Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Tale Of Four Gardens - Part One


It was one of the cooler days we have had this summer when we decided to go on a garden walk sponsored by our local hospital's Wellness House.  By cooler, I mean in the low 80's in August, what could possibly be left to see after the heat we have experienced this summer?

The first garden is on a large property and divided into several outdoor rooms.

This pathway really displays the importance of a focal point and directing your eyes not only forward but from side to side.

Boxwood is used extensively in this garden to create the rooms within one very large garden.

Containers are placed throughout the borders with pedestals and statuary.

Sedum is used as a groundcover in this topiary container.

The use of seating in a garden is important in that it is a welcome to come and relax and enjoy.

A clear glass dining table with basket weave iron chairs, great small plantings and decor on table

Structures can be purposeful but also add interest in the fall and winter garden.

The birdhouses are permanent structures in the garden.

The header is a photo of one area in this garden.


The next garden is a very small one, deep but narrow.  It is just as interesting what you can do in a small space.

Every inch of space is used in this garden.
This is one of the best specimens of a climbing hydrangea that I have ever seen trained along the wall that runs along the back garden.
It is beginning to look very Williamsburg to me!
A grass and stone patio, difficult to keep green this summer.
Interesting use of the double boxwood hedge as a frame for the tuteur and containers
The hydrangeas are supported by the limbed up multi-stemmed tree and by other plantings in front of them like azaleas and large hostas.
Even a seating area has been tucked into the back of this colorful border.
Again, boxwood is used extensively in this small garden, doing well containing the plantings in the border.
The garden shed is not only beautiful but keeps the tools for this wonderful garden.
Even as you approach or leave the back garden the garage tells you that it is a gardener who lives here!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Makeover

For awhile now I have been redoing the north side of my garden.  It is a small area a little over six feet in the narrowest area and about ten feet in the widest area.  There is a path down the center with a fence on the northern most side.

Anemone Andrea Atkinson and Hosta Dancing Queen

The carex grass was not fun to remove, had grown under the fence into the neighbor's yard.  There are lots of grass roots to clean up so I am sure we will be pulling out grass for sometime.

Multi-Blue Clematis and Hosta Maui Buttercup

This is a Type 2 clematis and will bloom early, also taking part shade.  I have had to go smaller with the hostas so that the watering system can be effective. 

Epimedium Rubrum and Heuchera Pinot Gris

The Epimedium Rubrum will turn red in the fall and the Heuchera Pinot Gris will grow in full sun.  I have tried to relate colors even though the plants are different.  The repetition of plants is not part of the plan for this narrow garden, but more concern with color, form, height and blooming time.

Crested Wood Fern
The Crested Fern will grow three feet tall and are at both ends of the long pathway.  It is a shade fern but I am hoping with the water it can hold its own in this environment.  I like the strength in its fronds.

Some people do not even landscape an area like this, just mulch or stone works for them.  However, with limited planting space I welcomed the chance to develop a shade garden.  I really missed the plants I was able to grow in my old, old house and my last home, like Trillium, Jack In The Pulpit, Dutchman's Breeches, Brunnera, Thalactrum, Aruncus Dicocus, Bloodroot and even the violets.  I really do not miss the violets, have them popping up all over because my home is built on an old garden.

Quick Silver Showy Ginger

Brunnera Jack Frost

After this summer, I am not recommending Astilbe in this area, water not being the problem, just heat.  I will keep my many Astilbe for another year and see what happens but right now they look fried.

The ferns have done well so I am planting some additional varieties along with more Heucheras.  Heucheras are interesting in that some hardly notice the heat like Peach Flambe and some go into hiding when the heat hits like Miracle and Plum Pudding.

Lady Fern 'lady in red'
This is fern that produces red stems.

Dicentra Luxuriant
This is one of my favorite bleeding hearts, blooming all spring and summer.

I have added another Hellebore, Red Racer and a Type 3 Clematis Claire De Lune, can't wait to walk this path next year.

The fences are no longer needed, but I wish the foundation wasn't showing.  Most of the plants will grow taller and cover this area.  I like the idea of being able to add some annuals on both sides.  The sides of the pathway have similar plantings but do not match.

This area is still a work in progress, need a couple of more plants and of course some mulch.  It will certainly be a more interesting path than previously!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Garden Is Always Changing

People who do not garden just don't understand all the movement we undertake to make things just perfect!  I have about twenty plants in my head that I know I must move because they are not in the right place.  Some years I get this mission accomplished and some I do not and must look at them misplaced for another year.

I took out my Persicaria Polymorpha, gave it almost nine years, just wasn't in a happy place.  In its place is Dwarf Fothergilla a wonderful shrub that grows three to four feet tall, blooms with a bottlebrush type flower in the spring and has beautiful fall color.  It is small enough that it will not fall over on the path.

I have looked at my Chicago Apache Daylilies for many years, great bloom in the south raised bed and then nothing for the beginning and end of the summer and fall.  I must get a companion plant in there that keeps going all season.  It is going to be Heliopsis Loraine Sunshine, blooms late spring, summer and fall.  Why didn't I think of this before, looking at it falling over the walk for years?

