GARDEN TOUR SEASON

This is the first garden tour I attended this season, there are several more on the agenda.  I promise to post about them all.

Nothing says Welcome quite like a gate. I saw several that intrigued me on the  Gardens for Connoisseurs Tour to benefit The Atlanta Botanical Garden.

P1240474My friend Becky rushing in to get detail photos of this delightful gate. We were tripping over each other in excitement. look at these ….

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Clever designs and beautiful workmanship. We  loved all the details. Gates like these were in several of the gardens, a wonderful piece, both practical and whimsical.

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Several of Atlanta’s finest private gardens open for this annual event. These are all designer gardens with regular and knowledgeable  crews to tend them. They are perfectly groomed. One will never find a yellowing leaf, no space left where a plant was lost, some annual potted plant is placed in its stead, very tastefully.

Touches of whimsy…….

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The summer containers were packed with  perennial foliage plants and annuals.

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I was particularly taken with a table centerpiece …..

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and of course the peaceful sound of water.

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Beautiful gardens…..

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P1240715All in all a no miss event. With our weather this year, the gardens will be more beautiful that ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JUNE IN JANUARY

The temperature here in Georgia is an unseasonable 76° F. I should not complain about this (coming from Canada), however all the buds on the spring bloomers are swelling and the cold, that is sure to come, will inevitably kill them.
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In a ‘normal’ year the Japanese Flowering Apricot (Prunus mume) above, starts to bloom sporadically  mid to end of January. This year on the 15th, it is almost done, its petals adorning the ground.

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The Helleborus, commonly called Lenten Roses, should peak, you guessed it, at Lent. Not this year,(below)

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I’ll not whine any longer. The camellias are putting on a spectacular show…

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and Margaret Moseley’s favorite, ‘Fragrant Pink’ is perfuming the air with its rose-like fragrance.

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This is also the earliest I have ever seen  Edgeworthia crysantha open.

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All in all this is going to be a very interesting gardening year.

It is never too late to wish you all a wonderful healthy & joyous New Year.

NO FUSS PERENNIAL

I don’t fuss with perennials (anymore). To live in my garden they must look after themselves…

                                                                                              

    The Toad lily (Tricyrtis hirta) does , and blooms in the autumn…..

                                                                                       

fabulous with the club moss (Selaginella kraussiana ‘Aurea’) below.

                                                                                                 

According to Allan Armitage (THE perennial expert) they got the common name ‘toad lily’ from the fact that members of the Tasaday Tribe in the Philippines, their native habitat, rub their hands with the juice of the flowers and foliage before going to capture frogs.

Thought you might like to know.

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 MEADOW CONTINUES….

The meadow continues to delight. The last of the daffodils…

                                                                                   

 are joined by  Woodland Phlox (Phlox divericata) and  Trilliums (Trillium cuneatum).

                                                                                        

Unfortunately the colours do not photograph well, the Trillium are a beautiful shade of claret, which is very effective with the blue Phlox.

                                                                                          

                                               

Every one has different markings ………amazing!!

© all photos 2011

WILD THINGS

Time for the WILD THINGS! 

                                                                                                 

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) popping up in the meadow. The name is derived from the red sap which bleeds as the stem is cut or the root disturbed. The Indians used this sap for paint and as a dye.

                                                                                  

 Trillium cuneatum naturalized in the meadow. I cannot take credit for this…they were here before me and keep multiplying.

                                                                                            

Woodland phlox (Phlox divericata) naturalized with the Trillium….delicate & fragrant.

I encourage all these to increase by allowing their seed to ripen and disperse before the meadow is cut. Slowly & surely this is happening. Every year at this time I wonder if I will live long enough to see my vision come to fruition. But then again its about the journey, and I am enjoying this one immensely.

© All photos & text 2011

FRECKLE FACE!

                                                                            

All of the Helleborus in my garden are seedlings.  Each one has different colouration …. all stunning, all with freckles.

                                                                                         

Only one named variety from the Heronswood ‘Party Dress’ Strain. It is a double, and  not open yet.

                                                                                          

Perhaps because there are so few blooms at this time of year they are all the more appreciated.

MEANWHILE, IN THE GARDEN..

On a tour of the garden today, signs of spring …

                                                                                           

The Meadow is coming alive..

                                                                                              

Soon I’ll  post the results of 13 years of rescuing daffs and trying to achieve the ‘English Thing’.

                                                                                   

Meanwhile the Winter garden is doing what it is supposed to and is at  its peak….The “peak” lasts a few months…  Above, Prunus mume & Helleborus, below, a camellia…

                                                                                                  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Below,  evergreen shrubs make this is a very satisfactory garden area. 

