Holding On


In an ideal world, we gardeners could always get plants we want at the perfect size, at the perfect planting time, and have the perfect spot picked out and ready for them. In reality, we often have to settle for a smaller plant than we’d like, or else buy multiple pots when we know that one plant will eventually do the job. Or, we end up with a collection of potted perennials and shrubs sitting around and needing to be watered every day until we figure out where we’re going to put them.

Nurseries can have the same problems. Here at Linden Hill Gardens, we know our customers enjoy having access to a wide variety of lush, garden-ready plants, and we do our best to keep you all supplied with old favorites and exciting new finds. To that end, Jerry has been busy on a new project: installing extensive holding beds back in the area we call “Block 3” (down at the far end of the pond). Most of you probably have never been back there, but you didn’t miss much. For the past few years, it has been a hodgepodge of plants and soil piles.


Block 3 at Linden Hill – before Jerry got started


Block 3 now…ready for its new life as our propagation and growing area

In the last few weeks, that area has been cleared, built up, and leveled, and soon, Jerry will be filling it with a series of extensive holding beds. That will give us lots of room to set out and grow on seedlings and small starter plants that we get from specialty suppliers, until they are just the right size to pot up for sale or grace the gardens of our landscape clients.

The inspiration for our new propagation area came from Jerry’s trip out to Minnesota this summer, for the Perennial Plant Association’s annual conference. One of the stops on the nursery tour was Kelley and Kelley Nursery, in Long Lake, MN.

You know Jerry likes to think big, but holding beds don’t have to be huge. In fact, you can make them pretty much any size and enjoy their many benefits in your home landscape. Want to buy a plant but don’t know if you have space for it in your garden? If you have a holding bed ready, you can easily pop it into the ground and let it grow there until you find just the right place. Want to see what exactly color a flower will be before you choose a permanent spot for it but can’t find one in bloom? Buy a plant in leaf or bud and grow it in a holding bed until it flowers and you can see it for yourself.


Holding beds are especially useful at this time of year, when you’re shopping nursery sales and need a place to overwinter your new finds. (Oh, did we mention our own end-of-season deal? Starting on October 13th, all of our nursery stock is 40% off!)

At its simplest, a holding bed could be an unused spot in your vegetable garden, where the soil is empty after you’ve harvested your summer crops. Or, you could choose a currently unused but convenient spot, fairly close to an outdoor faucet so you can easily water the young plants as needed.

Another view of the nursery beds at Kelley and Kelley Nursery. If you try something like this at home, keep the bed just 3 to 4 feet wide at most, so you can easily reach in for planting without stepping on the soil, but make it as long as you have space for, or build multiple beds.

Make a frame with wood or plastic lumber, or bricks or cement blocks, or whatever you have handy, and fill it with a loose, fertile growing medium, such as Jerry’s special compost mix.


You’ve seen how Jerry’s blend of aged cow manure, leaf mold, mushroom soil, and other special ingredients–what he calls “The Good Stuff!”–makes our gardens here thrive, and it can do the same for your plants. We sell it by the bucket and by the truckload.

So, have we sold you on trying this simple but invaluable addition to any gardener’s bag of tricks? Set aside a few hours to build a holding bed of your own, then come out to Linden Hill this month and stock up on great plants. We still have a great selection to choose from. There’s no need to feel guilty about those impulse purchases, because you’ll already have the ideal place for them to live until your garden is ready to receive them.

Join us this Saturday, October 8 at 11am for a lecture on


Hosted by Jerry Fritz. Discover how to choose the best bulbs to plant now in order to enjoy spectacular spring blooms next season. Special discount on bulb purchases for attendees. This is a free event and pre-registration is required.

Click here to register for Naturalizing Bulb Planting Lecture


Blooms and Berries for Fall


Golden lace (Patrinia scabiosifolia) with New York ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis)

September is finally here and after the rough summer we’ve had, some fresh color in the garden is a welcome sight. Sure, there are autumn standards for beds and borders–asters, goldenrods, and the like–but if you want to set your garden apart, it’s worth hunting for some of the lesser known gems. Read on to discover two of our favorites for color, texture, and yes, even deer resistance!

Golden lace (Patrinia scabiosifolia) is a standout for late-season interest for beds and borders. Typically reaching 5 to 6 feet in bloom, it starts flowering around mid-August and is stunning through September, at least. Earlier in the growing season, you hardly notice its wide rosette of lobed green leaves, but once it begins flowering, it never fails to grab attention.


Golden lace with cobalt-blue ‘Black and Bloom’ anise sage (Salvia guaranitica), soft purple Russian sage (Perovskia), and white woodland tobacco (Nicotiana sylvestris) in the Formal Garden at Linden Hill

The slender but sturdy stems branch toward the top, carrying many tiny blooms in a bright lemon yellow color that makes a pleasing change from the usual brassy yellows of other fall bloomers.


