Friday, September 28, 2012

Orange Eyed Swan

A lotta rain today.  Going on an inch of soaking gentle rain, and it hasn't quite stopped yet.

I love my orange eyed funny basket swan with these delightful pansies that match his eyes. Remind me to get more of this color next year too.

And there are more pops of orange from the nasturtiums climbing through the inkberry hollies and into the plumbagos.

Too much orange? Here's some rich purple in the meadow.

And the reds are starting to happen.  The sumacs are some of the first to color up on the hillside.

The zinnias get better looking as fall comes on.

The iteas in the Birch Garden are more mahogany than garnet red this season. Iris Immortality is a nice white pop against the deep red.

Still raining. Still coming down hard.

Monday, September 24, 2012


The problem with this cool, sunny fall weather is that it gives me endless hours to go out there and putter.

And that means I am constantly moving things around, tinkering with designs, changing spaces for various plants.  On and on.  The air is comfortable, but I do get hot and sweaty.

Yesterday I wasted an hour planting out the amsonia tabernaemontana seedlings that I had dug up last spring.  They were free --- just three pots of seedlings from under the current shrubs.

I dithered all summer on where to put them -- I love them, but do I need three more very large blowzy small-leaved plants?  Then I planted them carefully at the back edge of the Drive By garden, behind the witch hazels.

Nope. Uh uh. Dug them up, put two at the back of Meadow's Edge where I had previously transplanted the Karl Foerster grasses --- after I took the grasses out.  Entirely.  I just don't have a place for them.

And on it goes. I took the Beni Kaze Japanese Forest grasses out of their pots on the front porch and planted them out.

Two have no roots, I think they are dead.  Really.  But we'll see.  The pots had some white grubs in them.  I think the roots were eaten.

I moved the Silver Mist juniper from under the farthest birch tree and put it in an empty spot near the star magnolia by the gravel garden. That was a bear to move, and I had to cut all the big roots.  Maybe it survives, maybe not.

I moved daylilies into the spot under the birch.  And moved a Sheffield mum into the spot where the daylily was in Meadow's Edge.

And on and on.


I also planted a blue juniper at the back of the Drive By garden. I am not sure what kind it is, or even how big it will get. It is upright, pyramidal and quite small now.

It came in a mixed container planting from Lowe's and I had been keeping it in a pot along the front walk. Not sure what I have, but it makes a nice dense little point at the back now.
You can see it here in its pot. How big will it get?

Then I got the edger out and made the left side of the garden in front of Meadow's Edge a little more circular, planted up the Russian sages to balance the others on the right side of that garden, then plunked the metal tower in there.

I will move the Jackmanii clematis out of its pot on the patio and let it climb the tower here in the garden. It makes a nice end point to this strip.

I am forever moving clematis which sets it back.

Now I need to figure out what to do with that corner of the patio where the pot of clematis was.

In that same garden strip, I decided a few days ago to limb up the twiggy blackhaw viburnum. It has twisted, overlapping stems, and won;t even be a small single stemmed tree.

But I want a more elegant look there, not a big old shrub.

What do you think of my efforts?

The weather will continue to be cool and I still have things to move, prune, shift around, redesign, and replant.

Most of the garden edges need to be expanded a little, and that is sod removal hard work that is best done in this weather.

I'll keep puttering.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sun and Rain

A couple more nice sunny cool September days, and then late last night a downpour. We got half an inch of heavy rain.  This morning all is sparkling and bright and well watered.

A few days ago in the meadow:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Spectacular September

We had rain and a lot of wind two days ago, with a soaker of over an inch to make everything look good.  Now the sun is out, it is cool, and September continues to be spectacular.

The wind knocked over the Karl Foerster grasses that I had moved from Meadow's Edge to the back of that garden.

They are tall, they had shallow roots, and I couldn't dig among the roots of the river birch, so they were barely planted, mounded up with some compost, and left to their own devices.  The wind got them.  But I jimmied them back up, and we'll see if the roots take.

Same with the new red oaks I planted.  They are tall and skinny and whippy, and got uprooted in the wind, but after the storm I tamped the rootball back down firmly into the wet soil.  Now I need the roots to grow and stabilize these whips.

I took out the kiwi vines today.  The male plants never grew by the patio wall (too shady, too wet, too something.)  The females grew wonderfully by the deck, but they do not get as much leaf tip coloring as the males, and were just uninteresting.

Green enough, nice enough, an occasional pink tipped leaf in spring, a few grape sized kiwi fruits, but I decided to remove them and put in a big dramatic (rampant??) sweet autumn clematis.  Fragrant, showy, it will cover the whole deck railing and then some.

It's another white flowered plant, and I have so many.  In fact it is right by the white flowered Rose of Sharon which has been blooming nonstop for a month or more now.  But they are tiny star-like flowers, very different in texture from the Rose of Sharon, and the pink turtlehead is a nice offset, blooming at the same time.

I also planted the Opuntia prickly pear cactus in the gravel today.

The poor thing is all keeled over. It was too wet in the pot when I bought it, and quite waterlogged.  Hopefully in the gravel (and I added leveling sand and cactus planting mix) it will set upright a bit.

September has been just delightful so far, and I putter and sit and enjoy the gorgeous weather. Even the two days of rain and wind were good, as we needed the rain.

A potted mum by the patio --- lovely!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

I Bought a Tree

So far September has been cool and sunny and spectacular.  Day after day of pleasant, beautiful weather, in the 70s.

At Kevin's nursery I found a red buckeye -- Aesculus pavia -- and I bought it.  It's already coloring for fall.

I had seen a beautiful one on a garden tour in Amenia, and Margaret Roach had one too.  It was early May and both specimens I saw were in bloom. Nice.

