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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Hicks Flower Show

Yesterday's trip to the Hicks Flower show here on Long Island was the perfect cure for the late winter blahs. The smell of the air alone was enough to invigorate a gardeners soul.

Hicks is an old nursery, over 150 years old, still run by the same family. It's perfect for the main stream gardener, excellent for families with children. They have a wonderful selection of containers, and also one of the largest selections of organic products for gardeners.

What they are not, is a place to hunt for perennials. You'll always find one or two there that are perfect but a long time perennial collector probably wouldn't fill a wagon there.

What grabbed my attention there was the large planters filled with many tropical (house) plants. Last year I filled many of my own planters here in the garden this way. Rather than using lots of flowering material, I chose to use tropical plants that had interesting and contrasting foliage.

There was a large crowd there and I only felt like snapping quick photos so there's no artistry involved in these shots. Still, I hope you can see what I mean about using foliage plants.

This container was lovely. Later when I get a chance to photograph the plants that I brought home with me I'll show you what the chartreuse plant is that's in the foreground.

A container like this would look great for a party but really isn't practical for a whole season in the garden. At the back is a Hydrangea and a Mandavilla, neither of which would really look great in this setting in another month or two.

My very favorite container was the first photo at the top of this post. I fell in love with the plant that looks like a big bow (to me) but I didn't see it for sale nor did I find it's name.

Kim and I also found the perfect containers for our dish gardens. Later this morning I'll take photos and share them here.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Hunt for Hypertufa

This morning my friend Kim and I will go on a hunt for hypertufa containers. Kim is the flower show chairperson for the Nathan Hale Garden club and one of the classes in the show will incorporate dish gardens. Ideally, we'd like to find 4 matching hypertufa containers for this class.

These two photos were taken at Stonecrop Gardens in Cold Spring, New York. Hypertufa is a mix of cement, peat-moss and sand. The containers look like they are solid concrete but are actually light enough to be able to move around.

I've read dozens of articles on how to make hypertufa but just haven't had the time to put together all the ingrediants to try it here.

Our hunt will take us to Hicks Nursery which coincidently is opening their flower show and spring exhibit today. I can't wait to get back and share some fresh photos with all of you!

Wish us luck on finding the right containers.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Have you ever divided a Hellebore?

Last year was the first that I had Hellebore seedlings bloom. It was so exciting to see their different faces. The bees had done the pollinating for me, I did not hybridize these.

As you can see here, they were a nice size last year. This year I expect to have them double in size as they were planted in a nice rich soil.

One Hellebore that I bought about 5 years ago has grown to enormous proportions. I've never read or seen anything that talks about dividing a Hellebore. The plants that are available for sale in pots are quite large and robust so I would guess that they do pot up well. I wonder if those are seedlings that are potted up or if they were divisions from larger plants.

Many years ago a garden friend gave me two plants of Hellebore foetidus. She warned me that they would sulk when planted in my garden. True to her advice, they never became robust but as they went to seed, their seedlings took over and became large healthy plants. I have moved very young seedlings and noticed that they don't mind this at all. But as for actually cutting into a large clump, well that's something I'd like more information on before actually trying.


Monday, March 09, 2009

Spring scene

It's cold and rainy outside. So, if I can't have spring out there, I'll make it be spring in here.

It might not be much but this little vignette set up on my kitchen counter is the first thing I see when I come in the door.

The Primroses were just being unloaded at Main Street nursery when I was there on Friday. The yellows smelled heavenly but I just couldn't resist this color combination, even though it doesn't have any scent.

Unusually warm temperatures this past weekend did a great job of melting much of the snow around here and today's rain is finishing it all off. Saturday I got to do a little clean up in one of the front beds and found foliage on the Colombines and Nepetas. By the end of this week I hope to be able to find some of the Dicentras (Bleeding hearts) popping up.