'Livin' Easy' (above) & 'Easy Does It.'
Their names sound like a sales pitch, but these roses live up to the hype with prolific blooms and spotless foliage.
'La Reine Victoria' didn't look great overall, but her fragrance is excellent so hopefully she'll improve with time in the ground.
'Julia Child' had a gorgeous moment timed well with the iris.
Didn't get a good shot of Abbaye de Cluny®™ as her petals tended to get a little mushy, but she also smells wonderful. We'll see.
Freeze? What freeze? Yeah, I mean the one that happened in December or whenever.
I know I'm a slacker blogger...
... often months behind on my posts, no timely information...
...failing to build an audience or entice comments from my readers...
... sometimes just throwing up photos with no text.
I've kind of accepted it.
And I learned a new slacker trick!
Until recently, I somehow never realized that I can backdate entries to make it seem like it didn't take me 3 or 4 months to post something.
Now you'll have to follow my blog regularly to know how arbitrarily I contribute!
Well readers, I spoke too soon!
In my excitement to show you my lovely poppies, I stated earlier that they weren't as robust as they were last year.
After some excellent spring rains, they are more beautiful.
They remain my favorite flower and I couldn't resist an opportunity to highlight them again.
Yall know how much I love poppies! I'm positively bursting with springtime excitement!
(Papaver nudicale 'Champagne Bubbles')
Orange is my favorite color and we had a separate batch later, but I was glad I got the 'Champagne Bubbles' mix when I saw this unexpected creamy yellow beauty.
I must admit, I should've worked harder to ammend the soil in this newly dug bed. They are not as robust as they were last year. Oh well...an annual after all. Soil improvement will continue!
These lovely dark colored sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) were a favorite when we lived in Brooklyn.
Earlier this summer we grew and enjoyed them here.
Nothing could be easier to direct sow from seed. This type is called: 'Evening Sun' from Botanical Interests.
The front yard is slowly coming along. The weather has been more or less wonderful since the beginning of March. We've had lots of warm, beautiful days — perfect for working outside.
The west-side bed has mostly pinks and dark foliaged plants, though, I added orange violas in winter when most everything had gone out of bloom. Our house faces northwest with a few trees in my neighbor's yard partly blocking the afternoon sun so I've spent the past few months trying to learn how much sun the two front areas receive... it's rather patchy.
A little section of the east-side bed sticks out to receive more sun so I immediately planted my favorite flower — poppies — in that spot.
They bloomed a bit in fall, quietly withstood our harsh winter and were lovely the past two months. We can see them from inside our bedroom window and they still have new buds.
In the same bed is an overgrown holly which I trimmed up to remove a bunch of dead wood and previously butchered branches. It's still pretty much a meatball shape and out of scale, but since we are renters, I am hesitant to chop it down just yet.
Attempting to soften the corner and lower branches, I planted liriope (L. muscari varigata/gigantea) underneath.
Though I certainly could've done a more thorough prep, the sunny front yard border has been cleaned up to the extent that I've been forging ahead with new plantings.
The oldest and therefore largest is Centaurea cineraria 'Colchester White,' which I stuffed into a bare spot last fall before ever removing any weeds. I like how the silver leaves look with the trunks of the Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus).
Wave Hill has a large collection of salvias and I grew very fond of them while working there. Beautiful blue Salvia farinacea 'Henry Duelberg' was discovered by Greg Grant in a Texas cemetary thriving without special care.
In the forefront of this photo is another blue mealy cup sage. Salvia farinacea 'Victoria' is a dwarf form staying under twelve inches. It's sold as a bedding annual, but it returned where I planted it in my mothers garden last spring. You can also see blue fescue and love in a mist (Nigella damescena).
Salvia. longispicata x farinacea 'Mystic Spires Blue' crosses another favorite salvia of mine from Wave Hill, 'Indigo Spires' with a dwarf form to make a shorter, sturdier plant with a gorgeous deep blue flower.
Lamb's ear (Stachys byzantia 'Helen Von Stein') is planted on the edge of the bed anticipating that it will spread and widen the border. More to come!
There are many iris rhizomes that I inherited with this house. They are in every area that one could consider a flower bed. I love iris and I happily anticipated what might bloom from this seemingly large collection — perhaps another wonderful gift from the previous gardener?
