Saturday, August 11
Visit to the CBG I: Herb, Rose, Woodland and Japanese Gardens
This spring, I had planned to visit the Cleveland Botanical Garden for their (somewhat horitculturally) famous Flower Show... until my part-time job at a local garden center and a sick puppy changed my plans. I was bummed to miss both the show and a chance to meet fellow blogger and "blackswamp girl" Kylee, but I resolved to visit the garden--and Kylee, separately--at some point this summer. (For more on the 2007 CBG Flower Show, you can read Kylee's excellent review at her blog, Our Little Acre.)
They did not need me at the garden center today and my boyfriend was planning to head off to the woods with some work friends to experience the dubious "sport" known as paintballing. So it was a perfect day for my friend Amy and I to visit the Garden, and I so enjoyed my visit that I thought I would conduct a little virtual tour here on my blog. You can click on any of the pictures in this post to see the images in more detail.
As we walked through the entrance, we noticed the gorgeous containers. The pot simply planted with phormium and echeveria was my favorite, but the multiple pots of dahlias with 'Red Threads' alternanthera were nice, too. Amy liked the huge potted pines that looked like bonsai on steroids, but I didn't get any pictures that do them justice. Although we parked on a nearby street, I appreciated that the entire drive down from the entrance to the underground parking lot was surrounded by beautiful plantings. Nice attention to detail there.
Following the map, we decided to hit the Western Reserve Herb Society garden first and work our way around. I admit to being a little disappointed overall by the herb garden. The paving--which included lots of millstones set into the paths--was beautiful, and who can resist wrought iron gates set decoratively into crabapple hedges? A few other plants like purple basil, tree peonies and 'Helene von Stein' lamb's ears were standouts here as well... but for the most part I wanted to cut things back and give everything a fresh coat of mulch. I'm sure that high expectations played into my disappointment, as I love herbs and count on them as real workhorses in terms of garden interest.
On the flip side, I assumed that the Mary Ann Sears Swetland rose garden would be past its prime to the point of being ugly. After all, we were not visiting during the magical rose month of June! The beds where just roses came up out of the soil, mulched and pruned but unaccompanied by other perennials, definitely lived down to my expectations. The lovely center bed that included catmint, lavender and dichondra surrounding an octagonal fountain was very nice, however, and the non-climbing version of 'Iceberg' also caught my eye.
As I took the picture above, my eyes were drawn to the dramatic red rose covering the arch at the far end of the garden. I kept my cool while Amy and I walked around the center bed toward this beauty... but involuntarily let out a girly little squeal when the tag at its feet confirmed my suspicions: A Dortmund!!!
Exiting the rose garden brought us to a fork in the road. I let Amy choose, and she thought a bit of shade would be nice so we headed to the Japanese and Woodland gardens. The Woodland garden was fun, mixing unusual shade lovers like Kirengeshoma (yellow wax bells, which I believe come from China) and horsetail rush with dainty little natives like jewelweed. I couldn't keep track of the number of different hostas they had, and quickly decided that I definitely need a gold variegated comfrey somewhere in my yard.
The Japanese garden was wonderful as well, but it was a challenge to take good pictures there today. The CBG holds weddings on site, and there were dozens of white folding guest chairs set up inside the best section. The first picture shows the focal point of the bowl-shaped area where the wedding was (to be?) held--I was standing at the what I assume is the "I do" spot, at the top of the main aisle, while I snapped the shot. Behind me was the large wisteria arbor you see in the second shot, taken from the top of the other side of the "bowl." Can you see the thick tree trunk at the right of the second picture, just beyond the arbor? That was one of two Dawn Redwoods that we found at the garden. I didn't even know we could grow them here!
The edge of the woodland garden blended seamlessly into the themed garden area. These are largely the same show gardens that I would have seen had I made it to the Flower Show in May, but I did notice a few differences between the earlier pictures that Kylee posted and the ones I took today. But this post is getting a little long, even for me--and it's no secret that concise writing is not my forte, so that's saying something.
I have a lot to say about the theme gardens and ideas gained from them, the wonderful place that is the Hershey Children's Garden, and the amazing world condensed inside the glasshouse. Each of them is going to get its own post at some point, and soon. For now, though, the paintball warrior is back and we are both in the mood for "big food," so we are off to forage...