Friday, August 1, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Shake it up

Don't get excited. We're not rockin' 'n rollin' here, but in the garden world, this is a subject worth getting hepped up about: foundation planting. You know, the beds around the front of the house. A lot of houses have nothing here, or they have a lineup that is so boring you'd hardly notice it. Yesterday I met with Renee Kemmerer, a horticulturist down at Mt. Cuba, which - if you haven't been there - is a trip worth making in the spring. Mt. Cuba, in Greenville, DE., just outside Wilmington in DuPont World, is 650 beautiful acres dedicated to the study and appreciation of native plants of the Piedmont, defined as the swath from lower New York to Alabama, between the coastal plain and the mountains. Even in winter, it's lovely. Renee and I talked foundation plants, which is the subject of her workshop on Feb. 9 (1-2:30 p.m., http://mtcubacenter.org/). Her feeling is: Go for it! Why be boring? Using native plants, she suggested various scenarios to evoke, say, a meadow or a favorite scene from childhood, such as your grandparents' house, where the garden inevitably included fragrant flowers and fruit. My story, scheduled for Jan. 21, will include interesting natives to substitute for tried-and-true nonnatives. Of her passion for natives, Renee says, "It's a calling."

Shake it up

Don't get excited. We're not rockin' 'n rollin' here, but in the garden world, this is a subject worth getting hepped up about: foundation planting. You know, the beds around the front of the house. A lot of houses have nothing here, or they have a lineup that is so boring you'd hardly notice it. Yesterday I met with Renee Kemmerer, a horticulturist down at Mt. Cuba, which - if you haven't been there - is a trip worth making in the spring. Mt. Cuba, in Greenville, DE., just outside Wilmington in DuPont World, is 650 beautiful acres dedicated to the study and appreciation of native plants of the Piedmont, defined as the swath from lower New York to Alabama, between the coastal plain and the mountains. Even in winter, it's lovely. Renee and I talked foundation plants, which is the subject of her workshop on Feb. 9 (1-2:30 p.m.,  http://mtcubacenter.org/). Her feeling is: Go for it! Why be boring? Using native plants, she suggested various scenarios to evoke, say, a meadow or a favorite scene from childhood, such as your grandparents' house, where the garden inevitably included fragrant flowers and fruit. My story, scheduled for Jan. 21, will include interesting natives to substitute for tried-and-true nonnatives. Of her passion for natives, Renee says, "It's a calling."  

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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