Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Photos from Longue Vue

Looking through the Back of the Loggia; The South Facade & Spanish Court Garden; The Potting Shed Area; The Parterre Garden with a Miniature Orange Tree; The Dolphin Fountain in the Spanish Court -- The Allee of Live Oaks as one approaches the house

Longue Vue House and Gardens

During last weekend’s trip to New Orleans, we had the opportunity to spend a few hours touring Longue Vue, the home and garden of Edgar and Edith Stern. It’s been open to the public since 1980, just before Mrs. Stern’s death.

It is an extraordinary home, largely because the mansion was built AFTER the gardens were planned and mostly installed. As a result, every room in the home frames a spectacular view (unfortunately we couldn’t photograph from inside the house). The view taken from behind the loggia through that structure gives an idea of just how much thought went into designing every inch of the property.

The sad part of Longue Vue, like much of New Orleans, is the astounding amount of damage done by Hurricane Katrina. Even though it’s been almost four years, the damage is still very evident. I’ve included a couple of photos here of the Spanish Court garden, which was designed as a showcase for the Stern collection of fountains. As you can see, they are all dry. Still beautiful to look at, but all of the mechanics were destroyed by being covered by 10 feet of salt water for more than a month.

As you look at these photos, imagine the concept of having your garden completely covered with salt water for almost six weeks! It boggles my mind to see how much the staff there (and it’s a tiny group) has accomplished in the past few years! I can’t wait to go back again in a couple of years and see the fountains working again.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Some Photos from Nawlins

(Top to Bottom: Royal Street Balcony, Chartres Street, Chartres Street, Lower Ninth Ward)

We spent the weekend in New Orleans, which was a great little break that came early enough in the season to beat the oppressive heat in the "Big Easy." Since Atlanta has turned into a rainforest this year, there wasn't a whole lot of gardening that could be done anyway!

New Orleans has always been elegant in a somewhat "down at the heels" way, and it's a little more pronounced post-Katrina, but that faded elegance is still very visible. We got a bunch of photos, and some of the gardens were particularly beautiful in spring. The last photo makes one sad......clearly someone once cared very much for this little garden....the gardener and the flowers are gone, along with the house.

(I'm going to make a separate post of photos from Longue Vue House)

Duck, Duck, Goose!

Do you remember that little game from childhood? I believe it is this year's theme for the southeastern US......except in Georgia it's "drought, drought, flood."

After two years of extreme drought, we're all conditioned to rationing our outdoor water, we've become resigned to chronically dirty cars, and pressure-washing is a thing of the past.

Now that we're all used to those things, could we please just have a couple of days without rain???? I know I shouldn't complain, but there are weeds growing in places I didn't think life could exist! The seeds that have fallen in the past two seasons have all just stayed dormant and developed into these mutant weeds! The makers of Roundup must be celebrating out there in chemical land!

In addition to that, I don't think I've ever seen this many fallen seems that every time there is even a rain shower, we see or hear trees crashing, their roots so weakened by the drought of the past two seasons.

I don't want much...just a break in the rain that gives me enough of a window to go outside and prune some of the out-of-control growth and get a handle on at least one bed's worth of weeding!

But, alas, I have to sign off electrical storm is coming!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Deutzia is this Week's Favorite Plant

This week's favorite plant has to be the deutzia, which is blooming its heart out at the moment. For most of the year it just hangs out there, looking a bit like a forsythia or a spirea, but for these few weeks, it is just COVERED with beautiful delicate pink blooms. (The wide shot bleeds out the color, unfortunately)

I don't see it often in gardens, but it really is a great old standy, that I think deserves to be named, "Favorite Plant of the Week". It will go back to being a back of the garden framework plant soon, but for now it's the star of the show!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Horticulture Magazine

So without sounding like a complete egomaniac, I thought the blurb Horticulture magazine did was sorta'll notice that I managed to hide my fat body behind the beautiful gate outside the perennial garden at the Big House!

For some reason I seem to be the last person in America to receive the latest issues of Horticulture, so I had gotten several messages from people commenting that it was a great little article about roses and hydrangeas.

That being said, I am soooooo excited at the appearance of the hydrangeas this year, particularly after the late season freeze of 2007, and the crazy drought of 2007 and 2008. The Annabelles are covered with buds, as are most of the macrophyllas, though it's still a little early for them.

