Where’s Waldo? At Forest Lane Botanicals

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Assorted Sarracenia species available at Forest Lane Botanicals. Can you find the dragonfly in the photo?

Do you remember the Where’s Waldo books?

My daughter and I enjoyed them when she was just learning to read.

We would page through the drawings, competing with one another to find “Waldo” before the other one could.

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A friend came with my partner and me to visit at Forest Lane Botanicals today.

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We enjoyed the company of a beautiful blue dragonfly as we admired Alan and Wendy’s Pitcher Plant collection.

Have you found the dragonfly in the photos yet ?  (The dragonfly appears in the first, second and fourth photos.  It may be in the third one, and I just haven’t noticed it …)

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We could also hear the frogs, but never spotted them today, sadly.  We found a few tadpoles darting around the partially submerged pots, and heard a tell-tale “splash” as we drew near.

Tadpoles

Tadpoles

Mostly we enjoyed Alan’s guidance to the garden, and the sheer pleasure of wandering around discovering one beautiful plant after another.

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We especially enjoyed the many varieties of Hosta and fern in the garden.  We can grow the ferns, but our attempts at Hosta are usually “grazed short” by our visiting deer.

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We are always inspired with new ideas as we explore what Alan and Wendy Wubbels have done with their shade garden.

We left with pots of new treasures to grow and share. 

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I with a Saxifraga stolonifera, Strawberry Begonia or Strawberry Geranium- (both common names are used) and my friend with a pot of beautiful Selaginella, or Spikemoss.

Salginella, Spikemoss

Selaginella

Both will grow in the cool shade in beds beneath mature trees in our gardens.

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Readers in Eastern Virginia who have not yet  visited Forest Lane Botanicals nursery will be delighted once you find them.

Athyrium, a Japanese Painted Fern.  I believe this is an unusual cultivar known as "Ocean's Fury" and introduced in 2007.  This is a hardy deciduous fern.

Athyrium, a Japanese Painted Fern.  This is an unusual cultivar known as “Applecourt  Crested” according to Wendy Wubbels. This is a hardy deciduous fern.

A gardening friend told me about Alan and Wendy’s nursery last summer, but it took us nearly a year to make our first visit.

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We are so glad we did.  Now we enjoy watching the gardens evolve as spring turns to summer.

There is always something new to notice and enjoy.

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

All photos were take at Forest Lane Botanicals in York County, Virginia

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Photo Challenge: Glow In The Dark

 

Hosta growing in a friends' garden.

Hosta growing in a friends’ garden.

 Shade is “The Dark” in a forest garden. 

A flower stalk of Adam's Needle, a variety of Yucca, will open with white flowers in this very shady spot beneath trees.

A flower stalk of Adam’s Needle, a variety of Yucca, will open with white flowers in this very shady spot beneath trees.

Forest Gardeners work with varying degrees of shade as the sun moves across the sky each day, animating shadows as they dance across our gardens from dawn until last light.

 

Tiarella growing in the display gardens at Forest Lane Botanicals.

Tiarella growing in the display gardens at Forest Lane Botanicals.

As the hardwood trees and shrubs leaf out and begin to grow, areas illuminated by the sun all winter and into early spring disappear into cave like darkness.

 

Ferns and Lamium grow in one of the shadiest areas of our garden, below a stand of Hazel trees.

Ferns, Creeping Jenny, and Lamium “Orchid Frost” grow in one of the shadiest areas of our garden, below a stand of Hazel trees.

Grottos appear in deep shadow cast by surrounding trees.

 

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So we light up the darkness with variegated shade loving plants which enjoy the moist, cool, shadows.

 

Begonia grown by Wendy Wubbels at Forest Lane Botanicals.

Begonia grown by Wendy Wubbels at Forest Lane Botanicals.

We celebrate the contrast of light and shadow with brightly patterned, foliage, but few flowers.

 

Tiarella blooms in partial shade.  Used here at Forest Lane Botanicals in the shadow of mature Azaleas.

Strawberry Begonia,  Saxifraga stolonifera, blooms in partial shade. Used here at Forest Lane Botanicals in the shadow of mature Azaleas.

