June 10, 2012

Bloom-N-Pie Days 2012

Yesterday bright and early,  I got up, fixed my cup of coffee, ate a doughnut hole, entered my destination into the navigation app on my Droid, got in my truck and headed to Hayden Alabama to attend the 10th annual Bloom-N-Pie Days at the home of Harold and DeLois Dunn. Last year I took the Mini Cooper and was severely limited in the number of plants I could bring home, so this year I had the foresight to go in my truck. I planned to be there as soon as they opened so I would have first shot at purchasing some fantastic daylilies and hydrangeas which the Dunn's have in abundance. It would also give me a chance to catch up with Mrs. Dunn and her son Clay with whom I had become friends last summer.  I was so pleased that they remembered me and commented that they hoped I was coming this year.  Mrs. Dunn showed me some of her new raised beds that she was very excited about and how much easier they were to tend compared to the regular beds. She also stated that she should have had the event last week as a lot of the daylilies had already bloomed out. Everything has bloomed earlier this year. All the same, there were tons of daylilies in full bloom to dazzle the eye.

DeLois and one of her prized daylilies.

As usual the selection of daylilies was mind boggling, and I was like a kid in a candy store, I could have bought a truck load, but Cynthia warned me not to go "crazy" and I have learned to heed her advice.
I did come home with five new daylilies that really caught my eye.  Alabama Jubilee, Carribbean Frank League, Spanish Fandango, Mauna Loa, and Pink Peppermint.

Mauna Loa

Spanish Fandango
Alabama Jubilee

Pink Peppermint

Caribbean Frank League

  I could have bought more and I will before the summer is over as I routinely see Mrs. Dunn and Clay at the Farmer's Market in Trussville.  I have tons of room for daylilies at the new house, but I have to remember to put the "horse before the cart" and put some thought and effort into the beds before buying the plants, which I am far too often guilty of doing. 

In addition to the great daylilies I purchased, I also came home with a "Blushing Bride ", and two "All Summer Beauty" hydrangea and a special surprise, a "Golden Raintree". 

"This year's treasures"

Utility wagons are provided to load up your plants.

Already a crowd at 9:30 am (opened at 9)

Rows and rows of daylilies. Potted daylilies in foreground.

'Golden Raintree" 

Needless to say I could not leave without purchasing some of the Dunn's famous fried pies to take home. I took home an assortment of apple, peach, chocolate, pecan, and coconut creme.

DeLois and husband Harold have sold their fried pies at the pie cottage at Homestead Hollow in Springville for over 20 years and hundreds each year at the Bloom-N-Pie Days and also at the Blount County Covered Bridge Festival in October. 

It was great seeing DeLois and Clay again and I am very excited about my new purchases and how I plan to use them in my garden. I look forward to visiting with them at the local Farmer's market in the coming weeks and adding to my growing daylily collection.

Dunn's Daylily garden is open daily from June 11th through June 30th. Please call ahead.
2395 Skyball Road, Hayden, AL .  (205)429-2392

May 23, 2012

Maiden Flight

The baby barn swallows have left the nest and taken their maiden flight. Mom (center)watches as baby comes in for landing. We have another clutch of eggs in another nest on the other end of the porch.  More babies on the way!

May 6, 2012

"Genesis" In the beginning........

The past few months has been spent removing sod, amending soil, digging holes and planting plants, both old and new in the new landscape.  When we moved in the overall landscape theme was green on green on green, which in itself was not bad considering the natural beauty of the surrounding vistas. I am reminded of pastoral scenes from England and areas of the United States I have visited and of the landscape architects such as Fredrick Law Omsted who embraced the 'genius of a place". Omsted wanted his designs to stay true to the character of their natural surrounds. He referred to "the genius of a place," a belief that every site has ecologically and spiritually unique qualities.  His goal was to "access the genius" and let it infuse all design decisions. 

