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An Artful Garden American Plant Hunter Shiitake Logs Lost on Vancouver Island

verdant days ahead


Tammy, on mrsmeyers.com

“ MAKE S

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WE’RE BLUSHIN G Comments like these inspire us to keep at it. Our hard-working household cleaning products are made with PLANT-DERIVED ingredients and

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From the Editors

A

merican gardens are changing. They are beginning to have a look and feel that celebrates their regionalism. They are also beginning to reflect our aging population. Twenty-six percent of the U.S. population is between the ages of 49 and 67. Boomers control three-quarters of the nation’s wealth and are the single largest users of technology. They also garden. I, like so many of my Boomer generation, want to simplify my garden without sacrificing its individuality, quality, or identity. As we age we want them to be places of repose and enjoyment rather than places for frenzied seasonal activity. Gardens are also reflecting this cultural shift. The irony of the idea of aging gardeners and spring’s rejuvenation isn’t lost on me. It’s just that this spring I find I’m beginning to want to enjoy my garden without being a slave to it.

Susan Cohan

I

’m itching to get outside and chop back last year’s beaten down grasses. After all, they’ve endured a few feet of snow and hurricane force winds this winter. I have other projects on the list too, and I wonder how many I will get to before I succumb to summer’s heat. There comes a time when I’d rather sit back and enjoy it all. I feel like I never finish anything. I was reading a book of Greek myths to my children recently. It struck me that I—and every other gardener and owner of an undone house—might be the incarnation of King Sisyphus. For a moment I felt a little stricken by the hopeless eternity that awaits Sisyphus and those who also face his struggles. Then I remembered that in a way I enjoy pushing around metaphorical (and literal) boulders…and I can’t wait to get back at it. Here’s to the coming spring!

rochelle greayer

On the Cover Cougar Annie’s garden in British Columbia photographed by Janis Nicolay

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contributors

Jessi Bloom

is an award-winning landscape designer whose work emphasizes ecological systems, sustainability, and selfsufficiency. She is a certified professional horticulturist and certified arborist, as well as a long-time chicken owner with a free-ranging flock in her home garden.

Sarah Kinbar

is a floral designer, writer, and the former editor-inchief of Garden Design magazine. She lives on Lake Hiawassee in Orlando, Florida, with her partner Todd and their four children. Her new blog, Inside the Flower Studio, can be found at bayhillflorist.com.

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Amy Bowers

blogs and leads e-labs on creative family living at Mama Scout. She features exploratory adventures, thoughtful essays, wellness challenges, and stellar resources to shift and disrupt stagnant, mediocre living. She lives in Florida and loves orange blossoms.

Mary Ann Newcomer,

known as the Dirt Diva on the River Radio, 94.9 in Boise, Idaho, is author of The Rocky Mountain Gardener’s Guide. Her articles on gardening have been published in MaryJane’s Farm, Fine Gardening, and American Gardener. spring 2013

Kelly Fitzsimmons is a

Tim Ghiselli

photographer with nearly 20 years experience in children’s and family portraiture. She also specializes in lifestyle photography that incorporates natural surroundings and landscapes infused with unique perspectives and vintage styling.

is a garden designer/ creative project manager. When not making TV appearances and designing custom containers, he has spent the past 18 years merchandising and managing large garden centers. “I am that person that wakes up ready to tackle the day; it’s because I love what I do.”

Janis Nicolay

Debra Prinzing

has been a lifestyle, food and interiors photographer for 10 years. Janis has shot for magazines and has just completed work on a cook book for Random House. She’s based on the “wet” coast of British Columbia in Vancouver.

is a Seattle- and Los Angeles-based outdoor living expert who writes and lectures on gardens and home design. She is the author of Slow Flowers and The 50 Mile Bouquet (St. Lynn’s Press) and the Garden Writers Association Gold Award-winning Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways (ClarksonPotter/Random House, 2008).


My Garden

I love my garden but don’t have much time. So, I grow Flower Carpet® roses to add great non‐stop color to my beds and borders. They’re low‐maintenance, eco‐friendly and bloom all season long.

My Choice FlowerCarpet.com

New at leaf Ellen Wells

Adam Woodruff

is a plantsman, writer, and principal of Adam Woodruff & Associates, an awardwining garden design firm throughout the Midwest and Northeast. Adam was classically trained as a botanist and has practiced garden design since 1995. His contemporary designs define space and artfully blend plants in new ways.

Our new associate editor: “When I run out of bread or crackers, I bake my own. And when I make a salad, I start by planting seeds. I think it has something to do with growing up on a farm, where I learned to drive a tractor at age 8, was best friends with the chickens, and still tear up when I remember my pet Grover the duck (let’s just say it didn’t end well for him). Writing about this land, this life, and my adventures in both is what I do, and I am planting the seeds of these stories each and every day.” LEAF MAGAZINE

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flower A modern Take on the Easter Tree What’s the language of your spring?

