Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Peony

Sunday, May 29, 2016

A Good Mowing

I feel better now.

Over the river and through the woods, up by the vegetable garden, along the scenic byway and down to the Great Lawn, a long passage of order makes sense of the wild cultivated gardens.

Next weekend the ridge top garden will get its second mowing.

I did some editing around all the hosta too. They look much better and grow much better when the Lush is not wrapped all around them.

The iris of the rotten log are a bit hard to weed eat around while they are this small. I have to be careful. The bigger iris are no problem.

This was a Filipendula rubra 'Venusta'. I planted it a few days ago in the wild area below the Great Lawn. I have been taking more control of that space over time. It can get eight feet tall and spread rampantly. I wanted it. I didn't want anything that big in the garden.

Some damn varmint dug it up probably on Friday. I did not find it until this morning. It was parched. I hope it lives. The bloom is probably lost for this year. I suppose I could buy another.

After my labors I rested on the Great Lawn for a bit.

And surveyed my domain.

And it was good.

Fear not. Despite all the mowing, the Lush still dominates.

In trendy landscape design circles they call it the matrix. This is not a facsimile or a planted interpretation. Mine is the real thing.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Edit This

The goals:
Reduce the end of season mature height to around five feet with exceptions.
Maximize season long bloom and plant diversity.
Remove the obnoxious and annoying. Pluck at the boring.
Weed around the cultivated plants to prevent smothering.
Cover all three acres.
Finish before June when stompage becomes permanently imprinted.

The truth of the matter is, this is not a task for someone without my skill set. You need to be able to identify the wild things. Observational knowledge of how the meadow and individual species work over a season and many years is extremely helpful.

Or maybe I am kidding myself. A similar effect could be achieved with more limited editing. The complexity of plant species might dwindle, but most people wouldn't notice.

I never fully reach my goals anyway. I have to settle for progress. It is always good progress at least on my end of the wild cultivated gardens. Bulbarella's half suffers a little more. I don't get to it before June.

Not so long ago it was an impenetrable thicket of Blackberry, New England aster and Elderberry tied into a giant hairball of a knot with clematis. Today it is a garden, a wondrously blooming Tall Flower Meadow. I edited my way there.

Friday, May 27, 2016

What A Difference The Lush Makes

I'm ready to do the second haircut of the season just because it makes my maintenance gardener self feel better. Once the Lush gets going it is a powerful thing. That touch of manicured makes a world of difference.

It's only a little over two feet high now. There is another two and a half feet to go. Higher for some.

When a tidy path leads through, it is much more inviting. The repetition of strong foliage is starting to show better with each passing year. That too adds an element of order.

Even better when bold foliage has blooms.

A newly tidy melon department awaits the planting of melons. Just having the parking lot tidy makes my maintenance gardener self feel better.

The unknown with an orchid like appearance is getting closer to bloom. My fear for it has been a slug will eat the bloom stalk. The slugs and I seem to favor the same less common and more interesting plants.

Every year they slime one of the Firepinks, Silene virginica, down to the nub. Damn slugs! They have also been enjoying my Aralia cordata 'Sun King'.

In all this Lush the slugs chew on the good plants. I have plenty goldenrod and asters to dine on. Maybe they do, but it is impossible for me to check them all. I don't look at the wild things as closely as the cultivated plants.

This is the best iris bloom in years. I attribute it to the lack of a late, hard, knock back freeze.

The wild orchid blooms.

The biggest news this spring is that the cold hardy clumping bamboo is sending up full height, taller than the old canes, new growth after two springs of stunted growth. Those two Polar Vortex winters with negative digits was not kind to the bamboo.

Big bold foliage is claiming space in the garden.

And I have a new vantage point from where I can watch it grow.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Knocking On St. Joseph's Door

This is Hippeastrum x johnsonii, St. Joseph's Lily, a cold hardy amaryllis growing across the street from a garden I tend in Waynesville. You know I covet some to see if they will grow on the mountain top.  I looked for loose bulbs. They were tightly encased in industrial strength landscape fabric. One day I will just have to knock on the door.

Back on the mountain top, one of the Black Iris is in bloom. It looks like I will be getting only one bloom stalk on mine this year.

When I spotted this iris blooming in one of Bulbarella's former, I give up iris beds, I moved it to two more secure locations. I have since spread it further, down to a place in the Great Lawn and a well loved garden in West Asheville.

Behold. The Black Iris.

One might think that having access to and being the assistant gardener in a garden like this, there would be no reason for me to be covetous of a lily I don't have. Where would I put it? That's not how it works though.

Ku'ulei A'ina, the equally lovely garden next door should be enough to overcome wanton plant lust. That's not how it works though.

Great gardens often come from a great lust. With a living and forever changing canvas, adjustments can always be made to fit in one more. Next time I see someone home, I am going to knock on St. Joseph's door.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Sorry Miranda

There have been several weddings at the Inn this month. I am beginning to see the wear on the gardens this creates. The gardens have fared very well considering two of them were 150 people.

We won't discuss the horrible plastic event tent parked over the seating area for the wedding gazebo and the surrounding beds. I'll just say the gardener is not pleased. Not pleased at all.

There is something about water in the gardens though when it comes to having events.

Apparently when you see containers filled with water it is an invitation to throw stuff in it. In the case of the fountain, the gravel from the walkways is the ideal thing to pick up and toss in the water. Not money, but pea gravel.

Twin Falls Pond is another matter. It is a bigger body of water and it has moving, living targets.

Apparently a pond filled with goldfish is an invitation to pick up the large rocks that form the pond and falls and throw them into the water. Lots of rocks and pond pebbles. My poor fishes were traumatized. The pond was being dismantled.

The story is unattended children are the culprits. In such a tranquil place, parents must feel like it is perfectly fine for the kids to wander off and get lost. It most certainly is a beautiful and serene location. It is also very much the side of a mountain in the woods with coyotes and bears and snakes and poisoned ivy and long drop offs. It is not a place to let your children wander off.

I'm sorry Miranda. There seems to be a learning curve on having large events where small children and liquor are both involved. It will get better I hope. Two weddings in row have had rocks thrown in to Twin Falls Pond.

I'll just say the gardener is not pleased. Not pleased at all. The authorities are aware of the situation. That's all I can do.

My dry stack stone wall that has stood unmoved for eight years now despite the concerns of some internet landscape architects all those years ago has encountered a small problem.

Button has decided he can move rocks.

Some damn varmint crawled in there to escape and that was not going to stop Button from getting it. He just started lifting and pushing the rocks away. I chased him away and put it back together. He pulled it apart again.

I waited until he gave up and put the wall back together again. He pulled it right back apart. It may be time for a little mortar on the top course.

Damn varmints. Rotten kids! Stay out of my gardens!

Oohmmm....... We won't discuss what kind creature is digging small holes in the Great Lawn. My lawn can handle that.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Enter A Wild Garden

There are many paths

And many views.

The same scene changes daily.

Flowers gone wild wander about.

We wander.

What is blooming today

Among towering rhododendron?

The Great Lawn is serene in comparison to the riot of color next door.

A mass of yellow iris. There is more to come.