DAFFODIL ENVY

I am suffering  from Daffodil envy.

This morning I opened the computer and found the following photos on one of my favorite blogs THE GALLOPING GARDENER.

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And here I was feeling so proud of the Wordsworth Meadow! 

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Nevertheless, scenes like this were my inspiration.  

The photos were taken  at The Valley Garden in Surrey England by Charlotte Weychan. Charlotte travels and visits fabulous gardens.  Check her blog for a wonderful armchair visit to some of the best gardens.

I better get busy sourcing and planting. I think I need several lifetimes to achieve something like this!

Thank you Charlotte for use of your photos.

SPRING!

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Spring is announced in the ‘Wordsworth Meadow’

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It does fill my heart with joy!

Every year the display increases. Presently scouting old abandoned homeplaces to rescue more Narcissus to add to the meadow.

If you have been reading this blog then you know these are ‘old timey’ bulbs that have survived for years unattended. The modern cultivars  I originally planted  disappeared after a season or two.

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The sweep of Narcissus on the left in the above photo is a younger planting than the one on the right, equal number of bulbs. Time is a huge element in garden design.

MORE SCENES FROM AROUND THE GARDEN:

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Prunus ‘Okame’ and Spiraea, wish you could hear the bees  a -buzz at the ‘all you can eat buffet’

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     Helleborus orientalis Narcissus and the ghost of last summer’s Hydrangeas.    

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Of all the garden areas, it is the ‘Wordsworth Meadow’ that holds my heart.    It is still unfinished….

POLAR VORTEX UPDATE

The Polar Vortex that crippled the south last week wreaked some havoc  in my garden.

I could tell from the window that the Michelia foliage was damaged and the Camellia blossoms were brown and mushy. Today I ventured out (74 degrees) to access the damage.

Michelia

Although there is some browning of foliage, it is not nearly as bad as I had anticipated.

The Michelia (now reclassified as a Magnolia) looks awful, but the buds seem to be viable in their protected furry coats.

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The camellias, on the other hand did not fare as well. The good news is  the plants survived, however, many tight buds came off in my hand when I touched them.

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The  few that are okay are on the underside of the foliage so I guess that was their protection . ( Like all gardeners, I wish plants could talk!)

Now for the bad news… I doubt there will be  Hydrangeas this year, most of the buds are frozen & dead. While the stems appear fine right now, only time will tell.

Bay Laurel

Above, my Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis)… bit the proverbial dust.

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Hellebores (Helleborus orientalis) (above)  may be short in the stem but they are coming along.

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 Above, Winter Daphne ( Daphne odora aureomarginata)  unscathed & looking cheerful. Waiting for another few sunny days to unfurl and envelope the garden in its wonderful perfume.

And, as always, there is something cheerful waiting to brighten my day…

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Early species crocus.

What damage if any, did your garden experience?

SIGNS OF SPRING

Finally there are signs of spring. The weather has been chilly in Georgia for an unusually long spell and bloom times are off.
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Looking out the window, the Snowball Viburnum (Viburnum macrocephalum) is in its beautiful lime green phase and I can see the Yoshino Cherry tree (Prunus subhirtella ‘Yoshino’) blooming in the background.

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These tulips ,below, were planted in the cutting garden about 5 years ago and although I cut them with their foliage every year, they still reappear. I must look up my orders and identify them.

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Next week promises to be warmer and I expect an explosion of blooms. Meanwhile spring pruning is underway (late of course).

FROM ONE GARDENER TO ANOTHER

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“From one gardener to another,” read the note.

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I have tried in vain to find the Saffron Crocus ( Crocus sativus).   Today I arrived home  to find a box full complete with instructions…

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from a gracious & generous gardener.

I was told, when I first arrived in Georgia,  that one never says  ‘thank you’ for a plant; instead one says “I appreciate it.”

I truly appreciate it!!

These crocus bloom in the autumn and the stamens are the exquisite spice Saffron.

THE CUTTING GARDEN

Between trying to weed, (while avoiding the bees) clearing the  remaining winter debris, feeding & pruning the clematis that have already budded,  trying to finish the seed selection and ordering … it has been a busy time. Spring is here…there may still be cold snaps but we are on our way.

                                                               

Above, scenes from the Bothy and the endless ‘to do list’

                                                            

The daffodils in the cutting garden are slowly diminishing and should be replaced this fall. Some have lasted several years, others just one or two seasons at most. Replanting this area is quite a challenge since there are no guidelines in the autumn. One thought was to plant the bulbs in peat pots and then transfer them to their appointed rows in spring when one can see where they are needed, but that plan never came to fruition. 

Several years ago I devised another scheme …  transplanting Muscari where the daffs had failed. Muscari sends up its foliage in the autumn so it would simply be a matter of trading the Muscari for a daff bulb. But when the spring came and the blue Muscari bloomed with the remaining daffs, the scene was so spectacular that I decided to leave it. Now however, this area needs attention.

                                                             

 Some Daffs have come up ‘blind’ this year; that is lush foliage but no flower bud. I am attributing this to the lack of cold weather…we will know for sure next spring, but this section of the cutting garden is a big disappointment this season.

                                                      

Above, these were 100 Tete`a Tete (head to head) narcissus..now it is only ‘Tete’ and very few are left. They did give a wonderful show and filled many mini vases over the last few years. I will replant that variety.

Do you have a favorite variety of daffodil?

THE WORDSWORTH MEADOW

“For oft’ when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood

They flash upon that inward eye…”

                                                                                 

 The meadow is a moment in time.  The  living garden, evolves…. the daffs fade… this moment is gone.

