DON’T be skeptical. It was with only a shred of belief last year that I ordered two Acanthus ‘White Water’ from the Territorial Seed Company – only because I was ordering tomato plants for Lys and said, “Oh, what the hell... why not?” Even though I've never had luck with Acanthus, even from the fanciest nursery. Well, you see, you never know. Not only did both plants come up with gusto this season... but they are really white-leaved and you know, I am a sucker for that.
DO let the ants crawl all over the peonies and don’t worry. Peonies love ants and vice versa: my first piece of gardening lore from Steven Hamilton’s grandmother Minnie-Minnie Meyer.
DO invest in single petal peonies, for my money they are the most beautiful...
DON’T EVER Plant big Oriental lilies under Japanese maples – it was a lousy idea and those lily stems poking through the otherwise harmonious canopy is just awful...
DON’T fall for an enticing name... After waiting 3 years for this ‘Red Velvet Elvis’ iris to bloom, it’s a dud. This Louisiana Iris definitely does not like New York.
DON’T GIVE UP....2 examples I thought this spindly twig of a Chionanthus would never bloom, But here it is.
Just as ethereal as an image I’ve tried to emulate for ages.
and 2. Back to Acanthus. I've been waiting for bloom on a simple Acanthus mollis for years and years. I finally have ONE, just one, but it's a great tall muskily colored sexy stalk. Another nice thing is that it was a gift from Rick Bogush of Bridge Gardens
It looks even better now than this pix.
Not only are the LongHouse Reserve and Watermill Center Benefits the best parties in The Hamptons (and this is according to Bill Cunningham in the New York Times, not me); but they afford the most fantastic opportunity to buy really good, preselected art of many kinds (usually at much better than gallery prices).
Due to my inside track in these two wonderful foundations, here is a tiny taste of what will be found at the Benefit Auctions:
At LongHouse – White Night – Saturday, July 20 2013
Alice Aycock, a drawing, beautiful
Michael Combs, a photograph of creatures he has carved with his own hands
the exuberant new growth of Full Moon maples, Autumn Moon is better in summer than it is in autumn, and Red Moon (the dark one) is actually Acer palmatumxShiras Johin. Johin means elegant, which is no surprise.
The mounding form of this Lion’s Head we first saw at April Gornik and Eric Fischl's and the little burgundy one beneath it is 'Shaina'. It is a real 'dwarf' just like Marders promised.
LET ME SHOW YOU A FEW THINGS
This extra black purple German Iris is a real flower that produces dye. Not some dyed-to-match thing from a corner deli mind you, but the real thing. The mysterious color dribbles out of the flower as it is waning, or, I suppose, it would bleed also if crushed while still fresh, but who could bear to do that. I imagine this is from whence terms like Royal Purple derived.
The falls look even blacker than this, trust me
Allium ‘Forelock’ This one’s a treasure...a stand-out...a weirdo just like I like them. It arcs gracefully, like a swan neck, as it is coming into its own; but taller than all the other Alliums which are, you know, stiff as a board. This droopy one is my favorite stage and lasts a few good weeks
And then magically when about to burst open it straightens up tall...well over 6 feet...
Then turns into a funky brush-top colored like a three layer cake in Lavender over violet iced with a funky green It's great.
And here is a Smoke Bush actually Smoking (Cotinus coggyria)
Another of those gardening dreams come true
The gigantic palm-shaped leaf Magnolia macrophylla has a huge flower too. Unfortunately you see it here on Day 2...
I thought to myself the day before – oh I’ll take a picture tomorrow, but as you see –the big bloom is a fleeting thing
And now, a few views of the Sag Harbor garden of Jon Gilman and Brad Learmoth. This is a self nurtured garden... the palpable difference between it and a paid-for landscape is always so evident:
Look at the way they’ve nestled their Monkey Puzzle Tree in a quiet corner
The personality of their koi pond (one of their ponds) is apparent in the mix of disparate and eccentric elements ( too imaginative to have been bought yesterday at any price)
The wonderful strangeness of their plant choices
And then, this single rose
The Continuing Saga of Glamorous Groundcovers
There can often be too many ferns of the big thug type that like to take over.... but of the Athyrium species, I think you can never have enough: this is the Japanese fern ‘Ghost’ and tucked in front is the lacier A. felix-femina 'Victoriae'. Ringing the foreground is ever-useful Lamium and the shiny green leaves are always beautiful Hellebore.
