A NEW FOCAL POINT

As I walk through the garden I see all the areas that would be much improved with a focal point.

Circle of friends

The Circle of Friends (above) has a wonderful pot, an Italian reproduction of a Gertrude Jekyll design. (I want something taller, this is too round & short)

At the end of the Rose & Clematis Walk is the  Schiaparelli Bench.

The Sciaperelli Bench

The cutting garden has several focal points as it is divided into four parterres…

Bench in cutting garden

The bench .. (On axis with the Potager)

entrance to cutting garden

St Fiacre…

and serving as focal point from  two views is one of the classic Four Seasons.. ‘Summer’…

Cutting Garden Entrance

and opposite  ( below)  an urn…  (An overturned pot acts as plinth; my Poverty Cycle)                                                                      cutting garden

My friend, the brilliant and talented  Landscape Designer Tara Dillard posts about focal points on her blog constantly!

This winter when I decorated my dinning room for holiday festivities, I was keenly aware that the view from the window was less than I hoped.So I moved ‘Summer’ from the cutting garden directly on axis with the centerpiece on the table.

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She is here temporarily, I do think ‘Winter’ would be more appropriate  since that is basically the only time we eat in the dining room, and ‘Summer’ belongs in the Cutting Garden with all the blooming beauties of her season. She has been moved  so often that to paraphrase Margery Fish “In time she will learn to walk”

Ah, decisions, decisions… I always opt for more plants and labor when spending my garden $$$$. Perhaps this will be the year I concentrate on accessories.

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SIGNS OF SPRING

Finally there are signs of spring. The weather has been chilly in Georgia for an unusually long spell and bloom times are off.
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Looking out the window, the Snowball Viburnum (Viburnum macrocephalum) is in its beautiful lime green phase and I can see the Yoshino Cherry tree (Prunus subhirtella ‘Yoshino’) blooming in the background.

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These tulips ,below, were planted in the cutting garden about 5 years ago and although I cut them with their foliage every year, they still reappear. I must look up my orders and identify them.

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Next week promises to be warmer and I expect an explosion of blooms. Meanwhile spring pruning is underway (late of course).

THE CUTTING GARDEN

Between trying to weed, (while avoiding the bees) clearing the  remaining winter debris, feeding & pruning the clematis that have already budded,  trying to finish the seed selection and ordering … it has been a busy time. Spring is here…there may still be cold snaps but we are on our way.

                                                               

Above, scenes from the Bothy and the endless ‘to do list’

                                                            

The daffodils in the cutting garden are slowly diminishing and should be replaced this fall. Some have lasted several years, others just one or two seasons at most. Replanting this area is quite a challenge since there are no guidelines in the autumn. One thought was to plant the bulbs in peat pots and then transfer them to their appointed rows in spring when one can see where they are needed, but that plan never came to fruition. 

Several years ago I devised another scheme …  transplanting Muscari where the daffs had failed. Muscari sends up its foliage in the autumn so it would simply be a matter of trading the Muscari for a daff bulb. But when the spring came and the blue Muscari bloomed with the remaining daffs, the scene was so spectacular that I decided to leave it. Now however, this area needs attention.

                                                             

 Some Daffs have come up ‘blind’ this year; that is lush foliage but no flower bud. I am attributing this to the lack of cold weather…we will know for sure next spring, but this section of the cutting garden is a big disappointment this season.

                                                      

Above, these were 100 Tete`a Tete (head to head) narcissus..now it is only ‘Tete’ and very few are left. They did give a wonderful show and filled many mini vases over the last few years. I will replant that variety.

Do you have a favorite variety of daffodil?

FALL TOUR

 The area of the garden I’m sharing now on this Fall Tour is little seen because it’s incomplete. Not that any garden is ever ‘done’ or completed, however this part is has only ‘bones’ and is waiting for me to flesh out the details.  Till now it did not seem too pressing because all the important plants were tiny (1 gal.) but over the years they have matured. So its time has come. 

