Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Make Over #2 - The Holly Bed Corner

The Holly Bed Corner is another make over in the garden that was spread out over three months or so. Yes, I told you I was slow. We had this gigantic American Holly that was the Darth Vader of the garden. You say you don't remember seeing it?? That is because it was a male, meaning that it didn't bear any of the lovely red fruits for seasonal color and bird feasting. It just stood there like the giant light sucking, space hogging, House Sparrow Condo that it became.  While I love House Sparrows I don't like it when a couple of hundred of them congregate in my garden. They make more mess than they are of help...oops I digress.

I can tell that I didn't especially like this corner of the garden because I don't have a head on picture of this corner. Always photos around the edges of this brute such as below.
I just didn't like the way it loomed over the plantings.
Back in the deepest part of this corner was a Pussy Willow that got so tall reaching for the sky that I couldn't reach stems in the spring to bring in and force. 
So this summer was the time to take back this corner. I was going to call someone to take it out but my DB likes a challenge from time to time.
 So we limbed up this brute.
 With the six foot step ladder standing there you can tell how tall the holly was.
 Then like magic, three truck loads of limbs to the limb pile later, it was down.
It wasn't easy getting the stump out. At this point my DB was sorry he didn't hire this done.
 But being the bulldog that he can be he got it out.
Now it was up to me to clear out all the plants I didn't want, that didn't like the lack of light and basically start anew. There were some plants I wanted to save. They were rearranged, thinned out or moved to another site.
 So here it is in all it's glory. A Silverbell (Halesia carolina 'Rosy Ridge') tree was placed as the center piece. I can't wait to see it blooming next spring. An Oakleaf Hydrangea that a gardening friend of mine gave me. A new to the garden daylily, Winter Vision. I planted a little Alberta Spruce that had been in a pot several years here for some winter interest. We should have some color here year round.
As you can see the path goes all around this garden I will give you the full 5¢ tour.
 Above is how I see it when I come toward it from the house. Looking at it from the West I will call it.

 This is from the South side.
 East side.
And finally the North.
            Even the pitaful Pussy willow in the corner that got a severe cut back is looking quite happy with more light. I think everything in this corner is looking happier with more light except the poor hostas that were on the inside along the fence. Next year they will look better after getting used to more light. I can't wait until everything recovers and fills in.
Now that the Holly is gone. Another name hasn't been given to this bed/corner. I guess I will have to wait to see what sticks in my mind. Our apple tree has been gone for a couple of years and I still call that bed the Apple Tree bed. Does anything come to mind to you?
        



        

Friday, September 16, 2016

Make over #1 - River Birch Garden

My garden is reaching it's 22nd year with me as head gardener. If you can imagine through this many years the garden has gone through several transformations. At this time in my life I am feeling my gardening muscle waning. What used to take me a day to accomplish now takes me several days/weeks to accomplish. I find myself having to employ Mr "I don't garden", more commonly known as my DB, for many tasks. This doesn't always work out according to my schedule. So I have come to the mind that my garden must change. It is difficult to face reality but one's tastes do change over the years. With trees coming down and age going up well, the garden is changing whether I like it or not so this transition not too painful.

My Garden is full of smaller gardens that each have names. Many of these names were based on the trees that once grew there. I am again giving this newest make over a tree name, River Birch Garden.
Here are a couple of before pictures.
 Above is the side view of this garden before. If you walk the path around the south side of the blackberry patch you arrive in this area here. All of this initially was planted to give privacy and shade to the screen house.
 If you approach from the North side of the blackberry patch this is what you would have seen through the arbor.  I think about this area more now that the compost has been moved into this back corner. I walk by quite often.
 As the River Birch and Lime light Hydrangea etc etc grew the  more sun loving plants had mostly succumbed to the shade. I dug out the small daylilies, bronzed fennel, irises etc...
I had some huge clumps of Sagae Hosta that were suffering from too much sun since the Apple Tree came down a couple of years ago. I didn't have a place to move them until now. I had to divide them and cut back all the sun scorched leaves. They looked small after the major trim.
  If you look at the above photo you can see the one stepping stone that the moles refuse to let lay flat.  I only have stepping stones here because the dogs tear around this corner and keep the grass/weeds from growing. 
 I had to add a couple steps due to it being a no grow area. Almost as soon as I turned my back the mole ran under the original stone. I guess I will have to accept this as the way it will be.
As you come around the back side (from the South) you can see how much neater this area looks. You can also see that I used some bricks to edge this area. I will either squash them down a little further to hide the holes or hopefully the soil will fill in around them.
 
