The End of Another Year

Red tree- Acer palmatum 'Butterfly', Yellow shrub-Aucuba 'Joy Creek Select'

Red tree- Acer palmatum ‘Butterfly’, Yellow shrub-Aucuba ‘Joy Creek Select’

As October draws to a close, we are winding down and changing gears at the nursery. Our retail area closes at the end of the month so all the displays that Monica so artfully constructed throughout the year are being broken down and put away.  The tables, which were bursting with foliage, flowers, and flats of plants,  start to open up as things are sold and plants are cut back for winter.   With the regular rains, we are no longer watering everyday, so our tasks turn to tidying up and organizing.  Our minds feel clearer and we breathe a little easier with everything back in its place.

Acer aconitifolium

Acer aconitifolium

This summer was a particularly hot one, so you can almost feel the joy of the plants with each new rainstorm.

Ilex aquifolium 'Silver Crinkle' (I think)

Ilex aquifolium ‘Silver Crinkle’ (I think)

I love walking through the garden in the early morning with rain and dew drops still clinging to all the leaves. I notice different plants now, the more subtle ones that may not have the big, beautiful, boasting flowers of summer, but shine in the cool autumn light or stop the show with bright autumn colors.  I hope you can find a moment to enjoy the journey towards winter too!

Yellow tipped conifer- Gold variegated Chameacyparus, red shrub center - Itea 'Henry's Garnet', Golden foliage right -Amsonia hubrectii

Yellow tipped conifer- Gold variegated Chameacyparus, red shrub center – Itea ‘Henry’s Garnet’, Golden foliage right -Amsonia hubrectii

If there is a particular plant you just have to have over the winter do not fear! You can still order plants from our inventory to be shipped right to your door or you can make an appointment to pick up at the nursery. If there is a particular plant you are interested in that is not currently in stock, we start taking pre-orders in January for spring, just give us a call! Thanks for a great season, see you in March!


Good advice never gets old – WHEN TO RENOVATE THE GARDEN

Looking back through our blog archives, I came across this great article that Nadine wrote a few years ago. This has been my first year in a new house, so I have been patiently watching the changing light and shade, adjusting the irrigation system and taking note of the evolution of colors in the garden.  All summer long, I’ve been making mental notes of things to move and remove, as well as scouting out the nursery for new plants to fill holes and breath new life into my landscaping.  There are some things that clearly need to be removed, like gangly, overgrown Rhododendrons and azaleas. Other things I will try to work into a more cohesive plan.  I hope this article inspires you to take a fresh look at your landscape as well.  -Dana

There comes a time in the life of every garden when the gardener begins to wonder if a renovation is due. It usually sneaks up on you because you planted those trees and shrubs when they were “babies”. The expectation was that it would take forever for them to mature. All of a sudden, they’re blocking the windows and threatening to take over the drive-way! It’s time.

Winter is very good for taking stock of how the landscape has matured. All of the “bones” of the garden (the tree trunks and canopies, the shapes of the major shrubs and shadows of the conifers) stand out. Because the days are cloudy and the sun is low, you also get a good sense of how much the interior of the house is being affected by mature plants. If you sit in your living room, look out and get a closed in feeling, it’s time to take action.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself: 1) Are the trees doing what I want them to do? I.e.: shade, flowers, fruit, anchoring beds, shelter for birds? 2) Are the conifers filling the spaces the way I envisioned when they were planted? I.e.: are they growing straight, interfering with other plants, blocking views or paths? 3) Are the shrubs looking good and blooming well? 4) Are the perennials filling the bed? Are they blooming well? Are the crowns dense and healthy? 5) Are the vines doing their jobs? I.e.: Hiding fences, providing shade, fragrance, flower and fruit? 6) Are the paths clearly visible, easy to walk on and unobstructed by plants? 7) Are the ornamental walls, pergolas, trellises etc. in good repair, clearly visible and functioning as planned? 8) Is the water feature easy to maintain, safe and attractive?

You had a plan when all these elements of the garden went in. Being a living, functioning organism, the garden does things you don’t plan. Sometimes it’s better, sometimes a detriment. If you spend a lot of time working and living in your garden, you are in tune with it. Pay attention to the feeling you get when you look at your garden. This will help you answer the above questions and lead to a decision about major changes.

