Thursday, 22 July 2010

Form and texture at Frog Hollow Garden

planter at the gate of Frog Hollow

After an almost unprecedented three days of non-horticultural activities it was back to normal last Thursday, with visits to two great gardens and culminating in dinner with an intensely horticultural crowd of speakers, garden directors and doers at Swarthmore College.

First stop was Frog Hollow, Eve and Per Thyrum's garden in Wilmington, Delaware, a two acre site filled with good planting and sculptural whimsy - and lots of frogs. Even after 11 inches of (sometimes very heavy) rain in the previous week the garden was looking wonderful. As with many American gardens, it seems, much of it is quite shady, but a series of more open glades brings the sun in, providing opportunities for different effects of foliage and flowers.

Hosta 'Choo Choo Train'

In the front garden, largely shaded, was an impressive collection of hostas with almost entirely unblemished leaves. To deter molluscs Eve waters them with a dilute solution of household ammonia before and around emergence: the results show the value of this approach. With them was a lovely diversity of woodland plants chosen at least as much for their foliage as for their flowers, including Viola 'Dancing Geisha' (right). A plant I had not seen  before was Hypericum calycinum 'Brigadoon' (below), with golden foliage, very effective in dry shade.








Between the plants, throughout the garden, are numerous sculptures. Some have been created by the inventive Per Thyrum, others represent local artists, such as this crane by Simple, stalking through a shaded bed. Eve grows an admirable selection of hardy cacti and other succulents in a sunny spot, but finds agaves difficult: these lead replicas by Dan Benarcik are the ultimate in hardy Agave!

1 comment:

  1. John:
    Both the Viola and Hypericum are residents in my garden, grown, as you suggest, as much for their foliage as anything. The Hypericum is especially gorgeous while its stems remain a wonderful ruby colour, shortly after emerging. Sadly, I am not a fan of its somewhat oversized traditional shaped flower which are snipped as soon as they appear.

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