Friday, August 29, 2014

Quite a Plethora of Quince Fruit

Did you guess quince was going to be my 'pucker up' fruit of the week from my Facebook posting? If you you are right! If not, that's okay, it was a hard one. On the Facebook page for my professional business AND this blog, I appreciate all of you who have liked that page and I enjoy hearing from you on there! Even if I am not posting on the blog I am oftentimes posting little tips and tidbits from the garden on the Facebook page. So thanks!
I have posted about my EXTRAORDINARY quince before but wow, I had no idea it would get better and better! This 'Texas Scarlet' shrub has gifted me with a bushel of quince this year. The only problem is I have not gotten around to picking them before the branches sag to the ground. Things are getting a bit ahead of me in the garden but that is a story for another day.
Today I just want to show you the bounty. Any food you can grow is definitely a benefit. Although quince is not the best fruit for fresh eating it can be cooked in pies and jellies. That is what I plan to do! I love looking at the fruit bearing shrub too.
Some friends came over and I got them to pick a few quince for their very own. I did not see their faces when they bit into the tart fruit but I bet the experience is one they will never forget....

in the garden....

Give all quince some sun and good soil and they too will reward you for many years. This type of quince is actually an ornamental quince in the Chaenomeles family. The true quince is Cydonia. I am growing two Cydonia trees at the farm so I will post on them once they begin producing. Normally, at least in my experience, ornamental quince do not have this many fruit on them if any at all. Perhaps this 'Texas Scarlet' is a female and just very happy in its spot. Which is part shade to mostly shade, and poor dry soil. It is a gem for sure to grow so many fruit with such conditions.
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

An Update to My Daughter's Garden and Landscape Design Progress

I love Limelight hydrangeas! The above bouquet was picked by my daughter Liz from her garden in Louisville Kentucky. On a recent visit Mr. Fix-it and I got to enjoy her garden as well as her and her one year old daughter (our granddaughter) and we had a good visit though we missed Liz's twin sister and her daughter (they were supposed to meet us there but it didn't work out this time--we'll see them soon tho).

I was quite interested in the gardens because I did the complete landscape design for Liz's house two years ago and the front gardens are finally coming into their own. If you like, please go back and look at that post about the landscape design because you will most likely be quite stunned by the changes in the curb appeal in only two years. Liz has not been able to install the complete design but on my visits up there and when she is able to, she and I work around the gardens. Having a small toddler in the house means garden work can be slow, but this front garden is really impressive and honestly it takes very little time for maintenance but looks good all the time. It is pretty well finished.
All of my garden and landscape designs start with structure and year round interest. In Liz's garden I knew the front garden had to be fairly large and its edge had to have a nice mowing curve. So many times I see foundation gardens designed too small with awkward angles that mowers cannot easily mow around. The structure here is the 'Grace' smoketree. It is the taller shrub with purplish foliage. Liz has been digging up and moving this particular shrub from house to house as she has moved over the last six years. This is the first year it has really come into its own. We are working on developing a strong framework for it because during the moves it has suffered some setback. Ultimately it will be come a nicely limbed up small tree that will provide year round interest. It's purpose is to provide structure, privacy, and interest without totally overwhelming the house and view from the house and to the house from the road. It is also a nice tree that will not overly shade the southern facing garden but will give Liz and Everleigh some shade in the spring, summer, and fall without blocking the southern sun in the winter. 'Grace' smoketree is an awesome cultivar of smoketree and will do well in a full sun exposure. Once established all smoketrees are quite drought tolerant.

Most of the perennials in Liz's garden have come from my garden. They are all grouped in balloon (massed bubbles) sized spaces on the plan and massed to make a nice effect. I group perennials by the texture of foliage and bloom times as well as heights and then finally colors. The pinkish sedum right here on the corner of the driveway and sidewalk really makes an attractive edging that will provide year round interest. These were just planted a few months ago and will fill out even more by next year. The color of this sedum blends perfectly with the nearby coneflowers and does not clash with any of the yellows in this garden. Behind the sedum are: coneflowers and rudbeckias, coryopsis, 'May Night' salvia, Japanese roof irises, asters, and daylilies. Interspersed in this garden are daffodils and surprise lilies. Liz's garden will have something going on in it all seasons of the year with the combination of perennials, bulbs, and small trees. 

