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Wednesday, May 04, 2016

The Ruthless Gardener

Warning! There will be no pretty gardening photos in the post….so be forewarned!

I was considering titling this "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly" But there's only bad and ugly here. One of the lessons I'm learning quickly is that when you have a small garden every inch counts. Gone are the days I could plan sweeping beds and try a multitude of plants. I'm not complaining, we live a wonderful life and I put in a full week at work but I've still got lots to learn about cottage gardening!

In the past I could afford to let plants take a few years to settle in or maybe I'd move them to another location. Here in our darling cottage garden I'm becoming much more ruthless. A few spindly daffodil leaves and some blind tulips? (Tulips that don't bloom are called "blind") You're outta here!

This is Lamiastrum "Hermann's Pride" planted just last year in lovely soil. 
Shame shame Hermann, no pride here.

See that little spec in the middle? It's Hermann's Pride again. The Hosta are loving the location. So I've got to fault Hermann. Too bad because it's such a lovely plant when it's happy.

Seeing these bare spots I know I lost something here too, I added some Labrador violets in hopes they spread to fill in the holes.

Anemone tomentosa "Robustissima" not looking too robust to me. In the past I've had Anemone's go wild, will have to look for a different cultivar as I love their fall blooms.

Phlox is blooming all over my neighborhood, huge billowing massive drifts of phlox. Here in my garden it's half the size it was when I bought it last year. No bueno, move over baby there's a Heuchera waiting for that spot.

Here you can see the hardy Geranium cantabrigense "Karmina" and golden Oregano. Both are growing like gang busters but right in the middle was pretty Dianthus planted there last spring. With the cost of perennials today I won't bother to replace it, in a few weeks the surrounding plants will fill this spot which gets plenty of sun and water.

Today was cold and rainy, a challenging day for gardening but I managed to visit and photograph two of my favorite places here on Long Island. I'll post the photos on my other blog

Next post will be a pretty one, I promise.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

May Day 2016

May Day has always been a day to celebrate. Not only is the garden busting out in all it's glory, May 1st was my father's birthday. He always told me he had the coolest day for his birthday and I have to agree. Dad truly gave me the love of the outdoors, the fascination of things that grow. Mom gave me a love to walk, the two traits combined keep me busy at this time of year.

Today we had unusual weather for May 1st, it's been cold and rainy since we woke up this morning. Not to be put off by the weather we still went to a nursery to add plants to our new garden and just as the light began to dim I took my daily walk down past the gardens of Huntington Beach community and along the foggy beach itself. 

This photo was taken as I walked the route, a lovely curbside garden filled with spring blooms.

Our garden has lots of spring blooms too, it's a new garden though so I still see too much soil and not enough plant material.

The good news though is I really have a garden again. Not my own, this garden is mine and Andy's. It's a darling little cottage garden just blocks from the beach on Long Island.

This is the second year I've really been adding plant material, there was and still is quite a bit of overgrown material to remove. At one time this garden was artfully designed with top quality plant material but it quickly over-grew the small space.

Working on this small scale is a whole new experience for me. My mom tells me it's a blessing that we have a small garden, I work full time now as an assistant manager at a bank. She's right, this garden is just the right size to fit our lifestyle.

 We have a darling front porch that is one of my favorite places to sit and share my dreams with Andy. I don't know if anybody is actually going to be a reading this but I finally feel like I'll be back to blogging. At first I'll struggle a bit, I use three different types of cameras to photograph plants and it's taking me a bit to get up to speed with the newer technology.

Can't wait to show you more!

Monday, February 23, 2015

SUNY Farmingdale

What could be better on a cold winter night than to go through photos of lush gardens? It's a fridgid 14 degrees outside but this topic is doing it's best to warm me up.

One of my favorite places to visit on Long Island are the trial gardens at the State University at Farmingdale. There are 9 or 10 distinct different garden rooms/themes there to see, one more spectacular than the rest. It's a hidden jewel, few people know where to find it. As you drive past the parking lot there's not much more than these gates to see.

If you are lucky enough to to stop and park your car, all you need to do is take a peek through the bars and you'll find yourself transported to another world.

Andy and I visited the garden this past September, it had been a few years for me and I was thrilled to find a whole new addition with vegetables and a wild spill of cutting flowers.

Zinnias are so easy to grow and so beautiful. We grew one solitary Zinnia here last summer, I expect to grow lots and lots more this coming year!

When touring a garden of this magnitude, it's hard to find one single thing that just rocks your world. This time though it was an easy choice, those big Dr Seuss like tufts are Cyperus papyrus 'King Tut'. Although I took a dozen photos, not one does them justice, I am in love with them.

One of the first gardens you will walk through are very formal beds but the plant material is cutting edge tropicals surrounded by perennial borders.

Of course there is a silver garden, it's such a restful place after walking through a riot of color and textures.

My happy place is the tropical garden room. I think I could sit there all day. Give me a foggy day like this and I could take hundreds and hundreds of photos too. The plant with the long red blooms is Amaranthus 'Love lies a bleeding'. It's so cool!

The tropical garden is not large but every single inch is planted. September is the perfect time to visit this garden, just before the plants are brought in to the green houses for the winter.

The color and foliage combinations don't stop, there's something amazing no matter which way you turn. It's hard to grasp all that surrounds you.

The rustic arbor and goldfish pond have been there since my daughters were young. It's still just as magical as it was back then.

If you  make your way to the back corner of the gardens you'll find a shade garden filled with wonderful plants that just thrive in our Long Island conditions. I love the combination of this fern and the Asarum (ginger).

Although it wasn't rose season this part of the garden was still lovely. We'll have to make a point to go back this May when the roses and peonies are in full bloom.

There were plenty of autumn perennials to see such as this Aster. I'll take a guess and say it's 'Alma Potschke'.

One last photo, a riot of yellow blooms. If you live on Long Island or are coming this way for a visit, try to get in to see these gardens. You won't be sorry!