Garden Photo of the Day

Sarah’s library children’s garden in Maine

End of pink & red, heading into yellow & orange. Hemerocallis 'Baja' or 'Chicago Apache', Sedum 'Maestro', Asclepias tuberosa, tall Verbascum 'Polar Summer' (one of the highlights - tho I doubt it will have overwintered), Heliopsis 'Summer Nights', which could have used more water, Coreopsis 'Moonbeam', Euphorbia 'Bonfire'. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Sara Wolpow

Today’s photos are from Sarah Wolpow in Brunswick, Maine. If you’ll recall, we visited her garden back in February of 2012 (refresh your memory HERE). Today she’s sharing another project near and dear to her heart. 

Before. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Sara Wolpow

She says, “Here are some images from a children’s garden I designed and installed for the Topsham Public Library in Topsham, Maine. They had an existing spiral path that was laid out by a boy scout several years earlier. They wanted a “rainbow garden” theme, with something going around the spiral. The site is very sunny, hot, and sandy, and they didn’t want a huge maintenance headache. I picked tough plants that would not need irrigation after the first year.

During. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Sara Wolpow

“I planned the arc of the rainbow in four sections: red & pink, yellow & orange, green & white, and blue & purple. I used plants that would attract butterflies, birds & bees, and that had interesting textures. The garden was installed in 2011. Most of the pictures are from 2012, its second season.

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Sara Wolpow

“We had a terrible problem with asiatic garden beetles the first summer – they munched to the ground achillea, salvia, helianthus, heliopsis, echinacea, and centranthus. The second summer was much better -possibly because the garden didn’t get much water and the beetle grubs need some soil moisture to hatch. I have a small business doing garden design/installation/renovation in Brunswick, Maine (ThistleGaard Perennial Garden Design).”

Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Sara Wolpow

So nice, Sarah! I love how you followed the line of the spiral, and the plants all seem like stalwart classics–sure to thrive and please. I’ll be taking notes for my newly-sunny front yard that I’ll be designing this spring. Thanks!

Pink & red, Fall 2012. Potentilla ‘Monarch’s Velvet’ and Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ and possible ‘Cloud Walker’. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Sara Wolpow

Yellow/orange looking toward white/green and blue/purple. Achillea  – probably ‘Coronation Gold’ and ‘TerraCotta’ – it’s hard to grow achillea in Maine because of wet winter soil – this is the best spot I’ve found for it. Panicum, Verbascum, and Nepeta in the back. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Sara Wolpow

Coreposis ‘Moonbeam’, Liatris ‘Floristan White’, Stachys byzantina ‘Big Ears’, Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Sara Wolpow

Liatris ‘Kobold’, Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’, Echinops ‘Vietch’s Blue’ (darker blue) and the straight species Echinops ritro. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Sara Wolpow

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  1. user-1020932 03/04/2013

    very nice , lush and full of color! i love when a perennial garden first emerges in spring (breakfast), then all filled in and setting bud for flowers (lunch), and finally full of flower/color providing a full on gluttonous feast. i remember JaneEliz (also in Brunswick) saying she had no deer in her area, , do you know her? you said Achillea was difficult to grow there but yours look great. here by the time they flower mine are floppy and lazing around in every direction.

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 03/04/2013

    Wow, anyone who ever wonders if it's worth putting in a perennial garden need only look at these pictures to be reassured that the effort will be well worth it! Amazing that everything looks so bountiful and filled in by season 2. The spiral pathway now seems much more welcoming and generously sized. Maybe in the years to come, there should be a community fundraising effort to buy some great benches to place along the way and/or a special piece of artwork at the end of the spiral (ha, there I go with ideas of how to spend other people's money).
    Anyway, Sarah, great job!

  3. GrnThum 03/04/2013

    I love the concept of a rainbow garden! Makes me want to tear out my existing hardscape and start again with one of these lovely spirals (a stroke of genius from that boy scout - could be a budding Master Gardener!) Excellent job.

