Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Google +

Gray and overcast, in the low 40s, kind of damp and grim for the last few days.

I joined Google + and added my 2010 and 2011 Picasa web garden albums to the photo page there.  I love looking at a year in time, from winter to Christmas, through the seasons.

My Google+ Photos

Thursday, February 9, 2012

New Stuff

Cold and sunny, quite breezy today.

I spent the day assembling new stuff for the garden.

The wooden footbridge for the dry creek bed came and I opened it up.  Solid cedar, mmm, the smell. . .   It just needs all the planks screwed onto the three pieces of the arched frame. 

Quite heavy.  Jim will help me, it takes two to line up the planks and hold it while the woodscrews are put in.

I assembled the taller of the two tuteurs today.  A bit of an awkward job, but I got it done. 

The key will be to get the bottom posts sunk deep enough in the soil to stand without wobbling.  I'll need some rebar posts for reinforcement I think.  The remaining one is the smaller five foot one, and I should be able to get that together easily.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Whaddya Think?

Very cold now, after such a mild winter.  In the 20s today, with a dip in temperatures coming.  Still no snow cover.

Whaddya think of the Umbrian pot from Pottery Barn?  It's bigger than I thought it would be, and lighter, and it does not look like what I ordered.
Ordered this
Got this

But I like it.  It gives some real heft to the front garden, and the lighter color tone on tone with the darker brick is nice.  From the street it is noticeable without being fussy or shiny. The strawberry pots on the left are lost in the long walk.

There will be a clear white flowered clematis in the middle of the windows, probably Henryi.

And the pink nandina will go.  Gauras will be moved, irises moved, the whole strip simplified.  The tiny blue juniper in the red pot will be potted up in a bigger container or put in the ground.  Three new chamaecyparis bun mounds are coming.

I think I will really like the structure and formality of this space better.  Less blowsy and unkempt along the front walk.  I like the Umbrian pot's size and mass (and color).

I may or may not put annuals in it, but I will need to fill it in with light bulky items, and then cover that with moss so you don't see the bare insides of the pot.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Winter in a Sunny Spot

Best spot in the house on a sunny winter day.

The chair rotates so it can face into the afternoon sun, and it is such a delightfully warm, comfy spot for a nap or just for watching the winter landscape.

Yesterday the guys from American Materials brought the boulder and smaller rocks that we bought for the gravel garden.  Yeah, we bought rocks.  It still doesn't look right.  I think I need more.
The rusty brown dirt will wash off.  The rocks scattered around are too isolated looking.
I could use more medium sized rocks strewn around the big one.  This isn't the look yet.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


A cold, clear winter day with sun, but I spent it indoors at the CT Hort Society symposium.  Tony Avent was interesting and had great photos and information on plants and design.

I bought some seed packets on impulse.  Here's what I got and what I might do with them:

Nasturtium 'Moonlight'
I got climbing nasturtiums that will go up a trellis  6 to 8 feet.  Soft yellow.  I'll put these on the half tuteurs in front of the meters instead of the thunbergia balck eyed susan vine.  I might like this softer look better.

And I am getting a 'Carolina Moonlight' baptisia with beautiful yellow spires that will go where the Oklahoma redbud was.  They won't bloom at the same time but I like the idea of different yellow moonlight plants to soften the west side of the house.

Black pansies - Viola witt. 'Clear Crystals Black'

These are a novelty.  We'll see.
I might plant them among the lettuces in the big bowl on the deck, as they are cool weather plants like the lettuce, and should be an interesting color contrast.  Maybe.

Lobelia 'Crystal Palace'

After the lettuces and black pansies go by, put this deep blue mounding lobelia in the center of the bowl.

Then add some of the hot colored nasturtiums around the edges.  An experiment, we'll see how that looks.

Linaria 'Fairy Bouquet'

Supposed to look like snapdragons, in multi colors.

I'll put these in the front middle of the Birch Garden.

'Junior' Sunflowers. 
These are compact, only to 2 feet tall.  I'll put some in pots and then pop them into spots in the back garden where color is needed.

Friday, February 3, 2012

What to Do With the Blueberries

More seasonable, colder.  Gray skies and in the 40s.  Still mild for February, but not like the crazy spring-like day on the 1st.

I've been scouting areas where I could transplant the four blueberries to.  The sunny strip along the gravel garden has room now, but as the fothergillas grow I'll have the same problem I do already with the vaccinium being overtopped by the amsonias.  And I know I want to move the gaura there, and the sourwood and . . .

