A Year of Gardens – Day 21

How about this for a creative hedge? These ‘Little Gem’ magnolias are pruned twice a year to keep them around 3-4 feet high around some of the homes at Watercolor Place in Florida. Plants are planted when they are 3 gallon size pot size.

A Year of Gardens – Day 1

Call me CRAZY but I really liked the challenge of having a daily blog post, especially if it involves something as simple as just posting a picture or a quick tip. Since my blog has been somewhat of a virtual diary for the last few years rather than a serious attempt to “cultivate a culture of gardening”, I’ve decided to go back to my roots (ha-ha) and post a daily picture, tip, or thought on gardening for the next year.

My first thought was to show what was going on in my own garden over the next year, but then realized that I am going to be on the road a whole lot this year. 

  And most of that travel time will put me in other great garden areas that I can post about.

This is my goal: chronicle a year of of the beauty, mysteries, and adventures of gardening in the world around me.  

But I will start with what is commanding my attention today – January 1, 2016. Check out these winter blooming camellias, with the flowering quince blooming in the background.

 Flowering quince Chaenomeles typically is my harbinger of spring in mid-February but is in mid bloom today. With temps going in the mid-twenties for the next week, this plant is going to be confused. 

veil Spirea blooming also. 
Welcome to a year of all the things that make gardening such an adventure! 

Around the Garden World In 365 Days – Day 5

 Jardin Jeanne-d’Arc is a sunken garden within the larger National Battlefields Park. In the center of the garden is a statue of Joan of Arc that was donated by sculptress Anna Hyatt Huntington to “the most beautiful city in the world”. The garden was designed in 1938 by landscape architect Louis Perron.

 A great combination of Blackie Sweet Potato vine and blue scaevola.

 The play of color and texture was fabulous throughout the garden like these black rubber plants contrasted with red gerber daisies and the fine texture of Fireworks grass pennisetum seen in close up below.

 Cool idea to put these trellised mandevillas behind the rubber plants (ficus elastic).

 Another great display of color and texture using Princess grass, banana trees, and an assortment of other plants that I wasn’t too sure about.

Love Anemones!

 I won’t grow blood grass here in Tennessee because it is so invasive but adore the impact it gives in the landscape.

 Sweet dahlia – these look like “Bishop’s Children” Dalhias.

 Black Pearl pepper are perfect in from on these orange blooming cannas.

Photo bomb by my friend Cindy Shapton!

 A paint brush stroke of echinaceas.

“God and Lawncare” – Author unknown

My friend Linda Mello sent me this. Working in the landscaping business, one of my objectives is to re-educate folks about their landscape care. I don’t know who wrote this but I love how it sums up many of the principles I want to get across!

God said:   
“Frank, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there on the planet? What happened to the dandelions, violets, milkweeds and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long-lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now. But, all I see are these green rectangles.”

It’s the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers ‘weeds’ and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.

Grass? But, it’s so boring. It’s not colorful. It doesn’t attract butterflies, birds and bees; only grubs and sod worms. It’s sensitive to temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?


Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.

The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy.

Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it-sometimes twice a week.

They cut it? Do they then bale it like hay?

Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.

They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?

No, Sir, just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.

Now, let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so it will grow. And, when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?

Yes, Sir.

These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.

You aren’t going to believe this, Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it, so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.

What nonsense. At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn, they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. It’s a natural cycle of life.

You better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away.

No!? What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter to keep the soil moist and loose?

After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something which they call mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.

And where do they get this mulch?

They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch.

Enough! I don’t want to think about this anymore. St. Catherine, you’re in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?

‘Dumb and Dumber’, Lord. It’s a story about….

GOD: Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis.

White Gate Inn and Cottage – Asheville, NC

Japanese Painted Fern

While visiting in Asheville, NC, I was able to enjoy wondering through the gardens that surround the lovely White Gate Inn and Cottage.

The pathways were enticing.

Awesome containers

And you never know who you’ll run into

or what creature are lurking around the corner

And lots of places to set’a’spell

With calming places to enjoy.

A Garden Blogger’s Fling

To those that know me well, you know that I am rule follower, I love my family and am devoted to them, and I try to adhere to what some would say are “high moral standards.”  So you can imagine my family’s dismay when I announced that I was leaving for a FLING.
That was three years ago when I had my first fling.
It was in Buffalo.
This past week-end my husband casually asked me where I was going to this time and when I said, “Asheville,” he said, “oh, yeah. Your fling.” And he went back to typing on his laptop.
It seems my flings are no threat to him. Might be the fact that these flings are yearly gatherings of garden bloggers who just want to see great gardens and gab about the intricacies of social media and garden writing and photography and sometimes even venture on to topics like food, travel, or (SHHHH) monsanto.
 But what are the paths that would lead me to a fling?

The pathway to Bulberella

The gardens of Christopher C…

 Bonnie Brae and Ku’ulei ‘Aina

Haywood Community College

The Peter and Jasmin Gentling Garden
12 Bones/Curve Studio