Friday, July 30, 2010

The Northside Shrub Border Walk Around

Today I thought I'd talk of my long Northside Shrub Border. I am the kind of person who likes my boundaries in all facets of my life. My home is my paradise and I want to enjoy every bit of it-in privacy. I find it odd I blog about it all though. Anyhow, all borders of my one acre lot have gardens. This particular border is along the northern property line in the front yard. The length of this garden is 97 feet long by 11 feet wide, except in the corners where it curves around and can be as wide as 20+ feet. We will start our walk coming out of the back gate on the north side of my home. I designed this border more as a shrub border but I can't deny any perennials so they are tucked in here in each vacant and almost vacant spot. Upon exiting the gate you are bordered on the right by the house and its north foundation bed, on the left begins the Northside Shrub border. You are first met by a gigantic 'Mt. Airy' viburnum. I have posted on this viburnum a few times in the past. It is a keeper. In fact, I like it so much and it has done so well I've decided to make this corner of the Northside Shrub Border into a viburnum corner. I am hoping for good cross pollination in order to grow more berries on my viburnums. So far cross pollination has escaped me and very few berries grow:(
Next to the viburnum is a 'Tardiva' hydrangea paniculata that is just
beginning to bloom. I love the paniculata hydrangeas as they do so well and bloom during a low time in the summer garden. I then placed a doublefile viburnum next to the hydrangea and finally the deep dark corner is anchored by a red twig dogwood. Now we turn the corner and get a bit closer to the curve. You cannot see all of the shrubs I talk about but they are on your left behind the grass. I could not get the entire corner of this border in one photo.

Walking a bit further out into the yard we come closer to the corner and see the privacy fence that marks the northern boundary. We see that fence very clearly because all shrubs I've tried to grow here have been dismal failures. This corner of the garden is fairly shady and the evergreens I've desired to grow here are not liking the shade. I recently replaced them with more viburnums; which are too small to be seen. The first one to the left of the red ladder and along the fence is a 'Shasta' doublefile viburnum, next to this is a golden 'Vicary' privet (you can see part of it under the blue star) and then the silverberry is next in the row. One word of warning on silverberries; while they are listed as non-toxic I was stabbed with a few thorns while pruning this shrub. The thorns were about 3/4" of an inch long and fairly small, but the wound caused by them is at least a quarter of inch wide and is slow to heal. It is not pretty so watch out for those thorns if you grow these (Skeeter).

