GREAT GARDEN YEAR

Peace, quiet, birdsong, this is a great garden year!

Circle of Freinds at dusk

Circle of Friends at dusk

I am finally back into my garden! I did not realize how much I  missed it.  I spent the last years distracted by various life events and for a time ignored my own needs and passions. Learned some valuable life lessons and returned to my roots, my tribe.

20160604_161957                                  Design of pot attributed to Gertrude Jekyll

Thanks to a very mild winter, my garden this year has been sensational. EVERYTHING bloomed profusely.

Rose 'New Dawn' on old chicken house

Rose ‘New Dawn’ on the old chicken house

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Right now I am enjoying the blooms of Hydrangeas I have not seen (in my garden) for years.

'Fuji Waterfall' aka 'Starburst' these American names given to 'Hanabi'

‘Fuji Waterfall’ aka ‘Shooting Star’ these American names given to ‘Hanabi’

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Hydrangea serrata 'Miyama Yae Murasaki' (AKA Purple Tiers)

Hydrangea serrata ‘Miyama Yae Murasaki’ (AKA Purple Tiers)

The secret garden

The secret garden

It is, however, not just about what is blooming.  A ‘Garden’ must have structure and a narrative. Without these organizing principles, one simply has a collection of plants or chaos.

In my design lectures I talk about the 2 points of view on what makes a garden. One is that a garden is where one puts plants, and the other, to which I adhere, is that plants are used to create the garden.

The first is a ‘yard’. A garden is a refuge, an ongoing work of art to be honed and nurtured.

Below, a plant collector’s garden held together by it’s structure. (another post to follow about this garden & the gardener)

Ozzie Johnson's Garden

Ozzie Johnson’s Garden

 

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What are your thoughts? What is more satisfying a yard or a garden?

photos of my garden, taken with cell phone. Ozzie’s wonderful garden with a real camera!

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THIS ‘N’ THAT

THIS ‘N’ THAT

This is a fabulous year for the garden. The French Hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla) are full of buds and it promises to be quite a show. I hope I am not putting a Hex on it. Considering the unpredictable weather we are experiencing, tomorrow  could bring an artic blast!

P1240419There are so many varieties I have not seen in years. The flower buds were  killed by late frosts or some years,  the stems are killed right to the ground. This has happened  for several years; bad news for a gardener who loves them and has used them extensively in her plantings.( That would be me.)

Encouraged, I took many more cuttings.

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I am also propagating two all white varieties ( Madame E. Mouillere  & the lacecap White Wave) for my friend Mary who is creating an all white garden. She is well on her way and these white Hydrangeas will be the crowning touch. Isn’t it amazing how much patience a true gardener can exhibit?

My garden and I have matured. I no longer stress the small details and rely on good groundcovers through which I will plant some minor bulbs for more early spring interest.

Since groundcovers are all so similar in height  is essential to play up contrast of either colour, or texture.  Some of the better effects I had achieved in the woodland became so labor intensive, I had to abandon them completely. So my advice is “go simple’

Blk. Mondo & Selaginella

Black Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’  ) and Golden Clubmoss (Selaginella ‘Aurea’) were a stunning combination. Then the weeds came. I have to admit that for a few years I painted weed killer on them with an eyeliner brush!

I am very fortunate to have on my property many native wildflowers, while they are ephemeral and will disappear when the summer heat comes on, the low growing Vinca does a great job picking up the slack.

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Above, Leaves of three, Trillium & Poison Ivy; underneath, a carpet of Vinca.

P1230614 This mottled ginger (Asarum splendens)  is  one of several types I planted, it is the only one that has survived & thrived. It is located across from  the Mourning Bench. This was the only area where I originally planted perennials. What comes up now are the tough survivors or the plants that re-seed.

Below the subtle colours of Japanese Painted fern ( Athyrium nipponicum) & Mottled Ginger blend beautifully. Contrasting texture is the key here.

