Monday, December 30, 2013

Topiary Pots in the Snow

Alberta spruce clipped into a three ball standard.

Our topiary pots have found a new home by an old shed for the present, but I am itching to use them to get started on the layout for a new knot garden... any fair day now...

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

We have Moved!

Our new house & garden

After years of waiting & wondering about where our garden (and home) would be for the next few decades, we have finally moved! It is an older house, not too far from our previous residence, that is in need of some love, but brimming with potential.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Nasturtium from earlier this fall.

Whether you have rain, sun or snow, have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Heeling in Pots for a Cold Winter!

So, did you buy those extra bargains at the end-of-year plant sales only to get home and not know where to put them?

Do you have more plants potted up than you have space for in your garden beds?

A potted perennial in the open winter air will get much colder than your other plants in the ground.  So, if you are not sure where to plant it this moment, then an alternate plan is in order. (A side note: A good rule of thumb when buying plants for pots meant to stay outside all winter is to buy plants/shrubs that can handle one or even two hardiness zones colder than where you live.)

One option for your homeless perennials is to "heel in" your plants for the winter months. I believe it is called this because you are burying the pots up to their "heels".

  • First, I like to chose a location with a little bit of shelter (ie. a nearby bush, a fence or wall) but it needs not to be covered completely because you want your plant to be watered by the rain and snow.
My chosen spot: near the fence and lilac bush where they can cozy in for the winter.

  • Next, dig a pot-sized hole to 4-6 inches deep. Deeper will give them more warmth, so if they are your prized baby from your grandmother's rose bush, dig a little more. 
  • "Plant" your pots, filling soil back around their edges. If I have more than one pot, I plant them snug next to one another. Some gardeners dig a trench, which would be much quicker for a large number of pots. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Gardening in Pennsylvania ~ GBBD November 2013

Our Rose in November snow.
Welcome to my garden in November!

We had a week of snow here in Pennsylvania. One bright morning, I went out for a walk to see the unusual sights that come from having snow this early in the year...

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Yucca in the Snow

Yucca filamentosa 'Color Guard' shining gold in the November snow.
We woke up to more snow yesterday. It is not abnormal for it to snow in November here in Pennsylvania, but it creates some surreal sights since we still have leaves on many bushes and trees, and even a few late flowers.

The sun was just coming up to shine through the leaves in this yucca which is potted by our tiny "potager" garden. Such a juxtaposition! I love seeing this heat loving yucca glowing gold as the snow falls fluffy around it.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Crabapple Jelly!

Pennsylvania crabapple season is here
During one of our afternoon nature walks, my kids spotted a crabapple tree that was just filled with fruit. They begged, "Can we pick some to make crabapple jelly?!?"  

Hmmm.... ok.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fall leaves!

Fun in the leaves
So, have you jump in the leaves yet this fall? I hope so!  If not, perhaps you might live vicariously for a moment?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Gardening in Pennsylvania ~ October 2013 GBBD

The Hill Garden with Canna 'King Humbert', Echinacea purpurea, Berberis purpurea, and glorious yellow maples (Acer) leaves for autumn.
Welcome to my small town Pennsylvania garden in October!

I would be delighted to show you around our corner here in US zone 5. The foliage colors are intensifying this month, though they have not yet reached their climax. Our first frost is still on its way this year. Hurray for a few more weeks with tender plants in the garden! The begonias, cannas, dahlias and annuals are still adding their pretty bit to the mix. Come talk a walk around...

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Colonial Williamsburg ~ Governor's Palace Garden

Bluebells by the Wall in the Governor's Palace Garden in Williamsburg, VA
Last May we took the kids to visit Colonial Williamsburg for the first time. It was a lovely experience! They really enjoyed it. And of course, our family spent a nice long time just enjoying the most beautiful garden in the place at the Governor's Palace. Here are a few shots of one wall and parterre at the back of the house.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

View of the Driveway Garden this morning...

October in the Driveway Garden at Gilmore Gardens.
While we were getting ready for homeschool this morning, I galnced out of the kitchen window. This pretty scene was perfectly lit by the morning sun. I thought I would share it with you today as well! :)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Driveway Garden at the end of September

Pink Sedum 'Autumn Joy', white flowered flat-topped aster (Doellingeria umbellata), double purple Aster hybrida 'Peter III', purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) and white striped grass Miscanthus sinensis 'Dixieland' in the Driveway Garden this week.

September is slipping away and October is arriving here in Pennsylvania.
Here is one pretty scene between our car and door in our Driveway garden this week...

