Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Good Start

Despite trouble posting pictures, which as extinguished my interest in blogging temporarily, I've gotten a lot done in the garden.

Finally took out the Japanese honeysuckle, ready for a rose and a clematis
Refreshed the front of the side front garden, pulling out lots of day lilies and Goldsturm rudbeckia, adding soil conditioner and transplanting the Tomato Soup echinacea
Finally rooted out the last of the barberry
Moved the trellis from the side of the house to the mailbox, and planted morning glories and scarlet runner beans along one side; waiting to see if the cardinal climber vine from last summer starts to pop up in its former location
Best of all, and hardest of all, laid out the new sunny garden in front down from where the dogwood used to be and the butterfly bush is now

Here's a look before the plants went in:

It was incredibly hard to do this the hard way, which is what I chose. I edged the whole thing (8' x 8' plus the existing bed for the butterfly bush), then sliced it into sections and lifted up the sod with a straight-edged spade. When Adrian Higgins refers to "skimming off the sod," he is deluding you. It was backbreaking. Nevertheless...

This new bed is meant to be sunny, high, and wild, attracting butterflies and hummingbirds, and mostly made up of native plants. The color scheme is blue, pink and yellow with just a touch of white. Planted to date are:
Boltonia asteroides 'Snowbank'
Salvia gregii 'ultra violet'
Lavandula media 'grosso'
Helianthis 'Lemon Queen'
Aster laevis 'Blue Bird'
Agastache 'Blue Fortune'
Schizachyrium scoparium 'The blues'
Pennisetum alopecuroides (fountain grass)
Eupatorium purpureum subsp. Maculatum 'Gateway'
tulipa 'General de Wet'

(The latter two, by the way, did indeed make a pretty pair, the orange softened by the blue and they bloomed at the same time by some miracle.)

Becky kindly picked up a lot of these at Colesville for me. I was worried about the Joe Pye weed, which was nothing but a dead stick, so I sank the pot into the ground in case I had to return it. But patience is rewarded - it's now got about an inch of new growth. Hard to believe it will grow to six feet, but stranger things have happened.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Why don't the pictures display any more?

Because Blogger just isn't very good.
I'm thinking of moving to something else. Any suggestions?

What's in bloom 4/10

tulips, species and otherwise
the last of the forsythia
dogtooth violets
bleeding heart
leucojum (snowflake)

Here are a few:




Sunday, April 10, 2011

Onion Snow of 2011

A few years ago it was Mom who told me a late spring snow was known as an onion snow. This one arrived on March 28th. It was gorgeous in the morning and gone by noon. Here it is on the bleeding heart, forsythia, chionodoxa, species tulips, evergreens...








First shoots

The winter aconite peaked while I was away. Early March brought the first of the miniature daffodils in the front garden,

the hellebores in all their glory,


and the first year of the chionodoxa under the oakleaf hydrangeas in the corner. I feared that the flooding that plagues that corner might have made the bulbs rot, but as usual I was simply too impatient. Not quite a sea of gentian blue, but over the years I hope it will have the same effect as Mom's sea of blue under the crabapple.

More emerging shoots:
oakleaf hydrangea

bluebells (mertensia) blue

and white

anemone blanda under the oak tree

sweet woodruff whorls

and the foliage of bleeding hears.

Revenons à nos moutons

Okay, it's been six weeks or so since we've come back from New Zealand, so I guess it's time to get back to business. But I'll segue in slowly by reporting on my favorite New Zealand garden.

This was on our free day in Queenstown, when I joined a local garden tour. Of the three gardens we visited, this was far and away my favorite. Patricia was described by our guide as an excellent plantswoman, and she did indeed know her plants by both Latin and common names (which you'd think would be SOP for a gardener but it's not). She had a great enthusiasm for gardening that came through in every detail and comment she made. Here she is under the arbor near her pond, looking an awful lot like my dear, dear mother (surely part of her charm for me).


Her house was nestled, New Zealand style, in a gently sloping site and surrounded by evergreens of various colors. This combination can seem too garish but here I thought it worked perfectly. I especially liked the varying textures.


This is her wild garden with a typical New Zealand view of hills beyond.

Here is an example of her architectural use of trees.

A couple examples of plants I admired: hebe, a native plant you find everywhere in New Zealand that takes many forms

loosestrife, this a yellow one, that does not appear to be as invasive as ours

yellow plums worthy of a poem - she picked some up and we ate them out of hand as we walked along

rugosa roses, this I think Rosarie de l'Hay

a Chamaecyparis waving in the breeze

And then a small, beautiful, productive vegetable garden. In high summer she was harvesting everything from Swiss chard to tomatoes

I also loved her bird statues by the pond, a pair of pokekos. I saw others for sale on our travels but none were quite as charming as these.

But we really bonded over her sedums, for which I have formed a new affection. Like a true gardener, she could not resist showing a fellow devotee her sedum bed-in-progress, which really did not look like much, but the two of us could see the potential. In the meantime, she had several sedums planted in front.


I can't remember what they were called, but I particularly liked the purple one. I promised her that I would think of her when I planted sedums at home, and I will.

I'm sure New Zealand will creep into this blog again, but for now I'm turning back to my own garden.