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.

THIS ‘N’ THAT

Two great ‘finds’ I want to share.

First,  a great book on Hydrangeas.

                                                                            Not a textbook of different cultivars and breeding crosses but one that addresses the basic  questions about  pruning, drying, cutting, planting , fertilizing etc. THE COLORFUL WORLD OF HYDRANGEAS by Joan Harrison deserves a space in every garden  library.

Second, I just discovered  the very best container  for gathering fresh stems.

                                                                               

                                                                                      Three compartments…

                                                                                    

 and a comfortable carrying handle. Just one of the items available from http://www.arrangingsupplies.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=AFY&Product_Code=321&Attributes=Yes&Quantity=1

I found several useful items here, maybe you will too. Did you notice the  lilies? ….These are Lilium rubrum.

A GRACIOUS GARDEN

Last week I mentioned my client the gracious Ms. C  and her luxurious  flower arrangements.  Now lets take a look at her garden.

Like so many homes here in the piedmont, the house was set into a slope which began immediately past the brick patio.

                                                                                  

High on one side… ( note patio in left corner)

                                                                                      

drop off on the other.

While several talented designers had created plans for the landscape, it was not till Ms. C  bought an antique fountain in England that serious consideration was given to getting the landscape ‘done’.  Enter me.

Entertaining  & a cutting garden were high on the list of priorities .

So, here is what we did.

We cut into the slope to bring it to grade with the patio, and we built decorative retaining walls ( stucco, same as the house). This would create a larger space for entertaining.

                                                                                      

The soil that we excavated was then reused  to create another  garden room where the grade dropped off.

                                                                                            

                                                                                 

We then terraced the slope on the opposite side …                                                                                   

      to create an herb & cutting garden on the uppermost level.

                                                                                  

                                                                                         

Here there is just enough room  to indulge her passion for gardening ,without it becoming overwhelming.

Below, a few more views…

                                                                                                   

                                                                                       

I appreciate it when my clients maintain their gardens, this one was meticulous!

A gracious garden for a gracious lady. Thank you Ms. C.

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

HYDRANGEAS, HYDRANGEAS, EVERYWHERE!

                                                                                     

 In the summer,  Hydrangeas form the backbone of the shade garden, they will carry the garden through the summer and keep my vases filled as well.. 

                                                                                                                                                        

In The Circle of Friends, the camellias are  now backdrop, and these beauties are showing  their stuff.

                                                                                     

Most Hydrangeas are rounded in form. From a distance they are indistinguishable…                                                                                 

On closer inspection however……

                                                                                         

many are quite distinctive, above Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Jogasaki’

                                                                                         

                                                                                         

The lacecap Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Lanarth White’ above.

                                                                                         

Hydrangea quercifolia & Hydrangea macrophylla above. Although I do enjoy the delicate lacecap flowers, the big blue or white balls are certainly  eye-catching in the landscape.

                                                                                   

Above, Oakleaf Hydrangeas mark the entrance to the Viburnum Court.

What carries your garden through summer?

THE CUTTING GARDEN

 

                                                                                        

The cutting garden is located adjacent to the potager. It was in fact where my husband attempted to grow melons for several seasons. I usurped the space when  the ‘bones’ of the shade garden (Circle of Friends, Camellia Walk ) and the Viburnum Court, were planted. 

                                                                                          

 A  cutting garden devoted to supplying flowers for the house was one of my  prerequisites  dreams, when we were looking for a house with acreage. This space was in full sun, already cleared, tilled, in a word…perfect.

Divided into three distinct areas, the first, primarily for daffodils (Narcissus).

                                                                                         

 It is here I indulge myself in all the named varieties that ‘do’ in the south…even a few that don’t but are guaranteed to bloom the first year.

                                                                                                        

 Here also, are a few daffodils I have rescued from old abandoned homesteads, whose origins remain unknown.

