Sunday, November 25, 2007

Potting up

Now is the season of raking leaves and forcing bulbs. I took out the amaryllis bulb I bought at Roxbury Mills last month and discovered that it had creepily and desperately started growing inside the dark bag. 
I hate when that happens. However, a few days in filtered light and it's starting to look less like a mushroom plant.

Started a bowl of paperwhites last weekend, too. Maybe this year I will do it right, and start a new batch every week?

November colors

It took a while, but we finally got some great fall color in November. It started at the Homestead, where we came over the mountains and saw brilliantly colored trees.

Closer to home, the maple tree in the front yard was awash in shades of peach, yellow and red.
By the time I came home from Thanksgiving, half the leaves were on the ground.

These pictures of maple leaves were taken on a walk around Kennedy's Pond.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What happened to the blog?

Fall happened, plus I've been away a lot. The fall color is finally here, though a bit muted, the bulbs are almost all planted, and it's time to pot up some paperwhites and keep an eye on the amaryllis for signs of life.

Here's a look at color changes in the garden just now:

Ballooon flower leaves turn this sulphurous yellow in fall, set off by the steely blue of the seed pods.

I forgot I had planted these fall crocuses.

Posted by Picasa

Garlic chives have gone to seed. I've given Becky a bag of seeds and need to cut back the rest before the whole front garden is overtaken by garlic chives.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

"poised between the garden that was and the garden that could be"

This article in the New York Times so perfectly captures the delicious indecision some gardeners face - okay, I face, but so does the author. The Sweet Bay magnolia touted by Carroll Gardens? Or witch hazel instead? A mix of daffodils and day lilies along the pathway, or an elegant mass of cool hostas? A person can dither for months and years...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Two point two

2.2 inches of rain! And it's still drizzling, with forecasts of another band of heavy rain coming up from the south this afternoon. May it rain on all the newly planted pansies, tulips, hakonechloa, hostas, scillas, lilies, sweetspire, baptisia, aster...

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Planting in the drought

Last weekend I planted the hostas and hakonechloa, along with numerous bulbs, in the new walkway gardens. Thanks to good preparation of the beds (at least the one along the wall) and lots of mulch provided by Meadows Farms, it was actually a joy to plant there. Unlike the unforgiving clay of the front gardens (which have been enriched repeatedly with compost and shredded leaves), the loose soil in these beds made it a cinch to plant.

I talked to Ellinger last week about the additional carpentry work I want done around the terrace (Meadows Farms has never gotten back to me with an estimate), and Alan says they won't be able to do anything till after the first of the year. In other words, I do need to plant the akebia now. Time to soak the bed and then start digging. I still have some bulbs to put in, which I had better do now or it will never happen.

This certainly is a tedious little posting, so let me liven it up with a close-up picture of the akebia blossom.

And here's what it looks like now.
Posted by Picasa

Immeasurable rain

"Immeasurable" can mean impossible to measure or beyond computation. In that case, the rain we had last night was immeasurable, in that it was such a small amount that it was almost impossible to calculate. It dampened the roads and amounted to perhaps half a centimeter in the rain gauge. But, amazingly, it provided three watering cans full and counting from the rain barrel!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Bulb Order 2007, part two

After picking up some daffodils and paper whites at Roxbury Mills this morning, I am declaring myself officially done for the season. Now comes my least favorite part, planting the blessed things, especially in the concrete that passes for soil in the drought-stricken garden.

From McClure & Zimmerman:

    Aurelian trumpet lily blend (for one more dollar I got a dozen instead of six!)
    Mixed lily-flowered tulips
    'Temple of Beauty' tulips
    Mixed Modern Rembrandt tulips

From White Flower Farm:

    Ipheion Constellation of Blue Stars
    Fringed Rhapsody tulips
    Lycoris Squamigera
    Hemerocallis 'Strawberry candy' (Where did I think this was going??)

From Brent and Becky's Bulbs:

    Allium triquetrum
    Narcissus 'Ziva' (Whoops - forgot I had ordered these, I will have an abundance of paper whites this winter)

The first two orders are here, so time to get to work.

Merrifield visit


It might be insane because we've had no rain for weeks and there's none on the horizon, but I took the moment I had and went to Merrifield on a sunny, breezy, cool day. I got the akebia for the trellis but won't plant it until after I get the estimate for altering the trellis next week. It was a bit pricey so I will water it faithfully, even if I have to steal out at night to dump old pasta water on it.

I got a viburnum, but neither of the ones on my list (Viburnum nudum 'Winterthur' and Viburnum prunifolium) because they weren't in stock. Instead, the very knowledgeable shrub woman, who was not pushy at all, showed me a viburnum 'Shasta' that is so healthy and lush that I couldn't resist. I just hope it will get enough sun in the shrub border. Here's what it will look like:

and here's what it looks like now.

For the new walkway gardens, I got a hellebore "Royal Heritage" and three hostas, 'Elegans,' 'Krossa Regal' and 'Blue Cadet.' I also got three Hakonechloa 'Aureola' to brighten up the space, and to echo the ones in the front garden. Then three flats of pansies to winter over.
Posted by Picasa

Here's the lot:

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Bulb Order 2007, part one

Armed with a list based on bulbs I had read about and those I knew I wanted, I started at Roxbury Mills (buying locally, you see). There I found
    Queen of the Night tulips - side front garden
    Allium Purple Sensation - sunny garden
    Black parrot tulips - pot on steps
    Fritillaria meleagris - walkway garden
    Scilla siberica - oak tree garden or walkway
    Maureen tulip - white, under the oak tree

Then just a few other things crept into the bag:
    Allium azureum - sunny garden
    Amaryllis 'Golden Goddess' - have never tried a yellow amaryllis before