                                                                                                

 One looks forward to this annual ‘happening’ with much anticipation and it is celebrated with much wine.  Spring has arrived!

                                                                                         

“I gazed -and gazed- but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought.”

                                                      

THE DAFFODILS

The Wordsworth Meadow is in full glory. The very first time I looked at this property, before I saw the interior of the house, I imagined this area flooded with sweeps of Daffodils “fluttering and dancing in the breeze.”

                                                                                

It was a privet and wisteria  jungle that took me months to clear. Then the planting began. the first autumn I ordered  500 bulbs recommended for the south.  The following year I planted more, but when spring arrived, only a fraction of the original planting returned. 

                                                                         

Does this look like 500 daffs? Today,this is what is left of the original planting.

                                                                         

Devastated, I thought my plan for this area would have to be abandoned untill I passed an old deserted homestead with a neat line of daffodils… big, fat,full clumps with many blooms. If these daffs could survive and INCREASE over the years….they were for me.

                                                                          

And so it began, sourcing,  digging, dividing and replanting.  Yes, I ALWAYS ASKED FOR PERMISSION.  I still regret those that were bulldozed to make way for a strip mall before I could find the owners.

                                                                                   

There are no words to describe the joy these bring every spring as I watch them multiply over the years.

Do you think it was worth the effort?

A GARDENER’S DILEMMA

Some areas of my garden are incomplete. The bones are all there, but the planting is far from ‘done’. For example, the lilies I have recently featured …

                                                                            

are a perfect companion to Hydrangea paniculata

                                                                                    

however, they are planted on either side of the bench in my cutting garden and not together.

                                                                                         

 So here is this gardener’s dilemma…do I dig up the lilies and plant them with the hydrangea or transplant the hydrangea? That’s a young gardener’s thought process.

 At my age I am thinking the easiest way to achieve what I would like, would be to strike cuttings of the hydrangea and plant them with the lilies. MUCH EASIER, the caveat being  TIME. It will take a few years to get the effect I am looking for.

Why isn’t life simpler? The young have both the time and energy…. need I say more?

MORE!!!

Glorious in the garden….

                                                                        

better in a vase to be enjoyed whenever I pass.

                                                                                   

 With the temps here in the 90’s the lilies will last longer indoors and I can spend more time marveling at their loveliness.

                                                            

When they are this perfect… one can only ask for MORE!!!

LILY LUST!!! or LE GRANDE SPECTACLE!!

                                                                                              

“But whatever the people may see, they cannot help seeing the lilies. They are all over the house, like groups of dancers, poised and waiting; those that stand near mirrors seem to take on a silver sheen,and those that catch the glow of the candles are lit with gold; in the full light they sparkle like sunlit snow, in the shadows they are luminous…and always, upstairs, downstairs, in every nook and cranny, there is fragrance.” – Beverly Nichols

                                                                                         

Above, Rosemary examines the bouquet. This lily is the last to bloom and marks the season’s end.

                                                                                        

Oh the luxury of working with so many stems! MORE is definitely MORE!!

Lilium formosanum all grown from seed. By me.

MORE LILIES!

Starring in the Cutting Garden now are lilies!!

                                                                                         

                                                                                Above, Lilium ‘Montreal’ and Lily                                              

 I love them with hydrangeas.

                                                                                          

 a few feathery branches of Kerria japonica  and we are done. (not done yet!)

Several years ago, on a first consultation, I watched my perspective client pull together an  arrangement on a grand scale in no time at all while we talked about her needs in regard to her ‘outdoor space’. I always try to emulate her. The arrangement was loose, natural & ‘happy’, the  antithesis of   Beverly Nichols’ ‘Our Rose’, famous for torturing stems into fantastical & outlandish shapes.  I recently visited with the  gracious Ms C. I will post her garden in the next few days.

Meanwhile…..harvest from the Potager…..

                                                                                          

How fortuitous to have a coordinating bowl for Delicata squash!

© all photos 2011

HYDRANGEA, LILY, LILY……

Recently, Little Augury posted about Lilies. The Regale lilies in her garden,  John Singer Sargent’s  Carnation, Lily, Lily Rose, and Beverly Nichols’ love of Lilies.    All  favorites of mine.

 Below,  an interpretation with what I have in my garden now.  Alas, no rose, no carnation, no children playing …. but Hydrangeas & Lilies in profusion.                                                             

 Lilium ‘Touching’  above, supported by Oak leaf Hydrangea     (Hydrangea quercifolia). Below, solo, three stems in Tulip shaped vase .                                                              

This Lily  is best  in the vase. The flower head is so heavy it breaks the stem.

                                                                                       

                                                                                          

A wonderful addition to the Cutting Garden.

MEANWHILE, in the Potager,  Blueberries are coming in and Figs promise  a bumper crop soon. The figs are ‘Brown Turkey’ & ‘Celeste’. Tune into LINDARAXA where my friend Julieta, will devise some recipes for all that comes in from the Potager.

© All photos 2011

CAMELLIA MADNESS

The Camellia Walk  is in full flower.

                                                                                                                                                                                  

 The Helleborus are also at their peak, I love them together, makes for a lush planting…the only kind.

                                                                                   

Just about here, I turn around to see………

                                                                                                                                                                                            The daffodils in The Meadow.                                           

Up close & personal………                                                                                       

                                                                                              

                                                                                                      

                                                                                            

© All photos & text 2011