Thursday, August 15, 2019

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - August 2019

Monarch butterfly on 'Zowie! Yellow Flame' zinnia

We took a couple of great trips this month, first to Boston then to Charlottesville, Virginia. But as the song says, 'It's very nice to go traveling, but so much nicer to come home'. I was a little nervous that I would find my garden a mess after leaving it untended, but it really wasn't too bad, with some beautiful blooms for Bloom Day.

The zinnias I grew from seed turned out to be quite stunning although I started them indoors in a different medium than usual, and when they germinated, the seedlings seemed awfully puny. I grew two sorts this year: 'State Fair Mix' and 'Zowie! Yellow Flame.' Zowie is my favorite zinnia of all time, not least because it attracts so many butterflies. I captured three monarchs in the picture below, but actually there were at least five on that stand of zinnias.

'Zowie! Yellow Flame' zinnia. Can you see three butterflies?

I have milkweed in three of my gardens. All are supporting monarch caterpillars. Also, there are lots of aphids keeping the ladybugs busy.  I don't spray; I just wait for the predators to arrive.

All except the bottom left are milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). Bottom left is butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) - newly planted in the rain garden.

 Let's take a walk around my gardens ...

Joe Pye in the rain garden is another butterfly magnet. That is the American swallowtail butterfly.

I planted a variety of pollinator plants in the cutting garden. These are from a free packet of seeds I received from Renee's Garden Seed Company.

Hydrangea 'Pinky Winky' turned from white to pink. The blooms were white in my last posting. They will be almost red by the end of the season.
Red crocosmia, aptly named 'Lucifer'.  My mother in England called it Monbretia. Not very full this year due to winter damage.

Most of the daylilies have finished blooming.  I showed you these fabulous red ones last month, but must include them for Bloom Day as they make such a statement -- and are my favorite.

Daylily (Hermerocallis 'Chicago Apache')

After all the bright colors of the cottage garden, let's rest our eyes on some white blooms ...

Clockwise from top right: Shasta daisy; phlox 'David'; German chamomile; caladium 'White Christmas'; David Austin rose 'Lichfield angel'; hydrangea 'Annabelle'      
The water lilies continue their beautiful blooming in Froggy Pond

 There are a couple of signs that summer will come to an end:

Top: Red berries on Korean spice viburnum 'Diana'. Bottom: Chinese lantern plants with their 'lanterns' turning orange

I am linking with Carol at May Dreams Gardens for her meme 'Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day' that occurs on the 15th of every month. Please click on the link to see what is blooming around the world today.

Wishing you all a happy Bloom Day,

The miniature rose that my husband gave me on Valentine's Day is blooming in a Stone Garden planter.

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Sunday, July 28, 2019

July was Amazing: Honors for My Garden and an Incredible Award for my Writing

This month in the garden surpassed all others. First, a photoshoot for a national magazine; then filming for a television show. But that's not all: GardenComm awarded me their silver medal of achievement for my 'Gardening in the Poconos' newspaper articles.  I am humbled and honored by these events -- I was actually speechless for a while, a rare occurrence (as those who know me will tell you.)

Country Gardens Magazine -- a Better Homes and Gardens quarterly publication -- sent renowned photographer, Rob Cardillo, to take pictures for their Summer 2020 edition. Rob was accompanied by stylist, Samantha Thorpe, who helped him set up for each shot. Samantha and I had been in touch for some weeks discussing suitable props for the photographs. She arranged for my local garden center, Chestnuthill Nursery, to supply large pots of plants. (You can see them each side of the Kitchen Garden arbor in the picture above. I was sorry to see the pots go after the shoot!) The owner of Chestnuthill Nursery, Jim Scocozza, has a TV program called Pocono Landscape Challenge. He asked if they could film me and my garden for an episode. They filmed Rob and Sam first, then returned with the film crew a few days later.

I was fascinated to watch Rob and Samantha at work. I'll never look at a garden magazine in the same way again; so much effort goes into each shot. They were particularly interested in my potting shed; they said it has potential for the magazine's cover. Wouldn't that be wonderful?

I found that lovely cushion for the rocking chair in a hospital gift shop. Perfect!
The celosia in the shed window box looks striking against the corn in our field beyond
The Kitchen Garden strutted its stuff for the photoshoot

Samantha used flowers from my garden in the sitting areas. She supplied simple, white country-looking vases. I was sorry to see them go too. I think all the other props they used were mine.

