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Greenfield Garden Club

 

Greenfield Garden Club members

Greenfield Garden Club members: Lynda Tyler

Who wouldn’t want friends who like to play in the dirt? Who are always learning new things? Who like to get out and about and see new beautiful places? Who everyday notice and appreciate the glorious world around them? Who are always thinking of ways to make their community more beautiful?

A group of people who all wanted friends like that decades ago and formed the Greenfield Garden Club and happily had their regular meetings in the afternoons. But we all know that time inevitably brings change. It was the change in women’s lives that brought about a re-formation of the Club in 1991. More and more women were working and afternoon meetings were no longer feasible. And more men wanted to join too.

So it was that in 1991 Richard Willard, Debran Brocklesby, Judge Alan McGuane, Margareta Athey and Jan (McGuane, as she was then) Adam, were among those who  reorganized the group. The first rule was the installation of evening meetings.

Jan Adam told me that the new Greenfield Garden Club got off to a slow start, but by the end of the first year it had over 100 members. “The mission of the club was to provide education for the gardeners, and to the community, and to work to improve and beautify community spaces.”

I can tell you that a lot of happy and friendly education takes place on field trips to nurseries and flower shows. Lots of comparing of notes and experiences, lots of new creative ideas are born at meetings and on trips.

The new Club has also seen changes over the past 24 years. A newsletter was born and mailed to members, with news of the club’s events, garden reminders, short garden features, and a list of vendors who give discounts to members. Nowadays that newsletter is emailed. There is also a Facebook page, and a website, www.thegreenfieldgardenclub.org, that lists meeting dates with program information, and information about the School and Community Grant program including a list of this year’s awards.

I have served on the grant committee and it is wonderful to see the great projects that teachers are creating to teach their students about botany (at an appropriate level) growing food, the deliciousness of fresh vegetables, and the ways plants affect the environment including pollinators. The goal of these grants is to engage the children in gardening, and eating fresh vegetables, and give them a better awareness of the natural world in the small space of a garden. When I read those grant applications I cannot help harking back to my days at UMass where there was emphasis on teaching skills like math, reading and writing through projects like gardening, cooking, wood working and other kinds of practical projects. It is a joy to see it happening.

Adam explained that while the Club did have its own town beautification program for a time, it involved so much work that now the club partners with other organizations to make and keep the town a beautiful place.

Because gardening is so closely allied to cooking, members volunteer at the August community meal at the First Congregational Church. “The club has so many good cooks, and we always bring bouquets of flowers which people really enjoy,” Adam said.

In order to pay for these programs the club has two fundraising events every year, the Extravaganza Plant Sale will be held Saturday, May 23 from 8 am to 1pm. “There are big changes this year because the sale will be held at St. James Episcopal Church on Federal Street which will make it much easier for people to find parking. In addition to all manner of plants, perennials, annuals, herbs and houseplants, there will be baked goodies, and a tag and book sale. For the first time we will also have vendors selling garden related products,” Adam said.

Fabulous garden on the 2014 Greenfield Garden Club  tour

Fabulous garden on the 2014 Greenfield Garden Club garden tour

The second big fundraiser is the Annual Garden Tour which gives gardeners the opportunity to visit some really stunning, and very different private gardens in the area, not only Greenfield. This year that tour will be on Saturday, June 27 from 9 am – 4 pm. Tickets ($12) to this self-guided tour will be on sale at the Trap Plain garden at the intersection of Silver and Federal Streets. Tickets will be on sale all morning. It is best to leave pets at home.

The gardens on the tour are always a surprise. Some are small and amaze me by their artful use of so many common plants, and so many unusual plants that are as stunning as a piece of art. The tour is a place to learn about plants, but also about how to arrange a landscape. Sometimes, a farm makes it into the tour. There is always something for everyone.

Even though it is the GreenfieldGarden Club, membership is open to anyone who wants to join the fun. I have been a member for years.

Between the Rows   May 16, 2015

What’s New for 2015

Grafted TomTato from Terratorial Seeds

Grafted TomTato from Terratorial Seeds

What’s new for 2015? In just five days we’ll have entered a new year where unimagined things may happen. How much of 2014 did you forsee on January 1, 2014? I’ll bet lots of the unimagined entered your life, and I hope that much was positive and joyful.

