June 26, 2010

What's Blooming This Week

 Clerodendrum bungei is also known as the rose glory bower or Mexican hydrangea. ...

Clerodendrum bungei is also known as the rose glory bower or Mexican hydrangea. It is a small shrub which
is native to China, with interesting scented flowers that appear late in the season. Its foliage is also ornamental.
This plant is hardy to about 5°F (-15°C) but the stems will be damaged below 15°F (-9°C/-10°C).
This shrub has large opposite and roughly serrated leaves, that are 4 to 8 in (10-20 cm) long. When crushed
 or rubbed, leaves emit an unpleasant smell, which explains its other name C. foetidum.
Flowers are pink, scented, have a tubular shape and 4 petals. They are grouped in terminal panicles.
This shrub has inedible berries, which are small and dark blue.
Clerodendrum bungei requiert les expositions suivantes : mi-ombre,lumière,soleil
This plant prefers drained grounds that remain reasonably moist. It likes full sun but will
also grow in partial shade.
This shrub has few ennemies

        Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

        Blushing Bride Hydrangea
The name of this new Hydrangea macrophylla says it all. Pure white blooms with semi-double florets gradually mature to a sweet, pink blush.
Like Endless Summer The Original and Endless Summer Twist-n-Shout, Endless Summer Blushing Bride will add life and love to your garden and home virtually all season long. Reliably blooming on both old and new growth, you can experience the beauty of Blushing Bride again and again, all summer long.

                          Hemerocallis 'Anonymous Gift'

Joiner 94 Dip 24" MLa Evr Re 6" Silver Pink DOUBLE. I picked this beauty up this morning at the local Farmer's Market in Trussville. 

                        Hemerocallis "Unknown Cultivar"

                     The Knockout Roses are putting out a new flush of blooms.

The "Rattlesnake Pole Beans" are in and I picked my first "mess" of beans this week.


June 16, 2010


                                                                  "BEE" BALM

June 8, 2010

Follow Up Road Trip

Last month I had planned to visit Phillip Oliver in Florence to tour his amazing garden but had to postpone that visit due to bad weather.  This past weekend, Cynthia and I and our friends Laura and Arnold Reichert traveled to Florence to tour Phillip's garden. I've always admired Phillip's beautiful photos of the garden but they pale in comparison to the real thing. We were absolutely blown away by his garden. As Laura stated, " It's like a Garden of Eden" and "sensory overload",  almost too much to take in and process. Cynthia said it was Nirvana. Phillip was a wonderful host and personally escorted us through the garden and answered all our questions.

We were welcomed to the garden by Phillip's cat Chester who watched us from the arbor.

    The purple wall was a favorite with everyone.

The Variegated Cornus Kousa "Wolf Eyes" was stunning.

The hyrangeas were magnificant.

We all came away from Phillip's garden with a shopping list of plants we wanted and ideas gathered that we could incorporate into our own gardens. I can only hope that one day my garden can look as good.

We left Phillip's and traveled to Decatur to see the Delano Rose Garden that I had visited on my last   
"Road Trip". The roses were out of bloom at the time but the day lily's and hydrangeas were in full bloom which made the trip back an unexpected pleasure. 

White and pink Annabelle Hydrangeas.

Laura and the giant "Sum and Substance Hosta"

Lace cap Hydrangea,

Next we treated ourselves to some "world famous" Big Bob  Gibson's BBQ which is just down the street from Delano Park.  After lunch we traveled to our last stop of the day to Bob & Kay Butler's home in Fairview Alabama to look at his Japanese Maple collection.  Bob has been seriously into Japanese Maples since the early 90's. He currently has over 200 cultivars of Japanese Maples. 

Bob showing Arnold some of his 1200+ starts from last fall.

An unusal large leaf Acer Palmatum variety.

Since I know absolutely nothing about Japanese Maples other than the fact that they are beautiful trees and can only show you  a sampling of what Bill has in his yard and nursery. Bill shares his love for Japanese Maples with local gardening clubs and Master Gardener programs. He also has students from Wallace State come and he demonstrates the art of grafting Japanese Maples.  Bill has some wonderful rock borders that came from old homesteads that had been demolished and the rocks were given to him for the taking. He also had some large stones that had been used as foundation supports from  the barn of my grandfather's brother. A flood of fond memories filled my mind.

We did not leave the Butler's empty handed.  Arnold took home three Maples to add to his already impressive collection.  I took home  a  variegated selection called "Butterfly shown above and another selection called O'Isami.  I have no ideal where they are going, but I will find a place or put them in large pots until I do.

The road trip was a tremendous success. We got to see some amazing gardens and brought home some new plants to enhance our own gardens.

O'Isami and Butterfly Japanese Maples

June 2, 2010

From the Garden

This afternoon I had a pleasant surprise. For the past week I have been occupied with the installation of the new water feature so I have not paid a lot of attention to the vegetable garden. Last week I noticed some blooms on the squash but didn't expect any big change. What a surprise! Not only had the plants doubled in size but low and behold there was squash for the picking. The largest squash is not edible, but I included it in the picture to demonstrate how quickly things grow when conditions are good.  I planted the squash in a bed from last year's experiment in gardening known as "Lasagna Gardening" from Patricia Lanza's book by the same name. This method involves putting down a thick layer of wet newspapers or cardboard to smother any grass and weeds. Next you add a 2-3 inch layer of peat moss to cover the newspaper/cardboard. Then add a 4 to 8 inch layer of organic mulch material over the peat moss. Add another layer of peat moss and another layer of mulch, and so on, until th beds are 18-24 inches high. The mulch can be anything handy like composted manure, compost from the compost pile, or grass clippings. You can also add a scattering of bonemeal and wood ashes to provide extra phosphorus and potassium. This method promises" no digging, no tilling, no weeding, no kidding! "Last year I had limited success and was not particularly impressed with the final results. However, I left the bed intact and decided to give it another try this year. I probably put too many plants in the 4x8 bed but unfortunately I didn't have anywhere else to put them. 

They looked a little puny after I planted them so I added a little triple 13 fertilizer which with the frequent rains we've had lately seems to have done the trick. I have to admit there was very little weeding to get the bed ready for planting. According to the book you can add additional layers in the fall and let the garden "cook" during the winter and be ready for spring planting. It is also a great time to start or expand new Lasagna gardens.  I think that this year's success may be due to the "cooking process" maturing the bed.

The rattlesnake pole beans are doing well and have blooms.

This year's gardening experiment is "potted tomatoes".  All my tomatoes are planted in large pots . So far they are doing much better than those planted in the conventional manner last year.