Monday, November 22, 2010

Lipstick Shades in November

My trees really took a shellacking during a windy night last week, and I awoke to find them completely defoliated of leaves. However, there are still some bright spots in the garden. My deliciously fragrant David Austin 'Harlow Carr' rose is still blooming strong, with many buds set to open, and Camellia Sasanqua 'Kanjiro' has just begun to bloom with one flower fully open. I am also impressed by the nice cherry red berries covering the small Japanese Skimmia shrubs which I planted last Spring. It's a true delight to see such wonderful bright colors in the garden during these gray November days.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Yellow-Orange-Red Tapestry

The Washington D.C. region was ridiculously gorgeous this weekend, as perfect as could be with incredible sunshine and blazing bright tree foliage. I feel really lucky to live in an area that is so amazingly photogenic both Fall and Spring, and our moderate climate provides a world of possibility for gardeners of all stripes. When I lived in Chicago (zone 5), the planting of Camellias was a no-go, and when I lived in Houston (zone 9), you couldn't do Tulips or Peonies. Now I am privileged to be able to chose from a wide variety of plants, and to have weekends in November where it's still mild enough for an outdoor picnic.

My weekend was busy with garden chores, from planting 60 Dutch Iris and 18 Allium bulbs amongst the many Dayliles that I dug up and divided, to transplanting the Forsythia bush. However, after all that work I actually feel refreshed. I look around my garden, and see all that has been accomplished (mostly by Mother Nature), and I feel totally rejuvenated. With this tapestry of color all around me, how could I not?

Kousa Dogwood (Bradford Pear behind)

Japanese Maple

Burning Bush

Sugar Maples

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Fantastic Fall Foliage

After a summer of unrelenting heat, it's rather nice to have the cool days of Autumn finally here. The trees and shrubs are really getting down to business with splendid displays of color, but alas several (Dogwood 'Cherokee Brave', Clethra Summersweet) had suffered during the drought and had little healthy foliage left by summer's end. My garden took a beating through both my neglect and Mother Nature's refusal to let up on the 95F+ days, but as the garden becomes more established and requires less maintenance, I know that better days are ahead. The older trees are looking as gorgeous as ever, and the Redbuds which were only planted last year have done just great. Trees are such workhorses in the garden, and it's nice to simply sit back and watch them work their magic.

Japanese Maple

Forest Pansy Redbuds

Assorted Woodland

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tree Planting Season

My Woodland Garden just got a little more varied, as 2 new trees were added in mid-October. I added a touch of Southern Majesty to the side border, with the addition of Southern Magnolia 'Little Gem', and the invasive Bush Honeysuckle in my Deck-side Rock Garden has now been replaced with a lovely Serviceberry 'Autumn Brilliance'. There is room in my heart for so many trees, and I just hope there is still room in my garden for at least a few more too.

Friday, July 16, 2010

What's In Bloom?

This month for Garden Blogger's Bloom Day -- July 2010, I have many wonderful sun-loving plants in bloom. My garden is popping with the bright flowers of Zinnias, as well as Coneflowers and Agastache, and the long-blooming Scabiosa, Salvia and Lavender is going strong. In addition, my new Hydrangea 'Endless Summer' is beginning to bloom.

The zinnias, planted amongst the long perennial/shrub border, were taller than I had expected. Next year, I will choose shorter bedding annuals because I feel this area looks too cluttered from a distance, although up close it actually looks fine.

In other Gardening News...I widened the rightmost portion of the border by about a foot, to allow for a third row of perennials. I read somewhere that a border should be at least as wide as the walkway it abuts, and that totally made sense to me. There are now 5 Sedum 'Autumn Joy' on the back row, replacing 3 Holly shrubs, then Dianthus 'Baths Pinks' in the middle row, and a mix of Carpathian Bellfowers 'White and Blue Clips' in the front to serve as edging.