Here is a copy of the design tho I am not sure if you all will be able to see it in this format. Each of my designs are drawn out on 24" x 36" vellum. Th vellum copy was scanned into a computer to get the electronic file copy. Liz's information has been blacked out to protect her privacy.

Liz House Design

The rock edging was all picked up by us from the as yet undeveloped part of her subdivision. This limestone is a tan color and is indigenous to the area. It fits right in as the color of the limestone is subdued in this garden and picks up some colors in the house. A lot of Liz's neighbors are also using landscape rock around their houses for some interest too.
This is the eastern side of the house. As such, it is a somewhat sheltered part of the garden as far as sunlight and harsh conditions. Over here are some aucubas, spiderworts, hostas, heucheras, Japansese irises, columbines, and a 'Limelight' hydrangea and peony out front of this part of the house. This area descends down to the backyard. The good cover of hardwood mulch (I use it only on new gardens) underlaid with cardboard has ensured this garden does not erode down the hill while the plants establish themselves. This winter was a pretty tough winter on most gardens and Liz's garden also took a hit. Mainly to the three aucubas located on this side of the house. Aucubas are marginally hardy in Zone 6/7. It helps if you plant aucubas in full shade so that they do not quickly warm up in the winter then suffer freeze damage when the sun goes down at night. This is really what got to Liz's aucubas. Fortunately two of the three are slowly coming back. One died.
The western side of the front garden gets a lot of sun. As such all sun loving plants will do well here. Here we have some 'Limelight' hydrangeas, peonies, lambs ear, salvias, irises, mums, and a 'Graham Blandy' evergreen corner accent shrub. I made a common mistake when I designed Liz's landscape design. Oftentimes experts in the business can tell what season a design is prepared in just by looking at the design. The clue to which season this design was designed is that it looks great in the summer-the season I designed it. The problem I made was I did not allow for evergreens to help carry the garden through the winter. Liz and I have somewhat compensated by adding some low growing junipers in front of the 'Limelight' hydrangeas. These are slowly filling in and hopefully will provide that much needed color in the winter. If a designer designs a plan in the winter then most likely she or he will go heavy on evergreens, it is the opposite for summer designs. A hard learned lesson for me.The 'Limelight' hydrangeas are a bit floppy because they are young plants and simply overloaded with blooms. Hence the bouquets of 'Limelight' hydrangeas in the opening picture. As time goes on we will train the hydrangeas by pruning; which will in turn shore up the main trunks and help to prevent floppiness in the future.
This is a close up of the sedum. I can't tell you how beautiful this garden looks from the sidewalk, street, and even houses across the road. This is one of my absolute favorite sedums. I don't even know the name but butterflies flock to it. On this day the rain kept most insects away.
But! The rainy day garden did bring out a box turtle! Liz found the little box turtle while working outside in the garden. It was a lesson in teaching her daughter the value and beauty of nature to her daughter and those little moments are priceless! And all because of a garden....

in the garden....
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Great Summer

  How is everyone enjoying Summer? One more month remains for us then Summer begins to wind down. I am seeing Halloween and even Christmas Decorations in the stores now! Wow, where has the year gone? 
Oh, I now have Peacocks in my GEORGIA GARDEN...
 Ha, not wanting the mess of real fowl, I settled for these two bargain birds found at an "Antique Store" while I was in Tennessee this past spring. I put them on the fencing which hides the Propane Gas tank for our home heating. Click HERE to see the Fencing's start. I removed the Trumpet Vines as they were trailing beyond the fence. I tried my best to keep them at bay but they were determined to take over the entire Semi-Formal Garden if not removed. I removed the vine back in Spring and am still finding it popping up throughout the garden today. Grrrrrrr....

