Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Different Kind Of Lush

Both of Client # 1's gardens, his home and office, are on the small side, fully loaded and very mature. They are both lush and lovely. The man has plant lust and is forever trying to stuff one more plant into already full gardens.

The gardens are beginning to show their age though. My maintenance these last seven years has extended their life, but there are some things I can't tend away. The ever increasing size of the trees and shrubs sets up major competition and makes a whole lot of shade. The plants that have to have sun are slowly fading away.

Age, competition, stress from previous drought, several bad freezes and other oddities have stressed a number of plants. There isn't much I can do about it.

I think the garden needs a major culling. Client #1 would just die at the thought.

The office garden has a most lovely pond. Thank goodness I am not responsible for it. I do clean the skimmer net when I am there. The rest of the upkeep belongs to the pond guy who I was glad to see today because when I got there the water was not flowing.

One of the rhododendrons that is being consumed by a Blue Spruce tree was in full bloom.

It will be a long time before there are any mature shrubberies in my garden. Maybe longer than I think since I noticed today that the deer have been sampling my baby Witch Hazels. Damn varmints!

Thank goodness my garden is fully loaded and more so every day. There is always something to distract me from varmint carnage.

The Dwarf Crested Iris have started to bloom.

Euphorbia griffithii 'Fireglow' is also lighting up. This euphorbia is said to be invasive. Maybe in some places. Not here. The original clump has almost faded away. We have stiff competition in the wild cultivated gardens. I have been thinking about redoing it to start it over.

I got a new sign up on the scenic byway this afternoon. Its message is still secret and covered in black plastic. The DOT dudes were pointing out my curiosities while they were planting their sign. I hope that made their day a little nicer.

I am hoping my new sign says "Litter is just Plain Rude". I saw some orange peaking out from under the black plastic and have a strong feeling it will just say "End Construction". Major repair and repaving work is underway on the scenic byway in the Kingdom of Madison just on the other side of the county line.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

In A Wild Garden

Fothergilla while it's here.

Will the Forget-me-nots turn invasive as hoped?

A meadow gathers color.

It will eventually look like this.

In a wild garden high on the low spot.

The fabulous pink azalea

Is not getting frozen this year.

We like when that happens.

The Lady is in the house.

Woodland phlox in a woods.

It is spring time.

With Spanish Bluebells.

In a wild garden where the Showy Orchis blooms.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Violet Hillside

From a near distance, I was planting trees and shrubberies at the house next door, I saw a regularly mowed hillside liberally sprinkled in purple. Had someone's creeping phlox escaped?

The small individual clumps of color didn't seem right for phlox. It blooms in thick sheets. I crept closer to see what it was. That's not phlox.

Holy Crap! This hillside is covered with hundreds of blooming Bird's Foot Violet, Viola pedata. I have one. It is blooming very well and looking good. This hillside is covered with hundreds and it caught my eye from a near distance away. I have one.

Obviously it has the ability to spread and become more than one. I need to have a little talk with my Bird's Foot Violet.

I saw something else interesting while I was inspecting the violet hillside and I have no idea what it is. It has tall flower stalks, but nothing was open yet.

It was the foliage that was most interesting. Quite bold. I wonder what it is?

Would you believe that I saw a hillside covered with hundreds of wonderful wild flowers and other interesting plants and not a one of them followed me home? Hard to believe, I know.

My plant lust had already been satiated earlier in the day. I bought three Picea pungens 'Globosa' for the winter under garden made of a low mounding tapestry of evergreen texture and color on the slope below the cozy cabin. I already had something to plant when I got home.

But I know where there is a hillside covered with Bird's Foot Violets and another interesting plant. Things could change the next time I'm next door.

Monday, April 27, 2015

A Day In Mid Spring

Fothergilla up close.

Trillium luteum showing hints of yellow.

Transplanted trilliums coming back for a second time.

Hosta with a big cracked pot.

Aralia cordata 'Sun King' not wanting to get big quickly.

The many colors of bluebells.

Variegated Solomon's Seal.

