Darrell and Joanne Hennessey turned a former cow pasture into a breathtaking landscape. Their home in Marion is one of five on the Linn County Master Gardeners Garden Walk, set for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 13, 2009. The walk was canceled last year due to the flood. Darrell said the couple battled hip-high weeds and grass when they built their home nearly 20 years ago. Invasive multiflora rose had to be cut out constantly. “It was kind of an uphill battle for awhile,” he said. They still battle deer, with 5-foot-tall plastic snow fence used to protect dwarf conifer and arborvitae in the winter. Soaker hoses are barely visible inside the beds and tags mark most of the plants, so identification is easy.
The acreage is the kind of place where you could spend hours looking at the various flower beds that Darrell has constructed. He’s been spending four to eight hours daily getting ready for Saturday’s garden walk. If you get the chance, check out the Hennessey gardens and others on the tour. I wish we could have visited all five of the gardens. They all sound marvelous. More info and photos are in the Sunday, June 7, issue of The Gazette, and online at: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/linn/news/Garden+Walk.htm
I didn’t get to stay nearly as long as I would have liked, but here is some of what I saw last week when I visited the Hennessey gardens:
Several of the conifers at the Hennessey gardens/ Cindy Hadish photos
Darrell Hennessey takes a break from edging his garden beds to point out a feature of one of his dwarf conifers
Hosta bed and trees at the Hennesseys' Marion acreage
The following information comes from Master Gardener Darrell Hennessey.
Did you just move to a new or new-to-you home? Need to revitalize your current landscape? Have a space that needs a “little something”? Consider dwarf conifers! A conifer, meaning a woody plant, usually evergreen tree or shrub; “dwarf” meaning the plant will grow only 3-4” per year, will provide you with:
- Easy care
- Varieties for either sun or shade
- Year round greenery
- Wonderful for limited spaces
- Available in wide variety of texture, size and color i.e.,
Rainbow’s End shows butter-yellow tips on new growth against
the green background
Limeglow, a creeping juniper with foliage turning shades of
copper-bronze in the winter
Pendula, a hemlock with weeping branches
Chamaecyparis colors ranging of soft green to spectacular yellow
· Shapes vary from airy and feathery to closed and tight-looking
· Pine cones provide character and material for crafters
· Mulch well, reduce weeding!
Dwarf Conifers thrive in rock gardens, add elegance to ornamental grasses and provide a perfect backdrop to colorful annual and perennial beds. You only need your imagination to enjoy these little wonders!