This garden has really enjoyed the rain this summer. This colorful garden is located by the Arbor Swing. Click HERE to see the Arbor Swing being built. I love red, yellow and purple's together. 
Miss Huff Lantana had a late start this year but is now putting on a show for me.
 Zooming in to one of the hundreds of blooms you can see why the butterflies, bees and humming birds flock to this bush.
 The Rock Garden by the Patio is still a favorite of mine. I am loosing some things in this garden as it was once a shade garden. With fewer trees in the area now, more sun is hitting shade happy plants. The ivy has really taken a hit but Periwinkle/Vinca is a great filler to bare spots. 
 The Formosa Lily was becoming so large in the Beach Planter, that I divided it and put a couple in the Rock Garden. Here you see one happy Formosa Lily. Click HERE to see the Beach Planter.
 Here is the view one sees of the Rock Garden as they sit at the Patio Table.  
 The Chimney Planter on the East side of the house has been a great spot for the Elephant Ear. This is the Ear I would over winter inside each year. Not wanting to close off a room to our indoor only cats any longer, I left this Ear on the front porch in its pot over winter. I was not sure if it would survive or not but come spring, I put the bulb roots into the ground. And now the results! I shall heavy mulch this area and let her be this winter and hope for the best...
The plentiful rain has the grass looking so beautiful this summer! It is so lush, green and soft to the feet. Keeping up with mowing has not been too difficult as we have had cooler temps then normal. I am mostly push mowing and bagging this year. Thus far, we have had a GREAT SUMMER, In the Garden... 

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

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Rose of Sharon Revisited

 Since I last posted, we have had over 2 inches of rain fall onto my GEORGIA GARDENS. I am ever so happy to not be out in the humidity dragging a water hose around! The Rose of Sharon are happy as well. I have three in a row in colors of....
 and Pure White.
 New to my gardens this year is First Editions, Hibicus syriacus 'Minspot'
 This bloom is really neat don't you think? 
Another new to the garden would be Hibiscus syriacus 'America Irene Scott'  A seedless Proven Winner.
 The variegated leaves make this one different then any of my collection of Hibiscus.
'Sugar Tip' is a beautiful bloom like no other.
 And a surprise from me, the Saucer Hibiscus decided to return after a year of being missing in my garden! 
 One of the many buds before opening.
And very large Hand Sized blooms! I am happy thus far with all the ROSE OF SHARON, In the Garden...

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

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Happy Fruits

 Hello from my GEORGIA GARDENS! I hope you all are enjoying this wonderful summer as much as I have been thus far! Lower temperatures and weekly rain are keeping this gardener happy.
I had given up on planting a vegetable garden some time ago as they just do not do well for me. I am more of a Flower Gardener then anything.
But this year, we wanted homegrown tomatoes so I planted a few slips along with Red, Yellow and Green Sweet Pepper, Squash, Zucchini, Cantaloupe and Watermelon. Tomatoes are doing well.
My first attempt at Watermelon are doing well also! 
 The Saint and I ate our first picked Cantaloupes! Not as sweet as we prefer but to be expected with so much rain lately.
 We picked a third Cantaloupe and many tomatoes to include some from volunteer plants from using composted soil. Ha, what a surprise to gaze upon my blooming flowers and spot tomatoes ready for picking!
Sad but not surprising to say, we lost the Squash and Zucchini as always. The Pepper have yet to do anything but bloom. Reckon the Bees are not doing their job of pollinating the Pepper plants.... 
 Here is a mystery to us. This watermelon has begun to rot at the end. What causes this? I removed it from the plant and have placed it in an area for the wildlife to enjoy. I must say that I am ever so pleased to have grown my own HAPPY FRUITS, In the Garden...