I never thought I would get to the place where I would have to move or take out major plants. This year, I have taken out two very large shrubs, moved established shrubs from one place to another and begun severe pruning of one of my large clematis vines. What has surprised me is that these changes have led to other major decisions for change. I discovered in an effort to move one of my very favorite small confers, that it had been growing sideways for many years and had a horizontal trunk. It was very unhappy. Trying to transplant it would do no good. Sadly, I have to give it up to the compost pile and wood pile. Gladly, the plants around it will be happier and look better.

My water feature has been a source of satisfaction and great consternation almost since we installed it. The fiberglass reservoir was tipping more and more to one side every year. I was convinced that roots from one of the large firs or cedars were pushing it out of shape. This fall, we finally took the whole thing apart. This entailed moving a lot of rocks! We discovered no roots at all! It was a puzzle. It took a few days of prodding my memory of the initial installation to remember that we really hadn’t set the reservoir properly to begin with. Because of excessive heat and troublesome tree roots, we had dug a shallow hole and decide to prop up the sides. Gravity had done the rest. We’ll do it right when we reinstall.

Making major changes can often be difficult. The decision to remove a large plant that you’ve become accustomed to is often put off until you hate the plant. This is not always a bad thing! Another way to make these changes easier is to assess your property carefully. You will almost always discover a choice plant languishing for want of a better location. (You know, the wonderful specimen bought on impulse.) When the over grown plant is removed and the new put in, the feeling is one of satisfaction and accomplishment rather than loss.

I had a Viburnum that I loved planted to fill a large bare space at the front of the house. It did exactly what I wanted it to…..and more. When I found myself contemplating a very harsh pruning, I knew it was time to remove it. I put it off. Then, I discovered that a lovely variegated Pieris on my property was being overrun by the plants around it. It was ideal for the Viburnum spot. Since it is a slow grower, I also planted a climbing Hydrangea behind the Pieris and against the brick wall of the house. These two plants will fill the space and also light up the north exposure with the white of the leaves and flowers. The claustrophobic feeling of the Viburnum is gone.

This is what to look forward to when you get to the renovation stage. Hard choices are made but a refreshed garden leads to a refreshed gardener. The cycle of learning, discovery and satisfaction continues.

Nadine Black

Foundation Foliage With Attitude!


Some spiney inspiration from our friend Loree Bohl’s garden. We carry several of these plants here at the nursery if you want to plant your own “Danger Garden!”

Originally posted on Fine Foliage:

IMG_7616 NOT your typical plant combination – which is why I love it! Plant ID’s in next photo

I had the opportunity to visit the Portland garden of Loree Bohla few days ago. Loree is known in the garden writing community for her popular blog Danger Garden where she indulges her love of spiky plants, saying “Nice plants are boring – my love is for plants that can hurt you. Agave, yucca, anything with a spike or spur!”

With my traveling first aid kit fully stocked I bravely ventured forth! While one could write an entire  book on Loree’s garden, covering her considerable collections (you can see her plant list here) , her fabulous contemporary containers of all shapes, sizes and colors and her impressive shade structure I was especially excited to discover this little vignette right by her front door. This area is often referred to as ‘foundation planting’ since…

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Busy Bees

On a morning stroll through the garden noticed some interesting bee activity this week. On one side of the path, bumble bees were just covering the Penstemon and Lavender. On  the other side of the path, the honeybees were buzzing away on the Bupleurum.    Guess they don’t like to share!

Bumblebees on Pestemon 'Hildago'

Bumblebees on Pestemon ‘Hildago’

Bumblebees on Lavender

Bumblebees on Lavender

Honey bees on Bupleurum

Honey bees on Bupleurum

Blast from the Past: Adventures in Hiring a Gardener

I have officially reached that point in the year when my garden overwhelms me.

Where to start?

Where to start?

We just moved into our house last fall, so this is the first year I have seen the garden in action.  Up until now I have been diligently watering almost everyday desperately trying to keep things alive in this heat. My husband and I have been learning our new irrigation system, fixing broken sprinklers, and readjusting spray patterns as brown spots appear.  We have taken out a few things that were obviously dead or dying and trimmed up some trees that were in desperate need (More on that in another post!). I have brought home a few plants from the nursery, but I have been trying really hard to wait to make any big plant decisions until I can see a full year in the garden, a very difficult thing when you work at Joy Creek!


Hill of Weeds

But last week pushed me over the edge. I walked through the backyard, down the hill overgrown with spent flowers, weeds, and a general mish-mash of random plants thrown in over the years, most towering over my head.  I was almost in tears with the immensity of the project ahead.  I came into work the following day and I started reading the old blogs on our website.  I found this gem from Nadine, one of our landscape consultants. It reminded me that it is ok to ask for help, it leaves more energy for the fun part of gardening! I hope you enjoy this little blast from Joy Creek Blogging past as well.

