The Woodland Garden
Located in the Northeast corner of the Garden, the Woodland Garden is, by far, my favorite place. I have thought long and hard about what it is that draws me to this unique resting spot here at Luthy. A sign with the following description that is located near the south entrance of the Woodland Garden helps to reflect these thoughts. “Towering oaks and an understory of serviceberry, dogwoods, and redbud complement lush beds of native wildflowers including Ginger, Bloodroot, Jack-In-The-Pulpit, Mayapple and ephemerals such as Dutchman’s Breeches, False Rue Anemone and Spring Beauty. Cultivated plants like Variegated Solomon’s Seal, Hosta and Fern are used to complete what is a very naturalistic composition.”
With a canopy of stately mature trees and a delightful mix of understory plantings, this area has developed into a wonderful shaded refuge, especially in the summer months. With that in mind, benches are artfully placed throughout the garden, providing a quiet retreat for all those that visit. There are even a few benches made of Osage-orange wood that replicate those originally used in Glen Oak over 100 years ago.
Recently integrated into the Woodland Garden, a small Moss Garden spotlights some of our beautiful native mosses. Mosses grow naturally in most temperate areas of the world. While some species grow well in extremely deep shade, they are often found growing in lightly shaded areas. Mosses thrive in moist, average soil. Most mosses will survive periods of drought and quickly regenerate once water becomes available. As a group, they withstand heat and cold, grow slowly and live a long time. Like ferns, mosses grow from spores. The spores develop green threadlike branches called protonema that anchor the moss to a growing surface, rather than roots. The protonema push into the ground (or in some cases, attach to a surface) and then eventually develop the tiny flat leaves. Thousands of these plants will bunch together to make a single patch of moss. Mosses obtain all their nutrients from the air rather than the soil, which is why it is able to grow on rocks! The Japanese have long used moss in gardens, but it is only now beginning to gain popularity and acceptance in this country. Gardening with moss adds an amazing degree of serenity and timeless beauty to a garden. An excellent ground cover, mosses can be utilized in woodland gardens, rock gardens, water gardens, or simply in that shady spot where grass will not grow. Growing moss has fast become a desirable and low-maintenance alternative to grass lawns and conventional shade gardening.