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February 2008

January 2008

Echo colors!

High 34 F
Low  20 F

Just a very quick post concerning echo color combinations.  In reviewing some pictures from past year, I came across these great shots.  The one above is siberian iris with baptisia.  This combination was in a friend's garden.  The colors are pretty true to actuality.  I love the soft blue, almost pink tones. 
This picture is of a bearded iris named 'Sultan' with a red lupine in front of it.   Maybe the lupine is a bit bright for the iris but it does seem to pick up the deeper color on the falls. What do you think?  The 'Sultan' is luscious and I was given a piece. We shall see if it will bloom this year! 
Echo colors don't have to include flowers.  This combination of color and texture is just so pleasing.  Again it is in a friend's garden.


A monochromatic color scheme within a container can be very interesting provided there are different textures  which stand out.  I like these from last season.  Again, not mine but thoughts for the future!Dsc_0067

Just a short post with combos to think about while perusing the plant catalogs.  What is your favorite echo combination in your garden?


Summer revisted!

High 43 F
Low 21 F
Fragrant Rose 6-15-07
Along the same lines as Jodi, at Bloomingwriter, I have decided to forget all about winter and post some pictures of the garden from last summer.  I have so many unused pictures.  This first shot, and all subsequent shots were taken on June 15th of this past year.  My record keeping needs work and as such, this rose which was planted about five years ago, while gorgeous and scented, lacks a proper name.  I can almost smell it and have high hopes for many more blooms next summer.  Gardeners are eternal optimists aren't they?
The next shot is of the 'Left handed mitten' garden with Tucker standing guard.  The long border is in the background, no color showing, with the stone wall as a backdrop.  The long border does receive quite a bit of shade due to the very large, old oak which overhangs it.
This is the 'ledge garden'.  It has a ridge of ledge running right down the middle of the garden like the spine of a dinosaur.  When I first made this garden about...well, a long time ago, I had to pull the soil away from the ledge to expose it.  There are some deep pockets of soil here but also some shallow ones which necessitate shallow rooted plants. Dsc_0015 Here is another shot of this garden facing the opposite direction. The pot was in the process of being planted but the ledge is visible in this picture.

  Dsc_0004_2 This last picture is one taken in the East Border with the Cornus kousa in the foreground and the false astilbe, Persicaria polymorpha, in the background.  I love white on white.  White glows in the dark and shows up from a distance.   The seasons are dependable.  I know summer will be back one of these days!


Under glass!

High 29 F
Low  23 F


Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boyleston, MA

The New England landscape in January can be cold, barren, and wind whipped and we have had our share of those days this month.  Short tempered and sun starved is the norm this time of year and hibernation and comfort food seem like the only recourse but, under glass, Dsc_0025 the blooms are bright and the air is a moist relief from dry indoor heat. Dsc_0029 This Abutilon 'Vesuvius'   is a bright torch leading the way out of the darkness.  The entry display of plantsDsc_0024 just invites you to explore this conservatory in more depth.  The bright orange plant on the center left is a coleus 'Sedona' and I have enjoyed this plant in containers during the summer months.Dsc_0054   It has very interesting color tones in its leaves. I think I will have to have some this next growing season!  Hardenbergia_violacea The Hardenbergia is flowering wildly and there are so many plants in this conservatory which are new to me and bear further study.   The SolandrumSolandra_maxima

is just about to push open this big bloom and, for color, Iresine_herbstii the Iresine 'Brilliantisima' knows no equal! Dsc_0044 There are several  little nooks created for sitting and enjoying the surrounding beauty.  Dsc_0034 These are created by the walls of tropicals and are arranged such that you feel you are sitting in a private garden.  Dsc_0051 This nook is complete with this victorian aquarium.  I have never seen one before and this one must have been quite the find!   The little sign indicates that it was a donation in memory of someone's beloved and the tank itself is circa 1880.  Water has a presence in this space and the trickling sound of this fountain Dsc_0037 and its' twin can be heard throughout the conservatory.  Acacia_fulcata Overhead, the Acacia blooms profusely adding its' bits of sunshine to the glass enclosure.  It is a spirit lifting experience to stroll through this man made ecosystem but, unlike the fish swimming unconcerned in their little tank, one must eventually step out of paradise and back into the harsh reality of  Dsc_0061 a cold January day.  The lingering memory of moist warmth and bright flowers and foliage will help with the remaining necessary steps toward spring!  Thanks for taking those steps with me.   


Name this Object!