Dana Pricher

Originally published May 30, 2012

“Well, I finally did it. I called for help in my garden. The weeds
finally pushed me over the edge. It is a relief to have made the
decision . So this is how my process went.

My garden is on a large city lot and is complicated. There is a lot
to be done, so I had to prioritize my needs before I called anyone.
As I said earlier, the weeds are my priority. I determined that what
I would ask my would-be gardener to do was weed (most of it by hand)
and spread mulch. I didn’t decide until during the interviews whether
I wanted the bids with mulch delivered or whether I would arrange for
the mulch delivery. I realized that a lot of this process is about

A Garden in Need of Help

When I shop for services like this, I always shop in 3’s. I had been
collecting fliers for years from landscapers who had either put them
in the paper or my door. I picked three that listed the services I
needed and called each one for an appointment. #1 wanted to have an
hour spread during which he would show up. (It turned out at the
latest time.) Numbers 2 and 3 made a specific time commitment.

#1) Showed up with his book and was raring to go. As we walked
around the garden I realized he was not listening to me and was
wrapped up in assessing the property according to what he wanted to do
with it. He even wanted to relocate my blueberries so that he could
put Caseron in the bed! Needless to say, I DON’T DO CASERON. After
10 minutes, he handed me my bid and left.

#2) Showed up promptly. I showed him some of my trouble spots ie: a
clematis that I have growing on the ground with weeds growing up
through it. He understood that there were complications like that all
over. He was very enthusiastic but in a different way from #1. He
was interested in my plants! He was also interested in the way I did
things and why. After 30 minutes he gave me my bid. I really liked

#3) Was a young man with a brief case full of receipts. He seemed
tired. He wanted to put down a large amount of mulch. I could tell
he had done this many times before and he knew what he was talking
about. He said he ran 2 crews in the Portland/Vancouver area. He
gave me his estimate after about 20 minutes.

The first estimate I got took my breath away! Even including the
delivery of the mulch, it seemed extremely high. The amount was about
4 times the amount I budgeted. The other 2 estimates were much more
in my ball-park. One with mulch and the other without. The second 2
offered either payment plans or senior discounts, and one said if you
don’t like my work, you don’t have to pay me.

You might have deduced by this time that I chose to hire #2. He was
competent, interested and he just struck a chord with me. I took 3
references from the last 2 people but confess that I did not contact
them. When I called to tell him, he was very grateful. He will be
doing the job in a couple of weeks. That is when we shall see if my
instincts were right.

So, some tips: Know what you want and stick to it; Talk to neighbors
or friends for their experiences and references; Contact the local
high school or community college if they have a horticulture program;
keep meticulous records of all contacts; Be sure to have a number of
contacts and Do let your instincts instruct you. I’ll let you know
the results in a few weeks. Thanks to the members of my Aging in the
Garden class for many of the suggestions.

Nadine Black

I have to add that Joy Creek has a wonderful maintenance crew.  Nadine didn’t consider them, but I feel like I will get in trouble if I don’t mention it. And I will probably be giving them a call myself!

Hydrageas in Bloom

In case you missed the Hydrangea tour and talk with Maurice last weekend, here are a few highlights.

PHydrangeaMacMerritSupreme#2071201The crowd favorite of the tour was ‘Merritt’s Supreme’.  This Hydrangea is in the macrophylla family which includes plants with the classic mophead flower shape. The color in our garden is especially striking, being an intense blue fading to purple. Remember, hydrangea’s will change flower color with different soil pH: 5.0-5.5 for blue flowers and 6.0-6.5 for pink flowers. Here in the NW our soils tend towards lower, more acidic pH levels due to the high rainfall which leaches out water-soluble minerals like calcium, which raise soil pH. To keep your soil even more acidic, try adding coffee grounds, fine bark dust or sawdust around your plants.

