Tag Archives: Featured

Clippings: Allium ‘Milleniunm’ 2018 Perennial Plant of the Year

Who would have thought an onion would be a standout in your landscape instead of your salad? That’s before the ornamental onion — Allium “Millenium” – was named the Perennial Plant of the Year 2018 by the Perennial Plant Association.

The genus Allium covers a dozen or so species of onion, garlic, leeks, shallots, scallions, and chives, as well as several dozen ornamentals that grow from bulbs and can make outstanding ornamentals.

Photo Credit: Walters Gardens, Inc.

Photo Credit: Walters Gardens, Inc.

Can you find a place in your garden for these beauties?

Botanical name: Allium “Millenium”

Exposure: Grows best in full sun. In very hot summer climates requires afternoon shade.

Hardiness: USDA Zones 3 or 4 to 9

Soil: Grows best in well-drained soils

Uses: Full-sun gardens where its sleek structure can complement many other growth habits. Cut flowers retain a blush of their summer color. Pair with shorter goldenrods (Solidago sp.) such as ‘Little Lemon’ that reaches 1½ feet tall.
Habit: Each plant typically produces an upright foliage clump of grass-like, glossy deep green leaves reaching 10-15” tall in spring. In midsummer, two to three flower scapes rise above the foliage with each scape producing two or three showy two-inch spherical umbels of rose-purple florets that last as long as four weeks. The flower umbels are completely round (spherical), not domed or hemispherical as they are in some Allium species.  They dry to a light tan often holding a blush of their former rose-purple color.

Pollinator friendly: A butterfly magnet, it’s interesting through multiple seasons for both foliage and large, gorgeous blooms. Reseeding is much less a problem than in other alliums.

Photo Credit: Plant Delights Nursery, Inc.

Photo Credit: Plant Delights Nursery, Inc.

Maintenance: No serious insect or disease problems. Deer and rabbits usually avoid Millenium. Propagate by division in either spring or fall.  Cut back foliage in late fall.

Origins: Bred by Mark McDonough, plant breeder/horticulture researcher, Massachusetts; ‘Millenium’ was introduced through Plant Delights Nursery in 2000.

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Wayne, PA: Chanticleer Garden, Always a Pleasure

Whether you’re a master gardener, a gardener wannabe, or kill every plant you bring home, Chanticleer Garden should be on your bucket list. Located in Wayne, PA, within 30 minutes of Philadelphia, Chanticleer is truly a pleasure garden. It’s easy to see why it’s a mainstay on lists of the 10 best public gardens in the U.S.

Lilium 'Casa Blanca' and hydrangeas frame the entrance to the Chanticleer House. Photo by Lisa Roper

Lilium ‘Casa Blanca’ and hydrangeas frame the entrance to the Chanticleer House. Photo by Lisa Roper

This beautiful setting was once a summer home of Christine and Adolph Rosengarten, Sr., who headed a Philadelphia pharmaceutical company that ultimately merged with Merck. Rosengarten was inspired to name the property “Chanticlere” after the estate in Thackeray’s 1855 novel “The Newcomes.” The idea is not to affix a label to all the plants or be a category, such as a Japanese garden or a native plant garden. Rather, visitors should feel like they are guests of the Rosengarten’s, and the friendly welcome staff invites you to feel free to sit and enjoy the views and stroll the lawn areas.
Here at Chanticleer, gardening is art in its purest form. The media runs the gamut from plants, trees, woodlands, stone, and metal and the tableau is ever changing, never boring. The 35-acre garden includes more than 5,000 taxa or types of plants recorded in the database, with many that are temporary not cataloged.
IMG_20170430_105846Enjoy a Teacup Garden and the Chanticleer Terrace with seasonal and tropical plants. Bell’s Woodland features plants of the eastern North American forest, with azaleas, foam flowers, and ferns, as well as wetland plants including skunk cabbages, rushes, and sedges. There’s also the Asian Woods, Water Garden, Stream Garden, Ruin Garden, and the Cut-Flower and Vegetable Garden, where a potager, enclosed by paling, contains a mix of vegetables grown for taste and ornament.
For a behind-the-garden-gate look at Chanticleer, “The Art of Gardening” by R. William Thomas, is a great read, with design inspiration and planting techniques from Chanticleer. The head gardener/executive director compares his role to that of the conductor of a chamber orchestra, where individual outstanding talent melds to produce, instead of an orchestra of voices, but an orchestra of plantings.
What is art? For the Chanticleer staff, “. . . art is an everyday experience. Out gardeners are artists in every sense of the word, and they work in all media from plants to paint, wood, stone, metal, and clay…They create a garden experience where scent, sight, color, sound, and texture combine to make three-dimensional works of art that continually grow and change.”
In addition to horticultural expertise, many of the talents of the Chanticleer staff are found throughout the garden — ranging from wood working, stone carving, painting, and metal working.


