Gotta Garden

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Chanticleer Part 4

Picking up where we left off

You know I'd find daylilies...

It's just so pretty, isn't it?

Did you pick out the smokebush?

Yes, that's the house we can see a bit...we're heading up there

Did you need to rest a minute?

Here we go...

Wait until you see the hydrangeas!

The famous rooster(s):

If you didn't know, Chanticleer means rooster. However, these roosters have competition from the amazing hydrangeas which totally surround the drive.

The hydrangeas go all around the circle.

Would you like to pause and just take in the hydrangeas in full bloom all around us...

Because, we're about to enter yet another area...

Next, we'll see behind the, come on back for Part just gets better and better!

If you missed any of the previous posts, you can find them here: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Snowdrop in Bloom!

While it may seem early (or late) to some, it never fails to amaze me how timely things can be in the garden. Take a look here and note the date.

I was thinking that I should note the weather, too. It has been an up and down December so far; however, there have been wonderful days to work outside. Today, there is an expected high of 48 degrees with a low of 32. The forecast for the next ten days is similar. Checking the averages for December, it seems they are 48 and 31, amazingly.

Still, there's still the same thrill at the finding the "first"...or, at this time of year "any"! If you looked, I haven't found a Hellebore in bloom (yet), but I'll do a better look around today.

Friday, December 14, 2007

It Came, It Came!

I had regretted not purchasing this dvd when I visited Chelsea in '06. So, if you go to a special show in the future, think about purchasing the dvd then...and not having to fret about it later!

At the time, I thought that all of my pictures would suffice, but I quickly realized how nice it would be to see the exhibits without all the crowds. It also affords you the time to linger that you might not get at the show as well. Plus, it's just a very nice keepsake...who knows if I'll ever get back!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Chanticleer, Part 3

It's time to return to Chanticleer! You remember Part 1 and Part 2, right? This is such an amazing place. Today, we'll see more. Let's go!

Stepping down, here's a nice place to rest...if we had the time, but we have so much to see...

A very nice hosta border with a path...

...but look what's ahead of us...Do you see it?

A little closer

(I'm such a tease...)

I don't know if you can tell from my pictures, but everything is wonderfully symmetrical

You know how I like benches:

This shows the care that is everywhere in this spectacular garden. Look above the bench (closer, just in case you thought it might be an ordinary bench...ha), there's a an opening that lets you peek at another spectacular view.

Some other views available to us:

We're leaving here now...but there is so much more to see! The pool and its gardens, the hydrangeas, the shady gardens (oh my!), the containers (works of art!), the rock gardens, the ponds, the cutting gardens and The Ruins (emphasis'll see why!). I think the only other place I have taken as many pictures (or nearly) was the 2006 Chelsea Flower Show Grand Pavilion (where we all retreated during the rain...but, that's a story for another post....)

Join me again, won't you, as we continue this visit to the one and only Chanticleer. (I won't be so long in posting Part 4!)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Gifts for Gardeners....or Rather...a Gift this Gardener Received

Last Thursday night was our Christmas Dinner that concludes our gardening year at the Mary Washington House Garden. It was held at a Fredericksburg restaurant, Tru Luv: An American Bistro. The food was delicious! But, that's not where I was going with this. We had a gift exchange and I was delighted with my gift. (Thank you, JS!)

It's always hard to know what to get, isn't it? What gardener doesn't like new tools or rather what gardener doesn't lose tools and therefore can always use some new ones? This one does everything but dig the hole for me, I think! I can't wait to try it out.

Just in case you have a gardener on your list and aren't certain what to get....this is a great idea!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Flower Chosen for the 2008 Chelsea Flower Show Poster

Just for fun, you might be interested to know that the flower has been chosen that will grace the 2008 Chelsea Flower Show official poster....and you'll never guess what it is! Okay, because it's me, you might...and you'd be right...a daylily!

