OHS Tour 2015: 5 Takeaway Tips from Dee Nash's Rural Garden

I am still processing images and ideas gathered from the recent OHS Garden Tour 2015, takeaways I want to employ in my own garden...but translated into the language of my garden, my space, my personality.  I have long wanted to see the fabulous rural garden of my friend, Dee Nash of Red Dirt Ramblings (here), a dirt digger extraordinaire who has more horticultural knowledge in her little pinkie than most of us will have in multiple lifetimes.

I was not surprised at the scope and beauty of Dee's gardens; I have seen images of them many times. But what DID surprise me was the context of the garden itself...the fabulous rural setting...an entry drive not unlike that of some of our beautiful state parks. A stand of prairie, cross-timber oak trees --  flanking the drive and sheltering guests upon arrival. Such a cozy vibe with her charming cabin home as its destination. A split-rail fence encircling her garden, a fence style I have always loved and reminds me of growing up in Tennessee, where we too had a split rail fence.

As if that weren't enough, a small lake is the backdrop to her garden. Its sounds, its scent, its aura...infuse and exaggerate the quiet loveliness of what she has created here.

TAKEAWAY TIP #1: Always remember to do that Alexander Pope thing and 'consult the genius of a place'. Garden ornament and structures and embellishments should be inspired by the land, the terrain, the spirit of the earth and the home's architecture.  

Thou shalt not covet thy fellow gardener's greenhouse. But I DO! I love the scale and rugged handsomeness of hers. I don't have the space for one, I know, but I DO have a place
to put...

a small ingenious cold frame like hers.

TAKEAWAY TIP # 2: Build a cold frame similar to hers. Prevail on her kindness to share construction and design specifics.

 I am increasingly using chrysanthemums as valuable perennials in my garden. They are tough and beautiful and, if cut back appropriately through summer, invaluable to the fall garden....and not worthy of my put and pitch attitude of past. I especially LOVE the dusty innocence of Dee's reliable Sheffield Pink Mum. 

TAKEAWAY TIP # 3: Don't be a mum snob. Plant and employ them as a useful, dependable garden perennials, not just flash in the pan seasonal color. Get some Sheffield Pink for certain.

I love using purple in the garden. In foliage, shrub, flower. I had already planned on using more celosia and Joseph's Coat next year, and being more persistent  in locating it...as they seemed to be more scarce and harder to find in nurseries this year. I loved Dee's stand of Alternathera dentate 'Purple Knight' (read more about it in FINE GARDENING (here) and the dramatic spires of celosia  'Purple Flamingo'. Perhaps for me, a shorter version, but in a similar color.

Don't you love the way she places plants to be glowingly backlit by the autumn sun?

 TAKEAWAY TIP #4:  Research, grow from seed, and use more varieties of celosia and alternathera in my summer garden next year.

Finally, NO ONE does elaborate seasonal container plantings like Helen Weis of UNIQUE BY DESIGN (see more of her incredible work on houzz (here)  Look at this spectacular container she did for Dee's front entrance. Colors, textures, form, material.......all that perfectly resonate with Dee's home.

TAKEAWAY TIP #5: Find a place to put an equally dramatic, vertical container planting at my home.

God knows, I could go on and on, but for more pics, ideas, garden know-how, visit Dee's blog . RED DIRT RAMBLINGS (here).  You will no doubt find some takeaway tips of your own!

And please join Linda Cavanaugh and me today at 4:30 on NewsChannel 4 on FOUR YOUR GARDEN. Check out my Halloween costume for 2015. Hope you can join us!

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