A to Z Challenge

Blotanical

Gardening Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog 

Directory

Seattle Fling 2011

Garden bloggers meet in Seattle in 2011

We Have a Winner for Hellstrip Gardening

We have a winner!  A copy of Hellstrip Gardening: Create a paradise between the sidewalk and the curb by Evelyn J. Hadden will be sent to Rose of Rose’s Prairie Garden. Congratulations, Rose!

Chasing the Rose to Heaven in Your Own Garden

Chasing the Rose

Chasing the Rose

Chasing the Rose: An Adventure in the Venetian Countryside (Knopf 26.95) is Andrea di Robilant’s quest for the name of a rose that grew on his family’s former estate near Venice. His journey took him from the wild overgrown park on the estate that had left his family decades before, to Eleanora Garlant and her rose garden, the largest in Italy with 1500 roses, as well as tales of his great-great-great-great grandmother Lucia with her love and knowledge of roses, the Empress Josephine and the histories of many individual roses.

For centuries people have considered the Rose a romantic flower, inspiring poets, artists and rose hunters who dared the treacherous and distant mountains of faraway China. Di Robilant’s researches are a romantic quest in themselves, and while his explorations and discoveries are fascinating to a rose gardener and lover, there is an enchantment in his travels, captured by Nina Fuga’s simple and graceful watercolor illustrations.

When I planted my first old fashioned roses I chose Madame Hardy, Comtesse de Murinais, Konegin von Danemark and Madame Plantier and other lady roses who were famous enough or loved enough to have a rose named in their honor. When I walked past these roses early in the dewy morning I imagined us all primping and preparing for the day together. My reaction to the roses is very similar to di Robilant’s in Signora Galant’s garden. “When I saw the ‘Empress Josephine’ spread out against Eleanora’s corner pergola, I inevitably conjured up the real Josephine. And so it was with the other roses arrayed around it. I was no longer simply walking along a path looking at the roses on display, I had stepped into a crowded, lively room filled with roses that were looking at me.”

Although di Robilant sometimes writes of the gardens of the wealthy, it is the stamina and resilience of these old roses that fascinate him, and me. I was moved by the amazing story of Pierina, a teacher who married a civil engineer and followed her husband to Irkutsk in Siberia where he was overseeing the building of the Trans-Siberian Railroad. There she continued to teach school, and wrote about conditions for labor organizations. She survived the Russian Revolution and many other trials until at age 74 she walked to Vladivostok, and from there made her way home – and continued to teach!  Stamina and resilience. Signora Galant named one of her new hybrids Pierina.

Heaven is a Garden

Heaven is a Garden

While Chasing the Rose is the tale of a quest, Jan Johnsen’s book Heaven is a Garden: Designing Serene Outdoor Spaces for Inspiration and Reflection (St. Lynn’s Press 17.95) shows us how to make our garden a place to return to time and again, a refuge of cool tranquility.

Johnsen is a noted landscape designer who has worked around the world, teaches at ColumbiaUniversity and the New YorkBotanical Garden. She brings us her varied experiences with the cultures of the world and ancient principles of design to illustrate ways we can organize our garden and landscape space to be comfortable, beautiful and meaningful.

Although we don’t often think in mathematical terms when we are in our gardens Johnsen reminds us of the importance of proportion and the Golden Mean. Even a rectangle can lack harmony and therefore be unsettling or uncomfortable. The golden ratio, “a universal constant,” used by artists and architects requires that the long-side of the rectangle be approximately two-thirds longer than the shorter side.

Other geometry in the garden includes graceful circles and ovals. She reminds us “that designers should enhance our fondness for circular gatherings by creating protected, circular spaces for conversation . . . that are not cut by paths or movement.”

One chapter is given over to the magic of water. Every year I come to an ever greater appreciation of the power of water in the garden. Johnsen shows us cascades, musical streams, and fountains including a mist fountain. But even a bowl of still water has power. I remember an exhibit at what was then the Arts Council on Franklin Street. One element was a peaceful corner that contained nothing but a large pottery bowl of water on a slightly raised platform and a bench. When classes of teenagers came with their teachers I was amazed to see how many of them sat quietly in meditation before that bowl for as long as they were permitted.

Fortunate are those who have large stone outcroppings. Many years ago an acquaintance asked me what to do with the stone ledge that rose out of his lawn. I suggested some plants that I thought would thrive in its crevices or at its borders. My ideas were dismissed, and he went looking for large delivery of soil. I saw this as a missed opportunity and Johnsen illustrates what loveliness could have been created.

Heaven is a Garden contains beautiful photographs illustrating the elements of water and stone, of trees and flowers, of soothing green and brightly colored garden corners.

