Coleus Sunshine

Sunshine Coleus, CarlisleFlowers permission
Sunshine Coleus, credit:CarlisleFlowers
It's Mother's Day weekend and the gardening mother is taken by the non-gardening father to Cylburn Arboretum's Annual Market Day.  We went directly to the hothouse where it was single file down the line of annuals propagated by the City of Baltimore's citizens, friends and staff.  The choice of coleuses was overwhelming.  My husband stood tall and guarded our picks because swooping hands were flying low.  I asked for his advice trying to arrange a tall center plant, a medium size spreading plant and a trailer for my containers.  Yet my dear one spied the hot lick of the day, the Sunshine Coleus.  Going against all the rules I bought three for each planter and will have only a mounded grouping.  They are so gorgeous I'm not sure anything could pair with them.
Cylburn Arboretum, Baltimore, MD, Courtesy: Cylburn Arboretum Association
Cylburn Arboretum, Baltimore, MD, Courtesy: Cylburn Arboretum Association
Upon leaving (with dollars to spare!), I happily told hubby that these coleuses, brassy bold, were favorites of the Victorians.  He asked if they were annuals.  "Yes," I said.  "Can we get them back?" he wanted to know.  "Only if we come to Cylburn next year.  And hon, (so Baltimorese) I'm so glad you picked them out."  "See," as people admired our cache on the way out, "all gardeners smile at each other.  They don't need to talk about anything else but flowers and trees.
1870 English Victorian Garden, Courtesy, The Flower Museum, London, England
1870 English Victorian Garden, Courtesy, The Flower Museum, London, England
St. Louis Victorian Garden, Courtesy: Missouri Botanical Garden
Victorian Garden, Courtesy: Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO

Patrick Blanc Vertical Garden of Orchids at New York Botanical Garden

World-Renowned French Botanist and Artist Brings Breathtaking Displays to The New York Botanical Garden The Orchid Show: Patrick Blanc’s Vertical Gardens March 3–April 22, 2012
Vertical Garden of Orchids, New York Botanical Gardens, Photo: Ivo M. Vermeulen
Vertical Garden of Orchids, New York Botanical Gardens, Photo: Ivo M. Vermeulen
The Orchid Show: Patrick Blanc’s Vertical Gardens at The New York Botanical Garden will be unlike any other orchid show ever seen. That is because the guest designer for the 10th annual exhibition is Patrick Blanc, world-renowned French botanist and artist who will transform the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory with his spectacular vertical walls of living foliage. Using thousands of orchids and companion plantings as his palette, Blanc introduces towering spectacles of tropical life to the landmark Conservatory. Blanc, celebrated for his innovative vertical gardens and signature “green walls,” abandons the constraints of gravity in his cutting-edge approach to horticulture. In an explosion of alluring design and fragrance, exotic plant walls rise high above, creating this season’s not-to-be missed exhibition for garden lovers, orchid fans, and those desiring a one-day tropical retreat. Rich in color and texture, Blanc’s living tapestries have been commissioned for cityscapes, interiors, museum exhibitions, and fashion shows worldwide. One of the most notable among his more than 150 projects in 20 countries is the living exterior façade of the Quai Branly Museum in Paris. Blanc Uses Orchids and Tropical Plants to Create Mesmerizing Textural Walls in the Conservatory This year The Orchid Show at The New York Botanical Garden, the nation’s largest and only curated orchid exhibition, begins with a dramatic 8’ x 16’ wall erected in the Reflecting Pool of the Palms of the World Gallery and planted with vibrant orchids such as Psychopsis Kalihi (butterfly orchid), ferns and other foliage, interspersed with ribbons of trickling water. The journey continues through the Lowland Tropical Rain Forest Gallery, where orchids grow in the canopies of tropical trees, and then past a display of miniature orchids, some with thousands of tiny flowers on a single plant, in the Upland Tropical Rain Forest Gallery. Upon entering the Seasonal Exhibition Galleries, The Orchid Show’s main galleries, visitors will encounter Blanc’s astounding 13’ x 13’ “cube” of orchids, a square of four vertical walls of plants with two doorways and six windows. Outside, the “cube” will be festooned with a remarkable array of orchids. Inside, visitors will be treated to Blanc’s images and drawings, reflecting how his fascination with the remarkable adaptations and diversity of plants sparked his innovative approach to vertical gardens and his creative flair for growing plants in urban environments. After experiencing the rich textures and dramatic colors of Blanc’s “cube,” visitors travel along a pathway flanked by three walls, 23’ to 33’ feet in length. Alive with more of his exciting designs, inspired by his many travels to tropical environments, these walls are clad with Blanc’s distinctive plantings of lush ferns and tropical foliage plants such as zebra basket vine, rex begonia vine, showy medinilla, chain cactus, and Krauss’ spike-moss mixed with brilliant orchids, including ×Aliceara Marfitch ‘Howard’s Dream’, ×Oncidesa Gower Ramsey ‘Hilo Dream’, ×Jackfowlieara Appleblossom ‘Woodlands’, and ×Miltonidium Melissa Brianne ‘Highland’, to create intricate patterns of colors and shapes. Intoxicating fragrances permeate the air, completing a journey of the senses that transports visitors to an exotic and captivating world. Designer Patrick Blanc The Orchid Show: Patrick Blanc’s Vertical Garden is designed by award-winning French botanist and artist Patrick Blanc, known internationally as the “Green Man” for his groundbreaking living tapestries. At the age of seven, he designed his first aquarium; at the age of 15, Blanc constructed his first waterfall by recycling aquarium water through the root systems of plants. Through 35 years of studying the adaptive properties of plants in the world’s most primitive forests, Blanc’s process allows plants, flowers, mosses, and vines to grow without soil along the face of a wall. His passionate fascination with plants that grow in unusual places has made Blanc a pioneer in this emerging form of horticultural art. The concept of the green wall dates back to 600 B.C. with the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Blanc has modernized the larger green wall concept with his innovative brand of hydroponics technology. Renowned French architect Jean Nouvel writes in the preface of “The Vertical Garden: From Nature to the City” by Patrick Blanc, “He works on including a multiplicity of species. The system is fabulous and the results mysterious.” This exhibition will celebrate Blanc as a designer and an artist and introduce his remarkable creations to thousands of visitors. The Orchid Experience Continues Throughout the Garden In venues across the Garden’s 250 acres, The Orchid Show offers visitors opportunities to learn about the Garden’s historic and ongoing orchid research, embark on an audio tour, purchase top-quality orchids at Shop in the Garden, receive care information from experts, take orchid-related courses, and more: History and Mystery of Orchids Saturdays and Sundays, 1 & 3 p.m. With over 25,000 species growing on six continents, orchids fascinate and touch the lives of people in every country and culture from the jungles of Costa Rica to vanilla farms in Mexico. This series of exciting presentations and demonstrations takes you on a journey around the world of orchids and shows you how to grow and care for them at home. 2 Orchid Audio Tour A cell phone tour of The Orchid Show: Patrick Blanc’s Vertical Garden complements the exhibition, giving visitors a unique perspective on the remarkable orchids in the Conservatory. Orchids for Sale Shop in the Garden has hard-to-find specimens as well as easy-to-grow varieties, orchid-care products, and hundreds of books about this esteemed flower. On weekends, experts will be available to advise you in selecting and caring for orchids. Orchid Evenings Saturdays throughout The Orchid Show plus Friday, April 20, 6:30–9:00 p.m. Enjoy a cocktail while viewing The Orchid Show and its thousands of spectacular flowers. Music and unforgettable beauty make for one of New York City’s most romantic date destinations. Your ticket includes a complimentary cocktail and special dinner offers at some of Arthur Avenue’s outstanding restaurants. Non-Member $30/Member $20 (Adults 21 and over) Orchid Capturing the Beauty of Orchids: Photography Workshop Saturday, March 17, 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m. The Garden’s renowned Orchid Show is ideal for photographing the beauty of these highly prized flowers. Hone your skills of composition, background control, close-up angles, and capturing natural light. Complete the day with a presentation and critique of your photographs. Non- Member $158/Member $142 Orchids in Ice! Sunday, March 25, 11 a.m.–3:30 p.m. Create your own show-stopping orchid arrangement in a container filled with faux ice after gaining creative inspiration from the beautiful orchids in The Orchid Show. Non-Member $96/Member $86 Browse more classes and register at Visit the Garden’s Web site at for complete exhibition details and to purchase tickets. ### Founding Sponsor, The Tiffany & Co. Foundation Major Sponsors, Mr. & Mrs. Marvin H. Davidson Generous support also provided by the Karen Katen Foundation Additional support provided by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States