Photography by Kelly Fitzsimmons

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flower by Roanne Robbins

T

he old Germanic tradition of the Easter tree seems to have made its way into modern American custom. These trees have not achieved the popularity of that other holiday tree, but you’re familiar with the look: colored eggs, ribbon, and branches. There are many ways to craft a beautiful Easter tree, but if you dig deep into its tradition and look at its original symbolism and expression, you realize the Easter tree can be a beautiful, personal statement of the season. The nineteenth-century Pennsylvania Dutch adorned their homes with such a tree, most commonly a sassafras sapling they would cut before leafing. They would wrap its branches in cotton batting then adorn them with eggs, which were often dyed naturally with onion skins, indigo, beets, or yarrow and artistically decorated in a variety of ways. The appeal lies in the contrast between the candy–toned eggs and early spring’s naked branches, with the egg symbolizing rebirth and the bare branches making their way into the new growing season. Nowadays it is common to see the Easter tree represented by an artistic tabletop arrangement of pussy willow branches adorned with dyed eggs or an outdoor interpretation of plastic eggs hung on tree branches. Regardless the implementation of the tradition, the Easter tree plays well with spring’s symbolism—rebirth, fertility, and regrowth. Spring is newly sprouted grasses, blossoms on bare branches, rejuvenated patches of moss, and candy-toned bulbs that bring color and promise to the landscape. It’s the joy, fun, and

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Symbol: Joy & Youth Shown as: Washi Tape Washi tape is the easiest way to add color and pattern to the composition. Wrapping multiple layers of the same tape works best. You can also achieve this look by painting bands onto the branches. Spray-painting the top third of the branches with a metallic gold color, for instance, will give the Easter tree a modern, clean, and minimal presentation. Although pretty, spray paints can have a strong odor, and any bud touched with the paint will not open, even if using a floral-friendly spray. You can carry the look further by using glass paints and markers to adorn your hanging terrariums with corresponding patterns. Symbol: Fertility Shown as: Forced Branches of Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles) Cut and force branches at room temperature in a large bucket of water. Do not let the direct heat of a woodstove or heating system blow on the branches, as the buds will dry and fall. Other branches to force include plum, cherry, witch hazel, or Viburnum. Highbush blueberry or the traditional sassafras work well,

Symbol: Rebirth Shown as: Nests Use nests from your personal collection, purchase premade nests from a craft store, or make your own from a package of nesting material. Hang them using colored embroidery thread, fishing line, yarn, or jute. Fill nests with mosses, quail eggs, succulents, or other natural material. LEAF MAGAZINE

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flower Symbol: Regrowth Show as: Wheat Grass Terrarium Compositionally, the baubleshaped terrarium plays the part of the egg on this tree. Hang these terrariums from the branches you are forcing and let the seeds sprout and blossoms bloom in plain sight. Wheat grass generally takes 12 to 18 to grow and is happiest at temperatures between 60°F-70°F. Don’t have hanging terrariums at your fingertips? Then grow wheat grass or plant spring herbs or viola in blown-out, cracked eggs and nestle them in hanging nests. If you like the look but don’t want the bother of attending to seeds this early in the season, utilize Tillandsia (air plants), succulents, or mosses.

youth of childhood as you make discoveries in nature and hunt for candy-filled eggs. The Easter tree depicted here is fertility in the form of forced quince branches with bubble gum-toned florets and green, pearly buds. It is regrowth: hanging glass terrarium baubles filled with soil and sprouting wheat grass. It is rebirth: suspended nests of moss and Sempervivum dangling from blooming stems. It is fun: bare branches wrapped with pastel color and patterned washi tape. The language of spring is everywhere. Regardless of your religious preference, the season’s symbolism speaks to all gardeners. What’s your spring saying? 10

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Stuff moss into a vase to stabilize the branches.


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flavor

The Drunken Botanist A New Book from Amy Stewart

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Left: Photograph by Delightful Eye Photography; Right: Amy Stewart

A

my Stewart believes that our entire human history can be told through the lens of botany or natural science. She also believes that tales of the natural world have plenty of drama and suspense of their own. She doesn’t focus on the howto as much as the stories themselves. After the murder and mayhem depicted in her last two books, her latest, The Drunken Botanist, is lighter and the subject less dark. Or maybe it’s just the booze. “One interesting thing that plants and booze have in common—they have this way of connecting people around the globe.” In her research for the book, Stewart travelled extensively to see liquor being made and drinks being crafted. “Many distillers opened their doors for me and gave me behind-thescenes tours. I watched cassis being made in France, gin being made in England, and whiskey being brewed all over the United States.” It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it. The Drunken Botanist is entertaining and informative. Stories about science, history, botany, and all things cocktail related are interspersed with recipes and tips for growing plants. It’s all about the ingredients for great drinking and the lore and science behind each wrapped up in great and engaging storytelling.


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flavor

Vertical strawberries grow on the bar

Amy’s Top Five Cocktail Garden Plants Berries For me it’s very easy to keep some everbearing and alpine strawberries going in a vertical planter. Raspberries and blueberries also do very well for me in northern California.

Celery I also love this celery called ‘Red Venture’. The stalks are much smaller, about the size of a pencil, and dark red. It never occurred to me to grow celery before, but it’s surprisingly easy and now I use it all the time. It’s the perfect size for a swizzle stick. Basil There’s a cultivar called ‘Pesto Perpetuo’ that can be overwintered. Because it’s always pretty chilly where I live, just up the street from the Pacific Ocean, I need those cold-tolerant varieties even in the summer. Mexican Sour Gerkins They’re tiny—about the size of an olive—and they’re not actually cucumbers, but are a very close relative. They have an interesting tangy flavor, and they are extraordinarily beautiful as garnishes.

