WHY DON’T YOU…
Have a garden with presence in the winter.
Use evergreen groundcovers and some large evergreens for height.
Here, Vinca and Helleborus mingle at the feet of deciduous hydrangeas. Can you imagine this space without them?
Yes, I just viewed Diana Vreeland, The Eye Has To Travel. can you tell?
Years ago, when we lived in the Boston area, I visited The Lyman Estates. Here I first saw camellias. They were growing in a greenhouse devoted exclusively to them.
It was on that cold February day my love of Camellias was born. This love has been nurtured and encouraged by my dear friend Margaret Moseley whom I met years later when I moved to Georgia.
Most of the Camellias I planted were recommended by Margaret. She never gave me a list, rather it was a running commentary on what was blooming in her garden …
“If you ever come across ‘ White Empress’ buy every one they have”
“Cotton Candy’ is blooming, prettiest thing you ever saw”
“Oh my, ‘Professor Sargent’ must have a hundred blooms on it today!”
I followed her advice. Below is a sample of the camellias blooming in my garden today.
How lucky I am to know Margaret.
As a garden designer I incorporate camellias as an evergreen where conditions allow. They make a beautiful, glossy, dark green, hedge with the added bonus of fall/winter flowers.
The temperature here in Georgia is an unseasonable 76° F. I should not complain about this (coming from Canada), however all the buds on the spring bloomers are swelling and the cold, that is sure to come, will inevitably kill them.
In a ‘normal’ year the Japanese Flowering Apricot (Prunus mume) above, starts to bloom sporadically mid to end of January. This year on the 15th, it is almost done, its petals adorning the ground.
The Helleborus, commonly called Lenten Roses, should peak, you guessed it, at Lent. Not this year,(below)
I’ll not whine any longer. The camellias are putting on a spectacular show…
and Margaret Moseley’s favorite, ‘Fragrant Pink’ is perfuming the air with its rose-like fragrance.
This is also the earliest I have ever seen Edgeworthia crysantha open.
All in all this is going to be a very interesting gardening year.
It is never too late to wish you all a wonderful healthy & joyous New Year.
This time we had to see if there was any damage in the garden. We had already heard the loud thump as a huge limb fell in the drive. Our guests thought it might have hit their car, which it did not…. but not by much!
This is the other side of the coin… gardening under trees can result in some damage in a windstorm. and these storms are not uncommon in Georgia.
Below,the evergreen planting of Viburnum awabuki ‘Shindo’ meant to hide the garden shed is ravaged! A large limb (not shown) came down right in the middle of it.
Some major pruning and clean-up, is now on my “To Do” list.
Still there is so much beauty out there I can hardly complain…
While Mother Nature is editing the garden……..
Although it has been a bit dreary and raining I couldn’t resist taking a walk in the garden today. I could see the Japanese Flowering Apricot (Prunus mume) from the kitchen window but to experience the fragrance I needed to venture outdoors.
Here at Hamilton House, the scale is so vast that a plant had virtually no impact unless it was large and from a landscape point of view, there needed to be several of the same plant to form a balanced composition.
There was, initially the temptation to plant several plants close together so it would in a very little time have more impact; but I opted not to do that. I had seen that done in several gardens in Atlanta and always wondered which plants would have to be sacrificed when they outgrew their space. Instead I went with the tried and true technique, where, no matter the size plant I started with, it was planted with plenty of space to allow it to mature to its ultimate size.
Needless to say the first several years everything looked silly as the plants were small and one could see clear across the entire garden.
Today, 15 years later, I know it was the right choice.With a little pruning here and there, everything (well, almost) can be kept within bounds.
Still to come (above) Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’
The bees are happy too!
The moment I walked out the door I knew it was blooming.
Winter Daphne (Daphne odora aureomareginata) the most powerful fragrance imaginable. To quote a delivery person “That is LOUD!”
She is not hard to look at either. Fragrance reminiscent of Lilac…but more… and hauntingly beautiful.
© All photos & text 2011