Monthly Archives: October 2014

Grow It, Cut It, Arrange It

This week I had the good fortune of speaking to the Norwood Garden Club. This delightful group is made up of very dedicated and educated gardeners ( 9 Master Gardeners are in their ranks) and they are also very committed  both to the success and mission of their club as well as serving the town they live in.

The topic they chose was “Shrubs For Year Round Color and Interest” ,and as I like to do whenever I can,I brought along some colorful arrangements to raffle off to the members. Given the topic, the arrangements were made using all materials from the garden with a focus on the shrubs that were outlined in my presentation. I grow so many different shrubs and when choosing them follow a carefully laid out selection process based on their ultimate size, site and maintenance requirements ( I prefer minimal pruning and flexibility in moisture and soil needs)and their usefulness in making indoor arrangements . I like to have as much “stuff” as possible year round to cut and bring in and with careful planning  you too can have your own year round cutting garden too. On February 8 ,2015 at 1pm I will be giving a talk at Tower Hill Botanic Garden on growing, cutting and arranging .If you are interested, details will be in their next education brochure and on their website  for registration closer to then. I will post a link when it is available.

For now you can look at the three arrangements  I brought with me.

009 014040 (2)This first one is a sweet little side table decoration composed of the reddish bracts from a Heptacodium minconoides tree, red dogwood stems from Cornus alba (dogwood) ‘Ivory Halo’, the delightful pink berries of symphoricarpos (coral berry)  ’Amethyst”, foliage from a spirea called ‘Firemound”, rosa glauca and  physocarpus opulifolius(ninebark) ‘Coppertina’ and the only flowers are those of a Chrysanthemum called Sheffield Pink.001

004The second one is done in traditional centerpiece format, and has foliage from Euonymous fortuneii ‘Gold Splash’, greens from several different chamaecyparis ,more red twig dogwood, crab apples, little red peppers ( from the japanese  four color pepper) and again the only flowers are a Chrysanthemum , this one called ‘Red Mammoth’.032 (2)036

The last one is a kitschy piece of fun I duplicate in some format every October for my Halloween dessert table. this year I used a plastic tumbler from the dollar store that I spray painted it with chalkboard paint so I could write on it (BOO!)  The berries are from  the calliarpa dichotoma ‘Early Amethyst’, and Ilex verticellata ( a deciduous holly)  ’Winter Gold’, the pods are from baptisia australis or false indigo,  toward the back there is a  scary-spiny  stem of  solanum quitoense ( from seed I got from Nan Ondra at in the center is a stem of yellow twig dogwood  and the flowers are yet another Korean  chrysanthemum called’Copper Penny’. I added some fluffy seed heads from clematis tanguitica ‘Bill McKenzie’ right when I was leaving to look ghost- like, but forgot to snap another photo.

After my talk, the club raffled off these three as well as 5 shrubs the club’s president and VP brought in , including my #1 favorite hydrangea “Twist and Shout” Congrats to all the winners!

One more photo before I go and a reminder that if you have any annual vine seeds leftover from this season to pop a few in a container and get them in a sunny window pronto…here is morning glory ‘Sunrise Serenade’  blooming in my picture window today.

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Missed it! Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

So, I missed GBBD graciously hosted every month on the 15th by, but I am going to share with you today a mini-post anyway.

Today I finally had the time to get out and plant the rest of the several hundred bulbs I bought ( tulips, daffodils, hyacinth and chionodoxa, and dogs tooth violets if you must know) , and while outside I noticed a few surprise garden happenings that warrant some acknowledgement.007

This clematis, Ernest Markham, came into bloom in May and has not spent one single day out of bloom since. Polite golf-clap if you will for its status as MVP in the garden this year.

002A coneflower I just had to have, called ‘Green Envy” has done anything bit make anyone envious as it rarely blooms at all. This year it has waited until this week to start flowering , so I believe that some positive reinforcement may encourage it to try a little harder next year.019

The feverfew which usually only blooms once a season, is is full bloom again and this little stem was broken in a wind storm yet has continued on despite the injury. Good effort, my friend, good effort.004

Despite several light frosts which usually mean the end of the annuals, they are still standing and today I ripped many out just because, frankly,  I am  tired of them.  Cosmos, morning glories,dahlias verbenas,coleus,  the list goes on and on of stalwart survivors.020

One of my favorite roses, Julia Child, is cycling through yet another bloom cycle. Record year for her too.

As for what else is blooming, the list is long. Sheffield mums ( both the standard pink and the variety called Copper Penny), ‘Ruby Mound’ ‘Lilac”and ‘Centerpiece’  Chrysanthemums, Montauk Daisies, ‘Major Wheeler ‘honeysuckle, dahlias, the Drift roses, monkshood , asters, persecaria,agastache, cupheas, verbenas, geranium ‘Rozanne’  sedums, petunias…053 052 050 042 047 049 036 035 032 028 029 030 027 025 023 017 019 022 015 014 013 009 011 012 008 007 006 ‘Bloomerang’ lilac, Eupatorium ‘Chocolate’, nasturtiums, roses ( New Dawn and an unknown red climber)  a smattering of hydrangeas, berries on the symphoricarpos, callicarpa, viburnums and hollies, …did I miss anything? Oh yes! I am still picking ‘Heritage’ Raspberries, apples and grape tomatoes! Not bad for a New England garden in mid October.005BTW….I will be giving a talk Sunday in Lancaster, MA on successfully blending native and non-native plants in the garden..wish me luck!



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