High 36 F
Low 25 F

Guess what this is?
Let's play that game again.  I just have to find a name for it.  How about 'Can you name this object'!  I was at the gift shop of Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boyleston, MA yesterday.  This little shop has some really unique items.  Items that I don't see in many or any other shops.  The buyer has an eye for the unusual so I always have to check out what is new on the scene so to speak.  There are great books and wonderful CD's with one playing in the background as you shop.  The CD's are of the nature variety with perhaps running water or wind and some are musical with a pastoral flavor such as the one entitled 'Tuscany'.  Very soothing.  Anyway, I digress.  In the window alcove I found the above. Not just the one above which looks like this Dsc_0016 and this other sea green mobile Dsc_0005 but these others also.  Here we have the mobile wind chimes in  two types of greenDsc_0020

Dsc_0007 and then this oneDsc_0021 with the oranges. These wind chimes have the tinkling sounds of glass.   Primary colors are pretty Dsc_0014 also but the ones shaped like iris Dsc_0010 or lotus are works of art.Dsc_0006   In addition, there are a few other types such as this one with the glass beadDsc_0012 in the center and theseDsc_0018 others in the sea foam green. Dsc_0019 I found these on line here so if you really like them you can buy them at their site.  What do you all think of these?   As you may be able to tell, I love them.  I didn't buy one but I like them.


Weather Station

High 22 F
Low 9 F


It is always good to start a post with a bit of color.  Not necessary, but good.  Here is the entry bouquet!  There is nothing like fresh flowers to stave off the dreariness of winter.  This bouquet has alstromeria, carnations and mums.


Before the snow came we had a mild weekend.  It seems longer than two weekends ago but nevertheless, with temperatures this morning at a chilly nine degrees it is no wonder that it seems like months instead of just a couple of weeks.  The Equipment Manager gave me a new weather station for Christmas for more accurate recordings of temperatures, wind and rainfall.  I think it will even take my temperature but that probe looks a little evil!  Just kidding. I remember my father used to record the high and low temperatures every day.  I remember thinking "What a waste of time".  He was a methodical, disciplined man.  I don't see myself that way but age gives one a new perspective and what seems to take too much time when we are younger takes on greater importance with the accumulation of years.  Anyway, since the weather station necessitated an actual installation, the EM took over.  It came with lots of parts,Dsc_0011 mostly plastic, which seems the way of the world these days.  The main unit has little cups which rotate to measure wind and a container which measures rain.Dsc_0024   Here he is putting things together before mounting the unit on a post in the garden.  We may move this from this post as the gardening season arrives but, for now, here it is. Dsc_0036 Not too pretty but the temperature is more accurate out here away from the house.  The best part is the monitor which sits on the top of the computer desk just an arm's reach away for checking the min/max temperature for the day! Dsc_0034 I doubt if I will add anymore information on a regular basis to the blog entry but rainfall could be interesting and if the  wind speed exceeds hurricane force, you will all know about it! The option is there, at least.  Since this blog serves as a record for the gardening year, it seems logical to record the temperatures and any other weather related incidents.  I like the new weather station.  It seems to be a connection to the past, both the past weather and that long ago memory of Dad writing the temperature down in his journal!  Do you think I inherited this need to record data?      


Just a bit of fun!

High 34 F
Low  22 F

This Christmas I received the above item, or items, as there are four of them.  One blue, one green, one red , and this orange upfaced, plastic lily on a stick!  They are really fun garden ornaments.  As garden ornaments go, I wouldn't have picked them out but, oh, how I am enjoying them in the office/sunroom.  I know, they are right up there with pink, plastic, flamingos and garden gnomes! (I do have a gnome, due to a warped sense of humor.)  I have stuck all four lilies in a pot which contains a dead begonia . I don't know why it died, I am a pretty good gardener.  I'm thinking it is dormant.  I choose to think it is anyway. Dsc_0004 The lilies are on a stake and the anthers are on springs so, if there were wind, they would shimmy and shake!  I have to brush by them every day just to see the light shine.  There has been much discussion on blogs on preparing the garden for pictures and the professionals have shared the fact that they often add plants just before a photo shoot.  Stay tuned for this as I can tell you all right now that these will be featured in more 'just for fun' photo shoots when a bit of color is needed!  I think this is one of the most interesting gifts I received and I am grateful for the thoughtfulness of the giver on finding something which delights me at this drab time of year. Dsc_0005 I almost posted these pictures for 'Bloom Day' but time constraints forced me to skip it this month.  I will be better prepared next month and hopefully my indoor garden will be showing some color!  For now, chuckle with me as I give these flowers a nudge! 


Close ups!