Most of us will not be able to install grass steps or arrange for standing stones, but Johnsen shows us how we can all create an unhurried garden where we can lose track of time.

On the hot summer days that await us, we can find adventure as we read Chasing the Rose in the shade, or we can re-evaluate our plantings on leisurely strolls and consider ways to discover that Heaven is a Garden in our own garden. ###

Between the Rows   June 28, 2014

Don’t forget, you have until July 6 at midnight to leave a comment here and a chance to win Hellstrip Gardening by Evelyn J. Hadden

 

Local Hellstrip-Curbside Garden Teaches a Lesson

Hellstrip Gardening

Hellstrip Gardening

I have been reading Evelyn Hadden’s book Hellstrip Gardening: Create a paradise between the sidewalk and  the curb, with all its beautiful photographs of  the different ways a curbside garden can be created.  Hadden includes gardens from across the country from Oregon and California to Minnesota and New York. Different climates and different inspirations.  I was very happy that she also included Rain Gardens as one of her themes because many urban areas have a great problem with rain runoff. In these days some rains have become amazingly heavy, stressing storm sewer systems that then flood waste water sewers. It is ever more important that we all work to keep rainfall  where it falls. We can make sure we have many permeable surfaces – and raingardens. I know in Cambridge, Massachusetts where my son lives, there are rules about how much square footage in a house lot must be permeable. You cannot build or cover more.

While Heath is a rural town and I live where there is not a single sidewalk, there are local towns that have sidewalks and some of them even have hellstrips, an area between the street and the sidewalk. However, I have a friend with an absolutely fabulous curbside garden.

Curbside garden

Curbside garden

This photo gives an idea of how this curbside garden works in the streetscape.

Curbside garden

Curbside garden

With heucheras, hostas and creeping phlox in this area there is a  wonderful arrangement of foliage color and texture.

curbside garden

Curbside garden

A great use is made of everygreens which can supply a surprising range of color.

 

curbside garden

Curbside garden

Small trees, shrubs, ground cover – and flowers! This curbside garden has everything!  And something for every season.

If you would like to win a copy of Evelyn Hadden’s book, Hellstrip Gardening, leave a comment here before midnight July 6.

Hellstrip Gardening by Evelyn Hadden – Giveaway

Evelyn J. Hadden helped us get rid of  our lawns with her inspiring book Beautiful No Mow Yards, and now she has found a new place for us to plant a garden – the hellstrip – that area between the street and the sidewalk.

Hellstrip Gardening

Hellstrip Gardening

I have just started reading Hellstrip Gardening: Create a paradise between the sidewalk  and the  curb. I found the title slightly misleading in that I found  that Hadden’s topic opened up  considerably when she talked about ‘curbside planting’ which includes the other side of  the sidewalk as well, where your lawn, I mean your garden, begins in your front yard.

When I joined a group of garden bloggers in Buffalo, NY, in 2010 our tour took us through a beautiful neighborhood in which a number of people had planted their hellstrip with bright flowers and interesting grasses. This was a whole new concept to me.

Since then I have noticed other hellstrip gardens locally in Greenfield in Turner’s FAlls. Tom Sullivan’s hellstrip garden is devoted to luring pollinators to his gardens, but others are just turning that usually ratty grass strip into something to be enjoyed and admired. Talk about curb appeal.

Hadden gives you ideas for planting this very special kind of garden so it will need no watering and very little maintenance. And lest you think she has not considered the challenges of gardening on the hellstrip she has devoted a whole chapter to SITUATIONS which include covenants, vehicles, wildlife, and all things to consider about safety as well as beauty.

I haven’t finished reading the book but you can have it in your hands to start on if you leave a comment by July 6. On July 7 I will announce the winner of this great book. Makes me wish I had a hellstrip.  See what the Garden Ranters had to say. They were in Buffalo for the tour too.  But come back here and leave a comment.

 

Greenfield and Hawley Garden Tours – Saturday. June 28

Tomorrow, Saturday June 28 is Tour Day!

Greenfield Garden Tour

Greenfield Garden Tour

Next weekend will be filled with an embarrassment of garden riches. On Saturday, June 28 the Greenfield Garden Club and the Sons and Daughters of Hawley will be hosting unique garden tours.

The Greenfield Garden Club Tour includes gardens where lawns have been removed, pollinators have been welcomed, fruit trees have been planted, perennials bloom lushly, and water and sculpture create a beautiful space. There is also a special opportunity, for those who have lots of ideas about how to use space. Becky George has moved into a new house that needs to have the landscape redesigned. She’ll be handing out site plans with requests for suggestions. If you hand in a site plan your name will be entered in a drawing. The winner will receive two tickets to the Balloon Festival.

