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?

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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