Wednesday, May 31, 2017

End of Month View

Normally gardeners are in their "runners take your marks" positions in early spring.  They wait with anticipation as spring flowers and foliage begin to emerge.  Once blooms start in spring, a seasoned gardener knows that having succession blooms throughout the next six months is important.  It's what keeps the gardener (and friends) coming back to the garden.  What's going to bloom next?  It takes some practice and experience to figure out what will succeed each showstopper with another showstopper.  It also takes time.  When starting a garden, or starting over as I have essentially done this year, there are lulls in bloom time and what is in bloom can be so small that it quickly loses excitement. Here in my garden I'm at a lull folks!  The same flowers have been blooming for quite a while and so I am in the "runners take your marks" position at a strange time of the year here in late May.

At any rate, let's take a walk down the path and see what is going on in my "lull" garden right now.

Still my favorite container this year.  It makes me happy every time I look at it!

'Caribbean Breeze' Rose

'Homestead Purple' Verbena

'Blue Star' Juniper

Sun Drops

'Stello'doro' Daylilly
'Vivid Violet' Pincushion Flower

New containers filled with ferns, caladiums and dragon leaf begonias.

Ahhh, the vegetable garden...the one place where everything is going well.  Lots of rain in the last few weeks mixed with warm, but not intolerantly hot temps have made the vegetable plants very happy and some have started to produce already.  The tomatoes, eggplant and peppers were purchased as plants.  The beans, cucumbers, yellow squash and zucchini were seeds sown outdoors.

'Big Rainbow' Heirloom Tomato

'Mr. Stripey' Heirloom Tomato

Baby heirloom tomatoes on 'Rutgers'

'Shishito' Pepper

Zucchini - took advice to wrap a cloth around the base of the plant so squash vine borers can't get in.


'Blue Lake' Bush Beans

Yellow Squash

'German Queen' Heirloom Tomato

Japanese Eggplant

Monday, May 22, 2017

In a Vase on Monday - Flowers and Stangl

Amidst all the shades of purple, a bit of gold brightens the vase and sets off the vintage Stangl bowl. The scabiosa and coreopsis were gifts from two of my children for mother's day this year.  The Stangl bowl was a gift from my in-laws several years ago.  They enjoy perusing estate sales for interesting finds and this was one of them.  Stangl is American folk art pottery. Stangl dinnerware and artware was sold in over 3000 stores in the United States during the 1940s.  Hand painted dinnerware had become popular during this time period and people flocked to the Stangl showroom in New Jersey hoping for a bargain.  Stangl closed it's doors in 1978, thus you can now find Stangl pottery on ebay, etsy and other online sources.

What's in the vase?
Scabiosa 'Vivid Violet'
Scabiosa 'Butterfly Blue'
Verbena 'Homestead Purple'
Verbena Bonariensis
Coreopsis 'Cosmic Eye'
Sweet Potato Vine

Join in the fun of In a Vase on Monday at Rambling in the Garden where every Monday bloggers from around the world share their latest flower creations.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Maymont Park, Part Two

The ascent to the Italian garden includes an intricate stairway made of stone. Looking to the left as you move along the steps, your view is of the top of the waterfall.
 Once you get to the top of the stairs, you travel along another stone pathway with an ancient wall that follow your steps on the left side.
 A few  more stairs up and you come to this beautiful urn with a vine trying hard to reach the top (jasmine?).
 When you enter the Italian garden there is a large rotunda to rest in the shade.  It must get very hot up here in the summer months!
 The Italian garden is no where near the size of the Japanese garden.  The land is flat and you can view the entire garden with one look.  Here, the focus is on bloom color where as in the Japanese garden, the focus was on foliage color and texture.  The Italian garden would be nice to see again in another month or so.  Many of the flowers were newly planted and still quite small, not filling in their space.  Annuals, like geraniums and lantana are widely used.  The arbor on the right ran the entire way down the garden.
 My favorite combination in this garden was the use of nepeta and this coral colored rose.  The nepeta closely resembled lavender and I had to get quite close to realize it wasn't lavender.

