While the overall lighting was better than in the former location, I found that the use of tinted lighting over some of the garden displays was a disaster. For example, some display used blue-green tints on the arborvitae and reddish lighting on the rhododendrons. I could not tell what the plants actually looked like when the colors are rigged to ‘enhance’ them.
I was only there one day (Friday) and I found the lectures and demonstrations to be quite good. A few take away gems are:
Edible Landscaping with Paul Split, who talked about incorporating many conventional herbs in the landscape in unconventional ways. He also touched on companion planting and using plants to control pests. Some of his great ideas included using a ring of hostas (dense root mass) to control the spread of mints in a bed; use leeks to slow the spread of underground insects and pennyroyal to block insects crawling on the surface of the ground.
Listening to the landscape: Using Nature’s Cues to Design a Garden that Works by Scott LeFleur of the New England Wildflower Society. The key point I took away was that if you select plants that are right for the conditions on your site (light, water, soil conditions, etc.) then you do not need to add any additional materials, like fertilizers and soil amendments or extra water, to have a successful planting. Another comment was that it is best not to put debris from invasive plants into your compost pile, in this case, landfilling or burning is the better option.
The most energetic presentation of the day came from Kathleen Gagan of Peony’s Envy with her Passion for Peonies. This talk was full of excellent information on peonies, both herbaceous and tree types, and I took two pages of notes. There is a ton of information on the company website and I won’t recount much of it here. The only point I will share here is that some tree peonies are grafted onto the roots of herbaceous plants and that it is critical that these be planted deeply with the graft union about 6” underground. This will keep the rootstock from putting up new growth. Non-grafted tree types should be planted about 2” below ground level.
Next week it’s back to Native Plants!