Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
September, 2006
Regional Report

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Two youngsters are fascinated by the huge watering can sculpture at the Jenkins Arboretum.

Art (and Connection) in the Garden

"Swan," insisted the blond, two-year-old, pointing with fingers clutching a breakfast roll. Well, with those white teeth and fins sticking out, it could be a shark, guessed her mother. Next to them on a wooden bench, grandmother searched the Jenkins Arboretum's list for the artist's name and the huge watering can's title. "Oscar," she read. "I wish they had names that explain what the cans are supposed to be."

Walking toward the pond, a young couple with baby stopped to chat. "It's a cat," said the woman. "See the can's orange mouth -- like a cat's mouth. And the teeth along the handle." "Look at the paws at the bottom," the man seconded. "Yes!" agreed the blond girl's mother. "Those are tiny ears on the handle. The yellow and orange -- just like a cat's fur."

A warm, friendly moment among strangers, likely one of many during this summer's 30th anniversary of the Jenkins Arboretum in Devon, Pennsylvania. With benches placed just so, and colorful, 4-foot watering can sculptures tucked along paths, it was easy for visitors to stop and talk about art, children, the weather.

"Button," announced the blond child, pointing far right between sips of orange juice. Following the little finger, yet another visitor stepped closer to what looked like an oversized mosaic watering can. Buttons it was! Actually a massive cluster, as if many collectors had spilled their button boxes and glued the pink, white, blue, purple, and green pretties in place. "Oztot?" read grandmother from the title list on her lap.

By the time you read this, 40 people will have won these exquisite "Huge Watering Can Sculptures" at a fundraising auction for Jenkins' education center renovations. I have photos and warm, fuzzy thoughts of moms, daughters, a dad, and a faux tabby cat. What a treat -- enjoying the arboretum's ambiance without having to weed, prune, or tidy it!

I'll be back, especially in mid-March to see the native Pinxter azaleas (trees and shrubs clearly labeled) blooming trumpet-like along the woodland path.

Closer to Home
In MY garden, slugs devoured the latest tender spinach crop. Couple that with the bagged spinach/E. coli danger and I'm feeling chlorophyll-deprived. The container-grown 'Zebra' tomatoes are finished, the last fruits splitting from recent rains. The remaining green 'Brandywine' fruits are small and may not ripen, but they are a tasty, meaty must-have for next year. A handful of 'Fourth of July' tomatoes are mouth-ready red. Pot-grown white and purple eggplants are ready to slice and oil for grilling.

Though invasive plants discouraged in-ground planting at the cottage, my small woodies collection in containers has adapted to part shade. The umbrella pine (Sciadopitys verticillata) and variegated 'Butterfly' maple (Acer palmatum) had impressive growth spurts.

The herbs are thriving -- the delicious, lush basil trimmed frequently before it flowers and goes to seed, and handfuls of tarragon chopped then pressed with virgin olive oil to dress potato salads. There's bounty still to come from the fall garden.

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