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Baneberry Garden Blog

Actea rubra

A garden of mostly native plants created by a plant addict

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Another Frosty Morn
Several days in the last week we had hard frost and temperatures in the 20's. More is on its way for tonight.  One morning I went out with my cup of coffee bright and early and snapped some shots of the frost. I love the look the frost creates in the dormant garden.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I don't cut any herbaceous plants down in the fall unless they disintegrate.  This sets the stage for beautiful vignettes of branches, stems and seedheads coated with frost or covered in ice and snow.  As I have often told clients you can look at a snowbank anywhere in our area, but leaving the dried stalks of plants creates opportunities to see beauty in the dormant season and reminds you that your garden still exists albeit in a changed state.

Monarda is a great plant for interest in the dormant garden and looks really wonderful encased in ice, frost or covered with snow.


Rudbeckia triloba and various ornamental grasses also look surreal coated with frost.  Even though it was pretty cold out, I was oblivious to it as I wandered through the garden.


Joe Pye weed (Eupatorium purpureum), Blue star (Amsonia taeb. 'Salicifolia') and more Monarda appear starkly different from their summer personas. This is just as magical to me as the growing season and the skeletons of plants afford me a chance to see what the birds are actually doing in the garden: in this case eating the many seeds.

5:33 pm est

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Gardens make a difference

Gardens almost always make an area more hospitable.  Below is a job site I have been on for several months. I don't install hardscapes or even plants anymore.  I strictly design/consult and sometimes help clients locate and obtain plants. A friend who installs hardscapes has done most of the bullwork on this site and my client has someone else who plants and weeds. The area was formerly all turgrass, so a garden will benefit both the occupants of the home and local wildlife. First the pool went in. At this point it was strictly a construction site.


Then the hardscape installation begin. I like pavers much better than concrete because they are water permeable.   Layout of the planting beds is complete , but not the planting itself due to the late time of the year. Many more plants will be installed next season.  The total reduction in turf grass areas for the whole property is probably 40%. As you can see the look and feel of the area from construction site to living area has changed substantially.


 The area below is facing in the opposite direction from the above 2 photos and will contain a small pergola and more planting beds. Next year this garden will look dramatically different with installation of many more native plants to some large empty beds and the elements of time and maturity.  Already this fall birds have been visiting the limited plantings installed. This garden will make a difference on the site it occupies.






2:45 pm est

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sunset and Daylight savings
I both love and hate this time of year. I love the solitude that the winter months bring, but I don't like driving home in the dark from my office or how soon the sun sets. It always takes a week or so until my sleep cycle adjusts to the daylight savings time change.  I came home this evening and went to the mailbox forgetting that there is no mail today with the holiday, but noticed the sky was beautiful and grabbed my camera to snap a few shots.

Red sky at night-sailors delight
Red sky in the morning sailors take warning
8:31 pm est

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Honest Scrap Award

Thanks to Jean P. over at Jean's Garden Blog for the Honest Scrap Award-I'm happy and proud that she thinks my blogging worthy of such an honor. I am always inspired by the other garden bloggers on Blotanical , all of them with their own style , intimate knowledge of plants and unique site conditions.


The rules of the Honest Scrap award if you receive it (shamelessly pilfered from Jean P. through the magic of cut and paste):

    1. Brag about the award.
    2. Include the name of the blogger who bestowed the award on me and link back to the blogger.
    3. Choose a minimum of seven (7) blogs that I find brilliant in content or design.
    4. Show their names and links and leave a comment informing them that they were prized with Honest Weblog.
    5. List at least ten (10) honest things about myself.

So here are my choices for the Honest Scrap Award, all of which (Except Kathy) were among the first garden blogs I found on Blotanical

I don't know if any of my choices have been honored with this award before but here I go:

Diana at Elephants Eye who gardens as I do for wildlife and inspires me with her wonderful photos

Gururajr at Japanese Garden Blog who shows me wonderful and unique plants and gardens

Meredith over at Great Stems who also gardens to create habitat

Tiggerlot at the Galloping Gardener who shows me how many great gardens I still need to visit before I die

Kanak from the Terra farmer I love seeing the plants he is able to grow in India and hope to visit there as well some day

Joel the Urban Gardener  amazes me with gardening in smaller urban plots , something I have no experience with whatsoever

Kathy at Cold Climate Gardening who also lives in cold upstate NY as I do and whose blog introduced me to the world of garden blogging and Blotanical.

10 honest Things about myself

1) I can be very forceful in my argument against large areas of turfgrass to the point of OCD, pointing out that cool season grasses are not suited to North America's climate.

2) I love to collect pottery and would have a houseful if not for a modicum of self restraint

3) I am also OCD about learning and remembering the botanical names of plants and I am blessed as I seem to have a natural affinity for this which was a godsend in College.

4) I like spending time in the garden with a cocktail just looking and it is one of my favorite places to entertain guests

5) I am a bibliophile and often spend as much money on books as I do plants

6) When we first bought the house, necessary renovations took a back seat to getting a garden started

7) I am unabashedly outspoken if I think a plant or planting design won't work

8) I am also outspoken about invasive plants and think it is a gardener's responsibility to be a good steward of the Earth

9) I love Jameson's Irish Whiskey (sorry to those family members that give me Scotch each year), now you know

10) I have lost my temper with (former) neighbors who let their dogs and cats run loose through my garden and also on our busy street because I don't want to see any animal get killed by a car or destroy my hard work

3:48 pm est

More Fall Color and the chippy
Its been a busy week but I managed to get out to snap a few pics in the garden.  There is still some nice color among the shrubs, although the trees are completely bare. The morning sun was streaming through the trees to the edge of the patio
The smokebush (Cotinus) is still putting on a show


A sign that Global climate change is here is that I can grow Oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercilfolia), a zone 5 plant in my zone 4 garden in several different spots whereas it used to only survive in one protected location.
It is definitely one of my favorite shrubs and has wonderful fall foliage
Not only was the frost on the pumpkin this morning (25F), but so was one of the chipmunks (not our tame chipmunk Hamlet) but a more industrious fellow out gathering seeds in the cold


Soon the shrubs will drop the rest of their leaves and the garden will depend on the shapes of woody plants,the beauty of the dried seedheads of herbaceous plants and the activity of the birds.

9:55 am est

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