Thursday, July 19, 2012

Garden Writer's Day

I was invited for the second year to Midwest Groundcovers Sixth Annual Writer's Day.  It is a long ride, close to an hour to reach St. Charles Illinois, but it is well worth the trip.

I need to find a place for this plant, had it at my last home but it didn't work in my too formal border.  I will try to work it in with the grasses and daylilies in my back garden or maybe the alley garden.

We had heavy much needed rain the night before and even some in the early morning.  The temperature was down to the 80's but extremely humid.

Amsonia and Echinacea

I was so anxious to hear our main speaker Jennifer Davit, Horticultural Director for the Lurie Gardens in Millennium Park.  She not only expounded on her extensive background in many types of plants but also the various locations in which she interned to learn about them.  She is originally from Chicago, but has studied in the four corners of the U.S. including Hawaii.

Echinacea, Amsonia and Asters

The majority of the gardens at Midwest Groundcovers have been designed by Piet Oudolf and the rest certainly show his influence.  Midwest is a large plant supplier to nurseries all over the United States, marketing under different brand names.  That is about to change and we will see their name on plants that we purchase at local nurseries.

The Lurie Gardens uses no chemical additives, all natural insect controls like other insects to keep destructive ones under control.  The mulch for the gardens is the leavings of the plants that are mowed down and shredded in late winter.  Watering is usually not necessary except for this year!  Piet Oudolf is consulted on all changes or additions of planting materials and Jennifer stressed this is a collaboration.

Agastache Blue Fortune
This is one of the few agastache that is hardy in zone 5.  I have this one in the alley garden.

The gardens at Midwest are smaller; whereas, the Lurie gardens is on five acres including hardscape.  The Lurie Gardens are built over a parking garage with real soil used on the roof, not synthetic which many times is used on rooftop gardens.

A speaker who was not on the agenda suddenly walked up to the microphone and it was a pleasant surprise to see Roy Diblik.  I met Roy many years ago when he first began Northwind Perennial Farm in Burlington, Wisconsin (close to my home in Lake Geneva).  I saw drastic changes in the farm in the last several years but didn't know why. 

Roy told the story of when Piet Oudolf unfurled the drawings for the Lurie Gardens, he actually got chills at the sight.  He was always a plantsman growing and researching and crossing all types of plants for his business, but he was never a gardener until that moment.   He supplied the plants, many found at Midwest Groundcovers, and Piet supplied the artistry.  Northwind Perennial Farm is now Roy Diblik's own study in artistry.

Allium Summer Beauty

Allium Peek-A-Boo
Will be offered on the market in the spring of 2013, similar to Allium Summer Beauty but shorter

Echinacea Virgin

Delphinium Blue Mirror and Burgundy Fireworks Echinacea

Geranium Soberliferum
We had never heard of this one, lovely leaf structure, gently mounding, no flowers at this time.

My Magical Moment
As I looked at the combination of structure, spikiness, softness and color it all made sense to me.  It doesn't matter how large your garden is because this can all be achieved in a small area.

I came home with lots of goodies, Allium Summer Beauty I purchased a flat (they don't sell in quantity to the public, but I still had an account from several years ago).  The gifts were from Roy Diblik (No names on any of them but I think I have them in my notes) and some Allium Peek-A-Boo from Midwest Groundcovers.  Where am I going to fit all of these treasures in the garden?