binrocha
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Nov 25, 2007 6:31 pm
Location: long island, ny

gardening in long island

hello everyone.
my first post here, i don't mean to sound stupid, but I'm neither a gardener or landscaper, & I'm trying to put together a japanese inspired tsukiyama. I'm in the final stage of my hillside pond & waterfall construction, i need recommendation on the planting, that is suitable for the long island, new york area (sandy & acidic). low maintenance would be a bonus, but I'm willing to put a good effort to ensure health, survival of plants (amending soil, water needs, etc)
if there's anyone out there who could point me in the right direction, who is knowlegeable of the growing condition here in the island, & is willing to share info on type of plants, best place to buy, i will appreciate it very, very much. i've read books & tons of info on line, but I'm not sure if they're applicable for my area, that is why I'm asking for help, specially people who are succesful in their gardening endeavor here in long island, ny.
thank you very much in advance,

victor

Newt
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Posts: 1868
Joined: Tue May 25, 2004 10:44 pm
Location: Maryland zone 7

Hi Victor,

Welcome to the Helpful Gardener. I'm not that knowledgeable about Japanese gardens but it would be most helpful for you to know your plant hardiness zone. Long Island has zones 6 and 7. You can look at the map here or use the zip code zone finder. That will help you to know what is hardy in your zone. If you live near the shore it would be helpful for those helping you to know if salt spary is of concern as well as not all plants will tolerate the salt. If you will have alot of questions about plants it would be helpful for you to add your hardiness zone to your location.

[img]https://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/cropmap/newyork/maps/NYhardy.jpg[/img]


You mention low maintenance plants, but since a Japanese garden requires constant pruning, I'm not sure what you mean by low maintenance, especially since it's on a hill.

Btw, most conifers tolerate acidic soils well. You might find some helpful info here.
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/japanese/
https://learn.bowdoin.edu/japanesegardens/

I'm sure others will be along with more help on particular plants for your garden.

Newt

MaineDesigner
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Posts: 439
Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2006 11:17 am
Location: Midcoast Maine, Zone 5b

I'm sympathetic and I'll try to offer what advice I can but you've chosen a particularly difficult challenge for someone with no experience in gardening. It is akin to saying, "I've never really painted anything but I think I'll start with something in the style of Vermeer."

As Newt noted pines tend to love acidic, sandy soils but if you intend to keep them at Japanese Garden scale they will require intensive, skilled pruning at least once and probably twice per year. I find Pinus strobus to be an notably poor candidate for Japanese landscapes but there are at least a dozen other pines that could work depending on the details of the site and composition.

As far as reading goes there is some really great material out there and some complete garbage both in print and on the internet. Among recent books I thought Motomi Oguchi's Create Your Own Japanese Garden: A Practical Guide was quite good although the garden on the dustjacket photo is not a very good example. There is a fairly recent book on Japanese pruning which I would place in the second category.

If you want professional help arguably the best trained Japanese gardener in North America works out of New Jersey so you have top notch resources near by.

opabinia51
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Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 5:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Welcome to the site and be sure to ask any questions you have. One avenue that you might also try are your local nurseries, the long term staff at local locations have a wealth of knowledge and have worked in the business for decades sometimes.

binrocha
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Nov 25, 2007 6:31 pm
Location: long island, ny

japanese inspired garden

hi everyone,
thanks to all your replies & leads, they are all very helpful & informative. although i've been planting for the last 15 years, i don't consider myself a gardener simply because I'm not that knowledgeable as far as type of plants that go together well, or designing a japanese inspired planting. i also mentioned that I'm willing to learn & put the effort, whatever it takes to make the garden succesful, with the help of all the good people in this forum, who unselfishly share their wealth of information, i think i have a good chance to grow a garden that i will love! I'm not a landscaper either, but i (me, myself & i) managed to build (first time) a 2,500 gal. pond & waterfall in my backyard, on a 45 degree (sandy) slope of a hill, with a shovel & wheelborrow, all with the help of very generous people like you, here in the garden forum, sharing their invaluable information. so that said, i think, all we need is the willingness to try & the right information on how to do it, i have to start somewhere!
thanks a bunch, i'll try to post some pics of the pond/waterfall as soon as i figure out how! my daughter is a little impatient on showing me how.

victor

Newt
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Posts: 1868
Joined: Tue May 25, 2004 10:44 pm
Location: Maryland zone 7

Victor, you are very welcome! I think a good place to start with plant selection is to have some good books like MaineDesigner suggested. When you see cominations that you like you could write down the names of the plants. Then you can research them at google. Be sure to look at more then one site for additional info.