‘Red Venture’ celery

Want to start from seed? Territorial Seeds has a Drunken Botanist Plant Collection.

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Left: Photograph by Log House Plants; Top: Amy Stewart

Spearmint The one I’m very excited about is this ‘Mojito Mint’ from Cuba. It came to North America because Canadian tourists were pulling sprigs of mint out of their drinks in the Havana airport and taking them home. From there the plant made its way into the nursery trade.


found Tie it Up: A Twine Primer

Lets talk twine. Twine has made the leap from utility drawer basic to craft closet rock star. When once we had simple choices at the hardware store, now we have a bounty of pretty options for all kinds of uses – it can get a little confusing. We put together this twine guide to help you find the right string for your project be it cooking, crafting, gardening, or serious landscape use. twine TYPE

Traditional Use

Qualities

Other uses

Mason

Mason twine is used to quickly and accurately ensure masonry is level during construction.

Thin and strong, braided, mildew resistant

Baler

Binding a quantity of fibrous material, usually agricultural (like hay or straw)

Super strong, rot resistant, and available in many colors

Baker’s

Biodegradable, food-safe

100% cotton twine

Tying roasts, cutting dough, wrapping baked goods

Jute, Sisal, or Hemp

Tying up plants, mainly agricultural before plastic twines

Durable (lasts 7-10 years), stretchable, biodegradable

100% Nylon Filament cord

Modern synthetic polypropylene

100% natural plant based

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Try trotline or jug line fishing ● Florida weave your tomatoes ● Hang your laundry to dry naturally with thicker weave nylon or polyester line

Make weather proof macramé plant hangers ● Crochet a door mat ● Weave a hammock Dress up packages with decorative multicolored bakers twine ● Hang herbs to dry ● Make holiday ornaments and mini pom poms Tie up newspaper and cardboard for recycling ● Use thick braids for mooring small boats ● Replace yarn in knitting projects


My Choice

Low maintenance ‐ high performance plants

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found Shiitake Mushroom Logs

Looking for something a bit different? Want to forage in your own garden? Have a moist and shady spot? Shiitake mushroom logs from Happy Cat Farm come inoculated with a strain of shiitake mushroom spawn which can, with proper care, be expected to fruit every eight to twelve weeks for several years.

Jessi Bloom’s Edible Plant Picks

The stately chestnut tree can produce one of the most nutritious and delicious nut crops for decades. Planting a chestnut as your next shade tree can leave a legacy behind for future generations. This nut is a perennial food source that can be a great substitute for annual grain crops which require a lot of work. More edible plant picks

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found

Stone Flowers

Dave Davies makes bluestone flowers for use in gardens as stepping stones, decoration, or as insets in a patio or walkway. Davies has been hand carving flowers, insects, and other shapes for 10 years. A series of koi was recently installed in the Japanese Serenity Garden in Cincinnati.

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Freeway Forests In the capital of car culture, Los Angeles, artist Stephen Glassman’s Urban Air project takes deurbanization to new heights—above the freeways. Glassman, who has initially funded the project through a Kickstarter campaign, as well as partnering with a billboard company for sites in Los Angeles, envisions replacing billboards with mini-forests above the highways in 40 countries. Glassman wants Urban Air to be a “crack in the skyline,” an opportunity for people stuck in traffic to “look up, see themselves as human, and conceive of what might be.”


Photo Credit

Glassman hopes freeway travelers may see these floating forests as “cracks in the skyline.” LEAF MAGAZINE

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style Flowers In the Making

Photographer Michel Tcherevkoff uses images of flowers to create fascinating composites that take on new, footfriendly forms. by Sarah Kinbar

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C

onceptual photographer Michel Tcherevkoff calls The Ultimate Rose Book his “Bible”—and he does know his cultivars. You can’t say that about most ad guys, but then Tcherevkoff has built his 40-year-long career on his ability to indulge his maverick sensibility while appealing to clients. His now-famous ShoeFleur series, book, and the products spawned from his flowers-as-shoes concept are the results of his fresh take on objects and how they can be viewed. One afternoon, he and his agent were taking a second look at a series of leaves he had photographed for Estee Lauder/Prescriptives, and they noticed an image, upside down. Together, they said, “Hey, that looks like a shoe.” He went to work on refining the shoe concept, put it in his portfolio, and got an amazing reaction. “I’ve been creating images of shoes, butterflies, bugs, and animals out of flowers and foliage ever since,” says Tcherevkoff. “I am involved in every aspect of my flower shoots—I don’t use a stylist to get my

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style shoes Each shoe is painstakingly constructed from live flowers before the photograph is taken

flowers for me. I go to the flower market to look at, smell, touch, and get the feel for the flowers. I flirt with the flowers, and the ones that flirt back I take to the studio. It can take up to a week to get the flower at its prime, then it’s my favorite part: the creative design and the post-production. It’s a lot of fun and the studio smells great!” What’s next for Tcherevkoff? The question is, What isn’t? He is developing ShoeFleurs product lines: pillows, dishes, stationary, and actual shoes. As you anticipate their arrival, satisfy yourself with ShoeFleur prints, available at Tcherevkoff 's Etsy shop.