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Elsewhere in the garden, the Viburnums have been sensational and there are still a few blooming. This year Kern’s Pink has outdone itself.

Viburnum 'Kern's Pink'

Viburnum ‘Kern’s Pink’

So heavy with blossoms it has covered an unknown rose. 20160502_182613

The only misstep this year was the loss of two mature Clematis. Victims of the mow and blow guy….. I guess one cannot have everything…..all at once.

 

 

A TASTE OF SPRING

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When I was out walking in the garden today I was admiring the camellias. They are the evergreen structure that forms the bones of the garden and they bloom to boot!

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daffodils in the Wordsworth meadow are up and some are already blooming   …… but

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the meadow was not cut last summer so there are plenty of weeds, and several trees and limbs are down. Victims of the  heavy saturating rains and strong winds of late.

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One of the first times I’ve seen the incredible flowers of the ‘evermottled’ ginger…….. blooming at ground level.  I have not often seen them as I’m hesitant to crawl around the garden on all fours when it is cold and damp. This one just jumped out at me.

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Spring is here again!

 

SASANQUA SEASON

I can’t believe it’s already autumn. Time flies, as they say. So here’s what is happening in my garden.P1230952

While my Northern garden buddies are cutting back perennials and putting their gardens to sleep… I am enjoying an embarrassment of riches in the way of Camellia sasanqua blooms.

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Some so profuse they look like cascading roses from a distance.

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Last fall I finally found the Camellia sasanqua ‘Cotton Candy’ a favorite of my dear late friend Margaret Moseley. It was one she had recommended to me many years ago when I first started my garden, but I was never able to locate it. When it starts to bloom I will post a photo. I know Margaret would be pleased. Still on the lookout for  Camellia ‘Martha’s Dream’ yet another of her early blooming favorites.

P1230956Camellia ‘Daydream’ which I rescued from a compost heap at a nursery. I followed the fragrance and found it. I have never seen it in the trade before or since. Of course the first time I saw it was in Margaret’s garden.

Mine is a garden of memories.

THE SECOND ACT

Every spring I have posted about the Wordsworth meadow, however, what follows the daffodils is just as exciting. It took a lot less work too.

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Two native plants allowed to seed themselves over a period of time Trillium cuneatum and Phlox divaricata.

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This is the reward for allowing the seeds to form & ripen before the meadow is cut. Need I mention this has taken 17 years?

I have been away from the blog a long time. Life happens, things change, gardens and blogs sometimes must be put aside while other issues of life are addressed.

The garden, while it has suffered some neglect, is very grateful for the attention it is getting now. Major changes about to happen! Stay tuned.

POLAR VORTEX UPDATE

The Polar Vortex that crippled the south last week wreaked some havoc  in my garden.

I could tell from the window that the Michelia foliage was damaged and the Camellia blossoms were brown and mushy. Today I ventured out (74 degrees) to access the damage.

Michelia

Although there is some browning of foliage, it is not nearly as bad as I had anticipated.

The Michelia (now reclassified as a Magnolia) looks awful, but the buds seem to be viable in their protected furry coats.

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The camellias, on the other hand did not fare as well. The good news is  the plants survived, however, many tight buds came off in my hand when I touched them.

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The  few that are okay are on the underside of the foliage so I guess that was their protection . ( Like all gardeners, I wish plants could talk!)

Now for the bad news… I doubt there will be  Hydrangeas this year, most of the buds are frozen & dead. While the stems appear fine right now, only time will tell.

Bay Laurel

Above, my Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis)… bit the proverbial dust.

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Hellebores (Helleborus orientalis) (above)  may be short in the stem but they are coming along.

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 Above, Winter Daphne ( Daphne odora aureomarginata)  unscathed & looking cheerful. Waiting for another few sunny days to unfurl and envelope the garden in its wonderful perfume.

And, as always, there is something cheerful waiting to brighten my day…

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Early species crocus.

What damage if any, did your garden experience?