BOXWOOD CUTTINGS

I was all set to plant out the little cuttings of Boxwood

directly into the Circle of Friends,

According to my reference book…

at this size I would have to plant them 6″ apart!…

then I read Monty Don…..

                                                                                                   

He transplants his Box cuttings into a nursery bed and  grows them on for two or three years

To me, that makes sense, the plants are tiny.. I can baby them a bit longer,  give them a better start, fatten them up and plant them 3′ apart.

All the while I will be adding organic matter to the ultimate location of the box babies. Layer following layer of shredded leaves and rabbit Manure, and more leaves & compost….and  more leaves…. and….

AUDITION

Perfect for the part!

‘Shopping my garden’ for the plants to surround the Schiaparelli Bench.

The hot colours of the knockout Roses……

and these purple berries (Callicarpa dichotoma or Beauty Berry)….there is also the perilla.. and maybe some cleome.

This area is coming together…at least in my head!

REFINING THE GARDEN

When I ‘mapped out’ the gardens here at Hamilton House, I did not draw the plan on paper, rather I did it on-site; marking  out all areas with twine and grading stakes.  This is the ideal way to design, for me, ( translating that vision to a drawing takes time; then there are the endless details and decisions.)

First, the slow-growing plants that would form the foundation of the  landscape were put in… they required the time to bulk up while other areas of the garden were dug & created.

The Circle of Friends was first planted with the surround of camellias; these would form THE WALLS which would isolate it from the rest of the gardens and create a human sized room.)

This area was then left  for several years, before the hydrangeas were planted.

From a design point of view, the hydrangea planting should consist entirely of Hydrangea arborescens ‘ Annabelle’…. This would continue the planting leading to and from this area….

but I am an avid plant collector and sentimentalist, so here reside hydrangeas of all sorts…

cuttings from dear friends.. each with its own story and memory.

I was also fortunate enough to be a recipient of a tray of cuttings from Michael Dirr when he was heading research on  hydrangeas at the University of Georgia. So some of those plants are here as well.

A few years ago I planted the variegated boxwood, These serve a dual purpose;

1) they  ‘lead the eye’ as a  repeated element, which ties the garden together…

2) they articulate the space.

This fall I will execute the rest of the design by planting out the small hedge of Variegated Boxwood.

( I took these cuttings from the plants at the Mourning Bench in August/September of last year.)

The little plants are firmly rooted and healthy….soon it will be a beautiful enclosure for all the hydrangeas, like the tight little hedge in the photo below.

I could have gone another route here and planted shade loving hosta,  ferns, and the myriad of plants the enjoy these conditions.

This, however, is what I designed for the Camellia Walk /Woodland Garden and I wanted a more formal feeling for this room.

Also, for maintenance, one trim a year should keep it looking neat & contained.

I will wisely wait till the weather cools, in concert with  Mother Nature, to plant. Meanwhile, I will spread a nice layer of compost, shredded leaves & manure over the area , turn it in, to prepare the soil, then add more on top.

Please excuse all the leaves & debris… I am care-giving at the moment and unable to keep up with the garden the way I would like.

HYDRANGEA TOUR PART 2

                                                                     

The second garden on tour was that of Cheryl & Max Lenker.

It is a perfect English Style Cottage Garden; complete with rose arbor entrance, boxwood lined walk and welcoming plaque…

 The mixed borders are masterfully planted …

featuring an elegant shade structure that serves as focal point.

Adjacent to the house is an outdoor living room with all the accoutrements for gracious living & entertaining.

                                                                                                   

From this area one can enjoy the sound and sight of a split stream waterfall.

                                                                           

If one ascends to the upper level one crosses the waterfall.

Here the character of the garden changes and one discovers a quiet shaded walkway …

and a place for contemplation.

This garden has it all and of course the hydrangeas were fabulous!

We all see different elements in a garden, I have not touched on the amazing front of this house, so for more  on this garden see PRETTY OLD HOUSES  and LINDARAXA.

HYDRANGEA SOCIETY GARDEN TOUR 1

This weekend I attended American Hydrangea Society’s Annual Garden Tour with Julieta of the outstanding food blog LINDARAXA. This was the very first time we met in person, what a warm, delightful, accomplished and charming lady she is. We connected immediately.

Check her blog for a recipe of the most delicious banana muffins she baked for our mid morning snack,  I have to admit eating more than one on the drive home!

On with the tour, the first garden is that of Michele and Alan Browne….

                                                                                              

From the moment I saw the yatsuhashi bridge spanning the dry creek bed, I knew this garden was going to be special, and it was, on so many levels.

                                                                                      

Michele, did her homework, the garden perfectly compliments the architecture of her magnificent Arts & Crafts style house.