Golden lace up close

Golden lace combines easily with a wide range of other bloom colors and is a wonderful partner for shrub and tree partners that have showy fall foliage.


Golden lace against ‘Grace’ smokebush (Cotinus)

Golden lace also produces colorful fall foliage of its own, usually in brilliant reds but shades of orange and deep red to maroon are also possible. That’s a lot of impact from one perennial! Golden lace is easy to grow but not easy to find, so make a note to check with us for plants next spring. (They settle in best if you move them fairly early in the growing season.) Golden lace thrives in rich, moist soil but can adapt to average garden conditions too, in full sun to light shade.


Purple beautyberry (Callicarpa dichotoma)

Beautyberries (Callicarpa) are another excellent addition for an autumn spectacle. The clustered fruits of these deciduous shrubs are so intensely purple that they hardly look real! Purple beautyberry (C. dichotoma) flowers on new growth, with clusters of purplish pink flowers in early to midsummer. Cutting it back to about 6 inches in early spring each year will produce a densely branched, 3- to 4-foot-tall and -wide mound that fits easily into a bed, border, or foundation planting.


Purple beautyberry in a border

The fruits start to color up along the gently arching stems in September, while the leaves are still green. As the weather gets cooler, the leaves take on a greenish yellow to light yellow hue that adds to the spectacle.


Purple beautyberry in October

The leaves eventually drop, but the berries remain for an additional month or two, at least, extending the show through late fall into winter.


Purple beautyberry in November

We currently have some beautiful containerized plants of the popular ‘Early Amethyst’, which tends to color up a bit earlier in the season than other selections. Plant them now in a site with full sun to light shade and average, well-drained soil, and you’ll enjoy their multi season interest for years to come. This is one of the best times of year to visit us and enjoy the seasonal gardens at Linden Hill. We will be open Labor Day weekend 11 am till 6 pm now through Sunday.


2016 Ottsville Fall Festival and Season Finale Oct 22

2016 Ottsville Fall Festival and Season Finale

October 22, 2016

Live Musical Entertainment provided by Thomas Johnston


Jerry Fritz is  pleased to be hosting the Fall Festival on October 22nd in the stone barn at his retail nursery. Linden Hill Gardens is glad to provide a venue for these talented and hardworking artisans who take great pride in offering one-of-kind items you will not find anywhere else. Featuring all locally crafted seasonal gifts and treats from 20 talented artisans. Hours 10am-4pm.


Attending the Fall Festival will be representatives from

The Lotus School of Liberal Arts

The mission of The Lotus School of Liberal Arts: To cultivate a high school community of compassionate, mindful, lifelong learners who are able to meet life’s challenges with the confidence and knowledge of how their efforts can help create a better world for themselves and others.


Stop by and find out more about this innovative high school – located right here in Ottsville.
 Artisans Participating Include

click for links to website/facebook page

Architectural Birdhouses – Handcrafted unique abodes for our feathered friends.

Blissful Naturals All natural, hand-crafted lip balm, lotions and body butters

Chestnut Hill Farm Gourmet Foods Jams, pickles, pies, candy apples, haunted gingerbread houses and mini pot pies. Freshly prepared, ready-to-eat soup, chili, sandwiches, pastries,brownies and hot apple cider.

Earthy by Design – Handcrafted, rustic styled jewelry made with an earthy style and organic feel, inspired by the warm, rich, earthy colors found in nature.

Glass Goddesses – Handcrafted stained glass gift items including lotus flowers, dream catchers, feathers, trees, candle cups and much more.

Hayefield – Nancy Ondra’s Botanical art, garden photo note cards, alpaca products and seeds.

Humdinger Alpacas – Handmade alpaca items, sweaters, gloves, toy mice (cats love them!) and machine made blankets, scarves and hats.

joeyfivecents – Storied jewelry and accessories made from vintage imagery and findings, resin and epoxy clay.

Laurie’s Chocolates – Hand-dipped fresh gourmet confections including toffee, truffles, barks, and  hot cocoa mixes.

Linden Hill Gardens – Table top herb gardens and seasonal plants.

Lotus 8  All-natural, vegan soaps and  body care.

Offbeat GourmetPremium all-natural condiments for grilling, preserves, savory spreads, finishing salts, rubs, candied jalapenos & red fresnos, pesto, hummus, bitters, preserved lemons, gift sets for cheese and BBQ smoker.

Paula Focazio Art & Design – Colorful porcelain pottery with free hand carved “henna” designs.

Photo Popping – Combining photography and sculpting with a patent pending method, giving the artwork a 3 dimension look.

Q’s Cookies  The very best handmade whole wheat cookies plus a delicious selection of gluten-free cookies – never any preservatives.

