Around The Garden World – Day 43 (Maymont Park, Richmond, VA)

Maymont was the home of James Henry and Sallie Dooley who gifted their home and 100 acre estate to the public so that future generations would enjoy their homeplace as much as they did. 

Vignette gardens make this park a sensory smorgesbord…

 the herb garden

 The Grotto

Here’s evidence that I am easily entertained and will probably never really grow up…

 The Italian Garden

I really liked this verbena – has freckles like me!

 The Via Florum Garden

 The Grotto

 The Japanese Garden

 A sweet escape on the edge of downtown Richmond

Around The Garden World – Day 28 (Richmond, Virginia)

there is a house behind there somewhere…
When my son and daughter-in-love bought their first home in Richmond, Virginia, they inherited a small jungle. 
front porch looking into the front yard. 
entrance sidewalk to front door

It was a pretty “jungle” but definitely needed to be brought under control for this newbie homeowners and self-proclaimed beginner gardeners.

One delightful, if not a little overwhelming, gift in the garden is this fig tree that envelopes the right side of the front door sidewalk. 


 Looking out into their cute little courtyard…. oh, wait, you can’t see their cute little courtyard because this rosemary willow has totally taken over the back staircase and sitting area.

Rosemary Willow
This sitting area is completely shadowed by the fast growing rosemary willow.

 So the weekend after #2 son and daughter-in-love moved in, hubby and I flew up there to help tame the garden and give a little guidance in landscape maintenance. First step for these former apartment dwellers was to get the right tools. Here’s our stash from Lowes, full of Corona Tools – bypass pruners, hand pruners, folding hand saw, shears. Good tools take an overwhelming task and makes it manageable.

These Womanswork nitrile gloves are a must for anytime I get out to garden.  
I’m not at all squirmish about getting my hands dirty but I do love that I can pull off these very dirty gloves after a morning of work and still have clean hands!
I always preach “wear your gloves” to folks to protect their hands from insects and thorns, but some folks don’t like to give up the fine detail they can get with their bare hands. I found these gloves provide both the grip I need and allow me to work those close up details with my finger tips.  Plus, I’m all about the story behind the gloves. Check out their story: click Womanswork.
And #3 son has LOVES his Fiskar push mower!
With just a small strip of grass in the front of his home and a small empty lot to the side, Robert son can quickly and QUIETLY mow with his Fiskar StaySharp Reel Mower. I had been able to see of one these mowers in action at a Garden Writer’s event and helped direct Robert to the right mower to fit his needs.

My favorite of ALL tools is something called a Hori-hori knife which Caitlin is so sassily showing here.  I had been telling the family that we needed to get them one (I couldn’t bring one in my carry-on luggage on the airplane!). On our excursion to visit Brent and Becky’s Bulbs, Caitlin notice that Brent had his Hori-hori, or what most folks call a gardening knife, attached to his belt ready to use at any time. And, lucky for us, we were able to purchase one for the newbie gardeners there at Brent and Becky’s garden shop. Caitlin is now ready to take on any tough soil or roots! 
Second step is make sure we are well nourished before we begin our days of work. 
Well-made Pastry Alliance provided some delicious and affordable breakfast food before we began our task – they were an easy morning’s walk to get our pre-gardening stretch in. 

 Plus, they had some cute window boxes complete with strawberry vines – fruit with our pastries!

All the plants and the prolific growth they have had over this wet summer was a little overwhelming for these new gardeners so our first procedure in the garden was to prune back and thin out the plants. In the pruning process, we made sure we enjoyed some of the bounty of the garden. 
These figs provided a sumptuous light lunch for us later in the day.

And the zinnias that needed to be thinned out looked perfect in their new kitchen.

 The front garden was overrun with Monarda (Bee balm) so I began by thinning this out. In the process, we found this cute little garden art.

We also found this Alstromeria 
Also found this Baptisia 
We used our Corona garden shears to cut back the Musa (Banana Trees) before we dug them up and moved them to the side of the house. 
A few hours after cutting these banana trees, they are already putting out growth from the middle of the trunk!

  #2 son had been working for me in my garden for years. It was interesting how much more eager and interested in learning he was now that the garden is his!

Lady was so wanting to help!

There were plenty of distractions! 

We found rose bushes, autumn clematis and two dwarfed crepe myrtles under all the monarda and banana trees. 
Hubby pruning the russian sage (Perovskia)

 I think my pruning job sent the young couple into a little shock. I call this tough love – (but they are thanking me now.)

 So then I stared in the courtyard. There were some real treasures that would await them if they could just get TO the courtyard like this beautiful Japanese maple

 And something was lurking behind all this overgrowth

 Follow the unweeded path

 Eureka!! A nice like water feature with a working small fountain. We’ll work on cleaning this up later.

