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Saturday, June 13, 2009

And the winner is...

Well how's this? I spent the last three days with the wonderful women in my local garden club. First we set up our flower show, then we exhibited in our flower show, I sold plants at our flower show and today at the end we broke down the flower show.

Talk about exhaustion!

The good news? I took home a nice amount of first place ribbons including my first ever "Growers Choice" award and the "Horticultural Excellence award" for one of my trough gardens (I entered three in the show, all three won first place in different classes).

This photo shows me at my sales booth, we should have taken it after I first set up and the booth was loaded down with plant material. The good news though was that at the end of the show I had very little plant material left!

Tomorrow we are hosting an open garden here. Cross your fingers and wish me better weather. I've been soaked through at my sales booth for three days in a row.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

I got mail!

Yesterday when I went out to the mailbox, I found a surprise. There was a small package waiting for me. I knew immediately that my shipment from Squaw Mountain Gardens had arrived.

You can see how small the package is by looking at the standard sized scissor next to it.

Now I wasn't expecting a huge package by any means, Squaw Mountain Gardens specializes in Sempervivums, Sedums and so on.

Opening the package I was in for another surprise. The box was filled with little paper bags. I had never seen plants shipped this way.

Looking inside the paper bags I found the Sempervivum (hens & chicks) that I had ordered. In all cases there was more than one plant in the bag, sometimes there were quite a few in there!

I suddenly realized that a strong gust of wind could take those bags and scatter the Semps all over the patio. It was time for action and I quickly made up a bunch of pots for those new babies.

Planting instructions were in the box and they were wonderfully clear.

I simply pressed the rosettes against the soil, I didn't bury them. This part literally took a few minutes in total. Not one little chick was allowed to escape. There's a tiny one here near the bottom lip of the pot.

Don't forget the name tags! Some of the varieties I ordered because I couldn't resist the name such as this cultivar 'Legolas'.

Apparently when I was looking at the photos on the website I must have been taken by the cobweb varieties because almost all the ones I ordered were webbed.

Here they are all potted up. I can tell you that I am absolutely thrilled with the shipment and would highly recommend this company for those of you looking for new Sempervivums for your trough gardens.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Aruncus - the perfect perennial

The most well behaved plant in my garden has to be Aruncus aethusifolius. The plant catalog at my desk here describes it perfectly: "10" compact mounds of dense, finely cut foliage, miniature spires of creamy white".

It forms a perfectly round mound, looking as if a garden gnome came upon it in the middle of the night and trimmed it.

Right now (June 10th) it is in full bloom. The blooms last a pretty long time, I'll be watching carefully this year to see how long they are here. Gradually they fade to a tan color and I just leave them on the plant since they remain nice and neat.

I also love the fact they they will scatter a few seeds this way although I never get as many seedlings as I'd like to get.

Last year I added two more types of Aruncus to my garden. This photo shows Aruncus 'Misty Lace' which is described as a " 2' X 2', compact and heat tolerant, deep green Astilbe-like foliage topped with delicate pure white plumes.

Sure enough it too is behaving as perfecly as it's little sister. It's just a bit larger than the athusifolius variety and has even more blooms.

I have this one in part shade, it gets lots of direct morning sun but no afternoon sun and it is as happy as can be.

Here's another angle, I love how it looks against the deep purple foliage of the Ligularia 'Britt Marie Crawford'.

The last variety of Aruncus in my garden is Aruncus dioicus which is the large version. 4-6' tall giant cream plumes in July, foliage looks like a giant Astilbe is just about the perfect description. What the catalog doesn't tell you is how wonderful this looks in the landscape.

For many years I walked past the pots of this giant Aruncus at nursery centers. It looks awful in pots. The blooms sprawled all over and seemed dingy in color. In the garden though it's a whole different story. The creamy white is just dreamy and the soft arching blooms are so much better than I ever imagined.

Sitting here typing on my laptop I can look out my dining room window and see it in full bloom. It looks magnificent and I hope it too gives me some seedlings like the athusifolius variety has done.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Magical Peas

Peas peas, heavenly peas. I love to eat raw peas and pea pods. Last year was the first year in many that I decided to try to grow a few vegetables. I had huge success with the peas in containers, enough so that I could munch a nice big handful each day while working in the garden.

This year I planted two varieties. Burpee Snowbird and Burpee Sugarsnap Peas. The pea you see here is the Snowbird which is just covered with blooms and pods.

See the pretty white flowers? Yesterday I stuck my nose up against them and inhaled. Yummmmm, they smelled delicious!

Now for the magic part. Here's how I grew my seeds this year. My potager is still under construction so I planted the pea seeds in large black plastic containers. I made my own pea supports with long branches I cut from my Physocarpus 'Diablo' (purple nine bark).

Take a good look here, do you see what I see? The Physocarpus has leafed out! How cool is this?

Now for the ultimate, not only did the cut Physocarpus branches leaf out, they are currently blooming. I can't tell you how happy this makes me (well, ok, I just told you ;-)

Happy happy me,

Sunday, June 07, 2009

An Aerial View

Once or twice a year I remember to go upstairs and take photos from our bedroom windows. I love to look at these photos years later and see the progression of the gardens.

This is the view from my front bedroom window. I can see straight up the driveway. The funny thing is I rarely look out my bedroom window, I guess I'm outside more than I'm inside!

My daughter Emily has a better view, she can't see all the way out to the street but she has a more sideways view of the front perennial borders that flank the driveway.

My bedroom has windows that look out the back of the house too. Here's the newly opened swimming pool. Still too cold to swim in but who cares, at least it looks lovely!

At the front of the swimming pool is my little rock garden. If I could change one hardscape location here in my yard it would be the pool and patio area. It's just so big, rectangular and of course, smack dab in the middle of the yard.

I zoomed in on the back shade border with my adorable shed and my neighbors hideous white vinyl fence.

One last look at the opposite corner where I make my black gold (compost of course!).

If you look carefully you can see Calie-the-wonder-doodle taking one of her many laps around the pool patio.

This evening I took lots and lots of photos. The next week is chock full of gardening plans. My local garden club is hosting a flower show this Friday and Saturday at the Historic Kissam House in Huntington Village. I've got a ton of things to get ready but at least I've got lots of photos and ideas to share with you when I find a moment or two.