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June 2007
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August 2007

July 2007

Derby Street Mall plantings


Colorful petunia planting at Derby Street

Last week I took some pictures on some really fabulous containers which are in an outdoor mall area in Hingham, MA.  Each of the containers shown is about 36" across and stands as tall.  They are well maintained and are so much more interesting than just geraniums, the standard pot plant of the recent past.  Not that geraniums aren't lovely, just overused.  I hope you enjoy these containers!

Sweet potato vine, Hibiscus and petunia

Scaevola, Hibiscus and Sweet potato vine

Hibiscus and mixed pink petunias

Topiary juniper with pink and purple petunias and sweet potato vine


Here you can see how closely spaced the containers are along the roadway.  The use of this many varied containers creates a very pleasant shopping area.   


The scent of garden phlox!

Phlox at Tower Hill Botanical Garden,  Phlox paniculata 'Blue Paradise'

Nothing says summer to me like the scent of tall garden phlox, Phlox paniculata.  They are eye and nose level to a child just learning to seek out flowers in the garden and steal a whiff.  I remember clearly the scent of my Grandmother's garden phlox which were deep magenta and standing sentry by the shed.  I can almost hear the cicadas monotonous summer humm while standing nose deep next to the phlox.   Many years later there are many cultivars to choose from ranging from clear white through deep purple with just about everything in between.  In my garden I have several currently blooming.  Dsc_0046 The first is not actually a paniculata species but is thought to be a cross between carolinia and maculata.  These two species bloom earlier and have resistance to powdery mildew.  I have never seen any powdery mildew on these plants.  The deer do, however, love them and nibbled them early missing a couple of blooms.  This is pure white.  The others in the garden include this unnamed cultivar ofDsc_0045
bright pink,
this one Dsc_0040
with the white eye, the exceptionally large headed pale lilacDsc_0044
'Franz Schubert' 
and this odd one in the 'Feelings' series called Dsc_0004 'Natural Feelings'.  Seems an unfortunate name to me but in researching this a bit I came across  more of the 'Feelings' cultivars.  There are many and you can check them out here.  I did laugh at the 'Empty Feelings' name when I read that it has a  fairly developed bract rather than a flower and thus is sterile.  Others in the series include Pure Feelings, Pleasant Feelings, Fancy Feelings, Red Feelings and Midnight Feelings.  There are more. I know that the flowers of 'Natural Feelings' do not shatter as fast as the paniculata flowers which are lovely to pick but don't last very long as a cut flower and they are all over the table before you know it. Phlox paniculata and the other garden phlox species prefer rich soil with a neutral pH and benefit from culling the shoots in the spring to a grouping of five to seven.  This will keep them from being too crowded and reduce the problems of powdery mildew.  I can't imagine a garden without a few of these garden phlox.  Please leave a comment but as I am away until next Sunday I cannot respond until then.  Comments are always a thrill for me!


What is blooming?

Early evening light

This is the start of vacation week so not much text but I thought I would pre-post a few garden pictures and plants of interest. I will also be posting during the week and I would love comments but will not be able to respond until next week.  Please just enjoy these photos!   
Echo colors, E. 'Big Sky Sunset' and H. 'Cherry Cheeks' 

Crocosmia 'Lucifer'

Clematis (photo taken on July 25th)



High 90F
Low 58.5 F


Spirea 'Magic Carpet' on July 19th

Deadheading, the process of removing spent flower heads, takes a bit of time but it is a job well worth doing!  The above spirea, Spirea 'Magic Carpet' settles into summer with bland coloration and some really dried up looking flower heads which are not only unsightly but are also great in number. Spirea
This picture taken on May 5th of this year!
About two weeks ago I took the shears to this plant and am now rewarded with that beautiful orange glow reminiscent of the springtime.  It also reminds me that it is almost time to order bulbs and this particular tulip
This is supposed to be 'Princes Irene' but I received a substitute which I think is 'General de Wet

would go very well with the new spring growth of this spirea don't you think?

Deadheading is a chore which I usually enjoy.  Deadheading can extend the length of time a plant will bloom or it can encourage a perennial to push a second flush of blooms.  These blooms are usually smaller but always worthwhiIe.  Deadheading can also keep a plant from setting seed which requires quite a bit of energy  from the plant often causing the foliage to deteriorate.   Most perennials are easy to deadhead but one that is a challenge is the  Dsc_0015
Campanula persicifolia 'Chettle Charm'

the Campanula persicifolia or Peachleaf bellflower. This is quite a tedious task as the flowers must be removed close to the stem so the next bud can develop.  It is helpful to have a pair of glasses (for me, at least) and a pair of sharp pointed scissorsDsc_0088

so you can get between the stalk and the passed bloom making sure not to damage the emerging bud.  If you keep deadheading you will be rewarded with an extended bloom time but this one is labor intensive.  The plant will reflower although not with its' original magnificence but, it is still satisfying.  Dsc_0085 Other perennials and shrubs which I do try to deadhead religiously are the alchemilla or yarrows, the bee balm, hosta, phlox, delphinium, potentilla and salvia to name a few.  I do leave the seedheads on certain perennials such as Sedum 'Autumn Joy' as it looks so nice with snow on it adding to winter interest in the garden. Dsc_0008 What plants to you deadhead on a regular basis and with great success?