The other indispensable fern is Autumn Fern. Oh, it is the last to put out new fronds in spring but hangs on longest through the seriousness of winter, and is the most delicious mutation of coffee colors ever. Here with Solomon’s Seal, Asarum and more hellebore leaves.... the very best groundcover, though most gardeners don't perceive them as such.
A large crowd gathered at Guild Hall last week to hear Eric talk and get their books signed. It was there I learned how many people were unaware that you can view his controversial and now iconic bronze sculpture ‘Tumbling Woman’ right here in East Hampton... So don't be in the dark Come into the light where else but at LongHouse Reserve.
This seems sort of sad. Even though they were only paper periodicals (and always a little too tropical and/or houseplant-y for me)... I joined because I liked the idea that this society existed at all. Another of gardening’s little quirks.... and now it's gone ~~~~~~~~~~~
but I feel really sad about the memoriam which follows...
Rest In Garden Heaven JOHN BARHAM
He was a great guy and a passionate gardener. I know that all of you who have ever been the recipient of his good-natured gregariousness or have been touched by his bigger-than-life fondness for abundance will join my feeling of melancholy
He loved monkeys, and buddhas and linghams and hands and bronze birds and bells, but most of all he loved monkeys in all their various representations.
So, his gift of a pair of bronze monkeys are among my most precious treasures.
In his garden
In my garden
THE ARTIST IN THE GARDENER
Bearded Iris and Tulips have a never-ending palette and unlike a painter saying a work is finished... a garden is never finished. So, I relish the opportunity to choose a few new iris for next year.... For instance...
I love this burlap color Iris (it sort of looks like most of my summer clothes) but it does not harmonize with the pink tree peonies behind it... so I am on a hunt for a rosy-taupey one
And how to expand this combination of a Japanese maple showing off its new leaves, the droopy-bell Allium bulgaricum and this gorgeous Iris named ‘Touch of Mahogany’?
And more of this purple-navy blue against the intense darkness of Eucomis ‘Sparkling Burgundy’
And I know I have always touted Schreiner’s Iris Gardens as my go-to Iris source, but I have a new find. Mt. Pleasant Iris Gardens I have just placed my first order and get this --- they have a beautiful web site but you have to print out the order form fill it in and mail it
I am charmed
Is it Jacks-in-the-Pulpit or Jack-in-the-Pulpits?
Either way...more thrilling than ever
‘Black Mambo’ continues to proliferate
and this rare one, Arisaema costatum, is in its second year in my garden and I'm ever so proud because it adorns the backcover of the scholarly Timber Press tome, The Genus Arisaema (for which I paid $79.95 !)
see it at the base of the bronze bird...look at that leaf
The disappointing note here is Willow Creek Gardens in California, from whence it came, no longer carries these superlative Arisaema because NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE WANTED THEM
Can you imagine?
and there is nothing to say about this A. candidissima peeping through the Oxalis except that it is divine
4th of JULYVERY GOOD DEAL
I realize that most of you will be spending your Holiday weekend splashing, partying, firework watching and eating hotdogs, but there are those of us who do not neglect our gardens no matter what the occassion... So for those of you who need a little incentive in the way of garden accoutrements --- this is your chance at Dianne B Best
OurMade in Americaitems are yours at SPECIAL PATRIOTIC PRICES
For 4th of July 1/4 Off in other words...25% less
The Engraved Monogrammed Steel Shovel you have always wanted, (or wanted to give) 108.75 instead of $145.00 (Shovel price total does not include $20 heavy shipping fee)
The One and Only Dianne B ToolBelt $43.50instead of $58 (discount applies to Loaded or Empty Tool Belt)
The Irreplaceable Zinc Markers $29.25 instead of $ 39 And that, my friends, is an unbelievable bargain