Go here to have a look for yourself. Isn't this exciting! You might remember that I subscribe to the AHS Email Robin and it was on there that I learned about this. The hybridizer is Eve Lytton who named her creation GRACE AND FAVOUR, her first registration.

Daylilies aren't quite as popular in the UK as they are here, but I think things are beginning to change. When I visited Chelsea in '06, I was rather shocked that amongst all the wonderful plants under the grand pavilion, I think I saw only one rather humble daylily. Hmmm, things are looking up! (Which reminds me....maybe in the dark days of winter, we can revisit my Chelsea trip...I know I'd like to! Besides, I think I never did post about some other stuff on that trip...)

Stay warm!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Good Bye Tree!

We're having our first snow of this season today. It seems early, but I heard on the news last night that today's snowfall is the fourth in six years on this exact, it isn't really.

But, the truly exciting news is that my Redspire Pear Tree is gone, gone, gone! I cannot believe how much it has opened things up (although I did expect it would)! Some other pruning was done and some large shrubs were removed. I'm very pleased! I used a company recommended by a neighbor and would highly recommend them (Mitchell Tree & Stump Service, Inc.) myself. They were great!

(Riley inspecting where the tree was...)

(The new and improved front view of my house...look, you can actually see it! All that's left of the Redspire Pear is that pile of mulch. You can't see them from here, but there are still lots of trees...not to worry.)

Some of you will be amused to know that one of them asked me if I would mind if they removed my tags in the front yard....a pause while I considered this (were they joking? I knew I should have made a map was actually my first thought!)....and then laughter broke out all around! They were all in on it and just wanted to see my reaction. Of course, they didn't remove any plant tags/labels! (Scary thought!)

Let's see...quite a bit is gone from the garden now...the tree, two snowball viburnums, a lilac, two butterfly bushes, the broom...and the star magnolia that was so infested with scale that just needs me to finish taking it out (I started, but haven't gotten back to it).

In addition, the crabapple was pruned, the saucer magnolia, the broken branch from the magnolia grandiflora, and the two maples in the backyard...all look much better!

Why do we procrastinate on these things?? (Don't answer!) Now, to get to the gutters and various other things...

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Garden Education: Master Gardener Volunteer Continuing Education Seminar

This year, I got lucky. Helped by the fact that the day I heard about the Albemarle County Master Gardener Seminar, I sent in my check. It's an amazing deal for $20. Five lectures plus lunch, hard to beat!

First up was Dr. Mike Goatley, a turfgrass specialist from Virginia Tech. For an hour and a half, he talked turf and we hung onto every word. I can't resist mentioning that we were in the heart of UVa country and Dr. Goatley came attired in a brown jacket with a maroon sweater over a (bright) orange shirt. Normal clothing in and around Blacksburg, of course. But, back to our topic...we learned that 62% of Virginia's acreage is in turfgrasses. The two biggest uses are ornamental and recreational but it also has many functional benefits. One of the most interesting was for heat dissipation-temperature moderation. Dr. Goatley told us about artificial turf that actually is much hotter in summer than even hot, it constitutes a danger to athletes.

He reminded us that fall is the best time to fertilize lawns. We're still a long ways from converting the public, but we volunteers can help to educate and set the example. It's important to keep that fertilizer on the grass and not on driveways, sidewalks and other surfaces. The nitrogen in the grass does not leach into our waterways, but on those other surfaces, guess where it goes.

I've just teased you with a tiny bit of Dr. Goatley's lecture; however, you can go to and get turf and garden tips podcasts.

Next up was Jessie Deelo who is an Extension Specialist in Organic Horticulture Cropping Systems. We're talking farming here. We got a nice overview of the trends in organics, a bit about organic certification (at your local grocery, if they carry organic produce....and the trend is that they probably do...the identifying code on the fruit/vegetable begins with a 9), and some idea of the principles and practices. She then discussed in more detail the Prevent, Plan and React system for soil management, weed management, insect pest management and disease management.

More information is available at Specifically for Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic Region, check out and Nationally, check out and All of these resources were provided by Ms. Deelo.