Hidden talents and late afternoon!

High 85 F
Low 58.9 F


Click on the picture to enlarge, the brown specs are dragonflies!
Tucker and I usually take our walk in the morning but sometimes we add an afternoon jaunt to the back field just to see what might be going on down there.  This afternoon, or early evening really, the back field, which faces west as you walk down into it, was lit by the lowering sun.  There were literally hundreds of dragonflies darting about in the air above the field.  I didn't see any land.  I guess they were feeding but not knowing anything about dragonflies, except that they live for only 24 hours, I am just supposing.  For more on dragonflies, click here. I still can't get a closeup of a dragonfly.  I don't know if you can see any in the picture above but at least you can imagine and share the special moment with Tucker and me.

Many of you know Tucker from my writings but I have been holding out.  Tucker has some talents which are not readily apparent.  He LOVES to swim, or, should I say, chase water droplets. Dsc_0005 He has no idea where they come from and where they go and it drives him crazy.  He splashes in the pool  for hours on end. Dsc_0008 It is hard to wash a car with Tucker around!  He also likes to play frisbee.  Dsc_0017 He is pretty good.  He can catch it much better than I can throw it.  Sorry to bore you with my dog trivia but I know many of you are animal lovers and he is a great animal!

As far as the garden is concerned, I think I finally got a good overall shot of the garden. One which shows the overall bloom of the long border and a portion of the left handed mitten garden.  I will leave you with this picture.  Dsc_0083 But, please click on it for full effect!   


Mushrooms and moisture!

High 82 F
Low 61.2F

After the rain!
I know I have posted about mushrooms before but they are so very fascinating, appearing in the night and unfurling quietly and seductively in the compost.  That is much more polite than 'manure' and I am not quite sure you can be seductive in manure anyway! Maybe you can if you are Miss Piggy. This patch of mushrooms Dsc_0002 looks like they are ready for the ballet  with their ballerina skirts at the ready.Dsc_0006 The next group are quite serious with their heavy caps and slight stems.  Dsc_0009 This next patch are in the rice paddy with their hats on to ward off the sun.  Sylvia Plath wrote a lovely poem about mushrooms and titled Mushrooms.  It can be found here.

I would like to thank Jodi for the honor of a Blogger for Positive Global Change award.  I am honored and you can read about it on her blog, Bloomingwriter where she explains ever so eloquently why she blogs and why the award!

I would also like to thank Marie at Thyme for Herbs for the 'Thoughtful Blogger Award'.  You can read about it at her wonderful blog here

Thanks to both of you for your kind thoughts and words.  I enjoy reading both of your blogs! If you read or comment on this blog, consider yourself tagged but only if you want to be!  No pressure! 





Mid Summer containers!

High 70.1 F
Low  58.9 F

Dsc_0014 The lushness of green!

A rainy day at the desk today was a welcome one after the weekend festivities!  I took a walk, with Tucker, of course, and the size and lushness of those containers which I planted in the spring caught my eye.  The pool containers have the zonal geranium, Mrs. Cox, sweet potato vine, calibrichoa, coleus and  millet.  The millet must have dried out at some point although all other plants are doing well. Dsc_0004 This is what they looked like when first planted and here they are today. Dsc_0009 I also have two containers right

outside the gate Dsc_0008which I planted  with a variety of coleus

Dsc_0007Click to enlarge

and a Bishop of Llandaff dahlia.  They are also looking quite full.  The barn has two large zinc containersDsc_0011 and both contain sunflowers and coleus. The sunflowers are looking a bit stressed and I must have been a bit crooked today as the container seems to be leaning to the left.

This year I decided to experiment with more foliage than flowers in the containers just to see how satisfying that could be.  I think I like them but I will leave the vote to you.  What do you think?  Here are my head planters,Dsc_0002 Athena and Zeus,Dsc_0003 thenDsc_0008_2 and now.Dsc_0010Here is one last container next to the house. Dsc_0016 It also has millet and coleus with a yellow impatien  and while it has a subtle monochromatic color it is pleasing to me. I thought that I should take the pictures this week as next week I will be away and the EM will be in charge of watering!  We'll see if he can wield a watering can!


Rhinoceros, perennials and a wedding!