Do you see all those perennials close to the grass? That corner is very deep and has been reconfigured to make the exactly perfect curve for my lawnmower no less than two times. The perennials are in there for fillers for now. A second layer of shrubs fronts the back layer that runs along the fence. In this layer are: mophead hydrangeas, a paniculata hydrangea, 'Emerald Triumph' viburnum, and an arrowood viburnum (Thanks Dave!). This particular area is a primary view from my home office. I anticipate that in a few years it will positively glow and smell strongly once the viburnums grow in. As an added bonus to the white flowers, the viburnums have awesome fall color, and let's not forget those berries (with good cross pollination hopefully). For now though the primary focus of this area is perennials. There are about seven peonies, several 'Blue star' amsonias, daylilies, coneflowers, 'Joe Pye' weed, river oats, catmint, verbena, lilies, yarrow and shasta daisies growing with free abandon in this corner. I find these plants do okay with mostly shade and only a few hours of sun. The whole character of this bed will slowly change as the shrubs mature and the little bit of sun and room the perennials get now disappears. Tree roots and dryness are not big issues for this corner because run off from the lawn goes into this corner helping with moisture, and the trees growing nearby are lovely oaks; which I find to be hospitable to perennials growing under them. I love the soil in this corner but there is just not enough sun so the area is challenging for me.
Here is the same corner looking west. To give you a frame of reference the silverberry is the gray/silver shrub that sticks out the farthest on the right hand side of this picture. The privacy fence is behind these shrubs. Right next to the silverberry is a tall red tip photina. You can see where all the shade comes from. We have a lot of shade trees in the form of oaks, a hickory, cedars, and a maple and black tupelo. We love the trees but boy do they present challenges for gardening for me. I think all gardens need a tree-or do all trees need a garden? Anyhow, that is my philosophy here at Tiger Gardens. The round garden to the left in this picture is the Crabapple Garden. I have not done a long post on it but have posted pictures from it before. It is undergoing a change in that hostas are slowly replacing the irises and other sun loving perennials here.
A longer view of the northside shrub border looking west again. Once we leave the red tip photinia we find a mock orange shrub. I am not a big fan of these shrubs. They are very pretty in bloom in the spring but mine does not smell and it looks nondescript for the rest of the year. I am thinking its days are numbered. You can barely see it but there is an American flag painted on a window and mounted to the fence. That is the division between two different phases of this garden. It is also a fairly sunny area. I have a small holly planted below the flag that will slowly grow in. Next to it there is a row of Chinese variegated privet. These guys were planted for privacy prior to the fence being built. I tried to give them all away this spring but had no takers. This particular privet does not seem to be invasive, though once it is in place it is set to stay there for awhile. I have decided to leave them in place because the white lightens up this dark area and the privet actually do well in the difficult dry soil in this area. Even of the area was not shady the soil is bone dry and root congested due to two tulip poplars growing in my neighbor's yard. Have you ever seen the roots on tulip poplars? They are fibrous and quite invasive and not at all like the roots on an oak tree. I love the trees but hate those roots. I think tulip poplars are trees that need to be grown in big big yards. Our yards here in my neighborhood are not that big. That being said my neighbors have the right to grow whatever they desire so I have to work around the trees. The garden to the left by the concrete wall is my 'Walled Garden'. It is under a cedar tree and is filled with paniculata hydrangeas that I propagated. Those hydrangeas are doing well and I am hoping for a bloom this year (after nearly five years!) Also in the walled garden is an oak tree. This area provides heavy shade to the Northside Shrub border where the privet grow. The only saving grace is the fact that during high summer the sun passes directly overhead of the border so, as of today, there is still a gap between my cedar and oak and the neighbor's tulip poplars so that the border gets a bit of sun. As the sun sinks in the south though that bit of sun disappears. I had started this border with mums and daylilies but just gave up and switched to mostly hostas.

Here we are again looking west along the border. There is a lot of texture and color in this border but it is such a challenge that sometimes I just throw up my hands in despair. The rest of the gardens except one, are not standard borders such as this one. I prefer the informal shapes and contours to the long straight borders but this particular area called for a straight border because of the slope of the yard and the placement of the trees we left in place. We did cut down about ten mature trees from the frontyard including one in this very garden we are looking at now. Once that tree and the others were cut down it made the remaining trees so much happier that they decided to grow at triple rate and fill in the slots vacated by their lost fellow trees. There goes the sun....

Now we are backing up toward the road to the east but still looking west-north-west. My neighbor's house is barely visible behind the fence. It was a completely different looking yard when we first moved here nine years ago. There was no division and no privacy. Boy, did those shrubs grow fast and the garden sure changed the look of the yard.

Now this is the eastern corner of the Northside Shrub Border. One might think its conditions would be similar to the first corner we started with but not so. They couldn't be more different. This corner borders the state highway my home sits on. You can just barely see the road behind the plants and split rail fence behind my bowling ball tree. This corner also gets a bit more sun than the western corner because the sun is not blocked by the house or other tall trees, though there is a border of silverberries running along the road. I theorized sedum would do well here. It hasn't done as well as I'd like but it holds its own. I also have lilac bushes, five small cleyera, a dwarf Alberta spruce, a chaste tree, and a beach vitex, as well as a red tip photinia growing here. The blueberries are also here. The main challenge with this area is the extreme dryness of the soil due to the tulip poplars coupled with sun. Coneflowers, daylilies, beebalm, 'Goldsturm' and a few other perennials do okay. None really thrive but I am trying to let the shrubs grow in to see how we progress with them.

