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May Garden Tour, Carolyn and Chuck Benson

This article will be in the June issue of the Delmarva Hosta Society newsletter.
   May Garden Tour

  The Garden of Caroline and Chuck Benson

What a great setting for a plant collection. The house and garden look like they are out of an issue of Southern Living Magazine (Oct. 1997). The house was built in 1810 and some of the larger trees look like they may have already been growing when the house was built. We had our meeting under a huge Tulip Poplar. Nearby grows the largest Silver Poplar in the state of Maryland. Also out front is the largest Empress tree in Maryland (1940). The Empress tree is in a state of decline but it is obvious that great care has been taken to prolong it's life as long as possible. Lightning protection in the other large trees shows the owners appreciation of the contribution these mature trees make to the landscape. Dawn Redwood and Bald Cypress growing side by side give visitors a chance to compare these to similar looking trees. Other trees of interest were Golden Chain Tree, Yellow Wood, Crab Apples, Flowering Plum, yellow flowering Magnolia (Elizabeth), River Birch, Ginko(male) and at least 50 other tree cultivars. The trees make a statement in a very big way and frame the setting for the house and garden.

The main plant collection was in the garden behind the house. Hundreds of cultivars of trees, woody ornamentals and perennials were growing in large beds separated by areas of lawn. Mature Boxwoods that looked like they were from a garden plan from the past blended perfectly into present landscape.

Some of the hostas were very large and had been in the garden a long time. A few of the cultivars in Carolyn's collection are 'Paul's Glory', 'Frances Williams', 'Aphrodite', 'Auora Borealis', 'Blue Angel', 'Fried Bananas', Patriot', 'Sum and Substance', 'Krossa Regal', 'On Stage', 'June', 'Lemon Lime' and 'Hyacinthina'. Dozens of other hosta cultivars made for a well rounded hosta collection.

It really shows when someone takes the time to select the best plant material and to then nurture their plant collection. I heard Caroline say "when I bring a plant home, I look for the best micro-environment in my garden that suits the plants needs". A garden is not built in a day, a year, or even ten years. Caroline and Chuck Bensons garden shows how generations of gardeners can compose a landscape.

We had a great May meeting. See you all at Preston Littleton's on June 13th.

Dan Nelson

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