One plan is containers on the patio, handy for picking if they fruit well again, and in a pot I could control the soil acidity. 

Here's a great site ( with very specific container info on blueberries.  This is what they say about Northblue:

Northblue: typical height, 1½ to 3½ feet; vigorous growth habit; berries are large and dark blue, with flavor reportedly superior to most highbush cultivars; at maturity will produce 3 to 12 pounds of fruit per bush per season; self-compatible. Described as "a real workhorse"; a very reliable cropper". Fall color particularly vivid.  Wow, if only.

I really do not want to spend money to get big pots (need 20 gallons at least and that is 20 to 24 inches across).  I like the architectural woodsy look of the shrubs in the garden.  I don't want to be wrestling big containers around.  And the patio just isn't that big to handle several barrels of shrubs.

Amazon has a fiberglass barrel big enough, 21 inches wide, $50.  It looks very nice and would work well:


Instead I think I will move the recently transplanted Blue Ice amsonia from the strip in front of Meadow's Edge (put it in the Birch Garden if it can be re-transplanted one more time and survive).  Put the blueberries in there.

Some pruning is in order for my plants:
  • Remove thin, twiggy stems, crossing or horizontal shoots, or stems close to the ground.
  • Cut back some branches to the base, and others to strong upright shoots.  
  • Once a cane is six years old, remove it, as they do not produce well after this age. By that age, they are usually thick with peeling gray bark
  • Prune to a low, strong-growing upward-facing bud or shoot. 
  • By the time you're finished pruning an established bush, you should have cut out roughly 15 percent of the old growth.
I'm ready to dig these up and transplant them to containers!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Oh My What a Day

February 1 was a spectacular day.  It got to the mid 60s, almost a record but not quite.  But what a spring-like day.  I spent the afternoon outside moving rocks, planning things, sitting and just looking at everything.  It all looks so good.

Although everything is muddy and brown and gray looking from inside, and the sky was intermittently cloudy, it all sparkled while I was outdoors.  The hollies shone, the mud was a warm rich color, the bare branches of the shrubs looked so artistic.  The Angelina sedum is a rich rust and gold color all along the walkways.

Wow, it just felt so very good to be out there and to be doing projects.  Here's what I did:

I moved rocks.  I brought the ones from Meadow's Edge into the gravel garden, but even though they were almost too heavy to move, they still look puny.  I need some much larger boulders along the edges of the gravel. 
Here's how Jane's looks, and that is what I'm going for.
See how there is an island of rocks jutting into the gravel space?  And how much bigger the rocks are than my few?

I took out the moss garden in the iron birdbath and laid the moss pieces on the scatterings of small rocks in the gravel garden.  Think I'll get a nice mossy look on the stones eventually?

I cut down a tree. The three junipers I had planted at the road cut to screen the street have grown quite large now.  One looked funny, and when I went out there I could see the October snowstorm had uprooted it and it was completely leaning against another.  I had to cut it off at the stem, and drag the corpse to the edge of the woods.
The three junipers when first planted.  The middle one is gone now.
The remaining two are big now and will fill in the gap in the middle, so it will be ok.

Shade dapples the strawberry jars and juniper.
I made plans.  The front garden is going to have containers.  I don't know why, but the two strawberry jars, without any plants in them, make me happy here.  Nice muted monotone colors with the terra cotta and the rustic looking juniper.

The nandina has to go. Ick.  The irises (where the strawberry pots are) have to go, and I will move the big gauras and put in the bun falsecypresses (three of them).  

And a big white flowered clematis for the trellis ('Henryii will replace Bluebird).  Without the billowy gaura and the ungainly irises, this strip will be neater, more in keeping with a front walk.  And the pots add mass and structure.

And then I want to add another terracotta urn, larger, to the right side.  Pottery Barn has a nice bulky oil jar in terracotta stone and resin.
The pot I want to add (Pottery Barn, $179)
I like it.

And there's more.  I want to put a wooden arched bridge across the dry creek bed.  I moved the flat stepping stone to the gravel garden (looks too small as all the stones there do, sigh).  The bridge will go across where the stone was.  Four feet I think.  I saw one at Lee May's and I can get a similar one on Amazon.
I ordered one like this, a 4' span from Amazon.  $259.
It just felt so wonderful being outside puttering and making plans, I can't express it. Moving rocks was tiring, and I came inside in late afternoon, dirty at the knees and feeling good.