White Bluebells.

The big pink azalea in full bloom.

A little deep pink azalea with company in full bloom.

Up close with the big pink azalea on a day in mid spring.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Where To Look

There is a lot of garden out there already. There is also plenty of room for more. My expansion plans are only in the initial exploratory phase. I go exploring and do some minor editing while I plot the placement of paths and case the forest for interesting plants.

It's easy to plant things and forget them or where exactly you put them in all this space. Sometimes you have to know precisely where to look. Looking a lot helps. That doesn't prevent surprises.

After a while one hopes a tiny twig will grow large enough to become obvious and hunting for it won't be necessary anymore. This is the best bloom the baby Fothergilla have ever had. They haven't even been frozen by a late freeze, as is so often the the way it is up here.

The relocated Showy Orchis is looking mighty fine. It is small, so you do have to know where to look.

A red Japanese Maple with Mayapples. Will this be the year the Japanese Maples don't get zapped and actually have a chance to grow? The new growth gets frozen so often in the spring I was beginning to tire of them and give up.

I spent another three hours editing the east end of the sunny utility meadow. I hadn't quite made it down to the far end this year. The slope below the roadside vegetable garden was keeping me busy.

The meadow is looking pretty darn good, even tidy, the best I have ever seen it in all these years. It is off to a good start for the season. I have been noticing more diversity of plants and what could be a bumper crop of Beebalm this year. I'd like to start seeing some of the seeds I have been adding showing up as plants.

I edit like an obsessed person and this is what the forest does without me. The big difference is the amount of sun. Deep shade is its own form of weed control. In sunnier places, stronger measures are needed.

In the deep forest I can garden just by making a path and picking up sticks. That will be the bulk of the garden's expansion. In there I can look every where without hunting for anything. It will all be a surprise.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Edit This

I skipped work kind work because it was supposed to rain all day. That was my excuse. Actually I just didn't feel like going to work today. The alleged rain made it easier.

When the rain did stop this morning I figured it was best to put the hole in the rain to good use. I have to get most of my editing done before the Lush cranks into high gear.

I have been over the slope below the roadside vegetable garden four times this year yanking my garden nemesis, the Clematis virginiana. Hate it. I did the same last year.

No more rain arrived and the sun actually came out. I kept editing.

And I kept on editing. I ended up spending almost six hours pulling clematis from the sunny utility meadow for the most part. That is how much of it there is. After four years of continuous eradication there is certainly a whole lot less, but it ain't gone yet.

Granted I was moving at a leisurely pace and may have been distracted a few times. I had already picked up the trash along a half mile stretch of the scenic byway before I even started editing. There was no hurry. I have the rest of my life to edit. I just want to get the clematis out now. I can save the easy weeds for my decrepitude.

There is another reason of course. Left undisturbed the clematis forms a thick smothering mat that inhibits most every thing else. Goldenrod is about the only thing that can penetrate it.

Goldenrod is fine enough, but I want more colors, more species and a longer bloom time than two weeks of yellow.

When I edit nature fills in behind me and I have been assisting by tossing copious quantities of wildflower seeds into the sunny utility meadow. I often gather seeds in my deadheading chores in the gardens I tend.

I want to see this, violets in the spring, not a mat of clematis.

There are a few chores involved in the making a botanical wonderland.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Dreamlands Two

Between work at the Inn and dealing with three bodies of pond scum, I have had to sneak in some quality tending time in the gardens at the Posh Estate. The woodland garden is coming along nicely in its second spring.

I have been applying lessons learned in a wild woodland garden to the more cultivated one, that is, edit out what I know I don't want in there and leave the rest. Interesting things show up all the time.

How cool is this? I forget what fern this is at the moment, but I liked them enough to plant some in the woodland garden at the Posh Estate.

I foraged this Clintonia, soon to find out which species, from the deep forest. I should go foraging in the forest there for the woodland garden. I feel quite certain I would find some interesting garden worthy plants.

From one dreamland to another with two cats in the yard, sometimes three.