Sunday, August 8, 2010

Takeaway - Go Vertical

I recently made a trip to Minnesota to tour the American Hosta Society Convention gardens. I visited 12 fantastic gardens in varying parts of the state; all very different in style and taste.  I loved every one of them and will share some of the photos in future posts.

Whenever I visit a garden I look for inspiration; design elements that might enhance my own gardens. My big takeaway after visiting the convention gardens was to go vertical with plants and structures.

Many of the garden owners had an appreciation for Clematis and grew a number of varieties. These same garden owners found or built a variety of tall structures for their Clematis to climb on.  Most of these structures were seven or eight feet in height and added vertical structure to the garden.

Another great plant that I have only used sparingly is the drumstick Allium. I saw a wide variety of Alliums and many of them were the tall drumstick varieties that grow at least 36" in height. I recently did a little homework on drumsticks.  Which was not hard to do as all the bulb catalogs are coming in the mail this month.  I found four different varieties that will grow up to 36" that I would like to grow, including Allium stipitatum White Giant which will grow up to 48" in height.

Some of the gardeners had a little fun with the Allium flower heads after the flower went past.  They spray painted the flower head a vibrant color to extend its visual interest in the garden. 
Another must have for colder climates is the Martagon Lily.  These lilies have green foliage that grows in whirls topped with generous blooms.  These lilies make a great verticle statement in the garden as they grow at least six feet high.  They love the shade and make the perfect companion plant for hostas.  The Lilies will come up and bloom while the hostas are still flushing out.

I was very inspired by these towering plants and have plans to add all three of these to my garden to help  create more vertical structure and interest.


  1. stunning eye, work, and site!
    totally inspiring!

    thank you!

  2. Sorry about the super-long comment, but I couldn't find your email. Delete at will!)

    Hi from a fellow gardenblogger (at GardenRant and elsewhere). I’m writing on behalf of Mahoney’s Gardens to introduce our new communications to you other bloggers in the region. We have a blog! And it’s part of our brand-new website, too. Also, Facebook and Twitter! So I’ll take it one thing at a time.
    Our goal with the new website and blog is to both entertain and educate our readers, and promote the fabulous community of gardening and greening that’s going on all around us (especially in Eastern Mass.). On the blog we’ll run stories about:
    • What to do in the garden NOW. Like this article about overseeing lawns: And this one about why Mike Mahoney loves one particular grass seed so much:
    • Tips and staff favorites from our in-house experts, plus “Meet the Staff” profiles of the Mahoney’s team
    • Great gardening and greening programs and events in the region
    • Favorite public gardens to visit (like Tower Hill)
    • Reviews of gardening books, magazines, websites, podcasts, TV shows and even movies
    • New research findings that’ll help readers
    • The latest ideas for gardening sustainably
    Here’s what you won’t find on our blog: Advertising copy. Hard sell.
    Meet our Blogging Team
    • Susan Harris - that’s me - as editor and national blogger. I co-founded the popular national team blog GardenRant and work as a gardening coach. I post twice a week.
    • Our local blogger Layanee DeMerchant posts at least weekly. She’s well known to New England gardeners as one of the Garden Guys on Boston radio.
    • Our team of Mahoney’s in-house contributors includes Mike Mahoney and Sara diPalermo (so far), and coming soon – our head grower and our garden supplies expert.
    • Monthly, we’ll feature Special Guest Bloggers - well known, respected writers and other authorities in gardening, horticulture, or design, most of them New England-based. Coming up soon? Karen Davis Cutler on Narcissi; Colleen Plimpton on her book Mentors in the Garden of Life (with book giveaway!); Jennifer Benner on plants for fall interest and giveaway of her book; Dominique Browning (recently the editor-in-chief of House and Garden Mag) on putting the garden to bed; Carol Stocker of the Globe on creating a tropical conservatory; and Tovah Martin on begonias (they’re HOT!, she tells us.)
    How can we help? Tell us what topics you’d like us to cover. Are there any links you’d like to see added to our “blogroll” in the right sidebar? Any other New England gardening experts you’d like to hear from, and about what? Do you have a guest-post up your sleeve yourself? Tell us your idea!
    How to follow us: To follow JUST the blog, you can subscribe by email or by RSS. (But you’re a blogger; you already know that.) And please, please leave comments with the URL to your blog so our readers can follow you, and conversations will get started. (Yep, you already we’d love comments – what blogger doesn’t?)
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    That’s all for now. Hope to see you soon online! Susan

  3. I was wondering if you could email me the pictures you took of Venero gardens? It would be wonderful. Thank you.


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