I will move Chicago Apache to the back of the raised bed, planted in triangles, with Heliopsis Loranie Sunshine in front.

I think Loraine will be in a much happier place in the raised bed.  It can spread its wings!

I am also going to redo this bed with Happy Returns Daylilies and Orienpet lilies.  The lilies are way too tall for this raised bed and the daylilies are dormant too much of the time.

There are probably some things I need to change in this long south border, but I don't even want to think about removing some of the roses (Japanese Beetle destruction).

The beetles were even all over Morden's Pink Lythrum this year but after cutting off the eaten flowers it came back.

I have placed some Panicum Shenendoah in and out along the border so there will be some fall and winter interest.

I bought Ginger Bamboo in the beginning of the season for my front planters and found it just couldn't take the heat or the sun.  So, I moved it along the south walk with the Sunpatiens and it has flourished.  I am finding the Sunpatiens like to be in the ground not a pot and in my garden they like a little shade time.

I already took out my bleeding hearts in the spring and relocated them, gave some away, so that I would have more going on on the north side rather than just dying foliage  It is very difficult to layer under mature bleeding hearts.  So, I have scaled down, ferns, smaller hosta, astilbe (which may be short lived if we have another scorching summer) epimedium, hellebore and heuchera.  I even put in a couple of sunpatiens as an experiment.

Even with a watering system the astilbe could not take the heat.  I will have to rethink this area because it has been talking to me for many years now about not working out in this area.  If the north side of my house can't accomodate it, I do not have a place for it in my garden. 

This is a plant that has flourished in the heat in the same area as the astilbe.  Believe it or not it is a bleeding heart Dicentra Exima, blooms all summer.

I really like this north side, Unique Hydrangeas were just fine this year but smaller, Pachysandra didn't even notice the heat and Solomon's Seal just like it was in the spring.

This is the area where I removed the bleeding hearts and put in a variety of part shade plantings, Peach Flambe Heuchera (this one will take full sun), Interrupted Fern, Hellebore, June Hosta, Japanese Painted Fern, Heucherella Stoplight, Fanal Astilbe (can't believe I put in astilbe after what I just said) Epimedium.

This is a high maintenance grass, Carex Ice Fountains, at least where I have it along the north path.  Each season it has to be trimmed down a couple of times and then again in the fall.  It will spill over if not supported.  Well, something less demanding will be the new occupant, but I haven't told my helper yet that he will have to dig it out.

These are new in the front garden beds, Allium Summer Beauty, supposedly looks good all seasons.  We'll see as I am not liking the way some of them look after done blooming, but it could be because I have just planted them.

Autumn Fern is lovely but it just began to show in the too tall Lirope.  I need to move them where they show up much earlier in the season.

The vegetable garden is probably the one area where I do not make too many changes.  It is not even big enough to rotate crops but seems to do well year after year.

The header is from a garden walk which I will be posting in the future.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Containers That Worked

Believe me I have some that did not work in this summer's heat.

Coleus Redhead, Dichondra and Cordyline
This one never even had a wilt during the intense heat because they are in very large containers, less chance of the soil drying.  I am going to try to invest in a couple more larger containers for next year.

Supertunias Bubblegum and Bordeaux
Not all Supertunias perform like these two!  Even the Supertunias need a little trimming and fertilizer this time of year.

This is a basket that I put together early in the season, never had a chance.  The Japanese beetles ate everything in it, Sweet Caroline sweet potato vine, beautiful geranium and Cranberry Crush superbells.  It is just starting to revive for the fall season.

When I first planted this I did not have much hope for it being a great container.  However, it has become my favorite, Caladium Aaron with Orange Guinea Impatiens.  I really like this caladium, more petite and stronger than many of the other varieties.  It hangs on the fence under my neighbor's old lilac tree.

This is the one hanging basket that I purchased at Home Depot.  Each year I have brought home one of their tuberous begonia baskets and so far they have not disappointed.  Many of the other with overgrown plantings have not been a good investment.

Mystic Illusion Dahlia and Phantom Petunia
I have a couple of other plants in here but I can just imagine how spectacular this would have been in a larger container.  It dried out quickly and needed daily watering, sometimes more.

I love hayracks on a little shed, but oh what a chore it is to keep the plants alive.  The soil dries out too quickly and I had to pull the zinnias and put in the superbells.  I am totally rethinking this one for next year, how about cactus?

These are the nasturtiums in my veggie garden growing up an obliesk.  They are infringing somewhat on my peppers, but I hate to pull them out.

I should have just stuck with the Algerian Ivy, the impatiens hardly bloomed all season.

Rex Begonia
This is a plant that likes the heat, formerly a houseplant but being used more and more in the outside garden.  We wintered this over inside from last year.

Coleus Sedona and Blackheart Sweet Potato Vine

I have kept it pretty simple this year, no more than three types of plants in a container.  We all know that some of those multi-flowered containers begin to show stress half way through the summer.  It is always upsetting to see some of the lovely plants in an expensive container drying up when the rest look fine.  I am almost ready to go to the single plant look if it withstands the high temperatures!