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.

                                                                                     P1150034

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.

                                                                           P1210571

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?

MEANWHILE…. BACK IN THE GARDEN….

While we rush about getting the baby vegetable plants into the potager, the garlic screams  for attention…it is ready….

                                                                                          

it makes itself known by browning leaves, ( 5 to be exact) and a tendency to fall over.

                                                                                       

Another item moves to the top of the ‘to do’ list… this is ‘ Emergency Management Gardening’. They will be cleaned when they cure.

                                                                                                 

MEANWHILE…. back in the garden… The first Hydrangea macrophylla  is open..’.Penny Mac’  I can hear my friend Penny, in heaven, laughing with delight!

                                                                              

 Next to her is ‘Madame Emile Mouillere’, a white mophead.

                                                                                              

Hydrangea quercifolia, Oakleaf Hydrangea, is glorious…

                                                                                                

all three types together, H. quercifolia, H. arborescens ‘Annabelle’ and H. macrophylla. ( below)

                                                                                                

More Clematis blooming…..

                                                                                       

 Above, Estonian hybrids  ‘Ruutel’   and  ‘Piilu’    both raised by Uno Kivistik, the names mean ‘Knight’ and ‘Little Duckling’  respectively.

                                                                                               

 Clematis ‘Odoriba’, with its delightful little bells, ‘Carnaby’ in the corner,  and below, Clematis ‘Confetti’ blooming for the first time.

                                                                                                              

Now I must rush to harvest the seeds of the mustard we grew this winter; indispensable in some Indian dishes, the recipes for which have been waiting while the seeds ripen.

                                                                                                  

I also let the lettuce go to seed.

                                                                                                         

It was a delicious mix of salad greens ( Winter Mesclun Mix) which survived the little frost we did have. The flavor improves I find, when sowing seeds that have been raised in the same soil. (Ask anyone who has tasted my Basil!)

All this to say.. I’m busy…..

                                                                         

as my bees!

HYDRANGEA SEASON!

                                                                                                                                                                   

 Hydrangea Season is perhaps my favorite time of year. It signals the beginning of summer and triggers memories of summers past to be savored in the peace of the garden.

                                                                                   

Long before it was “The Mourning Bench” this area was ‘The Morning Garden’. Here, in the shade of a dogwood, with variegated Boxwoods on either side, I would bring my mug of coffee and notebook to plan the gardening day.

                                                                                   

 Originally, the bench was surrounded by hydrangeas, struck from cuttings, of the bouquets brought to me by Penny McHenry* on the occasion of my daughter’s wedding. I imagined sitting there embraced by all those hydrangeas and reveling in the happy memories of that time shared with family members and good friends.

                                                                                 

Unfortunately,  this site was windswept in the winter. Year after year the hydrangeas would die back to the ground. Although they produced luscious foliage every year, there were no flowers. A change needed to be made. I swapped them out for other hydrangeas… ‘Annabelles’ (Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’), these bloom on new wood (i.e. this years growth) so they were perfect for this area. The wedding hydrangeas were moved to a more protected space.

BLOOMING NOW:

(For names of the hydrangeas in this post, hover over photo with mouse.)

                                                                            

                                                                                        

                                                          

                                                                                  

                                                                                      

                                                                              

To be continued…..

* Penny McHenry- Dear friend, client and founder of the American Hydrangea Society.

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

HYDRANGEA TIME!!

The very first bloom on ‘Mini-Penny’. (Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Mini-Penny’)

                                                                     

Oakleaf hydrangeas line a path below

                                                                     

leading to more heavenly hydrangeas.

                                                                     

Above, a glorious mix of Hydrangeas. Oakleaf (Hydrangea quercifolia) Annabelle (Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’) and blue mopheads,(Hydrangea macrophylla) assorted, many of them Penny Macs.

                                                                      

Variegated kerria (Kerria Japonica ‘Pictum’) weaves it way through Hydrangea “Annabelle’ (Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’) Gold Heart Ivy (Hedera helix “Gold Heart’) climbing the trees.

                                                                   

The ‘Circle of Friends’ consists of camellias and hydrangeas, either gifted to me, or those that arrived via cuttings from friend’s gardens. The identity of some have been lost, they therefore  wear ID tags that read ‘From Penny’s back door’ or ‘Lacecap at Penny’s stream’, indicating where they originated.

The inverted pot served as a plinth for St. Fiacre, but he is temporarily needed elsewhere. (I have a shortage of statuary.)

                                                                     

   Above,’ Penny Mac’ (Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Penny Mac’) Blue, and ‘Madame Emile’ (Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Madame Emile Mouillere’) White.

This show is just starting. I rely on the hydrangeas to carry the ornamental garden through the summer months. As the blossoms age they become papery. They can then be harvested  for winter arrangements.

