Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Early Morning Photos

Here are some early morning photos that give an idea of why we moved South from New England.  These sorts of scenes are definitely not happening north of Boston this early in the season.  (As always, click on the photos to make them bigger).

In the Stepchild Garden, this is the "Stonewall Jackson" azalea, which is often sold as a native.  In fact it is a hybrid cross, based upon the Florida Flame Azalea, Rhodendron austrinum.  Regardless of its lineage, it is an incredible color, particularly while lots of things are still brown from winter, and one of my favorites.  I love how the Reeve's Spirea forms a solid blanket of white behind the orange.
One of my favorite shrubs, this Doublefile Viburnum gets almost no attention and still keeps this great shape.  It was trained as a standard for its first couple of years, and now will occasionally send out a sucker, but for the most part just grows in this awesome form on its own.  The Doublefile Viburnum is probably most noticeable for the exquisite flowers and its natural "pagoda" shape.   (Try to ignore how sad the perennial bed looks at the moment....the Stepchild Garden is something like the proverbial shoemaker whose children are barefooted.)
At the Big House, this weeping Japanese maple looks just beautiful now as it drapes over the stream leading into the larger of the koi ponds. 
Pansies and Bluebells on the stairs leading from the koi pond up to the patio.  There are climbing roses and clematis planted on the white trellis on the mid level.  This area bakes in the summer sun, and has been very effectively underplanted with prostrate rosemary.  The fragrance is pretty fabulous when cutting the roses requires stepping on a little of the rosemary.
This view across the big lawn shows the magic that happens in Atlanta in spring.  Lots of the trees that are standing out in this photo are actually from a wooded lot next door (the dogwoods, some of the redbuds, etc.)

 The pot got thrown away, but these leftover pieces of broken terra cotta will find their homes in and around some of the plants in the wooded garden.  Like most garden benches, nobody actually ever sits on this one......
Inside the walled gardens, lots of things are waiting to go into the ground and various containers in the next several days.  In this garden, as well, the Reeves Spirea is a beautiful accent at this time of year. 
The White Border, most of which has still not popped for the season.  Calla lily, white iris, ammi majus, white pentas, white foxtail lilies, and white allysum will all start showing up soon. 

Hold The Date!

Definitely worth showing up early for this one!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Frank's New Roses

After years of listening to me justify my plant purchases, ruined carpets from Georgia red clay, and crazy water bills during Georgia's drought years, Frank has finally caught that plant bug.  Sometimes he's a little hesitant in expressing his illness, but it's definitely there.

The symptoms:  (1)  It was Frank's idea, not mine, to take a tour of English gardens last fall; (2)  There have been many more questions than in the past about the particulars of a plant, it's likes and dislikes, etc.; (3)  He made an observation that he didn't know where to buy rose gloves.

In any case, Frank officially has his own rose collection in the midst of the Stepchild Garden, and I'm delighted!  In the middle of clearing away the sod and cutting into the Georgia red clay, he observed that perhaps it's time we found a younger helper to work in the garden now and then........

The circular bed is starting with five English roses, since I've had good luck with them in the ridiculous Southern heat and humidity, and I'm hoping Frank has the same (or better results). 

In the center, he has "Claire Austin," a white climber named for David Austin's daughter.  Choosing this color was a little challenging, because it's going to climb a blue pillar that matches the "Hummingbird Blue" door of the "Not Shed."  This particular rose is an incredibly beautiful white, and I can't wait to see it start to climb!
James Galway, a classic pink rose with an old-fashioned rose fragrance. 
Mardi Gras, a 2008 All American Rose winner with a somewhat "peppery" fragrance. 
Othello, a deep beautiful burgundy. 
"The Pilgrim," a beautiful multi-toned yellow, because Frank absolutely adores yellow roses. 
Photos of the bed to follow as soon as things start to flush out a little in the next couple of months!  (These photos are David Austin's, not mine)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Rest of the Nurseries Caroliniana List

Here's the rest of what I got last week on the roadtrip to Nurseries Caroliniana.