While Omsted was opposed to any type of ornamentation that distracted from the natural surroundings or brought attention to "individual elements".  Olmsted believed the goal wasn’t to make viewers see his work. It was to make them unaware of it. To him, the art was to conceal art. And the way to do this was to remove distractions and demands on the conscious mind. Viewers weren’t supposed to examine or analyze parts of the scene. They were supposed to be unaware of everything that was working. Unfortunately, while I appreciate the lesson he is trying to impart, I am afraid in this respect, I fail miserably. While I hope to preserve as much as possible the beautiful vistas that I enjoy daily, I also want to put my "own stamp" in the landscape. I realize that over time things will change, plants will be removed and discarded, others will be incorporated, hardscapes will be installed or altered and questions asked, "what in the hell were you thinking" immediately comes to mind. The great thing about landscaping and gardening it that it is an ever evolving process. Nothing is "set in stone" so to speak. 

Most of my efforts so far have been directed towards the back yard/pool area.  I have removed a ton of sod literally to make beds for the new plants. This is the back porch area before......


and now......



The new arbor at dusk ... See Buddha in the background!

The bottle tree ......"haint it cool" 

 The yard birds ....

Things are starting to take shape. I am excited in that I have some new plants in the landscape. These include: Drift knockout roses (peach, coral) and I plan on getting a few Apricot ones when I can find them. Purple pixie weeping Lorapetulum. "White Out" knockout roses, which are really not knockouts but were developed by the same breeder of the knockout roses. A chartreuse buddleia named "Evil Ways". I have 20 green velvet boxwoods outlining the back porch bed with four "Snowflake Hydrangeas inside the bed and a lady banksia rose that I plan to train up the porch columns. I also have a "Pinkie Winky" hydrangea and some cast iron plants. 

Today, I weeded some of the beds, cleared off another area next to the deck and moved about 30+ hostas in pots to a new location under some maple trees as some were getting a little "sunburned". 

I planted a beautiful Japanese Maple "Shidare" in the area left of the hostas shown above. I plan on planting some hydrangeas or maybe some azaleas or camelias in the area previously occupied by the hostas. 

     " In the beginning David created his garden.  Now the garden was previously formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the pool, and David's spirit was hovering over the landscape. And David said, "Let there be plants, and there were plants. David saw that the plants were good, and he separated the plants from their pots. David planted the plants in the light of day, and rested in the darkness of night. And there was evening, and there was morning- the first day." 

April 2, 2012

"Buddha has come home"

Recently we moved Buddha from our old house to his new home at "Southern Oaks".  The move was much easier than I anticipated and he arrived with little fanfare to his new resting place in the future garden which was previously a pasture.  I must admit he seems a lot smaller in his new home, but more in scale with his surroundings.  Good Karma!

 Speaking of Karma, we had a contract on our old house and garden nine days after it was listed and we closed on the sale this past Wednesday.  The young couple buying the house said they loved the house and the gardens and looked forward to making it their home.  We were happy to see our home go to such a great couple.  I had taken quite a few of my plants from the garden without changing the look and lushness of the garden.  Most of these plants were heirloom plants given to me by friends and relatives and I could not bear to part with them. 

I have not posted in quite awhile as we have been extremely busy trying to get everything moved and situated in the new house. We also had to move Cynthia's parents things from the lake and get them settled in their new quarters.  We have finally finished painting, installing appliances, repairing, and arranging inside, so I have been devoting most of my free time to the outside.  After we moved in one of the first things I bought was a tractor.  I found a Kubota locally that had everything I needed, a front-end loader,  bush hog, and a box blade. The front-end loader and bush hog have already been a life saver. 

The past couple of weeks I have been busy trying to establish new flower beds as there were none to speak of on the property. I rented a sod cutter and went to work. While I do not have anything against glass, I have much more than I need or want. I look forward to diminishing some of it for flower beds and plants.



Things are slowly but surely coming together. Dealing with the red clay soil has been challenging, requiring several truck loads of compost and topsoil in order to give the new plants a fighting chance. It will take awhile before the plants become acclimated to the new conditions. Keeping my fingers crossed.

I started this post on April 2nd,  but actually finished it on Apr. 30th.  I will update the progress made so far later this week.