The Clematis vine just began to bloom about 3 days ago, and I'm so impressed with how vivid the purple color looks and how well it coordinates with the pansies. I love PURPLE, it is the color found most often in my wardrobe, and in many ways it has become my "signature" color. Purple is so elegant and exotic, so rich and sexy. It is a strong color in a way that soft pinks can never be, yet is subtle unlike in-your-face reds and bright fuchsia. Some gardeners are fascinated with flowers the color blue, but for me, purple will always do.
Last Spring I fell hard for the Peony, acquiring nearly a dozen without giving much thought as to where I would put them. In the end, I planted 3 in my Woodland Side Border near the Redbuds, 1 went in a container for temporary placement, and 8 have now ended up under the Kousa Dogwood sited at the left front corner of my house. Originally the garden bed with the Kousa contained 7 Ilex Crenata Helleri Hollies, but they never did well and so I finally moved them out and edged the border with Variegated Liriope to provide structure. I wish I had a more ideal space for growing Peonies, but so far they do seem to be establishing themselves just fine and to my delighted surprise 2 Peony flowers have just opened! I figure in another couple years, I am really going to have a full-on Peony Show each May.
There have been so many new additions to my plant collection this week that I'm actually starting to sympathize with my husband who is calling for a TIME OUT. Gardening at this time of year can become obsessive for me, because as April winds down and turns into May, the window for getting plants into the ground quickly dwindles. The Mid-Atlantic summer heat is often oppressive, and can prove fatal to plants that did not get the needed time to become established. I have committed to no new plant purchases for the rest of the Spring/Summer months, and actually, it will be rather nice to kick back and simply enjoy the garden instead of digging holes from sunup to sundown!
American Meadows Buddleia Nanho Blue Echinacea purpurea Magnus (3) Lily of the Valley (Bag of 15) Hosta Royal Standard (3) Hosta sieboldiana Frances Williams (3) Hosta Wide Brim (3) Sedum Autumn Joy (3) Tricyrtis Blue Wonder (3) Tricyrtis White Towers (3)
Burke Nursery and Garden Center Leucothoe Scarletta (3) -- Gorgeous glossy-leaved small evergreen shrub, with a "two-tone" effect as new leaves emerge purplish-red and mature to deep green. The whole shrub turns bright burgundy in fall, and white pendulous flowers are produced in spring.
Japanese Skimmia (3) -- Another shade-loving small evergreen shrub, the Skimmia produces creamy fragrant blooms in early-spring, and displays bright red berries from fall to spring. Supposedly, the leaves are aromatic as well when crushed!
As my woodland garden begins to take shape during this second year since we bought our home, I feel a pull to incorporate elements of Japanese Garden Design into the landscape. If the land could talk, I feel it would be whispering "make me into a Japanese Woodland Garden", and already much of the shrubbery present (Pieris Japonica, Euonymus Alata, Camellias, Peony Tree, Satsuki Azaleas) originate in the Orient. The Japanese Garden aesthetic emphasizes being in harmony with nature, and features may include:
* Water, real or symbolic. * Rocks or stone arrangements (or settings). * A teahouse or pavilion. * An enclosure device such as a hedge, fence, or wall of traditional character. * A bridge to the island, or stepping stones. * A Stone lantern of some sort.
My garden already contains rocks and stone, there is a "bridge" to connect the deck closest to the house to the outlying floating deck, and I was already planning to install a Bubbling Urn water feature to be a focal point of the garden. I found a seedling Japanese Maple 'Bloodgood' at Home Depot last weekend for $12.97, and my plan is to transplant the Honeysuckle to the corner of the back of the deck, replacing it with the Bloodgood. The current Rock Garden is overrun with weeds & vines, and so I will dig those out and replace with a few pockets of shimmering Lamium 'White Nancy'. To bring it all together, I will add in smooth silver/gray river rock.
Back Border I would like to add a stone lantern somewhere, and so most likely I will move the bird bath that is under the Pink Dogwood and put the lantern in its place.
Historic Virginia Garden Week is now underway, and today I had the pleasure to visit some amazing country estates and gardens out in the Loudon-Faquier hunt country area of Middleburg. The equestrian lifestyle is quite vibrant there and the landscapes are incredibly scenic. I toured five gardens with a couple of ladies from my garden club, and what a wonderful way to spend a Spring Sunday afternoon.
My day began early with the digging of 10 large holes and planting of 31 Oriental Lilies. I discovered the lilies, bought in the late days of winter and then promptly forgotten, while rummaging through the garage. All week I had thought about where to plant these lilies, and finally it occurred to me that the sunny spot where my husband planted the new birdhouse that he built would be perfect! This area also contains a Doublefile Viburnum 'Shasta' which I planted last November, and it's close enough to the deck that the sweet fragrance of the lilies will waft by when we are sitting out there for enjoyment. I love the tall graceful scented Oriental Lilies, and I'm so happy to have found a dedicated space for growing them.
On March 15th there was absolutely nothing in bloom, now on April 15th for Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, it seems that everything is in bloom. Amazing how the garden can change seemingly overnight. In addition to all my bulbs blooming during that 30 day window (daffodils, tulips, crocus, hyacinths and muscari), the Bradford Pear, Dogwood and Redbuds have all now flowered. Many shrubs have or are beginning to bloom, the Peonies have fresh new leaves and buds, and the Hostas are poking through. Honestly, I find the whole changeover from Winter to Spring to be rather miraculous.
It was a thrill to come back from vacation to find all of my tulips in glorious bloom, and I am excited to wake up each morning because it's such a pleasure to be greeted by this lovely display on my way out the door. The collection is composed of perennial Darwin Hybrid tulips 'Pink Impression' and 'Apeldoorn', as well as other tulips that I obtained from big-box stores. Next year, I will add in more purple, and add more bulbs to the right side of the Japanese Maple which has leafed out beautifully.
I spent Easter Weekend in Charleston, the city of my birthplace, and was very impressed with the lovely traditional architecture and well-preserved historic downtown area. The weather was perfect, the food was terrific, and the many hanging baskets were beatific. I toured seven lovely properties as part of the 63th Annual Spring Festival of Houses and Gardens, and definitely Charleston is a must-see destination for the garden lovers out there.