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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Hicks Flower show

March is here and of course that means it's time for the Hicks flower show.

For those of you who don't live on Long Island, Hicks nursery is well over 100 years old. It's just outside the perimeter of Old Westbury Gardens. At one time I think they supplied the bulk of plants to Old Westbury.

Years ago their display's always blew me away. There were different themes, amazing shrubs I'd never heard of and perennials that turned me into a drooling idiot.

When one of the mom's up at school introduced me to another mom, I found out this second woman was the designer, the heart and soul of all the flower show exhibits at Hicks. Her name is Gianna and I've mentioned her here before and will certainly mention her here again since she is an amazing friend.

This year there were the usual tons of forced bulbs, the pink ones above were some kind of tulip. They were so beautiful but I wonder how long they would last on a windy day?

As nice as it was to peek at their sales area, they seemed much smaller and less well stocked than in the past. Well, maybe there were as many plants but it was hard to find something different or unusual.

The one plant that really blew my mind was this chartreuse Hellebore foetidous. I wanted one so badly and hunted all around the sales areas trying to find one. Finally, there they were, maybe 20 of them all bunched together and not a single space showing that any had been purchased. Well DUH, I took one look at the price tag showing $49.99 and I knew why there were still on the table. They sure were stunning but that's a lot of money for a single stemmed plant. I guess I'll have to wait a few years until the price comes down a bit.

I only found one idea worth photographing at the show. I'll save it for my next message.

Think green!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Honeysuckle Dreams

Lonicera is the botanical name for Honeysuckle and that's about all that I know on this climbing vine. Some gardeners have written of fond childhood memories of this plants and others have written about trying to eradicate this vine from their garden.

As for me though, my first encounter with this plant was when I bought one for my own garden. Being afraid of it taking over like Kudzo, I planted it in a large whiskey barrel that was next to my garden swing. In a few years it's grown nicely to cover 2/3's of the roof of that swing.

It wasn't until recently that I realized honeysuckles have different bloom seasons. Unfortunately, I didn't save the name of this variety but I do know it blooms in late May, right around prom season. Now I'd like to buy a different colored one that blooms later in the season and plant it on the other side.

Anybody have any suggestions?

Also, I'd like to know if there would be any problems if I planted some of these in the ground along that plain stockade fence.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Rockin Robin

Rockin Robin

Nothing stirs the heart like the sound of spring bird songs in the garden. This week I saw my first flock of robins checking out the trees and shrubs for some yummy tidbits. They were a bit early, there was still ice over most of the ground but I was so happy to see them here!

The photo above is of a baby robin that we found in the garden two springs ago. His nest had fallen out of a tall Cedar and the other babies did not survive the fall. This little fellow though looked just fine and what a set of pipes he had. He'd call for his mother ever chance he had!

Emily named him Einstein, she said that his hair-do reminded her of Einsteins hair. For days we'd go out and watch him, taking photos when we could.

A few weeks went by when we noticed this huge baby robin following it's mother around, still squawking like crazy. We were sure it was Einstein! Maybe he's one of the big male robins that are out there right now.

Tweet Tweet!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Green Thumb Sunday

Happy Sunday!

Today's topic is texture in the garden.

I just love to have plants that I can touch, I guess that makes me a touchy-feely kind of gardener.

One of my favorite textures is the cone on a purple cone flower (Echinacea purpurea). Don't they look wonderful combined with the spiky blooms of Liatris.

Maybe it's the love of texture that keeps me out in the garden on July evenings. I get so much enjoyment live-heading my daylily blooms. With over 400 varieties of daylilies here, it can easily take over an hour but there's such satisfaction in the SNAP of those blooms coming cleanly off the plant and the knowledge that tomorrow morning the garden will be wearing a whole new glamorous look.

(The daylily pictured here is 'Island Love Affair')

The sticky bands around the stems of Silene armeria (catch-fly) call me as I walk by and I rarely can resist touching them.

The catch-fly was another plant gifted to me by a woman that I worked with many years ago. She brought me a single little seedling that over 20 years and a move, has managed to seed itself with abandon all over my garden.

The pale yellow spikes are a truly perennial Digitalis that I've been encouraging to seed around the garden. Yes, they too were a gift, these came from my good gardening friend Chris.

Of course, nothing beats the touchability of Lambs ears (Stachys byzantina) which is why they will always have a home in my garden. (fuzzy gray plant in the bottom right of this photo)

Being such a computer moron, I'm still trying to figure out how to attach the Green Thumb Sunday information here. Hopefully you can find the links here somewhere on this blog.