Chanticleer is a 35-acre public garden that’s open for admission from April through October; Wednesday–Sunday, 10:00 am–5:00 pm.; Friday evenings open until 8 pm.
For GPS use, please use the following address: 786 Church Road, Wayne, PA 19087-4713
Heads up: There’s limited parking (lot holds 120 cars and can fill on weekends and Friday evening) so arrive early and wander at will.
Note: There is no food available onsite, although picnicking is generally allowed in designated areas. Painting is allowed on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays during open hours.
Wheelchair accessible, although not available for rent at the garden. The main path is just under a mile, and is probably accessible for most. Parts of the garden may be steep, and it’s recommended that you discuss with the receptionist the best path for your tour. Wheelchairs are Check out the courses, workshops and symposiums.

Clippings: #Perennial #Plant of the Year: Butterfly Weed

Perennial Plant of the Year: Butterfly Weed

Perennial Plant of the Year: Butterfly Weed

What’s a garden without butterflies? As gardeners focus more on native plants that support pollinators, the Perennial Plant Association made a brilliant choice and named Asclepias tuberosa — butterfly weed — as its 2017 Perennial Plant of the Year.

Native to the continental United States, butterfly weed’s orange/red/yellow flowers are a show-stopper for people and magnet for pollinators in sunny flower beds with average to dry soils.

Here’s some information from the Perennial Plant Association:

Pollinators – Many bees, wasps, ants, butterflies, beetles and hummingbirds. Butterfly weed is a member of Apocynaceae, or milkweed family. All members of the milkweed family serve as larval food for the Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), Queen Butterfly (Danaus gilippus) and the Milkweed Tussock Moth (Euchaetes egle).

Hardiness — USDA Zones 4 to 9

Light – Butterfly weed grows best in full sun.

Soil – Grows best in well-drained soils and it is drought tolerant.

Uses – Butterfly weed is a perfect selection for full-sun meadow or prairie gardens as well as formal to semi-formal urban gardens. Flower arrangers and the plants make long-lasting cut flowers.

Monarch butterfly on butterfly weed

Unique Qualities – Asclepias tuberosa are butterfly magnets. Flowers are a nectar source for many butterflies and leaves are a food source for the monarch butterfly caterpillars.

Maintenance –  Plant in masses. Butterfly weed pairs well with summer blooming Phlox, Hemerocallis, Liatris, Echinacea, Salvia, and most of June/July sun loving perennials. Reaches 2-3’ high with a 2’ spread. Cut back in early spring. Mulch young plants to prevent frost heaving. Be patient since butterfly weed is slow to emerge in the spring. Cutting back once, early in growth cycle, will promote compact growth.

Butterfly weed has no serious insect or disease problems. Deer usually avoid it. Deadheading Asclepias tuberosa should prevent reseeding and promoting a second push of color later in the season.

The Perennial Plant of the Year program showcases a standout perennial.  For other recommended perennials to add to your garden, be sure to search the Plant Database.

