Gotta Garden

Friday, March 17, 2006

Just Say....Yes

It's impossible to just say no. They practically wave their new growth at me, fresh and lush, as I walk by. That blossom doesn't just attract the bees or other pollinators, but me. I stop, touch, and find myself stroking the leaves. Three new hellebores in bloom found their way into my cart. I had to use supreme will power to move along. After all, there were other things to visit. I mean see. Pausing over the Stepables, I chose some golden oregano to use in a difficult area between some stepping stones in full sun. Some Corsican mint might just be the ticket in shady spot where nothing grows (at the moment) and I use as a cut through.

I digress for a moment to say that some of the Stepables might be problematic for some. Be aware!

It was cold and windy outside. So windy, in fact, that I had to retain one hand on my cart at all times. I navigated around the few others out, mostly nursery employees. I share a nod with a fellow gardener. We're easy to spot out here.

I succumbed to the lure of a double white primrose. Maybe, just maybe it will persevere in my garden. Most primroses don't but I have managed to keep (just) a cowslip for several years now. In fact, I pulled the leaves aside and saw a few tiny sprouts from the cowslip just yesterday. In full bloom, that little cowslip is glorious.

A heuchera, Snow Angel, lured me over. I'm still grieving over one, a variety I hauled back from Washington State that didn't make it. Though this one isn't the same, I do love variegated foliage (who doesn't) and it will be nice addition to the little collection I seem to have going. I'm pretty sure I have Snow Angel already (Is it time to carry a list??), but not as beautiful a specimen as this one.

Another garden shopping trip ends successfully. But, no, there's more! There's a new tool to add, a lawndog sign (useful), seeds and even a variety of an oriental lily I don't have. This all catches my eye while on the way to the checkout.

Waiting in line, I overhear a magic conversation. "What are you buying with your master gardener discount?" I hear a helpful salesperson saying to the person ahead of me. Master Gardener discount?? My ears have perked up. Feeling bold, I ask, "Is that discount for all master gardeners?" I should tell you that I live two counties south of this one (nursery shopping knows no bounds). After a consultation, it is determined that the answer is YES. And, a nice discount it is, fifteen percent.

Can you think of a better way to spend a morning, I ask? Plant-wise, of course.

Returning to work, we receive a delivery. This time of year is great as it begins to get busy in the nursery and plants arrive almost daily. This delivery, however, is one that catches my eye. The plants look very healthy and on the top row of one of the carts are...hellebores. I can hardly wait to put them out but make myself put out the blueberries, blue fescue grasses, some heucheras, a fragrant dianthus, etc.

Finally, it's the hellebores turn. I choose an endcap to display them as I cannot imagine people will pass them by. They are a Pine Knot strain, which pleases me. These are healthy gallon size pots in bloom at a bargain price. As I sort through them, I'm already choosing one for myself or maybe two. I'll be off in a few hours and if they're still there, they're mine.

Time passes and I'm off the clock and shopping. At home, the three hellebores still sit waiting for their new spots. Adding two more, I'm thinking will create an impact, especially with the ones already in bloom in my garden.

I had looked at the English roses, David Austin, no less, and there's one I don't have. If I've said one thing about roses, it's that I'm only buying own root roses from now on. Sigh. These look wonderful, perfect foliage. I can already see the one that will be my choice. Standing there, I try to think of every reason I can not to buy it. There's no space readily available and even the Eglantyne I cut back severely is beginning to show life, so it can't have that spot. I've already bought two New Generation roses that I thought would replace a couple grafted roses that don't make the grade. Is there another one I can replace? I give this serious thought. The truth is this is just a delaying tactic because I know that rose is coming home with me. Another resolution out the window. Make that two. Blown is the own roots thing and the I'll-know-where-it's-going-before-I-buy-it one.

And it's early....where will I be by June??

Monday, March 13, 2006

A Tour of Mary Washington's Garden

On Thursdays, I have the pleasure of contributing in some small measure to the upkeep of one of our nation's historic landmarks. This is the home of Mary Washington, George Washington's mother, located in Fredericksburg, Virginia. There are a group of us, Mary's Gardeners, who volunteer our efforts. Some of us are master gardeners earning our volunteer hours required to stay certified and some of us are just "friends of the garden".

We are a diverse group but united in our love of gardening. It is a privilege to be a part of such a group. The Mary Washington House has a horticulturist on staff who directs us, teaches us and even shares the bounty of Mary's garden with us.

