Saturday, March 19, 2011

Went to Jim Dronenberg's and Dan Weil' to meet Pamela Harper

If I am doing my math correctly, Pamela Harper has been gardening her two acre property in tidewater Virgina for more than half of her life. Time Tested Plants: Thirty Years in a Four-Season Garden was published in 2000 and describes in some detail, her experiences. When Ms. Harper came to this country from Great Britain 40 odd years ago as a horticulturist she brought with her a reputation that forty years (now) in the US has only enhanced. I remember when Time Tested Plants came out; I loved it because it was so many things other garden books weren't. Namely it presented a variety of trees, shrubs, perennials, and bulbs that the author had determined were tough, beautiful, and functional in her garden. Her conclusions were founded in experience, cumulative not anecdotal and reasoned honestly and rigorously. She didn't just parrot older literature nor did she seem to lost the ability to intellectually detach and objectively analyze plants that she clearly loved.

The middle picture is of Jim and his large Hellebore bed. They're breeding in there! The bottom picture is the sheltered SE facing ell formed by the main house and the wing they added on. It's allowed plants like Lady Banks roses, Confederate Jasmine, several Gardenia spp., and a variety of other Zone 8 (or 9) plants to survive on a windy hill in Zone 7a.

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