                                                                                                  

                                                                                                   

The Japanese influence was evident throughout.

                                                                                                       

                                                                                                  

The lantern  (below) on the side of the path indicates that you are welcome to enter the garden, if it was placed ON the  path, it would mean they are not receiving.

                                                                                               

Along this path is a connoisseurs collection of hydrangeas, all young and recently planted,  Michele had to wait till the trees she planted grew enough to create the dappled shade the hydrangeas require. (this garden is only 6 years old)

Designed as a stroll garden it has the requisite water features or representaions thereof …

                                                                                             

As one comes round the back of the house one discovers  an outdoor room adjacent to the house…..

                                                                                                 

a courtyard with pergola (notice the repetition of the elephant leg columns, that make it one with the house) From this vantage point one can enjoy  a  dry landscape or meditation garden creating the illusion of water, promontory and rocky shore.

                                                                                            While typically raked sand, crushed slate is used here for ease of maintenance.

All in all, the clever use of conifers, japanese maples , and the Three Friends of Winter ( Black Pine Pinus thunbergii, Flowering Apricot Prunus mume & Bamboo) …..

                                                                                                      

the gardener has successfully created a garden of great beauty, serenity and harmony. BRAVA Michele!!

Thank you for the wonderful stroll.

MORE HYDRANGEAS

                                                                                           

Hydrangea season is in full swing. I have, over the last 15 years, been ‘collecting’ hydrangeas and devising many ways to display them in a garden setting. They bloom a very long time and even when they pass their ‘prime’  they are still very effective; in fact I love them more when they are faded.  They truly carry the southern garden throughout the summer months.

                                                                                         

lacecap above..

                                                                                           

H. macrophylla ‘Westfalen” above…

                                                                                        

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Jogasaki’

                                                                                           

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Mme Emile Mouillere’, turning pale blue above..

                                                                                               

Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ in the garden with companion Kerria japonica ‘Picta’  above..

                                                                                                 

The path leading to “The Circle of Friends” in my garden this morning … above

                                                                                          

Tomorrow on the American Hydrangea Society Garden Tour I am going to see beautiful gardens and more  hydrangea cultivars to lust over. Hope to see you there.

THE BEST HYDRANGEA GARDENS

                                                                                      

Some of the best hydrangea gardens in Atlanta will be on tour  Saturday June 9th. Although this is a members only tour for THE AMERICAN HYDRANGEA SOCIETY,  one  can become a member/ buy a ticket, at several Atlanta Garden Centers or at  3  of the featured gardens on the day of the tour. (1 ticket $25.00 2 tickets $40.00)

                                                                                             

Gloria Ward, the tour chairperson, has selected 7  gardens, the main criteria for which is being well designed including beautiful hydrangeas.

                                                                                          

For more information visit HERE

 I hope to see you there.

CONNOISSEURS GARDEN TOUR 2

To continue the garden tour…

all were meticulously appointed…

lushly planted pots…

with a Belgian Fence as background, below…

a private putting green that can double as a Bocce Court!

The best treatment for a driveway and large parking court… antique cobbles in asphalt…

Beautiful side door…                                                                                            

A Mediterranean style home deserves a Mediterranean style courtyard, below.

Then there was THE GARDENER….

I’m told he never stops working nor has he ever asked for a raise!  Below, the no maintenance garden…

Interesting treatment for steps….

and finally one of my favorite gardens, below…

There is a marvelous screened porch….

overlooking a stunning English Knot garden.

 Admittedly, I did not get to all the gardens. There were eleven gardens on the two-day tour and I saw only nine, in one day.

I strongly suggest this annual tour held on Mother’s Day weekend to benefit The Atlanta Botanical Garden.  Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

GARDENS FOR CONNOISSEURS TOUR

There is nothing like a garden tour for some inspiration and the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s  “Gardens for connoisseurs  Tour” is one of the best.

The gardens, all private, ranged from highly manicured to woodland all in the heart of the city.

Here are some photos I took…..

I  liked the way formal elements were incorporated in to this woodland paradise….

as well as a formidable Bonsai collection.

Also,  the groundplane changed to mark the transition from one garden room to another…..

Then there is the patio area around the house….

And opposite the French Doors……

I could go on and on about this garden, it is 2.75 acres with two creeks and boasts 300 different cultivars of Japanese Maples. I did not want to leave.

In stark contrast, the next garden was about as formal as Versailles! Well actually, Vaux le Vicomte , the predecessor to the gardens at Versailles.

The above garden in search of Edward Sissorshands and an assistant!

The tour will continue. I took over 250 photos!

GARDEN TOUR part 1

“You should have seen it last week!” The familiar phrase heard from gardeners, when showing visitors around. Well to avoid that I’m posting a  time-lapse kind of garden tour. Photos from the garden over the last two weeks.

