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.
Abelia ‘Rose Creek’ is a prolific blooming shrub and makes for excellent curb appeal. ‘Rose Creek’ is a dense and compact Abelia cultivar. This attractive shrub makes a tidy and elegant summer flowering shrub. Evergreen leaves are shiny and become purple in cold weather.
The flowers can be described a tubular white 1/2″ long flowers and form in loose clusters. Occasional tip pruning encourages blooming until fall frost. They are an exceptional and well behaved flowering shrub to add to the mixed shrub and perennial garden.
The Nellie R. Steven’s holly is a large, evergreen shrub also considered a small tree that grows to be about twenty feet tall and fifteen feet wide. It is a hardy plant that can thrive in most climates. Nellie R. Stevens are full of thick, dark-green foliage that maintains its dark coloring all year round. They require very little maintenance and are usually resistant to pest damage. A Nellie R. Stevens should be planted in areas where it will receive full sun or partial shade. They prefer acidic soil, but the Nellie R. Stevens are adaptable and can manage in most soils.
The Nellie R. Stevens will develop a dense conical shape that is difficult to see through. For this reason, the evergreen is often used in privacy green walls to block prying eyes from the neighbors into your gardens and to prevent you from doing the same. They also perform well as a low maintenance foundation planting for the house. They look great planted solo or a grouped to create a dense privacy or as an evergreen architectural effect in the gardens.
Nellie R. Stevens is a holly that produces bright red berries later in the year from little white blossoms. The red berries on an evergreen cutting from this holly tree perfect decorations for the Christmas season. This holly will need to be watered regularly during its first eighteen months in the ground in order to ensure that it grows a strong root structure. The Nelly R. Stevens holly will grow as much as three feet a year with irrigation and one foot without irrigation.
We use these well performing large shrubs in almost all of our designs because it is a stellar player in the garden and it thrives in our mid-south climate. Don’t get caught with your plants down. Early Winter into the early spring is the best time to plant large shrubs and trees. Enjoy.
Azaleas are spectacular, bright flowering shrubs in the Spring. They grow lovely flowers in colors that range from white and pink to yellow and orange. Azaleas are commonly used in landscaping with mixed shrub plantings. Some people even enjoy their potted azalea indoors. Despite the large variety of this plant and its clear beauty, Azaleas can be difficult to successfully grow. They usually do best in moderate temperatures and do best in areas that are very well shaded. The Azalea will not successfully grow in alkaline soil, instead preferring in slightly acid or ‘ericaceous’ soil with a pH between a 1 and a 7, for example peaty soil.
In order to create a proper soil content it is important to amend the beds with a composted material and a refined pine mulch product known as soil conditioner. These amendments are then tilled and mixed into the existing soils to create an ericaceous soil bed. Soil that azaleas are planted in must always be moist. It is important to maintain the right amount of moisture. Too much water can easily water-log the roots, killing the plant. This could happen because of a lack of drainage in the area that the azalea was planted. A common solution to this drainage issue is to have raised beds built to aid in the drainage. The azalea can die from lack of water just as easily. The soil must be damp to the touch at all times. If the soil feels dry to the touch, then your azalea may be at risk of dying from lack of water.
If these important steps are followed, azaleas will thrive in their new home. Most other ornamental evergreen and/or flowering deciduous plants will also benefit from the soil amending process. This is the way to create beautiful and healthy ornamental gardens for your pleasure.
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.
As a lover of all things gardens, I believe garden design is the most important aspect of any beautiful garden anywhere in the world. That may sound a little boorish but it proves true time and again. Garden design is not a hit or miss process. It’s thoughtful, mindful, and meant to provide homeowners with the most attractive and beneficial use of their land.
With that said, I will agree that certain times of the year mask poor or no design better than others. In the summer, when every plant is full of leaves and many plants have flowers, the fullness and density cover up bad placement or lack of thoughtfulness. In the winter, a few well chosen evergreens can give the appearance of good garden bones. Companion plantings may be nonexistent, but it’s hard not to like a healthy boxwood hedge.
Now let’s think about this time of year, late autumn and early winter, the beginning of December when the last of the well planned fall color that was ever so important for beautiful outdoor living spaces falls and returns to the soil. There’s just no way to have floral color and good fall color without a good design. A good garden installer working from a thoughtful garden design can make sure that this time of year has plenty of floral impact, and not just pansies and mums.
The other season that responds to well planned design is spring. So many choices exist in the spring as far as color in flowers and emerging leaves. In order for the outdoor living spaces to really pop without clashing or being difficult to look at is through good garden design.
We strive to achieve the idea of a garden plan that takes into account the 3 Ds of of garden plant design. The 3 Ds of garden design are Diversity, Depth, and Density. All great gardens are comprised of a well diversified pallet of plant materials taking into account color and texture for both floral and foliage to create a serendipitous experience when enjoying the garden. Depth is an important aspect for the viewer to experience layers of interest as the eye travels into the garden spaces. And Density is the fullness and spaciousness of a well planted garden.
These 3 basic rules dictate our plant material planning methods for the beautiful mixed borders and beds that are the hallmark creations of Teacup Gardener. Total garden design may also incorporate waterscapes and hardscapes such as water gardens, patio fountains, koi ponds, patios, decks, walls, gazebos, and arbors into the creation of custom outdoor living spaces. We consider everything when we design the spaces that make you smile year after year as you enjoy the perfect garden at your home.
We are currently working on a design to create a 40′ long and 5′ deep rock garden in Old West Nashville. The landscape design process can be complicated, especially when we begin to visualize a future effect of the garden over time. When the garden grows and matures the effect can be fabulous combining the best effects of the disparate elements blending together to create a pleasing aesthetic experience. The rock garden is an unusual dilemma, especially when the rock is not naturally occurring on the site of the future hillside garden. For more info on Rock Gardens click here.
The first thing to consider is the placement of the rocks and stones to create a naturalistic effect. I pay close attention to the chance formation of stone on naturally occurring hillsides to become more acquainted with the basic fractals of the non-repeating patterns of stone. I use these impressions when I calculate how much stone we need and the basic layout. Once the stones begin to take shape on the slope, the detail stones can be installed and the chirt loving alpine perennials and shrubs can be placed creating an interesting blend of stones, plants, and slope. This is the best solution for a sloping hillside that has a pleasing view from the comfort of the house and/or patio or along a busy street to enhance the curb appeal for the neighborhood.
Winter is here in the South and there is no changing it. We may be able to steal a few warm days every once in a while, but for the most part we will be cold for the next four to six weeks or so. Besides waiting for the daffodils to poke their heads through the ground, what is there to do in the garden on those nice days when a person just has to get outside.
Late winter is a great time to deadwood and cloud prune boxwoods. Deadwooding is a term used to describe trimming or snapping out all the dead internal branches of a boxwood so that new growth can form and keep an old boxwood full and lush. Cloud pruning is a term used to describe a pruning technique that lends a soft airy texture to boxwoods that also allows new growth to form on the inside of big old boxwoods. Cloud pruning is a method of pruning each cluster of branches as a whole with the intent to round off the branch clusters. This creates an overall appearance of a cloud with a nice natural lumpy puffy look when the pruning is completed as opposed to the mechanical human-made perfectly rounded look.
Pruning in late winter, before bud break encourages the boxwood to put on plenty of new growth in the Spring, both on the tips of the branches, but also on the older, established interior stems of a mature boxwood. Fresh green growth coupled with dark lush green growth is a beautiful sight to see on a well manicured landscape. It’s a real sign that spring has sprung.