The tour will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.Tickets will be on sale at the Trap Plain Garden at the junction of Federal and Silver Streets on Saturday morning. Tickets are $12 and come with a map and description of the nine gardens. Refreshments and surprises along the way. If it is pouring the raindate is Sunday, June 29.

I visited one of the gardens on the tour last week and suddenly had an epiphany. This garden, on a small lot, revealed to me the way a spacious garden could be created in a limited space. This magic has been described in endless design instructions, but never really told me how to do it myself in a way that I understood.

For me the revelation was not about planning the layout of sinuous paths, but first laying out full, lush layered beds that the paths would trace. You may think this is six of one, half dozen of the other, but for the first time I came to a real understanding of how this can be done.

The gazebo

The gazebo

The garden is predominantly a shade garden, perfect for a hosta lover. I did note a Beware of Hostas sign on a little shed in the back corner of the garden. There are also nine beautiful Japanese maples. For sociability there is a gazebo and dining space.

There is very little lawn in this garden, only grass paths, some wide and some narrow that reach around and beyond beds that are filled with trees, then shrubs and finally groundcovers including hostas. The garden is small, but the gardener has chosen interesting trees including many conifers, tall and gracefully vertical, as well as low and mounding. There is so much variety of foliage form and color that my eyes lingered on each tableau before I was teased to walk around the next curve.

The garden is also a Certified Wildlife Habitat which means that it supports birds and pollinators by supplying water, shelter and food in the form of nectar, pollen and berries. As our landscapes are more and more filled by roads, businesses and dense housing, these supportive landscapes become ever more necessary.

There is a sub-theme to the Hawley tour – stones.  At 9 a.m.Bud Wobus professor of Geology at WilliamsCollege will be at the field next to the ChickleyRiver  at the junction of Pudding Hollow Road and Middle Road, to talk about the river rocks and Hawley’s long geological history. Wobus will visit other tour sites to talk about rock formations in those other locales. The garden part of the tour includes perennial gardens, fruit gardens and vegetable gardens, many making use of local stone. A lunch will also be served at one of the gardens from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Suggested donation for the tour is $10 and $12 for the lunch. For tickets, please contact: Pamela Shrimpton: 339-4091, Melanie Poudrier: 339-5347 or Lorraine McCarthy: 339-4903.

I visited Jane O’Connor’s large vegetable garden surrounded by a deep perennial garden with an assortment of herbs. Most of the vegetables are planted in raised beds that were installed two years ago.  They were filled with compost from her own huge pile and have been very successful. Once the beds were set up maintenance was easier, as predicted and planned.

Phil Keenan, O’Connor’s husband, is a cook, but O’Connor said the garden is hers. “This is my deal,” she said. “We eat organically out of the garden and are really conscious of what we eat. I cook from scratch and I can and freeze produce, as well as make preserves and pickles. I do it a little at a time.”

The garden includes ten kinds of tomatoes, four kinds of onion, three types of potato including sweet potato, squash, pumpkins, sugar snap and snow peas. Scarlet runner beans and Kentucky wonder beans clamber up trellises. There’s celery, garlic, strawberries and sunflowers. The variety is quite stunning.

O’Connor works at home so when she needs a break she goes out and works in the garden. Even if she wants to sit and admire the garden, one little sitting area is surrounded by squash plants.

Because raised beds dry out more quickly, O’Connor has installed a good watering system. Fortunately, she has an excellent well. There is a touch of whimsy in this well organized and productive vegetable garden. Solar lights abound, on stakes or wound around plant supports. Birds and fairies glow. “I’ll be out here at night and it is just beautiful.

After touring these beautiful gardens on Saturday, take a leisurely drive up to Heath and enjoy a stroll down the Rose Walk on Sunday afternoon.  The Annual Rose Viewing is from 1-4 p.m at the end of Knott Rd.  Lemonade and cookies in the Cottage Ornee. Hope you can join us.

Between the Rows  June 21, 2014

Mother Nature Whispered New Life Into Our Wisteria

 

Wisteria June 25, 2014

Wisteria June 25, 2014

Mother Nature whispered new life into our wisteria.

wisteria

Wisteria May 21, 2014

By May 21, when the wisteria should have been in bloom, I gave up and took this photo, a closeup, hoping I could see some sign of life. My conclusion? No life. I mourned the shade I had been looking forward  to. Still, I kept watering it. Wisteria is a very thirsty plant. No other incentives. In just over a month life has been restored. The piazza and the living room have  shade which is still  increasing. I will continue to water.

