Thursday, May 17, 2018

Blooms in the Serenity Garden in May

Vision of stillness
breathtakingly beautiful
peace, serenity.
Phyllis Babcock

The shade garden was not so serene two years ago when we removed the silver maple. The cutback in the amount of shade, the damage caused by fallen branches, and the resulting bareness of the beds made me very sad. Two springs later, serenity has returned to this favorite garden spot of mine. The plants have filled in the spaces and our serene lady once more dips her toes into a pool of blue grape hyacinths. The garden is enhanced by layers of foliage from dark green boxwoods and chartreuse spirea to climbing hydrangeas. Click on the pictures below to enlarge and see what I mean. You will notice the lacy ferns, the delicate white blossoms of lily-of-the valley, and a red bleeding heart, each adding its own beauty.

At the other end of Serenity the layered look is continued with mounds of hostas, a burgeoning turtle head, and an evergreen (the name of which I have forgotten) in front of the old cedar tree. The beautiful angel on the trunk of the cedar tree was gifted to me by my daughter more than ten years ago. The two plants in bloom in this area are lamium and calycanthus.

Tranquility of Nature's best
turns troubles to trivialities.
Joyce Johnson

I know I post pictures of the same flowers every year, but I never tire of May blooms: Jacob's ladder, lily-of-the-valley, bleeding heart, brunera, calycanthus, and violets -- all flowering in Serenity today. You've seen them before; here they are again:

Jacob's Ladder or Greek valerian (Polemonium caeruleum)
Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)
Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost,' pink Lamium, and the faded flowers or Helleborus 'Ivory Prince.'

Clockwise from top left: Lungwort (Pulmonaria), Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum), 
Miniature Hosta, Sweet Shrub (Calycanthus) 

Bleeding Heart (Dicentra sp.)

I planted numerous hostas in Serenity, with miniature ones in the fairy gardens. It was not so serene when I chased the deer out. I sprayed a deterrent, but with all the rain lately ...

Deer nibbled the hostas

There are violets all through Serenity ...

Violets (Viola sp.)
                                                                                             .... and more in the Cottage Garden:

Violet (Viola sororia 'Freckles')
In the Cottage Garden, violets and primroses, oh, my.

Also in the Cottage Garden the allium buds are ready to burst open.

Allium sp.

I am late for Garden's Bloggers' Bloom Day, celebrated on the 15th of each month, but I'm participating anyway. If you go to our host's blog, May Dreams Gardens, you will see that Carol's blooms are so much more advanced than mine even though her Indiana garden is the same zone 6 as here. Until fairly recently we were classified as zone 5 which I thought was much more accurate. Looking at Carol's columbine and clematis, I'm hopeful, however, as I feel the promise of blooms to come. Check it out!

The storms this week brought terrible devastation to much of the Northeast. We didn't lose power and my gardens were not impacted except for minor flooding. And I saw my first butterfly. I feel blessed! Wherever you live, I hope you are safe and enjoying your May garden.

Pamela x

Morning Cloak butterfly on Crabapple

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Saturday, April 28, 2018

The Glory of Spring at Northview Gardens

Spring finally arrived in Pennsylvania. I celebrated with a visit to Northview Gardens in Ambler; my husband and my friend Janet accompanied me. It was raining, but Janet said we could make our own sunshine. Northview is the home of Jenny Rose Carey, senior director of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society's (PHS) Meadowbrook Farm. Jenny Rose and I met at a master gardeners' conference a couple of years ago and have been good friends ever since. When PHS offered a private tour and lunch at Northview, I was very excited to participate. This was my second time there; I recorded my first visit HERE. We joined the other visitors for coffee and snacks in Northview's carriage house. Jenny Rose introduced us to the wonderful world of historic (pre-1940) daffodils, demonstrating with cut blooms from her garden. She described how the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) places daffodil cultivars in 13 divisions, starting with the trumpet daffodil in Division 1 and ending with daffodils 'distinguished solely by botanical name' in Division 13. I was amazed at the diversity. My old brain found it difficult to assimilate all this information at first (it's good there wasn't a test) but upon my return home it was fun to look at the daffodils in my garden and assign them to the appropriate divisions. I must confess that I couldn't do this without the cheat-sheet that Jenny Rose gave us. My interest in unusual daffodils was peaked, so I investigated the American Daffodil Society's website. I urge you to take a look. Some amazing, unusual blooms -- who knew?

When we started the tour, our first stop in the 4 1/2 acre garden was at the Moon Beds with their daffodil mass-plantings. It poured rain since the moment we arrived, so raincoats, wellies, and umbrellas were in order. I was thankful that H.H. held an umbrella over me and my camera so I could take pictures.

Jenny Rose Carey shows us the daffodils in the Moon Beds.

As we walked around the flower beds, I was gratified to see some daffodil cultivars that I grow, and love, in my own garden:

I grow Narcissus cyclamineus with its swept back petals.
Large cupped daffodil. I have one similar. Mine is Narcissus 'Joyce Spirit'
Trumpet daffodil with ruffled white blooms. I have them on my Daffodil Walk.

There were not only daffodils but many more spring blooms in Jenny Rose's gardens. I've grouped some of them by color:

Perfect Pinks
Difficult to pick a favorite!

I fell in love with this snake's head fritillary and on my return home I ordered some for fall delivery.

Fritillaria meneagris called Checkered lily or Snake's head fritillary

Wonderful Whites
Top: Anemonella thalictroids. Right: Leucojum aestrivum. Left: Trillium pusillum 'Roadrunner'

Beautiful Blues
Top: Brunnera macrophylla Bottom: Mertensia virginica Virginia bluebells
Still raining -- Jenny Rose points to Virginia bluebells

Virginia bluebells with raindrops -- so beautiful!

