Filed under:Design,Gardens,Landscaping,Outdoor Living,Perennials,Shrubs,Trees
Oehme, van Sweden & Associates (OvS) is a Washington, D.C. based landscape architecture firm known for their designs for memorials, parks, public gardens, universities, and private buildings in the eastern United States. The firm helped popularize the “New American Garden” style, which included increased use of ornamental grasses in landscapes. The Form is named after the founders Wolfgang Oehme and James van Sweden. Notable projects include the landscape architecture for the Federal Reserve, World War II Memorial, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and the Friendship Garden of the U.S. National Arboretum inWashington, D.C.; North Point Park (Cambridge, Massachusetts); the Alderman Library Quadrangle at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA; and the Azalea Garden of the New York Botanical Garden. http://ovsla.com/
We first learned of them and were impressed with their gardens when James van Sweden spoke at a Perennial Plant Conference at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Museum of Art when Beth was a horticulturist there back in 1990. http://www.cheekwood.org/ They became known for a revolutionary landscape and garden look now known as a New American Garden style based on the art of Hans Hoffman and Helen Frankenthaler. Wolfgang Oehme died Dec. 15, 2011 in Towson, Md. He was 81.
Learn what inspired Wolfgang Oehme and James van Sweden with theses videos.
We designed this fence, patio and garden September and October of last year. The project was finished a few months ago with great success. The goal was to create outdoor spaces for the homeowners to spend time outdoors for a dose of fresh air and pretty surroundings. First off, in January of 2013, we constructed a new tall privacy fence and ornamental back gate leading to the alley to insure security and privacy for the new improved spaces. Next we installled a new front walk with a side walk leading to the backyard along the narrow space between the houses in Historic Germantown in Nashville, Tennessee. The back yard Crab Orchard stone patio was designed for outdoor living and dining to enhance the square footage of the actual living space of the house. The semi-circular Crab Orchard stone patio along the side property works as a non repeating pattern consistency in the overall design feel of the property. The gardens were freshly cut to repeat similar serpentine lines to compliment the new patios and walkway in relation to the 90 degree angles of the house. And last but not least, low voltage outdoor lighting was installed to light up the patio and garden space after dark.
Until this summer, I never had a designated area for vegetables in my garden. I love the look of all the flowers and colors happening together. Plus, it leaves less space for weeds. For many years, I harvested my flowers and vegetables at the same gardening time. One plant I would not be without is Okra.
In the mallow family, Okra flowers are very showy. They look like hibiscus. The deeply palmate leaves are attractive as well, and the whole plant seems to be disease and insect resistant. Varieties come short and tall so there’s a spot for the in any garden setting. It is very popular and also very wise to landscape with edible plants. It’s a real way to grow your own money.
Okra is extremely prolific in the garden. When harvesting, smaller, spineless okra fruits are the best. They taste great with tomatoes and are ripe for harvesting at the same time.
Okra is a great garden plant for its appearance, flowers, and delicious fruit.
Another lovely shrub in our garden is the semi-evergreen Sunburst St. John’s Wort and their bright yellow May bumblebee flowers. It is still looking nice with about half its foliage still out. Because of the flower’s bright yellow-gold colors, it was once believed to have some sort of enchanted link with the sun. It is not hard to see why, considering every flower appears to be an individual burst of sunshine. Each radiant flower seems to bloom more lovely than the last. Bright orange and yellow stamen sprout from the center of the blooming beauty. After the flowers fade, the seed head is showy as well.
The Hypericum frondosum ‘Sunburst’ shrub in my garden is pruned 2-3 feet tall to keep it honest and well-behaved. St. John’s Wort is also known to be resistant to deer, making it a good substitute for deer grazed and lost azaleas. It is not particular to any soil requirements and will grow in the sun to part shade and can survive without irrigation. The plant prefers a mild climate, where its emerald-bluish colored foliage can remain evergreen. With those brilliant yellow flowers in combination with its splendid leaves, St. John’s Wort is a treasure in the garden.
Even more attractive then their appearance, St. John’s Wort is known to have medicinal properties. Extracts from the plant have been known to heal conditions ranging from muscle pain and skin burns to minor and major depression. Rob Proctor states in his book Perennials that it can even be helpful with conditions such as ADHD and Parkinson’s disease. Perhaps this sunshine flower is magical after all.
In the heat of summer it’s hard to know what kind of work to do in a perennial garden. If the fall and spring work were done well, it should be a time to sit back and enjoy the riot of color. But part of having a garden is being in the garden with all the sweet smells and sounds of the outdoors.
Dividing daylilies is the perfect task for this time of year. The flower colors are still fresh in the mind. Weedy or empty spots in the garden can be filled with the divisions. Ordinary orange daylilies, attractive in their own right, should be kept in a separate garden bed so that they do not take over more interesting varieties of daylilies.
The task is simple . Just dig up the clumps that need moving. Once they are out of the ground, separate them with a garden fork. Examine the divisions for disease and/or insect damage. Remove any damaged plant parts and old flower parts. Cut the leaves back to about 6-8″ to create a nice neat clump.
Now it’s time to reset the divisions. It is acceptable to leave the divisions out of the ground for a week or so, stored in a cool dry place. This will help ensure no disease or insects are present. A mild bleach bath or sulfur dust will control problems if any are present.
