February 28, 2016
This is the second part of a review of what my team and I designed and planted at the Norfolk Botanical Garden last summer, part one is here. One of the plantings I was most pleased with were the containers in front of our Administration Building. The bromeliad is Aechmea blanchetiana, and I love the color it turns in the sun. It was combined with Tradescantia pallida 'Purple Heart', Dichondra 'Silver Falls', and vinca 'Cora Lavender' (Catharanthus roseus), which was more pink than lavender, but like others from the Cora series resisted the funk that vincas can get in periods of heavy summer rain.
On the backside of the same building, surrounding a fountain, we planted Cordyline 'Red Sensation', more Tradescantia pallida 'Purple Heart', surprisingly durable and florific Crossandra 'Orange Marmalade', and a new coleus (Plectranthus scutellarioides 'Henna'), which did very well for us.
There are few petunias that do well for us all season, but one that has is 'African Sunset'. We used it at the Café, along with 'Sedona' coleus (Plectranthus scutellarioides 'Sedona'), Solanum integrifolium (a.k.a pumpkin-on-a-stick), coral Stachytarpheta, and yet more Tradescantia (I may have to impose limits on myself with this plant). On the adjacent patio we filled pots with some of the same plants, and anchored them with 'New Zealand' castor bean (Ricinus communis) and foxtail palms (Wodyetia bifurcata), which were lousy anchors as they caught the wind and the pots blew over several times.
At the entrance to our Tropical Garden we used more of the Cordyline 'Red Sensation', Asclepias 'Silky Gold', golden shrimp plant (Pachystachys lutea), 'Black Pearl' ornamental pepper (Capiscum annuum 'Black Pearl'), a red New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri), 'Macho' fern (Nephrolepis biserrata 'Macho'), and 'Marguerite' sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas 'Marguerite').
For the bed in front of our Children's Garden, the horticulturist responsible for that area created a family from clay pots, enjoying a picnic, including the family dog and a bird. I couldn't believe how many parents stood there and watched their children walk right into the bed to touch the pot people - or worse. Until the plants filled in thickly, she had to repair the creations constantly. No home training! Anyway, I can't remember all that went into this bed, but I do know it included Ageratum (probably 'Hawaii Blue'), Melampodium, an upright Celosia, cape plumbago (Plumbago auriculata), Echinacea 'Pow Wow', Dahlia 'Mystic Fantasy', and a dwarf yellow Cosmos.
Despite its location in our Perennial Garden, the channels that radiate from the central fountain are always planted with annuals. Last summer we used an odd mix of plants, most of which are more commonly known as edible or commercial crops. The planting included 'Black Madras' rice (Oryza sativa 'Black Madras'), red okra (Abelmoschus esculentus), roselle hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa). black-leaved cotton (Gossypium herbaceum 'Nigra'), ornamental peanut (Arachis pointoi 'Golden Glory'), coleus 'Gay's Delight' (Plectranthus scutellarioides 'Gay's Delight'), and a new for us vinca, 'Jams 'N Jellies Blueberry' (Catharanthus roseus), which didn't look like its picture and didn't play very well with the other colors.
The only garden that disappointed me last year was the Circle Garden. We had carefully selected a color scheme, and a key component was a particular Torenia, and at the last minute our plug supplier could not supply, so we had to take a substitution that threw the whole thing off. However, I loved the 'Lime Zinger' elephant ears (Xanthosoma aurea 'Lime Zinger'). Every time I entered the garden I thought I was catching a glimpse of the South Pacific.
I have one more group of photos from last summer which will show our bridge baskets, and some succulent plantings which came out really well. I will post these later. Until then, if the weather is nice and you feel like a taking a stroll with your camera, I would love to see you enter my 2016 Winter Walk-Off.