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Shade Path Garden in September

Begonias, northern sea oats, Japanese forest grass and Sedum 'Frosty Morn' front our Shade Path this week... and native flat-topped asters are a white haze down its length.
See more of our Shade Path garden on our map.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Painting Autumn Flowers and Fruit

My watercolor inspired by the flowers of fall: purple and white Asters, bright yellow wild Helenium, blue Lobelia, toad flax (Linaria vulgaris or "Dear little bunny nose", as my girls prefer), Persicaria, and a fluffy Pennisetum.
My girls and I have been doing some paintings this week that are partly inspired by the flowers and fruits of autumn... but mostly inspired by the beautiful work of our friend Melissa Ellen. She has been posting some process photos of her watercolor paintings lately. We could not resist giving it a try ourselves!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fall is here, but all is still green...

Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides) in the Shade Path.
Rain and the golden hour do beautiful things for the garden...

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Phipps Conservatory in Fall

Dahlias at Phipps for fall.

My family took a little trip to Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, PA last week. Phipps has some lovely outdoor gardens for this time of year! These photos were all taken in the Children's garden, which sits between two wings of the old glasshouses....

(They are actually embarking on the enormous effort of restoration in the old glasshouses this summer. I am glad not to be caring for those exposed, old palm trees as the temps plunge into the 40s at night!)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Gardening in Pennsylvania ~ September 2013 GBBD

Blooms and foliage in my zone 5 garden for September.
Welcome to Pennsylvania in September!

We have had quite a variety of weather in the past weeks. One day it is unbearably hot and dry with the temperature over 86 degrees F (30 C). The next day we are all in winter coats at the damp morning soccer game in 40 degrees F (4 C). Despite all of that drama, the garden is still blooming on...

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Secret Garden Coloring Book by Johanna Basford

Our new favorite book by Scottish artist Johanna Basford
My girls love to color and it is an activity that I like to encourage. Coloring is great for working on hand-eye coordination, detail work and even color theory. And kids gain all this practice while completely enjoying themselves. When I purchased this book on Amazon last week, I knew that it would be a winner. At least, I hoped so.

The Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book by Johanna Basford is more than a winner: it is captivating. I was totally blown away by the intricate styling of this book. Every detail is sublime and every page opens up more discovery. It is part treasure hunt, part coloring book, part drawing class and altogether beautiful. And I wanted you all to see it for yourselves...

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Stan Hywet's Great Garden ~ Part 2: The Cutting Garden

The Cutting Garden in the three acre Great Garden at Stan Hywet, Akron, Ohio
Visiting Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens in August finds the Cutting Garden full to bursting with the classic annuals of summer: cosmos, zinnias, statice, cleome, dahlias and lisianthus. Come take a walk with me!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Stan Hywet's Three-Acre Great Garden ~ Part 1

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens in Akron, Ohio
The Great Garden at Stan Hywet in Ohio encompasses three acres to the north of the Hall. It includes a Cutting garden (for fresh and dried flower arrangements for the Hall), a Rose garden, and Mixed borders that surround generous lawns. The Birch Allee acts as a loose background along one side of the Great garden. Also, it provides some wonderful views of the Seiberlings' Tudor-revival hall.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Zinnias in Stan Hywet's Cutting Garden

I think a row of these electric orange zinnias next to some purple Russian sage (Perovskia) would be quite exciting for the summer months!
The summer flowers in the Cutting garden were all in bloom for my visit to Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens in Akron, Ohio.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

A munching bunny story...

I am pleased to feature a story on WMG today written by my hubby, James! You will soon see where he got his inspiration when you read the introduction. Read the rest over at the parenting site that he writes for regularly, the Story Warren.

In a cozy hole in a big old garden behind a big old house lived the most excited young rabbit in the world. His name was Smudge, and he was not born in the big old garden, which is why he was so excited to live there now.

Smudge was born several doors up the street, where the lawn was specially treated to be sure nothing grew but grass. There was little to eat there, and Smudge and all his brothers and sisters were sent away as soon as they could hop, to find places for themselves in the wide world.

Read more here >>

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Tea House Steps at Stan Hywet

Quarry steps at Stan Hywet
Just passed the Birch Allee at Stan Hywet, you come to the Tea Houses. If you venture to look over the railing between them, you will see the most thrilling stone steps down the side of the hill. This was one of the original quarries, and so these steps were part of the Quarry wall.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Birch Allee at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens was created through a combined design effort by architect Charles S. Schneider and Boston landscape architect Warren H. Manning. This is very clear when viewing the central axis (read more here), and also when viewing the magic of the Birch Allee which extends from the right wing of the Hall.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Waterlily pool at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, Ohio

Waterlily pool at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens in Akron, Ohio
I found a few more lovely photos of Stan Hywet's waterlily pool in my archives. These are from our very first visit to the hall and gardens two years ago. It was such a nice day out with the kids that we decided to take time to go back with just the two of us this year.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Visit to Stan Hywet in Akron, Ohio ~ The Waterlily Pool