Lunch was served (barbeque pork/chicken with baked beans and other sides) and was quite nice. We were a hungry bunch!

The seminar marched on with Dr. Holly Scoggins who gave a presentation on Hellebores. I had had the privilege of hearing Dr. Scoggins several years ago at a master gardener seminar at Lewis Ginter, so I knew that she, too, would entertain us. She's very funny and had what were, I'm sure, wonderful slides. Unfortunately, the lighting was such (couldn't be turned off) that it really washed the slides out and made them difficult to see. Well, if you're read here before, then you know I like hellebores! I've heard the Tylers of Pine Knot Farms speak as well as Barry Glick of Sunshine Gardens. Dr. Scoggins has visited both of these Hellebore growers (as well as others...she is serious about her plant expeditions!) and it was interesting to follow along on her journeys. Dr. Scoggins is the director of the Hahn Horticulture Garden which I enjoy visiting very much when I'm at Virginia Tech.

One thing I learned was that I should probably move my hellebore seedlings. I already knew it could take quite a while for them to bloom. Her presentation showed us just how difficult it is to select for color (although progress is being made) and how tissue culture has made wonderful hellebores available to the public.

Dr. Scoggins did a second presentation on Hot New Plants. Since I've already mentioned the slide viewing woes, I'll just say that it was great to have a plant list provided. I'm sure it was difficult to narrow it down to just those on our list (time constraints), as Dr. Scoggins goes to all kinds of plant shows, trials, conventions, you name it. There were even a few slides from events in Europe. She gave us a very useful tip (hehe) on how to get ourselves into for-the-trade shows so we can see some of the up-and-coming plants for ourselves.

Both of her lectures were enjoyable and informative even though poor Dr. Scoggins was battling a cold or virus. We should all be so tough!

The final speaker was Mike Likins, the Extension Agent from Chesterfield County. He gave a very easy to understand lecture on a very difficult topic, i.e., Plant Disease Diagnosis. I just wish he had included a handout (next time, Mr. Likins!) as he gave all kinds of useful information, but it was difficult to write it all down. One of his tips was that powdery mildew is found on the top of the leaf while downy mildew is found down or on the bottom of the leaf.

The seminar concluded with some door prizes of useful books. Hats off to the Albemarle County Extension Office and their master gardeners for an excellent seminar! I'll definitely be looking for it next year.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Wintersweet (or Not)

Just when I was going to give myself a good pat on the back for getting my spring bulbs in, I remembered that there are bulbs around the Redspire Pear (that is coming down).....There are Mondragon and Ice Follies Daffodils, plus several nice clumps of Cream Beauty Crocus. Okay, I could probably stand to lose the Ice Follies Daffodils, but really, the others are quite nice, permitting, I'll get to those very soon.

The weather has just been amazing, I can't get over it. Thursday, I was in Charlottesville all day attending a master gardener seminar. Too bad Charlottesville can't be closer. I hated to lose a nice day outside, but you gotta take advantage of those educational opportunities.

For several days, I have stood on my deck and looked down at the Wintersweet (Chimonanthus) and thought, huh, I think it might actually have buds. It has never bloomed and I remember reading that they can take up to seven years to bloom. I bought mine several years ago from a reputable company because of its promised fragrance (I do love fragrant shrubs). Wednesday, I actually ventured down to look and lo and behold, it is blooming! I grabbed the camera and went down to try to get some pictures. The result is below. But, and here is a big but, I couldn't help but fragrance. None. Not at all. I mean, this is not a particularly attractive shrub, but I'll put up with a lot for fragrance.

So......I googled and came up with this Wikipedia article and do you (if you clicked on it) see what it says?? Just in case you missed it, "An evergreen shrub that grows up to 6 m tall, with leaves 2–18 cm long and 1.5–8 cm broad, and white to yellow flowers that appear in winter and are only slightly scented if at all." (emphasis mine) Now, there is another variety, but mine clearly is not that one. I was sent me the described one, obviously, and I have spent years growing this scentless thing! Hmmmmph. I am very disappointed, to put it mildly.