 We discovered a raised bed with asparagus and chives

and hidden in this bramble are several blueberry bushes and a blackberry bush. 

So I did a pruning on the rosemary willow…
Tool of choice for this project? The new Corona hand saw. 

 The courtyard is now accessible.

And I found this sweet little clematis vine. 

 There were also some scary, but beautiful little garden helpers like these garden spiders.

 Then we returned a month later….

 Arrived at night and was encouraged to see the regrowth.

In the morning I found the helenium still trying to find it’s way after being overshadowed by the banana trees, but loving all the sunlight they were now getting.


The roses were flushing with new bloom

The newbie gardeners are starting to feel like they have something manageable!

And the courtyard is ready for quiet evenings or outdoor entertaining.  One small step for this momma, one giant leap for the new gardeners. 

Around The Garden World – Day 17

 In my quest to view all types of gardens, this one grabbed my eye. While walking with my daughter-in-love around her neighborhood, we saw this in the front of a home in Richmond, Virginia. Sweet Caitlin had been patiently waiting as I took pictures of front yard gardens and tried to sneak peeks at backyard gardens. As we came upon this, she looked at me and said, “These…. look…. fake?”

 Yep, these are the type of flowers that my clients keep asking me for – always blooming, never need water, never need to be deadheaded, and attention grabbing.

Uh, huh – plastic. Definitely got our attention. And our laughter.

 And they did have these almost plastic looking peppers that were growing right next to their authentic plastic flowers.

 I guess because they don’t have any gardening expenses they can buy this really car.  (or at least have a really cool car parked next to their home)

Around The Garden World In 365 Days – Day 13 (The gardens of Monticello)

 So here’s the reality of writing a post every day. I just got back in from driving all day from Virginia, it took me an hour to sort through and upload my pictures of Monticello, it’s almost tomorrow and I need to post this today, and I’m about to fall asleep. So enjoy this visual tour of Monticello and check back tomorrow ‘cuz I’ll have added the details…

Robert (#2 son) and daughter-in-love enjoying the smokey mountain view from Monticello’s museum shop porch.

The vegetable gardens – Jefferson used this for experimenting with new varieties and hybrid of vegetables and to provide for his household. 

Rhododendrons blooming in September

Jefferson used these flower beds to grow cut flowers and trial new varieties of annuals and perennials.

hubby loving the Jefferson history while I’m plant nerding my way through the landscape surrounding the mansion

Balsam Apple – Momordica balsamina

Princess feather – Polygonum orientale

Amaranthus Tricolor – Joseph’s Coat (Summer Poinsettia) 

Lobelia cardinalis – Cardinal flower

I think this is Tassel flower – Emilia javanica. But there was no tag – it looks like an orange version of Gomphrena fireworks

Does this view of Monticello look familiar? You’ll find this sans flowers on the back of the US nickel.

they are just so cute….

The celosia looked fabulous paired with the rudbeckia

I would love to work in a garden with this view

Jefferson was one of the first to push for mixing ornamental plants with edibles. The trellis behind this asparagus holds Hyacinth bean vine, which will cover the trellis by October. 

Nasturtiums flowers and leaves were grown both as an edible and an ornamental.

The gardens were an example of Jefferson’s resourcefulness to use local materials for building trellis and plant stakes. These were holding up what Jefferson called Love Apples (tomatoes). 

These clay pots are used to cover the sea kale to make them turn white (inhibit chloroform) – Jefferson thought they would be more tender that way

Even though Jefferson is often spoken of as a connoisseur of wine, no wine was ever made during his lifetime due to his continual replanting of grapes that wouldn’t survive the Virginia weather. 

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The hallway under the house that led to all the service rooms – kitchen, wine cellar, stables, ice storage – had these lovely little windows that offered glimpses to the back gardens.

For those necessities of life…

the forerunner of the rain barrel – Jefferson created cisterns to collect rainwater. 

Celosia, Heliotrope, cleome


loved this tree in the front of the house – Linden tree

Will the real Jefferson please step forward? 

Around the Garden World – Day 10

The container gardens in Merchants Square in historic Williamsburg, Virgina

Today, before we went to Williamsburg, we spent an incredible day with Brent and Becky Heath at Brent and Becky’s Bulbs. But there is too much to tell you this late at night so enjoy these pretty planters from Williamsburg and I’ll fill you in on the Bulb mecca tomorrow! 

Around the Garden World – Day 8

While visiting in Richmond, Virginia I’m finding some wonderful little micro gardens in the small lots of the Churchill community. 

 No yard for these town homes but that hasn’t slowed these gardeners down!

I loved these mini-gardens in the front of Portrait House restaurant – great succulent window boxes