Monday, July 4, 2016

A Visit to the Mother Ship - The New RBG Rock Garden

Most times I prefer to be right - in this particular case I am absolutely delighted to be wrong.  My first impressions of the new Rock Garden have completely changed.

Like every other member of the RBG, we had been waiting to see the new rock garden.  It had been closed for 3 long years.  Kevin and I got in on the May long weekend.  To say I was excited was an understatement.

This garden used to be a smack-in-the-face bulbalicious colour pallooza.  So I was anticipating a crush of bulbs in a new gorgeous design.  However, no such luck.

There were some bulbs in the entry beds down to the garden - almost like a memorial to what the garden once was.

Bulbs were planted sparingly, but effectively.

Instead of bulbs we saw masses of plants.  Plant one times 10 to the power of 6.  (A curse on you Mr. Oudolf.)

There were some old favourites, like this Cercis canadensis 'Alba':

And, the colour chartreuse looms large - Dicentra 'Gold Heart'.

Down into the belly of the beast....this was it.  No wonder we haven't been allowed in for 3's taken this long for the plants to start to look like they may want to grow.

Nice new centre and a garden of green goosebumps.

Excellent new steps - lovely new railing.

We noticed that they've really put a lot of thought into accessibility - anyone in a wheelchair or walker can see most of the garden.  Although there are parts where grandma may want to race her grandchildren - the incline can be a bit steep.

Lovely wide pathways.  Not too much to look at.  So, that's how we ended our first visit to the garden.

However, last week I took some buddies for a picnic over at Hendrie Garden and asked them if they wanted to see (and have an opinion) on what $20MM of our taxpayer (and generous donor contribution) dollars has bought us.  Well, we did and we loved it.

There are large swaths of plants, plus combinations of interesting little plants (that are labeled) to delight you along your way.

And good vistas.

Cornus kousa 'Wolf Eyes' - a combination of simply too much, and yet, just perfect.

 You can see how things are still a bit dotty.  Obviously, next year will be even better.

Everyone had their camera out capturing the combinations.

One of the rebuilt water features.

Something for everyone:

I had tried to grow this from seed.  It spent all its time lying on its side like it had spent the night drinking.  When E. pallida does what it should, it looks very cool.

I'll be quiet for a few pictures so you can concentrate on the plants:

Cercis canadensis 'Hearts of Gold' - more chartreuse, than gold, but still lovely.

Like the use of dead ends.  It makes you circle back and see the garden from the other side.

Bart and Kevin enjoying the shade.

And here we are on our way out.  As you can see, Bart was ready to climb back up the stairs and stay for another round.  Frankly I would have too, if I'd had the time.  I'll be back with more friends in tow to show them my new favourite thing.

What a wonderful way to spend a few hours on a summer day.


Kathy said...

I have read that a lot of prairie flowers (forbs) do better surrounded by prairie grasses to hold them up and support them. I suggest for your consideration that your Echinacea pallida wouldn't flop if surrounded by ornamental grasses. I am glad your second impression was much improved. Perhaps they will be planting more bulbs this fall and next spring will look better. It is rather difficult to plant a garden that will look good in all seasons. Do they have a list of goals they were trying to achieve with the redo?

Barbarapc said...

You are so right about those flowers. Not only did I not have the right neighbourhood for those pallida - I suspect at the time, there was too much shade - perhaps they were flopped in protest! Yes, they did have a list of goals, which I found while I was doing my post - less man-hours of labour - less "expensive" plant material, i.e. bulbs - less watering - more native plants - a garden that would be more self-sustaining and draw in wild-life. So I'd say their goals were well met. If they hadn't been closed for 3 years, they probably should have opened in late June as it really isn't a spring garden any more - it belongs to summer and fall. Fortunately they have so many gardens and trails, you are spoiled for choice of gardens to see, which is great. The only sad thing is that the days of seas of tulips is over for the RBG.

Beth @ PlantPostings said...

It's fascinating to see how public (and private) gardens change over time. Sometimes the results are encouraging; other times it can be a bit depressing. It sounds like the RBG is taking the improvements seriously. Most of the botanical gardens here in my area are in great shape, but over time they've gone through some challenging transitions. Loving care and a few $$ can do wonders.

Jennifer said...

I have yet to make it to the RBG, but am dying to use those passes you gave me. This preview has given me extra motivation to finally get there. I didn't think dogs were allowed in the gardens. It would certainly make life easier if they were.
Another hot day! Is your garden as parched as mine?

Barbarapc said...

Oh Jennifer - it's so sad looking. Broke down and did some moving around - yes, I know, silly, foolish, but just had to move stuff around to fill in melted out sections. Picked up bags of reduced compost/mulch from the RCSS.

The RBG rock garden, is just going to get better - take the puppies - they'll love it. Unlike the TBG with a list of don'ts, (no dogs, no picnics, etc.) the RBG is one of Yes! Take a picnic, take the dogs and enjoy. I'm sure it would be better to give Bart a nice clean drink - but what the heck, after drinking from the water features, all seemed to be just fine. B.

Beth - the province of Ontario used to do these large projects all the time.....used to, most of the old projects are now 50 years old and completely inaccessible. It was absolutely delightful to see some money spent, and great to see how creating this beautiful feature has brought new crowds to the garden. Fun to see that ladies are putting dresses on to visit - making it a real occasion sort of event.

Victoria Williams said...

Wow! Lovely, just lovely. Great photos too.

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Takeshi Kenshin said...

Good Garden :D Your pics are very beautiful