At planting select a new part of the garden in need of color. Dig nice holes arranged in a diamond or rick-rack pattern and set the divisions in the ground. Fill in the holes, lightly mulch and water in the recent transplants. Now the garden has grown and will be an even more pretty place to enjoy.
Now that Christmas is over, and all the outdoor decorations are put away, the patio is clean to consider new and exciting ways to use it, even in the winter. Underused in the colder months, patios are valuable space that can add outdoor square footage to the home. Why not consider adding an outdoor fireplace to an existing patio to add a winter dimension to outdoor living?
This has been an especially frigid and cold winter. I have heard that we are experiencing some of the coldest nighttime temperatures in five years. Winter is winter, but enough is enough! We need to find a way to warm up that winter air. An outdoor fireplace it just the right thing to do that. It’s perfect for heating that outdoor room that many of us refer to as a patio. Just imagine how much fun it would be to host a sledding party (if it really does snow) and warm up around that outdoor fireplace.
The added dimension of light and heat on the patio make it a destination in winter as well as spring and fall. Evenings are cool and days are shorter during those seasons and the outdoor fireplace makes the patio a desirable place to relax and enjoy family and friends.
One of the prettiest things about summer are the gigantic containers of geraniums and ferns that homeowners use to decorate their front porches, decks and patios. It’s a lot of work to empty and drag those terra cotta or stone containers under the house or in the garage once the night temperatures threaten frosts. Consider leaving those containers outdoors and create cold hardy beautiful showy container gardens all winter long.
When I design container gardens for winter, I always start with one to three evergreens as the centerpiece, depending on the size of the container. Boxwoods, Nandina, soft Hollies are all good choices. These can either be transplanted into the landscape when spring arrives or remain in the containers as a year round centerpiece surrounded with Summer color and Winter color. I have come to really love the constant evergreen look that I have in many of my containers so I only change the seasonal color at the base of those particular year round pots. Small Japanese maples make beautiful container plants and it’s a great way to get a less expensive tree and use it as a decoration on the patio before moving it into the landscape as a more permanent fixture.
Once I have made my mind up about the centerpiece, I go about adding lots of pansies for winter color. I choose light colors so that they show up during the winter when the days are so short. I also use plenty of evergreen ground covers to simulate a miniature micro garden. English ivy, Pachysandra, and Holly fern are all good choices. Perennials that are evergreen or semi evergreen work really well in winter containers to provide contrast in texture and color variations.
Some folks might be thinking these look like another version of a Christmas tree. Well, it’s easy to put lights on these evergreens and they do look really pretty for the holidays. The added light is nice during the winter when the days are so short. Here in Middle Tennessee, as the winter solstice approaches, it is dark by 4:30pm. That is a very busy time of year, and a little light by the front door might not be a bad idea. There is no harm in letting your neighbors know that you are celebrating the holiday season.
Container gardens bring color and texture to your patios all year long. This is great when you can spend time in your outdoor leisure spaces throughout the coldest season of the year, especially those frequent sunny warm days we have in Tennessee in the Winter. Enjoy!
Summer is long and we are surrounded by green. Everything is green and in a matter of days the leaves begin to change and a magical time of the year explodes in color. Responding to day length, the green pigment in the leaves of trees (chlorophyll) begins to break down and the other pigments in the leaves which have always been present, have their time to shine.
The seasonal affect is wonderful and the colors are spectacular. Red, orange, and yellow make up the color scheme that all of us who live east of the Mississippi River know as autumn. I want to share with you a way to tell trees by their fall color. Trees turn the same color every year so it’s easy to understand what the woods look once the leaves change colors. Fall color lasts for about two weeks and in Middle Tennessee we are beginning to see dramatic change right now. Unfortunately, the colors have been dampened by the unseasonably excessive rain we are experiencing, especially the weeks of rain from the late summer continuing through early fall. I am afraid that this year many of the leaves will drop green due to the fungal growth and no time for the leaves to dry out and release the tannins and other pigments.
In spite of the rains, fall is still here and the colors are changing on many of the trees. Dogwoods are the red leaves in the color scheme. Their ripe berries are also red so that makes their color change have even more depth and impact. Red oaks and Shummard oaks also turn red or maroon in the fall. Boston Ivy and Virginia creeper are famous for their red fall color, even the dreaded Poison Ivy has a spectacular deep red color. I can’t forget about all those pretty maples that turn red, but some of the best color comes from maples that turn orange or golden yellow.
The best known maples that turn orange in the fall are the sugar maples. The sweet nature of these trees that provides us with maple syrup in the early spring also makes certain that orange is prevalent in the autumnal landscape. Some cherries that are grown for their spring blossoms and not for fruit also have a lovely orange fall color display. One of the most dependable trees that changes to orange is the Tulip Poplar. One of the giants in the forest and the state tree of Tennessee, its color in the fall is breathtaking.
Trees that turn yellow in the fall may seem a little ordinary, but reliable golds and clear yellows are valuable elements in the landscape and make for great pleasure while driving around leading our busy lives. Gingko trees have the clearest golden yellow of any tree that I can think of. The golden fan-shaped leaves make the tree seem like something from another time. In fact, Gingkos can be traced to the fossil record. Maples can provide a showy clear yellow fall display. Eastern Redbuds provide a lower story yellow to light the dark days of fall.
I love this time of year and I encourage all of you to take some time and notice how special the changing of the seasons really is.