 Walking out of the Italian garden and back toward the mansion, the sidewalk is lined with very old magnolia trees. Their heavy branches jutted out at interested angles and would make for great climbing trees. 
 A view of the mansion on the way back from the gardens.
 I loved to see this tree fenced off with the sign "Honey Bees Please Stay Clear".  There were hundreds on the tree.  It was awesome!
We were at Maymont for about four hours and only made it through the Japanese garden, Italian garden and the mansion tour.  There were a few smaller gardens, like a fragrance garden and an herb garden that we didn't have time to explore.  We didn't make it to the farm or the nature conservancy either.  The park is very spread out so allow ample time and energy to get from one area to the other.  I look forward to going back again this summer to see how the gardens change throughout the growing season.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Maymont Park, Part One

On Mother's Day this year my family, in-laws included, headed to Maymont Park in Richmond.  About an hour's drive from our home, Maymont is home to a century old mansion and 100 acres of grounds and gardens.  The house and grounds were originally home to the Dooleys who had made their money in the railroads during the gilded age.  Having no direct heirs, they gifted the property and their beautiful home to the city of Richmond.  The unique aspect of this spectacular place is that the mansion and grounds had only one owner and the city took good care over the last one hundred years to keep everything intact.  Also, Maymont is free!  For people with small children there is a nature conservancy and petting farm that has been added.  (Note: the nature conservancy is the only area in the park that there is an entrance fee.)

We parked at the nature conservancy and walked quite a distance over to the gardens.  As you come out of the back of the nature conservancy you are at the top of a large hill over looking the property.

It was very busy that day and people were strolling everywhere.  Maymont is a perfect place to have a picnic and a lot of people were taking advantage of the beautiful weather after a few days of rain and cold temperatures.

We found the path to the Japanese garden first.  For the elderly and those with knee problems this would not be an easy climb down.  However, for the young and young at heart, this was a descent full of imaginative possibilities!

Bamboo, moss and rocks surround you.

When you reach the bottom, you come out to a clearing with a large maple tree and a meditative area underneath. I'm sure many have come and painted this scene as it is pure perfection.

Once you pass the meditative area to the left you come out to the beginning of a stream which meanders through the entire Japanese garden.

Maples are everywhere and their contrasting leaves make a huge impact as does the well placed stone work.

Looking to the right, the stream guides you along through the garden.

Looking to the left, your breath is taken away for a moment.  A large waterfall jets out of an enormous rock formation.  Another spot to stop and meditate is a small pavilion close to the waterfall way up on the rocky wall, not today though, as there are a hundreds of people here!

Here, foliage texture and color are the most important elements of the plants.

Another view of the waterfall with a traditional Japanese bridge which takes you over to the pavilion.

Continuing along, the stream spills out in to a large pond with turtles and large koi.  The pond was packed with people and there were not very many places to get a good picture without having too many people in the shot.

There is a little grotto as well in this area along the path, but again today was a busy day and there were too many people to get a good camera shot. As we left this area, we had to ascend a pathway that was not as treacherous as the first, but still a big climb.  Looking to the left along the path, I saw a small view of the waterfall between the bamboo. Can you see the person that is sitting under a bit of the rock formation at the left?  Even on a busy day, there were places to find solitude.

  In part two of Maymont, we will make the climb out of the Japanese garden in to the Italian garden.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Foliage Follow Up

Today is Foliage Follow Up day hosted by Pam at Digging.  My garden has slowly turned from a full sun location to partial shade.  I have been adding shady perennials this spring.  Here are a couple of my choices that have fabulous foliage! Most of these are close ups, since they are such tiny plants, they get lost in landscape pictures.  Give me a few months and I'll get back to ya! Thank you Jamestown Feed and Seed for the inexpensive prices on perennials:) 

Solomons Seal
Astilbe Red

Heuchera 'Purple Palace'

Hosta 'Sum and Substance'
Elephant Ears 'Madeira'
'Little Pixie' Japanese Maple, 'Tequila Sunrise' Geum, Heuchera 'Caramel'
Camellia in the foreground with Spirea 'Ogon' in the back

Pincushion Flower 'Butterfly Blue' and 'Blue Star' Juniper

Torrenia, Hosta 'Fragrant Bouquet', Hosta 'Blue Angel', Autumn Fern

Torrenia up close