Reimaginary Friends – Where yesterday’s memories become today’s keepsakes.

Remarle Natural Skin Care Chemical free skin care products for acne, eczema, psorasis, rosacea & normal skin.

 Rocky Top Farm – Hand shorn sheep fleece is processed completely by hand and spun into one-of-a-kind yarn. Perfect for knitting, crocheting or weaving. Hand-knit woolen items and hides.

Sheila Sacks Designs – Handcrafted decadent soaps, vine-grown loofahs and wooden soap dishes.

Snugpups – Cosy and stylish custom dog coats designed to fit all dogs.


LeafSeparatorFor Directions Click Here 


Bring Your Patio to Life

The Living Patio at Linden Hill Gardens in Ottsville, PA

The Living Patio at Linden Hill Gardens

Many of you who have visited Linden Hill this year have noticed that Jerry recently expanded one of our most popular garden features: the living patio. The rest of you may be wondering “What’s a living patio?”. A combination of large stone slabs and gorgeous ground-hugging plants, the living patio is a concept that Jerry came up with over 25 years ago, and he has designed and installed many of them for clients since then.

From a design perspective, a living patio provides a natural-looking transition between the house and the gardens around it. From a plant geek’s point of view, it provides yet another place to experiment with interesting ground covers and rock-garden plants. And for everyone, it creates a beautiful setting for outdoor entertaining, dining, or simply relaxing.

Living Patio at Linden Hill Gardens in Ottsville, PA

Large stones interplanted with tiny plants make a striking contrast.

The stones are the heart of any living patio. This isn’t the place to use up small pieces, because they won’t stay level, and that can cause people to trip; plus, the whole effect looks “busy.” Jerry prefers to use large, flat slabs of Pennsylvania fieldstone, ranging in size from 3 to 10 feet wide and 4 to 8 inches thick. He also likes to include a few stones with pockets or shallow indentations in each patio, because they collect water that birds can drink from or bathe in. That makes living patios wildlife-friendly as well as people- and plant-friendly. They’re environmentally friendly too: instead of rainfall sheeting off the solid surface of a formally paved patio, it can soak into the ground through the spaces.

Living Patio at Linden Hill Gardens in Ottsville, PA

In the main part of the patio, very low plants are the best choice. As you get closer to the edge, adding slightly taller ones–like this combination of thymes and sedums–creates a transition between the patio and surrounding garden spaces.

For the “living” part of the patio, Jerry sticks with plants that reach a maximum of 2 to 3 inches tall in leaf and no more than 8 inches in bloom (ideally shorter). Some, such as golden creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’) and purple-leaved Labrador violet (Viola labradorica) are mostly for foliage color; others, including the veronicas ‘Georgia Blue’ and ‘Waterperry Blue’, are primarily there for pretty flowers. He also tucks in a wide variety of low-growing thymes (Thymus) and other herbs with scented foliage, because they release a nice fragrance when they get stepped on.

Isotoma fluviatilis in flower at Linden Hill Gardens in Ottsville, PA

Blue star creeper (Isotoma fluviatilis) is sprinkled with dainty blue blooms through most of the summer. It looks delicate, but this little charmer is so sturdy that it doesn’t mind being walked on.

While these plants do a great job filling the gaps between stones, the living patio at Linden Hill occasionally has a few bare spots because of the heavy foot traffic right outside our office. Sometimes, we simply transplant pieces of the good spreaders into those spaces; other times, we use those gaps to try out new creepers.

Wondering how to fit a 6- or 8-inch potted ground cover into a space that’s just 1 to 2 inches wide? Tip the plant out of the pot, cut off all but the top 2 inches of the root ball with a sharp knife, and then cut the remaining plant into pieces that are the perfect size to fit between the stones. They'll quickly root into the screenings under the slabs and can grow happily for years with minimal care.

Wondering how to fit a 6- or 8-inch potted ground cover into a space that’s just 1 to 2 inches wide? Tip the plant out of the pot, cut off all but the top 2 inches of the root ball with a sharp knife, and then cut the remaining plant into pieces that are the perfect size to fit between the stones. They’ll quickly root into the screenings under the slabs and can grow happily for years with minimal care.

If you have an existing patio with planting space between the stones and want to dress it up, we have lots of flowering and foliage ground-huggers that are perfect for the purpose, including creeping mazus (Mazus reptans), creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum), Scotch moss (Sagina subulata ‘Aurea’), and many intriguing sedums.

Plants for Living Patios at Linden Hill Gardens in Ottsville, PA

Look for our extensive collection of living-patio plants between the office and the greenhouse.

