Thursday, December 30, 2010

Azalea Path

This last day (oops I should have said last post) of 2010 I wanted to show you a place I had been this past spring. I wanted to save it for a time when the snow was blowing and we had our minds set on warmer weather. This is the time with the snow blowing and our wishes turn to spring.
A friend of mine and I set out to find the Azalea Path that we had heard a lot about. It is a Private Garden nestled in the back woods of South West Indiana not far from where I live.  Driving through the winding road that leads to this little piece of paradise we were surprised to see this sign indicating we had arrived at the gardens. We didn't know what to expect.
 We turned down the drive that takes you into the heart of the garden where you park. There was no indication of which path to take. This garden encompasses 50 acres more or less.  It is difficult for this person that lives on a 1/4 acre to wrap my mind around this much acerage.
However once you start walking the paths you just become engrossed in the beauty of nature.

The bit of tweaking of azaleas planted about everywhere you look enhances what Nature has given. 
You can certainly tell that the human hand has made its offerings too.  
 Of course every large garden must have a waterfall. This garden doesn't disappoint.
There are several bridges to traverse.

Large and small ponds to explore. 
There is even a childrens area. The play house and small furniture is for their Grands. 
Big kids are welcome too. 
If your tastes go more toward modern art there is a section that has several nice pieces. I wish I had written down what artists were displayed. I sure I did but I am sure I have lost that information. 
If the modern are is, well too modern, you will find more conventional art to peruse. 
There are benches everywhere. You can stop and relax, take in some of the majesty of the woods. 


Some of the benches are even incorporated into the art.

In one large section, my personal favorite, a tornado came through and ripped out a huge hunk of the tops of the trees. They hired a chain saw sculptor to come in and do their magic. 


These were only a small portion of the carvings. This angel seems to watch over this area now. Obviously one of my favorite areas of the garden. 
Oh, did I forget to mention the Azaleas?? 
Since we were told we had missed the grand display due to the hot weather we had in early spring we will just have to go back. 
If you get a wild hair to join me on a visit to the Azalea Path I would be delighted to be your guide.
They also have a page on Facebook. You can go there and see the garden shrouded in snow. It is equally as beautiful then.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Week Before Christmas and all through the house

No one was stirring. Not even me.  I was sitting here by the fire trying to thaw out, feeling so lucky to have the tree trimmed, the house straightened (as much as usual), gifts bought and wrapped. Yes, life is good now.
We have even taken time to do the first of the Christmas Bird Counts that we participate in this time of year.  The sky was so beautiful at dawn. The fact that it was only 2degreesF to start the morning didn't dampen our spirits. 
 Owls were out on this cold morning looking for the last morsel to keep them warm through out the day. The skies turned to buttermilk as the morning wore on. There wasn't any more of the sun to be seen for the rest of the day as the clouds congealed and filled with ice and snow to be later dumped on the area.
 We won't complain because we saw 60 species of birds. Quite good for these kind of weather conditions. We were a small part of a team of 45 hard core birders at the Goose Pond Christmas Count this year. When all was totaled there were 104 species of birds seen. One of the teams found a Ross's Goose in with a flock of Canada Geese. This was a first for this count. While this was a special find since this bird is a rare species for this area my favorites are always the more common birds. The Short-eared Owls flying around barking at each other and a Tundra Swan taking flight from a pond edge that was open. These usual characters make me think it is all worth getting out on a cold winter day.
If you would like to read more about last year's count you can go here. It will be a few days before this year's official numbers and species are counted and published. I hope everyone is doing the fun things they want to do on these cold winter days. Take care and keep warm.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

This is how the big snow and blow started in our area a couple of days ago. The sun was trying its best to peek through those snow clouds.
 When the clouds started dumping the snow it was a slow process. It took all night to get about 3 inches of snow accumulated. This picture was just at the start.
 The next day despite the temp not rising out of the teens the sun made it seem like it wasn't so cold.
 The outside christmas decorations got a bit of a flocking making them seem a little more authentic.
I hope everyone is toasty warm and enjoying the season.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Last Blooms with a Foliage Follow-up