The first group bloomed in the backyard. White. Not my favorite color, but certainly pretty especially with ivy as a backdrop.
I began to worry that they might all be white. Or not bloom at all!
Then another backyard group budded. Surely, they'll be a different color, I thought, since they have a different bloom time. Nope. More white.
Apparently over time, if an iris bed is not maintained, the stronger white flowers can dominate and choke out other colors. From my understanding, it has been many years since my landlord's gardening mother lived in the house so the white clumps seem to have taken over. Or perhaps she loved white... ?
A big group bloomed a little later in a front yard bed. Arg! More white!
Finally a large separate group in the front yard long border bloomed — yellow!
Two more, which I neglected to photograph, bloomed purple in the backyard. This fall I'm going to move them to a sunnier spot in hopes that they will become more vigorous. Some of the whites might get moved to my mother's garden.
I'm happy to report that my star jasmine a.k.a. Madison or Confederate jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) is alive and well. Planted late last fall, this little one gallon plant was hard hit by severe winter temperatures. I spotted these badly damaged vines all over town and was afraid mine had croaked.
Holding out hope, I cut everything back to a little stump and applied root stimulator. It was very exciting to see tiny green leaves breaking from the stump.
Two windows of our house look out to this narrow and mostly empty section of the back yard so I'm slowly working on making it a little more interesting. Japanese Aralia (Fatsia japonica), another affordable one gallon planted last fall also looked doubtful after the winter freezes, but recovered quickly and is now thriving.
With the help of my wonderful niece, Arden, some horrible weedy shrubs were removed from my garden this March!
She and I dug out this nasty invasive privet (Ligustrum sinense), which I was initially considering keeping only because it is evergreen.
Arden also helped me remove this oddly placed Nandina (N. domestica) in my back yard, last photographed in the February snow.
Knowing it's also invasive, I'll confess that I replanted the stump along a chain-link fence to it use as a screen.
August knocked over a watering can and enjoyed the muddy mess that resulted in the hole we dug.
I took this other privet out a day later. There is still another monster-sized privet in the back yard which I am living with for the time being.
The front border looks much better without these big weeds and I now have more room for planting.
Thanks again, Arden!
Allow me to catch you up... It has been awhile since I posted.
September 2010 we moved out of my mother's house into our own place. A new gardening adventure begins!
With boxes yet to unpack, I immediately started work on the flower beds. This dark foliaged evergreen is Chinese fringe flower (Loropetulum chinense 'Plum Delight'). Hopefully, it won't eventually seem too monstrously large. I perhaps should have held out for the more compact variety — 'Purple Diamond,' which is more expensive and wasn't in stock at the time, but I couldn't wait. I think I have the space for it to get to mature size (6-8 feet), but we'll see.
Our landlord grew up in this house and his garden-loving mother lived here in until she died so there are some nice things already here like a flowering quince (Chaenomeles sp.) which looks like sticks here. Adding evergreen plants for winter interest seems like the best way to begin. 3 little boxwoods (Buxus microphylla 'Baby Gem') will stay small and tolerate this somewhat shady north-facing bed.
The ugly black plastic cover of our water meter box was in plain view in the bed by the front door. I used this cement tile to cover it. Still not happy about the faucet in the same place, but I'll have to live with it until I come up with a solution.
On the other side of the walk is a big old holly, (Ilex sp.) rounded off into the typical suburban meatball shape. I'm guessing maybe 'Burford' or 'Nelly Stevens,' both of which get much too large for this spot by the door. I would love to take it out, but that's a major project. I'm going to try cutting out some of the lower branches to see if I can make it look more natural and then planting underneath it.
Pansies bloom through the winter here so I planted a few along with some Iceland poppies (Papaver nudicaule 'Champagne Bubbles').
My father chipped up some cedar branches which I used as a mulch in this bed. I'm adding any and every kind of organic matter I can to these beds to slowly improve the gummy clay soil.
This long border is full of weedy trees (self sown elms, hackberries, oaks, privets and honeysuckle) which I spent some time cutting down and attempting to kill with a stump killer. It's not an organic method, but the chemical is targeted only on these specific stumps so I can clear them out to plant some flowering shrubs, perennials and maybe even a few vegetables in spring.
