The Annual Beds
Bedding, the seasonal exterior use of plants for show and striking effects, is often identified as the Victorian style of gardening. From late May until the first frost four beds (7' wide x 40' long) are planted in the Victorian sub-tropical bedding style. A lightening-bolt of silver foliaged dusty miller divides each bed into triangles where colorful annual varieties are massed. Burgundy foliated Alternanthera ficoidea and coleus, orange Cuphea ignea, geraniums, and impatiens, crested red celosia, Gomphrena, marigolds, bright yellow zinnias, purple petunias and Tibouchina boldly harmonize. Sub-tropical bedding employs luxuriant tropical plants with large or remarkable foliage and noble habit such as the banana, canna, castor-oil plant, dracaena, elephant's ear, or palm that, according to the outspoken English horticulturist William Robinson, "alleviate the monotony of single color gardens." At Farmingdale, fastigiate foliage from the New Zealand Flax (Phormium tenax) punctuate the plantings.
On the western and eastern sides of the annual beds lie the late season Ornamental Grass Border and the Mixed Shrub Border, respectively. Or, pass through the pair of fastigate Irish yews (Taxus baccata 'Fastigiata') and spherical false arborvitae (Thujopsis dolobrata) into the Rose Garden.