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Saturday, May 31, 2008

'All Gold'

This morning was overcast, damp and cool. Perfect weather for a garden walk-about. This one little bed in my garden is on the side of my pool and is often neglected. There shouldn't be any daylilies in this garden. The way the surrounding trees shade this bed, the daylily flowers face the sun at an angle that's almost impossible for the viewer to see. On the other hand, other perennials shine here.

In some earlier posts I've raved on about Hakonachloa 'All Gold'. Well, it's still got me raving, especially when you are in this part of the garden.

The first combination that caught my eye was this nice contrast between the Alchemilla mollis (Ladies mantle) and Sedum 'Purple Emperor'. This is the only Sedum I've never made more of, it never really thrilled me and has taken a few years to clump up. Now though I think I'm going to cut off two or three stems.

Here you can see why I'm so crazy about 'All Gold'. It is just such a fantastic combination plant. This photo shows it with Nepeta mussinii and a self sown Astrantia seedling on the left.

Just a foot away is the most beautiful blue Columbine but I almost missed it as you can see that a Salvia verticilata seedling has almost engulfed it.

Geranium cantabrigiense 'Cambridge' is just stunning as it spills over the wall. Last year somebody dug a big hole in this area and I was so afraid this lovely plant would suffer but it's come back like crazy.

Ah ha! Here you can see that this 'All gold' needs some better companions. Daylily foliage and a rock? Nope, I've got to do something here.

Ahhh, much better. How do you like this pairing of 'All Gold' with Geranium sanguinium? I love it!

Another hardy geranium. This one is Geranium 'Claridge Druce'. Ok, now who was walking through here and crunched all this foliage?

"Woof - not me! What makes you think I was in the garden?"

Calie got her summer cut this week, my family is so mad at me for doing this but her coat was so long and she would get matted every time she ran under the sprinkler. Oh well, it will grow back again.

Friday, May 30, 2008

It lives!

Last year I bought three Corydalis 'Blackberry Wine'. At least, that's the cultivar name I remember.

It's not the first time I bought different colored Corydalis. For the first time though, one made it through the year and returned. I wonder why they different colors are so finicky to grow when the yellow variety seeds itself into every nook and cranny.

Do you have luck with Corydalis?

Today's post might be a record shorty. It's way too beautiful outside and my calendar for the day is chock full.

See ya!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Long View

In the gardening world, we tend to look at things close up. In fact, the closer the better, oh how I wish I could use my old nikkor macro lens right now.

Over the winter I remember looking for landscape shots of my garden and found very few. This morning as I walked around with wet feet (lots of dew on the lawn), I decided to take a look at the long view and shoot the whole garden, not individual blooms.

We'll start with the entrance to our property, shot from across the street. You can see how far back we are set from the road. This might be quite common in your part of the world but not very common here on Long Island.

Taken from the opposite point of view, I hung my head out of my second floor bedroom window for this photo. Now you are looking up towards the street where I was standing for the first shot.

Our bedroom goes from the front of the house to the back so naturally I took a photo while hanging out the back window too. Showcased here is our enormous, incredibly awkward swimming pool which is not yet open for the season.

Lesson number one for the "do it yourself landscaper". Do not put your pool smack dab in the middle of your yard unless you live in a tropical zone and like to look at swimming pools. Where we live the pool is closed for at least 8 months of the year and it's an ugly sight for way too long a time period.

Standing on the back of the pool patio, this is the furthest section of our yard. In my estimate, this area alone is about 1/3 of an acre. You can see how nicely the shrub material is filling in to hide my neighbors less than lovely white plastic fence.

Looking from side to side there is a small bed on the side of the pool where the previous "do it yourself" owner did a poor job of grading the soil. This is what we did to make the best of a bad situation.

Standing at the back (well, maybe 20 feet from the back as I didn't step into the shade beds) this is looking forward to the house. I love standing here and looking through the breezeway. When a car drives down the road it gives an amazing feeling to realize how much land we are blessed with.

You will see these photos again soon. One reason that I prefer photos taken on cloudy days is that you don't have the stark detail of sunlight and shadow. A good photographer can use those conditions to their advantage but in the case of my landscape shots, I would have preferred not to have their distraction. You'll just have to wait though until we have the right conditions and then I'll show you what I mean.

Now it's your turn. Take some long view shots for us and list your site here in the comment section. I'd love to step back and see your whole property too.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

New Water Feature

Well, it was bound to happen. I've been complaining about this huge front lawn and how much I want to have a water feature here. Yesterday while I was out running errands, my husband Don had a construction crew begin work on our new water feature.

By mid afternoon we were hit with torrential thunder storms and downpours. Here's the end result...

What do you think? I might have to change the name of my garden now, it sure doesn't look like Old Country Gardens to me.

Oops, nope, wait a bit. Wrong photo, here we are back in reality. Yup, I guess Old Country Gardens will just have to stay the way it is for now. As for water features, this is it, our golf course sprinkler system.

The other photo was taken at Oheka Castle where my daughter is now working. Nice place to be, don't you think?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Lull in Bloom

This morning's weather conditions were perfect for photographs. We had a light rain in the early hours and it's still damp and overcast. Try taking photos in these conditions instead of in full sun and you should be quite pleased with your results.

