What’s in a Garden? #3

This is the second post in a series, in which we’ll look at the various botanical components which comprise the Russell Page-designed garden at the Frick Collection, on East 70th Street. Please note that the plants profiled here are based on those indicated by Russell Page in various texts on his design, for example his article entitled “The Shaping of a Garden,” which appeared in House & Garden in 1977. Some of these plant varieties may no longer be actively cultivated in the garden. This week …


In every size and style of garden, shrubs are invaluable for their structural forms and their woody stems, which provide the garden with a long-term framework. [With] their ability to cover walls, tree stumps, or buildings, or to grow through the branches of robust trees or shrubs, climbers provide diverse attractions of flowers, fruits, and foliage. (The American Horticultural Society, A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants)


Common Boxwood   (Buxus sempervirens)

Indigenous to southern Europe and northern Africa, Common Boxwood, sometimes referred to as the aristocrat of hedging plants, is renowned for its use in formal gardens and substantial role in Colonial landscapes. A versatile planting, Common Boxwood matures slowly and requires little special care other than pruning. Fun Fact: This evergreen shrub’s common name refers to its prior use as wood for making boxes.

Littleleaf Boxwood   (Buxus microphylla)

A compact, evergreen shrub with dense branching, Littleleaf Boxwood is commonly used as a border or hedge, reaching a height and spread of 3 to 4 feet.

Japanese Quince   (Chaenomeles japonica)

chaenomeles-x-superbaA low-growing and densely-branched shrub, Japanese quince (pictured at right) typically matures to 3 feet tall but spreads to 6 feet wide. Adaptable to a wide range of soil conditions, this thorny plant is best known for its early bloom of vibrant orange-scarlet flowers.

Clematis Madame Le Coultre

Also known as Marie Boisselot, this large-flowered clematis is a vigorous, medium-sized climber that can grow up to 10 feet tall. Featuring star-shaped, bridal-white flowers with pale yellow stamens, the Madam Le Coultre vine first blooms in early summer, followed by a second flush of flowers in August–September.

Clematis Montana Grandiflora

Commonly known as the white anemone clematis, this hardy clematis species is ideal for exposed sites, requiring little pruning. Blooming in early spring and extending up to a height of 40 feet, the Clematis montana is one the easiest flowering climbers to grow. Fun Fact: Native to the Himalayas, the Clematis Montana was first discovered in 1818 and introduced to European gardens by the Countess of Amherst in 1831.

PHOTO: Chaenomeles japonica via

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