You know that there will be many banners of NEW in the nursery and seed catalogs that are starting to fill our mailboxes. Perhaps the most unimagined new plant I have seen – so far – is the Ketchup ‘n Fries TomTato being offered by the Territorial Seed Company. I had just gotten used to the idea of grafted tomatoes that promise to give us delicious tomatoes earlier in the season, but now there is a grafted TomTato. Territorial says, “Extensive trials and careful selection of both the tomato scion and potato rootstock cultivars were required to achieve properly staggered maturity. This enables the plant to focus its energy first on yielding hundreds of sweet, tangy, and early glistening red cherry tomatoes, before maturing up to 4 ½ pounds of fine, thin-skinned, all-purpose white potatoes in the late season.”  Wow!

I never imagined such a thing as a TomTato, but you can be sure that I want to try it. That is the joy of gardening. All kinds of experiments, including the weird and wonderful, can be tried with very little investment.

Other vegetable catalogs will have new varieties. Johnny’s Selected Seeds is offering a new carrot, Nutri-red. These coral-red carrots “are best cooked to deepen the color and improve the texture.” It is not often that cooking deepens the color of carrots. Johnny says that the strong carrot flavor makes it excellent for stews.

Renee’s Garden Seeds also has a new carrot. This one, Purple Sun, is a rich purple color, but a sweet flavor. It will probably fade a bit when cooked, but it is also good eaten raw.

Renee has paid a lot of attention to gardeners who have limited space. One of her new window box tomatoes is Litt’l Bites Cherry that produces early cascades of fruit on plants just 20 inches wide and 12 inches tall.

Botanical Interests has its own new carrot, Atomic Red. “When you steam, roast, or stir-fry them, the contrast between the brilliant, deep red outer layer and orange core intensifies.”

Botanical Interests is also offering a number of seeds on seed tapes. For example there is a packet of three lettuces, Waldman’s Green, Little Gem Romaine and Tom Thumb butterhead, on three 6-foot seed tapes. These cost more, but if you don’t like working with tiny seeds this might work very happily for you.

Even the Seed Savers Exchange whose mission is preserving old varieties of vegetables and flowers has NEW offerings for 2015. I liked the Holmes’ Royal Red radishes. These were introduced in 1899 but are now very rare and will only be sold while the limited supplies last. This radish has a beautiful color, shape and delicious flavor. Shop quick for this one.

While it is not a flower bunny tails grass is a fun ornamental annual that Seed Savers is selling. This low growing grass with its soft beige seed heads is pretty in the garden and also useful in flower arrangements. Sometimes it will self seed, but it is not invasive.

Needless to say there are new flowers, too. The brilliantly colored osteospermum Blue Eyed Beauty is a showstopper. I became aware of the osteospermum family  because they are used generously on the Bridge of Flowers in a range of colors. They bloom all season long and are a great front of the border plant.

Akila Daisy White is an osteospermum in a very different mood. It is a serene white around a small pale yellow eye. You may not find seeds for these plants, but osteospermums are easy to find at garden centers.

The National Garden Bureau has named this the Year of the Coleus. The coleus has become more and more popular as people become more interested in foliage in the garden. Nowadays when you go to the garden center in the spring you will find a large array of these plants with colors ranging from lime green to deep burgundy red. Marquee Box Office Bronze is a new shade this spring, a deep rich bronze. Lime Sprite, another new introduction, has that lime green border around a burgundy heart. So many plants require sun, but coleus is happy to have shade.

Burpee Seed’s new nasturtium is a 100 year old variety renamed Phoenix. The unusual split petals are in shades of glowing red-orange. Like other nasturtiums they are edible and cheerful in the front of the border.

Another larger Burpee nasturtium, Summer Gown, is perfect for containers and hanging baskets with its busy growth and deep burgundy/purple blossoms that shade more blue over the course of the summer.

High Mowing Organic Seeds has a new mix of one of my favorite flowers – zinnias. County Fair Blend mix has warm tones of coral-peach, gold, and scarlet blossoms. They will produce more flowers as you cut them for bouquets. Disease resistant.  Zinnias make great cut flowers over a long season.

