Monday, February 28, 2011

Favorite Garden Combinations of 2010 (Part 7)

Early Fall
     September here in Zone 5 can still be quite warm, sometimes more like summer than fall.  But everywhere it is easy to see that this is not the garden of summer... change is happening.  The sedum blooms and the buds of the asters swell.  Some perennials are putting on another show and we are treasuring every tomato like a prize from our small veggie garden.

  The Hill Garden in September is full of roses again.

    The Hill Garden in September is full of roses again.  The color of the purple barberry (Berberis thunbergii atropurpurea) has intensified, while Rosa 'The Fairy' and Sedum 'Autumn Joy' have joined in the rosy theme. Silver foliage helps to breath life into the picture with Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia 'Filigran') at the top of the hill and lamb's ears (Stachys byzantina) in the middle.
Garlic chives (Allium tuberosum)
Garlic chives (Allium tuberosum)
I have worked to seed garlic chives (Allium tuberosum) into the Hill garden to add another touch of white to the September scene (right).  They are rather delicate looking and deal well with the extremely hot, dry soil in this elevated garden.

Warm, rosy glow of 'The Fairy'
Warm, rosy glow of 'The Fairy'

     The Front Walk was just having its first season, so everything was still pretty small, but if you look closely you can see a lot of promise for the future.
     The Front Walk was just having its first season, so everything was still pretty small, but if you look closely you can see a lot of promise for the future.

Catmint (Nepeta faassenii 'Walker's Low') and Japanese anemone (Anemone tomentosa ‘Robustissima’)
Catmint (Nepeta faassenii 'Walker's Low') and Japanese anemone (Anemone tomentosa ‘Robustissima’)
     Catmint (Nepeta faassenii 'Walker's Low') is flowering at the front and dancing over top of it is the Japanese anemone (Anemone tomentosa ‘Robustissima’) which began in August and are still going strong.  These plants will fill in like crazy in the next couple of years until this is a wall of color (the anemones will reach four to five feet high!) for early fall. 

The Driveway Garden with Munstead lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
The Driveway Garden with Munstead lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
    The Driveway Garden is really starting to pick up again.  It had a break in August, but now the asters are starting and with Geranium 'Rozanne' still going strong, it is colorful again. Clematis 'Etoile Violette' is reblooming  as well as the Munstead lavender (Lavandula angustifolia).
Geranium 'Rozanne'
Geranium 'Rozanne'

   A lady bug visits the creeping phlox.
   A lady bug visits the creeping phlox.
Sedum 'Autumn Joy' blooms with artemesia
Sedum 'Autumn Joy' blooms with artemesia (above right).  New York aster 'Thyra Viking' puts on a great show for September (below).

New York aster 'Thyra Viking'
New York aster 'Thyra Viking'

The Woodland Garden still has white and green tranquility.

   The Woodland Garden still has white and green tranquility.  The purple ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius 'Summer Wine') is gaining its darker fall foliage.

The Shade Path Garden
     The Shade Path has served well from April to September, always with something to look at.  The annuals are still blooming away and the self-sown native flat-topped aster (Doellingeria umbellata) is just starting to add a touch of white over top of the hostas and foxglove foliage (below). 
native flat-topped aster (Doellingeria umbellata)
Native flat-topped aster (Doellingeria umbellata)
toad lily (Tricyrtis 'Blue Wonder')
Toad lily (Tricyrtis 'Blue Wonder')

   This toad lily (Tricyrtis 'Blue Wonder') is new to the Shade Path and oh so welcome in fall! The purple freckles are such a different flower.  They have tolerated well the dry shade here beside the house wall. 

   The flat-topped aster has really come out just a few weeks later (below).  
Native flat-topped aster (Doellingeria umbellata)
Native flat-topped aster (Doellingeria umbellata)

 Cherry Corner has also added a rosy hue to its planting.

   Cherry Corner has also added a rosy hue to its planting.  The heuchra (Heuchera micrantha 'Palace Purple') has deepened its color, and a couple of annual mums along with Sedum 'Autumn Joy' add some flowers to the otherwise foliage scene (above and below).   People often stop at this corner to look around. 