The group also looked at the less common Hydrangea aspera. The latin ‘aspera’ means “rough-textured” and refers to the downy underside of the leaves. The aspera complex of hydrangeas is rich in species and selections of underused shrubs for our borders. We have several in our collection. PHydrangeaAsperaMacrophylla#2071701Hydrangea aspera ‘Macrophylla’ (Big-leaf Chinese Hydrangea) is an exceptionally attractive large shrub. It recently gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.  The lacecap flowerheads are proportionate in scale and domed. Good-sized, antique white sterile florets encircle the sizable, fuzzy looking cluster of fertile florets. The “macro” leaves referred to in the cultivar name are a good 10 inches in width and are covered with a felt-like layer of fine hairs. This felting is echoed in the young wood as well where new growth is similar to the velvet on a deer’s antlers.   pHydrangeaasperavarvillosa072209 Hydrangea aspera var. robusta is magnificent and somewhat mysterious in appearance.  This selection of Hydrangea aspera has immense wooly leaves that are just shy of a foot long and five inches wide. Purple leaf petioles add to the allure of the plant. In addition, the matte green leaves recurve along their edges as if trying to imitate the rounded shape of the large, six-inch lace-cap inflorescences. The fertile flowers are lavender pink and fuzzy in appearance. They are surrounded by white sterile florets consisting of four (occasionally 3 or 5) sepals. The flowering stems are covered in velvet like that on deer’s antlers. The rust colored bark on the older branches defoliates much as birchbark does.

Overall it was a fantastic tour and a unique opportunity to spend a few hours with Joy Creek Nursery owner, Maurice Horn in the garden.

Looking forward to next week’s class ‘Cuts from the Garden’ with our plant propagator, entomologist and plant pathologist,  Leslie Glover. She will talk about ways to use all aspects of your garden to create beautiful cut flower arrangements. Hope to see you there!


Hydrangea Tour ~ with Maurice Horn

Sunday, July 5, 2014 1:00PM at the nursery


Hydrangea ‘Sensation’

Once again, Maurice is going to lead a tour through the garden to look at our Hydrangea collection.  Joy Creek Nursery houses a large collection of hydrangeas, not only the showy mop-head and lacecap types that are familiar to the public but also less common species, climbing forms and close hydrangea relatives. Many of these shrubs are more than 20 years old in the garden and will be at their best in July. This tour is designed to acquaint gardeners with the large variety of hydrangeas that are available and to teach good cultural practices.

Free and open to the public.

Dress appropriately for the weather.

There is a $10.00 class fee for ‘CEH’ Certification.

For details visit

Hebes for Northwest Gardens

Hebes are small evergreen shrubs from New Zealand. There are around a 100 species and about 750 cultivars. With so many species they cover a wide array of terrain and climates. In Oregon I have had the best luck with species from the cooler South Island of New Zealand. I am basing this advice off of personal experience. I keep close tabs on the hebes at my house, Joy Creek, and all around the Portland area. They grow wonderfully along the Oregon and Washington Coast and through the Puget Sound basin. I want to first look at what to look for in a plant, then go through growing conditions, and finish with the most common question, “How do I keep this alive?”

Hebe blue mist 2


The main attraction of hebes for me is their evergreen foliage. The variety of leaf sizes and shapes is incredible. When dealing with hardiness, generally the smaller the leaf, the hardier the plant. It has also been found that hebes with gray leaves tend to survive drought better than others. Some hebes have foliage that changes color in the colder months to provide further winter interest.

The red foliage darkens in winter.

The red foliage darkens in winter.

Hebe boughton silver sm


I tend to view bloom as secondary when growing hebes in the yard. This is because when chasing the showiest bloom you tend to lose hardiness. Many hardy hebes do bloom profusely but they tend to be smaller

Hebe Walter Buccleigh with title sm

Growing Conditions:

Sun- Grow in full sun to open shade. Hebes do well in deciduous shade so that they can get sun in the winter but dappled light in the summer. When grown in too much shade they tend to get leggy and one sided as and stretch toward the light.

Soil- Any decent semi well drained soil will do. I have not found them to be too picky as long as they are not underwater. They do grow much quicker in well amended soil.

I have a downspout that empties onto this all winter and it has put up with it. I would not recommend this, but it still hasn't killed the plant.

I have a downspout that empties onto this all winter and it has put up with it. I would not recommend this, but it still hasn’t killed the plant.

Water- Hebes are not excessively drought tolerant on the whole. Certain varieties are more tolerant that than others, but most like bi-weekly water during the summer. When grown in part shade you can get away with a lot less water. Whipchord types are less drought tolerant than others.

I have had this survive in very dry conditions, and never had winter damage.

I have had this survive in very dry conditions, and never had winter damage.

Pruning- Cut out dead material after heavy frosts are past. Prune for shape in early spring and give some fertilizer or compost after to feed new growth. Though this might reduce flowering in certain varieties, I don’t want to risk late season due to the likelihood of young growth being damaged in the winter.

Propagation- Hebes root very easily from cuttings. Take semi-hardwood cuttings in August to October. Leave two nodes on top and one below soil level. They can also be rooted in water. This is a great way to protect against winter losses. They can also be done through layering.