It’s fun to try something new every year. Something new in the garden is sure to bring new beauty or new flavor into your life.

Be ready for the unimagined.

Between the Rows   December 27, 2014

 

Thinking About Our Gardens

 

Thomas Affleck Rose

Thomas Affleck Rose

As I‘ve worked  to put my gardens to bed this fall I’ve also been thinking about gardens and how they came to take this form, and how any garden takes form.

Some people plan a garden in one fell swoop. Or have someone do it for them. But I think for most of us we begin slowly and one step follows another. Which is a good thing because we learn about our site, and about ourselves as we move through the seasons.

Still there are some basic things to think about when we plan, or plan again.

First we have to consider the site. Do we have a lot of room or a confined space? Where is the sun on the site? Where is the shade? How does the shade move over the course of the season as the sun’s course across the sky changes? Is the soil sandy, or clay? Is it very dry or damp?  Does the site slope and is it exposed to wind? The answer to each of these questions will help determine how to proceed. The answers will guide us as we search for the right plant for the right spot.

The second consideration is how each gardener will use the garden. We each have different desires and needs. I’ve needed a vegetable garden, but I’ve also wanted flower gardens. I want to be comfortable in my solitude, but I also enjoy eating outside, and entertaining friends in the garden. I like to stroll through the garden, but some like to admire the garden landscape from a deck or from inside the house.

Beyond the practical ways we use the garden, I think we have to examine how we want to feel in the garden. Do we want to feel sheltered? Do we want to feel we are in a private woodland? Or do we want to feel like a Jane Austen character strolling through the estate shrubberies with a dear friend?  What is your fantasy?

One element of your fantasy might be a season of constantly blooming flowers. This will mean gaining knowledge of the many beautiful annuals that can bloom from spring well into the fall.  On the other hand, you might have a fantasy of a serene green garden where it is the shades of green and foliage textures that please.

For myself, my mostly-achieved fantasy is that of a mixed border. It did not happen all at once. Inspired by my mentor Elsa Bakalar I once tended a 90 foot long perennial border. Many perennials were gifts from Elsa, and many were bought with careless enthusiasm when I saw them at the garden center. I could not maintain such a garden for long.

It was only about 16 years ago that we planned The Lawn Beds. These are mixed borders, which is to say in each bed I have evergreen and deciduous trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals. Because the shrubs take up more room than flowers, these generous beds are much less labor intensive than that 90 foot long border. I still have perennials which will bloom for three or four weeks in their season, but there is room for annuals that will give me bloom all summer long.

Ghislaine de Feligonde whose orange-apricot buds open to cream

Ghislaine de Feligonde whose orange-apricot buds open to cream

Of course, I have The Rose Walk. This began as my fantasy of growing lush fragrant old roses. Thirty two years ago I planted the first two roses in the middle of the lawn. I don’t know why I chose that spot. Those two roses ultimately forced the creation of the Rose Walk. I have mourned (briefly) the roses that did not survive, and enjoyed adding new roses every year. I loved my early summer morning walks along the Rose Walk thinking of the centuries that roses have bloomed on this earth, and the ladies that have cared for and enjoyed them in their modest farm gardens or on great estates. The Annual Rose Viewing., our annual garden party was a further natural outgrowth. The Rose Walk is proof that a complete plan is not necessary to begin.

A garden will inevitably attract wildlife.  Some wildlife like deer are not welcome, and it behooves us to be aware that some plants are very inviting to deer and rabbits, and others less so. Lists of these are available. I never plant hostas because of deer, but thought my herb garden was safe because they would not dare to come so close to the house. I was wrong. They tramped across the Daylily Bank (totally unnecessary) to eat the parsley in the herb bed.

Other wildlife, birds, bees and other pollinators like butterflies are very welcome. Birdwatchers have told me that the sound of moving water is the most dependable draw for birds. The burble of a fountain, especially if it is near some sheltering plants is especially inviting.

Pollinators are attracted by the many plants that are native to our area. Bee balm, asters, rudbeckia, and even our fields of goldenrod attract the pollinators that will keep our vegetables and fruit trees productive.

