GREAT GARDEN YEAR

Peace, quiet, birdsong, this is a great garden year!

Circle of Freinds at dusk

Circle of Friends at dusk

I am finally back into my garden! I did not realize how much I  missed it.  I spent the last years distracted by various life events and for a time ignored my own needs and passions. Learned some valuable life lessons and returned to my roots, my tribe.

20160604_161957                                  Design of pot attributed to Gertrude Jekyll

Thanks to a very mild winter, my garden this year has been sensational. EVERYTHING bloomed profusely.

Rose 'New Dawn' on old chicken house

Rose ‘New Dawn’ on the old chicken house

P1240847

Right now I am enjoying the blooms of Hydrangeas I have not seen (in my garden) for years.

'Fuji Waterfall' aka 'Starburst' these American names given to 'Hanabi'

‘Fuji Waterfall’ aka ‘Shooting Star’ these American names given to ‘Hanabi’

20160603_203616

 

Hydrangea serrata 'Miyama Yae Murasaki' (AKA Purple Tiers)

Hydrangea serrata ‘Miyama Yae Murasaki’ (AKA Purple Tiers)

The secret garden

The secret garden

It is, however, not just about what is blooming.  A ‘Garden’ must have structure and a narrative. Without these organizing principles, one simply has a collection of plants or chaos.

In my design lectures I talk about the 2 points of view on what makes a garden. One is that a garden is where one puts plants, and the other, to which I adhere, is that plants are used to create the garden.

The first is a ‘yard’. A garden is a refuge, an ongoing work of art to be honed and nurtured.

Below, a plant collector’s garden held together by it’s structure. (another post to follow about this garden & the gardener)

Ozzie Johnson's Garden

Ozzie Johnson’s Garden

 

P1240864

 

P1240865

What are your thoughts? What is more satisfying a yard or a garden?

photos of my garden, taken with cell phone. Ozzie’s wonderful garden with a real camera!

HYDRANGEA TOUR ALERT

American Hydrangea Society

22ND Annual Garden Tour

Saturday, June 11, 2016

9:00 am to 5:00 pm

rain or shine!
We have 7 beautiful gardens lined up for your touring pleasure
in the Atlanta Metro area showcasing Hydrangeas!
Tickets are $30.00 each or a family rate of 2/$40.00
We hope you will join us! It will be a great day!
Tour ticket entitles you to the current tour and a year’s membership in the
American Hydrangea Society including three informative color newsletters.
Our newsletter is a great source of information about hydrangeas, their care and
maintenance. There are three free lecture meetings a year with excellent speakers on
Hydrangeas and we have wonderful plant raffles at our meetings too!
Tickets will be available online via PayPal at our website until May 31ST.
http://www.americanhydrangeasociety.org
Tickets will also be available on the day of the tour from 9 AM – 2 PM ONLY
at Garden #1 (2607 Cotton Mill Court, Marietta, GA 30068)
and Garden #7 (3254 Wesley Chapel Road, Decatur, GA 30034)
so don’t worry if you have a last minute addition to your group.
(Unfortunately this tour is not wheelchair accessible.)

 

GARDEN TOUR 2

P1240776

One of the joys of the Garden Tour Season I always look forward to, is the tour put on by Georgia Perennial Plant Association. Several chosen gardens are opened to the membership for one week- end a year. Most gardeners would have bottled water and iced tea available for the visitors. Margaret Moseley would serve her famous Almond Tea whenever her garden was opened. Last week Pimento Cheese party sandwiches were passed around on silver trays for the guests! (Did I forget to mention that in the last post?)

For several years I served as the Tour Chairperson of this organization as well as The American Hydrangea Society. I know firsthand about what it takes to create a successful event. So I was not surprised that in recent years the format has changed and only one garden is opened for a day. I like this change. One no longer has to budget their time and rush to see as many gardens as possible in the allotted timeframe. These are SPECTACULAR gardens where one could happily spend the entire day and still not take it all in.

P1240773

This year, the garden of Lyndy Broder was the featured garden. Lyndy is a dear friend and an expert on the genus Clematis. Her knowledge and talents however, go far beyond Clematis.  She has collected an amazing variety of unusual and seldom seen trees and shrubs to create a personal arboretum ‘par excellence’ on her property….and almost all are festooned with the most delicious varieties of Clematis one could imagine.

P1240753                                                                       A wall of  seed grown species welcome visitors

P1240757

P1240762

P1240760

P1240771                                                                            Golden Larch (Pseudolarix  amabilis) with Clematis

P1240782

The Canadian Geese Meadow leading to the lake above.

P1240786

 

P1240768                                            The Sanctuary of St. Fiacre, patron saint of gardeners ( loved working with Lyndy on this project)

P1240779

P1240804

When a garden of this caliber is open….. everyone comes. This turned into a reunion of great plantsmen and gardeners,  a huge amount of talent here, the energy was palpable.

GARDEN TOUR SEASON

This is the first garden tour I attended this season, there are several more on the agenda.  I promise to post about them all.

