Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Native Flowers, a Beautiful Wedding, and a Budding Photographer

These lovely purple asters were blooming at Tyler Arboretum, near Philadelphia, when we were there for a wedding a few weeks ago. The wedding was gorgeous; time spent with family a joy. Of course, I was thrilled that the event was held in a beautiful botanical garden -- the bride and groom could not have picked a better venue for me. The ceremony was scheduled for the afternoon and we took advantage of free passes to visit the arboretum in the morning. H.H and I spent a pleasant couple of hours strolling the pathways through the trees with my son and his two boys. Naturally, I took pictures of the various native plants we encountered. My 12-year-old grandson, Mateo, asked if he could use the camera. I set it on automatic, gave him some basic instructions such as how to hold it, and handed it over. He took some great pictures! So much so, that I asked him to photograph the actual wedding. Now he thinks he may be a photographer when he grows up. Here are a few of Mateo's pictures, interspersed with some of mine:

Bee on aster       Photograph by Mate0

Frost aster Symphyotrichum pilosum      Photograph by Mateo
Winterberry holly Ilex verticillata
Sorry I don't know what this is. Do you?
Ox-eye sunflower Heliopsis helianthoides   Photograph by Mateo

As well as native plants and majestic trees we were interested in the educational information provided on signs around the park. We learned that the man-made brushpile structures were created to give habitat for some animals.

Brushpile habitats

Honeysuckle Lonicera

The boys loved the numerous tree houses that dot the arboretum. 

Birds eye view from a treehouse. Mateo is the boy wearing a hoody.
Nature-made sculpture   Photograph by Mateo

My daughter-in-law, Mateo's mother, officiated at the wedding, making the event even more special for us.

Photographs by Mateo

I was so impressed with Mateo's work, and with the care he took of the camera. We gave him a new name: Lord Lichfield.  (My friends in England will know that Patrick Lichfield, during his lifetime, was the royal family's renowned photographer.)

We wish Kristi and Eric a beautiful life together. Thank you for including us in your special day.

Pamela x

Photograph by Mateo

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Sunday, October 1, 2017

White in the Cottage Garden

A cottage garden by definition is a riot of colors: warm ones like red bee balm and orange zinnias; cool colors such as pink roses, purple salvia, blue morning glory, and green sedums. White blooms can soften the effects of this dizzying display, or stand alone in a moon garden. Last summer when my Serenity Garden lost most of its shade with the removal of a silver maple, I replaced hostas, brunnera, and other shade-loving plants with some more tolerant of sun. I thought to establish a moon garden with white flowers -- an all-white garden will be great after dark, I thought. So I planted Japanese anemone, white lavender, and montauk daisy only to find that come spring another silver maple had increased its canopy and created more shade than expected. I moved plants around again. Today, while I don't have an all-white moon garden, I am enjoying a perfect stand of white anemones floating above the cool greens of Serenity.

Wind flower or Japanese Anemone Anemone 'Honorine Jobert'

The white of the anemones provides transition as you move from Serenity, through an arbor covered in white morning glories into my main cottage garden areas where white delphiniums are making an unexpected fall show. White not only supplies transition but ties different parts of the yard together through repetition.

The Morning Glories self seeded to climb over a white arbor
Delphinium 'Magic Fountain Pure White'

In the summer months, shasta daisies and gooseneck loosestrife provide rest to the eye from the riot of color around the pond. I planted them in drifts among the purple cone flowers, phlox, and yarrow.

Summer cottage garden
Lysimachia clethroides Goosenecked Loosestrife
Goosenecked Loosestrife (bottom right) in the Cottage Garden
Colors can influence perception. My main cottage garden is not very large, but white makes small gardens seem bigger.

A drift of shasta daisies makes the herbaceous border appear wider.

This year I planted white petunias in Abundance Garden. Every growing season, yarrow 'The Pearl' returns there.

White petunias border the Abundance Garden
Yarrow Achillia ptarmica 'The pearl'

I love shrubs and trees with white blossoms and have several in my garden: weeping cherry, catalpa, vibernum, and mock orange to name a few.

Top picture: Vibernum.      Bottom: Mock orange

Catalpa tree

As you can see I love white blooms for several reasons: they are restful to the eyes in a border of vivid colors, they help you transition from one part of the garden to another, and tie various parts of the yard together. I also use white in some of the hardscaping such as arbors and fences for similar purposes. Today my favorite flower is the white Japanese anemone. What is yours?