Top: the cutting garden is on the right of the picket fence and Abundance Garden on the left. Bottom: Abundance with one of grandson Jon's miniatures in the old bathtub that was his Pappy's when he was a baby.

I liked some of the changes that Samantha made and have kept them in place. For example, she moved the birdcage with the curly ivy into the herbaceous border.

The cottage garden peaked for the photo shoot.
I placed a bistro set as a 'destination' at the end of the hollyhock walk
The hollyhocks are not good this year with lots of rust. But an essential plant for cottage garden style. I like this black one.
My favorite seat by the pond
Samatha found an abandoned bird bath behind the barn and placed annuals in it. I love it.
The Serenity Garden. There are major problems here with the catalpa tree -- I'll elaborate next posting.
Leading up to the front door, the white SunPatiens® impatiens (chosen by Jon) work well. Victor painted the shutters black.
Thank you dear friend, Janet, for gifting me the flat basket, for all the trips to the nursery to choose plants, and for weeding!
Some of my favorite flowers this month

I am happy to say that the gardens looked their best for the photoshoot and for the filming. The amount of work to achieve near-perfection was enormous. I found it challenging, especially as I am facing some health issues. My husband, Duane was so supportive -- he spent many hours working with me although he's not a gardener. My sister-in-law helped, too. Then as the big day approached and panic set in, gardeners from the local Women's Club arrived to give the gardens a final grooming: they weeded, deadheaded, and touched up the mulch. I would not have been ready without them. A big thank you to Pat Mackes for organizing this errand of mercy. It takes a village ....

My dear friends from the Women's Club (I'm the one with the big grin under the blue hat)

I was glad that Rob included my pets in the photo-shoot; they are an important part of my garden story. We went into the pasture for portraits with them.

Rob Cardillo taking pics in the pasture. Photograph Samantha Thorpe.

Charm, the miniature horse, and Doodles, the dwarf, Nigerian pigmy goat. (You can see Billy Goat in the previous picture near Rob's knee.) Photographs Samantha Thorpe

Rob (center) with the film crew from Pocono Landscape Challenge (left), and Samantha, Duane, and me (right). Photograph: George Roberts

This posting is far too long. I've tried to condense it by making collages, and I left out a lot of pictures that I would like to show you.  I can't end, however, without explaining a little about the enormous honor of receiving a silver medal from Garden Communicators International (GardenComm): 

GardenComm is a highly respected organization for book authors, bloggers, photographers, speakers, newspaper columnists, and all types of communicators in the green industry. I've been a member for several years. Annually, they recognize individuals and companies who have displayed the highest level of talent in their area. I am overwhelmed and humbled by receiving this honor for my newspaper articles and thank Dee Nash, Carol Michel, and the awards committee. I am in my fifth year writing a monthly garden column for our local newspaper, The Pocono Record. I write on all aspects of gardening in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Click HERE for an example.  I will be going to Salt Lake City, Utah, to receive my award at GardenComm's Annual Conference in September.

I love garden writing as much as gardening, so this achievement makes me very, very happy. This year, July in my garden was awesome.

I'm linking with Sarah at Down by the Sea. She has hollyhocks to die for! 
Wishing you a wonderful August,
Pamela x


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Sunday, June 30, 2019

This Month in the Garden: June 2019

In my garden June isn't for roses, it's for clematis. The roses are not doing well this year -- after the brutal winter weather and then the excessive rain -- but my clematis are magnificent.

Some of my clematis today
Climbing rose (Rosa 'Improved Blaze')

A few roses appeared briefly at the beginning of the month. 'Improved Blaze' is long gone. The Peace rose was affected by the rain and will not be around much longer -- especially as the first Japanese beetles of the year were spotted in the neighborhood yesterday.

Rose (Rosa 'Peace')
In my mind this month is divided into two parts: the time before the Master Gardeners International Conference and the days after. The conference, held at Valley Forge, was wonderful: great speakers, nice venue, good food, and outstanding gardens. Being close to Philadelphia, we visited Chaticleer (my favorite garden of all), Winterthur, Mt. Cuba, and others. It was fabulous to tour beautiful gardens that I don't have to maintain! I will be posting about them in the near future.

It's hard to be away from the garden in June, but I was happy with the work I'd done before I left: I had finished much of the planting and completed most of the mulching. Unfortunately, while I was away torrential rainfalls caused quite a bit of damage, especially to my hanging baskets and window boxes. Petunias do NOT like heavy rain. Also, deer nibbled at several plants although I sprayed a deterrent before I left.