 

Bits of chartreuse,  creamy white, pink and silvery grey reflect what little light may be; illuminating our shade gardens and “glowing in the summer ‘s darkness.”

 

New growth begins at the base of a fig tree, in deep shade.

New growth begins at the base of a fig tree, in deep shade.

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

With appreciation to Jennifer Nichole Wells for her 

One Word Photo Challenge:  Glow In the Dark

 

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Pitcherplants

Sarracenia flava growing at Forest Lane Botanicals in York Co. Virginia.

Sarracenia flava growing at Forest Lane Botanicals in York Co. Virginia.

One of our strangest and  most flamboyant native plants grows in bogs from Canada to Mississippi  along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

The Pitcher Plant, Sarracenia species and cultivars, grows in areas of poor, very moist soil.  Not always at the  coast, these bogs may be further inland, at greater altitude, and areas of scrub wherever water gathers.

Sarracenia leucophylla grows to three feet tall.  Its showiest pitchers appear in late summer and early autumn.

Sarracenia leucophylla grows to three feet tall. Its showiest pitchers appear in late summer and early autumn.

Preferring very acidic soil, pitcher plants rely on prey, rather than rich soil or fertilizer,  for their nutrition.

The beautifully colored “pitcher” is a modified leaf.  Open at the top, there is an area where sweet smelling liquid collect at the base.

Can you spot the fly on the leaf?

Can you spot the fly on the leaf?

Small insects, spiders, mites, and even small frogs and birds may be lured into the pitcher.

Once inside, sharp hairs, angled towards the base, prevent them from climbing back out.

Pitcherplants bloom each spring.

Pitcherplants bloom each spring.

The unlucky creatures fall into the pool of liquid, which slowly dissolves them.

Many beautiful varieties of Pitcherplants are available.

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I was amazed at the bright colors and intricate patterns on the Pitcherplants at Forest Lane Botanicals when we visited this week.

The Wubbels grow many different native species and hybrids.

Bog plants for sale at Forest Lane Botanicals.

Bog plants for sale at Forest Lane Botanicals.

I would definitely make any future purchases from the Wubbels, or from a nursery where I could choose my plant and bring it home.

Since liquid remains in each leaf at all times, and the leaf can dry out if the liquid is lost; this is not a plant I would want shipped if it  could be avoided.

Sarracenia flava

Sarracenia flava

Pitcher plants are very long lived perennials.  The leaves and flowers arise from an underground rhizome, which may live for more 20 years when conditions are right.

They mostly require uniformly moist soil and full sunshine.  Different varieties have specific needs, but most are hardy to at least Zone 6.

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Sarracenia purpurea, known as Purple Pitcherplant, is hardy in Zones 3-9 and is the  floral emblem of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.

Plant Pitcherplants in an equal mixture of pure dampened peat moss and sand.   If potting into a free standing pot, as I did, allow for a deep saucer to always contain water, so the mix remains constantly damp.

The Wubbels had all of their Pitcher plants in plastic nursery pots, standing in pools containing several inches of water.

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If you decide to build a “bog garden,” then you might construct a suitably sized container for your situation.  It could be as small as a bowl borrowed from the kitchen, or the size of a child’s swimming pool.  You could build a bog along the edge of an existing water feature, or perhaps construct a “rain garden” with an area kept constantly wet for bog plants.

Other plants you may grow with your Pitcherplants in a bog garden include native orchids, Sundew or Dew-threads, certain Iris, and a variety of other moisture loving native flowers.

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Once established, Pitcherplants quietly take care of themselves.  So long as they are kept moist and given full sun, they will attract their own dinner.  They never need pruning.

You might clean up damaged foliage each spring, but nothing is needed beyond that.

Some species and cultivars will grow to several feet tall, and they will spread as the rhizome grows.

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When crowded, they can be gently divided like other perennials.  When cutting the rhizome into smaller sections, make sure that each section has at least one leaf.  Do this in early spring before flowers emerge.

Pitcherplants bloom, and form seed.   I was amazed at the lovely flowers on the Pitcherplants at Forest Lane Botanicals.