Quince "Toya Nishiki," for the garden at the Big House.  I've had this one for a few years in the Stepchild Garden, and it always blows me away with its color in late winter.  So many quinces are garish reds (or boring whites).  This one is a true shell pink, with strong apricot overtones.  Grows like a weed in Georgia!
Gold Locust "Frisia."  This locust is absolutely beautiful in the landscape, and keeps this great chartreuse color all season, even in Georgia heat!  I planted it at the Big House, against a row of magnolias and arborvitae that are dark green all year.  This baby just glows! 
Confederate Rose "Plena Flora."  This is almost a requirement in Southern gardens.  It goes completely dormant in winter, then shoots up to 10 feet like a rocket!  Covered with these huge fluffy flowers from September until hard frost. 
Cornus florida "Kay's Appalachian Mist."  This was to replace some of the native dogwoods at the Big House, which don't tend to live a long time.  This particular cultivar is noted for being resistant to mildew, so I'm hoping that's true.  The blooms are just exquisite at the moment. 
Poncirus "Flying Tiger."  I love this plant, though it is positively evil.  Twisted branches covered with twisted thorns that grab you when you walk by!  Beautiful white flowers in spring followed by inedible oranges in the fall, the look is great attached to an arbor (just make sure it's big enough to walk under without getting grabbed!)  I first fell in love with it on an arbor at Historic Oakland Cemetery. 
Cornus rutgans "Stellar Pink."  Another relatively new cultivar that is mildew resistant.  I fell in love with the color!   Blooms after C. florida and before C. kousa.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

So Here's What I Got from Nurseries Caroliniana

Here's the start of the list of what I purchased last week, and my rationale for the purchases.  Since some of you live in different temperature zones from me, I'm listing just the names of many, thinking you'll want to research whether or not these choices will work for you.  (Some may seem boring to you, but there really was a method to the madness.....their wholesale product list is 82 pages long, single spaced!)

1.  Miscanthus sinensis "Strictus," AKA Porcupine Grass.  This one is very similar to the "ribbon grass" that has been around for a long time, but doesn't flop around as much.  Along one side of the Stepchild Garden, I've been actively working to establish a visual barrier between the street and our backyard (we live on a corner).  I have lots of hollies and evergreens that are filling in nicely, so I was looking for a distinctly different texture.  This is a "no muss, no fuss" plant that I'm hoping will look good for most of the year.

2.  Muhlenbergia capilarris (Pink Muhly Grass).  This is one of the favorites of "Mrs" at the Big House, and for good reason. There is almost nothing that looks this fabulous in autumn sun.  It's like a huge cloud of soft pink fog just floating in the garden.  I ordered twelve, to plant in a big mass, since it's seen from some distance across the lawn.                                

3.  Begonia grandis "Heron's Pirouette."  This is one from Heronswood Nursery, and is just a beautiful cultivar.  This begonia is winter hardy here in Atlanta (though it disappears for the winter), and fills in beautifully in shaded areas.  I've planted it under a stand of Redwoods, where there is an existing large patch of Strawberry Begonia.  Later in the season when the Strawberry Begonia disappears, the "Heron's Pirouette" should fill in the spaces nicely.

4.  Iris ensata "Laughing Lion."  An incredible color, deer proof, rabbit proof, incredibly neat growing pattern, grows in clay.  Need I say any more?
5.  Polygonatum biflorum (Solomon's Seal).  This is native to the Southeastern US, and something I think every wooded garden needs to soften the overall look and add a more "established" feel to the garden.  It's going into the shade garden at the Big House, where I'm hoping it will naturalize and spread around at its leisure.                                                                                                                                                                             
6.  Hedychium "Luna Moth."  If you can possibly grow ginger where you live, you simply need to grow ginger!  There is very little so intoxicating on a hot summer night as this beauty!  There are some beautiful cultivars out there, and we have a few at the Big House.  This one is for the White Border, hence this specific choice.
7.  Zanthedeschia "White Giant"  This one originally came through Plant Delights, and is a stunner!  The speckled foliage reaches waist height, with flower spikes that are expected to top out around 7 feet!  Also for the white border at the Big House.  I can't wait to see this baby grow up! (I bought it in a 3 gallon size, so it's already very respectable).