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July 2008

June 2008

Lushness at Longwood!

High 86 F
Low  62 F

For anyone who hasn't visited Longwood Gardens I would highly recommend a visit.  Longwood is a great family destination with masses of bedded annuals,Dsc_0129 walking paths, Dsc_0126 formal gardens,Dsc_0137 fountains, Dsc_0158 and now, even tree houses. Dsc_0135 The tree houses are a recent addition and kids and adults alike were clamoring up the stairs for the birds' nest views each afforded.  Longwood currently occupies 1050 acres in Kennett Square, PA which is about thirty miles from Philadelphia.  I am not in love with the mass bedding of annuals Dsc_0130 but most of the general public seems to love the impact of hundreds of colorful annuals.  I do find the shape of these rose arborsDsc_0119 satisfying and that the roses were in full bloom just made them more so.  Dsc_0124 There are interesting containers along many of the Dsc_0131 pathways.
One of the largest draws at the garden is the conservatoryDsc_0148 which covers 4.5 acres with twenty different gardens inside. Dsc_0149 I think it would be of even more interest Dsc_0152 when the weather is cool and dismal in the winter.Dsc_0162   There is an explosion of color inside with the lawns, plantings, and pools but at this time of year, I find the outside gardens, such as the waterlily courtyard, Dsc_0172 more inviting.  The vegetable gardens are also of great interest not only for the varieties of vegetables grown and the layout, Dsc_0177 but for the trellising structures used for the peas, Dsc_0181 green beans, and theDsc_0179 tomatoes.  There are bamboo tee pees Dsc_0188 for the kids and a sitting area complete Dsc_0189 with chairs and table.  The vegetables look luscious Dsc_0190 and some are ready to pick. Dsc_0192 I wonder who gets to eat these?  There is no classic perennial border at Longwood.  There is thisDsc_0200 modernistic garden of pathways and perennials but no voluptuous English border.  I find that a bit interesting and wonder about this omission.  I would love to see a curving perennial border in one of the garden areas.  There is certainly enough room and it is to be expected don't you think?
Longwood Gardens is a place which is dedicated to education and the enjoyment of horticulture.  It is meticulously maintained and those who work there should be applauded! 


Borders at Meadowbrook

High 76 F
Low  56 F

I posted the other day about Meadowbrook Farms in PA.  This small garden has many rooms plus a beautiful perennial border and a gift shop.  In addition to the dipping pool that I showed there is this great pool.  Dsc_0086 That is one of my beautiful sisters posing in the background. I think she is considering a plunge!Dsc_0087 This is the view looking back across the pool.  All the gardens are on an axis related to each other.Dsc_0044   There is statuary everywhere but it is well used as intriguing accents and is not bothersome as some statuary can be in a garden.  Dsc_0090 This piece is in the garden by the gift shop.  What do you call this kind of buddha? 
Double border along walkway
I had to show the perennial bordersDsc_0105 because as perennial borders go,Dsc_0109

these, Dsc_0102 one in the sun and one in the shade, Dsc_0104 are beautiful and there really isn't a perennial border at Longwood, a disappointment, or at Winterthur which is a more naturalistic landscape.Dsc_0098 The shade border winds around the outside of the sunny perennial border and is a welcome relief from the bright sun.  Pictures always come out better in the shade don't they.  Dsc_0094 There is also a vegetable garden which is gated and fenced.  There is no escape from critters even in the upscale neighborhoods of Meadowbrook, PA. Dsc_0095 I like this fence as it is fairly unobtrusive and there are some nice ornamentals in front of the fence.  The gift shop entry has a colorful grouping of plants Dsc_0028 and there are fun things to buy in the gift shop. Dsc_0091 This little guy went home with one of my friends.  A monster with a frog friend!  Gotta love it!  This is it from Meadowbrook.  I took over one hundred pictures here so you have only seen a few.


Garden Lover's Weekend!

High 75 F
Low  64 F

The drive and entry courtyard at J. Liddon Pennock Jr.'s home
It is difficult to leave the garden in June if only for a weekend but if one is to learn from the expertise and eye of others, it is a necessity.  This past weekend I joined a tour group traveling to PA and the gardens of Meadowbrook Farm, Longwood Gardens, and Winterthur.  Chanticleer had originally been on the tour instead of Meadowbrook but due to scheduling issues we were unable to see it. Meadowbrook
however, was an unexpected treat.  Dsc_0041
The entry door with a line of tiny, yellow pansies to step over.
Meadowbrook was the home of J. Liddon Pennock, Jr., a well known and respected florist and horticulturist in the area, the garden consists of twenty separate rooms. He and his wife, Alice,  were
  quite the entertainers. Dsc_0031
Front facade (Who waters those Alberta Spruce in those high urns?)
All of the gardens have an intimate and inviting feel to them and all have small, charming details and ornaments making them unique.  Most of the gardens were designed to be viewed from the house and that, to me, is the real charm of this garden.  Dsc_0053 The 'Eagle Garden' is  visible from the entry vestibule (I was not allowed to take pictures of the inside) and it has some interesting features such asDsc_0061 this table of collectibles.  This garden is just outside the living room and has a little sitting table.Dsc_0049   I always wonder if these are just props or were actually used by the owners.  This next view is from the dining room window which looks out on the potager.  Dsc_0051 There is a conservatory which is decked out with ficus pumila swags and this Dsc_0060 large staghorn fern over the door.  The view from the outside patio is lovely in every direction. Dsc_0052 Gardens flow from one to the other with circles Dsc_0059 and  rectangular spaces.Dsc_0057 There are little creatures watching over everything. Dsc_0074 I particularly liked this dipping poolDsc_0068 but had to wonder at the notion of putting a cactus next to it.  Dsc_0076_2 The Lyre garden has a music all its' own with the silver and gold plantings and it overlooks one of the gazebos. Dsc_0077 This is not a huge property but a lovely one and there are many other views worth showing so, if you will bear with me, I will add a few more tomorrow.  To be continued...