                                                                                                                                                    

 

Notice, below, the variegated Boxwood, the berries on the Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina domestica ‘Alba’) and the groundcover  Sweet Flag  (Acorus gramineus ‘Ogon’ )…

                                                                                                    

 This is usually the time of year projects get started &/ or continued to be worked on, some, for many seasons. There are so many projects…..

When we started this  garden, we did not consider, EVER, declining  physical stamina.

© 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.

MORE ON HELLEBORES

I neglected to include a close up photo of the hellebore ( Helleborus orientalis) I featured in the last post… so here it is.

                                                                                      

There are many hellebore species (15 according to Armitage). I grow only the  two common types successfully.  The second one is the Bearsfoot Hellebore (Helleborus foetidus). This is the earliest hellebore to open in my garden.The lime green nodding bell-shaped flowers with a thin purple rim  often greet me just before the New Year.

                                                                                          

 The blue-green foliage is a wonderful foil for the flowers.

This is also known as the “Stinking Hellebore’ but I have never detected an odor and I do use them in arrangements indoors.

The other commonly known hellebore is  the Christmas Rose (Helleborus niger) and I have presided over the funeral of every one I have planted. I REALLY would like to grow it, so if anyone reading this has any advice I would appreciate it. It does bloom before Christmas & through the holiday, just not in my garden.

The last few years there has been much made of the new double hellebore, but quite frankly they have disappointed me. Unlike the photos in catalogues, which feature only the flowers, they are quite small (6-8″tall) and fall short of making a big show. IF they were to be grown say, at the top of a wall or in a raised container  seen at eye level, yes, they would be delightful, but I am frankly interested in landscape appeal on a larger scale.

                                                                                             

 For the next few posts I will cover a few more perennials I consider indispensable.

© All photos & text 2011

RANDOM THOUGHTS

                                                                     

 Evergreen ferns keep the garden looking lush in winter.

                                                                     

Here the Autumn Fern (Dryopteris erythrosora)  adds texture to the camellia walk, (above & below)

                                                                   

so does the Arborvitae or Moss Fern (Selaginella pallescens) (below)

                                                                    

 and the Tassel Fern. (Polystichum polyblepharum)

                                                 

Seating,  painted matt black, does not detract from the real interest..STRUCTURE & PLANTS!

                                                                  

 This is after all, a garden. ( I am all for a touch of whimsy… just not here.)

The individual differences in seedlings will always amaze me. Below, Toad Lilies (Tricyrtis hirta) that seeded themselves.

 

Finally… why I do not want curtains.

                                                                      

                                                          ( Mom, this is for you)            

 

NEW GARDEN SEASON!

We finally got some rain…

                                                                     

a good, long, soaking, rain and temperatures have dropped to somewhere near ‘normal’ for this time of year. Hard to believe we are at the end of September begining of October!

                                                                        

One of the self sowing, perennials in my garden is the Toad Lily (Tricyrtis hirta). This plant has graceful arching foliage of matt, fuzzy, texture and flowers that look like orchids (below) which open along each axil of the leaf.

                                                                  

 Its bloom time coincides with the first camellias, marking a NEW GARDENING SEASON.

In my garden, the first Camellias to bloom are the Tea Plant, (Camellia sinensis)

                                                                    

Camellia sasanqua ‘Sparkling Burgundy’ 

                                                                    

 and Camellia sasanqua ‘Hana Jima’. (below)

                                                                      

 Typically the sasanqua camellias  bloom through the autumn followed by the japonica type that will continue all winter. More on the differences in the next post, when I welcome you to ‘The Camellia Walk.’… another part of  the garden.

© All photos & text 2010

WHAT WAS I THINKING?

Never one to work on just one project, I am now looking into another area of the garden I may not have discussed before; that would be the Mourning Bench.

                                                                             

  Located  down the walk from the Circle of friends,  just past the intersecting path that leads to the Potager and compost, sits the Mourning Bench. Flanked by two variegated Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘variegata’), it is recessed into the border and one can pass it without noticing.

                                                                    

I spent a lot of time here, both having morning coffee and finding shelter from the sun when working in the Potager. Opposite the bench were planted perennials, a tapestry.  Quite lovely for several years, then…

                                                                  

 the Vinca appeared.  Above, it is pushing the Golden Club Moss (Selaginella krausiana ‘Aurea’) into the path. Earlier in the season I thought I would let the Vinca take over….but It looks terrible!

WHAT WAS  I THINKING?

                                                                  

So, while I recruit an extra pair of hands to help with the landscape fabric, then locate the right colour pea gravel for the Circle of Friends… this is what I will be working on.

© All photos & text 2010

FAUX GARDEN

                                                                                                                                                  

Delightful little courtyard garden? No. Just all the ‘driveway plants.’  Every plantaholic  has these. The plants that are unloaded from the car waiting in the drive to be planted.

This vignette was put together by our British host just before we  arrived for a tour.

© All photos & text 2010