I knew I had to have one! But I could not find one in any nurseries, not even at Garden in the Woods, where they had interesting woodland natives.  But here was a good sized one at Kevin's and it was affordable and a size I could plant myself.  Perfect.

But where to put it?

At first I thought out by the line of bottlebrush buckeyes, in the distance, off center to the line of shrubs.  It would be in the distance, and it would "coordinate" with the other buckeyes.

But I'm not sure.  I don't really want another tree in the middle of lawn, and I am iffy about using it with the other buckeyes.  Too much yellow in fall perhaps? And out there it adds to the sense of trees circling the perimeter of the property.

So now I am thinking to put it by the gravel garden, and complete the "allee" from the driveway looking back to the maple in the back yard, completing the row with the paperbark maple, the stewartia, then the red buckeye further down.  See it?

In fall there would be rusty orange from the paperbark, brilliant red (the stewartia), and a pop of bright yellow opening out into the yard.

But it would be rather intensely planted in that whole area. All the trees and shrubs there would become one big mass as they gain size.  Crowded?  Or beautifully shady and artistically overhanging the walk as they get tall?

Should I put it beyond the end of the gravel, next to the hydrangea, which will grow up quite large under and around it? I'll have to keep the buckeye limbed up to pass under it and to get it above the hydrangea. That grassy strip between the hydrangea and the path needs to go in any event.

Or put it on the other side of the entrance into the gravel garden, and keep it within the strip along the walk? I'll still need to keep it limbed up.

What to do?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Sunny Porch

It's been very cool at night, in the 40s.  Then dry and sunny for the past couple days, in the 70s with a cool breeze. Perfect days.

You know what I really like?  The porch.  Since I made it over into a plant "conservatory" (well, sort of) it looks really good.  On sunny mornings it just lights up, and at certain angles it catches the plants and it all glows green.

Yesterday I planted three end of season 5 gallon trees that I got at Lowe's for $20 each.

I put a northern red oak out in the meadow on the east side, to block the view of the two houses below us.  And I put one at the east edge of the yard where the little Bosnian pine had been. Then I planted a red maple out in the meadow at the foot of the back hill.  I love planting trees.  Some day these will be big shady trees, especially the two red oaks!

Today I tackled moving the Karl Foerster grasses in Meadow's Edge garden.  Much better now.



Now I can see the lovely Ogon spirea, and it is a cleaner, neater look.  But there's a gap between the low fleeceflower groundcover and the taller shrubs at the back.  And when the camassias are done blooming next spring there is floppy foliage in that gap that needs something around it.

I'll need to put something about two feet tall in there.  What to put there??

I moved the grasses to the back of Meadow's Edge.  You can just see them at the far side.  I am hoping the late afternoon sun will catch the plumes there.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A sunny, cool Sunday

Thunderstorms and rain last night, and we got 7 tenths of an inch.  It was a gentle soaker.  Today is sparkling and sunny and quite cool, in the 70s.

I put the plastic mesh deer guards around the yard trees today, but still need to get to the trunks out in the meadow.  This time I just used a narrow cut of mesh, rolled it, and clipped it with little orchid clips. Easy, and easy to remove.

All the newer trees in the yard are now protected.

The gardens look great. Tardiva hydrangeas are blooming, and the canna really makes a statement.

Those orange Gleam nasturtiums have been going all summer.  I just can't believe it.  Usually they look tired by mid summer, but these have gone on and on.

The rose of Sharon has been blooming for weeks now.  Such a lovely pure white.

And more white, as the Immortality iris is in its final re-bloom now in the Birch Garden. It's a crystalline sugar white.

And look, a pink fall crocus -- colchicum -- is blooming very shyly, deep in the Birch Garden under the caryopteris.

And the tall sedum is blooming, with a tiny white moth visitor.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Mornings have been so foggy and damp the past few days, but by noon it burns off and the days have been sunny and summery, in the 80s.

I got a beautiful abelia grandiflora 'Francis Mason' from Kevin Wilcox.  I think I will put it under the smokebush, at the rise of the little berm by the pavers.  It will go where the thyme has petered out and hopefully cascade over the sharp slope of the berm.

This glossy abelia is more chartreuse colored than 'Edward Goucher' which is still doing well in the center front of the Bird Garden.

I like the lighter colored leaves contrasting with the dark smokebush.  In its pot the leaves have bleached a little, but in the ground they should deepen, and I hope they are as glossy and shiny as Edward Goucher.  It will be interesting to see the differences.

I like this solution for the browned out area where the thyme was.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I Take It Back

I take back yesterday's complaint about gray and dry conditions.

It rained.

Almost an inch (eight tenths overnight).

Boy, was I a whiner yesterday.

I take it all back.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Gray Dry Day

How can we have predictions of rain all week, showers 90 percent likely and thunderstorms coming, and a lowering, threatening, gloomy gray sky, but get no precipitation?  The worst of both possibilities --- gloomy without the rain, and dry without any sunniness.

Today is dark and awful looking, but rain storms have passed us by.  The clethra is crispy and curled up and the yellowroot in some places is brown and curled too, despite my having watered thoroughly quite a few times this summer.  Any pulling of weeds produces a dry puff and the gardens are hardpacked and bone dry.

Everything has that tired, grim look, under a dark gray sky.

Just a quarter inch of rain in the last 15 days, although at the airport a few miles away they got over half an inch just two days ago (huh? we got absolutely nothing).

It is not drought, not like the midwest in any way.  Not at all.  But it is dry.  And it is gray, and no rain is coming.

And I have a garden tour (Lee and his wife) on Thursday.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Some Pictures I Like

Late summer.