Here is a longer shot of the corner showing the perennials. I think I need more structure here and less maintenance but I've really struggled to make it right. I understand gardens are a work in progress. This one bed is shown as it looked in mid June. It has changed even more since then but I promise you all no one wants to see the sad and dry plants residing there now. My whole garden is pretty sad because we are bone dry here.

I know this post does not fully show the depth and probably does not give the feel of this border but it helps me to remember what is planted where and how this garden looks at this particular time....and if you are still with me-thanks!

in the garden....

On the recent poll it appears as though everyone who voted is fairly evenly split on reading garden blogs for both the photos and the information provided. That's why I read blogs too so that makes sense and thanks for voting. Everyone have a great weekend.

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team,

In the Garden

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hibiscus Luna

By Skeeter
Things are hot and very humid here in my Georgia Garden. Luckily, we have had a few afternoon showers to give everything a nice drink filled with vitamins and minerals that the hose cannot match. I don't usually purchase plants for the garden this time of year but some times, we get off our garden normal.

As I walked through the garden center on my way to pick up a few items at Wally World, I noticed they had some plants marked half price. I just had to stop and take a peek as to what remain on the shelf. I found this beautiful green healthy plant.

I had no idea what it was due to lack of a tag in place. But hey a half price bargain is a half price bargain ya know. Plus this was sitting on the Perennial rack so I could not resist.
The leaves are a heart shape and I just love hearts in the Garden don't you? Later on, I spotted the name "Hibiscus Luna" and "Pink Swirl" printed on the container. I still had no idea what I had purchased. To the Internet I went to find out that I have a Hibiscus Moscheutos, Also known as Rose Mallow and Swamp Mallow. I planted Luna in the ever growing Wishing Well Garden yesterday. This Gem of a plant will have large blooms, attracts Butterflies and Hummingbirds. Is heat tolerant and low maintenance.It loves the sun and can withstand temperatures low as -20 degrees! It will grow to a height of 24"-36" and will be about 24" wide. Me thinks me has a winner!Hopefully with 2 more months of heat, she will have time to establish before the cooler temps set upon us. Look at that bud of HIBISCUS LUNA, In the Garden...Update: Here is a Hibiscus Luna bloom that I saw in Tina's garden last summer. I wonder if mine will be white or a pink color? Only time will tell so stay tuned...


Go over to C&G Design and give her a birthday greeting if you have a minute...

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team,In the Garden

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wildflower/Native Wednesday-Coneflowers

From In the Garden

CONFLOWERS with three special friends.

From In the Garden
This month's Wildflower Wednesday (brought to you by Gail) is going to spotlight the purple coneflower. It is a perfect month to spotlight this wonderful easy care, butterfly magnet, native flower because purple coneflowers are at their peak this month. The purple coneflower is a showstopping flower while in bloom but the show continues almost all year long even when the coneflower is not in bloom. The seedheads are spectacular for several months after the bloom has passed and help to feed American finches during the winter. One of the great benefits of natives, IMHO, is that they provide food and other benefits for the native fauna, such as butterflies and birds and bees and so on. Coneflowers fill the bill easily with their all around goodness.

From In the Garden
The butterflies visiting the garden and in particular these coneflowers were simply delightful and I think I could almost sit outside and watch them all day. If only daily living did not call I just might move a recliner to the garden!

From In the Garden

This particular photo is of some coneflowers in my front foundation gardens. They are doing really well in the front foundation gardens and I love the cottagey look of them. It is a good spot for these coneflowers because the front borders receive the eastern and southern sun and sun is pretty important for coneflowers. I do admit, coneflowers do okay in the shade but never reach their full potential unless grown in full sun.

From In the Garden

Coneflowers grow to about 2-4 feet tall and can form clumps as wide. Butterflies are attracted to them in a big way. After the bloom time is past, the flowers dry right on the stalks.
Deadheading coneflowers will not result in another bloom such as you get with salvias and catmint. I leave mine up nearly all winter for the finches to dine off from. They will really pick them clean too. You need do nothing to have some seeds fall off and sprout right in your garden, but if you'd like, you can cut the heads after they are mature and spread them around the garden. I think I'd do this in the fall but it would work in the spring too.

