Gardening August 2018

by Jane Ahrens

From Mélie’s Garden

On August 19th at 5:30 PM gardeners on the Island will have the special opportunity to see “Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf” at our Fishers Island movie theater. Oudolf is a famous Dutch landscape designer, who is the “leading figure in the new Perennial Movement, using bold drifts of herbaceous perennials and grasses chosen for their structure and for their flower color in a naturalistic manner.” He is well known in this area of our country by the landscape designs he created for New York’s Highline, where he used plants native to New York. He has inspired the more naturalistic approach to garden design all over the world by using grasses and native plants to create “four seasons gardens.”

Oudolf believes a garden should be just as beautiful in the winter as it is during its peak blooming season in the summer. “I like to not copy nature, but give the feeling of nature all year round.” A gardening principal that is most appropriate for Fishers Island.

He states, “It is the balance between wildness and control – sort of like editing – don’t worry about the plant, worry about the overall picture.” Perennials fall into two categories according to Oudolf, “Structure and filler plants. Structure plants (70% in your planting scheme) provide clear visual interest until Autumn, while filler plants (30% in your planting scheme) are only used for flower or foliage color, becoming formless or even untidy after midsummer”. Plants that are native to the area are obviously hardier and therefore have a longer growing season. “Good repeating plants in the landscape need to have a distinct personality and long season of interest or disappear tidily or die back discreetly.” He finds equal beauty in seedpods after the blooms have faded, which he says, “create an ethereal otherworldliness” during the winter months.

All of these ideas of biodiversity blend beautifully with “Bringing Nature Home” that Doug Thallamy has been teaching us about on Fishers Island in his wonderful parade ground nature walks. Oudolf says “Keep it simple – evergreens in the background framing your views and perennials in the foreground can be just enough for a pleasing visual effect and encourages biodiversity on your property.”

I hope you will come to the movie on August 19th and be inspired by one of the most creative landscape designers of our time.

Organ Pipe Boxes as Planters Update

Tats George’s Organ Pipe Planter “Blessed Greens” newly planted and after a month with: L to R Cilantro, Basil, Oregano, Tomatoes (3 kinds in center) Arugula and Kale.

Featured Photo

USCG Eagle passing the Race early morning March 18, 2023 on her return from the Chesapeake Bay . Photo Credit Marlin Bloethe

A Fishers Island Community Center Program and the accompanying Fog Horn eNewsletter serve as the communications resource for the Fishers Island community. The content – news, calendar, links and photos, milestones, ads, and more create a clear image of Fishers to those on and off the island.

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