LILIES

  I cannot describe my elation when I came in with this bouquet gathered this morning.

                                                                                    

Lilium formosanum. Stunning, but no fragrance.  Okay, I’ll forgive that, very easy to grow, comes readily from seed & blooms the first year.  In fact most all of these seeded themselves.

                                                                                

Late blooming with fabulous seed capsules that are choice if one does dry flowers for the winter BUT… knowing I would  post about them today, I looked them up in Armitage*.

“Unfortunately bulbs are susceptible to virus diseases, particularly lily mosaic. The virus causes rapid decline of the bulb and increases the potential of infection to other bulb species in the garden. To avoid infection, it is not advisable to plant Formosa lilies among other lilies.”

Deflated!!  Well I’ll think about that tomorrow, right now I am going to enjoy my Beverly Nichols* moment!

* Allan Armitage  is THE acknowledged expert in herbaceous perennials & is professor in the department of Horticulture, University of Georgia. Author of Herbaceous Perennial Plants. A Treatise on their Identification, Culture and Garden Attributes. (a must for every garden library)

*Beverly Nichols (1898-1983) writer, best remembered for his gardening trilogy Merry Hall, Laughter on the stairs & Sunlight on the Lawn. He loved lilies and grew masses of them in his garden. More on Beverly Nichols here. (Another must for a garden library.)

© All photos & text 2010

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY

                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Have we cooled off yet?

© All photos & text 2010

GARDEN & HYDRANGEA UPDATE

It was my relationship with Penny McHenry* that instilled in me the love of hydrangeas.

I have to confess I always found the blue mopheads rather  flashy, I much prefered the delicate lacecaps. Working over a period of time with Penny on reinventing her garden, I had the opportunity to observe the plants closely in all their stages of growth. When they began to fade and look like this…

                                                                        

  and this …     

                                                                                                                                    

I was hooked!  Suddenly I appreciated the versatility of this shrub and how many months of beauty it contributes to the garden.

                                                                   

The paniculatas are late blooming, above & below, Pink Diamond (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Pink Diamond’)

                                                                    

Right now this is a magnet for butterflies and several species of bees. When the sun shines here, the area is all a flutter.

AND THE REST…

                                                                   

The oak Leaf hydrangea turns amethyst, true to its name. (Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Amethyst’)

                                                                    

Annabelle hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’) is that lovely Chartreuse colour, blends beautifully with the hosta. Notice there is no foliage left on Annabelle. The deer love her. 

                                                                         Hydrangea ‘Snowflake’ is still flowering..

                                                                     but starting to show some browning.

                                                                   

The berries on the viburnums are ripening, these above  will be red…

                                                                  

and these are the yellow berries of Viburnum ‘Michael Dodge’ starting to colour up.

                                                                   

More delights, the seed heads of Clematis. Once described as curled up little terriers.

                                                                  

Figs are starting (above)… and below, ongoing blueberry harvest.

                                                                  

with more to come. The late blueberries are just starting. 

                                                                   

Ah, summertime!

* Penny McHenry dear friend and founder of the American Hydrangea Society.

© All photos & text 2010

HAVE A SEAT

One essential element needed in a garden is a place to rest, both the eye and the body.

Above, Luytens’ bench ‘Breaking Wave’  as focal point at the end of this axis. The strong rectilinear design draws the eye immediately to the bench.                                                              

Notice that the hedge has been clipped to mimic the shape of the back, thus reinforcing the design and creating unity. Superb!

This rectangular bench fits perfectly into this space. See the straight hedge behind ( needs some pruning) and the upright plants on either side . Notice too, that the beds  between which it sits, are also rectilinear.                                                                   

Another example of a bench perfectly suited to its enviornment. The repetition of shapes in several elements creates harmony. Circles in bench, pond & surrounding pots. The upright shrubs are also pruned into circular shapes.

A perfect fit! The niche is pruned in the shape of the bench.

So HARMONY is just as important as CONTRAST in landscape design.

(Benches are mostly used by visitors. Gardeners are much too busy.)

© All photos & text 2010

What I wanted… what I got.

I envisioned a soft carpet of moss beneath my feet as I walked through the garden…                                                                           

and then the weeds came.

                                                                                    

So now not only do the beds require weeding, so do the paths! YIKES!

I have been resisting the pea gravel alternative. When I am alone in the garden the crunch of the gravel is delightful but when accompanied, it is so distracting it is difficult to have a conversation.

FAUX GARDEN

                                                                                                                                                  

Delightful little courtyard garden? No. Just all the ‘driveway plants.’  Every plantaholic  has these. The plants that are unloaded from the car waiting in the drive to be planted.

This vignette was put together by our British host just before we  arrived for a tour.

© All photos & text 2010