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'Purple Smoke' - The best Baptisia

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Try  planting Baptisia 'Purple Smoke'.  And pair it with Baptisia Cherries Jubilee.A deer resistant, native, drought tolerant, purple, long lived perennial! Wow!
It is a hybrid of B. australis and B. alba and is a vigorous grower.  Discovered by Rob Gardener of the North Carolina Botanical Gardens, it has charcoal-gray stems and is purple.  
Baptisia is a native perennial that has a long taproot, loves sunny sites with lean or poor soil. Average to dry soil is best.  Its deep tap root allows it to survive long dry periods, making it a challenge to move once it is established. 

The flowers resemble lupines and are smoky violet. Numerous flowers open first at the base of the flower stalk in May and ascend upwards, topping out at 4.5' tall. It has fine textured, blue-green foliage. 
The flower spikes rise above the foliage for easy viewing. I love its unique flower color and strong vertical form.  A Niche Gardens introduction.
Steve Foltz, director of horticulture at the Cincinnat…

Publishers Weekly Gives Gardentopia a Starred Review!

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Gardentopia: Design Basics for Creating Beautiful Outdoor Spaces Jan Johnsen. Countryman, $29.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-68268-396-5 Readers with even the slightest interest in beautifying an outdoor space—large or small—should find something of value in this expansive guide from landscape designer Johnsen (The Spirit of Stone: 101 Practical & Creative Stonescaping Ideas for Your Garden). She emphasizes the importance of deciding upon a goal for a garden and visualizing its final appearance before beginning work on it, declaring that the sum of any such project is greater than its parts. Johnsen takes care to dissect these parts, revealing creative possibilities (accompanied by practical guidance) for each nook and cranny. For example, to recover the lost art of “garden strolling,” the design can include a widened, curving walkway that coaxes the stroller through a garden’s various turns and twists. With proper planning and plant placement, the garden will “reveal itself in stages, hidi…

Five Seasons -The Gardens of Piet Oudolf April 25 at Jacob Burns Film Center, Pleasantville, NY

I am happy to say that I will be signing copies of my new book, Gardentopia, after a screening of the great film, Five Seasons - The Gardens of Piet Oudolf  on Thursday April 25 at 7 pm. Not to be missed if you love gardens!

This is a one night showing and is part of the wonderful Focus on Nature film series.

Go here for a trailer-



Go here to buy tickets - they have a few left.
https://burnsfilmcenter.org/booking/five-seasons-the-gardens-of-piet-oudolf/

Great Native Shrubs: Fothergilla 'Mt Airy and 'Blue Shadow'

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I adore Fothergilla gardenii Mt Airy.(wonderful photo of fothergilla leaf from Quercus Design blog)

Fothergilla is native to the Appalachians, is deer resistant  and sports fragrant, honey scented, early spring flowers before the leaves come out.

The flowers are white, short bottlebrush spikes that light up a sunny to partial sun woodland corner. The flowers are followed by blue green, heavily textured foliage.


Photo from Robs Plants Website - http://www.robsplants.com/plants/FotheGarde


photo by Laura McKillop
'Mt Airy' is a dwarf form and got its name from the Mt. Airy Arboretum in Cincinnati, Ohio. When compared to the native species, Mt. Airy Fothergilla has more vibrant multicolored foliage in shades of yellow, orange and red in October through mid-November.

This fall color is the best! It is spell binding in the garden....


 Photo for Monrovia by Doris Wyjna

Photo by Plant Introductions, Inc
 I like to use 'Mt Airy' in combination with Fargesia, Manhattan Euonymus…

Gardentopia - “MELLOW YELLOW” SPIREA

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This is tip #134 from my brand new book, Gardentopia- so happy to share with you.
134. “MELLOW YELLOW” SPIREA

Spirea is considered a common shrub, but ‘Mellow Yellow’ spirea (Spiraea thunbergii ‘Ogon’) challenges that assumption. It is an early blooming, deciduous shrub that grows 3 to 5 feet tall and wide. 

Small, white blossoms appear in profusion in March through April before the leaves emerge, but it is the willowy, twiggy branches and leaves that make it notable. The wispy, fine- textured foliage starts out yellow, softens to a yellow- green in summer, and turns a lovely combination of reds, oranges, and yellows in the fall, making it a late- season star as well.


Hardy to −30° F, it is easily pruned after flowering in spring. ‘Mellow Yellow’ spirea is a versatile, low-maintenance shrub that brightens up any plant bed. It likes sun, and it can be considered a filler as it fits in harmoniously with many plants. 
It grows fully down to the ground, and it makes a good front-of-border plant.…

My new book! GARDENTOPIA

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Spring has sprung! I am happy to announce the publication of my new book Gardentopia- Design Basics for Creating Beautiful Outdoor Spaces.
Publishers Weekly just released its wonderful review which I am sharing with you. I took the liberty of adding a few photos from my book:
Readers with even the slightest interest in beautifying an outdoor space-large or small-should find something of value in this expansive guide from landscape designer Johnsen (The Spirit of Stone: 101 Practical & Creative Stonescaping Ideas for Your Garden). 


She emphasizes the importance of deciding upon a goal for a garden and visualizing its final appearance before beginning work on it, declaring that the sum of any such project is greater than its parts. Johnsen takes care to dissect these parts, revealing creative possibilities (accompanied by practical guidance) for each nook and cranny. 


For example, to recover the lost art of "garden strolling," the design can include a widened, curving walkwa…

Buttercup winterhazel

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What blooms earlier than forsythia, has a delicate fragrance and is an easy-to-care for  compact delight ?  That is also hardy to USDA Zones 6-9 and native to Japan and Taiwan?



Buttercup winterhazel(Corylopsis pauciflora)
Toward mid April (depending where you live), the bare branches of buttercup winterhazel hang with inch-long clusters of soft yellow flowers that appear as little lanterns.  The fragrance is noticeable, making it perfect near a sitting spot.  

It was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit (AGM) in 1993. 

Winterhazel is good in a small city garden or as a woodland underplanting in open shade.  It glows in front of evergreens and is a perfect pairing with purpleRhododendron mucronulatum since they flower at the exact same time. And winterhazels look wonderful with snowdrops and hellebores! 

As the flowers fade, the leaves unfurl to 3 inches long, bright green with red edges before darkening to rich green. In fall they turn a gold-bronze.