I was just thinking about your hill and the fact that you want low maintenance. You may want to look for dwarf varieties of plants so you won't have to prune as much. I put together a list for some friends in New Hampshire of dwarf evergreen shrubs that maintain their shape and most stay under 3' or 4' so pruning would be minimal, if at all. They are hardy to zone 4 or 5 and might work for you. Feel free to go through this list.

Pinus mugo 'Slowmound' will mature at 3' in about 20 years. Pinus mugo 'Mops' will also get to 3' in 20 years.
https://www.iseli-nursery.com/articles/NMPROmugo.htm
https://koigardenclub.com/PinusMugo.htm#mops
https://www.iselinursery.com/photopages/PinusmugoMops.htm

Abies balsamea [url=https://www.millernursery.com/plantPages/evergreen/abiesBalsameaNana.htm]Nana[/url] aka dwarf balsam fir has lovely new growth in the spring which you can see in the first picture.

[img]https://www.mountainmeadowsdwarfconifers.com/Graphics/LargePhotos/AbiesBalsameaNanaNov02.jpg[/img]

[img]https://www.snowcrest.net/windowboxnursery/snowconifer/images/nana.jpg[/img]

Thuja occidentalis 'Hetz Midget' is a nice low growing and mounding native arborvitae (cedar) that won't scratch your arms. It's similar in habit to the Mugo pine, but this stays small at about 3' to 4'. The [url=https://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/Plant.asp?code=F940]Mugo pine[/url] can get to 7' or more. The one in this second picture is diseased, but look how big it is.

[img]https://www.extension.iastate.edu/newsrel/garden/MugoPineWilt.jpg[/img]

Thuja occidentalis 'Globe' and Thuja occidentalis 'Golden Globe' are also mound shaped and small natives you might like. Golden globe has that yellow color to the tips of the branches. They grow to about 4' or 6' tall over a long period of time.

https://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/Plant.asp?code=Q380

Feel free to look at the other Thuja varieties [url=https://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/Alpha.asp?start=T&end=T]described here[/url].


Want something really unusual as a focal point? This is a weeping plant - Thuja plicata 'Whipcord' aka Whipcord arborvitae. It looks like a mop and I think it's great! [url=https://www.millernursery.com/plantPages/evergreen/thujaPlicataWhipcord.htm]This is my favorite[/url].

[img]https://www.iselinursery.com/images/photos/ThujaplicataWhipCord.jpg[/img]

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi 'Big Bear' is a small shrub that remains evergreen. There's others with names like 'Mama Bear' and 'Baby Bear'. Cute, eh? Keep in mind the berries are BEAR food, so if you have bears where you live you might want to rethink using this. This first site is out of California, but don't let that put you off as these grow all over the US. It shows groundcovers in [url=https://www.laspilitas.com/groups/manzanita_arctostaphylos/Manzanita.html]this species[/url]as well as [url=https://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/Plant.asp?code=R360]small shrubs[/url].

For those taller accent plants think about these. The Lazy's S Farm site can be used for reference, ordering and some pics, though the pictures aren't all that great. These Chamaecyparis are also called Honoki false cypress. Look at:
Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Filicoides'
[img]https://www.plantnames.org/chamobtfilicoides.jpg[/img]

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Filicoides Gold' tends to be one of the hardier ones.

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Verdoni' is really pretty and lovely shape.

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Well's Special' (can't take a windy site).

