THIS ‘N’ THAT

THIS ‘N’ THAT

This is a fabulous year for the garden. The French Hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla) are full of buds and it promises to be quite a show. I hope I am not putting a Hex on it. Considering the unpredictable weather we are experiencing, tomorrow  could bring an artic blast!

P1240419There are so many varieties I have not seen in years. The flower buds were  killed by late frosts or some years,  the stems are killed right to the ground. This has happened  for several years; bad news for a gardener who loves them and has used them extensively in her plantings.( That would be me.)

Encouraged, I took many more cuttings.

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I am also propagating two all white varieties ( Madame E. Mouillere  & the lacecap White Wave) for my friend Mary who is creating an all white garden. She is well on her way and these white Hydrangeas will be the crowning touch. Isn’t it amazing how much patience a true gardener can exhibit?

My garden and I have matured. I no longer stress the small details and rely on good groundcovers through which I will plant some minor bulbs for more early spring interest.

Since groundcovers are all so similar in height  is essential to play up contrast of either colour, or texture.  Some of the better effects I had achieved in the woodland became so labor intensive, I had to abandon them completely. So my advice is “go simple’

Blk. Mondo & Selaginella

Black Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’  ) and Golden Clubmoss (Selaginella ‘Aurea’) were a stunning combination. Then the weeds came. I have to admit that for a few years I painted weed killer on them with an eyeliner brush!

I am very fortunate to have on my property many native wildflowers, while they are ephemeral and will disappear when the summer heat comes on, the low growing Vinca does a great job picking up the slack.

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Above, Leaves of three, Trillium & Poison Ivy; underneath, a carpet of Vinca.

P1230614 This mottled ginger (Asarum splendens)  is  one of several types I planted, it is the only one that has survived & thrived. It is located across from  the Mourning Bench. This was the only area where I originally planted perennials. What comes up now are the tough survivors or the plants that re-seed.

Below the subtle colours of Japanese Painted fern ( Athyrium nipponicum) & Mottled Ginger blend beautifully. Contrasting texture is the key here.

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Elsewhere in the garden, the Viburnums have been sensational and there are still a few blooming. This year Kern’s Pink has outdone itself.

Viburnum 'Kern's Pink'

Viburnum ‘Kern’s Pink’

So heavy with blossoms it has covered an unknown rose. 20160502_182613

The only misstep this year was the loss of two mature Clematis. Victims of the mow and blow guy….. I guess one cannot have everything…..all at once.

 

 

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THE WELCOME HOME

After  five  weeks the garden welcomes me home..

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I’m just in time for the blueberry harvest.

walk from compost

Away from the garden for this length of time lets me see it objectively with a more discerning  eye…. Above, the walk from the compost

Major pruning is required of the figs, but I hate to give up the harvest although one tree is shading out the Styrax obassia  (photos  to follow)

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Meanwhile, the hydrangeas are coming into their own. Above, the entrance   of the drive from the house, to the garden,

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My garden is healing…  peaceful….  as I  start  to realize … I am loosing  my mother….

My posting  will be erratic over the next few months so please bear with me.

 

 

HYDRANGEAS & LUNCH

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Yesterday I listened in awe and lunched with the Hydrangea experts.

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                                                                                                    Above,  Gene Griffin & Robert Mallet

Robert Mallet OF THE SHAMROCK COLLECTION, (located in Normandy France; the largest collection of Hydrangeas in the world), visited with Elizabeth Dean & Gene Griffin of WILKERSON MILL GARDENS; North America’s premiere hydrangea nursery.

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Above, discussing the  furry stems of Hydrangea aspera.

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                                A peek at the propagating nursery above.                                                                                                        

How lucky I was to be invited. Listening to the conversations was an education! Thank you Elizabeth & Gene.

Robert will be addressing the American Hydrangea Society tonight.

HYDRANGEAS… AGAIN

Hydrangeas… again.  No longer shades of  blue or pink…

 or somewhere between both.

                                                                                            

 today they look like this……

                                                                                                             

Begs the question… when do they peak?

MY HYDRANGEA HEAVEN

I suggested  ‘Hydrangea Heaven”  to Penny McHenry when she asked me to name  her garden.

Penny  founded  The American Hydrangea Society. More on Penny and the redesign of her garden in another post….

The following photos are from the part of my garden I call ‘My Hydrangea Heaven’…..

Although she lights up the garden; Hydrangea quercifolia “Little Honey”  does not stay ‘little’ for long! (below)

Planted only two years later than the species to the right and catching up fast!

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Ayesha’ has most unusual cupped sepals,

and waxy texture too…

One of my favorites for small bouquets Hydrangea serrata ‘Tomi-no-Mai’ above

An unknown lacecap above, and below, with an unknown mophead…

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Hanabi’ AKA  “Fuji Waterfall’ and ‘Shooting Star’  below…

Whenever there is a hydrangea that strikes my fancy I always ask if I can take a cutting, if the name is unknown it does not deter me, after all  “what’s in a name?”

THE BEST HYDRANGEA GARDENS

                                                                                      

Some of the best hydrangea gardens in Atlanta will be on tour  Saturday June 9th. Although this is a members only tour for THE AMERICAN HYDRANGEA SOCIETY,  one  can become a member/ buy a ticket, at several Atlanta Garden Centers or at  3  of the featured gardens on the day of the tour. (1 ticket $25.00 2 tickets $40.00)

                                                                                             

Gloria Ward, the tour chairperson, has selected 7  gardens, the main criteria for which is being well designed including beautiful hydrangeas.

                                                                                          

For more information visit HERE

 I hope to see you there.

BOOKS AND BOUQUETS

                                                                                 

While  cleaning  the library, I came across the book that was instrumental in changing my life.

                                                                                                

 This book was  on the sale rack at Barnes & Noble Bookstore in Boston 30 years ago.

What an inspiration. I wanted to fill every room with wonderful bouquets…. how difficult could that be? After all, the arrangements in this book were done in a small bathroom in NYC… (with access to the wholesale flower market.)

                                                                                     

Without a nearby flower market but with a perennial catalogue firmly in hand I bravely placed an order. My future son-in law (although we didn’t know it then) cleared a border alongside the house for the plants.

                                                                                            

While I awaited the delivery I read a Gertrude Jekyll book; exactly which one I do not remember, as one of her books inevitably led to the next. The one thing I  did know , was that the plants had to be arranged beautifully out-of-doors as well as supply material for bouquets.

                                                                                                      

I soon discovered that plants take a few years to develop, and flower arranging is way harder than it looks. Still I am glad for the experience, it makes me so appreciate the talent of my friends who can ‘throw’ an incredible arrangement together in a heartbeat!

                                                                                          

 30 years later my bouquets are  simple and mostly easy one of a kind blossoms from shrubs not perennials, they require way too much maintenance.