Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Biltmore Estate Gardens in Asheville, NC

   Well, we are home again at Gilmore Gardens.  While I am catching up on weeding, cutting down spent allium and foxgloves, etc, I thought I would post a few pictures from our trip south.  We were able to squeeze in a few garden visits on the way (hooray!) and I am excited to share them with you all.
View to the house over one of the Italian garden pool.
The Biltmore Estate is located in Asheville, NC. The house - containing 250 rooms - was finished in 1895 by George Vanderbilt and an entire community of craftsmen. The grounds and gardens around the house were first designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who is considered the father of American landscape architecture.  (He is most famous for designing Central Park in New York City, but also designed another of our favorite American gardens, The Bok Tower Gardens in Florida.)

Vanderbilt had a love for horticulture, leading to the creation of the main formal gardens and natural walking paths surrounding the house area. Beyond are countless trails for horse riding, biking, lakes and streams for fishing, etc. The first managed forests in the country were here at Biltmore.  It is a true pleasure grounds that would have wowed any of Jane Austin's heroines for sure. (We wondered on drive to the house if we would reach it before nightfall.)
View from the main patio over the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Wisteria arbor leading to another lovely overlook of the mountains.
Bust under the wisteria arbor.
Waterlilies in the Italian Garden.
Pink water lotus in the pools.
The walk down to the Walled garden, Rose garden and Conservatory.
Unwelcome hail damage to the glass conservatory from just a few days before our arrival. A gardeners nightmare!
One of the exuberant borders in the Walled Garden. I love the banana in this situation.
My favorite section of the borders: White mophead hydrangeas (very tender in my climate), white sage and a tall white grass.
Anyone know this grass' name?
Espaliered pear tree on the wall. I love the right-angled training.
My kids favorite part: the fountain under the wisteria arbor.
Sillies splashing in the water. Oh, the joys of being a child!
It was a quick visit, but well worth the stop for us. We only toured the first floor of this amazing house and the kids were ready for lunch. But the gardens were my favorite part anyway, of course. And running down the walks and grassy areas did their little legs some good.

Hope you enjoyed a peek at our visit!
Stop back in to see another wonderful road stop further down in South Carolina.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Color for the weekend...

 Fern Wall at Phipps

Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, PA has this wonderful wall of maidenhair ferns (which are my favorite!). They are all in pots, and drooping ever so elegantly around one of their brick entrances. The date in plaster, 1893, inscribes their founding year.

~ Photo taken in September 2008 ~
See more of Phipps' during their Spring Show 2011

   With "Color for the weekend," I will be delving into the tremendous store of old photos I have from before my writing days to share with you all.  Hopefully they will be an inspiring end to your week!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Much more wildlife this year...

After 3 years of planting, planting, planting, we are starting to see an influx of new wildlife this summer. We have seen our first immature downy woodpecker, an immature nuthatch, a chipmunk... in addition to the squirrels, and all of the birds who frequent the feeders already (goldfinches being my favorite).

But I had wanted to share the cutest, fuzziest new babies around here so far this year...
I found them while cleaning up forget-me-not foliage from our spring froth in the Front Woodland, which is surrounded on all sides by road and sidewalk.
Once they were hoping around away from their mother with eyes wide, they took a trip to a meadow by a stream.  (There was a whole trying-to-catch-their-mama saga that occurred, to no success.) Hoping they are enjoying a little more safe space, away from the roads.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Allium christophii

   On the Front Walk this spring, the succession has been non-stop to this point. 
First came Tulip 'Shirley', then Tulip 'Cum Laude', then Allium 'Purple Sensation', then Oriental poppies (Papaver orientale)... each one having a period of overlap with its neighboring blooms. Now in June, we come to Allium christophii, also known as the Star of Persia.

 As it began, it partnered with the vivid orange of the Oriental poppies...

 then partnered with the blue of Nepeta 'Walker's Low' catmint... and the left over seed heads of A. 'Purple Sensation'...

 The spotty light in these shots comes from the shade of the weeping cherry tree in Cherry Corner late in the afternoon.  But I still liked the speckled colors all strewn across the palette.

 The bed is edged in pinks, Dianthus g. 'Firewitch'. I love the contrast of their blue foliage against all of the greens.

 Allium christophii seen against the lighter green foliage of Spirea 'Goldflame'. This bush is much closer to green in its summer garb, but moves through red-orange, to bright chartreuse first, then to vivid red in its fall show.

