Friday, June 27, 2008

A Shady and Beautiful Tour

I visited with Charlsie on Monday for nearly two hours. One of Charlsie's neighbors (Eunice, whom I knew through garden clubs and master gardeners) had told me I really should visit Charlsie's garden as it was so beautiful. Yes indeed. But what I could not understand was just how well planned, incorporated and managed the garden was until I paid it a visit myself. The following is Charlsie's words about her garden.

It was an honor to have been asked to include our flower gardens in the 2008 Master Gardeners' Montgomery County Tour, and such a joy to walk through our gardens with 100 interested guests that beautiful first day of summer, Saturday, June 21.

Having always had an interest in landscaping, we've found terracing to have worked for our extremely sloped and wooded lot. Over the 24 years we have lived here, my husband has built 2-foot-tall rock walls; which cascade down our hillsides. These curved walls have become the foundation for our flower beds, meandering pine needle paths, winding stone walkways, and a rocked, dry creek bed; which crooks down the hillside carrying rainwater. Shade loving trees, shrubs, ground covers, and flowers have been planted throughout our landscape and are accented with birdbaths, bird feeders and benches.

We are surrounded with a beautiful forest of very tall woodland trees and indigenous dogwoods. Ornamental magnolias, Rose of Sharon, and on Japanese maple represent the smaller flowering trees we enjoy nearest our home and in our gardens.Azaleas, rhododendrons, and laurels are examples of the spring blooming shrubbery we prefer. Coolness is added to our shade gardens with the deep green color of transplanted wood ferns, vinca minor, blue liriope, and Francee and Patriot hostas.

We feel that the trees, shrubs and groundcover plantings are conducive to the setting we enjoy and provide a serene backdrop for the color found in the perennial and annual plantings we like to use. In my opinion, the greatest visual impact comes from the cool colors of blue, white and shades of pink found in our gardens. Gorgeous blue mophead hydrangeas and white oak leaf hydrangeas provide us with lasting color throughout the spring and summer. The numerous pink astilbes we use add perennial springtime beauty and interest with their texture and sweet smell. Our favorite annuals to incorporate are pink impatiens and pink begonias; which are planted plentifully and in groupings with white Christmas caladiums, whose bulbs I harvest at the end of the season to replant in late spring.

Colorful potted containers overflowing with white caladiums, various shades of pink impatiens, and English ivy are found throughout our back patio area and accent the stairs leading to the upstairs screened porch. Ivy covered trellises add interest to the patio area, and another porch trellis is the foundation for our 24 year old Sweet Autumn clematis. The clematis tendrils are woven throughout the trellis and upward to the deck railing awaiting its late summer showing of tiny, fragrant white blossoms. Living so near the woods, we are fortunate to also have a treasure of spring blooming wildflowers; which include bountiful bluebells, multitudes of may apples, purple ajuga, lavender woodland phlox and trillium, to name a few. False Solomon's Seal is also found in abundance, with its white, feathery spring blossom turning into golden beads in summer.

While shopping in a garden nursery a few years ago, an elderly gentleman made this comment to me, "I can tell that you are a happy person." I asked how he knew. He then said, "Because you love flowers, and you love gardening. I have found that flower gardeners are always happy people." Yes, I do love flower gardening, and I am most happy when I'm in my cool and colorful shade garden. I hope my husband and I have made our garden setting both beautiful and inviting.

Charlsie, you are indeed a happy person and a super good gardener.

I included many pictures which I hope illustrate how wonderfully planned, cool and beautiful Charlsie's garden on the slope shows.

in the garden....


  1. Just wonderful Tina, again. Your showing of these fine gardens is nearly as good as being there. And hearing the words of the gardeners is the best. I think what she said in the beginning, INTERESTED GUESTS, is key. When people are interested in hearing about the little facts of your garden, you can warm to your subject and make it more enjoyable for you both. You could do this for a living, you bring out the best in people.

  2. Tina,

    Great tour and post! Loved it and when you enlarge the photos, wow, you can really see more of the garden. Thanks, are there more gardens to see?


  3. Frances, Know anyone hiring writers?:) Sure would love to do this for a job. I have pursued it, albeit not aggressively. Lots of good writers though-just look at the blogs! Thanks again, from the master storyteller I consider your compliment very high. The stories and the personal touch make it more interesting.

