Monthly Archives: May 2014

White in Spring

White on green looks so fresh in the  Springtime, don’t you agree? <3009 013 016 019 021023019031025013

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Because why not?

013 (3)As you may have seen I have opening the garden for a tour on Sunday June 8th, so just to continue in the crazy way in which I always roll I am also teaching a class on growing Clematis at Tower Hill Botanic Garden that day at 1:30 ( that is the reason for the gap in the open day afternoon).

If you would like to attend, and know how thrilled I would be to see you, the info is here  .I am hoping to be bringing lots of clematis flowers to display , and am asking you to join with me in dropping to our collective knees and begging Mother Nature to give us some warmer weather (we had frost here last night, FROST !) to coax them all into bloom for me.

In case you want to know what else I have in store , I will let you in on a little secret. On June 9th I am going to sit down. Yes, you heard me right, sit down. Maybe even all day.

 

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Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

020This time of year the focus is on clean-up, weeding, mulching, pruning, planting and other mounting  garden chores . It s really difficult to stop and smell the roses and to take their pictures, too.

We had such a cold and late winter that so much is blooming out of it’s normal time frame, but lots is going on here just the same. Except the roses, there will be no photos and very limited smelling of roses this year as many of them are showing no signs of life. On the “looks dead” list are one of the double pink Knockouts, one of two Peach Drift standards, ‘Ellse Poulsen’, ‘Belinda’, ‘Ebb Tide ‘, the climber ‘New Dawn’, and one of the low growing drifts near the shed. The others that are alive and showing signs of life are leafing out very very slowly , many from the bottom  which is not a good sign for the canes above.  Two other climbers had about half of their canes die back as well. insert big huge sigh here.

So. let’s celebrate the good news, and see some flowers  :)

We still have daffodils blooming and in bud , the forget -me-nots are out(no photo).

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violas and pansies are popping up everywhere and some are in containers ( this one with willow twigs)021

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.Fothergilla, crabapples

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viburnum carlesii (which is perfuming the whole yard)  next to Magnolia’Ricky’024046

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and the evergreen azaleas,this one being highlighted by the variegated honeysuckle ‘Harlequin’060

 

Species tulip clusiana’Jane’, and the orange unknown straggler025038

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

moss phlox, pulmonaria  and ajugaDSC_0016

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this sweet little geum often called Prairie Smoke, and it not so sweet bawdy cousin Geum avens ‘Cooky’DSC_0012042

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the new apple trees that will grow on the  fence  is blooming for the first time050

the redbud is covered043

……and of course :) 045

By next week we should have several clematis, some of the earlier peonies, bleeding hearts and loads and loads of lilacs! Can’t wait!!!! Now back outside to spread mulch.

follow the link to see what everyone else has going on over at May Dreams Gardens

 

 

 

 

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Garden Conservancy

Do you know about the Garden Conservancy ? Founded in 1989 by Fran Cabot, it’s mission is to preserve and protect America’s exceptional gardens and it does so by partnering both public and private organizations to fund and maintain some of the breathtaking landscaped that have been created here in the states.

Every year since 1995 the Garden Conservancy has a multi- state  season long event called Open Days in which private homeowners throw open the garden gates to let visitors come in and being enthralled and inspired by the works of art that grow in their backyards. Wil and I have been attending the local offerings the past few years and I have taken away so much information and  inspiration , often from the gardeners themselves who many times will be on hand to share their stories and knowledge.

Last summer in the early part of the spring two of the gardens we visited we across the street form one another and they were  both stunning. The first looked as though it had been well loved but over time had begun to get overrun by exuberant plants and ground covers. Still, it had two standouts, numerous magnolia species  and the woodland peonies ( peonea japonoca and p. obovata)that were  planted  underneath them Both of the aforementioned woodland peonies have funky seedpods that will split open and send the seed across the garden. Over time this garden had amassed quite the number and it was incredible to walk through their blooms under the canopy of colorful magnolias

Immediately my brain started working overtime trying to figure out how I could replicate this look . As you are probably aware there is no woodland per se here, and we have struggled  mightily to get our trees to fill out because of consecutive ice and freakishly early snow storms in recent years. But, under one recovering maple, the shady ground is actually bare. I had  originally planted some creeping euonymous and when the rabbits came to town, they were eaten down to absolute stubs. I valiantly tried to cage and cover them, to no avail, every leaf they put out was gone by the next day. I tried epimediums and they made it until all of the euonymous was gone, then they too became lunch. Same with huecheras ,astrantias, hostas and pretty much anything else I tried. It is one tough location given that it abuts the neighbors yard where the bunnies live under the shed and then hop over here undetected to eat. So it is under that maple that I planted three woodland peony plants last summer ( one p. obovata ,two p. japonica) hoped for the best.