Go to Tcherevkoff's Etsy shop

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plates New products coming from Tcherevkoff include fanciful plates, tabletop items and pillows

scarves Fantasy garden inhabitants and shoes will adorn a new line of scarves and other accessories

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fun Spring Into Geocaching Treasure Hunting Goes High Tech by Amy Bowers

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hunt for the hidden stash while immersing themselves in nature, an urban setting or even their own neighborhood. One sunny day, I introduced my kids to geocaching and they were instantly hooked! Luckily, we did not have to go far

Phone: johan2011/123RF Stock Photo

A

fter the holiday rush, when the fresh spring weather beckons, my children are ready to get out and explore. We typically spend our days on nature hikes, bike rides and neighborhood explorations. This year, we added a new outdoor activity to our arsenal of fun: geocaching. Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunt that uses a GPS device or easier yet, a smartphone. Legions of geocachers all over the world have hidden small containers (caches) containing swappable, tiny treasures and log books in public places. By following clues, GPS coordinates and maps, participants


Above: Photograph by Rene Ehrhardt

A geocache, waiting to be discovered, is nestled between the roots of a tree.

because we live in a historic district with a library, lake, art museum and quaint downtown nearby. I was amazed to see how many hidden treasures were available to us just in our own neighborhood. My kids took turns holding the phone map and as we got closer to each site they

excitedly read and deciphered the clues. After we found each one, we agreed we should look for “just one more.� And so on. The magic of questing is that it can reveal layers of your environment that you never knew existed. This was especially LEAF MAGAZINE

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fun

Sorting out which way to go next.

striking for us because we walk in our neighborhood daily and feel like we know every alley and secret nook and cranny. We were so surprised that we passed many of the caches daily! And some have been under our noses for more than a decade. My children and I wondered to each other: What else is right under our noses that we do not perceive? What else what might we see if we looked just a little closer or with more discerning eyes? I will say, after a while the treasures started to discourage because they were of such poor quality. We made an effort to up the booty a bit by buying some polished gemstones at a local rock shop. Other good choices might be an amazing shell, a really cool bead, seeds or even something from the dollhouse section of the craft store. Get creative. The clues and hunt are so unique and fun, it’s a shame to disappoint with a lackluster plastic trinket. Geocaching is the perfect family hobby as it inherently appeals to different kids’ interests. In our family, one child was enthralled with the technology

behind how GPS works and was especially interested in the idea that we were connected to a satellite in space. My other children were happy to be out exercising and visiting with neighbors and strangers along the way. We talked about so many different subjects along the way: the history of our town, the use of clever riddles, what plants were in bloom, private versus public property, the definition of a “muggle” and more. The

Treasure hunting Abroad There are several other types of treasure hunting. Letterboxing was developed in England and has traveled stateside. The quest ends in a hidden box that includes a rubber stamp and journal. The seeker,

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who also carries an individually designed stamp and journal, stamps and dates each journal to complete the mission. Many communities and state parks also have questing challenges that lead


be prepared Some Things to bring ● A field bag to hold your stuff and keep your hands free ● GPS device or phone with GPS capability ● Tiny treasures to swap ● A pen to leave notes in the log book ● Baby wipes in case the cache is muddy ● Anything you need to be comfortable based on your environment (hat, sun glasses, water) Additional Useful Resources ● www.geocaching.com ● www.letterboxing.org ● Questing: A Guide to Creating Community Treasure Hunts ● Geocaching on Facebook

hunt was entertaining, a good workout and intellectually stimulating. It doesn’t get much better than that! We plan to take our new hobby with us when we travel. I can’t think of a better way to get to know a location than by losing yourself in the environment while questing. But even if you start geocaching in your own backyard, you will have just as much fun. In fact, I think you’ll be amazed at what you find!

Human Rights Campaign’s Peace/Love/Equality Field Bag. Proceeds support LGBT equal rights.

participants from site to site as they learn about the location. Schools, too, are beginning to turn towards questing as an educational model that ignites children’s drive and imagination

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shop Surviving the Garden Center How to Shop Like a Pro

T

Terrain, Westport, CT

im Ghiselli, a garden center manager and merchandiser, and Leaf editor and landscape designer Susan Cohan spent a day visiting garden centers to discuss how they shop vs. how most consumers shop. Tim has been managing large up-scale garden centers for more than 20 years and sees the same mistakes made by shoppers over and over again.

Photographs by Susan Cohan

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Great displays show shoppers ways to use their products

Mariani Gardens, Katonah, NY

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shop

Remember, a garden center is a free-spirited place. It’s okay to go to just be inspired and to spend time without buying anything. Terrain, Glen Mills, PA (2)

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Pros seldom make impulse choices, ruin their clothes and shoes, or buy too many plants. How? Follow these simple rules.

1

Walk the nursery and other display areas before making any decisions. Take notes on intriguing and/or

new plants, but never, ever take the reference tag. Use a phone or digital camera to photograph the tag for easy reference, but removing a tag is the biggest NO-NO in any garden center. Take pictures of plants and make small groupings for experimental combinations. Take notes, and be sure to take a cart—even if it ends up empty. Always buy the biggest plant you can afford.