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

Monday, August 4, 2014

A Critique and Review of the Paniculatas In the Garden

This is a long post but after you are done reading it I think you will appreciate that it needed to be long. Just loading all these photos makes me tired but I tell you I will appreciate all of them in one place so as to refresh my memory. As much as I like to think I remember everything in the garden the reality is that I don't. So today we will talk about the Hydrangea paniculata (Panicled or Sun Hydrangeas) cultivars I grow in my garden. This is quite an interesting post to me because I get to really compare the eleven different cultivars I grow here in Tiger Way Gardens (the new gardens). Each hydrangea is unique but all have special attributes. Some were purchased because they were available to reasonably priced (Pink Diamond, Tardiva, Pinky Winky, Vanilla Strawberry, Limelight) while others were specifically sought out (Great Star, and Phantom). The others were just hydrangeas I happen to come upon at nurseries throughout my travels. Several were purchased in northern Illinois two years ago. These were not hydrangeas readily available to me in Tennessee (Great Star and White Diamond).
I grow eleven cultivars of the panicled hydrangeas. They are: 'White Diamond', 'Quick Fire', 'Pink Diamond', 'Tardiva', 'Pinky Winky', 'Vanilla Strawberry', 'Phantom', 'Limelight', 'Great Star', 'Bombshell', and 'PeeGee'. We will not be discussing the PeeGee Hydrangea today due to the fact it is not blooming. I will stick to the ten types. I grow all of these hydrangeas in very similar conditions. Seven of the cultivars are located in the above bed. The lace caps are sited at the top of the hill closest to the camera, while the full mophead type hydrangeas are further down the hill. I tried to space the hydrangeas according to ultimate size and bloom time. Most paniculata hydrangeas will easily grow to more than ten feet wide and tall but you can keep them smaller by pruning. I highly recommend you prune these hydrangeas because if you don't they will get leggy and stop blooming well for you. All of these hydrangeas bloom on new wood. My hydrangeas were all transplanted out to the new land in very late winter. I cut them all down to about two feet high. A couple of them ('Tardiva' and 'Pink Diamond') were extremely old hydrangeas (more than 10 years in my garden) so I was worried about moving them. They were also quite woody so once I cut them back severely there really was not too much left of the shrub. From the following pictures you will see they have recovered nicely.  I will give you some tidbits on each of these hydrangeas as we go along and at the end I will tell you my favorite one. Remember, pretty is not always just in the looks-we also need substance.
This beauty is 'White Diamond'. This is a smaller type panicled hydrangeas that is staying compact but ever so floriferous in my garden. It came into bloom more than a month ago when I posted on it in a prior post. As you can see the blooms have aged very well. Add to that fact that the leaves are very stout when compared to the other panicled hydrangeas in my garden and you have a complete winner. This is a hydrangea you can use in a foundation garden or anywhere for that matter. I highly recommend it.
Here is a long shot of the 'White Diamond'. It really is a nice plant without being too blowsy or to artificial. It really shines. I planted my two in a garden with abelias and plume grass.
'Quick Fire' is supposed to be an early blooming paniculata. That is why I planted it up close to the road. In my garden it is later than the other supposedly late hydrangeas. The bloom has not fully opened but it holds promise.
The stems are an attractive red and the shrub itself has a nice form-for now. This is a very young shrub. Hydrangea paniculatas will change depending on age and pruning habits of the gardener. This was a small shrub to begin with and I did not do too much pruning on it when I planted it out there.

