Tuesday, May 31, 2011


When up in Wisconsin over this past weekend, I paid a visit to one of my favorite nurseries, Northwind Perennial Farm in Burlington, Wisconsin.  I have visited many times over the past several years and they are always expanding their gardens so that now it is experienced as a small arboretum rather than just a nursery.

The beginning of a wonderful journey!

Horse Chestnut Tree
Fort McNair

I will definitely be planting these next fall, blooming after the daffodils and tulips.

I am not sure which variety this one is, but they do not carry Hubertii (Plant of the Year).  Northwind has developed their own Amsonia introduction called "Amsonia Northwind Select," don't think it is available anywhere but there.  I purchased two of them, thin leaved like Hubertii and according to them superior!

This is the same nursery where Panicum Northwind was found on the property and we know that this grass is a winner. 

Roy Diblik is one of the owners and is well known in the Chicago area for being one of developers along with Piet Oudolf and others of the Lurie Gardens in Millennium Park

I am in the process of understanding the philosophy of Piet Oudolf who does not believe in a programmed looking garden design.  I am reading Designing With Plants over and over to digest the idea that it should be a design but not look like a design.  As I looked at Roy Diblik's plantings at Northwind I know he understands what Piet Oudolf is talking about!

Halcyon Blue in the foreground and we would love to know what is in the background?

Artifacts appear unexpectedly.

Geranium Karmina

Nepeta Walker's Low
Looks much better than mine!

Geum Prairie Smoke

I can see that Northwind has also incorporated the idea of having many pathways leading out from a main area like the fingers leading out from the palm of your hand as in Gordon Hayward's book Art And The Gardener.

I know, I got the idea that you can never have too many paths leading to interesting areas.

Paths leading to ponds

Benches and ponds

Benches on pathways

Art in the garden is a major feature at Northwind.

Donkeys in the garden

Goats in the garden

Cat in the garden on the lush perennial table

Lots of great choices, good prices - gallons $9.80, well tended

Great artwork for the garden!

Northwind is right outside Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, about ninety minutes from Chicago.  Check out their website for more photos of the farm.  http://www.northwindperennialfarm.com/

Friday, May 27, 2011

Around The Garden

We have had such terribly wet weather I am not sure it is worth going around my garden, but we'll give it a go.

The Pagoda Dogwood is beautiful again this year.  It did not bloom for the first five years and then I pruned it severely after the cicadas hit and it shocked it into glorious bloom.

Up close it is amazing!

I had Dianthus Firewitch on the south side of my home and it was not doing well.  It is supposed to take heat and drought but I guess this was too much for it.  Last fall I moved it into a back garden area and look what happened, it loves the new location!

Geranium Magnificum
I brought this geranium from my last home and it has not bloomed in six years.  I moved it last fall to a sunnier location and voila, it is blooming!

Geranium Karmina
I also brought this one with me when I moved and it has been very fussy until I found out what it wanted.  No cutting back in the spring, just neaten up after flowering or it cuts down on flower production, not much fertilizer or you just get leaves.  This is going to be its best year.

Geranium Max Frei
This is a very low growing mounding geranium, not fussy, seems to bloom no matter what.

This is the plant I bought at Home Depot in early spring.  The rabbits were eating large chunks of it until I put down the granular Plantskydd.  I have four of them and the eaten ones are coming back, but what is notable is that it is non-stop blooming.

Zinnia Zahara Highlight
I grew these from seed and have not seen them in the nurseries in my area.  They are a luminescent yellow very striking!

Silver Tidal Wave Petunia
I grew this one from seed, can grow to two feet high and two feet wide, border or trailing.

This is also Silver Tidal Wave, goes through a range of orchid tinted hues.

Hosta Undulata

Hosta Thunderbolt

Astilbe Maggie Daley and Ghost Fern

Ninebark Summer Wine
I replaced the Rhrus Aromatica with three of the ninebarks by Proven Winners.  I love the dark leaves and they are ready to bloom.

Weigela Dark Horse
I put two of these in last fall in the front garden when I took out the roses.

The Veggie Garden
The lettuce loves it but the warmer season vegetables are on hold, can't even see my tomato plants in the backgrouund.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Art In The Garden

I know I wrote a post on this about a year ago, but I feel it is important to revisit this area of gardening once again. 

I said I would never put a gazing ball in my garden, but when I saw this one at Home Goods, I thought this color was perfect for a subtle effect.

I have metal artwork all along the north side of my home.  It is narrow but interesting!

Plantings are a work of art and may be enough for you, but I view my garden as an extension of my home and try to enhance it as I would a room that is indoors.  My lot is small but I have approximately four outdoor rooms.

A rusted iron bench sits in the back garden.  I actually have sat here and contemplated what I am going to do next.

This is a cedar bench on that hot south side of my home, tropical plantings and raised bed.  I do not sit here too often because of the heat.

As you can see, this is not a bench for me, the children have taken this over with my Irish pots in the background.

Seating can be merely whimsical, does not actually have to be used to create an atmosphere.

I have to constantly remind myself not to overdo all of the decor in the garden, some seating, some obelisks. trellises, fence hangings, statuary and those things we don't know how to categorize.

Like a toad house!  I receive many garden gifts from my family and I just have to find a place for them in the garden.

An obelisk can just be a work of art, does not have to support a vine.

This obelisk is in the middle of a very full garden, has a smaller clematis growing on it.

This is an old metal indoor plant stand that I bought at an antique sale, does just fine outdoors with Betty Corning clematis.

Many of us purchase trellises to hold our vines but how often do we think of the fact that the trellis will not even show once the vine has become full grown.  Sometimes you can avert this problem by purchasing a much taller trellis or a trellis that has fancy work protruding out of the sides.

This is a very tall trellis and the top is never fully covered to that pretty scroll work shows all season.

A smaller iron trellis where the scroll work peeks out on the sides

Along the fence I like trellises that blend into the background, wired two narrow ones together to form a large enough support for Duchess Of Albany.

Of course nothing would be more inviting than having some decor on the patio!

I may get rid of those daisies, don't really go with my look!

My front garden is much more formal, decor absent except for this weathered concrete birdbath.