At my own house, the H. seratta "Preziosa" (Carol H's favorite) is already in full bloom, and it's quite pretty. I'll get a picture in a couple of days when it's peaking. I was walking through the garden today at the big house, as well as here at home, and noticed the oakleafs are already starting to show some bloom. It always reminds me of somone with a can of that spray whipped cream, seeing how high they can possibly pile the cream on the pie before it tips can you not just love them?

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Few More Photos from This Weekend

Here are a few more that didn't fit into the last post:

The "Villages" Lemon is starting to put out fruit, even though it's had a rough spring with some kind of a funk (dish soap is taking care of it, though);

The Sweet Pea Blossoms on the Tuteur;
A Shade Container with "Song of India" at its center;

A Poppy that lived through the hail storm

Some Spring Blooms

I pride myself on living a somewhat slow and "off the grid" life......clearly that's all fantasy on my part, since being without a cell phone for six hours and without a computer for a few days has put me into a complete state! Fortunately there is always the gardening to bring me back to the ground, and fortunately Chuck's camera isn't dead, as well.

Anyway, here are a few shots of what's in bloom over at the big house this week. Enjoy!
Top to Bottom:
Tradescantia "Sweet Kate"'
A Summer Container Just Starting to Flush Out;
Graham Thomas (a personal favorite) starting to show off;
White Foxglove in the Perennial Bed;
William Morris competing with Graham Thomas for the bloom show
(As always, click on the photo to enlarge)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Happy Birthday, Ma

Today would have been my grandmother's 95th birthday. I was very lucky that she lived until a few years ago, in great health until the end. It seemed appropriate that I was puttering in the garden this morning, tending to some peonies, which were one of her favorite flowers. You must know, though, that in her New York accent, they were always "pee-OH-nies;" I continue to call them "pee-OH-nies," simply because it provides me with an ongoing link to our relationship.

I'm sure that everyone feels they had the best grandmother, and I know lots of people who remember baking cookies, grandmothers in an apron, or a little old lady with gray hair. I consider myself lucky that mine was much more like "Auntie Mame" in my life, with a little "Dame Edna" thrown in for good measure.

There was no question that my grandmother was a great cook, but "Ma" felt her daughter (my mother) could teach the next generation how to cook. As a grandmother, she felt it was more important to teach me my first real curse words, how to order in a Chinese restaurant, and her personal Theory of Decorating (Maribou feathers on anything are good; glitter is better, and if people say it's gaudy, they must be jealous.) She appreciated nice plants and flowers, but had an equal appreciation for plastic flowers, which were everywhere in her home.

A few years ago the security guard at Disney World pointed out to my six-year-old niece and I that we should not be lying down on the moving sidewalks at Epcot. She replied, "Sir, we're not people. We wanted to see what the brocolli at the supermarket feels like." The guard simply shook his head and walked away........I think Ma must have rubbed off on me a little.......

Saturday, May 2, 2009

One of My Favorite Containers for Summer

I spent the day pruning like a crazy person, all the while using the "alternate" pair of pruners. As a result, I have a blister the size of a ping pong ball on the ball of my hand! The kicker is that tomorrow was planned as the day to prune in my own "step child" of a garden.....looks like I might have to cruise the nurseries instead......

Here are two photos of one of the summer containers at the Big House. It's very simple, but I think really shows off the Lion's Head Maple well. I surrounded the base with Bonfire Begonias, and then there is a little Creeping Jenny just starting to drip out of the pot, as well. I'll post another photo once the begonias are blooming, because they're pretty spectacular. They take a little more sun, a little more heat, and a little bit drier soil than most begonias, I've found.

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Great Week for Gardening!

It's been a challenging week for communications, but the people at Sprint and Dell have that under control....the new phone is in hand, spending hours reentering numbers, the new computer on its way. On the other hand, what an awesome week for gardening! Hovering around 80 degrees all week, mostly sunny, then some showers started today. It's hard to believe we were close to freezing just a few weeks ago! I've been able to get a ton of things done at the big house, doing the final pre-season "primping." The summer containers are full, we're getting blisters from pruning shears, the annuals are in, and things are just starting to explode in the garden!

The irises and peonies are loving this weather! Here are a few shots from this morning....unfortunately I don't know the cultivars of any of these beauties!