Chicago Flower Show, “The Sport of Gardening”


Themed "The Sport of Gardening,"

Annual Green Showcase (March 5-13) Will Inspire, Educate and Motivate

The 2011 Chicago Flower & Garden Show, the Midwest’s iconic annual horticulture and landscape extravaganza, offers an inside look at the show's 17th year and all it has to offer. Returning to Navy Pier from Saturday, March 5, through Sunday, March 13, and themed “The Sport of Gardening,” a major attraction will be the 30-plus gardens spotlighting top Midwest landscapers, growers and garden designers.

Christy Webber's Garden Lawn View, Courtesy Chicago Flower Show
Christy Webber's Garden Lawn View, Courtesy Chicago Flower and Garden Show

Designed to inspire, educate and motivate both novice and seasoned gardeners, as well as the eco-curious, the acclaimed show features the latest in sustainable and green products. It also offers visitors unique, non-stop learning opportunities at more than 100 workshops and free educational seminars.

"The gardens this year will be about reality blended with fantasy," says Tony Abruscato, show director. "Visitors will experience the creative, colorful and sleek imaginations of our featured landscape professionals, while learning how the concepts can translate to their own backyards, patios or balconies."

In addition, in cooperation with the Chicago Botanic Garden, the Chicago Flower & Garden Show will also feature the return of the popular Horticulture Competition. Individuals, garden clubs and businesses passionate about houseplants, window boxes, photography, miniature landscapes, container gardens and all things green are encouraged to enter the Horticulture Competition. Entries will be accepted for judging in more than 90 categories with winners being showcased during the show's entire nine-day run. For more information and entry deadlines, visit p://" target="_blank"> Other highlights of the much-anticipated show include: -"Evening in Bloom" preview benefit on Friday, March 4. Honorary Chairs Mayor and Mrs. Richard M. Daley host a sneak preview of the gardens while guests also enjoy culinary creations from more than 20 leading Chicago restaurants along with specialty cocktails and desserts. The evening's proceeds benefit local green not-for-profits.

Tablescape by Kenneth Ludwig, Courtesy Chicago Flower Show
Tablescape by Kenneth Ludwig, Courtesy Chicago Flower and Garden Show
-Many of the Midwest’s top design experts will create Tablescapes, another popular show feature. These creative minds will inspire visitors with their innovative and clever table settings that create unique dining and entertainment experiences. -A New Plant Varieties exhibit will showcase the latest in new and soon-to-be available plant, flower and vegetable varieties.

-The always exciting vendor Marketplace where visitors can shop an eclectic offering of gardening, landscape and horticulture supplies including green and sustainable products.

-The Garden Gourmet stage where guests can tickle their taste buds with an array of freshly prepared cuisine with an emphasis on organic and garden ingredients prepared by guest chefs from Chicago’s top restaurants.

- Free educational seminars from leading industry professionals will be presented at all skill levels. Visitors can learn about everything from shade and container gardening to water conservation, native plants and much more.

Kids Activity Center, Courtesy Chicago Flower Show
Kids Activity Center, Courtesy Chicago Flower and Garden Show

-The popular "Potting Parties," container gardening workshops held four times daily. Potting Party proceeds raise money for local charities. Presented in conjunction with the Chicago Botanic Garden, parties are limited to 25 "students" per class.