Finally, when planting we have to remember those basic considerations like allowing for growth. A small shrub in a small pot bought at the garden center will not stay small. When planting allow for that growth, how wide and how tall will it be in three years?  Or five years?

Soil needs annual attention with applications of compost, and mulch. Where will the compost pile go?

One very important question is how much time can the gardener realistically expect to devote to garden chores?

Are you thinking about your garden this fall? How might it change? How does it need to change? We gardeners must always be thinking. ###

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day – October 2014

Thomas Affleck rose

Thomas Affleck rose

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day arrives this October after two hard freezes. The trees are richly adorned adding most of the garden color at this time of the year. The roses are very nearly done, but Thomas Affleck, right near the door, has nearly a dozen blossoms left. In the rest of the garden there are a few scattered rugosa blossoms, and The Fairy is still making a bit of magic.

Sedum 'Neon'

Sedum ‘Neon’

This is the second year for Sedum ‘Neon.” I will have to do some dividing. The Fairy is right behind her, as well as a snapdragon and a foxglove blooming at this odd time of year.

Chrysanthemum 'Starlet'

Chrysanthemum ‘Starlet’

“Starlet’ is a very hardy quilled mum that I keep moving around the garden.

Sheffield daisies

Sheffield daisies

The Sheffield daisies  are just beginning to bloom!  At least I have been calling these Sheffield daisies all year before they came into bloom, and now I am thinking they are some other very vigorous chrysanthemum. I have one clump of ‘mums’ not yet blooming. Maybe that is the Sheffie clump.

Asters

Asters

This low growing and very spready aster is definitely ‘Woods Blue.’ I just found the label while weeding today.

Montauk daisy

Montauk daisy

I am coming to realize that the Montauk daisy has quite a short bloom period. Maybe it doesn’t deserve to be so front and center.

Autumn crocus

Autumn crocus

A flower that does deserve to be more front and center is the Autumn Crocus. It is invisible in August when it should be transplants. Out of sight. Out of mind. Maybe next August.

'Limelight' hydrangea

‘Limelight’ hydrangea

The ‘Limelight’ hydrangea has had a good year and is doing better than ‘Pinky Winky’ planted at the same time, and the native oakleaf hydrangea. The enormous ‘Mothlight’ is also still blooming.

Lonicera sempervirens

Lonicera sempervirens

I am going to have to do something about this honeysuckle. She has grown enough this first full year and deserves to be arranged so she is more easily admired.

Cuphea

Cuphea

This annual potted Cuphea has given me a lot of pleasure this summer. Endless bloom.

Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums

I plant these nasturtiums on the slope between the Daylily Bank and a bed of the Early garden right in front of the house. Such a cheerful flowers.

Love Lies Bleeding

Love Lies Bleeding

And finally, in a knocked down tangle is Love Lies Bleeding. A right bloody mess. I expected long drooping tails of blossoms, but this looks like ropes of chenille balls.

What is blooming in your garden this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day?  Check Carol at May Dreams Gardens, our welcoming host.

What’s Blooming on September 1 at the End of the Road

Thomas Affleck rose

Thomas Affleck rose

What’s blooming on September 1? As we acknowledge that even though it isn’t officially autumn, we notice the days are shorter, and a maple or sumac branch here and there has begun waving scarlet in the sunlight, the bloom goes on.  Thomas Affleck is the only rose, as usual, that has much to show at this time of the year, although there is a stray blossom here and there on the Rose Walk. The ruogosa hips are ripening.

Garden phlox and more

Garden phlox and more

This section of the North Lawn Bed is closest to the house. The garden phlox is putting on quite a show. Echinacea, Russian sage, and bits of lobela and dianthus are also still blooming.

Garden phlox and more

Garden phlox and more

In the middle of that bed more phlox is blooming as well as chelone, liatris, and The Fairy rose. Unseen is the blue toremia, my favorite new annual this year.

Helenium 'Mardi Gras' and phlox

Helenium ‘Mardi Gras’ and phlox

In the end of the bed Helenium “Mardi Gras is blooming with Phlox “Blue Paradise’, I think. I hope the Montauk daisy will bloom soon.

