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.
Earlier this summer, as I sat in the Circle of Friends, I realized that after the first major flush of bloom my ‘interesting hydrangeas’ really had no impact at all. What was needed was more of the strong blue mopheads.
So cuttings it was, since that particular hydrangea is an unknown variety and I have no idea how to locate more.
Good plan? Yes, untill I saw them today; this is what they look like now.
Yet, on the other side …
the less spectacular blue mopheads dry beautifully.
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 Hydrangeapaniculata …
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?
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!
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 (Hydrangeaquercifolia). 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.
Hydrangea Season is perhaps my favorite time of year. It signals the beginning of summer and triggers memories of summers past to be savored in the peace of the garden.
Long before it was “The Mourning Bench” this area was ‘The Morning Garden’. Here, in the shade of a dogwood, with variegated Boxwoods on either side, I would bring my mug of coffee and notebook to plan the gardening day.
Originally, the bench was surrounded by hydrangeas, struck from cuttings, of the bouquets brought to me by Penny McHenry* on the occasion of my daughter’s wedding. I imagined sitting there embraced by all those hydrangeas and reveling in the happy memories of that time shared with family members and good friends.
Unfortunately, this site was windswept in the winter. Year after year the hydrangeas would die back to the ground. Although they produced luscious foliage every year, there were no flowers. A change needed to be made. I swapped them out for other hydrangeas… ‘Annabelles’ (Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’), these bloom on new wood (i.e. this years growth) so they were perfect for this area. The wedding hydrangeas were moved to a more protected space.
(For names of the hydrangeas in this post, hover over photo with mouse.)
Goodness , I have no idea where the time goes. It is already Friday Saturday! This week there was so much to do in the garden. The pruning of ‘Annabelle’ hydrangeas & Hydrangea paniculata, along with some Clematis… Still not done with all the ‘Annabelles.’ Every year I have the same lament. When I am pruning I have too many….when they bloom there are not enough!!
Much weeding in the potager where I am growing salad ….delicious! A few stragglers from last years tulips popping up between the lettuce… and much weeding ….
Spring is going forward at breakneck speed, it seems. Viburnum burkwoodii in bloom. If I could share the fragrance, you would know why it is so cherished among gardeners.
It does get large, with a beautiful vase shape. There are several Clematis planted at its feet. Reminders of a lovely day, shared with dear friends, in a beautiful garden.
The new kitty is at the vets with serious upper respiratory infection…….
With all the holiday activities over I finally got into the garden. What a relief! It is so quiet and peaceful, in stark contrast to the last weeks. It truly is my sanctuary… just as I planned it.
Gardening in Georgia, one can have a winter garden that BLOOMS. From time to time a hard freeze will turn my magnificent camellia flowers to brown mush….
but in a day or two when it warms, the new buds open and the show begins again.
Even if they did not bloom, their evergreen presence create the ‘bones’. I always start with the winter structure when I design landscapes. Without structure, a collection of plants scattered about without any rhyme or reason, is just….. well, a collection of plants just scattered about! Below,’ BEFORE’ at a client’s.
While I love the warm spells, my hydrangeas (the macrophylla types) are all too anxious to welcome spring and start to break bud. Not a good thing!!
The next frost will damage the flower buds that are already exposed. I’m going to try covering with ‘Remay’ a protective covering , or ‘floating row cover’ used in the nursery trade. Hopefully they will be spared. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!
An overcast and rainy day. Great for the garden, good for photography. In the last post the photo of the entrance to both the Camellia Walk & Circle of Friends was not clear so here are some taken today.
This is where the Camellia Walk begins. a few yards over to the right lies… (keep your eye on the pink flowering camellia)
the walkway that leads to the Circle of Friends. Note that the pink flowering camellia plays a role in both garden rooms.
The east side of The Circle of Friends, punctuated by variegated boxwoods (Buxus sempervirens ‘variegata’). This space is actually oval in shape. All the plants in this little garden were gifted to me or were cuttings from the gardens of friends, hence the name. It is encircled by camellias (as background structure) and hydrangeas.
On the west side, the structure of camellias is the back side of the Camellia Walk. Like most areas in the garden it is unfinished however, what I plan can be found here.
Leaving this area and following the path we intersect with the Camellia Walk . (it curves round)
This is marked by the interesting texture of four upright Japanese Plum Yews (Cephalotaxus harringtonia ‘Fastigiata’) and underplanted with variegated Japanese Sedge (Carex morrowii); the idea being to tie in the variegation and create an ‘Elizabethan Collar” around the yews.
A few yards past this intersection lies the Mourning Bench. As I have said before; one can pass it without noticing. It sits between the two variegated boxwoods on the right. Below…
If this path is followed further,one gets to the Potager. We have been walking north. Below, the view from the north looking south back through to the meadow.
The repetition of the Variegated Box & the Carex create rhythm and serve to tie the sequential spaces together into a coherent whole.
Wish it were candy I was referring to, but it is not. Parts of my garden are brown & crunchy.
Variegated Weigelia (Weigelia florida ‘variegata’) in April…
Truth be told, I have neglected this part of the garden. There is just so much water one can pump out of a well during a period of drought. I do not remember the last time we had any rain, nor can I remember the last time the temps were lower than 90 F. Choices had to be made.
This part of the garden has been in a bit of decline and it was never ‘designed’ to my satisfaction. Another winter project on the To Do list.
The native plants are so much more tolerant of drought. Below, a photo of both the Native Oakleaf Hydrangea ( Hydrangea quercifolia) and the French mophead (Hydrangea macrophylla).
Both were watered last week.
I would like to introduce you to my new, constant companion! (below)
This is the best type of sprinkler for many parts of my garden, lots of water over a large area.
the basil is doing well
and I am making Pesto, which will be frozen for the winter. I love to open a jar of sunshine in the middle of January and eat in front of the fireplace.
The recipe I follow (very loosely) is from Craig Claiborne’s New York Times Cookbook .
2 cups basil leaves (no stems)
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1/4 cup Pine Nuts
5-6 Garlic cloves (or to taste)
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese grated
Combine in the Food Processor till creamy (the consistency of baby food)
Add salt to taste and serve over pasta. (or freeze)
If it seems too thick, add a tablespoon or so of the water that the pasta boiled in to thin.
Should you want to be really authentic you can combine all the ingredients with a mortar and pestle. Hence the name Pesto
AND I am loosing the groundcover war @ the Mourning Bench.
Some critter is digging up all my transplants and I have to fix them every morning. I have resorted to laying chicken wire over the lot & hope it deters whatever. My guess is a racoon digging for the worms in the compost I spread.
Perennials need so much maintenance.I think I remember why I thought the vinca could take over!! I cannot spend every day replanting & trying to save what has been dug up with so many other tasks to attend to. AND, I am directed to economise and unfortunately gardening help is very low on the list of priorities. Good thing is, I am getting into shape.
The Perilla I allowed to stay…
MUST be out of here before it sets seed. So far I have loaded the ‘dump truck’ and I am not done yet.
It served its purpose ; which was to shade to roots of the clematis planted around the perimeter of this garden room.; and, with no effort from me , will return again next year so will the cleome. My garden philosophy is to let the self seeders do their thing. I can look after the shrubs & clematis. When this part of the garden, The Viburnum Court, is between bloom & berries, the clematis, perilla & cleome really liven it up; then the perilla & cleome take over & keep it ‘furnished’ till the berries show.
What I did Labour Day Weekend… below
I really like it , It just recedes into the background without calling any attention to itself.
The To Do list gets another check mark.
And finally… more plants I will be rushing to banish before they set their seed. But oh, the butterflies & Hummingbirds.