2 3

Don’t buy on impulse—have a list and prioritize it.

Bring swatches of fabric and paint chips for on-site reference. Take pictures and measurements of containers or bring them along. Know sun and shade patterns in the garden—all day long, not just during non-working hours. Wear waterproof, slip-proof shoes. No flip flops!

There is often water on concrete floors or between rows of plants. Keep a pair in the car, just in case. Wear old clothes that can take the stains and mud! Garden centers aren’t the place to make an expensive fashion statement. Wear sun block and a hat. Sunglasses can skew a color. LEAF MAGAZINE

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root

American Botanist John Bartram (1699-1777)

by Rochelle Greayer

L

argely unknown to the average modern gardener or food lover, our landscapes and vegetable gardens wouldn’t be the same today if not for the spirited work of America’s first great botanist, John Bartram. A self-taught man and a Pennsylvania Quaker, Bartram was lit with a “Botanick fire.” He, along with his close friend Benjamin Franklin, eventually created the first Botanical Garden in America at his farm along the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. Bartram and Franklin were influential characters during the Age of Discovery when naturalists and explorers spanned the world searching for commercially and politically advantageous booty. Activists for thinking and reason, the two were founders of the American Philosophical Society and were ultimately part of the scientific awakening that ushered in the Age of Enlightenment. Bartram travelled extensively through North America and collected plants that he shared with other collectors of the time. His wellreceived “Bartram Boxes” were shared with peers at some of the

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19th century illustration of John Bartram by Howard Pyle (left) Early 20th century photo of Bartram’s garden and home by photographer Henry Troth

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most respected European gardens of the time, including the Chelsea Physic Garden, the gardens of the Dukes of Richmond, Norfolk, Marlborough, and Argyll, Thorndon Hall in Essex, The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the Oxford Botanic Garden, and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. The boxes, sent every fall, generally contained about 100 varieties of seeds, dried plants, and natural history curiosities for the recipients to plant and breed. Eventually in 1765, after more than 30 years of work gathering species in North America, King George III appointed him the “Royal Botanist.” From his Philadelphia farm he created an international hub for botanic discovery that continued for generations after his death. His seed and plant 36

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Courtesy John Bartram Association

Bartramia pomiformis (Apple moss)

Bartram’s Franklinia

business thrived, with lists appearing as early as the 1750s in London publications. In 1783, Bartram published the first-ever nursery catalog in the United States. He is credited with discovering and saving the Franklin tree (Franklinia alatamaha) from extinction, being the


Top left: Thomas Kohler; Above: Nicholas A. Tonelli, both under Creative Commons Commerical License

Kalmia latifolia

Rainbow over John Bartram’s Barn

From his Philadelphia farm he created an international hub for botanic discovery that has continued for generations. first to cultivate the Venus fly trap, and the first American to successfully experiment with hybridization. Ultimately he introduced between 150 and 200 new American plant species to Europe and he had a particular interest in medicinal plants. Bartram was also the recipient of botanical treasures and he along with his family is responsible for many American introductions. Experts at Bartram Gardens have recently discovered correspondence between Ben Franklin and John Bartram that suggests the two were responsible for bringing soybeans to the Americas. In 1770 Franklin sent

Bartram soybeans he received from an English merchant named James Flint who had spent more than a decade in China. Franklin called the soybeans “Chinese Garavances” and talked about a cheese made from the beans that excited him greatly called “taufu.” Bartram’s family continued to be highly influential in the nursery trade long after the patriarch passed. They introduced the poinsettia to America and discovered such garden favorites as the oakleaf hydrangea, mountain laurel, and some varieties of rhododendrons. For more information visit www.bartramsgarden.org LEAF MAGAZINE

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plant

Hamamelis x intermedia

Botanical Name Hamamelis x intermedia Common Name Witch Hazel Plant Family Hamamelidaceae Native Habitat Garden origin: Hamamelis x intermedia hybrids are crosses between Japanese witch hazel H. japonica and Chinese witch hazel H. mollis

Seasonal Interest

Blooms January to March

Height and Width 6-10’ H x 8-12’ W Soil and Moisture Prefers moist acidic

soil, rich in organic matter. Tolerates clay soil.

Aspect Full sun to part shade Maintenance Prune after flowering to

control size and shape if desired. Often grafted, prune suckers from below union.

Problems and Diseases Relatively problem free

Hardiness USDA Zones 5-8 Notes Fragrant; Deer resistant Design Uses Winter blooming with

fragrant flowers and significant fall foliage make witch hazels a must have in mixed planting designs. Coarse foliage adds backof-the-border texture in the summer season. There are hundreds of cultivars available in a wide range of colors and sizes.