 

Yarrow, phlox, hydrangea

Yarrow, phlox, hydrangea

A bold yellow yarrow, a bit of phlox, aconite, a small annual daisy, toremia (again invisible) bloom in a tangleat the end of the South Lawn Bed.

Robustissima Japanese aneomone

“Robustissima” Japanese anemone

The Japanese anemone is just beginning to bloom, next to a small Joe Pye weed. The deer dined off this clump, but with a little luck I will still see a good show.

"Ann Varner' Daylily

” Ann Varner” daylily

The Daylily bank is pretty well done, but “Ann Varner” is bravely facing the end of the season.  Other bloomers, bee balm, Achillea ‘The Pearl’, potted cuphea, geraniums, and Love Lies Bleeding.

What’s blooming in your garden as we begin to feel the turning of the season?

 

Bridge of Flowers in August

Bridge of Flowers, Shelburne Falls

Dahlias on Bridge of Flowers

I was walking across the Bridge of Flowers this morning and it is clear this is high Dahlia season. I don’t know the names of these varieties, but I am going to look through the  Swan Island Dahlia catalog and see if I can get names for some of these.

Bridge of Flowers, Shelburne Falls

Pink Dahlias on Bridge of Flowers

Some dahlias have a more tender hue.

China Doll Dahlia

China Doll Dahlia

China Doll is a dahlia that everyone loves.

Bridge of Flowers, Shelburne Falls

Dahlia on the Bridge of Flowers

Bridge of Flowers, Shelburne Falls

Dahlia on the Bridge of Flowers

Dahlias come in so many forms and sizes.

Bridge of Flowers, Shelburne Falls

Shaggy Dahlia on the Bridge of Flowers

Do you think ‘Shaggy’ is a dahlia class?

Bridge of Flowers, Shelburne Falls

Stone Fountain at Bridge of Flowers

After all the fire of the dahlias it is nice to have a cool place to sit .

Bridge of Flowers, Shelburne Falls

Shade garden on the Shelburne side of the Bridge of Flowers

Leaping Fish sculpture

Leaping Fish sculpture

Before I left the Bridge I had to go and take another look at the new school of fish leaping up river on the Buckland side. Thank you John Sendelbach. 

The Bridge hosts what is essentially a joyful garden party every day of the year from April 1 to October 30. Visitors from all over the country – yea all over the world – come here to enjoy the flowers, tended by a gardener, assistant gardener, many volunteers and overseen by the Bridge of Flowers committee, a part of the Shelburne Falls Area Women’s Club.

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day – August 15, 2014

Roses and lilies, mostly

Roses and lilies, mostly

On this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day there are great clumps of bloomers and I can see a busy fall season of digging and dividing. Here the Thomas Affleck rose and Henryii lilies are lush and full of pollinators. You can also see a cloud of meadow rue flowers. I just love this section of the garden right next to the house.

Black Beauty lilies and crimson bee balm

Black Beauty lilies and crimson bee balm

This Bloom Day the Black Beauty lilies and the crimson bee balm make a great combo – even if they are standing exactly straight and tall.

8-14 phlox etc

This section of the North Lawn Bed is one of the places that whisper, ” Dig me!  Divide me!”  Phlox, pink and white, cone flower, Russian sage and even a lily  that the deer missed at their luncheon party a few weeks ago.

8-14 the pearl, mardi grass yarrow

This is another section of the North Lawn Bed where Achillea “the Pearl is rampant in front of  sunny “Mardi Gras”. On the other side of the path you can see a passalong and nameless yarrow, bits of Blue Paradise phlox and Connecticut Yankee delphinium.

Yarrow

Yarrow

I don’t think this yarrow is Coronaation Gold, but I am going to cut it and see if it dries well.

Ann Varner daylily

Ann Varner daylily

Of course, August is daylily season and Ann Varner is at her peak.

The Fairy rose

The Fairy rose

Except for Thomas Affleck and The Fairy, rose season is over.

Cimicifuga

Cimicifuga

The tall candles of  cimicifuga, snakeroot, look very cool in  the shade of the ancient apple tree.

 

Artemesia lactiflora

Artemesia lactiflora

Like the meadow rue, Artemesia lactiflora has very unusual airy blossoms, but dark foliage.