Nothing says Welcome quite like a gate. I saw several that intrigued me on the  Gardens for Connoisseurs Tour to benefit The Atlanta Botanical Garden.

P1240474My friend Becky rushing in to get detail photos of this delightful gate. We were tripping over each other in excitement. look at these ….

P1240476

P1240475

Clever designs and beautiful workmanship. We  loved all the details. Gates like these were in several of the gardens, a wonderful piece, both practical and whimsical.

P1240494

P1240698

Several of Atlanta’s finest private gardens open for this annual event. These are all designer gardens with regular and knowledgeable  crews to tend them. They are perfectly groomed. One will never find a yellowing leaf, no space left where a plant was lost, some annual potted plant is placed in its stead, very tastefully.

Touches of whimsy…….

P1240517

P1240625

P1240454

The summer containers were packed with  perennial foliage plants and annuals.

P1240453

I was particularly taken with a table centerpiece …..

P1240607

and of course the peaceful sound of water.

P1240587

Beautiful gardens…..

P1240566

P1240448

P1240715All in all a no miss event. With our weather this year, the gardens will be more beautiful that ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THIS ‘N’ THAT

THIS ‘N’ THAT

This is a fabulous year for the garden. The French Hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla) are full of buds and it promises to be quite a show. I hope I am not putting a Hex on it. Considering the unpredictable weather we are experiencing, tomorrow  could bring an artic blast!

P1240419There are so many varieties I have not seen in years. The flower buds were  killed by late frosts or some years,  the stems are killed right to the ground. This has happened  for several years; bad news for a gardener who loves them and has used them extensively in her plantings.( That would be me.)

Encouraged, I took many more cuttings.

P1240415

I am also propagating two all white varieties ( Madame E. Mouillere  & the lacecap White Wave) for my friend Mary who is creating an all white garden. She is well on her way and these white Hydrangeas will be the crowning touch. Isn’t it amazing how much patience a true gardener can exhibit?

My garden and I have matured. I no longer stress the small details and rely on good groundcovers through which I will plant some minor bulbs for more early spring interest.

Since groundcovers are all so similar in height  is essential to play up contrast of either colour, or texture.  Some of the better effects I had achieved in the woodland became so labor intensive, I had to abandon them completely. So my advice is “go simple’

Blk. Mondo & Selaginella

Black Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’  ) and Golden Clubmoss (Selaginella ‘Aurea’) were a stunning combination. Then the weeds came. I have to admit that for a few years I painted weed killer on them with an eyeliner brush!

I am very fortunate to have on my property many native wildflowers, while they are ephemeral and will disappear when the summer heat comes on, the low growing Vinca does a great job picking up the slack.

P1240392

Above, Leaves of three, Trillium & Poison Ivy; underneath, a carpet of Vinca.

P1230614 This mottled ginger (Asarum splendens)  is  one of several types I planted, it is the only one that has survived & thrived. It is located across from  the Mourning Bench. This was the only area where I originally planted perennials. What comes up now are the tough survivors or the plants that re-seed.

Below the subtle colours of Japanese Painted fern ( Athyrium nipponicum) & Mottled Ginger blend beautifully. Contrasting texture is the key here.

P1240390

Elsewhere in the garden, the Viburnums have been sensational and there are still a few blooming. This year Kern’s Pink has outdone itself.

Viburnum 'Kern's Pink'

Viburnum ‘Kern’s Pink’

So heavy with blossoms it has covered an unknown rose. 20160502_182613

The only misstep this year was the loss of two mature Clematis. Victims of the mow and blow guy….. I guess one cannot have everything…..all at once.

 

 

JOY !

Often, in the garden, I only see all that needs to be done; the plants that need feeding, the pruning that is overdue, the weeds that must be removed before they set seed…..                                                                   P1240353

I have only to look down to experience the joy a garden can bring. These at my feet… (above)

P1240352

my view ahead…. (above)

P1240358

Clematis ‘Asoa’ twining through the Viburnum….

P1240361

Aesculus  Pavia welcoming the first Hummingbirds… The Styrax obassia is starting to bloom (below)

P1240362

So what if the vegetable garden is overgrown with chick weed.

I have seriously been considering getting some chickens again. They were so delightful. I loved their antics and they kept the weeds down.  Hmm…  Oh yes, I forgot the predators and the heartbreak when one is ‘lost’.

 

 

 

A TASTE OF SPRING

P1240035

When I was out walking in the garden today I was admiring the camellias. They are the evergreen structure that forms the bones of the garden and they bloom to boot!

P1240032

 

daffodils in the Wordsworth meadow are up and some are already blooming   …… but

P1240075

P1240074

 

the meadow was not cut last summer so there are plenty of weeds, and several trees and limbs are down. Victims of the  heavy saturating rains and strong winds of late.

P1240081

P1240080

One of the first times I’ve seen the incredible flowers of the ‘evermottled’ ginger…….. blooming at ground level.  I have not often seen them as I’m hesitant to crawl around the garden on all fours when it is cold and damp. This one just jumped out at me.

P1240095

Spring is here again!