Friday, May 14, 2010

The Cincinnati Gardens of Bill Lee & Hurst Sloniker

Public gardens are nice and I'm glad that they are available for those of us who can't get enough of what nature has to offer, and what talented people put together in such amazing ways. But I'll always enjoy those visits to individual's gardens that are created not for others, but for themselves.  They are labors of love and it shows.

While attending the Garden Writers Association Region III meeting last month in Cincinnati, we had the pleasure of visiting two beautiful private gardens, those of Beth Karp, and Bill Lee and Hurst Sloniker.  Since we had a very busy day planned, our visit to each was not nearly long enough, but we were able to see enough to know that these gardeners love gardening as much as we do.

On Honey Hill, live Bill Lee and Hurst Sloniker, where their cozy home sits in a clearing in the woods, with rolling terrain behind the house.  I would love to have this non-flat land to work with on our own property!

The first thing I noticed as we drove up was the beautiful pink dogwood in front of the house.  I've tried to grow one a couple of times and just can't keep them alive.  We've had a white one for at least 20 years, but the pink ones elude me.

We quickly made our way through the property, which held all kinds of wonderful surprises.

Standard Dwarf Bearded Iris 'Hot'

I talked with Hurst about Japanese Maples, of which they've got a small collection.  The one that really caught my eye was Acer palmatum 'Shojo nomura', which means "little red-faced monkeys" in Kanji (Japanese). WANT!

Acer palmatum 'Shojo nomura'

 Another beautiful tree was the double white dogwood. That elicited all kinds of oohs and ahhs from all of us.  I'm amazed at all the gorgeous dogwoods growing and blooming in Cincinnati this time of the year, but especially the pink/red ones and this double white.

Cornus florida 'Plena'

Just as we were leaving, I noticed a few people crouched down at the edge of the woods, looking at something.  Never one to want to be left out, I ran over to see what it was they were so interested in.

Arisaema sp.

OH! A 'Mouse Tails' Arisaema!  I'm not sure this one is hardy in our area (nor am I sure of the actual name of it), but it's yet another "want" I found here.  So charming!

And as we finally tore ourselves away so we could visit another private garden, I spied this Marsh Marigold blooming proudly by the barn...

Marsh Marigold
(Caltha palustris)

Since I'd never seen this wildflower in person, I was surprised at how large it actually is. I expected something along the lines of Lesser Celandine. It's way larger than that and much taller at 18 inches or so in this location.

Next, we drove just a short distance away to the gardens of Beth Karp.  I'll show them to you in a future blog post.  Thank you, Bill and Hurst, for allowing us to enjoy your gardens, if only for a short time. I intend to take you up on your invitation to return for a more lengthy visit.  We'll talk plants!

Narcissus 'Baby Moon'


MILLIE said...

I just stopped by. What a nice job you are doing with your blog. Congratulations on the Master Gardener classes. I'll definitely stop back by your blog to check out more later. Loved this post about the beautiful gardens in Cincinatti.

rebecca sweet said...

What a charming garden! I've never seen a 'mouse's tail' before and am so glad you took that photo! I can almost feel the moisture in the air, the coolness of the garden (compared to the dry, little to hot climate here in CA!)...thanks for the beautiful tour!

Unknown said...

Japanese maples don't do a thing for me, but I did go into raptures over that double Cornus. And the Arisaema (I just saw that in a book, but I don't remember which one, hah0 and the Caltha. We grow that here, and the single one is pretty and compact. The double is larger and more showy, but I'm not sure that I don't prefer the single in this case. They look like lovely gardens, and I'm glad you got to visit.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I have never seen a double dogwood or a Arisaema. I can see why they are on your most wanted list. Isn't it fun to visit other gardens.

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