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Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Unbearable Lightness (Oops, that's Whiteness) of Being

The other day, I was driving home from the grocery store, took a different route and came across this garden that is everything that mine is not.  Extremely manicured and with a very limited color palette of two colors, green and white.

On the right side of this picture in the middle, between the house and fence, those taller whit flowers belong to a canna.  Did you know that there where white cannas?
 These pictures really don't do justice to the garden.  It's quite striking from the street and the whiteness of the plantings with the white trim of the house really stands out.

Notice how the two trees in the background echo the shape of the house and chimney.  Happy accident as these were in neighboring gardens.

The fragrance of the sweet alyssum flanking the front steps was divine!  

Behind the box was a sedum with white flowers.

behind that, white geraniums (Pelargonum) and then yew.

Cascading over the retaining wall was a plant that I didn't recognize but it was charming.

Continuing around th side of the house.

A shade garden featuring the signature color.  
 All of the plants looked so healthy, happy, and well tended. It would be nice to have a bit of this control in my garden but alas, someone keeps buying plants in every hue and throws them in wherever there's a hint of space.  I could never pull this off but admire the gardener who does.  What do you think?

Monday, August 31, 2015

In A Vase On Monday - After the Storm

As children, many of us enjoyed going on nature walks.  For me, little has changed in that regard.  A walk on the beach or in the woods always yields a pocket full of treasures. Rocks, shells, a few autumn leaves, an interesting fallen branch (well, those are carried) are all be new found treasure. Horse chestnut's prickly pods that resemble jousting equipment and their shiny brown contents fascinate me  every fall. Yesterday, we had a rather strong windstorm, the likes of which we usually don't see here until November.  Lots of tree limbs came down, trees fell, fruit was blown from trees, and  there were power outages.  Luckily we had no damage other than a heavy pot being blown off the top of a column. The plant was fine but the pot's a goner.  That being said, it's no surprise that our evening walk through the neighborhood presented lots of interesting items for a magpie like myself to drag home.  I decided to put a few of them in a vase.  Is it cheating to use things that didn't come from my garden? 

Fallen cones from a neighbor's monkey puzzle tree. 


An interesting lichen/moss covered branch or two.


The thing that I was really pleased about was finding branches from the monkey puzzle tree of a neighbor who is pleased to have them taken away so they don't have to clean them up. 

My arranging skills aren't that great but here's some stuff shoved into a vase that's a bit too big to come inside. 


It certainly cannot live  here.

So it gets to stay in the room formerly used to store plants for the winter until I decide what to do with those cool monkey puzzle branches.  Spray painted gold and used with greens at Christmas? Giant antennae for jack o lanterns?  What would you do with them?
Thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting In a Vase on Monday!  Check out her blog to find links to lots of great arrangements. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Retail Therapy is the Best Medicine

Between dealing with some health issues that sapped quite a bit of my energy, keeping the garden/greenhouse watered, and garden touring, I realized that it had been weeks since I'd visited a nursery.  The plant mobile was more than happy to take me to Watson's for some retail therapy.

A little light shopping to make up for lost time. Feeling better already!

Really, those were carts of summer stock that had been taken off the shelves to make room for the warm colors of autumn.

Outside there were quite a few varieties of hardy hibiscus.  H. 'Summer Storm'

That gorgeous dark foliage was certainly tempting.  Maybe I should go back and get one of these.

Forgot the name of this one.

H. 'Party Favor'

H. 'Tie Dye'

H. 'Plum Fantasy'

H. 'Cranberry Crush'

What, no chartreuse?  What color(s) would you choose?  The purple/blue combination is nice and orange, red, and yellow might look swell too.

Say it's not so. There was kale too.  Valerie Easton once wrote that after the last lily blooms are faded, the inexorable glide into autumn happens quickly but I'm not ready for September 23 quite yet!

Fortunately, these look good year round!


Swimming up a river of hosta.

A great color combination! Though I'm not a huge fan of beige/cram colored pots, these work well here.


The "room"  that changes several times each year seems to have been taken over by drought-tolerant plants for the summer.

Canna Tropicana Black has attractive dark foliage and these great orange blooms. 

Heucheras always look so good at the nursery and in other people's gardens.

Sexy rex begonias.



The little-known marshmallow agave.


Swell sansevieria.

So, what came home with me?  Podophyllum 'Spotty Dotty.' One can never have too many Podophyllum!

 Daphne 'Briggs Moonlight' which I've killed a couple of times but am determined to keep alive this time as it's just so gorgeous.

Last but not least is Begonia grandis, which is quite hardy. 
The begonia and podophyllum are in the ground already.  I'm afraid to take the daphne out of it's pot. If you've been successful with 'Briggs Moonlight,' what's the secret to making it happy?  There are other daphnes in my garden that are thriving.

Happy weekend! We're supposed to get heavy rain again.  Hooray!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Meanwhile Out in the Greenhouse


Quite a few plants that usually get carted outdoors for the summer stayed in the greenhouse this summer.  One of them is a Brugmansia 'Charles Grimaldi'  that usually got plunged into the ground, pot and all each spring.  When fall came, out it would come.  roots that had grown out of the drainage holes into the soil would be cut and the poor plant would be thrown into the basement where it would lose all of it's foliage.  It had gotten pretty large and quite unhappy in it's pot so this spring it got potted up and has rewarded me with more growth and  a couple of flushes of blooms despite the spider mites trying to kill it.



Opening the greenhouse door and encountering the moist air, heavy with brugmansia perfume is an olfactory delight!

The volume of blooms is far greater this time than last.  It's difficult to capture the entirety of the plant without a wide angle lens.

The height of the plant is wonderful as viewing the show from beneath is different from my usual side view.



It's grown so large that it takes up nearly a quarter of the greenhouse space up top and is large enough to have tillandsias in the crotches of it's branches and even a small plant or two hanging from it.


Three little maids from school taken in the evening with no flash.

With flash.

 The next sunny morning. 

Thanks, Charles, for the great back to school gift!