Thursday, May 29, 2014

Nellie Stevens Holly

I am the proud owner of three.  AND a pink velour crapemyrtle, which I hope will not turn out too violently pink, but it was a good price at the nursery and I thought it would be nice to get a season's growth on it even if the bloom color is a bit of a risk.  I live dangerously like that.

Kit Island is burgeoning.  It was planted last summer and the catmints are huge.  I misjudged how big they would get and have some veronica and geranium hanging on under their burgeoning selves.  Isn't the baptisia fab?  The color is awfully close to the catmint-- could use some contrast in there.  Jupiter's Beard wouldn't quite be in bloom yet.  The roses will pop soon, of course.

This was taken from the garage door.  You can start to see the layers I'm going for-- hoping someday for a birdy, bee-loud 60' x 90' well of wonderfulness.  And it is kind of well-like, with the berm and the nursing home behind it.  When life hands lemons, etc etc.

Last weekend we finally made it to Chanticleer.  It was divine.  I don't take good pictures, sorry, but I have a few I must share:  The espaliered tricolor beech.  Pretty cool, huh?


The parking lot.  There was this very cool screening island, Foster Hollies and Unnamed Evergreen underplanted with deutzia.  Inspirational.

 More deutzia underplanting, this one with white Bleeding Heart at Hershey Gardens from a year or so ago:

So the immediate task is the plant the crapemyrtle in the west bed with the stewartia and hollies, and to decide on how I want to arrange my screening situation in the 15' strip on the north side of the lot.  Then work out how I am going to pay for all this.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


So I can stay in and write about gardens.

Activity for this week:
  • Much mulching (it's slow)-- I'm using the free leaf compost from the township.  It breaks down to fluffy stuff in a year. 
  • Some fertilizing-- I put down Osmocote and Hollytone, but some things were looking peaked, so I splashed around some dilute liquid fertilizer on the pale things.
  • More planting-- the last of my Santa Rosa plants, annuals (lots of Angelonia, some verbena and annual salvia)
  • More buying-- I have an Itea Little Henry waiting to go in once I moved the experimental hydrangea I put in that spot to God knows where.  I'll find a place.  
  • Awaiting my exciting splurge early-birthday present, which is a self watering planter from Gardener's Supply which I will put on the back steps to grow the tomatoes and basil which got pushed out of the garden in favor of ornamentals.  To wit:  

  • Weeding-- Who isn't?  'Nuff said.
  • Watching and feeling anxious-- The Green Giants planted between us and the nursing home employee entrance on a tiny strip between pavement and a steep slope have unsurprisingly all died over the winter. We'll see what the nursing home's response will be.  Also feeling tender and guilty over nonthriving plants at home-- the Charlie Brown-style sweetbay magnolia, three bare root mail-order roses I thought were dead but seem to be showing very tentative shrunken signs of life.  Slight guilt over sticking in threes and fives of all kinds of perennials and knowing this is perhaps not the ideal way to approach design.
  • Rejoicing-- last year's catmints, white vinca minor, Neon Flash spirea, baptisia, etc are all thriving.  Two out of three bargain Hummingbird clethra are not actually dead.  The Hoogendorne Holly did great over the winter and are now on the recommended list (knock wood). Verbena Homestead Purple is a rather fetching addition to the south foundation.
  • Cutting-- I have put together recital and sick-friend bouquets out of What's Blooming, which at the moment is allium (yay allium!), Summer Snowflake Viburnum, baptisia, and catmint.
  • Admiring-- my blooms, my green things, and my worms.  Awesome worm count this year.  And the baptisia Purple Smoke, which I know for some has been a weirdy, in-between color, is really gorg in my garden.

Happy Spring :)

Sunday, May 4, 2014


It's still cold, but it's lovely. Don't you think this front bed needs to be widened a bit?  I bought a Stewartia "Sky Rocket" at Highland Gardens today.  I think I'm going to plant it at the far end of the rock wall in back. Today is my mother's yarhzeit (I'm not Jewish, but the idea of keeping the anniversary of a death in remembrance has meaning for me).  I will plant the tree for her. Twenty three years and I still can't really think about her much because I miss her so.  I'm lucky to have been blessed with such a warm, smart, loving mother, and more blessed still to have so many people to love-- my father, my brother, and my best friend, three uniquely charming, affectionate, and awesome children, and a husband who is pretty much flesh of my flesh at this point.  His flesh is much better looking than mine, but you get the idea.

Happy Spring, people!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Ilex crenata "Bennett's Compacta"

The solution to the three-shrubs-West-border problem.  There are drawbacks to this shrub, but none that outweigh its general handsomeness and the key fact that they were only $15 each at Costco.  Problem solved.

I measured more or less carefully for flagstone, and ran into another Limit.  The Best of Men and I are going to spring for 3 pallets, or 300 sf, at about $1200 delivered, once we dig out three inches of ground, spread with two inches of sand, sacrifice a rooster, etc.  This is about 1 pallet short of what we probably really need but my thought is:  I can't afford four pallets.  Et voila.

Tomorrow I hope to obtain a Crape Myrtle, probably a Pink Velour, so here's hoping I don't hate the color once it does its thing.  I could wait until they bloom but who wants to leave a giant, weed-inducing spot in the border?  Not I.  

I also want:

a daphne by the steps to waft fragrance when I release the Kracken, aka the dog
dwarf deutzias to cluster gracefully around the ankle(s?) of the Zelkova I planted
calycanthus in the back corner of the yard, more fragrance
another clethra or two to augment the ones that may not all be entirely dead
caryopteris to flower wonderfully in the West border and distract from all those briiiight pinks
a New Jersey tea because I just do
maybe an abelia because people seem to get excited about them?

I got my wonderful, wonderful Santa Rosa plants-- little pots carefully packaged in netting and paper.  Stuff arrived in great shape.  I gave them a day's rest, as advised, and planted them lovingly, even though I had to walk around carrying the Agastache Black Adder thinking, But there was room on Kit Island, really there was. (Not once I planted the verbena boniarensis I grew from seed).

I'll learn how to take real pictures eventually.  It's much prettier in person.