The Affinia Hotel Chicago, just steps away from Navy Pier, will again be the show's host hotel. For more info and special room rates, visit

Tickets to the 2011 Chicago Flower & Garden Show can be purchased online now at There is no service charge when ordering online. Adult tickets are $15 on weekdays and $17 on weekends. Tickets for children ages 4-12 are $5 every day. Discounts are also available for groups of 15 or more and may be ordered through website.

‘Shimmer Clematis’, ‘Clematis Guiding Promise’, and ‘Help for Heroes’ Dahlias Prized at Royal Horticultural Society, Hampton Palace Court Garden Show

The Hampton Court Palace Garden show sponsored by the Royal Horticultural Society (the world's largest flower show), London, England, feature new roses, clematis and dahlias this year.  Clematis Nursery, owner Raymond Evison, is showing "Shimmer" as well as the "Clematis Guiding Promise".  It can be seen at the Girlguiding UK Centenary Garden.  Jon Wheatley and the Plant Heritage National Collection of Dahlias has developed a single flower dahlia called "Help for Heroes" with purple bronze leaves and and a magenta-scarlet flower. To see a video of the top ten plants to the Royal Horticultural Society website:

Copella Bee Garden, Hampton Court Palace Garden Flower Show, Royal Horticultural Society, London, England

Designer Sadie May Stowell shows how we can create 'bee-friendly' gardens in the Copella Bee Garden at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show sponsored by the Royal Horticultural Society, London, England. An interactive sculptural building with plantings chosen to attract bees was inspired by the bee's "waggle dance" and the garden reflects the journey from plant to hive. The Copella Bee Garden designed by Sadie May Stowell, built by Landscape Associates Ltd. and sponsored by Copella Fruit Juices heightens the awareness of the population decline of bees.
Designed by Sadie May Stowell (Sadie May Stowell Landscape Design)
The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK's leading gardening charity dedicated to advancing horticulture and promoting good gardening. Our goal is to help people share a passion for plants, to encourage excellence in horticulture and inspire all those with an interest in gardening. Find out more about the RHS and how we work

Biodiversity at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2010

Biodiversity is the buzz word

Biodiversity is the buzz word at the Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show 2010.  The plants and garden designs are stunning, as always, but one can hear the gentle sounds of bees, or at least bees that should be there.  Chelsea underscores that need for biodiversity to sustain our pollinators, those beneficial insects that feast on the smorgasbord of show gardens.  To view the garden designs incorporating pollen and nectar go to the following websites: L’Occitane GardenHESCO Garden 2010,  Bradstone Biodiversity GardenCourtyard Gardens,   Global Stone Bee Friendly Plants GardenSAC Strutt & Parker Sustainable Highland Garden. The Royal Horticultural Society's website:

Breezeway Iris Garden, the Master Garden for the 2010 American Iris Society Convention

"Good Show" Iris, Permission Breezeway Iris Garden
"Good Show" Iris, Permission Breezeway Iris Garden
Breezeway Iris Garden is a family business started by George Bacon and his mother Doris Bacon. The garden is located just outside of Madison, Wisconsin at the family home on 80 rolling acres we have owned since 1960. Our current house was built in the spring and summer of 2003 and the first Iris were put in the beds surrounding the house that August. Many were brought from the farmhouse, at the foot of the hill, to our new home. The Iris grew so well in their new location that our beds were soon overflowing with increases. That led to our first Iris “garage sale” and the start of Breezeway Iris Garden. Doris always had Iris in her garden ever since I can remember. I grew up helping Mom care for her Iris and was fascinated by their amazing display of blossoms every June. Breezeway Iris garden is the culmination of our life long love of Iris. The name, Breezeway, is one long associated with our family. For many years we raised and showed horses as Breezeway Arabians - named so by Doris due to the strong breeze always blowing across our acreage! Currently we sell all classifications of Bearded Iris. Each year we acquire and plant hundreds of new varieties from award winning hybridizers and see how well they perform in our garden. If they prove to be hardy and floriferous we offer them for sale. Mom and I are active members of the Madison Area Iris Society and encourage you to join the American Iris Society and become active in your local iris club.