Hydrangea 'Limelight'

Hydrangea ‘Limelight’

The hydrangeas are in bloom.  ‘Mothlight’ the oldest is almost as tall as the weeping birch next to it. ‘Limelight’ is very happy and the oakleaf hydrangea is recovering from deer browing. The bucket loader is there because our driveway is actually town road and the road crew is repairing damage by our heavy rain storms. There hasn’t been  an unusual amount of rain, but when it comes, it comes down hard and all at once.

 

Toremia

Toremia

Toremia is a new annual to me. It grows on the Bridge of Flowers and love it. No deadheading necessary.

 

Cuphea

Cuphea

Cuphea is another new-to-me annual growing in pots in front of the house. The colors are fabulous!

Love Lies Bleeding

Love Lies Bleeding

I first saw Love Lies Bleeding, an amaranth, planted in the ground at Wave Hill in New York. I was stunned  by the aptness of its name, and at Wave Hill it was a heroic love that had died bleeding.  I think I will have to plant it in the ground next year. I am perplexed by the differently shapped pendant flower cluster. One looks like pompoms and the other more tassel-like.  Any ideas?

For more of what is blooming over this great land visit Carol, our hostess, over at May Dreams Gardens on this Bloom Day.

 

A Season of Garden Flowers

Fothergilla

Fothergilla

Garden Flowers. Gardeners who want a flower garden usually want that flower garden to be in bloom all season long. There are different ways to do this.

One way is to have different flower beds for different seasons.  I have never been willing to try and to put spring bulbs into a flower bed that will have other flowers blooming throughout later seasons. I plant my bouquet of daffodils in a section of grass. When they have bloomed and the foliage has ripened and browned that area of lawn gets mowed down.

Spring blooming bulbs can also be planted underneath deciduous trees beneath a groundcover. Some groundcovers like vinca, tiarella or barren strawberry will add their own springtime blooms. Again, when the foliage has ripened in a bed of groundcovers it will soon wither away and disappear.

Spring blooming bulbs can also be planted in a bed of other spring blooming perennials like bleeding hearts, hellebores, dodecatheon (shooting star), or brunnera with its blue flowers that resemble forget-me-nots. Siberian irises are another easy spring bloomer that comes in an array of mostly blue, purple and white shades.

Peonies are flowers that can take you from mid-spring to early summer because there are so many varieties, in colors from creamy white, to pink, coral and rich red. The lovely thing about peonies is that after they bloom and are deadheaded, the deep green foliage is still a good addition to the flower bed. Peonies are also welcome in the garden because they are such long lived plants and have almost no disease or pest problems.

Achillea 'Terra Cotta'

Achillea ‘ Terra Cotta’

A bed of  summer flowers is easy to fill with the spikes of astilbe, the flat flower heads of yarrow (achillea), Shasta daisies that can be low or tall, the fat flower clusters of garden phlox (P. paniculata),  spiky sea holly, sunny heleniums that bloom for almost 2 months, spikes of liatris or gayfeather, and daylilies with their strappy leaves. I grow my daylilies in a mass planting, but they also work well as individual plants in a border.

There is a host of daisy-like flowers. I have the tall Helenium ‘Mardi Gras’  that has just begun to bloom in hot shades of gold and red, and pink coneflower (Echinacea) but there are golden marguerites, drought and deer resistant gaillardias, and coreopsis.

8-14-13 Helenium 'Mardi Gras'

Daisies themselves are member of the asteraceae family, so of course, we have a number of asters that bloom in the fall. There is the popular shocking pink ‘Alma Potschke,’ the tall ‘Harrington’s Pink,’ lavender Aster frikartii, and ‘Lady in Black,’ which refers to the dark stems and foliage, not the pale pink flowers.

Dahlias grow from tubers that are not winter hardy in our part of the world, but they can be treated like annuals. There are large and small dahlias, tall and short, in many colors. They begin flowering in mid-summer and bloom until frost. They make great cut flowers, and the more you cut, the more blooms you will have.

The iconic fall bloomer is the chrysanthemum which not only comes in many shades from pale to brilliant or rich, but in many forms, button blossoms, dinner plate size, spider, and spoon petals. I have what is called a Sheffield daisy or Sheffie, actually a chrysanthemum, which is a wonderful shade of pink with a yellow center that blooms late in the fall and is a good spreader. I have been able to give away divisions of this beautiful plant.

