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Succulent Plant-Pot Pairings

What comes first for you, the plant or the pot? For me it’s usually the pot. When a friend presents me with a special pot, it’s a given that I’ll plant it with succulents. But I don’t always know what will look good in it. So I ask the pot what it wants. I take it to the nursery, and walk the aisles with it, trying on plants. What I look for are  good scale and proportion; repetitions of shapes, colors or patterns; and (sometimes) an element of whimsy.

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Above: This was a gift from potter Don Hunt, whose work I collect, and who sells at San Diego’s Cactus & Succulent Society shows. Dots in the glaze, and the fact that the pot seemed to be asking for a trailing plant, inspired the selection of string of pearls (Senecio rowleyanus). I added beads for bling. Continue Reading →

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Chanticleer – A Tour With Dan Benarcik – Part 2

In the first video, Dan took us on a tour of the Entryway and Tea Cup Garden.

In this video, before leaving the Tea Cup Garden, Dan shows us one more silver element, rosemary willow – Salix elaeagnous – a small tree or shrub.

Dan cut it back hard this year to re-introduce light, heat, and air circulation into the garden. He likes it because it’s green on the top side with a silver effect on the underneath – which in the wind and breeze creates an interesting two tone effect.

In the video below, Dan is in the Lower Courtyard where he has created an environment that is lush and formal. He shares his thought process in designing this magical piece of art.

Dan also offers up some pearls of wisdom for both the garden and life.

To view the Courtyard and Tea Cup Garden Tour, click here.

To learn more about Chanticleer Garden, click here.

 

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Chanticleer – A Tour With Dan Benarcik

“Garden making is fundamentally not an intellectual enterprise. Most people come to gardens to experience some form of beauty.” Chris Woods

Chanticleer, a 47 acre garden in the suburbs of Philadelphia, was the personal estate of Adolph Rosengarten, Sr. and was passed down to his son, Adolph Jr. and daughter, Emily.

As Adrian Higgins writes in Chanticleer: A Pleasure Garden, “Adolph Rosengarten. Jr., loved trees, and the cultural legacy of Chanticleer that he and his sister, and their parents before them, left for us was dependent on trees in what was once open farmland. Without them today, Chanticleer would lose its air of permanence and be seen for what it is: essentially a remarkable but young garden begun in 1990.”

When Rosengarten decided to transform it into a public garden, he hired Chris Woods in 1983, a young English gardener who became the first executive director of Chanticleer in 1990.

Chris “formulated a clear vision of how the garden should develop, assembled a team of highly talented horticulturists, and gave them the freedom to be creative and take risks.”

Taken from Chanticleer: A Pleasure Garden – Written by Adrian Higgins. Photos by Rob Cardillo.

The garden is a feast for the eyes -  each of the 13 is filled with intense and innovative plantings – so much so that I find it almost too much to digest in one visit.

When I visited this past June, I was lucky enough to find Dan Benarcik, an incredibly gifted horticulturist, in The Tea Cup Garden. He kindly agreed to take us on a tour of the Courtyard and Tea Cup Gardens – 2 of the 3 gardens where he creates/designs/plants/maintains.

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Micro-Gardening: How It Transforms Philadelphia Into An Urban Jewel

Green roofs and walls, urban agriculture, planting trees, and large swathes of native plantings are what most gardeners discuss when the topic of gardening in urban areas arises.

What often goes unnoticed is small space gardening – window boxes, containers, and entryways.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a celebration of color with a variety of plants that intermingle or shades of green that create a calm and stately presence.

These tiny areas of plants – what I call micro-gardening – bring beauty, community, and peace to a city like Philadelphia.

Micro-gardening transforms Philadelphia into an urban jewel. A tapestry of texture and color.

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Window box gardening near Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia

Micro-gardening transforms Philadelphia

Window box gardening in Philadelphia

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Why Cultivating Patience In The Garden Is Transformative

Cultivating patience in the garden is the ultimate lesson.

We learn that we have no choice but to wait for plants to grow in their own sweet time – no matter what we do.

Patience In The Garden Isn’t Easy

In today’s world, it’s not easy to be patient. We don’t like to wait.

We’ve created a world of quick mastery in which we can learn languages in a few days and grasp intricate practices like hypnosis  in a weekend workshop.

The internet has fed into the belief that we can become experts in a chosen field overnight.

cultivating patience in garden

Tropical Bird in Ecuador’s Rainforest

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