There are other than purple coneflowers and of the purples there are several varieties. I like them all but am particular to the purple (Magnus) and white ones (White Swan) since I find they are easiest to grow....

in the garden....

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Two Little Munchkins

By SkeeterIt has been hot in my Georgia Garden the past week. The temp in our car was saying 104 as we headed to dinner one evening! Yikes, my gardens and grass have been wanting water so badly from Mother Nature rather then my hose. We tried to stay cool with our Great Niece and Great Nephew's visit! Mackie D's indoors air conditioned playground is a great place to burn some energy. While also having a bite of lunch.
Shopping with Uncle Saint and Aunt Skeeter is always fun as well.Aunt Skeeter cannot resist being a bit silly at times. Hum, is that ice cream or sour cream on our upper lips? Got Milk?The kids were happy to see the deer in our gardens. With lack of rain, they are coming to the bird baths for a drink every day.
The kids could not pet the wild deer in our yard but could pet our neighbors horse's, Harley and Georgia.
They loved keeping cool while running through the water sprinkler. I was entertaining them while keeping the gardens and grass happy at the same time! Here they are taking a drink break on the swing with the sprinkler flowing. I remember running through my grandmothers water sprinkler when I was a child. I wonder if these two will remember playing in Aunt Skeeters sprinkler and gardens???Little man made himself a nice tent in the sun room.A small pool was added to our Gardens for the kids to keep cool while playing.Taking showers with the garden hose seem to be more fun then the pool for the kids.They would soap up and each other would spray off the other. They thought that was so neat. I some times think it is the little things they will remember from their visit.
Craft time was a busy day. I braved the paints with an old plastic table cloth.
So many beautiful things were made with those little hands.
I now have a Monkey to put into my plants! How awesome is that? On their last night here, we had a party in the living room complete with the Disco Ball...
And "Happy Vacation" cake. The kids found out what trick candles are all about. Hee hee... Karaoke had the adults rolling on the floor with laughter. The kids were so cute singing their little hearts out and entertaining us. The Saint hooked up his Electric Guitar to give us a little concert, then the party started to wind down. My Brother, his wife and their grandchildren, have now departed and the house is way too quiet. I miss those TWO LITTLE MUNCHKINS, In the Garden...
Note: Yippee, we finally had a pop up shower pass through today giving us a greatly needed 1/2 inch drink of water for the Garden. My water bill this month will be a big one for sure with all the watering and the pool. I am excited about the rain....

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team,In the Garden

Monday, July 26, 2010

Some of my flowers

Posted by: Dawn

The weather in New England can only be described as hot, hot, and hot. In fact two years ago we had such a weather pattern my area had a "micro burst" across the lake that snapped telephone poles off. Last year we had a swath of circular laid trees...broken and demolished, unconfirmed tornado (I admit it is very unusual in Maine). BUT! This year we had two confirmed funnel clouds in one storm. I'm not sure if it's related to the long term 90 degree weather or acceptance of such a phenomena up here, but it was wayyyy different to see the TV stay on a state of emergency. Everyone is alright and that's all that matters.

Anyway, I have some current blooms in my yard and went on a picture snapping trip on 7/17, I thought I'd post about them. Pink Delphinium and a purple coleus flower in the background.

My mailbox planter, red, pink and white geranium. (blooms are wiped out from the storm)


My Pee gee hydrangea is starting to show, by the middle of August it will be full.

A new addition, my daughter and I planted some hybrid lilies.

This one also!

My transplanted hosta.

A rose from my mother I consider to be a seven sister. She always flowers for me very late and very nicely.

Pink spirea, so delicate.

A faithful daylily that has flowered every year,

but the companion pass-a-long finally made a show. *sigh* How pretty.

A blackish viola I planted so I could have them all over the place next year, just cause.

My Joe Pye Weed budding out.

And the transplanted blazing star is doing superbly.



and zucchini.

Who doesn't love a pea flower?

And finally, my lush string beans.

Time to get ready for picking. In the Garden.

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team,

In the Garden