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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Hens & Chicks - The Family Unit

Just a quick post to say, now I'm here, but in a minute I'll be gone.

We're off to watch our oldest daughter try to take control of the Lehigh River in the Lafayette/Lehigh Regatta. Go Lauren and go Lafayette!

Can't wait to see what's blooming in Pennsylvania! As for the above photo? It's an unknown variety of Sempervivum and it was actually pretty hard for me to get them to take to growing in the rock wall.

Wishing all of you a spectacular weekend,


Friday, April 18, 2008

What's growing at the curb?

This is my property out by the street. I have nicer photos of this area all planted but that would be cheating. Today I'll be working out there all day because our nice town of Huntington is sending a crew here.

I'm beginning with this photo because there's a hidden secret here. It seems that some of you live in my town and with the help of this photo and the fact that I live on Beverly Road, maybe you can find me.

This is my curb in the other direction, actually, there is no curb. The rock retaining wall was put in when the house was built, the story is that these rocks all came from when the dug the foundation of our house. That's hard to believe because there's a lot of rocks and my house is not huge. Anyway, for some reason our land is slightly higher than our driveway and the street.

All new homes being built in this area require cement curbs but the old homes don't have any. Today the town is coming to install a curb on this side of our property because our soil keeps washing away and filling the storm drains further down the street.

As I walked around out there this morning I found a few new babies growing out of the crevices in our retaining walls. Here you can see Corydalis, it's seeded itself all along the wall and I'm just crazy about the way it blooms out there.

How cool is this! The Asarum europaeum (European Ginger) at the top of the wall also seeded down into the cracks. Hooray!

Hello little baby, this is the first time I've seen a Geranium maculatum seedling in the wall. I'll try to remember to feed you a bit from time to time.

The west side of the driveway is bathed in the rising sunlight. I found a little Sedum sexangular seedling basking away. Better move that acorn before it tries to root!

Along the east bank are scattered hundreds of Adenorphora confusa. I've never noticed it seed like this in the past years. It's such a pretty perennial, related to Campanula (I believe) but it hates being transplanted so it's rarely available for sale. This year I'm going to try to pot up some of the babies and see if they're easier to move around.

Oops, looks like a poly-nose seeded here. Sorry baby but I don't think I want you here.

Here's the last shot, even though there's nothing blooming out here yet, I love how this area looks as the sun is rising.

Time to get out there, I'm going to load up some compost and bring it out front to top dress these gardens. It's quite a job since the compost pile is in the opposite corner of our property. Must remember the sun screen today too!

So, what's growing out by your curb?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Theme Gardens...What's yours?

Tonight's class topic is "Theme Gardens". Basically every garden has some theme. It might be a English Cottage theme such as I have here.

Many people love the rose garden theme, this one is at Old Westbury Garden and is spectacular!

A knot garden and an herbal garden theme goes hand in hand.

The theme you choose is only doable if the conditions of your property allow it to be done. Many properties in my area have large trees so a Shade Retreat works well around here.

The best theme garden I've ever toured was a Redneck Garden in the Carolinas.

Even small gardens can have themes. A potted garden, a container garden and so on.

If wildlife is your thing, then you want a nature retreat with lots of plants to invite the woodland creatures into your garden. I can tell you though that I did not invite this little guy here, he came on his own. Go away you cute chipmunk!

Butterfly gardens are very popular and will be our focus tonight. I can think of all kinds of theme gardens such as:
Children's Gardens
Vegetable Gardens
Organic Gardens
Alphabetical Gardens (Synoptic Gardens - works great for kids!)
Pizza Gardens
Cutting Flower Gardens
Fairy Gardens
Native Plant Gardens
Xeriscape Gardens

Well, the list could go on and on but I'd rather hear from you. What's your garden theme? If you don't have one, what's your dream garden theme?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Do you Sift your Compost?

What does this photo have to do with today's topic of sifting compost? Absolutely nothing but I figured I needed to start off with something cute since the rest of the photos are blah.

This is my compost area. This is a nice photo of my compost area. Trust me...and yes, that is a toilet in my compost, oh the shame.

This photo was taken last year, this year the compost has spread to the left and to the right and there's hardly any place left to even walk. That's ok, I'm working on making some serious compost!

My husband Don made this sifter for our garden at our first house. Back then we were on a quarter acre lot and didn't have a compost pile.

Two weeks ago Don replaced the screen for me. See how nice he made it so that it fits perfectly on top of the wheelbarrow?

I have to wonder though, do I need to go through the extra step of sifting my compost? I know that when you get composted delivered, you pay extra for the kind that's "triple screened". But what about at home?

Do you sift your compost?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - April 08

Happy Garden Bloggers Bloom Day!

The 15th of each month has been designated GBBD by Carol at May Dreams Garden. To see what other gardeners around the world have in bloom today you can click on the link to her site and visit with many other wonderful bloggers.