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The seeds need a period of cold stratification for a month or more before they will germinate.  Seeds sown outside, in moist soil, and left over the winter in the “bog” where the parents are growing will meet this requirement.

These beautiful foliage plants prefer high humidity, damp acidic soil,  and bright light.  If you can provide these conditions, then you can grow one of the most beautiful and  interesting native plants North America offers.

This is the Pitcherplant I brought home from Forest Lane Botanicals yesterday.  Planted in a mixture of peat and sand, the pot sits in a saucer filled with gravel and water.  This area gets morning sun, and stays in the sun until late in the afternoon.

This is the Pitcherplant I brought home from Forest Lane Botanicals yesterday. Planted in a mixture of peat and sand, the pot sits in a saucer filled with gravel and water. This area gets morning sun, and stays in the sun until late in the afternoon.  I plan to make a hypertufa tray to set this pot in, large enough to add a few pots, perhaps…..

Another Genus of Pitcher plant, Darlingtonia, is native to  Northern California and Oregon.  Known as a Cobra Plant due to the shape of its leaf.  There is only one species, but it easily hybridizes with Sarracenia, which makes classification of the offspring complicated.

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Other Genera are found in Australia, China, Borneo, and other warm locals around the Pacific.  All are carnivorous.

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All Photos by Woodland Gnome

Most of the photos were taken at Forest Lane Botanicals earlier this week.

One Word Photo Challenge: Grey

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Wendy and Alan Wubbel’s forest garden at Forest Lane Botanicals in York County is lush with growth in every shade of green, silver, burgundy, pink, orange, and chartreuse.

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Magical in its infinite variety of vegetation, it is not at all where one might expect to find grey.

Wendy and Alan's display gardens at Forest Lane Botanicals.

Wendy and Alan’s display gardens at Forest Lane Botanicals.

And yet grey is the foil, the backdrop, which makes the plants pop.

Stone and concrete, weathered wood and leaves traced in silver soothe the eye; offering a spot to rest one’s eyes from the myriad details of their lush landscape.

Fairy garden designed by Wendy Wubbel.

Fairy garden with miniature Hostas,  designed by Wendy Wubbel .

 

Neutral and grounded, grey speaks to eons of continuity and perseverance.

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Its inert solidity provides the perfect contrast to green growing things which leap to life each spring.

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Wendy and Alan, welcoming and brimming with talk about their wonderful plants, greeted us this morning and led us around every path of the garden.

Another of Wendy's magical fairy gardens.

Another of Wendy’s magical fairy gardens.

We considered natives and hybrids, Maples and Hostas, Begonias and ferns.

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They offered initiation into growing a new genus:  the pitcher plant,  Sarracenia. 

Loving full sun, wet feet and dry ankles, as Wendy explained, we have the perfect spot to grow the pitcher plant we brought home with us:  in the new grey hypertufa  pot I’m already planning to cast for it.

All photos in this post were taken at Forest Lane Botanicals in York County, Virginia.

All photos in this post were taken at Forest Lane Botanicals in York County, Virginia.

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

With Appreciation to Jennifer Nichole Wells 

for hosting the Weekly One Word Photo Challenge

 

Salmon

Purple

Blue

Red

Black

Glitter

Turquoise

Periwinkle

Pink

One Word Photo Challenge: Turquoise in a Fairy Garden

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Forest Lane Botanicals in York County, Virginia, carries a number of dwarf hostas and other tiny plants.

Owners Wendy and Alan Wubbels have highlighted these miniature plants in a number of interesting ways.

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My favorite is their fairy garden. Fairy Gardens combine dwarf and low growing plants with all sorts of found materials to create whimsical, magical little landscape.

I think of these as horticultural dollhouses, designed to please the Fairy People.

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Turquoise is such a natural color to use in these little gardens.  Here it beautifully accents and enchants.

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

 

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With Appreciation to Jennifer Nichole Wells and her One Word Photo Challenge:  Turquoise

 

 

Forest Lane Botanicals

 

The display gardens at Forest Lane Botanicals in York County, Virginia.