Fall is here and the weather has turned colder, but the zinnias continue to provide fabulous color in the cutting garden, the roses are better now than at any other time this season, and I am amazed to see the clematis that I cut down several weeks ago is blooming again. I think this gardening year may go down in my book as the best ever.

Enjoy the changing seasons,
Pamela x

White snakeroot

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Fall Is in the Air on September's GBBD

As fall hurtles towards my gardens, the zinnias continue to hold center stage. Ever year at this time I'm amazed at their abundance and colors. I'm so thankful I spend time in the spring sowing the seeds in trays, putting them under grow lights, then planting the seedlings in the Cutting Garden. So much reward for such an easy task.

Zinnia Zinnia elegans 'Zowie! Yellow Flame"

The cutting garden and kitchen garden share the same space; there the chocolate mint is blooming. Named more for the color of its stems than for it's flavor, this mint adds a refreshing hint of chocolate to drinks and desserts.

Chocolate Mint

Also in the Kitchen Garden, the monarch butterfly caterpillars are continuing to grow as they munch on the milkweed leaves. I hope they make it in time for the Great Monarch Butterfly Migration.

In the Cottage Garden many plants I featured in my last posting (click HERE ) are still blooming, so I haven't included every one, such as the hydrangeas. Those iconic cottage garden flowers: foxglove, delphinium, hollyhock, and rose continue to bloom in the herbaceous borders. I'm especially thrilled the delphiniums are blossoming again and the foxglove never stopped.

Top left: Foxglove 'Foxlight Plum Gold.' Top right: Delphinium 'Magic Fountain Sky Blue'
Bottom left: 'Red Knockout' Rose. Bottom right: Hollyhock and Russian sage
Top: Perennial geranium 'Roxanne'. Bottom: Yarrow 'The Pearl'

I'm pleased with the potentilla shrub I planted last fall. It's yellow flowers bloomed all season. My English mother called it 'Cinquefoil.'

Potentilla flowers starting to fade but still loved by bees.

 In my previous posting, I mentioned and showed many of the plants in Abundance Garden including Joe pye and my giant lobelia. They are still lovely and in addition pretty fall asters are just starting to bloom.

Left: New York Aster. Top: Supertunia 'Vista Silverberry.'
Some self-seeding snapdragons refuse to give up.

In Serenity Garden, as turtlehead blooms fade, the Japanese anenome buds are beginning to  open at last. (Gardening teaches us patience they say!)

Japanese Anemone 'Honorine Jobert'
Annual Fuscia
Sedum 'Autumn Joy' is found in most of my gardens.

 In the Woodland Walk the beautiful native snake root appears in drifts of white. We removed this plant from around the pastures as it is poisonous to grazing animals, but we allow it to grow freely in the Woodland Walk.

Snakeroot Ageratima altissimo

 In Kat's Field the goldenrod is blooming. A sure sign that fall is upon us.

Noticeably absent are two large features: the stand of sunflowers in the Kitchen Garden and the zebra grass by Froggy Pond. I noticed the sunflowers were drooping and broke open a stem to find it full of the sunflower stem borer lava. This happened last year also -- no, I didn't plant in the same spot and I even used a different variety of sunflower. I wont grow sunflowers for a couple of years, researching what will get rid of the pest. We removed the zebra grass because it began to go to seed and, while I love its cool plumes, I don't want it to spread.  It is on the Pennsylvania invasive species watch list. Mine had grown enormous and messy and had to go. Now I like the openness that reveals both the pond and my beloved miniature weeping spruce. But I'm sad to see the sunflowers go.

Click HERE for picture before we removed the sunflowers. See title picture above for the grass

 Finally, I've chosen two plants with striking leaves for Foliage Follow-up.

Left: Canna 'Striatta.' Right: Smokebush Cotinus coggygria 'Royal purple.'

I'm linking with Carol's blog May Dreams Gardens for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Pam at Digging for Foliage Follow Up.  Now I'm going over to Carol's blog to see what is blooming today around the world and to Pam's to see what is happening in Texas. Wont you join me?

Fall is in the air in the northern hemisphere. Enjoy the change of season in your part of the world!

Pamela x

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