potager

On a Spring trip to Monticello in Charlottesville, VA, it was too early to admire the produce in the vast kitchen garden historically grown (beginning in 1770) to feed the large population on the estate. I won’t go into the controversial nature of its tenants here, but it is obvious from its size you will need many hands to tend this garden and harvest its offerings. What we did admire is the incredible setting and vast views of the Piedmont countryside.

On a much smaller scale, in Bavaria, I have seen lovely versions of kitchen gardens. Anyone claiming that growing food can’t be pretty and focus only on yield, is simply wrong. I’m looking forward to an upcoming project where I can let these images inspire a commissioned vegetable garden in a large sunny landscape without jumpy deer, a rarity where I live or work.

happy spring

Unusually warm weather gives us a head start on Spring. I celebrated today by potting up some tropical tubers (Alocasia, Dahlia, etc) in the greenhouse, to get their head start on foliage before the danger of frost outside has passed (technically that’s around April 15th here in Northern New Jersey). Planning summer container gardens for clients as their bulbs and perennials are bursting through the soil makes for a wonderfully busy time in the life of a garden designer.

However, no garden is complete without some fabulous container plantings. Many people balk at the work it takes to pot up and maintain those planters but, as with all plant selection, location is key and so is the right container. Reminding me of this big pot of ferns in a damp, shady spot and requiring little maintenance at Greenwood Gardens in Short Hills, NJ, a fabulous public garden on the national register of historic places I visited last Fall.

And their house-made hypertufa planters…

As we are sweltering under (still) leafless trees I’m reminded of this green “lushness” to come.

Looking forward to a long gardening season… and a re-start of this blog.