Chinese Wax Shrub

High 76 F
Low  53 F
The Chinese wax shrub, Sinocalycanthus chinensis, lives up to its' name.  The leaves are shiny or waxy to the eye and while this shrub was planted just last fall, it is already one which I check often for signs of deer browse and flowers which are just opening. Dsc_0061_2 They are small, about an inch across,  but  they do have a magnolia like appearance don't you think?  This shrub is hardy to Zone 4 and has been in cultivation in North America only since the early '80's.  Dsc_0067_2 I like the flowers and the buds are pretty but this shiny foliage is worth a second and third glance and only time will tell what the ultimate form of this shrub will  look like.  Is anyone else growing this shrub and what do you think of it?


Quintessentially New England!

High 71 F
Low  47 F

Went to a garden party last night.  What fun! My garden club had its' annual pot luck dinner last night and Sue, one of our members, hosted the party at her very New England home.   Beautiful gardens, lovely people and rocks everywhere!  Not just the kind of rocks that you find in my garden which are heaving their shoulders out of the ground with no hope of release.  No, big boulders, big steps, stone walkways, and stone walls. Dsc_0046 Could this be anywhere else but New England?  Well, probably but I haven't yet been there.  This spells home to me.   Dsc_0058 Here is the walkway which is bordered by many interesting plants such as sedums and sempervirens and look at that huge stone well head just beyond the purple salvia. Dsc_0058_3 I wonder how much that weighs?   I'm not sure if I am leaning or it is leaning. I might have had a glass of wine or two. Dsc_0048_2 Steps are so inviting especially when made from natural materials don't you think?Dsc_0044   The borders are pretty lush right now and these lead to the 'Summer House' where many treats were laid out on the tables.  Dsc_0045 On the other side of the stone path the border rounds out and stretches to the lawn.  A very inviting entrance to a wonderful feast!  I particularly loved Sue's 'still' behind the barn.Dsc_0057_2   I teased her about this but this is actually a water tank which collects the rainwater off the roof of the barn and which is used to water the vegetable garden. A great barn with an ingenious water tank!  Check out the rock foundation of the barn.   The vegetable garden is behind me as I took this picture of the barn.  It is carved out of the field which necessitates a fence to keep out the deer, woodchucks, rabbits, etc.  Dsc_0056 In the garden I found self sown lettuce, spinach and a tomato all ready to pick. Dsc_0052   I was very tempted but since there was just one red one, I resisted!   I also extracted a promise of a piece of this nepetaDsc_0055 which is about four feet tall with these luscious blue blooms.  It is a beauty isn't it?   What a nice way to spend an evening.  Thank you Susan.


Bloom Day - June 15, 2008

High 66 F
Low  57 F

This June bloom day delivered just a half inch of rain but that is better than no rain.  I am hoping for a rainy few days this coming week as it is a bit dry and many perennials are on the cusp of bloom.  There is quite a bit in bloom today but also a wealth of green. Remember to click on a picture to enlarge.
Dsc_0011  Dsc_0009_2 Dsc_0003

These first three pictures include: Rosa glauca ,  Pat Austin  Rose and an out of sync hellebore!
Spirea 'Magic Carpet' in background, Rosa 'May Dreams' and Peony


Overview of left handed mitten garden

Clematis 'Niobe'


Achillea 'Moonshine', Achillea 'Paprika'
and Alchemilla mollis Dsc_0012

Spirea 'Magic Carpet' with New Dawn Rose, sedums and Dutchman's Pipe

Hemerocallis 'Stella d'Oro' with Browallia americana

Styrax japonica 'Pink Chimes'
Hydrangea anomala petiolaris


Persicaria polymorpha in the background and Cornus kousa



Salad in a pot!

High 88 F
Low  54 F

Vegetable gardening need not be expensive, complicated or high maintenance. It can look just like the picture above and serve as an ornamental and edible creation.   I confess I copied one of the local nurseries' containers but that was their goal when they planted their pots as they were 'mannequins' set up to sell lettuce and herbs.  This container is a 14" terracotta pot. I filled it with professional potting soil with a couple handfuls of compost added along with some organic fertilizer.  This contains one six pack of mixed lettuce  plants, a nasturtium and , in the center, a dill plant.  There is no end to the veggies you can grow in containers.  The pink plant in the background is in the garden behind the pot and it is a perennial geranium.   Here is another shot of this pot.  I made one for my son and his wife.  They are busy putting on a porch and haven't gotten to the garden just yet.   Dsc_0017

On another note, I am having a problem with this little beetle. Dsc_0020_2 Can anyone identify it for me?  It is feeding on the peppers and tomatoes and is leaving tiny, little holes in the leaves.  I have blown it up to a large size for and identification but it is pretty small. Dsc_0021 Less than 1/4" across with a shell like shield and a soft underbody.  Neem seems to be taking care of the problem but if someone knows what it is, please let me know!  I just looked at the calendar and tomorrow is bloom day!  I have to work tomorrow so mine will be late.  Oh, the pressure and there is so much in bloom right now.  Can't wait to see what everyone has in their gardens!