WAY BEHIND!

Judging by my last post I am way behind. It is almost Christmas! To celebrate I just bought a camellia  sasanqua ‘Yuletide’. I can’t believe I waited so long before adding  this one to the garden. Actually it will be planted at the house  so I can see it from the living room window.

                                                                       Yuletide camellia

The glossy dark green foliage and  bright red single flowers with their golden centers will look fabulous against the white house and are perfect for the season. I plan to cut some and combine them with some holly & berries for the mantle and add Paperwhites for both colour and fragrance.

I’ll post photos of my decorations when they are finally done.  Meanwhile I hope you are all doing well and ready for the Holidays.

What are your favorite flowers for the Holidays?

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).

ALMOST MISSED IT!

                                                                                       I was away for the peak bloom of the lilies, in fact I almost missed it. They do bloom  over an extended period of time so I was able to cut a few that are still looking good today.

                                                                                                 My bouquet was pretty sparse this year so I had to fill in with Hydrangeas; three types, Hydrangea paniculata, Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ and Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Penny Mac’

                                                                                                       

Not my usual Beverley Nichols moment but still lovely…..

                                                                                                

I discovered last year, they give off a delightful fragrance….at night.

A HUGE thank you to  ‘Little Augury’ a blog that stimulates and inspires. THANK YOU for that wonderful mention!

ANOTHER BOUQUET

                                                                                                                     From the cutting garden. Only three stems…

                                                                                                                The fragrance…. intoxicating!

                                                                                                            

BOOKS AND BOUQUETS

                                                                                 

While  cleaning  the library, I came across the book that was instrumental in changing my life.

                                                                                                

 This book was  on the sale rack at Barnes & Noble Bookstore in Boston 30 years ago.

What an inspiration. I wanted to fill every room with wonderful bouquets…. how difficult could that be? After all, the arrangements in this book were done in a small bathroom in NYC… (with access to the wholesale flower market.)

                                                                                     

Without a nearby flower market but with a perennial catalogue firmly in hand I bravely placed an order. My future son-in law (although we didn’t know it then) cleared a border alongside the house for the plants.

                                                                                            

While I awaited the delivery I read a Gertrude Jekyll book; exactly which one I do not remember, as one of her books inevitably led to the next. The one thing I  did know , was that the plants had to be arranged beautifully out-of-doors as well as supply material for bouquets.

                                                                                                      

I soon discovered that plants take a few years to develop, and flower arranging is way harder than it looks. Still I am glad for the experience, it makes me so appreciate the talent of my friends who can ‘throw’ an incredible arrangement together in a heartbeat!

                                                                                          

 30 years later my bouquets are  simple and mostly easy one of a kind blossoms from shrubs not perennials, they require way too much maintenance.

                                                                                               

                                                                                               

FROM GARDEN TO VERANDA

 

                                                             

Bringing bouquets from the garden onto the veranda is a nice way to connect the garden to the house.

                                                                               

None of the big pots of hydrangeas  are here yet. I wait till the 15th of April before taking them out of the Bothy. That is our last frost date.

                                                                                     

As mentioned in earlier posts; If they make good companions in the garden they will combine well in the vase.

Going to post a Spring Garden Tour…stay tuned.

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?

HELLEBORES

                                                                            

 Hellebores are by far the most important perennial in all the garden. These are the widely grown  Helleborus orientalis .

                                                                                     

They form a carpet among the camellias and under the hydrangeas.  Stunning when they bloom, they exhibit handsome foliage  all year-long and are tolerant of the shade the hydrangeas provide during the summer when many are hidden under their  foliage.

                                                                               

 Below, is the Heronswood “Party Dress Strain’.  It is tiny with absolutely no landscape value whatever. 

                                                                                      

In a vase as a dinner companion, however, Joy!

                                                                                      

NOVEMBER BOUQUET

                                                                                         

Zinnias, not what I would expect either.  Saved from being Frost-Kissed last night.

