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!

SPRING IS HERE!!

I’m finally convinced that spring is here! Sufficient rain and warmer weather have created ideal conditions for an explosion of blooms.                                                                      Viburnum plicatum & Azalea

Above, Viburnum plicatum & Azalea indica ‘Formosa’

Hydrangea anomala petiolaris

Climbing the wall;  Hydrangea anomala petiolaris & Clematis ‘Freckles’ using it for support.

Phlox divericata

The Phlox divericata encouraged to naturalized between the daffodils.

Clematis "asao'
Clematis “asao’

I have pruned all the Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’, and almost all the Hydrangea paniculata. I still have to deadhead the Hydrangea macrophylla but I like to attend to those last lest I get too enthusiastic and remove this years flower buds.                                                                             Aesculus pavia

Aesculus pavia

  Pruned some of the clematis that require it and took an inventory of the garden.

Some of the news is not good. I have record losses this year. There is no sign of life on several Clematis, and my favorite Quince ‘Apple blossom’ has bit the dust.

Over the last few years I have let some shrubs go and now they require some drastic pruning. Good thing I bought a good excellent lopper. That is another post, promise.

GARDENING TRUMPS BLOG!

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…….

© All photos 2011

GOOD BONES

Last week I was in the vicinity of a garden I had designed 8 years ago. I had recently heard that the property was for sale and had been sitting empty since my client had moved out-of-state to caretake elderly parents. Driven by curiosity I stopped by. Much to my surprise this little garden has held up!

                                                                         

Retaining walls were built to hold the bank after we excavated for the patio. Originally the slope started just 10 feet from the back door. Not usable, nor a great view from both living room and eating area off the kitchen.

                                                                     

A shade structure allows for comfortable dinning out-of-doors. ( I noticed the climbing plants are no longer on the wall.)

                                                                     

  Single slab Crab Orchard stone steps lead to the upper level, alongside which there is supposed to be a waterfall terminating in a small pond…

                                                                   where presently there are the remains of a  temporary Rose Garden .    

                                                                      Utilitarian steps to the compost, pea gravel & lumber are fine for this area.   

                                                                       And finally for ease of maintenance, stepping-stones  set into dwarf mondo. Never needs mowing.  

                                                                      Because of the height of the hill, two short walls were erected. One would have looked too much like a fortress.   

Without any care at all in this very long, hot, Georgia summer the Annabelle hydrangeas are holding up. They are underplanted  with evergreen ferns & Lenten Roses (Helleborus orientalis) for winter interest.

 The stone was selected to blend with the colours of the interior. Rich browns & muted terra-cotta, with pops of orange and yellow.

I hope someone buys this soon, and I hope the rest of my design gets installed or repurposed for another.   

 © All photos & text 2010

GARDEN & HYDRANGEA UPDATE

It was my relationship with Penny McHenry* that instilled in me the love of hydrangeas.

I have to confess I always found the blue mopheads rather  flashy, I much prefered the delicate lacecaps. Working over a period of time with Penny on reinventing her garden, I had the opportunity to observe the plants closely in all their stages of growth. When they began to fade and look like this…

                                                                        

  and this …     

                                                                                                                                    

I was hooked!  Suddenly I appreciated the versatility of this shrub and how many months of beauty it contributes to the garden.

                                                                   

The paniculatas are late blooming, above & below, Pink Diamond (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Pink Diamond’)

                                                                    

Right now this is a magnet for butterflies and several species of bees. When the sun shines here, the area is all a flutter.

AND THE REST…

                                                                   

The oak Leaf hydrangea turns amethyst, true to its name. (Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Amethyst’)

                                                                    

Annabelle hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’) is that lovely Chartreuse colour, blends beautifully with the hosta. Notice there is no foliage left on Annabelle. The deer love her. 

                                                                         Hydrangea ‘Snowflake’ is still flowering..

                                                                     but starting to show some browning.

                                                                   

The berries on the viburnums are ripening, these above  will be red…

                                                                  

and these are the yellow berries of Viburnum ‘Michael Dodge’ starting to colour up.

                                                                   

More delights, the seed heads of Clematis. Once described as curled up little terriers.

                                                                  

Figs are starting (above)… and below, ongoing blueberry harvest.

                                                                  

with more to come. The late blueberries are just starting. 

                                                                   

Ah, summertime!

* Penny McHenry dear friend and founder of the American Hydrangea Society.

© All photos & text 2010

MEANWHILE, back in the garden…

The hydrangeas are at their peak. This year they are particularly beautiful having benefitted from a long cold winter.

                                                                           

                                                                        Hydrangea macrophylla (unknown) on left & Hydrangea macrophylla ‘ Lilacina’    above

                                                                      Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Snowflake’ is non-stop hose in hose flowers.

                                                                      

                                                                     

Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ on left and Hydrangea macrophylla ‘White Wave’  (above)

                                                                     

Hydrangea arborescens ‘Hayes Starburst’ a variation of the native  found by Hayes Jackson.

As a result of last weeks garden tour, I have added a pot to the Circle of Friends.

                                                                      

                                                                     

Much better.  Someplace for the eye to rest.

PORTRAITS:

                                                                     

 Above Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Jogasaki’  Below, Hydrangea serrata ‘ Beni Gaku’

                                                                      

The stunning  Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Geoffrey Chaudbund’

                                                                     

And the mysterious “From Penny’s back door” If anyone can ID this I would appreciate it.

© All photos and text 2010