Pests and Disease- Some deer eat hebes and some do not. They are currently one of their favorites at Joy Creek. Septoria leaf spot (black spots on the leaves) is more of a problem in nursery settings than the garden. I would accept a little on a plant I purchase, but avoid anything that is too ugly.

Tips to Keep Your Hebe Alive;

1.Pick the right one. Some cultivars seem to croak every year while other similar looking ones just keep on trucking.

An ice storm is no match for Hebe 'Greensleeves'.

An ice storm is no match for Hebe ‘Greensleeves’.

2. Plant in the spring. This allows the plant to establish before winter but this also means you have to water the first summer.

3.Give all hebes some water when it hasn’t rained in months. A good deep soak goes a long way. They are from New Zealand, not the Mediterranean. I admit to babying mine a little, but there is a difference between surviving and looking good.

4. Site your plant where it is protected from cold winds. The Arctic blast coming down the gorge is death for hebes. It dries out the fleshy evergreen foliage and they cannot survive. Plant next to wind breaks or on the west side of tree, hedge, or house. Salty ocean breeze does not seem to effect them. You can grow all the hebes you want at the coast.

I kept this alive by planting it out of the wind on the west side of my house.  It survived 12 degrees with a little help from a garbage can.

I kept this alive by planting it out of the wind on the west side of my house. It survived 12 degrees with a little help from a garbage can.

5. When it gets cold quickly in November and early December give them a little extra protection from a bucket or fir boughs. Once they have been through a good frost they are unlikely to get damaged unless it is below 15 degrees. Give the same protection if there is a late frost. They often just need to be a little warmer and out of the wind. A little protection goes a long way.

Don’t give up on hebes just because one died on you, there are great ones out there.

Thanks, Andy

An Interview with Andy Stockton about Hebes

I have posted a few interviews for upcoming classes over the years and wanted to do one for the class this Sunday, June 28th. It happens to be me teaching the class, so I think this interview should go smoothly.

When did you first learn about Hebes?

It was when I started at Joy Creek Nursery in 2007. I was put in charge of arranging and restocking the shrub section. At the time we already had a large hebe inventory and they sucked me in more than any other shrub. There had been a series of mild winters and there were a number of beautiful established hebes in the garden.

Frost accentuates the pattern of the leaves.

Frost accentuates the pattern of the leaves.

Can you say why they intrigued you so much? Was it just their name?

Hebe is a fun word to say, I can’t deny it. I think what drew me in was the textures of the foliage. The leaves have a geometric pattern that is not as apparent in most other plants. It is more something that you notice up close. Every single one has the same alternate opposite leaf pattern no matter how large or small the leaf. There is such a wide variety in looks and sizes throughout the genus that it is fascinating they are all related.

Has your opinions about hebes changed over the years?

After my first year at Joy Creek I really liked hebes, but we had a incredibly cold winter that year. Many of the hebes in the garden were killed. We then had two more hard winters after that. Many of the showy hebes at the nursery died and customers grew very weary of buying them. I still have a soft spot for all of them, but I have gotten much more careful about which ones I recommend. Many of them are going to die without protection. I have accepted that.

Hebe corrigani march bloom smHow many Hebes do you currently grow at your house?

I have 76 different forms and 103 total in my yard.

Too many?

Never enough.

How many hebes have you killed?

So so many… It is all research right?

Hebe 'Dragonfly' in bloom.

Hebe ‘Dragonfly’ in bloom.

Two years ago Joy Creek introduced Hebe ‘Dragonfly’, your first introduction. How did that come about?

I found the original group of 5 seedlings in a flat of euonymus at the nursery 5 years ago. I potted them up, after asking of course, and took them home to see what they would do. After a year in containers I planted each one out in the yard. I do not know the specific parentage of the seedlings but each one was quite different. After a year in the yard I took cuttings of my two favorite and we raised them at the nursery to see how they would look. Hebe seedling #2 ‘long leaf’ was deemed the most unique of the two and chosen for introduction. The leaves reminded me of a dragonfly and that is how it got its name. I have 3 more seedlings that we are trailing to see wether they are good enough to release.

Andy and Cat

Thank you for taking time out of your busy afternoon of talking about plants and petting Yowler.

It was my pleasure, and I still had plenty of time for petting a kitty.