 A little closer look and the left side.
For a cottagey gardener I think I did a fair job of not over planting. I did add some Mouse Ears hostas up front as an edging. On the left is a new to me Hellebore 'Wedding Bells'. It has a double white bloom. I can't wait to see it. 
 This would be the right side.
If we step back and let the sun shine in...
 We see the real star of this area, the River Birch which will give us shade during summer months and have this beautiful exfoliating bark all winter.  Now if I can just stop adding plants. 
How about you?  Do you find it difficult to stop adding plants to a newly developed area?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - September 2016

It is that time of the year when the days are shortening and the final fall flowers begin to show their stuff. Toad lilies are beginning to bloom. This Toad Lily 'Golden Festival' is new to the garden. I just love the pale yellow with red dots.
The more traditional Toad lily Is pretty too. It is standing upright this year instead of leaning over toward the sun. I think it is 'Mikyazaki'. If anyone knows it as a different name please tell me.
Most of the flowers in the garden are onesies. What has caught my eye are the Varigated Lily Turf. I just love those little rods of blooms sticking up out of the turf. They work great in small vases too.
This little white striped Lirope 'Silver Dragon' has the same type of blooms only much smaller.
They are the same shape but such a pale lavender that they look white when you look at them from a distance. I transplanted these little babies two years ago in November when they came to pour our new front sidewalk. They must be tough as iron. They have settled in and spread some.
Another of my favorites is the Hardy Begonia. This plant has not only survived here it has spread a little. 
The biggest splash in the garden right now even though it isn't in full flower is the 'Fireworks' Solidago. This plant is the pollinator crowd pleaser this time of year. The bees, butterflies and bug all forsake the salvias when this comes into bloom.
I am not going to tire you withe the photos of the onsies. Let us just say that many of the summer bloomers are still coaxing out a few blooms despite not much rain and the light becoming less and less each day.
For more fall flowers click over to Carol's at Maydreams garden. Join the fun of listing what is blooming this time of the month.

Other blooms at Greenbow:
Sedums
Anemones
Salvias: Black and Blue, Wendy's Wish, Blue Spires, Victorias Blue.
Russian Sage
Honeysuckles: Sempervirens, Scentsations.
Tall Garden Phlox: Pink and White
Jeruselam Artichoke
Hydrangeas: Lime Light, Vanilla Strawberry, Oakleaf.
Persicaria: Dragon Tongue; Corporal
Datura

Shrubs:
Kerria 
Little Bonnie Dwarf Spirea
Cape Myrtle

Annuals:
Penstemon
Dahlia
Impatiens
Chinelle Plant
Zinnia
Orchid
Angelwing begonia

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Ash Attack

When you look out the patio doors all seems calm if not a bit hot and dry what with the hose still strung out. On closer inspection you can see that it is the Ash tree is up to it's usual fall shenanigans.
No it isn't Emerald Ash Borer that is attacking as one might think, it is the Ash tree attacking my plants. Every fall when the Ash tree begins to send out it's seed it is a time of irritation to me and my poor plants.
If you take a close look around you notice the piercings.
 There is hardly a leaf that doesn't have a piercing.
 The poor leaf below seems to be trying to fold over to remove the sticker.
 It doesn't matter how large
or small, they get stuck.
Other than concrete nothing is safe, not even blooms.
The poor Staghorn fern looks like it has had an acupuncture treatment.
These seeds don't just pierce the thin skinned. They also pierce the meaty leaves as on this Kalanchoe.
So if you come by anytime soon. We won't be sitting on the patio. We will have to go out to the screen house to sit so we don't get a new piercing.
See you there.