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Photography by Susan Cohan


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mood


Yellow

Sunkissed Color for Gardens Little used, except for plants, where it has long been a key player, yellow moves front and center as a full blown garden color trend. Used as a focal point or combined with other colors, yellow can be a jolt of the unexpected or a supporting player. Check out our Pinterest board for some of our favorite yellows. Garden at the 2012 RHS Hampton Court Flower Show designed by Mike Harvey and built by Arun Landscapes Ltd. Photograph by Rictor Norton & David Allen


build


A Country Gardener in

the City Downsizing without Sacrificing Design

re fo be

J

The tranquil space after the renovation was complete

ames Golden has developed a loyal blog following at A View from Federal Twist for his thoughts about garden design and his online journal of his large “New American” garden in the country. James isn’t a professional designer, however; he is a passionate and knowledgeable home gardener with a great eye for design. In the fall of 2011, he began writing about a second, much smaller, urban garden he was planning at his house in Brooklyn. What he designed, and ultimately built, is the antithesis of his naturalistic one-acre garden at Federal Twist, but it is also a companion piece. Both Photography by James Golden LEAF MAGAZINE

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build Experiments with fence colors were posted on the blog and open for discussion.

gardens dominate the view from inside their respective houses. The new 20-ft. by 30-ft. space is serene and controlled, surrounded by the backyards of adjacent nineteenth-century row houses; the country garden is wild and has a forest preserve as its backdrop. James, who has gardened in Brooklyn for more than 30 years, developed a concept for his new urban space that integrates ideas for a gardener who wants to age in place. Inspired by Paley Park in Manhattan, it is a restful, visual meditation rather than one built for active participation. 44

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The project began as an overgrown tangle dominated by a mature mulberry tree. When Hurricane Irene knocked down the tree just prior to construction, six men removed every bit of it over a five-day period through the apartment’s single access to the street—the front door. With the tree gone, James’s initial design had to be modified. Working from rough drawings and onsite measurements, James partnered with his contractor in the garden-making process. They experimented with ideas, keeping some and discarding others, resulting in a creation and building process that was


Left: Photograph by Michael Horvath

The view from above before the plants were added

fluid and collaborative. James also shared each step of the process on his blog, soliciting an ongoing conversation about his decision making. The garden’s materials are simple and mostly off-the-shelf. Raised beds are built from stacked 6-in. by 6-in. boards and may ultimately be stained. For now, they are being allowed to weather. The pond is formed from concrete blocks with stucco applied to its aboveground edging. Pea gravel covers the nonInspiration planted space. The fence came from gets its custom look Paley Park in Manhattan from the dark blue-grey

stain. Experiments with fence colors were posted on the blog and open for discussion—a lot of discussion! Stones brought from Federal Twist philosophically bind the two gardens

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build

A storage space together. The for tools and Brooklyn proppots is to be erty is still a added this spring garden in transition, with several planned changes to come. It is a testament to the thoughtful creation of a garden and the power of collaboration. The garden at Federal Twist will be open through the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days program in 2013 on June 29 and October 19. The Brooklyn garden remains private and secluded.

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Make It (or die trying)

Boardwalk through the bog at Boat Basin

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The True Story of Cougar Annie’s

Garden p h o t o g r a p h y b y J a n i c e N i c o l ay LEAF MAGAZINE

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I

by Mary Ann Newcomer

ncredibly remote and hauntingly beautiful, Cougar Annie’s garden at Boat Basin on Vancouver Island, Canada, is a tale of a pioneer garden and the woman who outlasted four husbands to create it. Ada Annie Jordan Rae-Arthur Campbell Arnold Lawson’s only choice was to make it or die trying. In 1915, Ada Annie, her husband Willie Rae-Arthur, and their three small children were shuttled by boat out of Vancouver, British Columbia, in an attempt by Ada Annie’s father and sister-in-law to remove Willie from the temptations of opium and alcohol. The couple was given a new start: the promise of a regular stipend and the potential to claim 160 acres through Canada’s Pre-Emption Act. Ada Annie hoped to establish a profitable nursery that would help support her family, which would grow by eight more children. Annie lived and gardened there in profound isolation for more than 65 years. During that

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A long double mixed border at Moss Mountain Farm


She earned the nickname

“Cougar Annıe”

for her expert marksmanship and skill in trapping the island’s big cats.


Annie sold, bartered, and

exchanged plants with other gardeners and nurseries as far away as Asia and New Zealand.

time, in the process of protecting her livestock, Ada Annie earned the nickname “Cougar Annie� for her expert marksmanship and skill in trapping and skinning the island’s big cats for hides and bounties. Neither Annie nor Willie had any knowledge of or experience in the Canadian bush territory and were unprepared for the extreme challenges they faced. Reality demanded they build a livable shelter for five people, clear and drain the boggy lowland, plant and protect a five-acre garden from wildlife and the rainforest, and do it all with no plumbing, power, grocery stores, nor neighbors. Just keeping 52

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Left to right: Lupine, hosta, columbine, and Enkianthus still survive at Boat Basin

the salal (Gaultheria shallon) and salmonberry at bay was a constant battle, not to mention the need to fend off the island’s prolific wildlife: cougars, bears, deer, and birds of prey. Once the land was drained of excess water, the resulting soil was good and plentiful. The first order of business was to plant a vegetable patch for food. Fruit and nut trees followed. Apples, plums, filberts, and walnuts as well as well as grapes, currants, gooseberries, cane fruits, cherries, crabapples, and strawberries grew in the garden. But Annie’s passion wasn’t edibles— it was ornamentals. She brought in anything she could get her hands on:

trees included Liriodendron, linden, locust, and chestnut; shrubs such as Ekianthus, rhododendrons, weigelas, hollies, viburnums, eucalyptus, roses, and hydrangeas occupied the property. Heathers, hostas, and peonies were just a few of the property’s perennials. Annie was an enthusiastic bulb collector and the gardens exploded with tulips, daffodils, lilies, iris, gladioli, montbretia (Crocosmia), and dahlias. She sold, bartered, and exchanged plants with LEAF MAGAZINE

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Once each month, orders were

transported by canoe to the supply steamer.