                                                                                            

These were planted in the vegetable garden where the soil is good & rich. I have NEVER seen Zinnias do so well. They grew to 4 feet and had at least a dozen flower stalks on each plant.

CHANGE OF HYDRANGEA

In a recent post  I bemoaned the fact that my “interesting hydrangeas’  had no impact in the July landscape. Today, however, the ‘ interesting hydrangeas’…

                                                                                 

 are still interesting…

                                                                                          

whereas the July impact hydrangea… not so much.

                                                                                   

So, I will stay with the interesting ones in the circle of friends & plant the babies that I propagated, in the cutting garden next spring. One cannot have too many fresh hydrangea stems.

My Mother always said..  ” If a little bit is good, a lot is MUCH better.”  That certainly rings true when assembling a bouquet. Too little plant material can look so stingy, and I don’t mean a single blossom or stem in an appropriate vessel.

                                                                                    

The July  impact hydrangea (above) was fabulous in fresh bouquets with lilies (and Lily below) earlier in the season. The flower has substance and lasts a while in a vase.

                                                                                  

The Annabelles are still looking superb … I cannot imagine my garden without them.

                                                                                 

That Chartreuse is divine! Cut now & dried, they will probably retain their colour into the new year.

                                                                                 

These are also great if you are one of those crafty people inclined to spray paint.

SURPRISE CLEMATIS!

Just as I thought the garden was winding down, look what I found…

                                                                                

  two surprise clematis!

                                                                                  

This little darling  above is Clematis odoriba … below, Clematis texensis  ‘Catherine Clanwilliam’.

                                                                            

What joy!!

 Clematis odoriba, is not covered in any of my books (and I have many).  Enter my super knowledgeable friend Lyndy Broder… (the Clematis Queen). She informed me that this plant was  bred by the late Mr Ozawa in the 1990’s  in Japan. It was only  introduced in the early 2000’s.

Mr. Ozawa crossed  two native American clematis,  Clematis viorna and Clematis crispa and created this beauty.

                                                                                        

 In Japan, these are grown extensively for the cut flower industry as they are favored in flower arrangements for the Tea Ceremony.

That got me thinking… I have a small collection of miniature, museum  reproduction, Japanese porcelain vases. They are the perfect size for a small sprig of  flowers… so..

        

Love the shadows, below…

                                                                           

She is wonderful close-up.                                                                                        

 The other Clematis that is blooming now, is Clematis texensisCountess Catherine Clanwilliam’.

I have posted about her several times (see categories), including an anecdote about  being contacted by an employee of THE Countess Catherine Clanwilliam. 

 In my garden she is one of  the all time winners,

                                                                                 

 blooming throughout the summer, and now she is blooming again. Not a big show but so appreciated  this time of  year.

Guess it comes as no surprise that both these super-acheivers are natives.

CLEMATIS, HYDRANGEAS & BURNT SUGAR

                                                                                                                                                                               

Nothing signals the end of summer like Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis terniflora) and  hydrangeas cut for drying.

                                                                                    

                                                                

The hydrangeas are cut with some ‘old wood’ I find they hold their shape better that way. Later, when I arrange them, I will cut the stem to whatever length required.

                                                                                      

Sometimes, when cut on the tender green stems, the flowers tend to curl up. These looks really luscious…

                                                                                  

 I hope they stay that way.

 The fragrance of  Sweet Autumn Clematis is one of my favorites; perhaps, because for me,  it  elicits  nostalgia.  When I went to cut a few sprigs, I caught the aroma of burnt sugar… Creme Caramel? I sniffed my way to the Katsuratree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum). Typically, when the leaves start to colour to a buttery yellow in fall, it emits a scent some have likened to cinnamon  or cotton candy.

                                                                                   

Mine, is definitely Creme Brulee!

With the temps consistently in the 90’s since May, I cannot say I am sorry to see this summer wind down. And…

                                                                                  

 the camellias are already showing their buds. I welcome another gardening season.

I posted about this clematis here, please read it if you plan on planting one.

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!!!