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