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other gardeners and nurseries as far away as Asia and New Zealand. In 1938, 23 years after landing at Boat Basin, Annie placed an ad in the Western Producer newspaper offering lilies, mixed dahlias, gooseberries, currants, and blackberries for fifty cents a dozen. Gladioli and montbretia were twenty-five cents a dozen, and strawberries forty cents per hundred. Starting at the age of 48 she supported herself and her 11 children for decades through this mail order nursery. Once each month, orders were transported by canoe to the supply steamer, and the return trip would bring household and nursery supplies home after a six-hour round trip. Willie died in 1936, so Annie advertised in the Western Producer for another husband: “BC Widow with nursery and orchard wishes partner. Widower preferred. Object matrimony.” She married George Campbell in 1940. He reportedly beat her and he met his demise—some say at the end of Annie’s rifle—in 1944. A few months later, she contacted a Mr. Esau Arnold, who had responded to her first advertisement. Esau was a good worker and they ran Boat Basin until he was injured and died in 1954. In 1961, George Lawson became her fourth husband. He turned out to be another boozing ne’er-do-well, and by 1967 Annie is said to have run him off her place. 56

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Ada Annie hoped to establish a

profitable nursery

that would help support her family.


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Annie’s cabin and most of the buildings have completely surrendered to the

rainforest.

In 1969, she met Peter Buckland at her general store. They became good friends, and in 1981, he agreed to purchase and take care of her land. He arranged for caretakers for the property, and allowed her to reside there free of charge for as long as she lived. In 1983, frail and blind at the age of 95, Ada Annie moved to a nursing home where she died in 1985, 70 years after first arriving at Boat Basin. Today, the land belongs to the Boat Basin Foundation, a registered nonprofit organization. Annie’s daffodils still herald spring as early as January. Rhododendrons and azaleas shine in the spring, and in summer, fields of orange montbretia bloom in a part of the garden now called Monet’s Walk. Annie’s cabin and most of the buildings have completely surrendered to the rainforest and are considered beyond restoration. The Boat Basin Foundation hopes to make the garden accessible to visitors in the near future. In the meantime, read more about the history of Cougar Annie’s garden in Margaret Horsfield’s book, Cougar Annie’s Garden.

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Move over, yarn bombs, and make room for doilies!

Women’s Work

No More 8

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T

Polish street artist NeSpoon primarily uses doilies as stencils and stamps Photograph by Pietro Masturzo

wo artists, both women, are using doilies as inspiration for landscape features and street art. NeSpoon creates evocative and romantic street art using supersized doilies as stencils. Jennifer Cecere uses doilies to “integrate the flavor of domestic handiwork into the built environment� in sculptural installations and outdoor furniture. Their work is part of a current trend that, along with yarn bombs and other reclaimed renditions of domestic handcrafts, sends them in a completely new direction. These pieces can easily be interpreted on a smaller scale in residential gardens. LEAF MAGAZINE

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Jennifer Cecere's monumental doilies are sculptural objects in the landscape

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Both artists use traditional

crocheted doilies as well as more contemporary paper versions as starting points, and then create new contexts for them outside in the landscape. NeSpoon, a street artist working in Poland, often begins with printed paper doilies. She creates large, intricate stencils and stamps that are then used on the sides of buildings as well as under, over and on streets and bridges. Jennifer Cecere, working in New York, has a different approach. She uses doilies to create furniture and objects in other materials as well as giant crocheted pieces that are sometimes site specific.

Traditional needlecrafts are spun into the landscape as monumental artworks Tending home gardens, along

with many other anonymous daily crafts that have enriched family lives, have long been the province of women. Both Cecere’s and NeSpoon’s work spins these traditional needlecrafts into the landscape as monumental artworks and elevates their importance to our daily lives both past and present. by susan cohan LEAF MAGAZINE

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art open sky Mavis McClure, Louisa

beneath the

A Bay Area couple combines a passion for collecting sculpture with a love of nature.

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Sally Russel, Ceramic Poles LEAF MAGAZINE

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Mavis McClure, Pablo

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by Debra Prinzing

At its best, artwork triggers a full range of emotions—from delight and surprise to shock or even discomfort. And when it appears in a naturalistic setting, outside the walls of a conventional gallery or museum, art can evoke passionate feelings and communicate a strong sense of place. At their 1.5-acre landscape in Lafayette, California, collectors Gail Giffen and Chris Pisarra have magnified these sensations, thanks to more than 35 individual works of art and sculpture (the total number keeps changing, because “we’ve never counted them,” jokes Chris). This landscape offers a compelling lesson in selecting and placing artwork beneath an open sky. For those who visit, it’s nothing short of magical. “It’s our little hidden paradise and we enjoy seeing what a big surprise it is for people who enter,” he confides. Over a 20-year period, Gail and Chris have populated the spaces in and around their home, swimming pool, and guesthouse with an eclectic array of sculpture. They have befriended and supported countless artists, including Marsha Donahue, Mavis McClure, Topher Delany, and Phil Glashoff, whose work ranges from the sublime to the playful. This outdoor gallery winks at anyone who takes himself or herself too seriously, says Chris. “We just

Nina Lyons, Untitiled Photography by Chris Pisarra and Adam Woodruff

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The beauty of art is that it is something you will appreciate every day.