I’m almost wordless this Wednesday, but for more Wordlessness click here.

The Annual Rose Viewing – Sunday, June 29

Applejack

Applejack welcome to the Annual Rose Viewing

Preparations for the Annual Rose Viewing got off to a slow start. May was so cold that the roses weren’t leafing out on schedule. I knew there would be winterkill, but I couldn’t tell where it began. Then June arrived and the roses must have felt they needed to put on some speed.  Leaves, buds and even a few blossoms arrived almost at the same time.

Now I am pruning out winterkill. One of the mysteries of pruning my roses is that even after I take out a wheelbarrow full of dead branches, the bush seems in better shape than it did. Still, some roses did not make it at all, including those roses I planted last spring. Carefree Beauty and Belinda’s Dream were on the cusp of our hardiness zone and I think our very bad winter was too much for them when they had not established themselves firmly.

Harrison's yellow

Harrison’s yellow

I am also clipping around the base of the roses. Have I mentioned before that planting roses in grass was not one of my better ideas?  It is work, but it gives me a chance to see the new shoots that are coming up around roses that suffered during the winter.

Happily, not all the news is bad. Ispahan, the rose of Persia, always has a fair amount of winterkill, but it always survives, and thrives all summer. Even after this year’s trim Ispahan is more than seven feet tall and setting buds like crazy. Purington Pink, a farm rose from Colrain with beautiful little pink multi-petalled roses, chose this year to explode with new growth and has already begun to bloom. Some things just do not make a lot of sense in the garden, or on the Rose Walk.

Woodslawn rose

Woodslawn rose

Those who attend this year’s Annual Rose Viewing on Sunday, June 29 will be able to see for themselves how well many of the roses came through what some of us consider a historically bad winter. And I am sure they will all be polite enough not to comment on the bare spots. Don’t forget, there is always lemonade and cookies in the Cottage Ornee.

Looking at the Rose Walk, successes and failures, I think about what I have learned about choosing roses for the garden. Perhaps the first thing is to look at zone information. One can gamble. I never used to plant a rose unless it was hardy in zone 4a, tolerating temperatures down to -30 degrees. Nowadays, the new USDA Hardiness zone map says Heath is in zone 5b or tolerating temperatures down to -15 degrees. You can understand why I have been tempted and succumbed to planting slightly more tender roses. And this spring I see the result of that gamble. Whether you choose to gamble or not, it pays to know the hardiness of any rose you buy.

The second thing I want in a rose is disease resistance. I am not going to use poisons on my roses. I have neither the time nor inclination to fuss in that way. I have put down milky spore disease to eradicate Japanese beetles almost entirely. It is possible that our isolated location has something to with the success of milky spore disease in my garden. Everyone admires my foliage.

Many old roses were bred for disease resistance, at least in the sense that 18th century hybridizers were striving for roses that looked good all season, even when the roses were not in bloom. Albas are one example, as are the many rugosa hybrids. Both of which I have in my garden including the alba Passionate Nymph’s Thigh, and the rugosa Dart’s Dash.    Nowadays there are new disease resistant hybrids that also have a longer bloom period. These include the Kordes lush hybrids like Cinderella, and the more familiar Knockout and Drift roses that can be planted in masses, or alone.

There are also roses designated Earth Kind by a Texas A&M program. These old(ish) roses were shown to be disease resistant and easy care. I have The Fairy, Double Red Knockout, and a struggling New Dawn climber.

Third, choose a site that will give the rose full sun, at least 6 hours a day, where the soil drains well. Roses are thirsty plants and need consistent water, but they do not like to have their feet wet.

Therese Bugnet rugosa

Therese Bugnet rugosa

So, check zone hardiness, disease resistance, choose a sunny site, and then plant it well. Dig a generous hole. The old saying is a $5 hole for a 50 cent plant will give success. That means wide and deep. Then place your rose’s knobby graft union will be three or four inches below soil level when the hole is filled. Enrich the removed soil with good compost. Fill the hole halfway, tamping down the soil and watering it well. Continue filling in with the rest of the enriched soil. Tamp down and water again. Mulch to keep down weeds. All newly installed plants need to be kept well watered for the first year.

The weekend of June 28 and 29 will be filled with opportunities for gardeners to visit other gardens. The Greenfield Garden Club and the Sons and Daughters of Hawley will both be hosting tours on June 28 and the Annual Rose Viewing Garden Open Today is on Sunday, June 29 from 1-4 pm. More about those tours next week, and a reminder to stop and smell the roses at the end of the road on the 29th.