© All photos & text

GARDEN UPDATE CONTINUED

                                                                      

Plants with a cascading habit,  call attention to the ground plane.  Above, The heavy flowers of  Snowflake Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Snowflake’),  draw the eye to the  Japanese painted fern (Athyrium nipponicum).

                                                                     

 The flower on ‘Snowflake’  has  double sepals, significantly different from that                                                                    of ‘Amethyst’ above, or ‘Alice’ below.

                                                                      

                                                               

Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’   forming it’s  flower heads. This is one hydrangea that SHOULD BE PRUNED early spring. These hydrangeas form flower buds on NEW GROWTH.

UPDATE ON EPHEMERALS:

                                                                   

The Trillium are fading, (see yellow foliage). What will clothe the ground now is Vinca. I really tried for Selaginella kraussiana aurea, below

                                                                    

 but it prefers the path so I’m going to stop fighting and let the vinca do its thing.

                                                                   

Arum foliage has died down & the berries have formed. They need to ripen, then they will be spread where more are needed. See previous post on Arum.

FINALLY THE POTAGER:

 Below squash, peppers, cucumbers, beans, Eggplant                                                                  

  and below, TOMATOES!!                                                                

 Have a great week end!

©All photos and text 2010

GARDEN UPDATE

The  Hydrangea serrata are in bloom.

                                                                         

Hydrangea serrata ‘Kurenai’ + Hydrangea serrata ‘Shichidanka’

                                                                     

Close up of flowers, H. serrata ‘Kurenai’  above. H. serrata ‘Shichidanka’ below.

                                                                   

 The grapes will soon obscure my old tool collection. below.

                                                                   

 Mouth watering anticipation…Blackberries (thornless).

                                                                    

Base of Tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) with a river of Japanese Painted fern (Athyrium nipponicum) & Japanese  Hydrangea-vine (Schizophragma hydrangeaoides ‘Moonlight’) Below.

Oak Leaf Hydrangeas ( Hydrangea quercifolia) below, in all their glory.

                                                                   

© All photos & text 2010

CLEMATIS CRUSH

I previously mentioned my Clematis Crush ( here and here ). Beside the beautiful flowers,  the fact is they require only vertical space. That makes them the perfect companion to any shrub or small tree. Most shrubs have a limited bloom time so a well-chosen  flowering vine can really extend the season of beauty. Also, from a design point of view, any element seen at eye level has tremendous impact.

 I thought I would showcase some of the clematis blooming in the garden now.

                                                                         

Clematis  viticella ‘Venosa Violacea’ climbing through a viburnum.

                                                                     

 Clematis texensis ‘Catherine Clanwilliam’ on an obilisk till it reaches into the branches of Styrax obassia. Below, looking up into the flowers.

                                                                      

                                                                      

Clematis ‘Piilu’ or sometimes called ‘Little Duckling’, an Estonian hybrid with smaller flowers.

Most of  the above are blooming in viburnums that are passed their peak.  The clematis fill the  gap between bloom time and berries in this part of the garden.

Below, Clematis ‘Rouge Cardinal’ being trained to clothe Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Snowflake’.

                                                                     

Finally, Clematis purpurea plena elegans, chosen to bloom with the roses. Below.

                                                                     

I hope you consider adding some to your garden.

© All photos & text 2010

HYDRANGEAS, HYDRANGEAS!!!

The hydrangeas are coming!

The Oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) is just starting. This native has much to recommend it. When it first breaks dormancy, the leaves are silver-grey and fuzzy, the flowering is worthy of a glass of champagne. The handsome foliage turns a wonderful burgundy red in the autumn (almost December here in Georgia) and when the leaves finally fall, the stems look like peeling cinnamon sticks. DO NOT PRUNE this shrub unless it is necessary to keep it in bounds, better yet, just give it plenty of space. If you must prune cut bouquets while it is in bloom. This will assure flowering the following year.

The first of the macrophylla types, ‘Penny Mac’ is showing a bit of color. I rely on this plant to carry the garden through the summer months. This hydrangea was not named for my dear late friend Penny McHenry. It came to be known by this name as it was refered to  as “Penny’s macrophylla” (hence ‘Penny mac’). This was one of the first remontant types that later led to the breeding of  ‘Endless Summer’ and many more reblooming types. There is a new hydrangea, developed by Mike Dirr et al, named for Penny called ‘Mini Penny’ look for it at your local nursery. No pruning here either. See above.

The buds on Hydrangea serrata.

 Typically the serrata group is earlier flowering and lower growing, maintaining a height of 3′ and spreading wider.  This group hails from the mountainous regions of Japan, therefore not so quick to leaf out on the first warm day (usually January here) and then get frozen as the colder temps return. No pruning.

© All photos & text 2010