 The idea to plant Allium christophii with a succession planting of Japanese anemones (Anemone hupehensis var. japonica) in the Front Walk came from one of my garden heros (again!) Christopher Lloyd in his fantastic book, Succession Planting for Year-Round Pleasure. They work so well with the alliums because they cover up all of their yucky foliage at this crucial time, and they give a lush backdrop for their flower heads.

These round allium heads are a child's dream.  They just cry, "Touch me!" to my three-year-old...

Alliums are also one of the most remarked upon flowers that grow in my corner garden. Many people are still unacquainted with them here in the US.
 One section of the Front Walk is currently filled out like I would like the whole to be.  Given time, the foliage of the Japanese anemones will make the transition from here to mid-summer more lush.

See the prior succession in the Front Walk this year:
Tulip 'Shirley' 
Tulip 'Cum Laude' with Allium 'Purple Sensation'
Oriental poppies (Papaver orientale)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Color for the weekend...

White Waterlily at Phipps Conservatory

Another glimpse of Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, PA.
I love how the stones in the shallow pool beneath the lily show up in the background of this shot.

~ Photo taken in September 2008 ~
See more of Phipps' during their Spring Show 2011

   With "Color for the weekend," I will be delving into the tremendous store of old photos I have from before my writing days to share with you all.  Hopefully they will be an inspiring end to your week!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Foliage Follow-Up: June 2011

Some cool green after all the blooms of GBBD
What a great idea from Pam at Digging.
Visit her comments to find more foliage appreciation for June.

At Gilmore Gardens, in Pennsylvania, we are especially loving our new
Oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia)...

Our very average but beautiful Boston ferns 
hanging on the back porch...

And the dark foliage of Heuchra 'Palace Purple'
with the yellows of loosestrife and sedum...

And if you were wishing to see more flowers, check out yesterday's post for an overview of the flowers in mid-June at Gilmore Gardens!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Garden Bogger's Bloom Day ~ June 2011

In our small-town Pennsylvania garden, 
             I love to walk around the house in June drinking in the scent. We just finished with heavenly-scented dame's rockets (Hesperis matronalis), and now on to the roses!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Aquilegia assortment

Columbine (Aquilegia hyb.) is a wonderful cottage flower. 
It offers height for the early summer garden, which is prefect for peering through when planted at the front of the boarder. Its dainty blooms dance on the breeze... and its colors and forms seem endless. And, as is true of most historical cottage flowers, they grow from seed very easily, given some nurture.

Here they are dancing in our Shade Path garden. They are a great succession planting, filling the gap from Narcissus 'Thalia' to the start of the foxgloves (which you can see shooting up in this May 30th photo).

 The only named variety I have, Aquilegia 'Nora Barlow'.

View from the sidewalk with the Aquilegia in the background of the beginning foxgloves. This tree is also slowly being covered by a climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala petiolaris) and Clematis 'Perle de Azur'.

See more of the Shade Path in May... or June last year.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Color for the weekend...

Botany Hall at Phipps Conservatory

Botany hall at Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, PA is off to the side from all of the newer construction, but still a great place to catch your garden-lovers breath.

For anyone who is still deliberating about which annuals to plant this year, this yellow and purple combination is worth thinking about. I love how it echoes the yellow and purples from the perennial plants planted down the path to the fountain. They let the yellow-edge yucca and Russian sage set the color scheme for this summer planting. Wonderful idea for tying it all together.

~ Photo taken in September 2008 ~
See more of Phipps' during their Spring Show 2011

   With "Color for the weekend," I will be delving into the tremendous store of old photos I have from before my writing days to share with you all.  Hopefully they will be an inspiring end to your week!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Polemonium reptans 'Touch of Class'...

is a wonderful new Jacob's Ladder hybrid that I added to my Shade Path garden last fall. 

It's main attraction is its white-rimmed leaves, though its blooms are dainty and attractive also.
I like having it sited in the area of this garden that has white highlights. The white stripped hosta...
and the white bleeding hearts (Dicentra spectabilis alba) help its coloring to stand out to my eye. 
It will go dormant for the heat of the summer, but a few large foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) or hosta will cover it up in no time.

It's flowers are rather smaller than the common Jacob's Ladder (see it on the Shade Path also).
Perhaps you would enjoy giving it a try this year too!
See more of the Shade Path and its June succession of foxgloves.
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