A lot of gardening work got done throughout the month of July, with much of it performed in 95-105 degree heat! We had a period of 10+ days with no rain, so I also spent many mornings outside wielding the hose. Thankfully, the drought finally broke and we at last received a few heavy rains to green up the garden again.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

George Washington's Garden

I spent 4th of July at the well-preserved historic Mount Vernon Estate, and though the day was too hot for real enjoyment to be had, I did take a quick stroll through the gardens. A pollinator's dream, there were an eye-popping array of sun perennials, from all sorts of coneflowers to zinnias and phlox. It was quite overwhelming actually, and I can't imagine how much maintenance a garden of this size must require. Hopefully, I will be able to spend more time exploring the grounds and gardens next time.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Constant Gardener

The great empty space beneath the Japanese Maple of my front entry border was bothering me so much, that I decided to implement my new garden design right away. We are having sizzling high-90s temperatures in the D.C. region at the moment, and so I know it is not wise to introduce new plants at this time, but with attentive watering I think they will be okay. I planted a pair of Hydrangea Endless Summer, one on each side of the Maple, and then patches of perennials for shade (left side) and sun (right side). The size and health of these plants has convinced me to resist the lure of cheap mail-order perennials/shrubs in the future, because it is so worth it to pay the extra few dollars (Goldstrum was only $8.99 for a 1 gallon container) to get a high performer that will bloom the very first year.

New Garden Design
3 Astilbe 'Maggie Daley' (back left)
3 Astilbe 'White Gloria' (back left)
3 Lady's Mantle (middle left)
3 Geranium Biokovo (front left)
2 Hydrangea Endless Summer (back center)
3 Coneflower Goldstrum (front center)
6 Echinacea 'Magnus' (back right)
6 Salvia 'May Night' (middle right)
3 Geranium Biokovo (front right)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Flora of Panama

Travel is such a huge part of my life, and no matter where I go, there always seems to be so many interesting forms of plant life awaiting me. I vacationed in the Central American nation of Panama for a week earlier this month, and I really enjoyed exploring all of the bright tropical nature that was on offer. The scorching heat and high humidity notwithstanding, I trekked through a "jungle" and hiked through a rain forest, and the biodiversity present was truly impressive.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Butterfly on the Bottlebrush

The recently purchased Bottlebrush Buckeye is doing exceptionally well, giving me 5 foot-long bloom spikes that are apparently very long-lasting.

Best of all, the delicately scented flowers are attractive to butterflies, and a large gorgeous one stopped by to graze this morning.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Transforming a Trouble Spot

Upon returning home from a 10 day vacation to Panama, my first order of business was cleaning up the garden and assessing how things had been coming along in the last weeks of Spring. The withering heat had left many of my plants in a sorry state, including the brand new rose bushes which are planted in containers, but most disappointing of all was the empty appearance of the garden bed beneath the Japapanese Maple.

I feel as if a lot of energy has been invested in this area, all to no avail, and my biggest impediment to having it become a lush full bursting-with-flowers entry garden is the weird light conditions. The right half gets full-sun, Salvia 'May Night' and Echinacea 'Magnus' do perfectly fine on that side, but then the left half is mostly shade. This has created an unbalanced effect. Making matters worse, something (chipmunks? moles or voles?) is burrowing holes around the plants, and I think perhaps this is why I lost one of the Geranium 'Biokovo' and why the Coreopsis 'Moonbeam' has really struggled as well.

After a strenuous debate in my head, I have now decided to relocate the Salvia/Echinacea/Coreopsis and treat the whole bed like a Shade Garden. I will add in many more Geraniums to fill in the side perimeter areas, and then plant 2 rows of Astilbe 'Bressingham Beauty' for the darkest parts in the back. For the middle/front spot in front of the tree, I'm considering Tennessee Coneflower, but have yet to settle on which plant would work best for this prominent position.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Shrub Love

For a solid two weeks, I absolutely could not get my mind off a new shrub I had stumbled across...Aesculus parviflora, aka Bottlebrush Buckeye. It was while researching small trees and shrubs for which to replace the Bush Honeysuckle that I became in awe of the majestic Bottlebrush, and I just had to have it.

The shrub will eventually reach a height of 8-12 feet with a spread of 8-15 feet, and it's a summer bloomer that thrives in shade. It took some effort, but I was able to locate one of these rare woody plants at Merrifield Garden Center, and for $99 it was mine. I planted it over the weekend, in a spot where it can reach its full potential and provide privacy for us when we are dining out on the deck. I can already visualize how spectacular it will look in its full glory.

I am so addicted to shrubs, and currently I am trying to resist the temptation to purchase a set of 3 DEUTZIA gracilis Chardonnay Pearls. Bluestone Perennials has listed this shrub for a mere $4.97, a price cut of 50%, during their Annual Clearance Sale. I do not have a place for more shrubs, yet I crave more shrubs like Chardonnay Pearls. Perhaps I can cram a few more varieties into my Woodland Border, which is really starting to come together. So far I have 3 Clethra Summersweet and 2 Viburnum shrubs set amongst the Redbuds.

Woodland Side Border


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