Still on the list, to buy online:

    tulip 'Fringed Rhapsody' - WFF
    Lycoris squamigera - WFF - to plant near the Rudbeckia
    Ipheion (Constellation of Blue Stars from WFF)- walkway
    Allium Mongolian Gem - Klehm's - blooms late summer
    Allium triqueteum - McClure & Zimmerman - oak tree garden
    Mixed lily-flowered tulips - M&Z - front garden
    Modern Rembrandt tulip mix - M&Z - front garden
    'Temple of Beauty' tulip - M&Z - apricot, to interplant with Queen of the Night

Not bulbs, but also on the list

    Helleborus 'Royal Heritage' - for walkway or for under the trellis
    Hakonechloa 'All Gold' - walkway
    Moody Blues hosta collection - WFF - other side of walkway, includes 'Hadspen Blue,' 'Krossa Regal' and 'Elegans,' might just find these individually

and then the lilies...I may have waited too long, but in case I can still get them, the list is:
    Perfumed garden oriental lilies - WFF - never mind, sold out, but look how beautiful they would have been if I had planned ahead:

    Lilium Martagon - Klehm's - white garden
    Lilium 'Black Dragon' - M&Z - sungarden
    Asiatic Lily 'Unique' - can't find this anywhere, rec. by Dianne Benson
    Aurelian Lily 'Amethyst Temple' - ditto
    oriental lilies 'Imperial Gold,' 'Early Beauty,' 'Geisha' and 'Journey's End'
- there are undoubtedly lilies that are just as beautiful and easier to find, but when Dianne says
"You must try...the most marvelous white, pink and red flowers of them all...acquiesce to these wonders"
I can't resist.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Waterford Fair

We hadn't been to the Waterford Fair for the last two years, so we were glad to be back, despite the unnaturally warm and humid weather. Usually we need to wear socks and sweaters when we start out, but not today - it was foggy, then cloudy, and got up to the 80s. I hate global warming.

Here's a hint of fall: pumpkins on chairs.

This was a gorgeous clump of lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica
great blue?) in a garden that also featured blue salvia and a purple aster. This year (tomorrow?) I really will get some asters to go in the sunny garden.
Heavenly Blue morning glory was the subject of several photographers who wandered by. It's a simple thing but so lovely that I vow to plant some in a sunny spot next year - maybe around the mailbox or trailing up the tuteur?
This garden could only be glimpsed from the street, but I enjoyed the giant ants and the little dog exhorting its compatriots not to set foot in the garden. I like a garden that shows a sense of humor, or at least shows that someone is paying attention. (Not that mine necessarily qualifies.)
Posted by Picasa

I spent some time on my bulb order on the trip up - at last. Will post more as it comes together.

Saturday, September 29, 2007


Posted by Picasa

The aster at the end of the driveway attracts bees by the dozens. Every time I take a look, it's buzzing with activity. Went out late this afternoon to get a shot in the sun and saw this charming little butterfly there, too.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Les jardins Québécois

The gardens we saw in Québec were not remarkable - unlike the amazing Maine gardens last June. Admittedly, it was the end of the season, but we saw a lot of the same things - hydrangeas (including oak leaf hydrangeas in full sun, in bloom much later than at home), rudbeckias, sunflowers. Not terribly inspiring - the leaves were more beautiful.

But I know there's a famous Québec garden that is worth a trip, so maybe high summer would be a better time for garden viewing.
This is the inn in Baie-St.Paul where we spent our first night.  
The main building, dating from the 1850's, featured this garden entwined around the dining room window.

This inn in Petit-Saguenay was actually most remarkable for its site, up against a steep palisade (see the background), rather than for its pleasant but not unusual gardens.

These sunflowers bloomed cheerfully behind the inn.

Posted by Picasa

Coming into L'Anse St. Jean from the hiking trail, we noticed this well-groomed garden with a waterfall on one side. In fact, the gardens were all so well maintained that it made me think of the Pennsylvania Dutch - satisfyingly tidy or stultifyingly tidy?? Okay, maybe I'm just jealous...

In Québec city, we saw a couple of window gardens.  
This one made the most of a tiny space, surely no more than eight inches wide!


This is, as Mom would say, a riot of color - but isn't that salmon-colored tuberous begonia beautiful?
Posted by Picasa

This one blooms even during the long Québec winter.

Here's a bright red Canadian maple leaf from the trail.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 14, 2007


Late summer colors can be harsh, but the blooms can be so lush. Here is the crape myrtle, one of the series developed at the National Arboretum. Maybe Choctaw?  
At the end of the driveway is a wild aster with starry white flowers in the fall. This year, another plant joined it, and I decided to wait and see what would result. It seems to be some kind of goldenrod, tall and flowing.

Posted by Picasa

Here's a close-up of one bloom. This is an example of my tendency to just let things grow and see what they turn out to be - I'm not a good planner when it comes to the garden. I would actually like to see both these plants in the sunny garden, where they would add scale. Maybe I'll move them... but probably not.

Posted by Picasa
The morning glory on the shed continues to be delightful, with occasional blooms of Heavenly Blue, purple and now white.

Off to Quebec tomorrow for hiking and perhaps some early fall color!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Naked ladies return

Eight days ago, these were just poking their stems up through the mulch, but now they're in full bloom. I couldn't decide which of these pictures of the spider lilies was the best, so here are all three. I took this when the morning sun was shining on them.


This picture probably captures the color the best. They are red rather than orange.
Posted by Picasa

I have learned that Lycoris radiata has the brightest red blooms, so that's what these must be. However, there's a white variety, Lycoris albiflora, which I've never seen, that sounds intriguing.

The names for this flower include British soldiers, naked ladies, spider lilies, resurrection lilies and hurricane lilies (related to their bloom at the peak of hurricane season). Does anyone know any others?