• Ryan Gainey
    A Visit to Ryan Gainey's Garden
    He sprayed some water, called a dog, and then he was gone.
  • baptisia-australis
    Baptisia australis - blue false indigo
  • Hydrangea quercifolia
    Oakleaf Hydrangea - native beauty.
  • aquilegia-chrysantha-golden-columbine
    Golden Columbine: Clarity in the garden.

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Recent Garden Posts:

    Clematis armandii

    When a garden designer or landscape architect plants something in their own garden, you know they are serious. We are happy to appreciate plants in other people's gardens, but to find the plants closest to our hearts, snoop around our places. There is only so much room after all.

    Evergreen clematis

    The flowers are lovely, but Clematis armandii is a winner in all seasons. Click for larger.

    Clematis armandii is a classic and one of my two favorite vines (the other being hops vine). It is the plant I walk under first thing in the morning and the plant I walk under last thing in the evening.

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    On Pruning Forsythia

    See also: Trees and Shrubs
    I have found restraint is wise both in judgement of others as well as the pruning of forsythia. How harshly a plant is pruned may reveal something about the values of the person manning the shears. Or it might not. For example, one might believe tightly pruned forsythia to be a sign of a controlling  or uptight personality.

    Our gardens are often a reflection of our values, whether we intend it or not. Indeed, gardens throughout the centuries have tended to reflect the societal rules in place at the time. Still, when it comes to individuals, I choose to believe we do our best and maybe just need a little help along the way.

    forsythia flower

    Forsythia in bloom. Shears or restraint? Click for larger.

    When it comes to the aesthetics of pruning, it often comes down to experience and knowledge*. There are some plants that respond to pruning tightly (hedges, topiary, etc.) and other plants that look best when allowed to retain their natural shape. One thing is certain: If you bring electric clippers to the job instead of pruning shears, you have lost.

    Forsythia is best, always, when allowed to grow relatively unbound.

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    daughter, do you believe the prairies art?
    a horizon expanding.

    they mourn the death of Venice

    but i do not.
    all kings fall,
    but the people will remain,

    a sea, a plain
    to the horizon, treeless.
    and the grasses and the wind
    are the things i love.

    there is only one you.
    only ever be one you.
    never before. never after.


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    Asiatic Lily Oklahoma City

    See also: Herbaceous Perennials, Tawny Daylily, Stella de Oro
    The lilies are about the flowers, bold and illuminating the landscape the way few other perennials can. They do tend to add a boisterous element, so you should be okay with that. From a design standpoint, lilies have to be used with a painterly eye or they will overwhelm the garden. But man are they hardy. Oklahoma City is an excellent choice for northern gardens, surviving temperatures to -35 degrees Fahrenheit. Gardeners reportedly grow Oklahoma City in Alaska.

    lily Oklahoma City

    Asiatic lily Oklahoma City. Click for larger.

    Oklahoma City, typical of the asiatic lilies, grows 3'-5' and blooms reliably in late Spring. Flowers are beacons and large, to 6" or so across. Plant asiatic lilies here and there throughout the garden. Ideally, they appear as if they've just erupted out of the landscape.

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    False Indigo - The Aftermath

    I chose to write more about false indigo due to liking some photos of the post-flower seed pods. There is something about the beauty of those seed pods in the correct light (golden and late in the day) that works. Perennials that have little interest when out of bloom are of marginal value in most cases anyway (with apologies to the peony crowd).

    false indigo seed pods

    Baptisia seed pods. Click for larger.

    About false indigo's seed pods...they are not attractive to everybody. You can trim them back if you prefer. The seed pods do however give insight into the relation of false indigo to the pea family, as well as a path to new plants. False indigo does not divide nor transplant well, so if you want to make more false indigo without a visit to the nursery, you will need to learn how to harvest and grow new plants from seed.

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