Sheffield Daisy

Sheffield Daisy – Sheffies

Another late summer, early fall bloomer is the Montauk daisy. There you have a description of the flowers, but the plant itself is actually considered a sub-shrub. It can reach a height of three feet with an equal spread and the foliage is heavy and almost succulent.

Since I mention sub-shrubs, I want to point out the benefit of including blooming shrubs in your seasonal flower bed. Dwarf fothergilla (Fothergilla gardenia) is a surprising plant with fragrant flowers that blooms in April and May before it has much foliage. It is a low maintenance plant that will grow only two or three feet high and just as wide.

Clethera alnifolia (sweet pepperbush) ‘Ruby Spice’ is a summer bloomer that welcomes a little shade, and prefers a moist site, which makes it perfect for a rain garden as well as a summer flower bed. The fragrant pink six inch long bottlebrush flowers bloom in July and August.

Hydrangeas are a flowering shrub that will have bloom well into the fall. I have let my airy-blossomed ‘Mothlight’ get away from me and I am trying to gradually prune it down to a more reasonable height. I also have a fairly new ‘Pinky Winky’ hydrangea with loose pyramidal flowers that become darker and darker pink as the season progresses. So far the deer are helping me keep its size limited, but it can grow to eight feet tall and as wide. Very hardy and trouble free.

While I have concentrated here on perennial plantings, I have to say that one sure way to have lots of flowers in a bed is to include annuals. Who can resist petunias, annual salvias, verbenas, lobelia, cosmos and osteospurnums. The local garden centers have a full range of annuals in spring, as well as perennials.

Some local garden shops will be having sales of their perennial plants soon. This is a chance to get some bargains as you are thinking about next year’s flower beds.

Between the Rows   July 26, 2014

First of the Month Review – August 2014

Bee Balm

Bee Balm from the piazza

On this First of the Month I am going to show you some long views. My camera isn’t really ideal for long views but you might get  a different idea of  the garden, and the text is still a bloom record.  I  confess the weeds are not  as visible in a long view.  This is the bee balm in the Herb Bed right in front of the house. We can watch the hummingbirds, butterflies and bees from out dining/kitchen table. That is the f amous Cottage Ornee across the lawn.

 

west side of North Lawn Bed

west side of North Lawn Bed

Leaving the Herb Bed I go across the driveway/road and come to the North Lawn Bed. This section includes  a weeping cherry, echinacea, phlox, Russian sage, cosmos, pansies still blooming, and a Fulda Glow sedum which is a great plant.

North Lawn Bed

North Lawn Bed

Further on this side of  the North Lawn Bed is The Fairy rose, toremia, phlox, and liatris.

 

End of the North Lawn Bed

End of the North Lawn Bed

The only thing blooming here is Mardi Gras helenium. A Montauk daisy at its base will bloom later.  The Carolina lupine put out a lot of growth this year, but no blooms.

End of South Lawn Bed

End of South Lawn Bed

There is a wide grass path between the Lawn Beds. This tangle includes cotoneaster, shasta daisies, a mystery golden yarrow, Connecticut Yankee delphinium, Blue Paradise phlox, toremia and more Fulda Glow. This bed is mostly filled with the fourth gingko, a weeping birch and a huge Mothlight hydrangea which I love and have not been able to keep pruned down. I will continue to try.

Very long view of North Lawn Bed

Very long view of North Lawn Bed

This is a very long view of the east side of the North Lawn bed. The most noticeable flower from this view if Achillea ‘The Pearl’. Phlox, white and pink on the right. This bed contains 3 gingkos, Golden threadleaf false cypress, yarrow, cosmos, and .artemesia lactiflora. More bloom still to come.

Very long view of South Lawn Bed.

Very long view of South Lawn Bed.

You can see the Mothlight hydrangea is nearly as tall as the weeping birch.

View from the bedroom window

View from the bedroom window

This view from the upstairs bedroom gives you a sense of the whole.

