Tuscan Imports

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Tropical Garden Design IdeasItalian Landscaping Ideas

sage advice and 6 feet across the base.This is a more compact cultivar of the southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora).

For something slightly smaller, consider Osmanthusfragrans (sweet olive).You could prune it into an evergreen cone or pyramid about 6 feet tall that would cover itself in very small, deliciously scented flowers in winter and spring.

QQ What should I know before starting a roof garden? - rich broussart, newyork, ny

A Actually, you need to know a lot since a roof is a very different environment from a garden at ground level. In fact, you'll probably want to get professional help before getting started on a project like this.

First, consider the climate on a roof, which is more severe than on the ground. It's often quite windy in summer and very sunny and hot. But if nearby buildings are tall, the garden can be in shade all day, which is too dark for many plants, or quickly switch from deep shade to intense sun.

Never use regular garden soil for a roof garden; it's much too heavy and doesn't hold water well or offers poor drainage. Use a lightweight ar-

Shade Roof Using Standard LatticeImages Lattice Used For Shading

Plan on building some wooden or lattice screens on the windward side of your plants to keep them from developing a permanent lean. Lattice can also provide some shade, especially for a southern or western exposure.

Also install automatic drip irrigation. Container plants need much more frequent watering than plants in the ground. Sun, heat and wind will compound the water requirement. By midsummer, if not earlier, you would need to hand-water at least once a day and in very hot weather, twice a day. That schedule is nearly impossible to maintain every day all season, which is why a drip system is crucial.

Finally, it is essential that you get approval from your landlord or building co-op board and the local planning commission.They will probably require that your roof be examined and certified by an engineer or architect, who will stipulate required changes to the surface of the roof and the weight limits for your structures, containers and plants. „ Once you get approval, I also recommend o hiring a qualified garden designer who spe-s cializes in roof gardens, especially if you < have limited gardening experience.

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sage advice

spring planting

Weekend Tropicals

Planting season has arrived, and in nutley, new jersey, that means it's time to unleash the razzamatazz—all-singing, all-dancing borders stuffed with summer annuals and tender exotics that really sock it to you for a late-season finale. Seattle-based landscape designer Richard Hartlage makes an annual pilgrimage to two clients in New Jersey, neighbors Graeme Hardie and Silas Mountsier, to supervise the launch of a summerlong horticultural extravaganza in both gardens.The big planting push happens over a long weekend in mid-May after danger of frost has passed.The stage is set with plants recycled from the greenhouse, houseplants, trays of colorful annuals, choiceVictorian bedding favorites and the odd rarity tucked in here and there for the oooh-factor. —joanna fortnam c SHOPPING

For this type of summer tropical display most plants are treated as disposable from year to year,so the weekend begins with a shopping trip to two local nurseries. ■ Bulk Buys: The first stop, Morris County Farms in Denville, is a hot spot for foliage houseplants (top right) and impatiens (below right). Team Hort: Hartlage (blue shirt) and Hardie (in hat) have worked together for over 10 years, so they know just what they're looking for. Pastels are used more in Hardie's garden (to match the house trim), while Hartlage picks out saturated oranges and reds that will pop in the evergreen Mountsier garden. Boutique Finds: Second stop of the day is Atlock Farm, in Somerset (right), a trove of special finds. Hartlage picks out coleus—some topiaries for pots (center right) and small plants of the old Victorian type for massing in borders (left).

Ray Rogers Coleus


Left, clockwise: Choosing coleus at Atlock. Ray Rogers, Graeme Hardie and Richard Hartlage at Atlock Farm.A lime-green dracaena for a dramatic focal point. Coleus topiar ies. Picking out impatiens.

MAY 2006

The long, cold Minnesota winters instilled in me a fascination for exotic far off places—p eter agre

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