The day I left for the conference it was raining; the rain continued all week. Duane was happy he didn't need to water for me.

I am so glad I installed a rain garden. It works!!!

The rain garden has three basins of different depths where the water collects
The first rain garden plantings were plants I relocated from other areas of my garden. Joe Pye dominates the space.
I filled the rain garden with native plants that tolerate both wet and dry conditions

The rain garden plants are beginning to fill out. (I wrote an article about native plants for the newspaper; you can read it HERE.) I am so very proud of my rain garden.

More 'before and after the conference' pictures ...

Some favorite plant blooming before I left: climbing hydrangea, peonies, and bearded iris.
Blooming today, clockwise from top left, rose (Rosa 'Peace'), coneflower (Echinacea Purpurea Confections™ 'Milkshake'), swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), daylily (Hermerocallis sp.), beebalm (Monarda didyma 'Jacob Cline').
'The Bather' immersed in the foamy blooms of Spirea 'Gold Mound'
Froggy Pond is looking fine early this morning with the frogs lined up at the end.

The Kitchen Garden is coming along ....

Before I left for the conference
The Kitchen Garden upon my return

The problem with writing only one blog posting a month is the shear volume of photographs and information I have to share. I've tried to condense by making collages. If you have stayed with me this long, dear gardening friends, I promise to start posting more often in the near future. But when its not raining and I have to choose between gardening and blogging ...      This post is prompted by Sarah's meme 'Through the Garden Gate.' Do visit her blog at Down by the Sea to enjoy what is happening in her beautiful English garden.

Can you believe that half of 2019 has passed already! Wishing you a happy and healthy July, with no adverse weather!

 Pamela x

I have far too much lamium, but the bees adore it.

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Friday, May 31, 2019

This Month in the Garden: May 2019

May brought dramatic changes to my garden. Gone were the pretty blossoms of the weeping redbud, replaced by the spectacular blooms of the crabapple tree. Next, the viburnum was clothed in white -- every year this shrub stuns me with its beauty.

Weeping redbud (Cercis Canadensis 'Lavender Twist') with its distinctive heart-shaped leaves
Flowering Crabapple (Malus species)
Maries' Viburnum (Viburnum plicatum tomentosum 'Mariesii') near the back porch

 At the front of the house, first the azalea (also white) then the rhododendron.

Front of the house views.

The honeysuckle flowers are abundant, as always. My daughter gave me a colorful hanging basket for Mother's Day. I replicated its 'joy' in an arrangement on the front porch.

In the cottage garden, the forget-me-nots remind me of my mother as they were her favorite flower.

Blue and white forget-me-nots with primroses
More of my favorite May flowers

In spite of the dreadful downpours of rain, threats of tornadoes, and high winds, I accomplished quite a lot of tasks this month. With help from my long-suffering husband, I prepared the kitchen garden for planting. Grandson Jonathan helped me plant and sow and I'm happy to report that most seeds have germinated.

We were later than previous years cleaning and treating the pond. After a lot of hard work, we were so happy to switch on the waterfalls and declared it open -- better late than never.

The pond is open!

Jon did an amazing job of renovating three of the miniature gardens. We started over with all of them, expanding the bed for the in-ground one, emptying the pots for the others, putting in new soil and plants.

Jon's handiwork

We are about a month behind with cleaning out beds and adding mushroom compost to them. It has been difficult to get the compost because our supplier frequently says its too wet. We have finished about half the garden. We are hopeful that June will start with a dry spell and we can complete the task.

The Serenity Garden waiting for its annual treat of mushroom compost. Note the climbing hydrangea is about to bloom.

Because of all the rain, I have a new project: I am creating a rain garden where a pipe carries water away from the basement and gutters of the house. We have a wet basement served by a sump pump. I was tired of the water flooding Abundance Garden. I've added an area to Abundance, with basins to catch the water. I'm following Penn State Extension's recommendations for size, depth, and types of plants. I will buy all native plants that don't mind water.

The rain garden's beginnings
After a storm. I checked that it drains fairly quickly.
 I'll keep you posted.

The Cottage Garden today with peony and allium in bloom

Gardening is always a challenge, now more than ever. I pray you stay safe in the path of dreadful storms, dear gardening friends. I saw my first monarch butterfly today -- never before in May -- giving me hope for a better summer.

Pamela x

Chickadee nesting in the jug birdhouse on the porch

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