What’s “growing on” in the park?
Do you ever pull into the park and are in awe of how beautiful the landscaping is? I for sure do, and I am on the property almost every day. Paula, our Landscape Designer, along with Meg her assistant and our talented Grounds Maintenance team, work so diligently to keep the park looking magnificent. Paula even creates a floral display for all of our rental guests as a welcome gift upon check in that they can bring home with them. Who doesn’t want a little piece of Normandy Farms at home?I I often find myself asking “Paula, what’s the name of this flower? When do you plant it? When does it bloom?” She never hesitates to share all of her knowledge… maybe one day I’ll use it for my own garden! I spent some time with Paula this past week, photographing some of what is growing in the park and having her educate me on each one. I hope you enjoy the photos!
#1 Dusty Miller
Dusty miller is an annual, meaning that their life cycle only lasts one year. Although Paula has noticed over the past few seasons, that if she’s lucky, it does regrow the following year. This type of plant enjoys direct sunlight and does not require much water or maintenance at all. It is frequently used to add some greenery to a floral display. Paula specifically likes to use it to jazz up a fall floral arrangement bringing some grey balance to the normal bright tones that are accompanied with a fall floral arrangement. You can find this flower around the Reception Center and Recreation Lodge
#2 Ruby Falls Weeping Red Bud
According to Paula this is the most asked about piece of landscaping in the park. In the spring this weeping bud starts off with clusters of red berries, which bloom into flowers in the late spring and finally develop into a heart shaped leaf which is what gives it so much character! A unique trait about this red bud is the location of where the flowers grow. On most shrubs or bushes that bloom, the flowers can be found on the end of the branch whereas here the flowers bloom on multiple areas of the branch giving it a full effect. The Ruby Fall Weeping Red Bud can be found at the entrance of Pool #3 behind the Recreation Lodge.
Hydrangeas line the entrance to Playground #1 adding color and brightness to the large green shrubs they grow from. They are a great summer flower and can be a variety of colors. The ones we specifically have in the park are referred to as “Nikko Hydrangeas”. Paula enjoys them in bouquets because of their size and how well they fill up a vase. According to Paula, before the hydrangea blooms there is a stick like part of the shrub that most people want to remove, but she has advised us not to… its where the flower grow from!
This specific flower grows very tall to the point it needs a supportive stick to hold it upright. Here at Normandy Farms, we have 5 or so different colors that have bloomed in this year. The correct care for gladiolus advises one to dig up every year and replant, however, Paula has found that the location of them in our park is so sunny and warm that she doesn’t have to! They keep blooming season after season and seem to be thriving! Gladiolus were the favorite flower of Mrs. Daniels, one of the original owners of Normandy Farms Campground.
The yellow dahlia pictured is referred to as a “dinner plate dahlia” for its sheer size and circumference. Dahlias continue to bloom all summer long even after they are picked. Generally Paula would not expect to see her dahlias bloom until the end of July or very beginning of August. This season she began growing them at her home under a warmth light in mid-march which has allowed us to enjoy them in the park after she transitioned them into soil since about the beginning of June. Dahlias can be found around the Reception Center as well as at the Recreation Lodge
Last but certainly not least, our Alliums, the most unique flower we have growing in the park in my opinion. This past fall Paula planted over 100 bulbs in the park and the bloom this spring did not disappoint. Many guests, as well as team members have inquired what type of flower they are. Most even comment that they remind them of something out of a Dr. Seuss movie. They bloom in a bright purple color, and after the dry out, can still stand tall and provide an appeasing landscape for weeks. Paula has enjoyed this season experimenting with the 100 plus dried out alliums we have in the park. She has found that spray painting them to match a current themed weekend we have in the park can really jazz up her displays. I currently have some dried ones in a vase in my living room, and coming from someone without a green thumb they’re the best kind of floral arrangement to have… they don’t even require water! Alliums can primarily be found around our tennis and basketball courts.