An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

April 26, 2012

A Small Homage to Derek Jarman's Garden

Years ago while browsing gardening books, I came across the title Derek Jarman's Garden.  Something in the recesses of my brain recognized that name, so I opened the book and was immediately intrigued by the images.  Further prodding of the gray matter helped me remember where that name came from.  I was transported back in time to a film appreciation course I took in college populated with people who enjoyed showing off their vocabulary and fawning over the professor.  Derek Jarman was a talented man primarily known for his films and his unapologetic fight for gay rights. In the final years of his life he created a garden at Prospect Cottage on the south coast of England at Dungeness. The tar covered cottage and its garden are situated in an exposed, stark landscape, within the shadow of a nuclear power station.  What draws me to this spot is its nearly bleak, windswept setting, the tough plants, and especially the use of flotsam (in my world one can never have too many pieces of flotsam, gifts from the sea they are).  While England is a country full of many remarkable and grand gardens, this is the one I want to see most.

(This picture is in the public domain and was copied from Wikipedia Commons)

While I have not deliberately copied ideas from Jarman's garden in my own, there are some similarities.  My friend D. has a cottage in Corova, NC a not easily accessible community in the dunes, just south of the Va. state line, and her wild garden there reminds me of Jarman's.  She and her boyfriend scour the beach and the local dump for material they use in found object sculptures set in the sand.  Gardening in Corova is very difficult, not only because of the sand, the salt and the exposure, but D. also has to contend with hungry wild horses.  She does a lot of her gardening in pots high up on the deck away from those big teeth.

Earlier this month we had some hypertufa pots go half price at work, and I took the opportunity to snatch up the only round planter and filled it with some tough drought tolerant plants.  I put in two varieties of Sempervivum, two different thymes and a blue spruce sedum.  I mulched with seashells and plopped a beach-weathered piece of copper down in the middle.  The final results reminded me of something that would be at home on the steps of Prospect Cottage.

New Planter (2)

New Planter

If you would like to get a good feel for what Derek Jarman's garden is like, click here to a Flickr set from Angus Fraser.

April 15, 2012

Bloom Day - 2BZY2TRN (too busy to talk right now)

I spend too much time at work, I have insanely agreed to have my garden open for a tour in two weeks, and life is happening. There is little time for idle talk, so let's get right to this month's offerings.

Rhododendron x 'George Taber'  - George Taber Azalea
Rhododenron x 'George Taber'

Rhododendron x 'Mrs. G. G. Gerbing'  -  Mrs. G. G. Gerbing Azalea
Rhododendron x 'Mrs. G. G. Gerbing' (2)

Rhododendron x 'Formosa' - Formosa Azalea
Rhododendron x 'Formosa'

Salvia x sylvestris 'May Night' - May Night Salvia
Salvia x sylvestris 'May Night'

Hyacinthoides hispanica - Pink Spanish Bluebell, Wood Hyacinth
Hyacinthoides hispanica

Unknown-to-Me Allium

Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Frisia’ - Frisia Black Locust
Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Frisia’

Phlomis fruticosa - Jerusalem Sage
Phlomis fruticosa

Unknown-to-Me Bearded Iris
Iris germanica

Hydrandea quercifolia 'Little Honey' - Little Honey Oakleaf Hydrangea
Hydrangea quercifolia 'Little Honey'

Acorus gramineus 'Ogon'
Acorus gramineus 'Ogon'

Euphorbia polychroma - Cushion Spurge
Euphorbia polychroma

Tradescantia x 'Blue and Gold' - Blue and Gold Spiderwort
Tradescantia x 'Blue and Gold'

Stachyurus praecox ''Mitsuzaki'
Stachyurus praecox ''Mitsuzaki'

Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple' - Royal Purple Smokebush
Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple' (2)

Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple' - Royal Purple Smokebush
Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple'

x Heucherella 'Golden Zebra'
x Heucherella 'Golden Zebra'

Weigela coraeensis
Weigela coraeensis

Unknown-to-Me Dwarf Bearded Iris
Iris germanica (2)

Unknown-to-Me Dwarf Bearded Iris
Iris germanica (3)

The above Heucherella, Weigela and Iris
Corner View

Even if you too are too busy, please make time to enjoy Garden Blogger's Bloom Day hosted by Carol at May Dreams Garden.

April 7, 2012

A Good Friday

Yesterday my son and I headed to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg.  When we left it was gloomy, overcast, chilly and very windy, I thought for sure we would have the park to ourselves, but the sun came out, and I couldn't have been more wrong. Fortunately for us, many of the people there were towing small children and strollers, so the lines at the really good rides were shorter.  I hope regular viewers can forgive me for not having any fresh material and repeating myself, as I have two previous posts about Busch Gardens, but I have to work with what I've got.  And speaking of working with what you have, the pictures were taken with my little point and shoot which tucks easily into a pocket before the photographer hurdles blindly downhill and flips upside down.

I hope all of you have time to enjoy Easter, Passover or spring break, maybe like us, you can enjoy all three.