Peace Garden at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Garden

Garden lovers and history buffs alike will enjoy a road trip searching out the War of 1812 Bicentennial Peace Gardens. Dedicated at historic sites in the Great Lakes region of the United States and Canada, the War of 1812 Bicentennial Peace Gardens commemorate the more than two hundred years of peace and friendship between two countries that share the world’s longest undefended boarder.

The garden trail covers more than 600 miles including the United States and Canada, and blooms May through October. Gardens are located throughout the Greater Niagara, Finger Lakes, 1000 Islands/Seaway and Adirondack Coast regions of New York State.

Peace Garden at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Garden

Peace Garden at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Garden

Peace Garden at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Garden

Charlotte Genessee Lighthouse Peace Garden

Charlotte Genessee Lighthouse Peace Garden



For suggested itineraries, special events, nearby attractions, accommodations, and more, contact each  garden individually or call 1-800-622-2686 ext 23 (M-F 8 am – 4 pm EST)

About the International Peace Garden Foundation

Established in 1992, the nonprofit International Peace Garden Foundation is a nonprofit organization advocates global friendship through the creation of peace gardens and cultural programs around the world.

“Let the seeds of peace begin here and spread throughout the world.”

Greatest Show on Earth: Leaf Watch 2017

8010704160_566ce73556_zWhen is the best time to hit the road for the annual greatest show on earth: Fall Foliage? It depends on the location, but the U.S. leaf watch typically starts in early October at the highest peaks in a region and ends in the lower elevations sometime in November.

For a good idea of when trees are peaking in a particular area, the U.S. Forest Search_ fall colors _ Flickr – Photo Sharing! Service has a Fall Colors progression online map that gives a general indication. Green means “not yet,” bright red is “peaking” and brown, well you can probably guess.

The Forest Service also has a downloadable outdoor recreation app called Yonder to pinpoint top U.S destinations to view beautiful fall colors.

If you’re really anxious to get a sneak peek at changing leaves, have you thought about Alaska? Most people don’t, but autumn foliage colors peak from late August to early October in Alaska’s Tongass and Chugach National Forests.

Why do leaves change color?

When green leaves turn into the gorgeous fall colors of redyellowpurple, and brown before they drop depends upon the weather conditions – temperature and moisture – when the chlorophyll in the leaves is declining. For a detailed explanation, check out the U.S. Forest Service Science of Fall Colors.

But really, you don’t have to understand the science behind Nature’s spectacle — just enjoy the view!

Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower.

Albert Camus

Portland: Japanese Garden

Portland, Oregon

Japanese Garden


Considered the most authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan, Portland’s Japanese Garden has its own personality, reflected in five formal garden styles set on five and one-half acres: the Strolling Pond Garden, the Natural Garden, the Sand and Stone Garden, the Flat Garden and the Tea Garden.

What’s Special?

There are a number of concepts at work in a Japanese garden. There’s the concept of using “borrowed scenery,” such as the remarkable vista across the city of Portland toward the Cascade Mountains and Mount Hood. The concept of “hide and reveal” is subtle and affords the visitor delightful surprises. Plantings, placement of stones, and the route of pathways all give the garden wanderer constantly changing views. The garden is meant to calm and soothe, and instead of gasping in awe, the visitor is encouraged to pause and reflect.

Traditional Japanese gardens emphasize natural, abstract beauty, and you won’t find  the typical signage labeling plants.


Summer Public Hours (March 13 – September 30)

Winter Public Hours (October 1 – March 12)

The Garden is located in the west hills of Portland, Oregon, directly above the Rose Gardens in Washington Park.

Street Address
611 SW Kingston Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97205


New maple leaves are bright green, as the Portland weather turns warm again. Photo Credit: David Cobb

Bronx: New York Botanical Garden


Bronx, New York

Bronx, NY: New York Botanical Garden

Aquatic Plants Gallery in the Conservatory, NYBG

Aquatic Plants Gallery in the Conservatory, NYBG

A National Historic Landmark, the New York Botanical Garden celebrates its 125th Anniversary in 2016.