Why only three you ask? Well, these are pretty pricey plants  and  not readily available for purchase in these parts so add in shipping costs and they make  very expensive rabbit chow. I thought given that herbaceous peonies are one of the few plants never browsed here I would plant them and cross my fingers .

Well, so far , so GREAT! ! Not only did they make the winter untouched but one of the teeny tiny plants that arrived last year was sent with it’s seed-head atached ( thank you Plant Delights Nursery!) and a new seedling has already emerged. Next up, more magnolias!!DSC_0006

Click on the link above and check out the Garden Conservancy’s webpage and Open Days events. For a mere $50.oo you can join  and support this great organization and once you have you will be sent the Open Days Directory filled with open dates and times  (and directions )to gardens all over the US from  March to September. Then get in you car , and go  get inspired.

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The Nicest Kind of Surprise(s)

024Over the past two or three seasons I have been working on the very front edge of my yard. As many of you may recall from either previous posts or my lectures, I have always neglected the very front of our property , in part due to the fact that gardening on the street leads t o interruptions of pleasant conversation and no work gets done and in part due to the fact that I am not a large fan of  the front of our house ( boring cement stairs, icky front door I can’t change or paint another color because of the blazing afternoon sun, lack of trim work etc etc etc). But after realizing how much it would cost to do the renovations I would like to change the facade I set aside my indifference to the front garden and got to planning.

I decided it would be neighborly to plant highly fragrant plants along the sidewalk so started with the area in front of the dogs fence. Lavender, fragrant tall phlox, bee balm and thyme line the 2 feet between us and the asphalt. Then after the fence ends begins the lilac walk I have dreamed of since we moved here . Lilacs ‘Charles Joly’ and ‘Sensation’ start off the line, leading into a string of Lilac ‘Tinkerbelle’ which is a compact grower that won’t block the little garden in front of the porch from sight, then two old fashioned white ones taken from cuttings that will eventually grow very tall. Interspersed in here are several Rosa rugosa ‘Alba”  which smell of cloves, a clematis or two, and caryopteris for the late season. All of this is underplanted with forget me nots and pink coreopsis.

As you get down the sidewalk and are at the edge of my driveway I widened the garden bed  to include an already growing red horse chestnut tree  Aesculus x carnea ‘Briotii’ 016 (7)and added two roses, ‘Julia Child’ and Sunny Knockout, two more clematis , 4 different peonies, helenium, gallardias, alliums,  geraniums and sedum. For the spring I planted a bag of mixed daffodils, muscari, camissia, and squill. We added a large rock we dragged from the side yard on one of the kid’s old sleds atatched  the mower Wil was driving with me pushing and holding the rock  from behind ( see, front yard  gardening is scary, that could have ended up on youtube!)   I had received  a cute little planter from my brother and sister-in-law for my birthday so I placed it in the garden  last spring  and dropped  in a pot of pansies I picked up at Lowes of all places.  I usually add pansies to my planters and window boxes in April, then they get leggy and melty with the heat and I pitch them, This batch unfortunately fried from neglect so never even got the chance to annoy me , and I  replanted the container and forgot about them…until late last summer.

Apparently this sweet little pansy had taken it upon itself to reseed , and it did so in a straight line down the edge of the sidewalk. It was very cute, and they bloomed all fall and I even pressed many of the blossoms.  Now on to the surprise they had in store for me, this sweet little flower seeded everywhere in the bed and it is winter hardy! I found the label , and it is viola Sorbet XP Marina, a cross that provided a plant that is super compact and will not get leggy like other pansies , is very heat tolerant, will reseed   and is extremely cold tolerant as well. 021 I had planned in my scheme for the garden’s ground cover  to use viola corsica which has all of those same characteristics, but is  difficult to come by in the nursery trade, I ordered several plants  in February from Annies Annuals and they arrived yesterday so I added them to the mix. All in all it is a pretty complete season spanning garden and I will add more photos as everything starts to fill out and bloom.

Today, on a whim  ,my friends and I  went out yard-saling and I found  a lovely cement bird bath  at an estate sale and bought it for next to nothing and as that went from the trunk into the the front garden  I realized how happy I was to actually have a front garden , which was the  nicest surprise of all!030

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