Today at Old Country Gardens in South Huntington, New York (on Long Island) I've found quite a few blooms. Some were posted just two days ago under the title "Sunday Bloomers". Here are a few more.

To open, we have one of my favorite Daffodils, 'Jetfire'.

The Hellebores are in their glory now, I really do find them such wonderful additions to the early spring garden.

Just popping it's sleepy head up is Viola 'Bowl's Black' which enthusiastically seeds itself throughout the perennial border.

You'll have to look carefully to see the blooms here but the Dicentra spectablis' (Bleeding hearts) all over my garden are plumping up like crazy and the tiny miniature hearts are just visible today.

A sweet lavender violet given to me a number of years ago. Unfortunately I'm too soft hearted and this beauty has invaded several parts of my perennial bed. I keep holding off until they bloom so I can cull the blue ones and leave the lavender ones but that doesn't seem to work. This year I vow to win the war!

Oh my, this is as good as staring at a pile of wrapped Christmas presents. The Sanguinaria canadensis (Double bloodroot) is just about ready to unfurl it's leaves and burst into bloom. I'm willing to bet that it will be open by this evening.

As a closing shot, I was so delighted to find the first bloom on this Hellebore seedling. A gardening friend, Mary Kay, shared some seedlings with me and what a wonderful day for this beauty to begin.

Happy bloom day to all of you! If you are a blogger, consider posting your own GBBD post, it's fun!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Miserly Me

This morning is crisp and clear. I could see my breath as I walked around the garden with camera in hand. The weather channel said we are a few degrees above freezing but in several spots the lawn crunched under my foot steps.

The weekend was glorious, I spent hours upon hours digging, dividing and cleaning the garden. For the first time ever I dug the huge clump of Lychnis 'Jenny' seen above and divided it. I potted up 7 nice sized chunks and put three pieces back in the garden for me. It will be a few years before I have enough to offer again.

Centaurea montana was also potted up. I just checked my favorite garden catalog for the botanical name on this plant and was surprised to find it isn't even offered for sale! This plant has never seeded for me but the clump had grown huge so once again, I potted up 8 pieces and put three back in the garden.

Oenothera tetragona is another simple cottage plant. It seems the old fashioned plants can be hard to find at some nurseries. I found a new cache of these under the red maple out back and will be potting them like crazy.

What is it about me that makes me so miserly with certain plants? This sweet Geranium has formed a huge clump but I can barely make myself think of digging in to it. The same goes for the Polygonatum odoratum 'Variegata' behind it. I have at least 8 different plantings of this beauty but I am only willing to part with a dozen pots a year.

Later this week I'd like to do a show and tell on splitting & planting Sempervivum (Hens & chicks) and tell you how I keep them alive through the winter. With the next two nights flirting with freezing temperatures I'd like to wait for a bit of warmth again before taking them out of their pots.

Time for woolly socks and a hooded sweatshirt, I'm off to the garden again.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sunday Bloomers

Most mornings I wake up, put on my coffee and once Emily and Don are off for the day, I post to my blog. This Sunday morning the garden was calling my name so sweetly. I had no time to sit here and post, I had to run out there with camera in hand. Here's a few photos of what was waiting for me, try to imagine that all the while I was taking these photos the air was full of bird songs.

The opening shot shows the first of my Pulmonaria to burst into bloom. This is Pulmonaria 'Azurea' and it is by far the best Pulmonaria in my garden (I probably have a dozen varieties). This baby grows by leaps and bounds. Last year I divided a chunk out for the plant sale and it never missed a beat. Look carefully, it has invisible spots!

Not a bloom but wonderful leaf buds are bursting open on the Schizophragma hydrangeoides climbing up our tree ladder.

Look where I found a new Corydalis seedling growing. I can't wait for this baby to bloom.

The Hamamelis 'Arnold Promise' is just about finished. It's delicious scent still perfumes the area but the petals have been falling to the ground. As the sun peeked through the clouds I wondered what was in bloom at the base of 'Arnold'. A close up inspection showed me the lovely yellow foliage of Spirea japonica 'White Gold' just beginning to put on a show. I'll have a close up shot on Tuesday.

Contrary to what I say in every lecture, I do have tulips growing here and they do return every year! I don't know the name of these beauties. I bought them when Emily was in elementary school as part of a fund raiser. I still remember the day she and I planted them.

I attribute their long life to the fact that they are surrounded by Hellebore foetidous foliage and the rabbits and voles steer clear of that area.

As a closing shot, I had to share the sweet little blooms on the Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman's britches) and check out those awesome pink spikes of Polygonatum odorum 'Variegatum (Soloman's seal) peeking up out of the ground.

This is only half of what was blooming today but I've decided to restrain myself and save the rest for Tuesday when May Dreams Garden hosts Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.

Guess where I'm headed now!