Waterlily pool at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens

My husband and I just returned from a wonderful weekend away in nearby Akron, Ohio. We visited Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens which is considered "one of the finest examples of Tudor Revival architecture in America" (ref). The Hall was patterned after Ockwell’s Manor in Berkshire, Compton Wynyates in Warwickshire and Haddon Hall in Derbyshire by architect Charles S. Schneider.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Gardening in Pennsylvania ~ GBBD August 2013

Pink Anemone japonica, Spirea 'Goldflame', red Canna 'King Humbert' and white Cosmos fill the Front Walk garden this week.
Welcome to August in Pennsylvania! We have quite a few flowers this month since the Japanese anemones and meadow rues have started their long season of bloom and the black-eyed Susans are prettying the curb. Come take a walk around!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Visit to Phipps Conservatory's Summer Show 2013

Glass passion flower at Phipps Conservatory
We were visiting at Phipps Conservatory after my RHS test in June, and were wowed by some of their pretty glass flower sculptures for the summer show.

I posted the enormous glass waterlilies last week. Here are a few more highlights from our visit.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Glass Waterlilies at Phipps Conservatory's Summer Show

Giant purple water lily sculpture at Phipps Conservatory this summer.
 Summer is always a hot time to visit a conservatory, but it can still be worth while. Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, PA helped make their summer show something special this summer by including lots of beautiful glass art. My favorites were the waterlilies in the East Room...

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Echinacea purpurea and Canna 'King Humbert'

Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) and the red-edged leaves of Canna 'King Humbert' in our Hill Garden this August.
While we are busy taking kids to the pool, picking local blueberries, biking some short trails, enjoying tea and fresh blueberry peach galette on the patio, buying "new" used books at our local library sale, swinging in the hammock, playing with our new bunny Ginger, etc., it is nice to know that the garden can just hold its own for a little while. Purple coneflower (and also the white ones, also in this bed) make summer color look effortless.

Hope you are all out enjoying the fruits and joys of summer!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Curb Strip Plantings for August

 Black-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia) in our front curb for August.
Summer is moving right along, but there are still perennial flowers bloom in our garden. The Hill Garden is full of coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), the Shade Path full of hosta flowers, and the curb plantings are in full bloom again this week. In the Front Woodland (the name of our large front curb strip), the Black-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia) are beginning to flower. They had a July pruning to about half their height, so the plants are looking fuller, not floppy, and have many branching stems of flowers. They rebound for flowering surprisingly quickly.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

My Garden Fairies

My garden fairies flew by the other day. They played under the weeping cherry, made flower crowns for their heads from my clippings, and flitted about pretending to be princesses having a tea party...

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Winterthur's Sycamore Hill in May

Redbuds and azaleas bloom up a winding hill to an outlook at Winterthur Gardens.
These photos popped up on my computer's slide show the other day, and it was so refreshing to see some spring favorites again! (I truly have a weakness for spring.)

We visited Winterthur (pronounced Winter-tour) in May for the first time. It is a beautiful garden for spring as its founder, H.F. du Pont used a garden journal to plant his succession of blooms that starts in early spring. After walking past the beautiful Quarry Garden with its hundreds of giant primroses, I found this hillside covered in our native redbud trees (Ceris canadensis L.) and matching pink azaleas (Rhododendron).

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Dahlia 'Jean Marie'

Our first dahlia is blooming this week in the Front Walk Garden, Dahlia 'Jean Marie'.
As summer comes to our garden, the Front Walk continues its succession of blooms that started in early April with Anemone blanda 'White Splendour' and Tulipa 'Princess Irene'. Next was Tulip 'Cum Laude' and Allium 'Purple Sensation' in May, and Oriental Poppies (Papaver orientalis), more Allium and Catmint (Nepeta) in June. Dahlia 'Jen Marie' is next on stage, with the supporting cast of Cosmos and Ammi majus. We shall see how it goes as we move into August! So far, so good...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Camping & Creeking with the kids

The wooded area just to the right of our camping sight.
Here are a few wild scenes from my family's first official camping trip! It took a bit of courage to pack up five people for a weekend in the woods, tent and all, but I am so glad that we did it. And it went really well! Not too many bug bites, not a drop of rain, and just enough clean clothes to make it home.

We stayed in a truly beautiful spot - the side of a Pennsylvania mountain near a spring creek and a shallow river....

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Veronicastrum 'Lavender Towers'

Veronicastrum 'Lavender Towers' in the Hill Garden this week with Echinacea purpurea.
You may have missed this flower in our July garden tour this week, so let me point it out to you! It is quite pointy after all... :)

Veronicastrum 'Lavender Towers' attracting a pollinator to its tiny flowers that are arranged in a whirl around branching spikes.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Gardening in Pennsylvania ~ GBBD July 2013

The Hill Garden this week with purple coneflowers in bloom.