In 1888, Columbia University Professor of Botany and Geology Dr. Nathaniel Lord Britton and his wife, Elizabeth Knight Britton, who had a keen interest in mosses, visited the London’s Royal Botanic Gardens. The Brittons were inspired to create “a public botanic garden of the highest class” on 250 acres of land in northernmost New York City.

NYBG is considered a classical botanical garden, in that plants are studied, exhibited and people of all ages are taught about plants and the environment. The institution operates one of the world’s largest plant research and conservation programs.

Today, the New York Botanical Garden supports more than one million living plants.  NYBG is considered The collections include dramatic rock outcroppings, wetlands, ponds, a cascading waterfall, and a 50-acre tract of the original forest that once covered New York City. Among the horticultural attractions are 48 gardens and plant collections, including the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden, the Rock Garden, and the Jane Watson Irwin Perennial Garden, as well as outstanding collections of daylilies, orchids, hardy ferns, cherry and other flowering trees, and conifers. The Garden is also home to the nation’s largest Victorian glasshouse, the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory.


The NYBG is located at Bronx River Parkway (Exit 7W) and Fordham Road. It is accessible by Metro-North Railroad or subway. The Garden is open year-round, Tuesday through Sunday, as well as certain federal holiday Mondays, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Winter hours 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., mid-January through February). For more information, please call 718.817.8700 or visit nybg.org

The New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, New York 10458

Photo: Aquatic Plants Gallery in the Conservatory. Photo by Ivo M. Vermeulen

Winterthur Estate and Gardens




Winterthur, Delaware

Winterthur Estate and Gardens

Winterthur (pronounced “winter-tour”) is the horticulture legacy and childhood home of Henry Francis du Pont (1880–1969).  Set in the hills of the Brandywine Valley, du Pont created a wonderful 60-acre naturalistic garden within Winterthur’s 1,000 acres of woodlands, meadows, and streams.

The plantings at Winterthur bloom from late January to November, delighting visitors with a true living landscape. Generations of du Ponts from Evelina du Pont Bidermann, the first owner of Winterthur, to Henry Francis du Pont, the last private owner, have lived here.

A garden “should fit in so well with the natural landscape that one should hardly be conscious that it has been accomplished,” H. F. du Pont said.  The concept of the four layers of natural woodland (ground cover, shrubs, small trees and tall tree layers) are incorporated to create a beautiful garden that’s regarded as one of the last “Wild Gardens.”  As the website explains:

“The garden encompasses the entire estate; the views in every direction are important to the whole; the woodlands, hay fields, and meadows are as crucial as the more formally planted areas. The paths are an integral part of to the overall design, curving rather than straight, following the contours of the land, passing around tree, drawing walkers into the garden. At Winterthur ‘color is the thing that really counts more than any other,’ said du Pont. A master of color, the garden is known for its harmony and “near-discords,” as landscape architect Marian Coffin, who worked with du Pont on the garden’s hardscaping, wrote with admiration.”

Be sure and take the narrated garden tram shuttle at the Visitor’s Center to acquaint yourself with all Winterthur has to offer (and of course, allow time to visit the house!) Stops include Azalea Woods, Magnolia Bend, and Enchanted Woods.

What’s Special

Enchanted Woodsthumbnail

Enchanted Woods. There’s a saying that “Faerie folks are in old oakes.” In this enchanting three-acre children’s garden,  woodland fairies live on Oak Hill where there’s a Troll Bridge, Fairy Flower Labyrinth, Faerie Cottage, Frog Hollow, Tulip Tree House, Bird’s Nest and much for children to explore.


Open Tuesday–Sunday, 10:00 am–5:00 pm. Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Located at 5105 Kennett Pike (Route 52), Winterthur, DE 19735

For in-car GPS and online mapping services, use: 5105 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, DE 19807

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