This is only the front yard. Unlike our little 360 square foot garden in Brooklyn, which was all contained in a little fence there are possibilities (and messes to clean up) on every side of this house. There is lots of work to do, but I think we are in a very good place.
February 18th, 2011 marked my 4 year blog-iversary! Thanks for tolerating my infrequent posts!
While we are staying with my mother in the house I grew up in, I've been working on the yard. The first thing I did was trim up these two crepe myrtles that I planted back in the early 90s. They were supposed to be dwarfs and stay somewhat shrubby, but they appear to be headed toward full size trees. One was moved when they added wheelchair accessible sidewalk corners and I'm not particularly happy with the placement. Not sure what exactly, but I'm considering adding some shrubs near them.
We used to have a wood fence behind where I planted this little fig tree — a cultivar called 'Celeste.' When the fence got terribly old and rotten, Mom just had it taken down, which made our backyard visible from the street. It's a surprising improvement and eventually the fig will provide a little natural screening.
It already has several fruits on it!
Next I began to work on gaps in the flower beds.
Mother has a weird way of expressing dislike towards her shrubs. She decided this cherry laurel (Prunus caroliniana) was "out of bounds" and started hacking it up leaving stumps protruding from all sides. Every time she passes she rips off another small section by hand. Looks weird, doesn't it?
I cleaned it up a little and put in artemisia 'Powis Castle,' lemon balm, golden sage, blackfoot daisies, moss rose and sedum 'Autumn Joy' below. Later, thinking it looked too sparse and green, I added gomphrena 'Strawberry fields,' which I remember fondly from when my friend Gelene grew it from seed at Wave Hill. Along with plenty of organic fertilizer, I also dumped in a big bag of cotton burr compost to amend her cement-like clay soil.
There are two other cherry laurel shrubs which have also been hacked to heck. I'm planning on removing this one here on the left. Our friend Carlos works for a Dallas landscaping company and has plenty of experience tearing out old shrubs so he offered to assist me. Then I'll have a whole corner to fill in next to her Ligustrum hedge.
Below the hedge there is a strip of lovely yellow Iris which bloomed beautifully this spring. I decided to fill the gaps with some other perennials using a color scheme of yellow, white and a little blue.
'Stella D' Oro' daylilies and Mexican Mint Marigold (Tagetes lucida).
Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens), yellow columbine (Aquilegia hinckleyana), and Salvia farinacea 'Victoria Blue.'
My nephew Ray helped me plant three large elephant ear bulbs which are coming up nicely.
Near the front sidewalk corner there is a large patch of various ground covers. I added three variegated liriope and some star zinnias to brighten up the edge.
In this shaded corner near the hose, I added some caladiums. I probably should've gone with white and green to better match the varigated pittosporum, but I couldn't resist the cultivar called 'Carolyn Wharton.' I have plans to place another dwarf pittosporum called 'Mojo' in the corner in front of the boxwood.
Another gap gets some hot afternoon sun so I used Salvia greggi 'Violet,' Nepeta 'Walker's Low,' mexican heather and lavender periwinkles.
Had to have a few containers on the porch. Obviously I'm staying busy here and making good use of my employee discount at North Haven Gardens where I am a garden advisor.
Here's my little garden helper, August who loves to be outside and eat dirt.
A big winter storm left a large tree leaning against the house so we had it taken down just after we arrived in Texas. I'm pleased that they left this lovely stump.
Living far away in NYC, I longed for some time to do these kind of small improvements on the yards of my family. Soon I'll be working on my father's and sisters'.
My dear friend Johnette has been working on adding perennials to the large garden bed in front of her house.
A big winter snowstorm tore up a large yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria) that was shading this side of the bed. It looked horrible so they had it removed, creating a new area with more sun.
She got all new soil with compost as well as mulch in bulk.
I'm watching with interest to see how her "Endless Summer" blue hydrangea will perform. So far it looks beautiful.
We house and cat-sat for them while they were on vacation and I put a few annuals in pots for them. They looked a little skimpier that I hoped initially, but they'll fill out.