Take a walk around our garden this July to see what is blooming in the heat!

It has been nearly 90 degrees (32 C) everyday this week and very dry. Watering needs to happen every other day for my veggies and containers, which gives me an opprotunity to walk (slowly!) around and appreciate the flowers that thrive during these sultry summer days.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Beautiful Vines

If you are interested in seeing some pretty vines (or climbers as they say in the UK), you will enjoy looking through my garden archive for June, or taking a look at this folder I made as a part of the Hometalk community...

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

How to Train a Clematis on a Tree Trunk

Clematis 'Perle d'Azur' on our maple tree in the Shade Path garden.
A few years ago, I planted Clematis 'Perle d'Azur' at the base of an old maple tree. It has become one of the most original elements in our gardens.

Here are some tips to get a Clematis started up your own tree!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Front Curb Planting (aka The Front Woodland)

Our daylilies are all in bloom this week in our curb strip
July has brought the daylilies (Hemerocallis). The catmint, Nepeta 'Walker's Low' is just finishing up around our corner, but still has twinges of blue and lots of attraction for pollinators.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Containers for July

The foliage of this begonia will make a beautiful pot arrangement for the whole summer long.
There are so many pots around our house this summer: hanging baskets on the porch, herbs by the potager, and flowers on the steps. Even while our summer days are full of going to the pool, the library, the park, etc., these hold their own and keep things looking pretty without much besides a good mulching at the beginning of the season and an occasional watering (every few weeks here with our current rain level). Here are a few of my favorites that are new for this year!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Roses in the Hill Garden

Rosa 'The Fairy' in the Hill Garden.
The finale rose in our garden this month is the classic polyanthus Rosa 'The Fairy'. When we planted our Hill Garden, which started as just a pile of dirt from our new gravel parking area (see before photo), I planted four of these pretty re-blooming rose bushes to ring the hill. They are backed by four purple barberry bushes (which I am not sure I would recommend as they can be invasive in some areas, though they look lovely here). The silvery lamb's ears (Stachys byzantine) and evergreen moss phlox (Phlox subulata) fill in here. There is also a host of perennial flowers at the crown of the hill: Echinacea purpurea, Shasta daisies, Sedum 'Autumn Joy', russian sage (Perovskia), Mallow and others.

I love this garden in all seasons, starting with the bulbs in early spring, then tulips (early tulips and late tulips), roses and daisies for summer, bold foliage in the late summer (Cannas are in again this year!), and more roses and Sedum for October, even til December snow. But for now, we are soaking up July. :)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Lilies by the Driveway

Dwarf Asiatic lilies blooming on the edge of our Driveway Garden this week.
Lilies are one of the fragrant joys of the garden in July! We have quite a few here and there this year. These dwarf, pink lilies are always a favorite by our walk from the back door to the car.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Three Large-flowered Clematis by the Circle Lawn

Clematis 'Madam Julia Correvon' on one of the trellises around the Circle Lawn, with Clematis 'Fairy Dust' and Clematis 'Perle d' Azur' in the background.
Our garden has so many clematis this month, that I still have not gotten to post them all. Here are a few more for your viewing pleasure!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Color for the Weekend

Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) in our Shade Path Garden this week.
The summer flowers are really coming out this week in our garden: asiatic lilies, daylilies (Hemerocallis) and now the oakleaf hydrangeas. This one is planted by some white streaked hosta, which work as supporting cast for the hydrangea blooms. We have several other white-variegated plants in this garden (see a few here).

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Clematis 'Henryetta'

Clematis 'Henryetta' on a trellis in the Driveway Garden this week.
Clematis 'Henryetta' is really blooming this week on a trellis in the Driveway Garden. And it only took a couple of years to get to this point. My experience with clematis is that they often take a few years to get settled and really start blooming.

This clematis is a not a great climber... in fact it is more of a mound-maker. I imagine it crawling slowly over old stumps in its native habitat. That meant that it took a a little more persistence to make sure that it was tied into the small trellis in this tightly planted bed, instead of flopped over somewhere underneath everything. But it was worth the effort! I love its pendulous flowers.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Color for the Weekend: Blue

Dreamy blue Delphinium in our Driveway Garden this weekend.
This pretty Delphinium is special for its true blue color, but also because it is the first one that I have been able to grow from seed! (Finally!) After a few attempts, over several years, this one finally is blooming in my garden.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Climbing Rose and Clematis Combination

Clematis 'Madam Julia Correvon' blooming with our pink climbing rose.
It is rose season at our house!

The pink climbing rose is blooming this week and oh, so fragrant. Last year I added a clematis to it, and this is the first year they have bloomed together. Clematis 'Madam Julia Correvon' is a beautiful red climber that we also have on a trellis by our Circle Lawn (see it last week).
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