  4. ThistleGaard 03/04/2013

    tntreeman: Thanks for the comments. Achillea grows well here but only in extremely well drained sandy soil. I can't grow it in the regular garden beds at my house - even the ones that get no water - b/c there is too much compost in the soil (too wet, too rich). The only place I can grow it at my house is in the hell strip between my yard and the sidewalk that gets tons of winter salt, is very sandy, and gets blasted by late afternoon western sun. I do know a Jane here who is a gardener - perhaps the same person? There are deer around - it just depends on exactly where you live.
    meander1: The spiral still looks a little lost in the hugs lawn behind the library. They are fundraising to install a much bigger garden out back - with tables and benches.

  5. bee1nine 03/04/2013

    Really nice spiral shaping design! Also wonderful, how you
    chose all those free-flowing perennial plants to set the
    Sarah, lovely work, and thanks for sharing!:)

  6. user-1020932 03/04/2013

    JaneEliz was featured a short while back, winter garden and with a beautiful narrative to her feature. has a plant sale in may, Plants for Peace, i thought if you didn't know her,,,you should! seems like a good person to know. your Achillea story explains why the ONLY Achillea i have that will stand up grows at the edge of my burn pile in the back acre. it always performs with NO water, No care and burned over 3 times each year. have fun! and your garden there is beautiful

  7. ThistleGaard 03/04/2013

    tntreeman: I went and looked at the JaneEliz post - it is indeed the same Jane that I know. She has an absolutely spectacular garden! I've shopped at her Plants for Peace sale many times.

  8. kgamel 03/04/2013

    I'm curious to know the purple-lavender flowering plant in #5. It kind of looks like Dianthus but it's taller than what I'm familiar with. It's very pretty!

  9. pattyspencer 03/04/2013

    Beautiful! I'm suspecting that the Boy Scout did that as his Eagle Project and not from a love of gardening but that being said there are 130 Merit Badges a boy can do and there is a Gardening Merit Badge -

  10. tractor1 03/04/2013

    Good job on that helix! I would interspace the perennials with dwarf conifers to add winter interest. And this garden needs a sculpture to keep your gorgeous fish company... perhaps in keeping with the nautical theme a nautilus... or a more thought provoking saucer like UFO. Unfortunately those granite sculptures can break your bank, those prices rock! Thank you, Sarah.

  11. SilkPurseGarden 03/04/2013

    Congratulations! A worthwhile project very well done and without a doubt enjoyed by your whole community. I especially love photo five with all the shades and textures of green. Can you tell me the name of that lovely dianthus with the dark purple bracts in that photo? I'm always looking for plants to combine with purple-leaved foliage and this seems like it would be a real winner, maybe with Sedum 'Purple Emperor.'

  12. rwotzak 03/04/2013

    Beautiful job, Sarah! Kids' gardens are great. Gotta get 'em interested early, and what better way?

    On that note: Michelle, we need to see more pics from the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens!

  13. ThistleGaard 03/04/2013

    The Dianthus is 'Bath's Pink' and is one of the toughest around here. It must have doubled in size by the second season.

  14. janeeliz 03/04/2013

    Lovely garden you created , Sarah. I shall stop by and see it , in person, in the warm weather.

  15. gardengal42 03/04/2013

    Why can't we click on the (here) word to enlarge the picture??? Where did the click here choice go?? The picture was larger and much better to view the gardens....

  16. user-1020932 03/04/2013

    all my "clicks" work perfectly as they always have

  17. tractor1 03/04/2013

    gardengal42: Right click on picture, click on "Save Picture as", and then save it to wherever you save picture... then you can view full screen. However very often the pictures were not captured with a high resolution cameras so when viewed full screen will be blurry, but try it.

  18. gardengal42 03/05/2013

    TKS for the help BUT it does not say "chick here to enlarge or click on the picture" When you click on the picture it is not as large as the words "click here"..

  19. tractor1 03/05/2013

    gardengal42: some days the "Click to enlarge" feature is simply not enabled, there really is no logical reason why not, just like there is no logical reason why the "save log on" feature doesn't function. But what I gave you is an alternative to use on those photos you want to enlarge.

  20. user-7006916 03/05/2013

    Are you also clicking on the photo itself? That enlarges the photos too.

  21. Oned 10/30/2019

    Beautiful ... There is a similar garden near the library that I visit. I love to sit there, read books. I have to read many books related to my homework in college. Sometimes I prefer view ukessay site to order a personal statement help there, and sometimes I do the work myself. I usually order my tasks when there are too many of them.

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