THE GOLDEN SEASON

The Golden Season is upon us. The quality of light has changed and there is more than a touch of nostalgia in the air.

The weather in Georgia is still fine; the daytime temps are mild with crisp early mornings and evenings.

                                                                                              

While we cannot boast the colour changes of the northern states, there is still much to celebrate.

The early camellias are blooming……

and the salad garden is coming along….

Gardening may slow down a bit but it does not end. Still have to weed!

To see the name of the plants, hold your mouse over photos.

THIS ‘N’ THAT

Due to an injury I have been unable to garden. I finally got to take a walk and snap some photos so here goes.. a bit of this ‘n’ that.

This scene makes me smile every time..the faded flowers on the hydrangea and the Camellia sasanqua ‘Sparkling Burgundy’ perfect partners.

Stewartia  showing some of its famous exfoliating  bark. This was the year  to remove all the lower branches, it will look somewhat awkward for a few years…

Camellia sasanqua ‘Daydream’ I rescued this plant from the trash at a nursery. Margaret Moseley told me it was the only fragrant sasanqua in her garden…If  Margaret was growing it ..I needed to have one too; but it was an old variety and no one carried it. One Autumn day, plant shopping in Alabama, I caught a sweet fragrance and went to investigate…there it was, a broken scraggly mess, lying in the trash heap… the treasure I was seeking!  They gave it to me.

Beautiful colours on the lacecap hydrangea…

 eggplants and peppers still going in the potager…

and the clematis that bloomed all summer & going strong still… Clematis ‘Odoriba’

Life is good.

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.

THE PRO OF PROCRASTINATION!

For various and sundry reasons I never  looked  into  pea gravel for the Circle of Friends…and now my reward for procrastinating, is exactly what I wanted in the first place! Moss underfoot!

So there IS a pro in procrastination!

                                                                                                    

 A soft quiet carpet……. so comforting.

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….

SO NOT READY!!!

 It’s really September and I am so not ready for the change of seasons. The Camellia  sasanqua  ‘Sparkling Burgundy’ is blooming….

and all the berries on the viburnums are full & beautiful…

Neglected area..or should I say areas I left to Mother Nature are actually lovely, nurturing many beneficial insects, Humming birds  and other wildlife

…including deer. I’ve stopped chasing them away.. they love these hydrangeas!

Once again, The Season of The Mourning Bench………….

HYDRANGEAS… AGAIN

Hydrangeas… again.  No longer shades of  blue or pink…

 or somewhere between both.

                                                                                            

 today they look like this……

                                                                                                             

Begs the question… when do they peak?

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.

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.

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!

GARDENING WITH GRANDCHILDREN

Spent a glorious week in Boston with my grandchildren and much to my delight, the older boy is interested in gardening! We visited nurseries where, like a true dirt-bunny, he wanted everything he saw.

Together we planted a David Austin rose ‘Teasing Georgia’, and started seeds. He choose very colourful Zinnias & some basil for his mom.  I hope he does not over-water in his enthusiasm.

It is so satisfying to encourage a young person to discover the joys of the garden.

From my own experience, I remember the very first time I saw my grandmother pull a radish from the soil, I was shocked that it was not in a bunch!!

 

 

GARDEN TOUR 2

  I am tickled that the rambling rose Etain  is blooming for the very first time,

                                                                                   

I have envisioned it climbing  20 feet up the Oak tree.

                                                                                    

On the other side I have planted ‘Rambling Rector’, another rose that could, under good cultivation reach to 30 feet. So I have hopes for this area to have real impact …..in time.

                                                                                      

The Oakleaf Hydrangeas have formed their flower buds and are just starting to open, beyond them are the fig trees.

What I have long called the Viburnum Court should be refered to as the clematis court, since there are far more Clematis than Viburnum now.

                                                                                          

Shame on me… those majestic shrubs are reduced to being supports for my Clem addiction!

                                                                                                   

Whenever I pass the Schiaparelli bench I congratulate myself on choosing the paint colour.

Here is a good example of either buying a plant while it’s in bloom or ordering from a reliable source.

                                                                                             

The Clematis was supposed to be white…. oops,  sorry, love it just the same , in fact this is a happy accident.

                                                                                        

A quick peek at Clematis Josephine … So feminine!

                                                                                       

And Clematis ‘Polish Spirit’ above.

I am just now getting around to pruning the dead flowers off the Hydrangea macrophylla.  If one waits long enough there can be no mistakes, the new buds are obvious.

Earlier on I would have pruned more for shape than flowers; but now that I have the choice, I left some of the awkward branches for cutting.

When the Clematis are done… we will move on to rapsodising  over the Hydrangeas!

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….