Right now my garden is going through a lull. There are so many plants filled with buds but not that much in bloom today. As I walked the neighborhood last evening I saw many stands of bearded Iris in bloom, I think I have to make an effort to increase my plantings of them.

First photo shows the buds on my Siberian Iris. I think they are so beautiful even before they open up.

The Alchemilla mollis is all beaded up with rain drops and the buds are just beginning to emerge.

The driveway Daisy is full of buds and continues to drive me crazy.

Stepping back you can see why this unknown type of Daisy drives me nuts. It keeps seeding into my driveway and never in my garden. Even when I gently move young seedlings it slips right back to the other side of the border. AAARRRGGGHHHH. Still, it's too lovely to rip out.

Digitalis are everywhere here and they are shooting skyward now. They are one of my favorite blooms in the garden and I can't wait until they are massed all over the place.

The Symphytum 'Langham's Pink' is blooming away. It's funny, the first set of leaves always are filled with little holes. After it's done blooming I cut it back hard and the new leaves are much nicer.

The white blooming Astilbe has the most lovely light green foliage and the buds are just now popping up.

Hooray, it looks like my pairing of the Dicentra (Bleeding hearts) and Amsonia is going to work just the way I hoped for.

Baptisia 'Screaming Yellow' sure lives up to its name. By the end of the week it should be just a mass of bright yellow flowers. Wish I knew how to propagate this baby.

And finally, lots of buds and lots of blooms opening too on the Geranium cantbrigense 'Karmina'. The hardy Geraniums are really starting to bloom and I will try to get more photos of them.

Sure hope this lull in bloom ends soon.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Sunday Bloomers

Yesterday we spend every possible moment outside working on the yard. Don spent hours pulling out all the weeds that had grown in the cracks of the pool deck here. I played with my Sedums and Sempervivums removing all the empty or sickly pots.

The furniture is set to go and we can now eat outside as a family. I think the pool will wait another week or two depending upon the weather.

Alliums abound in the garden. I am very thankful for them because it seems there is a lack of flowering material right now. While the garden is green and lush, it has paused between early spring bloom and the deluge of perennial peak season.

As the Geranium's begin to put on their show I will be out there documenting as many as possible. This is a new comer, Geranium 'Philippe Vapelle'.

Two of these stunning yellow/white azaleas have sat here in pots for 2 years now. I just can't decide to place them and really have to make a decision this year.

More Alliums, this time white. I don't save their names but this one isn't 'Ivory Queen' which is somewhere out back.

My neighbor had a plant start growing along the fence line and she left it. It has turned out to be Elaeagnus angustifolius (Russian Olive). While I wish she would trim it back so it was a bit more shapely, the scent is just heavenly!

Look what's growing out of the crack in one of my walls. How cool is this!

The Iberis (Candy tuft) is still blooming although it's lost it's compact shape and is moving into leggy territory. Then again maybe it's gotten like this because it has become Calie the Wonder-doodle's favorite hunting ground? Just after I snapped this photo a little chipmunk came racing out of the foliage near Calie's head and she didn't even realize it. Silly dog.

The Nepeta mussini is blooming away like a blue wave. I adore this plant.

Finally, another peek at one of the purple leaved Geraniums in the back shade bed. I believe this one is Geranium maculatum 'Espresso' as the leaves on 'Victor Reiter Jr.' are more finely cut.

Off to move more compost. The pile still looks the same but the garden is starting to look better.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Still doing history...

I've been running into a little difficulty here. Namely, not enough time! Yesterday I tried to move as much of that mountain of compost (it still looks the same). When I had time to take photos it was during full sun and the shots were lousy. Still waiting for the right conditions so I can take more current photos.

This time we're transported back to 2003. Do you like my wheel barrow? It was second hand when we got it 22 years ago. I'd say that's one well used wheel barrow. I didn't like the fact that it had AL painted on it when we got it so I sponge painted it. I think it looked lovely at the end of the evening when I dead headed the daylilies.

Ah ha, must have gotten my gazebo in 2003. I quickly learned a lesson here. The wrought iron gazebo that looks charming in the store looks very different in the garden. As charming as it it, it tends to disappear from view.

Here's a shot of my gazebo from another angle, it's in a different spot now but I'm still not happy with the way it's set in the landscape. Maybe if I put a stone floor and plant some evergreens behind it it might pop more.

2003 was a big year as the stone wall around our pool was installed. The white chain link fence was still around the pool itself, yuck. Smart me bought my husband a saws-all with extra blades for Christmas that year. Bye bye chain link!

Guess my shade garden was really growing by leaps and bounds that year. I do miss this SUV as it really held so much but my new CRV get's much better gas mileage.

Check out these two Hosta. 'Blue Angel' on the left and 'Sum and Substance' on the right. Last summer they easily pushed through the fence line. I'm going to have to get out there and take a photo of this spot today for comparison to see how much larger they are 5 years later.

I was so wowed with this daylily seedling of George Rasmussen's that I was guesting in my garden. It just blew me away and rightly so. In 2006 it won the President's Cup at the American Hemerocallis Society national convention right here on Long Island. At that time I called it "banana split" but it has since been named to 'King's Golden Treasure'.

Ok, hopefully today I'll get some better photos. One thing for sure, I'll be shoveling compost till the cows come home.