Rarely when discussed the line-up for Thanksgiving dinner is there mention of soup. Pumpkin pies, sweet potato casseroles, onion dip and roasted turkey might translate into creative ingredients for post-game festivities but the in-between football games dinner certainly would never include a bowl of tomato soup. So when I arrived at the relatives for our turkey dinner with this Campbell soup can full of flowers, a woman stopped in her tracks. "A bowl of soup," she said. "No, it's Andy Wharhol!" The ingredients for our tomato soup include: mums, roses, sunflowers, carns, eucalyptus, and sunset safari. The caloric intake, sodium content and how many servings this can contains will have to be referred to Safeway, Towson, MD. Now, back to the game. "Oh, can I interrupt for one more second? Serve these ingredients cool."
Frederick and Louise Vanderbilt bought a 600 acre estate in Hyde Park overlooking the Hudson River Valley in 1895. McKim, Meade and White, well-known architects from New York were hired to build a new home. Frederick Vanderbilt with a keen interest in horticulture oversaw the installation of an Italian formal garden. His garden was tiered, the multiple levels dedicated to specific types of plants: annuals, perennials, shrubs and roses. The gardens boast 6,000 annuals and 1,800 roses many of which are vintage. Vanderbilt sought to follow the mirror image of an Italian garden with a line drawn either horizontally or vertically. Often Mr. Vanderbilt would win local competition at flower shows in Dutchess County, New York. A Plant Sale of annuals, perennials and shrubs some from the Vanderbilt gardens or supplied by the volunteers and their gardens will take place on Saturday, May 28th. For information contact: vanderbiltgarden.org Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Sites National Park Service 845-229-9115
David Culp, grower, gardener, and soon to be author spoke at Ladew Topiary Garden in Monkon, Maryland during the Garden Festival this May. His historical overview of garden styles showed the formality of Versailles to the English picturesque style of nature. Williamsburg, Mr. Culp noted, had a great influence on American gardening. "Now the clipped hedges are back in fashion." The use of the vernacular translated by Mr. Culp was to use what you have - a stone wall, a picket fence, or if you are so lucky a long hedgerow to open up to a wide pastoral scene there at Ladew. The crowd of gardeners packed into Ladew's Barn Gallery were given a most informative hand-out as the Brandywine Valley gardener explained the composition of a perennial bed: spikes like Kniphofa 'Vanilla", Cups and Daisies like Helenium autumnale, Plumes as in Persicaria polymorhpa, umbels such as eupatorium 'Gateway', globes - Allium 'Mt. Everest', Weavers like nepeta, Grasses as in Calamagrostis acutiflora 'Karl Foerster' and lastly colored foliage like Tradescantia 'Sweet Kate." Mr. Culp emphasized that a gardener should look at texture first before color. As to color, "look around you, see what you like," he said. "There should be repetition of color and shape." He finished with his favorite gardens to visit - Bartram's Garden, Sissinghurst, Wave Hill, and of course local gardens for their vegetables. David Culp, grower of hellebores, bought a 1790's farmhouse and adjoining two acres in 1990. The farmhouse is located between the forks of the Brandywines and nestled into the hillside. Affectionately referred to as Brandywine Cottage, its many gardens are planted in a naturalistic style. Similar to a Pennsylvania county garden, it includes many collections (such as) galanthus, roses, hepaticas, cyclamen, euphorbias, arums, peonies, iris, and of course, the specialty of the house, hellebores. The garden contains a series of plant habitats dedicated to 4 seasons of interest. The gardens closest to the house were developed first. This includes a raised bed that has became home to a number of small rarities that might have been lost in a larger setting, and the walled ruin, or rock garden, which first had to be cleared of tires, automobile fenders, and other accumulated junk left from years of neglect. The transformation of the overgrown hillside began about seven years ago. The under story on the hill was a six-foot-high tangle of invasive vines and shrubs which had to be cut down twice by hand before any planting could begin. Like all gardens his is a work in progress. www.LadewGardens.com www.davidlculp.com/aboutus.htm