Chamaecyparis thyoides '[url=https://www.lazyssfarm.com/Plants/Shrubs/A-Ch%20Shrubs/shrubs_trees_Ca-Ch.htm]Heatherbun[/url]'


Chamaecyparis obtusa [url=https://www.millernursery.com/plantPages/evergreen/chamaecyparisObtusaFernsprayGold.htm]'Fernspray Gold'[/url]

[img]https://www.snowcrest.net/windowboxnursery/snowconifer/images/chamaefern.jpg[/img]

[url=https://www.iselinursery.com/photopages/ChamaecyparisobtusaFernsprayGold.htm]More photos[/url]

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Filicoides Compacta' aka Fernspray cypress is similar to the 'Filicoides Gold' above. I love the look of this one. It has beautiful fern-like foliage and is a slow-growing tree to 10 feet. Its pyramidal form makes a graceful entryway accent. There is a variety that doesn't have 'Compacta' in it's name and it gets larger and doesn't stay pyramidal like the 'Compacta' so be careful with this one.

[img]https://www.donnan.com/images/Hinoki_Twisted.jpg[/img]

[img]https://www.iselinursery.com/images/dwarfconiferarticle/ChamobFilicoidesCompacta.jpg[/img]

This isn't listed as the 'Filicoides Compacta' and says it gets to 8', but I think they're wrong. It has a [url=https://www.fowlersnursery.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=plants.plantDetail&plant_id=710]good picture[/url] though. The [url=https://www.ecoterralandscape.com/topic/061014pp.htm]second picture[/url] is an older tree.

Picea abies 'Acrocona' is a compact, slow-growing irregular Norway Spruce with purple-red spring cones on branch tips. [url=https://www.richsfoxwillowpines.com/Web%20Albums/Foxwillow%20Pines%20Photos%20Picea/slides/Picea%20abies%20Acrocona.html]Very pretty[/url] and unusual.

Picea glauca 'Jean's Dilly' aka Dwarf Alberta spruce 'Jean's Dilly' is more compact and slower growing the the other Dwarf Alberta spruces you will find. I think you will like the more tailored shape of [url=https://www.richsfoxwillowpines.com/Web%20Albums/Foxwillow%20Pines%20Photos%20Picea/slides/Picea%20glauca%20Jean's%20Dilly.html]this one[/url].


Many of these groundcovers below can be purchased in flats so you will have plenty to cover a larger area.

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi 'Point Reyes' aka bearberry aka kinnikinick is a nice native groundcover. Probably best in a sunnier spot and one you can more easily weed if needed. Evergreen. There are many different types as some are a low growing groundcover and others are small shrubs which would look great with another groundcover under it that cascades down over a wall, rocks or a hill. [url=https://www.entomology.cornell.edu/Extension/Woodys/CUGroundCoverSite/Arctostaphylos%20uva-ursi.html]Butterflies and hummingbirds[/url] like the nectar from the [url=https://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/Plant.asp?code=J380]flowers[/url].

Phlox subulata aka Moss phlox aka Moss pink is a native that will need full sun. It's flowers come in different shades of either pink, blue or purple. There are several types of phlox so choose by scientific name. [url=https://www.entomology.cornell.edu/Extension/Woodys/CUGroundCoverSite/Phlox%20subulata.html]Evergreen[/url].

Rhus aromatica 'Grow-Low' aka Grow Low fragrant rhus aka 'Gro-Low'. This is the dwarf selection of this native plant so you'll have to purchase it by specific name. Gorgeous fall color. It is [url=https://www.entomology.cornell.edu/Extension/Woodys/CUGroundCoverSite/Rhus%20aromatica.html]not evergreen[/url].

[img]https://www.marysplantfarm.com/_photos/shrubs/RHUS%20AOMATIC%20GRO%20LOW%20(FALL).jpg[/img]


Gaultheria procumbens aka wintergreen aka teaberry is another wonderful [url=https://www.fw.vt.edu/dendro/dendrology/syllabus/factsheet.cfm?ID=148]native evergreen[/url] woodland groundcover for shade.

https://www.paghat.com/wintergreen.html

There are many types of Veronica, some of which are low growing groundcovers and others that are upright plants to 18" or more. Some are invasive and I haven't listed them here. None of these are natives as far as I know and most come from the Alps and Eurasia so they are cold hardy. Here's a sample.