Since my last visit, Jenny Rose gave the Redbud Allée and the Winter Walk new pathways. I love how she left grass down the middle and planted it with spring flowers. The redbuds were in bloom this time and a copper beech at the end of the allée had retained its glowing leaves. Stunning. One of my favorite walks at Northview.

Redbud Allée (Left)  and Winter Walk (Right) with new pathways

Following our tour, we returned to the Carriage House for an excellent lunch. When the other guests had left, Janet, H.H. and I enjoyed an extended visit with Jenny Rose and Hanna, her lovely head gardener. We drank tea and talked gardens. How blessed I am to have such wonderful, like-minded friends.

Referring to a list of herbaceous blooms that grow at Northview, I see Sanguinaria canadensis Bloodroot listed, but I didn't notice it on my visit. I was thrilled when, on my return home, I found mine was blooming.
Sanguinaria canadensis Bloodroot in my Serenity Garden

My very late Forsythia blooms today

I am especially happy to see my miniature cherry tree with blossoms, pictured bottom left in the following collage. It is Snow fountain cherry Prunus x 'Snofozam.'

More of my spring blooms.

Based on my tour, I developed a wish list of plants to purchase for my own gardens. It includes Anemone blando Windflower, Epimedium Witches hat, Fritillaria meneagris Checkered lily (already ordered), and I may try Trillium again (no luck previously.) And, of course, I want to add some unusual daffodils to my collection. I think I will join the American Daffodil Society.

Spring arrived at last in Pennsylvania; my favorite season filled with promise. I left Northview truly inspired. Where are you getting your inspiration this year, dear gardening friends?

Wishing you a happy spring, or whatever season it is in your corner of the world.

Pamela x

**I hope you clicked on some of the links in this posting for more information.**

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Monday, April 16, 2018

Spring Arrived Late for April 2018 Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day

Spring was fashionably late this year for April Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day (GBBD) that occurs on the 15th of each month. Three days of very warm weather and sunshine prior to GBBD enticed a few blooms (and me) to come out. Hellebores began to open at last. (My favorite is 'Ivory Prince' at the top of the page and bottom left in the collage.) Looking back at last year's posting, however, this April has little to show in my garden. There is no forsythia, only one tiny primrose flower, no blossoms on the weeping cherry tree, and few daffodils blooming along the Daffodil Walk. All these plants were gloriously strutting their stuff this time last year. But I was so happy to be working in my garden again. Feeling the warm sun and hearing the birds sing was such a treat after the brutally long winter. Just a couple of days of 70 degree weather and I was able to make a real dent in the clearing-up list of chores.

Hellebores began to open their buds.

Only one primrose bloom, lots of crocuses, and the snowdrops are fading
Pretty crocuses under the crabapple tree.
A few tulips making a green appearance in the pollinator garden.

We have a nuisance skunk living in a hole she's made under the lean-to at the back of the tractor shed where we store the lawn and patio furniture and other garden stuff. Everything stinks! Whew! The creature dug holes all through my flower beds and grass areas looking for grubs. We called a small-animal control service to relocate our smelly friend. They set three traps and monitor them daily. So far they have caught four squirrels.

Who did this to my crocuses? Probably the skunk looking for grubs
The skunk trap caught a squirrel

The man from the control service thinks the skunk may have settled in to have babies back there, but he is hopeful she will come out and take the bait eventually. I don't envy them carrying her away!

Here are a couple of my before-and-after-cleanup projects:

Abundance Garden before the cleanup
Abundance Garden after the cleanup

The shrub at the front of each Abundance Garden picture is a clethra that must be moved. I planted Joe pye next to it and, although it is the miniature 'Baby Joe', it totally swamps the shrub. I'm going to move the clethra to the other end of the bed.

After the cleanup you can really see the beautiful daffodils in Abundance. I love the one with the swept-back petals. It reminds me of the smaller 'tete-a-tete' -- I'm planning to buy some this year for my daffodil-free beds.

My favorite daffodil today. Is it Narcissus 'Galactic Star'?

I know it is the wrong time to prune honeysuckle, but the vine growing over the arbor near the front of the house was totally out of hand. Also, it was encroaching on the house gutter and under the siding. I feel sure that I trimmed it back after it bloomed last year, but it continued to grow into this undisciplined mess.

Very mindful that I was removing flower buds, I gave the vine a hair-cut. It looks so much better now:

A tidier honeysuckle arbor, and more daffodils coming into bloom

An example of the very lateness of this spring is the stunted growth on the rhubarb in the kitchen garden. It is usually quite lush by April. Looks like we still have parsnips, however, from last year. Must ask H.H. to dig them up -- maybe we'll have roasted parsnips for dinner.

Top: rhubarb. Bottom: parsnips
Signs of life in the cottage garden bed: allium and delphinium are sprouting

Finally, I am happy to say the pansies I planted on the deck nearly two weeks ago survived the snow and ice.

Beating the Odds

There's still lots to do, including opening the pond. Yesterday, the 15th (GBBD), took us back to the Arctic cold, so no work outside. Today, it is still cold and pouring rain. But whatever your weather, you can get a welcome jolt of spring by visiting our hostess Carol's blog at May Dreams Gardens where you can enjoy blooms from all around the world! Thank you, Carol.

Sending blooming love,
Pamela x

Wildlife habitat, but no skunks, please!

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