Between the Rows   June 14, 2014

Rugosa alba

Rugosa alba

Some roses struggled this past winter – and some don’t care about anything – like this Rugosa alba – the famous beach rose that is growing out of the stone wall – amid the weeds.

A Paradise Garden in Turners Falls

Paradise garden

The paradise garden in Turners Falls

Ed McAvoy (88) and Lynn Hoffman (‘nearly 90′) are peeking into their paradise garden in Turners Falls. When Lynn and Ed built their little suite in the house belonging to Ed’s daughter, they knew they had to have a garden. When I saw it I was reminded that the word paradise originally came from the old Persian word for a walled compound. This small walled garden shows that paradise can exist at any size. There is room for sociability and a meal of sweets.

Honeysuckle and grapvines

Honeysuckle and grape vines

Surely honeysuckle and grapevines must live in any paradise garden. (These photos were taken a week ago, when the garden was still  filling out.)

'Benjamin Britten' rose

‘Benjamin Britten’ rose

Lynn demanded this ‘Benjamin Britten’ rose, a David Austin hybrid for her paradise.

Another rose

Another rose

And another rose added to the paradisical details.  In a small garden the details count  for a lot, Each plant chosen will bring color and form that will give pleasure all season.

'Alabama Crimson' Honeysuckle

‘Alabama Crimson’ Honeysuckle

The Alabama Crimson’ honeysuckle will add fragrance as well as color, form, – and exuberance.

Hibiscus

Hibiscus

And this exotic hibiscus will shine in the garden all season long.

Water – An Essential Garden Feature

Stream and stone pond

Water – An Essential Garden Feature

Water is an essential garden feature. It can be elaborate like this shady stone stream that empties into a stone pond.

Water in Japanese basin

Water in Japanese basin

It can be in a Japanese plantscape with a fountain.

Water garden

Water garden

A large pot with a circulating pump can be transformed into a shady water garden.

water captured

Water captured

Sometimes water can just be captured in  the concavity of a stone.

Does your garden have water?  How can you create a water feature?

Bird Bath

Bird bath

 

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day – June 15- 2014

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - stocks

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day – stocks

On this sunny, cool (72 degrees) but breezy, Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, bloom is beginning to arrive. These stocks are in the Herb Bed right in front of the house, where there is also an array of potted geraniums, petunias and such. They are not doing terribly well because the weather remains so cool.

Rhododendron 'Calsap'

Rhododendron ‘Calsap’

Calsap will stand in for all the plants in the corner that have gone by, the 2 tree peonies, as well as Boule de Neige and Rangoon rhodies. The herbaceous peonies are late, but there are a couple of fat buds. The advantage to me, and visitors to the Annual Rose Viewing on June 29 is that there will be lots of peony bloom, as well as rose bloom.

Siberian iris

Siberian iris

Siberian irises are just beginning. White ones too.

L. martagon 'Album'

L. martagon ‘Album’

I didn’t really have any idea of the delicacy of this martagon lily when I bought it from Old House Gardens. This is my first bloom year with it and it is only about 3 feet tall, but it is said to need some patience. Perhaps next year it will be a bit taller. I think it is just beautiful.

Rugosa rose 'Agnes'

Rugosa rose ‘Agnes’

I’ve mislabelled this elsewhere, but this is the ‘Agnes’ the first of the rugosas to bloom. The rugosas in general are the first roses to bloom and I have quite a few.

Scabrosa

Scabrosa

Another rugosa, Scabrosa, is spreading every which  way on the Rose Walk.

Rugosa Therese Bugnet

Rugosa Therese Bugnet

Therese Bugnet is a dependable rugosa, even after like the winter we have just “enjoyed.”

Blanc Double de Coubert

Blanc Double de Coubert

Blanc Double de Coubert, a popular white rugosa took a beating this winter, but it is reviving.

Dart's Dash  rugosa

Dart’s Dash rugosa

On the other hand, Dart’s Dash is spreading beautifully on the Rose Bank.  You can see the distinctive ribbed rugosa foliage on all these plants. No bugs. No disease.

6-15-14 Purington pinkPurington’s Pink is a rose that just exploded. You can  see all the new growth in this photo. It didn’t mind the winter at all. Purington Pink was given to me by Herb and Barbara Purington who farm in Colrain.

Rose season is just beginning. Other perennials in bloom are May Night Salvia, Joan Elliot campanula, Achillea Paprika, trollius, and a host of volunteer pansies. I do not object to pansies or any other volunteers. I do object to deer that have eaten lily buds, Japanese anemone and veronicas!

Thank you Carol for hosting Garden Bloggers Bloom Day over at May Dreams Gardens. There is a lot to see in gardens all across the nation at this time of year.