Veronica montana 'Corinne Tremaine' aka [url=https://www.perennials.com/seeplant.html?item=1.540.600]Mountain speedwell[/url] might be hard to find but is lovely.

https://www.joycreek.com/085-055.htm
https://www.paghat.com/woodspeedwell.html

Veronica prostrata 'Trehane' is similar and might be easier to find and the leaves are solid light green. Might be evergreen in your zone.

https://www.joycreek.com/085-045.htm

Veronica prostrata 'Mrs. Holt' is not as vigorous as others of this species. I think this will be evergreen for you as the species V. prostrata usually is in warmer winters.
https://www.cfgphoto.com/img10165.htm
https://www.joycreek.com/085-031.htm

Veronica prostrate 'Nestor' has light blue flowers.
https://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/Plant.asp?code=Z390

Veronica prostrata 'Buttercup' is great if you like leaves with a yellow color to them. The flowers are [url=https://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/Plant.asp?code=A313]lavender[/url].


Veronica surculosa is another.
https://www.joycreek.com/085-023.htm

Veronica umbrosa 'Georgia Blue' is yet another nice plant.
https://www.joycreek.com/085-036.htm
https://www.paghat.com/veronica.html

Veronica armena is evergreen.
https://www.joycreek.com/085-015.htm
[img]https://www.evermaynursery.com/images/store/productimages/1167/Veronicaarmena_lg.jpg[/img]

[img]https://skalnicky.unas.cz/obrazky/skalnicky/ver_armenav.jpg[/img]

Veronica allionii comes in a purple and a pink variety. The pink one is Veronica [url=https://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/Plant.asp?code=Z760]'Giles van Hess'[/url].
https://www.joycreek.com/085-010.htm
https://www.robsplants.com/plants/VeronAllio.php


Veronica spicata 'Nana' sometimes called Veronica spicata 'Blue Nana' is a bit taller, growing to about 8" when in bloom. Be sure to get the one with '[url=https://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/Plant.asp?code=T820]Nana[/url]' in the name as there is a full sized Veronica spicata that grows to about 18".


If you want something only 1" tall then [url=https://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/Plant.asp?code=Z750]Vernoica liwanensis[/url] would work well.

https://www.highcountrygardens.com/images/products/97340.jpg
https://www.highcountrygardens.com/catalog/product/97340/

Of course you can see more pics at google if you use the scientific names and click on 'Images'. If you click on 'Web' you should find sites that offer growing info. You can also use this great site if you decide to mailorder. You can check references and even search by state or plant material.

There are many other plants, but that should get you started.

Newt

opabinia51
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Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 5:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

There you go! Newt is the super information finder on the site! Always count on her to find everything you need via the web.

Just keep in mind that when you read information on the web (or anywhere) to read in critically and don't just take what you read for granted.

binrocha
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Nov 25, 2007 6:31 pm
Location: long island, ny

japanese inspired garden

hello,
what have i unleashed! Newt, there's more information here than my local library! it'll take me all winter to digest all these information you posted. thank you very much! now, its just a matter of putting it all together, which plant goes where & with who. i'll be posting some pics, so maybe you guys & gals can give me some suggestions on plant placement.
thanks again,
victor

MaineDesigner
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Posts: 439
Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2006 11:17 am
Location: Midcoast Maine, Zone 5b

Newt's plant list has opened a box with somewhat contentious contents: what constitutes a Japanese Garden, especially a "Japanese Garden" outside of Japan. I don't think there is a definitive answer to this question and my observations below are strictly my opinion, not some attempt to be the authenticity police (although I fear it may have that tone).