                                                                                        

The Dogwoods in the meadow, like most other spring-flowering plants, cooked in the 80 degree temperatures. the blossoms did not last long. Above, in their moment of  glory with the native Phlox (Phlox divericata).

                                                                                    

 Above, the view from a second floor  window,  Dogwoods, Lady Banks Rose (white selection) & Viburnums. Those ‘Snowballs’ (Viburnum macrocephalum) are trained into trees.

                                                                               

Love the tree right by the house.

                                                                            

Early clematis, blooming now for several weeks.

                                                                                 

Along the North Border….Viburnum ‘Kern’s Pink’  & Baptisia…. (below)

                                                                             

followed by Viburnum opulus, Purple smoke tree  (Cotinus coggygria  ‘Royal Purple’ ) & Styrax obassia ..heavenly fragrant bells.

                                                                                   

                                                                   

Clematis  ‘Carnaby’ &  Cotinus ‘coggygria ‘Royal Purple’

                                                                                     

Look at those knockout roses below.. not pruned this year, they are lush & voluptuous reaching almost 6 ‘ tall.

                                                                            

The rose,’ Madame Alfred Carrier’, burst out of her restraints..

                                                                                         

so….the trellis is moving again… to paraphrase Margery Fish, “In time she will learn to walk!”

                                                                                     

All leading up to the Shocking Pink Schiaparelli bench.

To be continued….

“THERE IS NOTHING OUT THERE”

Famous words from Margaret Moseley.  For 44 years she has created an incredible garden. She designed and planted everything herself and has done all the maintenance, except grass cutting. (“that’s not gardening”) Only recently has she hired some help.

                                                                                   

These photos show “nothing”.

                                                                                    

                                                                                        

         Can you tell pink is her favorite colour?    

Can’t wait for the next visit. I always learn something new from her garden and I have seen it several times a year for the last 19 years!  

I am sorry the photos of her Kwanzan Cherry Tree  that was in full bloom the day I took these photos were so blurred.     

      

SOUTHERN AZALEAS

The very first time I saw the Southern Azaleas (Rhododendron indica). They took my breath away.

                                                                                            I planted two of my favorites on the walk to the compost…

                                                                                    

While I love their huge blousey flowers, the ‘Show Girls’ of the azalea world, I planted them because they are lovely evergreen shrubs. Two weeks of blooming beauty is not justification enough to merit the space.

The pink one is George L.  Tabor, the white is G.G. Gerbing.

BACK IN THE GARDEN

Finally!

Well, I’m back in the garden and dancing as fast as I can .  There is no end to the debris…..

                                                                                                      S,

 Screaming to be pruned are the  ‘ Annabelle’ and paniculata type hydrangeas*,  roses, grapes… the list goes on… plus the hellebores need to be deadhead. (who am I kidding? the hellebores will not get done) This list is for the ornamental garden; right  now the preparation of the beds for vegtables is proirity. This week end we turned the beds  in the potager.

                                                                                      

                                                                               

My friend Julieta of the incredible blog LINDARAXAS GARDEN is buildng a potager.  She will be posting recipes created with the bounty of her garden; and I can’t wait! If you appreciate good food and  have not yet discovered her blog,  you are in for a treat.

So here is a brief outline on how to prepare your soil.

Idealy beds  should be  4′ wide, so one can reach into them (from each side) without the need to step-in,  as this compacts the soil.  Paths between beds should be 18-24″; wide enough to accomadate a wheelbarrow.

                                                                                       

Turning the soil is simply,  a shovel inserted fully into the ground and the soil removed is flipped over. To this  add a good thick (6″) layer of compost, manure & chopped/shredded leaves. (run over a pile of leaves with a lawn mower a few times.) and chop  into this soil, or use a tiller to incorporate. Add another layer of compost etc. and again ‘turn’ this into the soil. This brings  the amendments to where the plant roots will feed.  Water well and let those soil enzymes go to work for a few weeks before planting. NOW  is the time. (the above beds are not yet amended)

 Lacking these amendments; I have had very good luck with  NATURES HELPER and composted cow manure from DIY stores. The best brand is BLACK KOW,it comes in a yellow bag. Avoid the .99 cent variety as it is mostly pine bark and less than 1% manure. If you are fortunate to have a good nursery close by, they should stock soil amendments, buying in bulk is cheaper and it will be delivered.( the bags weigh 20 to 40 lbs.)

                                                                                           In Georgia, lettuce is a cool weather annual, so one grows it in the winter. This year they are maturing very quickly, due to the warm weather, Lots of salad on the menu!

 

**Hydrangeas DO NOT PRUNE THE BIG BLUE MOPHEADS!

                                                                                      

 

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.”