Would you like to add a living patio to your own landscape? You can find out more details about how Jerry constructs them in his book Lessons from Linden Hill: Design Tips and Planning Pointers. We have it available for sale in the Greeting Barn at Linden Hill, or you can buy it online from Amazon. Or, contact our office at 610-847-1300 to discuss the possibility of having Jerry design, install, and plant one for you! More information on our design process here.

Living Patio at Linden Hill Gardens in Ottsville, PA

Wouldn’t you love to have a space like this in your own landscape?


Midsummer Magic at Linden Hill

LHG Formal Garden in mid-July 1

The Formal Garden at Linden Hill in mid-July

Don’t let the scorching weather we’ve been having stop you from enjoying your garden this summer. Early mornings and evenings are great times to do a bit of maintenance. If your catmints (Nepeta), hardy geraniums, and perennial salvias are sprawling, for instance, cut them back to within a few inches of the ground and give them a good soaking. They’ll quickly regrow into neat mounds of new leaves and maybe even more flowers for fall. That trick works well for freshening up post-bloom daylilies, too.

Jerry with Lilium Conca d'Or

These ‘Conca d’Or’ lilies are even taller than Jerry!

Want to add some wow factor to your July garden? Think big with some super-sized flowers and foliage. If you’ve been over to see the Formal Garden recently, you’ve probably noticed the towering lily stems rising above the other perennials. These big beauties are coming into bloom now, filling the whole area with fragrance. And look at the trunks on these ‘Conca d’Or’ plants—little wonder they’re sometimes known as “tree lilies.” If you’ve avoided growing lilies because you hate staking to keep them upright, you really need to give these glorious Orienpet Hybrids a try (and yes, we have them for sale)!

Jerry with Rheum australe

Rheum australe: no ordinary rhubarb!

Does your yard have a low spot that tends to stay damp even in summer? Instead of struggling to keep the weeds at bay, consider filling it with the bold foliage of Himalayan rhubarb (Rheum australe). This dramatic perennial grows in a broad clump of lush leaves, easily filling a space 4 to 6 feet across. This time of year, it also sends up towering spikes of starry, reddish purple flowers.

Rheum australe

We have large pots of Himalayan rhubarb ready to grace your garden.

Himalayan rhubarb is rarely available in nurseries—especially in large pots—but Jerry managed to find a few on one of his Vermont trips. We have one planted in the upper part of our new Rain Garden so you can see what it looks like in the landscape, and there are a couple available in the shade area next to the greeting barn. They’ll go quickly, so grab yours now!

Hydrangeas for Sale at LHG

Jerry’s a long-time hydrangea fan, so we always have plenty in stock.

For pure flower power, it’s hard to beat hydrangeas. Take a walk through the gardens at Linden Hill to admire them in a variety of settings—and don’t miss the crisp white blossoms of ‘Tardiva’ showing off now in the Island Bed next to the parking lot. We have a variety of top-notch selections available for sale, too, including the classic ‘Limelight peegee hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata) and lacy blue ‘Blue Bird’ mountain hydrangea (H. serrata).

Hydrangea Little Lime at LHG

Have you been over to see the new bed that Jerry planted outside of the office? It’s packed with lots of his favorites.

Don’t think you have room for a full-sized shrub? Check out pink-tinged ‘Little Quick Fire’ or bright white ‘Little Lime’ peegee hydrangeas: Both reach just 3 to 5 feet tall—about a third of the size of the species. Jerry couldn’t resist adding a bunch of ‘Little Lime’ to the bed in front of the office this spring, but we still have some nice-sized containers available.

Buddleia x weyeriana at LHG

Aren’t the soft sherbet colors of ‘Bicolor’ butterfly bush simply lovely?

Another colorful shrub that works well in summer borders is butterfly bush (Buddleia). We have a number of cultivars for sale, in a range of colors and sizes to suit any sunny site. If you enjoy making beautiful plant partnerships, you have to give ‘Bicolor’ butterfly bush (Buddleia x weyeriana) a try. This hybrid has purple buds that open to peachy pink to raspberry pink florets with orange centers, providing plenty of opportunities for creating outstanding color echoes, as in the combination shown above with ‘Bicolor’ butterfly bush, ‘Blue Paradise’ summer phlox (Phlox paniculata), and Mellow Yellow spirea (Spiraea thunbergii ‘Ogon’).

LHG Formal Garden mid-July 2

The Formal Garden at Linden Hill in mid-July

The gardens at Linden Hill are looking fantastic right now, and the nursery is filled with lots of beautiful plants for sale, so be sure to come over for a visit. And if you’ve ever wished you could get hands-on in our beds and borders, now’s your chance: We have opportunities available for garden helpers. Call the office at 610-847-1300 or stop in for details. While you’re here, don’t forget to take a walk down to the pond, because the lotuses are amazing right now. We look forward to seeing you!

Jerry with the lotuses

Look at the size of these lotuses!