Sunday, January 11, 2009

Apres MANTS Dinner: Jim Dronenberg explains future construction plans for his and Dan's unbelievable garden at the conclusion of the Garden Tour

Jim Dronenberg and Dan Weil have hosted a yearly Apres MANTS dinner for, I don't know how long but a good many years. This past Saturday, as always is the case, there was food, wondrous in quality and quantity; guests (upwards of 50?) with a formidable aggregate knowledge of plants, horticulture, and gardening; and of course there was the incredible garden. Intermittent rain, sleet, and a generally dismal day weatherwise didn't deter any of us from taking the tour. Even in the middle of January on a hillside in Knoxville Maryland (must be Zone 6 though Jim grows 8 and 9 plants in an sheltered microclimate) there were things happening. One of the less common Sarcococca species, ruscifolia, was in full bloom. They have hundreds and hundreds of Hellebores and we spotted here and there the odd premature flower.

As it has for the past several years, the tour concluded at Jim's limestone amphitheater/bowl. Since the last time I took the tour, he has replaced one of two brick ramps with flagstone-brick steps. It would be interesting to know the weight of the stone, soil, and bricks that he has moved in the construction of this remarkable feature. Anyway, it nears conclusion, at least it's more than half done! Jim has done some planting including a beautiful Lacebark Pine and a short-needled Black Pine cultivar. We all look forward to seeing the next stage!

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