                                                                                    

I never cut flowers from The Meadow. It is planted exclusively with heirloom bulbs I have rescued & divided over the last 13 years. (More on why in another post.) Meanwhile, enjoy the early show in the cutting garden.

                                                                                         

                                                                                             

It is so rewarding to share this abundance, I have taken to sending bunches home with friends who visit. Daffodils spread joy & the promise of spring.

© All photos & Text 2011

ANOTHER ESSENTIAL PERENNIAL

Arum italicum ‘Pictum’ is, in my mind, essential in any garden where it is hardy.  This perennial sends out its foliage in the late fall and remains green all winter.

                                                                                       

The handsome leaves resemble arrowheads with strong creamy veining. They make a sensational groundcover. Since one NEVER cuts the leaves off daffodils (Narcissus),  the Arum makes a  good companion for them in a vase.

                                                                                              

In spring  a creamy spathe appears. The flower & foliage disappear in the summer, followed by a column of orange/red berries.

If one gardens in zones 6-9 they are indispensable in the winter shade garden.

© All photos  & text 2011

INDISPENSABLE PERENNIALS 2

Another indispensable perennial for the  winter garden would be  Epimedium or Barrenwort. Pleasant foliage all summer turning bronze / rose in the winter. They make a very useful groundcover in dry shade and  are magnificent paired with Helleborus. Below in my garden…

                                                                                             

 In very early spring the delicate flowers, commonly called Fairy Wings, emerge and proclaim winter officially over.

 Although they find their way into my miniature vases, they are by no means ‘show stoppers’. I use them primarily as ‘filler’ although some of the newer varieties just introduced from Asia can definitely stand on their own. Below Epimedium ‘Making Waves’

                                                                                            

 I encourage you to add some to your garden. The best & newest  can be found at http://www.plantdelights.com Another bonus… they are deer resistant.

Photo of  Epimedium “Making Waves’   used with permission from Plant Delights Nursery.

DRUNK with CAMELLIAS!!

Vita Sackville West wrote of her garden… “I am drunk with roses!”

I, am drunk with Camellias!

blooming on the right …

                                                                       

              Camellia japonica ‘Debutante’                                                       

The Camellia Walk snakes through the shade garden in the form of an inverted ‘S’

Below, it is the Camellia Walk which forms the background for the Mourning Bench.

                                                                    

                                                                   

In the Potager, below, a salad Garden, some collards & cabbages.

                                                                   

In the Cutting Garden, the seeds of the Lilies (Lilium formosanum)are ripe. Please e-mail me if you would like seeds. There were some request  after I posted the flowers, HERE.

                                                                 

AND… The Continuing Saga of yet another project….

                                                                    

An improvement since the last time I posted this spot.

I will be away from the computer for a week. Will fill you in when I return.

 © All photos & text 2010

THE CONTINUING SAGA OF…

Here is what I have learned about Lilium formosanum, The Formosa Lily.

                                                                      

It DOES have a fragrance… at night, not as sweet or strong as ‘Casablanca’ lilies, but potent none the less. They last perfectly for exactly three days  in the vase before starting to decline. With judicious grooming the bouquet can last 4-5 days. I had to remove it from the house as both my husband and I experienced symptoms of allergy. Still we endured another 24 hours  before relegating it to the veranda.

                                                                     

In the garden they are still going strong. 

                                                                     

 In the cutting garden their tall and lanky habit is exposed. BUT in my mind’s eye I have combined them with the Hydrangea  paniculata blooming at the same time.

                                                                     

I think that would be a lovely plant marriage. The H. paniculata will provide the camouflage the gawky lily stems require, and the white flowers, one lacy…

                                                                     

 the other bold …

                                                                       

will be a fabulous combination. (as is the one above) See this post on combining plants.

All in all the adventures with lilies comes to a close…for now, the seed heads are very interesting and I expect PLENTY of seed to share.

I wonder if the clematis buried in all that foliage could be persuaded to climb the lily stem…???

© All photos & text 2010

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