While Carol at May Dreams Garden keeps us on focus about the blooms in our garden all year long I am afraid that these are the last of the blooms in my garden. While there has been an Indian Summer here I managed to get the front door painted.  It is a color of foliage which Pam likes for us to show the day after Bloom Day.
 While we don't have so many blooms in the garden we do have foliage.  The boxwood by the front porch is always green. I like to think it is a nice welcome to our home.  The Akebia vine that insists on twirling around the rail will stay green until it gets really cold and stays cold. It is protected by the porch overhang. Yes, those are some holly berries and no I don't remember which holly. Obviously it is decidious.  No matter because the berries are so striking and the birds leave them until the last to eat.
 The pyracantha has that deep green of the cold months and there are plenty of berries to keep the Mockingbird happy for a long while.  That is if he can keep the Cardinals out of them.
 We have had a bit of moisture lately so a few of the bittersweet berries have shown themselves. The foliage on this vine is somewhat protected by the Locust tree nearby so it stays green until all the leaves are down from the Locust. If there is another frost the berries will be exposed.
 The berries on the False Bamboo is rarely bothered by the birds. It must be because there are other more palatable berries available.  I had read that birds like them. Maybe one will get brave some day and taste one.
 The foliage on the Oak leaf hydrangea is still colorful and beautiful. The other hydrangeas foliage are all but lost.
 I have read time and again that Burning bushes have fallen out of favor but at this time of year a person would be hard pressed to rip one out. It is so striking with those leaves aflame.
 My two favorite viburnams are still gorgeous.  The one on the right will lose its deep plum colored leaves this winter but the one on the right, Leatherleaf, will keep those leaves all winter.
I will leave you with a look at my window box as it appears now decked out in its fall finery. I hope you have that warm glow of fall in your sights. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Finding Ghosts in the Garden

It is that time of year when you begin seeing ghosts in the garden. No I don't mean that your deceased Auntie  is strolling around admiring your work, I mean that many plants that don't like frost and cold weather  begin to fade.
                                
 Occasionally you spot a bit of color but it too will soon be gone.
 Rose was asking if anyone had anything ugly showing up in your garden. Oh, I guess if you look real close you can find the plants that have given up for the year. They could be called ugly. Like this Cardinal Vine. It looks pretty pitaful after a couple of heavy frosts and some record cold nights.
 If you step back like I did today and just look around I wouldn't call it too unsightly yet. It was warm enough that Luna and I sat out in the garden today. I sat where the Casa normaly is set up. It has already been tucked away for the winter.  I was looking here...
 and there making mental lists of chores I should be, could be and will be doing. It is sort of sad that you can feel the end of the gardening year approaching. Yet it is nice to be able to sit there and think about what all can be accomplished yet.
Even at this time of year there are little surprises in the garden. Like these two Pine Siskins that are the first of the winter birds that I look forward to seeing every year. They have been at the feeders the past few days. They are such cute little things.  
I hope there are some cute things in your garden now and not just a lot of ghostly figures and mush. Excuse me while I get the last of the bulbs in the ground while the sun is shining.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Silver Lining - Fall Color

Another disappointing conclusion to a prediction of rain. Not even a sprinkle graced our garden this weekend full of chances.
Let us not dwell on the disappointments of this fall season. Let us look at the silver lining of those storm clouds that passed right over our area. The tall native asters refuse to not show their beautiful colors against the tiger sumac. 
 Jodi at Bloomingwriter asked the question of what is your favorite fall colors. While the aster mentioned is a great one I think my very favorite is the American Beauty Bush that turns this chartreuse color and has those gorgeous lavender berries.  On Jodi's blog she shows some of the most beautiful colors including the burning bush that gets that gorgeous red during fall but I think Beauty Bush has so much more to offer.
The Bittersweet won't even turn its berries to orange yet. I am sure it is just waiting for a good rain to moisten the coverings so they can pop into their orange show. 
The new shrub Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea is showing some of its strawberry coloring now. It is going to be a keeper no doubt if it can deal with the drought. Of course I am helping it and all the shrubs along with some watering.



 If you like a darker more sultry look in the garden the Ninebark 'Summer Wine'. It looks great sitting beside a Beauty Berrry or a Clethera that turns that chartreuse or yellow in fall.
What plants bring that special fall color into your garden?