This green space above, divides the grapes and berries on the right from the vegetables on the left. (My husband’s Vegetable Garden is MY POTAGER)

                                                                                 

This feature, four upright exclamation points, is one I repeat in different garden rooms (with different plants)  throughout the garden. Here,  Eastern Arborvitae  (Thuja occidentalis)  ‘Degroot’s Spire’  marks the intersection of several foot paths; to the right ( West) is the Rose Walk terminated by the Schiaparelli Bench….. (below)

 to the left (east) lies the North Border which runs parallel to the Potager ….

                                                                          

and straight ahead, (south) the Viburnum / Clematis Court.

                                                                                           

Looking back, (north) the uprights  frame the putti that resides at the end of the Cutting garden…

                                                                                               

Going forward (south) through the Viburnum Court, around the bend, Oakleaf  Hydrangeas frame the path to the Main Walk and the  back of the house. (note the Camellia sasanqua blooming on the right.)

                                                                                         

This winter some garden construction is on the agenda.

A GARDENER’S DILEMMA

Some areas of my garden are incomplete. The bones are all there, but the planting is far from ‘done’. For example, the lilies I have recently featured …

                                                                            

are a perfect companion to Hydrangea paniculata

                                                                                    

however, they are planted on either side of the bench in my cutting garden and not together.

                                                                                         

 So here is this gardener’s dilemma…do I dig up the lilies and plant them with the hydrangea or transplant the hydrangea? That’s a young gardener’s thought process.

 At my age I am thinking the easiest way to achieve what I would like, would be to strike cuttings of the hydrangea and plant them with the lilies. MUCH EASIER, the caveat being  TIME. It will take a few years to get the effect I am looking for.

Why isn’t life simpler? The young have both the time and energy…. need I say more?

A GRACIOUS GARDEN

Last week I mentioned my client the gracious Ms. C  and her luxurious  flower arrangements.  Now lets take a look at her garden.

Like so many homes here in the piedmont, the house was set into a slope which began immediately past the brick patio.

                                                                                  

High on one side… ( note patio in left corner)

                                                                                      

drop off on the other.

While several talented designers had created plans for the landscape, it was not till Ms. C  bought an antique fountain in England that serious consideration was given to getting the landscape ‘done’.  Enter me.

Entertaining  & a cutting garden were high on the list of priorities .

So, here is what we did.

We cut into the slope to bring it to grade with the patio, and we built decorative retaining walls ( stucco, same as the house). This would create a larger space for entertaining.

                                                                                      

The soil that we excavated was then reused  to create another  garden room where the grade dropped off.

                                                                                            

                                                                                 

We then terraced the slope on the opposite side …                                                                                   

      to create an herb & cutting garden on the uppermost level.

                                                                                  

                                                                                         

Here there is just enough room  to indulge her passion for gardening ,without it becoming overwhelming.

Below, a few more views…

                                                                                                   

                                                                                       

I appreciate it when my clients maintain their gardens, this one was meticulous!

A gracious garden for a gracious lady. Thank you Ms. C.

THE CUTTING GARDEN

 

                                                                                        

The cutting garden is located adjacent to the potager. It was in fact where my husband attempted to grow melons for several seasons. I usurped the space when  the ‘bones’ of the shade garden (Circle of Friends, Camellia Walk ) and the Viburnum Court, were planted. 

                                                                                          

 A  cutting garden devoted to supplying flowers for the house was one of my  prerequisites  dreams, when we were looking for a house with acreage. This space was in full sun, already cleared, tilled, in a word…perfect.

Divided into three distinct areas, the first, primarily for daffodils (Narcissus).

                                                                                         

 It is here I indulge myself in all the named varieties that ‘do’ in the south…even a few that don’t but are guaranteed to bloom the first year.

                                                                                                        

 Here also, are a few daffodils I have rescued from old abandoned homesteads, whose origins remain unknown.

                                                                                    

I never cut flowers from The Meadow. It is planted exclusively with heirloom bulbs I have rescued & divided over the last 13 years. (More on why in another post.) Meanwhile, enjoy the early show in the cutting garden.

                                                                                         

                                                                                             

It is so rewarding to share this abundance, I have taken to sending bunches home with friends who visit. Daffodils spread joy & the promise of spring.

© All photos & Text 2011