'Pink Diamond' is one of the oldest hydrangeas I have in my garden. I have had this in my garden for more than ten years. It was basically two or three woody stems that were so overgrown they were not productive anymore. Despite my trepidation about digging it up and moving it to the new gardens I plugged on and dug it up. I cut this whole shrub back severely. The branches you see came out of the root system or from the base of the woody trunks on this shrub. 'White Diamond' was always a favorite of mine and I am glad it has made the move well. It is a very drought tolerant hydrangea and blooms in part shade as well as sun. Look at all the blooms!
This is one of those paniculatas that will quickly get huge. You must keep up with pruning this one back. The way I prune mine is to cut it back to about 18-24" each year; usually in February before new growth begins. If you do not cut it back it will quickly become unproductive and too tall to even see the blooms. The stems will get quite woody and become unattractive.
This hydrangea is 'Tardiva' and it is a late hydrangea. It is the same age as 'Pink Diamond' and I did not think this one would come back either. This is another one of those hydrangeas I highly recommend you cut back. If you do not, take my word for it, it will quickly become leggy, unproductive and just plain ugly. Every few years I would recommend cutting it back very hard. I have found that after a few years of typical pruning the shrub winds up getting larger and larger and will have nubby trunks on it. Cutting it back almost to the ground will encourage new growth and lots of blooms. Since 'Tardiva' is a late hydrangea it is just now coming into bloom. Normally its bloom time is not until August.
A long shot of the 'Tardiva'. You can see my cutting it back hard has really encouraged a lot of new growth. I like this rounded and bushy growth habit. If you grow panicled hydrangeas in the shade they will not be as bushy and blooming may suffer a bit. When grown in full sun the hydrangeas are quite bushy and full but you may need to water these hydrangeas during the summer. For the most part once these hydrangeas are established they are quite tough.
'Pinky Winky' looks suspiciously like 'Quick Fire'. I really can't tell the difference between them other than this one blooms a wee bit earlier than 'Quick Fire'. I am guessing it is called 'Pinky Winky' because as the blooms go by they get a bit of pink coloring as evidenced in the above photo.
The stems are also red and the flowers are an attractive conical shape. This is a fairly new shrub to me so I will reserve judgement on it for a few years.
I am totally in love with the new to my garden 'Vanilla Strawberry' hydrangea. It has outshown even 'Limelight' and that is extremely hard to do in my opinion as 'Limelight' is the standard most panicled hydrangeas are judged by. These hydrangeas really make a nice show that can be seen several hundred feet away. I love that! As the blooms go by they are slowly turning an attractive pink; a stunning effect.
See what I mean by making a show? This is the first of the full headed panicled hydrangeas I will show you. There are two more plus PeeGee (but PeeGee is not covered in this post). I have found 'Vanilla Strawberry' needs more water than most of the other panicled hydrangeas I am profiling today. Hydrangeas will quickly tell you when they need a drink because they wilt. This means you might want to site it where you can easily provide it with a drink during the summer if it gets dry like it has been this summer.
This one is 'Phantom'. 'Phantom' is one hydrangea I specifically bought for its traits. I ordered this beautiful shrub from a mail order firm that is no longer in business. When comparing which panicled hydrangeas I desired I had a choice between the 'Phantom' and 'Unique'. Now I don't grow 'Unique' so I cannot for sure say I chose the right hydrangea but at the time I read reviews on 'Phantom' that said this plant has some of the largest blooms available in the panicled hydrangea family. I have to agree. These flower heads are really large and round-they are not conical like most of the panicled hydrangeas. This hydrangea is very similar to 'Limelight' with the exception that the flowerheads are larger and are rounded. The whole shrub makes a nice show in the garden.
'Phantom' long shot showing the blooms and variation of growth.
'Limelight' hydrangea is an awesome hydrangea. It has a very long season of interest that continues even after prime bloom time is over. These hydrangeas are lovely when picked and dried and brought inside for winter decorations. I can't get enough of my 'Limelight' hydrangeas. I have more than half a dozen more that will soon be making the long journey to the new garden where they will reside on the north side of a new large vegetable garden.
This shrub was quite small when I dug it up and moved it out here. I placed it at the bottom of the hill at the end of the bed because I know for a fact this shrub will easily grow to 10 feet quite quickly. While 'Limelight' needs to be pruned just like the other panicled hydrangeas 'Limelight' is easier to handle. There is really no wrong way to prune it. I have pruned it in the winter, in the spring, in the summer and in the fall. It will still bloom and still do well. If you prune it in the spring immediately stick the cuttings in the garden and keep moist. You will most likely be rewarded with a new plant in short order.
'Great Star' is a newer addition to my gardens. The two I have are placed at the end of beds on the lower side of the hill. They have really struggled with drought this year. I have had to water this hydrangea more than any other of the panicled hydrangeas. Despite this I believe this is a stellar hydrangea to grow. I don't have too many blooms on either one of my 'Great Stars' but I am hopeful that with time this hydrangea will settle in. I think out of the panicled hydrangeas I am profiling here this one would appreciate a little more shade than the rest.
Both of my shrubs look like this. They were severely pruned back last fall when they were moved out here to the new gardens.
This last hydrangea is one I was most excited about when it first came out. I was excited because it seemed like it was the next 'hot' hydrangea that was going to be quite the thing in everyone's gardens. I must say it is quite a bomb in my garden and coincidentally, it's name is 'Bombshell' hydrangea. I was pretty excited to see it bloom-all two of them were kind of attractive though very small and not too bright. They turned a rusty brown color which while not unattractive, is not really all that attractive either. This is a picky hydrangea as far as growing conditions. It must have sun and will not do anything in the shade. It also needs a lot of water and is not the slightest bit drought tolerant as far as I can see.

This one has been severely stressed by the drought here in my garden. You can see it quickly turned yellow and wilted. It is not wilted now because I have watered it. I planted this one with the mophead hydrangeas thinking it would be a good fit since it stays fairly small and the heads are round. I thought it would be tougher than the mopheads but in reality it is not. The only good thing I can say is it has not gotten leaf spot like the mopheads. I would not recommend this hydrangea to anyone. It is more like a dwarf version of the old standby PeeGee.

Okay, so which one of they hydangeas is my favorite? Gosh that is so hard because for me it depends on what is looking best at the moment. If I had to narrow it down it would have to be 'White Diamond'. This hydrangea can easily fit into all gardens, has a VERY long bloom time, and once the blooms turn they are still attractive, the leaves are very stout (I think this aids with drought tolerance and resistance to leaf spot), and this is just an all around great hydrangea that anyone can easily grow.

Which one do you like best and what experiences do you have with panicled hydrangeas....

in the garden....

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