by Erica Bowman, LA
Winter Aconite – photo by Liz Bowman
OK let’s face it. I am ALWAYS dreaming of flowers. Perhaps that’s why working with Julie Messervy in her Saxtons River studio brings me so much happiness. Here, dreaming of flowers is part of my job. Of course, I am not the only one who feels this way. The office abounds with this personality type. All of Julie’s helpers, whether they are book editors, office assistants, or designers, are bound by this similar characteristic. No matter what hat we wear, our inner gardeners ride just below the surface, like sprouts before spring. Like any gardener, our passion for plants motivates us, even in the depths of winter, for we know that spring is coming and spring will bring our dreams to reality.
So in the meantime, it’s no surprise to any of us when pictures emerge upon desks, walls, and bulletin boards throughout the office showcasing outrageous bouquets, fantastic faerie houses (made of daffodil petals), or even propaganda for the growing and eating of kale. It’s of no further surprise when plant images are sent to and fro via email with terse subject headings such as, “great plant pic.” I am certainly prone to send these emails, and from what I can interpret from the overheard “oohs and ahhs,” I believe they are well received.
It’s not that we are getting off track here at JMMDS, it’s that we continue to strive towards a joyful work experience and pictures of plants, let’s face it, bring us joy. I spend a lot of time making planting decisions, and come into constant contact with great new plant images that I want to share with my fellow gardeners. Quick and unobtrusive like a visual “sound bite,” these silent interruptions not only offer my teammates a brief reprieve from their otherwise busy day, but also provide stimulation to their own design ideas.
I have included some of the recently shared images here for the reader’s own enjoyment, but beware. Like little niblets of summertime, these images are meant to be savored. Don’t devour them all at once, but enjoy them slowly and deliberately like a box of chocolate covered strawberries. You’ll be glad you did.
The following series seems to honor the color chartreuse – which incidentally is a color of honor here at the JMMDS studios. Not only does it appear on our logo, but also on walls, tables, chairs, water bottles, and clothing alike. We seem to like it inside as well as outside in the garden. Check out these plants.
The first, Euphorbia amygdaloides, is a real show off of a plant. http://www.lejardindesophie.net/jardinautes/sophie/phoplantes/e/euphorbamygrob1.jpg Its bright green color is reminiscent of spring rain itself, but it does nicely with soft purples, like Geranium or Polemonium. If it lasts into June, it can honor the stiff upright spikes of Iris siberica and their purple blossoms.
I have been waiting for this next new plant, Echinacea purpurea ‘Green Envy’ to get off its high horse and become more affordable and available at the regular nurseries. Finally it has. http://z.about.com/d/gardening/1/0/X/I/EchineaGreenEnvy_Hi.jpg
This plant has been so fresh and hip that it has demanded prices higher than $30 a plant at retail nurseries – which has kept me at bay until now. If there is anything I have learned about the designer plant industry, it’s that if you can wait a few years, the honeymoon will be over. If the plant has any merit, IT will live on.
In doing a bit of research on ‘Green Envy’ I discovered an entire website dedicated to its promotion. http://www.GetGreenEnvy.com/ It’s worth taking a look. There is a complete media package as well as information about the plant’s developer.
This next plant, Astilbe ‘Milk and Honey’ offers just enough subtle color to please the mature plant palette. http://www.gardencrossings.com/_ccLib/image/plants/DETA-547.jpg
The tips of these feathery plants are tinged with the most elegant viridity, offering opportunity for collaboration with light hostas, hay-scented ferns, or other shade loving greens. Recently we have used this plant in a garden entitled, “The Garden of the Plumes,” in which all plants had some quality that was evocative of feathers. This one is sure to be a knockout!
Anyone who thinks that daylilies are orange and humdrum has obviously not seen Hemerocallis ‘Bella Lugosi’.
I guess I should have known it, with Count Dracula as a namesake, how could the plant be anything but completely seductive and just a bit NAUGHTY! That doesn’t mean it is difficult to grow. Despite its title as a “designer daylily”, this plant still is a Hemerocallis, which means that it requires a relatively easy rate of care. Additionally, this one received an award from the American Hemerocallis Society. Go Bela!
Well, that is all for this entry. If you didn’t notice the color chartreuse in each of these selected plants, by all means look again.
Until next time, have sweet floriferous dreams.