Echinops, meadow rue, and cimicifuga are blooming, as well and  a few rose blossoms here and there: R. setigera, Belle Poitvine, Rugosa alba, Meideland red and Sitka.

 

Love Lies Bleeding

Love Lies Bleeding

Love Lies Bleeding and other potted annuals are doing well at the edge of the piazza. The vegetables are struggling this year, but the ornamental garden hasn’t minded the cool summer. Neither has the lawn. It keeps growing and growing.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day – July 15, 2014

Daylilies on the Bank

Daylilies on the Bank

On this July Garden Bloggers Bloom Day the Daylily Bank is just starting to come into bloom. By August my garden in the upper elevations of Western Massachusetts  should be filled with gentle, but riotous  color.

Buckland Rose

Buckland Rose

At the same time there is still enough rose bloom to be enjoyed from our dining table. The Buckland rose bush began a little late and so is quite floriferous now. The same is true of the Meideland red, and white, as well as Rachel, Celestial, Ispahan, Queen of Denmark on the Rose Walk. I had given up hopeof ever seeing Rosamunda, a striped rose, but she woke up too.

Passionate Nymph's Thigh

Passionate Nymph’s Thigh

The Passionate Nymph has been just amazing this year. She put out lots of strong new growth and is STILL blooming.

Purington Rambler

Purington Rambler

The vigorous Purington rambler also began to bloom a little later this year, like any number of flowers in my garden.

Hydrangea "Mothlight'

Hydrangea “Mothlight’

“Mothlight” is the oldest and largest of my hydrangeas, but the oakleaf, “Limelight” and “Pinky Winky” are producing some bloom – having survived deer, bitter cold, and the town plow.

Astilbe

Astilbe

I was able to give some of the pink astilbe to the Bridge of Flowers plant sale in May, but it is hardly missed. Another pink astilbe, “Bressingham Beauty” blooms in the South Lawn Bed. In general the year has been so cool that I still have many many pansy and johnny jump up volunteers in full  bloom.

Achillea "Terra Cotta"

Achillea “Terra Cotta”

I just love the shades of  Achillea “Terra Cotta.”  I have given away several clumps of this strong grower.

Achillea "Paprika"

Achillea “Paprika”

This is supposed to be “Paprika” but I have my doubts. I ordered it after I saw a truly paprika orange achilea (yarrow) in a friend’s garden, and this has never matched that spicy hue.  I think I will  have to buy “Paprika” again and see if I have any better luck.

Yellow Loosestrife

Yellow Loosestrife

Yellow Loosesstrife is not an invasive plant, but it is persistent. This plant was growing here when we moved in in November 1979.  Well, not actually during the winter, but in the spring of 1980, and very welcome were those sunny blooms.

Cosmos, snapdragon, echinacea purpurea

Cosmos, snapdragon, echinacea purpurea

Of course I have dependable annuals to make sure there is always some bloom in the garden. Here are cosmos, white snapdragons, and Echinacea purpurea just coming into bloom.

Cuphea llavera

Cuphea llavera

I tried some new annuals to the standard pots of petunias, geraniums, and million bells. This is Cupea llavea or bat-faced cuphea. You have to use your imagination to see the bat face in the purple and with scarlet ears, but I love the intense color. This is described as a shrub so maybe by the end of the summer I’ll have a really substantial plant sharing pot space with this silvery foliage.

Love Lies Bleeding

Love Lies Bleeding

I first saw Love Lies Bleeding at Wave Hill many years ago. Growing in the ground it was a large lush plant with lots of those drooping flowers. My reaction?  What IS that?! It is not as eye stopping growing in a pot. I put two seedlings in the ground and they haven’t yet caught up. I am watching to see how they develop. Of course, I have not Wave Hill’s climate, and maybe not its soil either.

Torenia and daisies

Torenia and daisies

I have a number of other annuals, daisy like,-like flowers in white, yellow and blue. These blue torenia are not spreading quite as I hoped but they are beautiful ground huggers. They are also labeled deer resistant and I have to say they are doing better that some of the other plants in the garden.

In spite of all the weather trials this yyear I am quite happy with all the bloom. I thank Carol over at May Dreams Gardens for hosting Bloom Day and giving all of us a chance to show off, and to admire gardens all across the country.