Concluding September is a collection of sunset photos that I took while enjoying a nice warm evening and appreciating our newly-painted home and mature maple trees.  Enjoy!

sunset photos that I took while enjoying a nice warm evening and appreciating our newly-painted home and mature maple trees.
sunset photos that I took while enjoying a nice warm evening and appreciating our newly-painted home and mature maple trees.
sunset photos that I took while enjoying a nice warm evening and appreciating our newly-painted home and mature maple trees.
sunset photos of weather vein

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Crocus chrysanthus 'Goldilocks' is on her way...

   In the Lower Driveway Garden, they are popping up everywhere.  There is a micro-climate here because this garden is surrounded by the warm surfaces of the house, the paved driveway and the brick veggie garden.  They make a fun feature in February combined with this yucca at the corner.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Favorite Garden Combinations of 2010 (Part 6)

Late Summer
     Late summer is August here in Zone 5 and that means heat and hydrangeas.  Beautiful weather abounds and we try to soak up every bit of it.
     Admittedly, this is our "down" month of the season.  I am still growing in the art of seed-starting and many of the annuals I planted did not reach their full potential (a nice way to say they kicked the bucket at about an inch tall).   But with adding on baby number three it was kind of a full spring already... the poor seeds never had a chance.
   So, there is still room to grow but there still were some moments in the August garden worth appreciating.  And there is always next year!

     In our Backyard, the fence was starting to look more filled-in as our Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight' shrubs entered their second year of growth.   Three of them are lined along the fence and were under-planted this past season with white impatients.  When we purchased them from our favorite family-owned nursery, the owner's mother told me they were lovely and extremely hardy. This greenhouse nursery is the same one where I once worked and got my start with plant mania, eight years ago this March.  I am still trying to relive the wonder of being constantly surround by so many plants, I think. 

  Here is H. 'Limelight' beside the meadow rue, Thalictrum hyb. 'Splendide'The meadow rue is just having its first season, but already looks very pretty beside our garden gate and has flowered for a couple of months!

Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight'

    A couple tiny ones enjoying the shade.
My baby, Logan (right), and his friend from town who is just a couple of months older (left). 

   A view looking back from the Shade Path Garden (below).

     Our Shade Path Garden was taking a siesta, except for the patches of annuals we planted in the bare patches left by a spring clean-up of our river of forget-me-nots (Myosotis sylvatica).  I cut the forget-me-nots to the ground, and the foliage re-emerges by the end of summer.  If left, it usually gets covered in powdery mildew, so this way we get the best of all worlds - fmn's in spring and annuals during the summer months. 

   A patch of white impatients amongst the hostas and perennial foxgloves (Digitalis grandiflora), which have their flower stems cut back to the top leaves before they set their seed.  This allows them to sometimes develop another flower spike later in the season, even into October.

  Little Grace taking a scamper down the path.

   This year we tried patches of pink impatients and dark-leaved begonias as we move closer to the Circle Lawn.   Part of the color transition to the warmer colors. 

   Re-blooming foxglove as mentioned above.  You can see the cuts made to the other stalks to the right of the flower. 
     One more combination that we do not want to miss... California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) and Geranium 'Rozanne' still going strong from July.
     These are mounded in our Driveway garden, just at the entrance to the backyard, and make their way by crawling over what is left of the bearded irises from May.  They are ideal for this type of succession planting, because they continue the show while disguising the dying irises.

   The girls love to pick the poppies and since there are always plenty, they are free to help themselves.  The girls are great for reminding me to bring flowers in the house to enjoy them more!  Anna taking a whiff (right).

   Little girls on their bikes enjoying the end of summer.

A couple more photos... of the beauties in Late Summer (from top left): Liriope muscari in the Front Woodland; pink Gerbera daisies and Asparagus densiflourus fern potted on the patio; Japanese anemones (Anemone tomentosa ‘Robustissima’) beginning their bloom in the Front Walk.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Favorite Garden Combinations of 2010 (Part 5)


   While looking through our photos of July I noticed that though there were some beautiful flowers, I tended to focus less on them.  It would, after all, be hard to keep up the spectacle of June. Instead, there were lots more of  
cool green spaces...
          little girls enjoying the sprinkler... 
                 and helping mommy 
                     with a watering can...

And though I love a spectacle (in the garden that is),
isn't that really the story that should be told
of a young family's garden in July?  

     Mid-summer is finally our chance here in zone 5 to enjoy long evenings outside... 
           breakfast on the patio... 
and if we wait patiently enough- even a few days warm enough to enjoy a dip in the park pool. 