    Gail, There were seven gardens total. I have pictures from five including my own. The last two may just be a combined write up. We'll see next week. I was a negligent blogger in that I failed to take my camera to the gardens so three of the gardens (The Smith, Browder, and Cooper Garden)were photographed by their gardeners. I did photograph Charlsie's garden on another day.

  4. Poll is closed now. Bee Balm is June's Plant of the Month. Thank you all who voted. Good job for helping me out and the varied reasons were quite interesting!

  5. Very nice --makes me wish I'd gone on the tour. Maybe next year:0) Have a great day --must get the kiddos out for a bike ride. Ciao!

  6. Wow. great post and tour. Everyone has such lovely gardens.
    I am having Action Air do my a/c. Thanks for the advice on it.

  7. Great post Tina. Very entertaining comments & the pics are a bonus. Beautiful. You do such beautiful work. Yes, I think professional writer you should be. You are so great with words that make a person feel as tho they are there.

  8. Morning Tina. I enjoyed the tour. Hydrangeas and sweet autumn clematis are among my favorites. I only grow a couple hydrangeas but admire the blues and pinks.

    Thanks for being our tour guide;)

  9. Good morning to all and have a great day.

    Thanks to Tina and Charlsie for another great tour for us all to enjoy.

  10. Gardens mixed in a woodland setting is my fave. Lovely pictures and great words. The hydrangas are beautiful!

  11. Another beautiful garden! I love the walkway down the yard. I too wish I had been on the tour but kind of feel like I have through your eyes Tina. Maybe next year I will have to make a run to TN for the tour. 6 hours in a car will be worth it to see all this beauty!

  12. Very pretty garden Mommy. I bet you love going on those tours!

  13. Thank you Tina for bringing us on your garden tour! She has an excellent shady garden. I would have loved to see that in person. The hydrangeas look great!

  14. What a great tour! Her garden is just beautiful and how luck is it to live near woodlands!

  15. What a wonderful tour, thank you. It gives me some ideas for some of my shady areas that I am stumped on what to do with them.

  16. Anonymous, You are so busy! It is hot today but I hope you had a great bike ride.

    Sarah, You will like Action Air for their customer service.

    Thanks Lola! My shampoo ginger is doing super good. I think it may be root hardy and I am excited it all came up. I hope it blooms and will post about it.



    Dawn, The opening pic is of an Ayesha hydrangea. Many liked this hydrangea with its curling petals. Ever seen it?

    Skeeter, The tours are only every other year-so maybe in 2010?

    Christine, I so love the tours! I enjoy all gardens and get so many ideas. Wish you could come with me sometime.

    Dave, Thanks! These hydrangeas were astounding-all ground covered and nicely designed.


    Cindy, Do you prefer tranquil solitude or Cindy? Charlsie has a problem with deer eating the hydrangea blossoms for many years. Now she sprays religiously and has nice flowers. You will probably have to do this too if you plant hydrangeas. They would look great!

  17. Beautiful garden, and lovely blog! It has been awhile since I had the time to prepare for one of those Garden Walks, but they sure are rewarding. I have always met the best people on those, whether I am visiting or hosting!

    Great blog ~ I will be back!

    - Jen-o in Middle Tennessee

  18. Jen-o-Thanks and welcome! The people were all nice, very nice. Gardeners seem to be really good people.

  19. No, I haven't. I've seen alot hydrangas in the last couple of days. One was called "red lady" and has maroon red stems with red flowers. Very pretty. Still looking for a hardy fushia

  20. I mowed the grass today and it was not too bad even though I picked the hottest time of day to do it! I am such a nut at times, I admit it. LOL. Luckily, it was not as humid as they called for, just plain hot instead being 97 again! Arggg where is the rain they promised? Maybe tomorrow…

    Have a good weekend everyone…

  21. Dawn I bet the red lady is pretty. My hydranga is budded out now and ready to burst its seams.

    Well this afternoo (as usual) it got very dark and heard thunder all around us. The news said they go one and half inch of rain in Portland in an hour. We got a few, very few sprinkles. My deck did not even get wet, few wet spots here and there on it. I have never seen it so dry here before.

  22. Dawn, I actually have red lady. It is blooming now.

    Skeeter, Maybe today for some rain. My lawn has slowed down growing-yeah! Not mowing as much but during the hot part of the day is usually too hot! Riding lawnmower like Anonymous's though? Not so bad.

    Mom, Power went out here last night. Tree fell. We are hoping for rain today! Be patient.