The display gardens at Forest Lane Botanicals in York County, Virginia.

A neighbor  asked last summer whether I had discovered Forest Lane Botanicals.

She told me that it is a small family operation, a Virginia certified nursery specializing in ferns, hostas, Azaleas, Japanese Maples, various shade loving perennials, and some native plants.

This garden by the drive leading in to Forest Lane Botanicals enjoys shade from the forest and from established Azaleas.

This fountain by the drive leading in to Forest Lane Botanicals enjoys shade from the forest and from established Azaleas.

Intrigued, I made a mental note to find them.  One thing led to another, and their season ended before I found time to visit.

But I determined to find them this spring, and yesterday my partner and I visited for the first time.  The gardens are open to the public between March 12 and July 5 this year,  from 10 AM until 4 PM on Wednesdays through Saturdays.

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What a treasure!  This beautiful wooded property, near York River State Park, is tucked away along country lanes, in a residential area.

Owners Wendy and Alan Wubbels were away at a show in Richmond, but we visited with Cathy, who greeted us warmly and showed us around.

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The gardens exhibit the love and care with which they are maintained.

An intricate fairy garden in a large basin overlooks this forest garden

An intricate fairy garden in a large basin overlooks this forest garden

A peaceful and romantic woodland garden, the tremendous repertoire of plants blends seamlessly from one vignette and bed to the next across several acres.

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Garden art, sculpture, flowing fountains, fairy gardens, novel planting containers,  and unusual cultivars of familiar plants make this an intriguing garden to wander as one absorbs idea after idea for developing a woodland garden.

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A true partnership between man and nature is evident as one strolls through the beds. 

May Apple,

May Apple, Podophyllum peltatum, wanders through beds and along paths throughout the shade gardens.

Native May Apples, Podophyllum peltatum,  pop up at will in paths and beds, most now in bloom with their shy Hellebore like flowers tucked safely under the umbrella leaf.

Map Apples mix with ferns in this bed.

Map Apples mix with ferns and Foam Flower in this bed.

The large green leaves of this spring ephemeral march along the forest floor, springing up from underground rhizomes early each spring before leaves fill out the forest canopy, and then disappear by late summer.

sSedlings of Japanese Maple grow in the path beneath their parent tree.

Seedlings of Japanese Maple grow in the path beneath their parent tree.

Tiny Acer seedlings also escape the boundaries of beds, springing up beneath their parents in odd places.

A creeping form of Tiarella marches down a slope, awash in white blooms.

A creeping form of Tiarella, foam flower, cascades down this shady bed.

A creeping form of Tiarella, foam flower, cascades down this shady bed between ferns and Hostas.

Azalea shrubs are just bursting into flower as fronds unfurl to announce the presence of re-emerging ferns.

Hellebores are finishing up as ferns and Tiarella are emerging.

Hellebores are finishing up as ferns, Hostas and Heuchera are emerging.

Amazed at the many tasty plants, such as Hostas and Azaleas, which suffered no apparent nibbling from deer; I asked Cathy how the Wubbels protect their garden from grazing.

She indicated the many Boxwood shrubs throughout the garden.  Apparently, deer detest the aroma of Boxwood.  Along with a variety of sprays used on a regular basis, the Boxwood help deter deer from visiting the garden.

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A lovely garden, made all the more attractive for gardening fanatics like me because pots and pots of little starts of these lovely plants are lined up discreetly around the edge of the garden, and in a retail display area.

"Lady in Red"

“Lady in Red” Lady Fern has dark red stems on each frond.

I came looking for ferns, and left with three beautiful Lady Ferns,  Athyrium felix-femina  “Lady in Red.”

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Stands of Columbine by the drive, and emerging daylily foliage, hint at the beauty still to unfold here as the season progresses.

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My partner and I anticipate making a return trip very soon.  There is this lovely variegated Iris we have just the spot for…..

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

Pitcher plants are found in abundance in sunny areas at Forest Lane Botanicals.

Pitcher plants are found in abundance in sunny areas at Forest Lane Botanicals.

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