     Here in the very back of our backyard, we have planted a Woodland Garden with lots of green, a little burgundy and some white accents.  Viewed from our patio (constructed from old sidewalk pieces), it is a calming spot that helps to set the tone for our backyard in the lazy month of July.   Nothing gaudy or demanding.  Just plants that can paint a tranquil picture and not be too great a loss if the ball runs into them too many times.  Above you see a birdbath with a Christmas fern at its feet, and a dogwood bush (Cornus alba 'Elegantissima') being complimented by white impatients.  Heuchera 'Palace Purple' blooms in the background.

     I opted last summer to add white impatients throughout the backyard to dapple the darker shade with white, which is a technique of Monet's I admire.  The pecan-picket fence on the street-side of our yard (right) is filling in nicely with flowering forsythias, hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight'), Lenten rose (Hellebores orientalis hyb.), Geranium 'Bevan's Variety' and Pachysandra.  Looking down the fence, you can just glimpse the lawn circle in the back right corner and the Woodland garden to the left.

    Here is a view of the other side of the backyard, looking toward the driveway.  Our back door leads right out to our new patio table, where we enjoyed all three meals on its first day!  The Upper Driveway garden makes a great division from the driveway to keep our kids contained, and as the lilac bushes (Syringa spp.) grow, they will make a visual barrier too.  The ornamental pear tree already blocks much of the view from down the driveway.

     Three little cuties having lunch al fresco on the patio.  The fountain is in the background under the honeysuckle bush.

      The fourth corner of the backyard is the gate to the Shade Path.  A small dogwood tree (Cornus florida) is growing in the corner of the fence with impatients underneath, and someday it will gracefully frame the entrance to the garden proper. 

     Here at the gate begins a color transition from the cool green and white of the back yard to the warm colors of the Cherry Corner Garden.

     The Cherry Corner Garden sits at the end of the Shade Path, calling everyone to walk toward a new destination.  While walking down the path, the colors shift from white to purples (dozens of hosta blooms) to pinks and darker purples and finally to the yellows, oranges and reds of Cherry Corner. This is a loose version of Gertrude Jekyll's (a great planting-colorist of the late 19th century) color theory.  She felt that color should take the viewer on a journey from cool to hot and back again.  Having studied as a painter, she used her plants like pigment in her own garden, Munstead Wood in Surrey England, and in the hundreds of others she designed in her lifetime.

     A little cousin getting bit by the gardening bug during her stay here at Gilmore Gardens.

  Cherry Corner (left) contains many mid-spring bulbs that are quickly covered by day-lily foliage (Hemerocallis spp.), burgundy-leaved Heuchera 'Palace Purple', silvery-grey Artemisia and yellow flowering variegated loosestrife (Lysimachia punctata 'Alexander').

   The day-lilies here are planted in various patterns of yellows, oranges and reds, and some early black-eyed-susans (Rudbeckia) thread through them.

   Also filling in the bottom is the chartreuse duo of Sedum 'Acre' and lady's mantle (Alchemilla mollis).

     The other great combinations of July are found in the Driveway Garden.  Lavender 'Munstead' (so named because it originated in Jekyll's home mentioned above) and purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) fill the gap now left by Asiatic lilies and geraniums.

     Coneflower have been one of the easiest flowers for me to grow from seed, even as a beginning gardener.  Just wait until seeds are dark and dry and scatter them over some lightly loosened soil in the fall.  The babies can be moved around next spring to fill out a section more evenly.

    This past season I also experimented with cutting back the height of the plant to keep them from flopping over months later.  It was a great success.  Simply cut them back by one-third in June when you see them growing buds. They will regrow in just a few weeks, but with more nicely branched stems.  This method can also be used to delay bloom if you are trying to fill a certain gap later in the season.

     A little sand art drying by the garden.

     The Lower Driveway garden is covered in lavender-colored blooms, with rose of sharon (Hibiscus syriacus), Geranium 'Rozanne' (one of our favorite for long color!) and lavender.  Having some silver artemisia mixed in enlivens the other colors. 

     Here purple coneflower combines with a dark blue version of the butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii 'Ellen's Blue') in front of our half-painted house (now completed - thank goodness!).

   Other pretties from Mid-Summer: (from top) Echinacea purpurea; Geranium 'Rozanne' with annual California poppies (Eschscholzia californica); the beautiful floating flowers of shade-loving Meadow rue (Thalictrum hyb. 'Splendide').

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