Cauldron by unknown artist

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Robert Holmes, Bicycle

This outdoor gallery winks at anyone who takes himself or herself too seriously.

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have fun,” adding, “We buy art we like.” The collection’s genesis dates to the mid-1990s when Gail completed a major renovation of a 1940s California ranch house original to the site. Building designer Reed Robbins transformed the existing structure into a Mediterranean-inspired residence with two new wings. The home’s entrance faced south, oriented toward a rather neglected piece of land, which prompted Gail to ask Oakland-based landscape architect Michael Thilgen of Four Dimensions Landscape Co. to devise a new garden. A few trees were worth saving, including a valley oak and a modesto ash, which after judicious pruning have continued to thrive, shading the home and providing a living canopy for outdoor patio and courtyard spaces. According to Thilgen, Gail was drawn to a classical Mediterranean aesthetic at a time when cottage gardens were all the rage. “She was attracted to doing some-


Marcia Donahue, Necklace

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Mavis McClure, Sunbather

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thing more architectural,” he explains. Thilgen used two axial lines to divide the property in the form of concrete pads that have a rhythmic (and permeable) break every few feet. One axis is parallel to the home’s facade and travels deep into the garden. At the midway point, aligned with the front door to the house, a second axis extends at a 90-degree angle, providing sightlines across the property. The intersecting paths work in tandem “to subdivide the landscape into different areas with different sizes and character,” Thilgen says. In his original drawings for the garden, the designer identified places for sculpture at the terminus of each path. “It was a new idea for Gail,” Thilgen says. “She was not a collector of art at the time, but I gave her a couple gallery names and it seems like she has never looked back since then,” Thilgen continues, “Collecting has become a major part of Gail’s life. It’s the way she expresses herself and how she has shaped the place she lives.” The landscape has evolved over two decades, and is currently in the hands of B.J. Ledgerwood, owner of Native YardScape, who has been replacing aging perennials and shrubs with mostly native plant additions. The meadowlike mix of white and yellow flowering plants satisfies her clients’ preference for a neutral palette. “This is a garden where Gail and Chris can entertain, but they also want it to be restful to the eye,” she points out. While the pathways form a grid that invite guests to navigate the garden, not all is seen at first glance. Dramatic stands of Miscanthus sinensis ‘Gracillimus’ soar upward toward the sky, promising a surprise around

“It’s the way she expresses herself and how she has shaped the place she lives.”

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each corner. Ever-changing and dynamic, the grasses reach their peak in late summer and early fall, evoking a sense of mystery as one explores the artwork that is so well integrated. By late winter, ornamental grasses are cut back and the entire mood changes again, giving Gail and Chris a momentary perspective across their landscape. Beyond the stands of tall grasses are two gathering places. The first, glimpsed to the left of the entry walk, is carpeted in lawn and defined by a rustic, industrial cauldron, now a water feature. Once a play area for the child of this household (who is now a young adult), the area is intimate and serene. That is, until you happen upon a large grasshopper, a praying mantis, and other metal insects, lending their distinct point of view to the scenery around them. The second gathering place is centered around the swimming pool and guesthouse, also part of the original renovation. Mostly human-inspired sculpture occupies the sun deck and the pool’s perimeter, although “Amanda,” a bronze nude by Australian artist David McKay Harrison, reclines on the diving board. This is a garden that possesses artwork, but one could argue that the artwork possesses its owners, as well. “We don’t buy art because we’re thinking of making an investment,” Chris maintains. “The beauty of art is that it is something you will appreciate every day. These are pieces that you’re supposed to feel, you’re supposed to sense—not just with your eyes, but with your hands. That’s the biggest benefit of owning sculpture.” Sally Russell, Ceramic Poles

“We just have fun. We buy art we like.”

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Jeff Rosendale, Branches with Color

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pick Zinc blackboardstyle markers can suit many garden styles. Label them with a white grease pencil for outdoor use. From Agrarian.

Practical Matters:

Plant Labels One of the most utilitarian of gardeners’ tools doesn’t have to be boring. Plant labels for every style of garden are fun and stylish this spring.

A set of 10 contemporary brushed recycled aluminum markers can be used year after year. From Ox + Monkey Modern Home.

10 sustainably harvested birch blackboard markers come with a chinagraph pencil and can be used outside. From Terrain.

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A set of six rustic slate markers that can be used season after season indoors and out. From Terrain.


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Co-Founder & Editor

Co-Founder & Editor

Susan Cohan

rochelle greayer

scohan@leafmag.com

rgreayer@leafmag.com Art Director

marti golon mgolon@me.com Associate Editor

Ellen wells ewells@leafmag.com Contributing Editor

Roanne Robbins

Su Neko under Creative Commons Commercial License

roannerobbins@me.com Advertising Manager

John Knecht jknecht@leafmag.com Advisory Board

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Leaf Magazine, Issue 5, Spring 2013