Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Mum in the spotlight (digital cameras are really fun). This is a great plant (Clara Curtis). It's planted under a pussy willow tree - I know it's a bush but it's about 20 feet tall and limbed up. The soil is dry and full of roots but this mum is thriving. It think it could be grown anywhere.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Scented plants. The new sweet autumn clematis I planted last year is blooming. It has a pleasant light fragrance and delicate, twinkling flowers. It has a reputation for being invasive so I plan to cut it back a bit as the blooms fade. Hopefully, that will reduce the number of seedlings in the spring. I'll cut it back by at least 1/3 in the early spring since it blooms on new growth.

My favorite scented plant is sweet allysum - which reseeds every year and produces a heavenly sweet smell all summer in the sunshine. I pull out a lot of seedlings in the spring but I always have more than I planned. Since the plants tend to get leggy, I trim them two or three times a year with a grass sheers. By now they look leggy again but the aroma is worth it.

Another one of my favorites is the sweet shrub. It was given to me by a neighbor. He got it from a man who called it a strawberry bush. It's a rather ordinary looking bush. The flowers are not very showy - sort of brownish, spikey lumps - somewhat strawberry-like, I guess. It's not the prettiest bush nor is it the easiest to maintain. It needs to be trimmed once or twice a summer and sends out runners that need to be pulled up and cut off. Is it worth it? I think it is because I really enjoy the heavy aroma of the long spring bloom filling the garden.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Stonecrop Gardens. I had the pleasure to accompany Penn State Master Gardeners on a bus trip to Stonecrop Gardens in Cold Spring, NY on Saturday. It was a enjoyable trip with good company and lovely gardens.

The overall impression I came away with from Stonecrop was the feeling of having had an amazing walk in the woods on a beautiful day with many so plants to see in their natural settings. In fact, I was so enamored of the many plants that I didn't take a lot of pictures. The tour wound through garden paths and lanes, up and down rocks and through a forest.

The entry path winds over a boardwalk and up a wide grass lane past a lake and through the lake conservatory. On the way native plants - ferns, hostas, trees - fuel anticipation. At the potting shed alpine plants that I had never seen in person (Kabschia, Encrusted Saxifragas) are on display in raised stone beds. The plants beg to be touched - some are rock hard while others are velvety soft.

The English flower garden is a mixture of color coordinated perennials with a sprinkling of annuals. The varieties of dahlia and begonias were amazing in color and form.

The Rock Ledge was impressive with it's views and native plants. The setting is so natural I found it hard to believe that the ledge, water falls and lake were man made.

The stately Metasequoia Grove (Dawn Redwood, Metasequoia glyptostroboides) gave the impression of living cathederal.

Well, by now, you know that all you have to do is take a gardner to a garden on a beautiful day(or actually any day) to get a diatribe of adjectives.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Garden figures. It's fun to have little surprises in the garden - in my re-seeding garden, plants appear in spring in a different color from last year or in a different place. I love the cleome. My favorite is bright pink. They come in colors from purple through pink through white. I tried for several years to eliminate all but the pink & white. But the next year they would be all colors again. Now I just let them be and pull out the volunteers in the middle of the tomato plants.

The garden figures add more little surprises & whimsy here and there. The kids love them & we make up stories about them sometimes. I usually change them or move them around from year to year to keep it interesting.

The Japanese Lantern in the oriental garden is complemented by Golden Japanese Forest Grass and the Buddha hides in the Gold Thread Cypress. The Celtic Cross is cloaked in the Lady Slippers.

One of the kids favorites is the small leprechaun between the lavender & the sweet shrub in the scented garden. He seems ready to pounce on unsuspecting path walkers.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Peaceful evening. I spent late afternoon in the garden wandering around, popping some weeds, deadheading here and there. It was a calming reminder of why I like to garden. After a hectic week at work it's wonderful to take some time to slow down (and smell the roses? :-) I know a lot of people dread weeding but I find it very relaxing.

I've started a list of plants I need to divide and plants that will reseed that I need to give away next spring. Among them are coreopsis moonbeam, cleome, and evening primrose. I'll publish a full list when I get it completed. If you're in this area, leave a comment - there are many more plants I would like to share.