February 19, 2015

February Garden Chores, Parts I and II

It's just about time to plant your onion sets, along with other February garden chores we will discuss tomorrow on FOUR YOUR GARDEN on NewsChannel 4 at 4:30.

If you missed Part One of February Garden Chores last week on FOUR YOUR GARDEN, watch the segment below. Then plan to join us tomorrow for FGC, Part Two tomorrow. Spring is on its way! 

(Don't see the video below? Go to KFOR.com (here)

February 18, 2015

Mount Vernon: Lessons in Garden Design


When I go anywhere, I shop....for ideas, inspiration, novel solutions to problems. You do this as well, no doubt. No need for another trinket, but a fix for a vexing garden issue, or an aha! why didn't I think of that design idea?  Priceless. In my mind a faaaarrrrr  more enduring and valuable take-away from a visit. In this month of presidential birthdays, I thought you might enjoy some observations and design tips from visits to some of the most famous of the founding gardeners' homes and landscapes.

The handsomeness of the colonnade and the architectural detailing on the arches is obvious, but what is equally as beautiful? The climbing honeysuckle vine, neatly and elegantly attached to the uprights. No usual entangled honeysuckle mess and madness; just a solitary branch climbing each column. Tidied and pruned and no doubt labor-intensive, but still.....simple elegant expression and brilliant use of a common climbing bloomer. And doesn't the orange look divine against the forest green backdrop? Oh, and this single cane climbing technique would work for other climbers as well.

On Washington's famous river view veranda.....a perfect example of the design principle rhythm and repetition of a design element across a space.  In this case, good looking AND functional Windsor back wooden chairs.....in that same distinctive green......marching across the porch expanse. Pleasing to look at with or without guests.

And look at the stately columns (replicating the same molding details of the colonnade supports) framing the view across that same porch expanse...from wherever one sits. Framing, not blocking that magnificent Potomac view (the view being a feature not so easy to replicate).

The magnificent trees are stately, beautifully pruned and maintained to ensure strength, provide protection, create drama. All qualities shared with our first president and founding fathers.

Paths...how they meander and progress, the materials from which they are made, the type of patterns used and manner in which indigenous material is woven into the design...

in often unique (and easily copied back home) ways.

Equally as interesting: the use and placement of garden and home ornament.  This corner's composition of texture, color and material pleases my eye no end.

I could have spent HOURS just looking at the variety, shapes, and arrangement of wood fencingDid you know Washington was obsessed with developing the perfect material in the colonies for living fences?

Even modern additions, like this charming guard station near Washington's tomb is delightful. The paint colors and roofing material would translate into an equally charming garden shed in the right setting.

Rustic branch trellises for climbing vegetables....hmmm, good use for long and leafless nandina canes.

Be still my heart. The earthy brown structures against achingly verdant green. And that split-rail fence!  We had one around our suburban home in Knoxville, Tennessee when I was growing up. Out of context perhaps, but my mother was into primitive antiques at the time and I remember climbing over it (along with her sweet peas) many times.

I forgot how fresh and sweet chives can look and planted more as soon as I got home.

Yet more wooden weaving.

What can I say?  It just makes me happy. And give me some great ideas for our place in Colorado one day. Some ideas transplanted at home.

Others in one's daydreams.

All worth packing up and taking with you...

and weaving into your world.

P. S.

How many ideas do you think I stole from the winsome Mount Vernon nursery and gift shop facade?   Bet you'll spot a few yourself.  :)

February 12, 2015

White Garden Blooms

Seasonal whiplash continues. An arctic front moves in next week, possibly bringing snow, definitely bringing colder temperatures. No more puttering  about in the garden during our February faux spring...

but more planning as I consider changes and additions to the gardenscape.  First up:  the five plants I will be adding to my little white Sissinghurst and that I promised to share with you in this post. (And all of which would make wonderful white Valentine gifts if you want to pass these plant sources along to your significant other).

Anemone x hybrida 'Honorine Jobert'

I have lusted after these white Japanese anemones for ions, and can only attribute my NOT having them to mail order laziness/forgetfulness....or perhaps general garden busy-ness. I will remedy this omission this spring by ordering it from Bluestone Perennials (here).  It should be perfect for the area in which I will plant it: full to half sun; normal-clay soil (no problem there)...an early to late fall bloomer, tall stems rendering it great as a cut flower, wet site tolerant (i.e. poorer drainage in my garden)...with pure white 2" blossoms surrounded with frilly yellow stamens with chartreuse centers growing on 3-4' stems erupting above mounds of lush green foliage.  Deer resistant, butterfly loving. Why have I waited so long?

Can't wait for this white anemone abundance.....

Okay, sometimes the obvious escapes me. I have more than enough white hellebores under my oak
tree in the front to share with my white garden in the back (and with gardening friends who have requested some baby hellebores...)

It wasn't until my friend Bubba suggested them as a component in my white garden that this no-brainer of an idea took root.

They will be more than happy colonizing in the leaf strewn shade near the deutzias and hydrangeas, and I will be happy for them to keep their company.

(Image compliments of easytogrowbulbs.com)

Two readers suggested I plant Leucojum or Spring/Summer Snowflakes, a minor bulb that in drifts makes a major impact in a white garden. Easy to grow, unfussy about soil if given decent drainage, heat and drought tolerant --- what's not to love?  Find their dainty white selves here. Apparently they do not like being disturbed once planted, so not ideal for containers. A large, delicate, ground-hugging white whisper of a Snowflake drift.  Lovely.

I have planted allium for years...all forms and sizes of lavender/purple/pinkish hues.  Now, to follow the tulips, I plan on adding MULTIPLE white allium 'Mount Everest' (find then here at COLORBLENDS) this fall.  They will be beautiful against and with the 'All That Glitters', 'All That Glows' viburnum foliage (test plants sent from PROVEN WINNERS, find them here) that I happily planted next to the deutzia....a handsome coupling of different foliage textures and contrasting depth of color intensity. Fresh and beautiful vignette don't you think?

 Last but not least, a frilly white skirt around the base of a boxwood ball in a lattice concrete planter (there in the back center-left). 

Alyssum, 'Carpet Snow' Dianthus, variegated green and white ivy, or something gray or..........we could go on and on, couldn't we?