This question comes up for me quite often as I not infrequently have prospective clients asking for a "Japanese Garden" but in the process of our conversation it usually becomes apparent to me that what they want is a mixed garden with some vaguely East Asian gestures. The maintenance issue is often the primary sticking point although flowering perennials, or other issues of content and aesthetic, can sometimes be another problem. I have no problem designing gardens for these clients but I don't call them Japanese gardens

In the climates I usually work in (USDA Zones 4,5 & 6) I couldn't build a Japanese Garden if I was restricted to the plants commonly used in Japan. This I don't regard as a major issue, after all we aren't in Japan. I think the aesthetic, however, has to respect both the native environment, wherever you are working, and the Japanese garden building tradition. My personal feeling is that substituting primarily dwarf conifers, especially those selected for unusual forms or color, steps too far away from that tradition in several ways. The scaling is altered and the scene no longer reflects any sort of natural setting. There is nothing wrong with a collection of interesting conifers but my opinion is that a conifer garden per se, Adrian Bloom's for example, has little or nothing to do with the Japanese Garden tradition.

I think those of us working in the field outside of Japan are still feeling our way - trying to build gardens that reflect our natural scenery while still honoring the aesthetic and techniques of the best of the Japanese Garden tradition. I don't want to suggest that North American or European Japanese Gardens are inherently inferior or that gardens in Japan are automatically good examples, far from it, but I do want to suggest we need to respect the tradition and terminology.

binrocha
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Nov 25, 2007 6:31 pm
Location: long island, ny

i think the operative word here is INSPIRED as in japanese inspired garden.

Newt
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Posts: 1868
Joined: Tue May 25, 2004 10:44 pm
Location: Maryland zone 7

Victor,

You are very welcome! Please keep in mind that is a partial list of mostly conifers, some broadleaf evergreens and evergreen groundcovers that I put together for a couple of friends. They had specific requirements for a particular garden bed in front of their house. It was not for a Japanese garden, or even a Japanese inspired one. It's actually a house on the side of a mountain in the woods. Please use it as a guide for ideas. Of course, since you have been reading books, you probably already know that azaleas, rhododenrons, peony, mums, etc are all part of the planting scheme. I meant it as a guide to shrubs that won't need alot of pruning or maintenance for your hillside.

MaineDesigner,

Some very good points made, but I hope you understand that I never suggested the entire garden was to be conifers. That list was a guide for some ideas for some plants that might work for Victor's situation. What I know about Japanese gardens could probably fit in a Japanese teacup with room for some Jasmine tea. :?

I do understand your point about some of the unusual colors and shapes, but that is why I suggested it as a guide, figuring he would only select what he felt would give him the look and control he wants. It appeared to me that Victor didn't ask for the names of plants for a Japanese garden per se, or I would never have listed some of those. Since he said "inspired" I took it to mean 'controlled', as that is how I view Japanese gardens. Those shrubs and groundcovers tend to stay 'controlled' in my mind. I hope you can better guide him as I know you are so much more qualified in that area then I am. Give me a woodland garden in the mountains and I'm happy! :D

Newt

MaineDesigner
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Posts: 439
Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2006 11:17 am
Location: Midcoast Maine, Zone 5b

Newt

I love naturalistic gardens in the woods too. I'm still waiting for the client with a great spot in the Maine woods, hopefully with some nice ledge and water, that just wants an edited version of the native landscape. I don't think good design is tied to any single aesthetic language.

My response was prompted by a couple things:
One was the assumption on my part that more people than just the original poster and contributors would be reading this thread. There is a huge amount of misinformation and bad examples referencing Japanese Gardens floating around. I feel some responsibility to educate.
Secondly, since this is the Japanese Garden Forum and the original poster used the term tuskiyama I assumed, apparently incorrectly, that more than a glancing reference to the Japanese Garden tradition was in play.

In addition to recent Motomi Oguchi book I already referred to I feel that the following are some of the best books currently available:

Japanese-Inspired Gardens various, Brooklyn Botanic Garden
A Japanese Touch for Your Garden Kiyoshi Seike
Japanese Gardening in Small Spaces Isao Yoshikawa
Secret Teaching in the Art of Japanese Gardens David Slawson
Japanese Garden Design Marc Keene

Newt
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Posts: 1868
Joined: Tue May 25, 2004 10:44 pm
Location: Maryland zone 7

MaineDesigner, great observation about other readers. I didn't even consider that and really should have. Guess that's what happens when I respond to a post that's a bit out of my field of knowledge. :oops: I even had to look up the word tuskiyama.

Thanks for the list of books. :)

Newt



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