Getting Ideas from Public Gardens: New York’s High Line

Stachys and EmpireI recently visited the High Line in New York City. It is a beautiful garden that weaves through a part of town on a reclaimed elevated railway. It was an inspiring garden that I wanted to write about, but what would people want to hear about in a blog post from a nursery. One thought that I kept getting stuck on was, how could you translate what you see in a large and singular public garden into ideas for your own yard?. I came up with seven topics to look for in any garden and look at the High Line through those lenses.

View From the Street

View From the Street

A Sense of Place.  Every garden and location has its own personality. Much of this is out of your control. But you still get to choose how you and your garden relate to the environment around you. This can be embracing a view, framing it so that the eye wanders outwards. It can also mean enclosing your garden into a private sanctuary from the outside world. Don’t forget sounds and smells and other sensory information.

The View of Buildings from the Park

The View of Buildings from the Park

The High Line is very much a park in the city. It has open meadow areas and wooded pathways but the city is always present. I found that I was better able to appreciate the buildings and views around me, both from being two stories up but also not having to deal with traffic trying to run me over. It provided a 1.5 mile stroll through the city while somehow feeling apart from the chaos. It was still crowded and the construction noise was ever present but there is no avoiding that.

Massed grasses have a softening effect.

Massed grasses have a softening effect.

Planting Style. Every garden has a plant palate that they choose from. The site can dictate what plants can be grown, but the designer will influence what choices are made in plant material and layout.

A grove of Magnolias grow in a shady area between two buildings.

A grove of Magnolias grow in a shady area between two buildings.

Since the High Line has limited soil depth there are no large trees, but the effect of a woods was still created with 15 foot trees planted in mass.The plant layout is very informal, creating a spontaneous impression. I have read that they were trying to recreate the look of the abandoned railway gone wild that existed before it was turned into a park. In your own yard you can create cohesion using similar planting styles throughout, or add tension by having a wild meadow next to a formal knot garden.

Repeated Themes. Does your garden have a theme? The theme that stood out to me in the High Line was the contrast of hard straight lines (train tracks, lined pavers, the long narrow shape of the garden, and the vertical buildings on all sides) with a soft wild planting style. This is what sets this garden apart from any other I have seen. The contrast of these ideas is brought off everywhere.

The paths dissolve into horizontal lines in the ground and plants start popping up between pavers.

The paths dissolve into horizontal lines in the ground and plants start popping up between pavers.

Movement through the garden. You experience a garden as you move through it. Small gardens can be built with a fixed viewpoint but it is so important to look at how people will travel through your garden. The High Line is a long straight line with a curve at the end. The path is not straight nor the same size throughout. There are open straight meadows but the path will curve over the the edge and lead you through a narrow wooded section. There is a section where the path turns into a walkway over a woodland bed of ferns. With the heavy traffic, thankfully there are alcoves that go nowhere where you can step out of the flow to relax.

wide open

At some points it is wide open.

The path narrows into a tight wooded corridor.

The path narrows into a tight wooded corridor.

Plants that you Recognize.  I love being in a garden and recognizing plants that I grow in my own garden or we sell at Joy Creek. Outside of annoying my wife with all the botanical plant names, this is one of the easiest ways to get ideas for your own garden. Seeing amsonia growing between two pavers is something you could directly steal for your own.


Amsonia softens the hard edges of the cement.

Look for New Plantings and Old. One of my favorite parts of the High Line was at the far end where they are still doing construction. There is a section where you can see what it looked like before it was turned into a park. The wild plants that seeded their way onto the tracks. This shows the inspiration that lead to the designed wild look.

There is still some of the original line left.

There is still some of the original line left.

There are also sections that are newly planted. This shows the planting patterns that will eventually lead to the look of an unplanned meadow. You can see how much effort it takes to look natural.

You can see how new plants are laid out to create a natural effect.

You can see how new plants are laid out to create a natural effect.

How is the garden being used. The last part I wanted to highlight is to look at how all the people in the garden are interacting with it. You could use the park as a elevated shortcut through the city, but what I noticed was how many people were sitting and enjoying the scenery. There were benches everywhere. The benches were not just for sitting, they were part of the look of the park.

These extremely large benches were very enticing.

These extremely large benches were very enticing.

The walkway flows up into the benches.

The walkway flows up into the benches.

Trees were planted close together to create a shady resting spot.

Trees were planted close together to create a shady resting spot.

If you ever get a chance, I highly recommend visiting the High Line in New York City. It is a singular  garden crafted out of unused urban infrastructure that has revitalized a neighborhood. Each garden you visit will teach you new concepts in gardening and inspire your own planting domain.

Andy Stockton