High 32.0 F
Low  17 F

Buckets of alstromeria
When I was a kid there was a show on TV which had an interesting segment.  A picture would be shown and it would be a tight  closeup of some common object such as the edge of a coin or a piece of paper clip and the contestant would have to guess from the closeup what the object was.  I always found that fascinating as the whole of something can be so very different from the parts.  While I did miss bloom day this year, at least on the blog, I had to go into a wholesale flower market-I know you are feeling bad for me-to visit a customer.  In the summer when I visit the market I rush in and rush out but at this time of year, starved for the color of life, I stopped to literally, smell the roses.  They don't smell anymore!  But, this is what I found.Dsc_0032_4_2   Can you imagine what this is?  I love the stardusting on this which is unnoticible from this distance.  It is, of course, a phalaenopsis orchid. Dsc_0032_2 The seller did not have a cultivar name but it is striking isn't it?  With the beauty and fragrance of the lily, pollen often escapes our attention until it attaches Dsc_0026_2 itself to the nice, white blouse which you happen to be wearing that particular day. Dsc_0026 The architecture of a flower is often seenDsc_0024 before the deepness of the color as in the case of this eryngium.  Dsc_0024_2 Such a steely blue! Which did you notice first, the shape or the color? This is a flower I am unfamiliar with.  At first glance it is a nice filler but     Dsc_0023 the subtleties of the center of a flower can only fully be appreciated up close and personal!  Does anyone know what flower this is?  Dsc_0023_2 Tropical cut flowers are or seem to be so cold and structural such as this proteaDsc_0022 but in looking at it in a close up view it almost appears to have feathers doesn't it? Dsc_0022_2 Lastly, we all know that horticulture  is all about sex. Plants are very sexy! Georgia O'Keefe saw this much more clearly than most. Dsc_0028_2   To see the world through a large aperture is a gift but learning to focus in on the details is a talent which I am trying to develop.



High 30 F
Low 28.6 F

How quickly the landscape can change!  Last week we had one day  which was almost sixty degrees and today, morning brought a frosting coated garden.  Not  a heck of a lot of snow, about five inches, but thick, heavy and wet which stuck to everything bending the branches of many treesDsc_0007 and shrubsDsc_0029 to the ground. The wire fence around the pool is usually unobtrusive and invisible but with this snow it becomes a geometric design of nature.Dsc_0028

Dsc_0011 Tucker loved it and you can see him in front of the field with this look of contentment.Dsc_0022
Click to enlarge!
  It made me laugh when I saw the picture!  Here you can see the trees along the drive coated on the northeast sides of the trunks!Dsc_0046 The  winter garden has structure only because of the stones which the EM put into place.Dsc_0021   The shrubs are too small to make much of an impact yet although, up close, the red twig dogwood is shining brightly. Dsc_0018   The hops on the porch are carrying a heavy snow load Dsc_0005 and it is hard to believe that the garden, which looks like this right now, Dsc_0008 looked like thisDsc_0013 in July. I'm dreaming of summer but appreciating the differences each season brings! 


Green Dreams!

High  50.2 F
Low   30.4 F

Click to enlarge
A very quick post with a couple of pictures!  I am not immune to the eye candy of amaryllis.  This one was a bargain at $5.00 and while one bud dried, this one is gorgeous.  Is there anything that can compare with nature's paintbrush?
One other shot of a rose scented geranium leaf.  True and clear green!
This is what my dreams are made of!  How about yours?


Morning walk!

High 58 F
Low  33 F

It is so good to be home!  Vacation is always a nice respite from all the ordinary and daily chores of life but coming home is sweet!  Tucker is appreciating the morning sun after having spent the week with #1 son and daughter in law.  He had a very tough time at his home away from home.  I heard that he slept in the middle!  I'm not sure he was all that glad to see me and the EM come home!  We sure were glad to see him though.  My thermometer recorded a low of 0 F while we were away but today the temperature soared to almost 60 F.  January thaw is upon us for one day only! Dsc_0024 The snow in the field gave off the rising mist in the background.  It is quite beautiful isn't it?  The wild grasses in the field struck a chord this morning Dsc_0025 with the warmth of their buff tones.  The morning walk involved checking to see if the four legged fiends (not friends) had been visiting. The evidence was clear Dsc_0026 and since we were away, they were all the bolder digging in this patch, Dsc_0032 formerly lawn, for the acorns beneath.  Tucker likes the scent!  The fish pond grasses are looking a bit bedraggledDsc_0028 and the bench is not too inviting this time of year but there are bits of color hereDsc_0031 and there Dsc_0030 and always an interesting seedpod to catch one's eye.  This is the seedpod Dsc_0027 of Hosta 'Golden Tiara' which is a smaller but very nice hosta.  I have had seedlings crop up and perhaps one day there will be something outstanding from one of the babies.  The tracery of ivy on bark is a subtle but pleasing contrast of texture with a bit of green thrown in! Dsc_0034 It seems as if many across the country have experienced a day or two of warmth.  The days are getting longer if only by a minute each day.  Off to read more seed and plant catalogs.   A nice finish to the day.