How's this for a dining set for the garden?

A path through a garden is will lead visitors to explore, especially if it is as lovely as this random pattern bluestone.

A welcoming path in a woodland garden.

Stone can also be art without the sculpture’s chisel. This monolith is an interesting addition to this patio just outside a professional office.

Stone as art.

Another example of found stone, this piece of brownstone was unearthed from the very spot that it now greets visitors.

Brownstone dug from ledge beneath the porch and set as a welcome post.

Use the natural materials from your site to create the sense of place within your garden, and if you are lucky enough to have stone of any kind to use, you’ll draw on the history of your site as well as the beauty.

How do you feel about the use of stone in the garden? I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions, as would my fellow bloggers this month on the Roundtable. Please visit their blogs also, and share your thoughts!

Deborah Silver : Dirt Simple : Detroit, MI

Sunny Wieler : Stone Art Blog : West Cork, Ireland

Debbie Roberts : A Garden of Possibilities : Stamford, CT

Douglas Owens-Pike : Energyscapes : Minneapolis, MN

Ivette Soler : The Germinatrix : Los Angeles, CA

Jenny Petersen : J Petersen Garden Design : Austin TX

Rochelle Greayer : Studio G : Boston, MA

Susan Cohan : Miss Rumphius’ Rules : Chatham, NJ

Tara Dillard : Vanishing Threshold : Atlanta, GA

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17 May Invasive Plants: Japanese Barberry

There are times of the year when it is easier to understand the invasive tendencies of certain plants. Spring is such a time with Japanese Barberry Berberis thunbergii.

Japanese Barberry up close.

Here in Connecticut, before most of the woodland foliage emerges, you can easily see how prevalent it is. Once established it quickly spreads, over taking and eliminating most other vegetation, including valuable native plants. These photos were taken from the roadside looking into  McLean Game Refuge in Granby, CT. As you can see it is well established and spreading.

Another troubling issue with Japanese Barberry, is its relationship with and eventual effect on Deer Tick populations and a subsequent rise in the instance of Lyme disease. Debbie over at A Garden of Possibilities covered this topic in 2009 in a post entitled ‘The Surprising Relationship Between Lyme Disease and Japanese Barberry’, a very interesting read.

The Connecticut Nursery and Landscape Association recently agreed to enact a voluntary phasing out and eventual ban of 25 cultivars of Barberry in the state. You can read more about that here. This is good news, and one can only hope that similar actions will be taken towards other threats, such as Burning Bush (Euonymous alatus), a plant I wrote about in a post entitled ‘Invasive Fall Color’.

We are making great strides in the awareness of invasive plants, but we have a long way to go. For more information, and for a complete list of plants considered to be invasive in Connecticut, please visit the Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group.

Knowledge is power, and with power comes change.

All the best!


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15 May Garden Bloggers Bloom Day – May 2011

We are very happy here at Blue heron Landscapes to be able to join in the Bloom Day fun once again! It’s been a long cold rainy spring here in the northeast, so there hasn’t been much to crow about until now. Enjoy!

The Daffodils (Narcissus cvs.) have just finished for the season. I love the delicate hues of this one, although I can’t remember its name.

I shared this Korean Azalea (Rhododendron yedoense var. poukanense) on Wordless Wednesday, but it sure is worth another look.

Clematis ‘Pink Flamingo’ is not your ordinary Clematis!

The unusual, but very pretty blossoms of our Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum).

An unknown cultivar, this Azalea (Rhododendron Hybrid) greats visitors with a brilliant show each spring.

Rhododendron carolinianum, understated beauty!

Perhaps my favorite naturalizing tree, the clean white bracts of a White Dogwood (Cornus florida).

Another unknown Azalea (Rhododendron Hybrid) we inherited when we bought the house. When this one is in bloom, the back room glows pink as the sunlight reflects off its impressive display!

A welcome volunteer, this native Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) graces our deck each spring!

As always, many thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for creating and hosting Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, please visit her site to see what’s blooming elsewhere!

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