A Gardening Legend
Known as "Green Jean," Jean Woodhull's garden is a place where she can indulge her love of plants and being outdoors.
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Jean Woodhull is in her eighties, but is still out in her garden almost every day, planting, pruning and attending to a variety of woodland and sun-loving plants. She has been a huge influence in the development and preservation of green spaces in Dayton, Ohio, and is one of the founders of several public parks and the city's arboretum.
Woodhull's informal woodland garden is set on a large corner lot and wraps around the perimeter of the property. In the spring, it's alive with native plants, large drifts of bulbs, flowering shrubs and trees. By June the sunny perennial garden in the back of the house is awash in color with poppies and clematis followed by hollyhocks and evening primrose.
Since she has been gardening on this same spot for over half a century, many of the large trees on the property were only small sticks when she planted them. She still plants trees, shrubs, bulbs and flowers with the same alacrity as she did as a young mother decades ago.
Some plants in her garden:
Hybrid clematis (Clematis 'Hagley Hybrid', syn. 'Pink Chiffon')
The plant: Introduced in 1956 in Suffolk, England, this compact, deciduous climber reaches six to eight feet. Its shell-pink, six-inch-wide flowers have chocolate brown anthers. The second flowering produces four-to-five-inch-wide blooms. Hardy in Zones 4-9.
How to use it: Ideal for fences, trellises on walls, arbors and pergolas.
Cultivation: You'll need well-drained, humus-rich soil that is slightly alkaline. This particular clematis benefits from some afternoon shade protection, out of the full sun. Cut back in spring.
Source: Bluestone Perennials
Species clematis (Clematis integrifolia)
The plant: Native to Hungary, this clematis was introduced to Britain in the 16th century. The plant is non-clinging and woody based and is classified sometimes as a sub-shrub. It grows to a height of two to three feet, producing solitary, nodding bell-shaped flowers on long stalks. The color of the flowers can range from purple blue to medium and dark blue. Seed heads are silky and very ornamental.
How to use it: A wonderful addition to the perennial or shrub border. Provide some support for slender stems.
Cultivation: Very adaptable as to soils. Plant in full to partial sun. Prune in late winter.
Source: Wayside Gardens
Hybrid clematis (Clematis 'Miss Bateman')
The plant: Named for Catharine Bateman, daughter of British orchid specialist James Bateman (1837-1874), this striking white clematis has been in cultivation since the 1860s. The petals overlap slightly and terminate in blunt tips. A central green stripe is visible on each flower, particularly those grown in the shade. Dark red anthers create a lovely contrast to the white flower. Hardy in USDA Zones 4-9.
How to use it: Grow on a fence or a small obelisk. Ideal for container culture.
Cultivation: Prune this clematis immediately after it blooms in spring. Do not prune heavily, but snip off the stems that produced flowers to encourage a second bloom in summer.
Source: Joy Creek Nursery
Hardy geranium (Geranium 'Rozanne')
The plant: This fairly recent introduction from England produces huge quantities of two-inch-wide violet-blue flowers and lightly marbled foliage. The mounding plant blooms from May or June to October and is tolerant of heat and humidity. The flower stems are red, and foliage turns to bright red in autumn. Perennial and hardy in USDA Zones 4-8.
How to use it: Make this lovely flower a feature in front of a border or place it next to a blue or silver gazing ball to reflect the lovely flowers.
Cultivation: Plant in sun or part sun in well-drained soil.
Source: Digging Dog Nursery
Sundrops (Oenothera fruticosa, syn. O. tetragona)
The plant: This two-foot-high perennial evening primrose has inch wide bright yellow flowers that are open during the daylight hours. It is a vigorous grower and spreads rapidly. This U.S. native thrives in hot, dry climates as well as hot, humid areas.
How to use it: Grow in a wild area or use in the front of a perennial border where you can control its vigor. One to two feet high, this evening primrose blooms at the same time as Stokes aster, Asiatic lilies and daylilies. Hardy in Zones 3-11.
Cultivation: Will grow in just about any soil. It's more floriferous in full sun, but will bloom in filtered sun as well.
Source: Seeds only. Specialty Perennials
Carter Oosterhouse shows how to add interest to outdoor areas with a soothing water feature.