WHERE DO I START?

Where do I start? Here we are at the end of April and I’m still accessing the damage from the past winter.

Today they cut down the second Fig Tree…dead . I waited to be sure but there was no hope. The branches snapped off in my hand. Same with all the Gardenia, they look like toast, brown & crunchy!  There is one in the cutting garden I hope recovers; the small leafed one Margaret Moseley calls ‘First Love’. Keeping my fingers crossed.

The Hydrangea macrophylla are pushing new growth from the roots. All the top growth is dead. There will be no flowers this season.

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I am hoping the Penny Mac’s, will produce. They bloomed on new wood (i.e. current seasons growth) in my friend Penny’s garden for  whom it was named.

Penny McHenry                             Penny McHenry

(I wonder if it was because she grew them  in full sun. They always looked wilted during the day but at 6 pm her garden was transformed into the Hydrangea Heaven it was.)

To add  insult to injury a huge old Oak in the Wordsworth Meadow was uprooted last week in the wind storm.

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That is my 6′ 4″ husband in front of the rootball.(below)

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Now that the second shoe has fallen I’m left wondering what else could possibly go wrong. I’m holding my breath!

Forgot to mention the entire countryside was without power for the day since it brought down the power line.

Still there were many nice surprises. Who knew Stachyurus praecox was so hardy?  I was sure she would succumb to the low temperatures. ( This is yet another shrub commonly known as “Yellow Bells’)

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Stachyurus praecox

The meadow is marvelous with the native Phlox (Phlox divaricata) & Trilliums (Trillium cuneatum)  that follow the spent daffodils …

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and  the Viburnums are doing beautifully. This however, is another post.

How are your gardens doing after this very harsh winter?

 

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INSPIRATION

I need to get out more often!

 The talk by Robert Mallet at the Hydrangea Society has inspired me to make some changes in parts of the garden.

                                                                         ROBERT MALLET

I was particularly interested in his recommendation to plant masses of Hydrangea macrophylla in the shade of the later blooming Hydrangea  paniculata.

There is an area in my garden where Oakleaf Hydrangeas (Hydrangea quercifolia) are combined with both ‘Annabelle’ hydrangeas and macrophylla types to nice effect; therefore, I am giving this recommendation much thought.

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The Viburnum court has been maintenance nightmare for quite some time. Although I love their foliage, flowers and  berries; they have been sprouting everywhere, and they are NOT easy to remove (my criteria for allowing self seeders).  Parts of the garden have become a viburnum forest rivaled only by the dreaded  Privet.

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So, in the interest of making the garden less of a maintenance headache, I am considering the removal of many Viburnums; perhaps adding a few sterile types (above) and more late-blooming hydrangeas. The only caveat being they would require hard pruning every few years. Easier than digging seedlings, no?

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.

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.

ALMOST MISSED IT!

                                                                                       I was away for the peak bloom of the lilies, in fact I almost missed it. They do bloom  over an extended period of time so I was able to cut a few that are still looking good today.

                                                                                                 My bouquet was pretty sparse this year so I had to fill in with Hydrangeas; three types, Hydrangea paniculata, Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ and Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Penny Mac’

                                                                                                       

Not my usual Beverley Nichols moment but still lovely…..

                                                                                                

I discovered last year, they give off a delightful fragrance….at night.

A HUGE thank you to  ‘Little Augury’ a blog that stimulates and inspires. THANK YOU for that wonderful mention!

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.

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!