My own garden has larkspur, a native columbine, Lycoris squamigera, Japanese roof iris and even a small fig tree from this garden. When I walk my garden, these are reminders of my time there and make me feel connected on a daily basis. What better measure of a garden then that it continues on. I think Mary would be pleased.

Entry into Mary's Garden

We volunteer gardeners enter through this gate. Around the corner, this is your first view. That tree directly in front is a crape myrtle with beautiful exfoliating bark.

The Garden

Mary's view would have been quite a bit different. No houses in back as that property was part of Kenmore, her daughter Betty Lewis' home. A few boxwood survive in the garden from Mary's time, but most have been replaced.

Mary's Vegetable Garden and Kitchen

The photo on top is the vegetable garden-to-be. It will be lush and full of veggies grown during Mary's time. Surrounding it is a border of crushed oyster shells. On the bottom, the white building in the back (with the open doorway) is Mary's kitchen. There is a small herb garden by the kitchen door. The main house is on the left.

A few of Mary's flowers

Finally, some daffs and crocus in Mary's garden in bloom on March 9th. Every week, there will be new delights.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Viburnum 'Pink Dawn'

Very pretty and fragrant, too. Buds, but no blooms yet on Mohawak and Korean Spice.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Here they come...

It's so fun to walk around and see what's popping up! These are, I believe, Pink Impression Tulips (or will be...)

Tulip Foliage

It's really kinda pretty. What's interesting about this picture is what you can't see...these tulips only go halfway around the tree. The other half were destroyed by a former (smile) neighbors' dog who was allowed under cover of darkness to do his business nightly on them.

Uh Oh.

See that. Not good. Note the leaves all pushed aside (and not by me) and the lack of white powder. Time to order more! An uninvited garden resident (why don't they ever bother my neighbors??)....

Monday, March 06, 2006

How NOT to grow seeds....

This is Sam Cat last spring 'helping'. Apparently, that warming mat made the peat pellets quite comfy.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Hellebores Pine Knot Strain

In late January, I was fortunate to attend a couple of presentations by Dick and Judith Tyler of Pine Knot Farms at Lewis Ginter. If you have a chance to go hear them and you love hellebores, make haste and go! Their talks were interesting, informative and full of wonderful pictures. They didn't, however, bring any hellebores with them to their talks, doggone it. Arriving early does have some benefit as I was able to sit right on the front row and was able to ask them (before their lectures started) if, by chance, they did have some with them (I didn't see any) and learned they had delivered some the night before to a local nursery in Richmond.

As soon as their talks were over (they were generous with their time, 2.5 hours of good information), I drove over to that nursery to have a look. The hellebore above came home with me and is one of the famous Pine Knot Strain. I think it's lovely.

Just fyi, the white powder is....(you guessed, right?)...Mr. Fox/Bobcat.

Judith Tyler has co-written a book on hellebores with Cole Burrell entitled Hellebores: A Comprehensive Guide which is due out in April, I believe. I have it on order and will certainly gab about it when it arrives.

Still have some pictures, but think this is enough for tonight. Whew. All of the pictures (above and below) were taken today, 03/05/06.

Well, I'm off to the dining room. Transplanted a number of the daylily babies into larger pots this morning. Must check on them! Because......(let's hear it)....I gotta garden!

Iris danfordiae

Iris reticulata 'Harmony'

Iris histriodes 'Katherine Hodgkin'


It's in the air. It's all around. Even Leo aka Garden Cat feels it. He met me as I rounded the corner, running out from one of his favorite spots. I've given up on planting anything there. The sprouting tulips, few white crocus and dianthus only go half way around the dogwood tree. The other half of that circle belongs to Leo. As he rubbed against my leg, I knew he was telling me that The Season is upon us.

Anticipation. Like Carly Simon's old song which kept humming around in my head, the garden has an aura of any day now, but has been making me wait. It's time to start the daily rounds (daily? Who am I least twice daily, depending on my work schedule). Things are moving along and changing right before me.

So, as I walked with Leo, I was filled with it. Anticipation. I checked the peonies. We're up to three arising now, none of which has a peony ring. Note to myself to acquire them as I found last year that the ones I already have (five...note that none of those are up) out really helped corral and support the peonies.

I paused for a moment and looked back and down. Just checking around the Saucer Magnolia to see what bulbs are emerging. And there it was, the image you see above (sorry, still learning about photos and placement is apparently difficult for me): First Daffodil of The Season!! Note the date, March 5, officially begins! Whether the calendar says it or not, for me, spring has sprung!

From here on out, I anticipate something new to see everyday! Now, I really think I just...gotta garden!


I have some other photos to share, but am having difficulty placing them. So, I'll try some individual posts.
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