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Friday, May 22, 2009

Teaching Gardens

Chandrika asked a question on my last post. It reminded me that so many people are new to gardening. One of the things I worry about is people who try gardening, end up making a mistake and then decide they aren't "gardeners".

I've made hundreds of mistakes over the years I've been gardening and I still make mistakes today. After time though the mistakes are fewer and the successes are greater.

One of the best ways to learn about gardening is to visit other gardens and talk to other gardeners. I've belonged to a number of gardening clubs but in today's hectic world, their schedules don't always work with mine.

Don't worry though, there's plenty of places to go to learn about gardening. The first photo here was taken last week in my back shade bed. I have many different growing conditions here, dry shade, moist shade, rock garden, sun perennial border and so on. My ultimate desire is to make my garden a teaching garden, a place where people can come and learn about plants that do well here on Long Island.

By visiting other gardens, I've been inspired to think outside the box and try new things. Chanticleer Gardens are in Wayne Pennsylvania. Their growing conditions are very similar to ours here on Long Island. It is an easy day trip from here, I would love to get there again. This photo I took of succulents growing on a rock wall inspired me to make my own little rock garden.

Stonecrop Gardens in Cold Spring New York is another great teaching garden. While they are known for their rocky outcroppings and amazing alpine plant collection, I was totally enchanted by their potager. A potager is a formal (or semi-formal) vegetable garden. It was so incredibly beautiful that I'm still drooling over the thought of having a little vegetable garden of my own (working on it this weekend!).

You don't have to leave Long Island though if you want to see some great gardens. Planting Fields Arboretum has an amazing array of trees and shrubs. They have perennials too although I wouldn't list them as the top teaching garden if you are looking for flowers that are easy to grow.

On the other hand, Old Westbury Gardens has a fantastic collection of perennials, I haven't been there in a few years and hope to get back there soon.

With this Holiday weekend ahead of us, we have temperatures that are cool for the beach, too cool for the pool but perfect to tour a garden. Maybe this Sunday I'll hit one of the local places. Who knows, I've never been to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and only went once to the New York Botanical Gardens. Will I run into you there?

If you know of a good place to go see plant material, leave a comment here for us all to share.

Of course, we'll be here tomorrow, Saturday, if you want to stop by and say Hi!



  1. Hi Melanie,
    We just got back from a trip to Long Island last week. We went to Old Westbury Gardens and the Planting Fields and really enjoyed them but I would love to see them when the roses are out in bloom.
    I live on P.E.I. so everything was further ahead then here. I loved all the flowering trees all along the drive.
    There is a lot more traffic then on our island so it was all eyes on the road for much of it.We did take the ferry to and from the Orient to avoid heavy traffic.
    I loved all the garden centres there although we only went to Hicks. We met a lovely lady there who drove ahead of us to show how to go to Clarks garden which we also enjoyed.
    I would also love to go to Chanticleer garden-I didn't realize we were so close. I have seen it on garden shows a few times.
    Take care,

  2. What a fun post and I love the shelf of succulents. I may try and do that.

  3. I'd definitely recommend a trip to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. It's beautiful, and remarkable for the lush garden that exists in the midst of such an urban space. And we got married there, so I'm kind of partial. ;-)


I do so love to read your comments! Much as I wish I also had time to reply, many times I will have to choose between replying to comments or creating a new post so please understand if I choose to use my time on a new post. This will also give me time to visit some of you too.