High 78 F
Low 58.7 F

Is there anything better than a wedding in a garden setting?  This was the site of the latest family wedding and while I will spare you any personal photos I thought you might be interested in seeing this beautiful New England barn which has three stories each having a ground entrance.  The advantage of building on a hill!  The 'garden' was more field and meadow but with a natural beauty that needs no embellishment.  While it needed none, there was this creature Dsc_0094_2 heading off to the watering hole but pausing to provide some needed shade for Scotty, the cat.

At home in the garden the butterflies were taking advantage of the beautiful day and this bush lived up to its' name.  Dsc_0040

Isn't the perfect geometry of nature amazing?  Here is the flower of Echinops ritro, or globe thistle.  The spikes form this perfect sphere. Dsc_0034 I think this plant is quite a conversation piece but it is not a garden 'star', more of a background plant.  The Rudbeckia maxima, or giant coneflower, is another interesting specimen.  Dsc_0033 It is over eight feet tall in my garden and the flower is a curiosity as are the gray, smooth leaves.

P7210145 One last photo of the barn in the evening.  It came complete with its' own 'Water  Fires'.


Vivacious vegetables!

High 84 f
Low 57.4

The vegetable garden at Tower Hill changes every year.  Last year the accent colors were periwinkle blue and lime green.  This year bright red!   As you can see from the above picture the beds are planted on the  diagonal.  The paths are mulched with wood chips and the beds with rough compost. Dsc_0287
Fancy and large cabbage!

There are interesting and beautiful plants in this garden.  It is a visual treat as well as, I am sure, as a tasty one!Dsc_0290 This garden bed features a wire  tunnel on which the squash will grow with calendula and red lettuce as a border.  Dsc_0285 Here we have a lattice structure for more climbing vegetables.  I must remember to put  some of these together during the cold, dark winter months.  It would be fun to paint with bright colors at the darkest time of year.  Dsc_0288 Here you can see that the tomatoes are growing on spirals inserted in the ground in a fan shape.Dsc_0301 Here are some more used as a trellis and a focal point behind  a bed with a red lettuce border.  They look like fun don't they!   There are nasturtiums in this bed which are winding around and up an inverted tomato cage with the legs bound together.Dsc_0299
Also in the red theme. Dsc_0296 The paths are fairly wide, at least wide enough for a garden cart or wheelbarrow and the angles are very pleasing. Dsc_0297 There are Tropicana cannas planted throughout the garden and they tie the color scheme together as your eye moves from one to another.  Many interesting annuals grace the edges of the beds. Dsc_0294 This is Zinnia elegans which is about four to five feet tall and the flower is about two inches across.  My friend and coworker Denise kindly stood in for scale and then promptly fell asleep in the picture.  She matches the color theme though!  There were also some interesting snapdragons.  Dsc_0295 This one has variegated leaves and an incandescent orange flower.  Does anyone recognize it?  No tag. 
The garden is framed by a window with a view out to the porch set with window boxes, overflowing containers of color, and a breakfast table or, perhaps, you would rather have afternoon tea overlooking your front yard Dsc_0304 which just happens to be a bright, cheerful vegetable garden complete with flowers and the fruit of your labors!


A day at the botanical garden

High 72 F
Low 58.3

Through the acacia tree overlooking the secret garden

Today I attended an industry (Lawn & Garden) related trade show which was held at Tower Hill Botanical Garden in Boylston, MA.  I have written a post about this garden in the past but at this time of year it is a gardener's paradise.  It rained intermittently today which made for nice color pictures. The entry garden which brings you up toward the visitor's center is circular and has some wonderful, unusual  plants.


This is a Prunus persica 'Bonfire' which is an ornamental peach tree.  The texture and color are unique and who wouldn't want one in their garden?  The orange plant in the container is a bromiliad.  Here is another view of the peachDsc_0221 with a well chosen daylily in the background. The placement of the blue spruce in the first picture and the matching daylilies in the above picture are just an example of the color planning which goes on here. The grounds are full of wonderful daylilies and they are at peak bloom right now.Dsc_0279 This one is called 'Malmaison Plum'.

There are interesting planters everywhere on the property and this one flanks the walk in the entry garden.  Dsc_0276I have not seen this flowering vine but I believe it is a type of morning glory as the leaves are the same.  I couldn't find a tag although most plants are labeled.
The systematic garden is located behind the orangerie.  Here plants are grouped according to their plant family. The paths in the garden are wide and easily traversed and there is so much to see one needs a plan to really appreciate the garden. Dsc_0026 Here is another view of the central structure.  The small lime green border plant is a boxwood.Dsc_0029 A view from the side looks through to the urn with a well placed brugmansia in the center of the structure.  The placement of urns and statuary creates a different view from many directions.  Dsc_0036 I can't resist showing this daylily named 'Blueberry Breakfast'.  It surely looks good enough to eat!
Here are a couple more views of the walkways and the planting beds in the systematic garden.



And one more daylily cluster for you daylily afficionados!Dsc_0023

Tomorrow I will be posting pictures of their very unique vegetable garden. It is time to re-design in the mind for next year!