Saturday, November 21, 2009
Another Frosty Morn
5:33 pm est
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
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.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Gardens make a difference
2:45 pm est
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.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Sunset and Daylight savings
8:31 pm est
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
Red sky in the morning sailors take warning
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Honest Scrap Award
3:48 pm est
Thanks to Jean P. over at Jean's Garden Blog http://jeansgarden.wordpress.com/ 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
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 http://elephantseyegarden.blogspot.com/ who gardens as I do for wildlife and inspires me with her wonderful photos
Gururajr at Japanese
Garden Blog http://japanesegarden.wordpress.com/ who shows me wonderful and unique plants and gardens
Meredith over at Great Stems http://www.greatstems.com/ who also gardens to create habitat
Tiggerlot at the Galloping Gardener http://thegallopinggardener.blogspot.com/ who shows me how many great gardens I still need to visit before I die
Kanak from the Terra
farmer http://terrafarmer.blogspot.com/ I love seeing the plants he is able to grow in India and hope to visit there as well some day
the Urban Gardener http://joeltheurbangardener.wordpress.com/ amazes me with gardening in smaller urban plots , something I have no experience with whatsoever
Cold Climate Gardening http://www.coldclimategardening.com/ 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
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
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
More Fall Color and the chippy
9:55 am est
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.