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Just Fine

I kind of totally forgot I was supposed to write a blog two weeks ago. I think I remembered at one point and then headed out of town for the regional Garden Writers’ meeting and poof! – thought gone. It’s been crazy busy getting annuals in the ground even with us doing less of them than we once did. At this point there are not many to go though I have yet to plant my first dahlia. You all rest easy in the root cellar, I’ll get to you right soon.

I am incredibly grateful for a “normal” spring. At least I think it was normal. It’s been so long since I saw normal in relation to weather that I’m not sure what it is anymore. Rain has been available though whether you are getting just enough or way too much is dependent on which side of the street you live on. There’s that whole normal thing again. Seems we used to all get an inch during a rain event and now I might get an inch, the folks two blocks over get a quarter inch, and the folks three miles south get 2 ½ inches. And maybe that was the way it always was but we didn’t have such exacting measuring around (or I just plain don’t remember).

Despite good rain up to now I find myself looking over my shoulder pretty regularly to see if a drought is following me. I remember the earlier forecast of it coming again. And I certainly remember the last three summers, last summer in particular when it seemed all I did was water. Not that it could not have been even worse. I’m fully aware.

Today. Right now. The weather is just fine and the Gardens are looking great with many plants in full bloom and foliage.

Campanula ‘Sarastro’ remains a favorite. If it does not get crazy hot we can get three bloom cycles on these.

Sarastro plant

Sarastro plant

Lupines don’t always do well around here but Thermopsis (villosa?!?!) caroliniana, Carolina LOU-PINE, does fantastic.

Yellow Loupine

Nepeta ‘Joanna Reed’ bloomed from June til frost last year. This is its second year and looks wonderful. I hate the way the foliage smells on most Nepeta but there is no denying they tend to be real workhorses.

Joanna Reed

Love Geum ‘Double Bloody Mary’ even when out of focus.

Bloody Mary a red flower

Hot! Hot! Hot!

Double Bloody Mary a red flower

Deutzia x hybrida ‘Magicien’ is one of the best shrubs for shade. A blooming machine every year.

Magicien plant

Close up of Magicien flower

Penstemon ‘Dark Towers’ is very lovely with its combination of dark foliage and pink flowers. But if you read it is sterile, trust me, it is very fertile.

Dark Tower plant

I’m not a big fan of white flowers normally but I really like the crisp white of these Geranium sanguineum ‘Album’.

Geranium bushes

Dryopteris erythrosora (autumn fern) shows why it is so wonderful. This is ‘Brilliance’.

An autumn fern plant

Close up of autumn fern plant

Why I said earlier things were in full foliage.

Low plants in full green foilage

In its second full year the Four Seasons Garden is presenting well.

The four seasons garden at the IMA

The Formal Garden is in prime condition. Even the climbing roses are putting on quite the show this year.

The formal garden at the IMA The formal garden at the IMA

As always, the rain garden is lush and beautiful.

The rain garden at the IMA

And don’t you want to know what is beyond this curve?

A curvy path on the IMA campus

I could go on and on about the gardens being beautiful this time of year (along with the weather!) but those dahlias are not going to plant themselves. Not that it would hurt them to have a little ambition and at least drag their butts out of the root cellar. But alas, I must plant and water. Come on over and visit. The Gardens are beautiful. Wish you were here.

Filed under: Horticulture


Another Month Gone

It’s hard to believe I am about to go from constant complaining, worrying and bitching about no rain to concern about too much rain in a short period of time. But the remnants of Isaac are headed this way and the forecast models suggest some interesting possibilities. Like over seven inches of rain. Now hopefully that is spread over the whole four or five days covered in the forecast. But at the same time, that ground out there is sort of hard and dry making it a wee bit difficult for heavy rains to infiltrate the soil. Bodies of water are low so they can hold a more than normal so seems that would help. Then again, forecasts are notoriously inaccurate so who knows how much rain we will really get anyway. Maybe I shouldn’t worry. But it’s my nature. Is this bee worrying?

The recent rains have made such a difference around here. It’s surprising still to see the dramatic change in a landscape when only a little falls from the sky.. And I am not dismissing the effects of cooler temps in the equation. Getting rid of those high-90’s and 100’s has been critical. “Normal” temperatures remove so much stress on the plants (and the gardeners!) It’s good to see most of the hoses hanging here instead of hanging out in the gardens.

Turf seems especially fast to respond to actual rain. Despite irrigation the grass in front of the Lilly House looked bad. There was a bull’s-eye pattern around the irrigation heads. A small green patch circled the head, then a large brown-ish circle surrounded that, which was followed by green again blending into the pattern of the next head. The first rain initiated change and now it’s all lush green.

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Filed under: Horticulture


Raindrop: Can You See Behind the Scenes?

We recently launched the Raindrop web application as part of FLOW: Can You See the River, a project conceived by Mary Miss. Our team started on the project about a year ago, when Mary and her studio began meeting with us and scientists from Butler University and Williams Creek Consulting to build an app illustrating the concept that “All property is riverfront property.” When Mary and I began discussing the project, we talked about the challenge of catching a person’s attention and then engaging them with a visual experience that could lead them to deeper levels of information and insight about the natural world. This is essentially what a good visualization does, so I was excited to be part of the team building this technological bridge between art and science.

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Filed under: Technology


Miller House Symposium / Suzanne Stephens

As one of the presenters at IMA’s Miller House Symposium, I may sound rather biased. Nevertheless I would say it was one of more interesting symposiums in which I have participated. Craig Miller, the design arts curator at the museum ingeniously decided that rather than having a full roster of historians all present didactic disquisitions about the Miller House in Columbus, he would have two historians place the house in differing historical contexts, and then ask three practitioners to discuss their own perspectives on each of the major designers (Eero Saarinen, Alexander Girard and Dan Kiley) who were involved in creating this significant contribution to residential architecture in Columbus, Indiana in 1959.

The presentations offered a varied and substantive range of approaches to appreciating the Miller House’s creators: Brad Dunning included four animated videos relating to Alexander Girard’s work, all of which were smashing. Deborah Berke talked about her long admiration of Saarinen’s architecture with an emphasis on his small output of designs for residential design. It was illuminating, particularly from her own perspective as an architect. Laurie Olin discussed his affinity to the landscape design of Dan Kiley by showing Kiley’s architectural orientation in his work. (Like Olin, Kiley studied architecture before turning to landscape design.)

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Filed under: Design, Guest Bloggers, Miller House, The Collection


We’re Going for the Gold. Are You?

Learn more on how you can Go for the Gold!

Filed under: Venice Biennale


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