I know better. I really do. If you asked me (because I have made this mistake before), I would insist that you only buy fragrant shrubs in bloom...because so many aren't....that are supposed to be. Or, from a really trusted source (like the no longer Flower Scent Garden)....really trusted. There are lilacs that lack much of the famous scent and mock oranges that have no fragrance....I know about these! Well, add this one to the list. Only buy or acquire a Wintersweet with fragrance.

This one is coming out. Probably in spring because I have too many things on my fall to-do list already.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Garlic and Other Thoughts

Now that Thanksgiving has gone by (it was very nice; hope yours was also), my attention can be directed back into the garden. This temperate fall weather has been such a help to me; I hope it continues. I'm still trying to sort out where the rest of the still-unplanted-daylily seedlings will go. It's looking more and more like I may just take them in their boxes and put them against the side of the house and surround them with bagged leaves. There will be space there because on Dec. 5th, the non-Bradford-but-actually Redspire Pear will come down. Pruning will be done on other trees and the snowball viburnum and struggling lilac will come out (hence the space). I'm actually pretty excited about this tree removal. For a couple of years, I've talked about it, but now that it is really going to happen, I'm awash with possibilities. I can extend gardening space where the tree was (no more stinky blooms in spring; no more branches rubbing against the house; and, no more roots under the house creating problems) and the thoughts of that will keep me going all winter.

But, really, what is on my mind right now is garlic. I happened upon Bifurcated Carrots' wonderful posts and pictures of garlic and spent quite a bit of time looking at all the varieties. Some, I recognized...others were exciting new possibilities. Over the years, I've gown many different varieties, but didn't keep notes or spreadsheets or even pictures. Now, with my new attitude, I thought I'd show you some of what I'm planting this year.

The above garlic is all from my foray into DC to a farmers' market. It was a bit disappointing that the Music variety didn't keep well (enough) but then, I've had issues with it myself when I've grown it in the past. Some don't keep as long as others. The Georgian Fire and the New York White kept the best of those. Well, it's not a fair view, exactly, as I did mean to plant them sooner.

I failed to take pictures of my own garlic, but none of mine have the huge cloves most of the purchased/ordered varieties have. My basement garlic has held very well. Last year, I found some Burgundy garlic that I had forgotten about...and it was still viable after a year! Since I haven't really been very patient with my garlic, I'm hoping to see larger cloves as they acclimate to my garden.

Below are the garlic varieties that I ordered this year (I just can't help myself!):

Only one variety, Polish Hardneck, didn't keep well of those I ordered this year. Since, I thought I would be planting it in Sept. or no later than Oct., I don't blame the garlic.

You might have noticed that I have Georgian Fire that I ordered, Georgian Fire that I purchased at the farmers' market and some Georgian Fire that I grew. It will be interesting to see how they all compare.

I suppose I'll always have a good sized unknown section. It can't be helped with my cats enjoying the garlic...tags get removed and displaced (in the garden, during curing and in storage). This year, though, rather than eating or tossing them, I'm letting them (the garlic, not the cats) have their own little section. Kind of an Unknown Known section (my unknowns) plus a few Unknowns that I purchased or saved from garlic that I purchased to use (who knows if it was treated or will grow...we shall see). Then, I'll move into a section of my local purchased varieties (testing my theory that they should do better). Next, mine from last year and I'll end with purchased varieties that I can't seem to help but buy each year. I like pouring over the catalogs and deciding. And, I like getting packages.

After the garlic is settled, I still have the daffodil bulbs, but I think that will go fairly fast. Then, amazingly, I'm down to the end of the pot ghetto. I have some odds and ends (which may or may not get planted), a clematis and some hostas that will get planted in an area I've been working on (weather and time permitting...hostas seem to hold over pretty well).

Then....I can just concentrate on mulching and getting things ready for winter (a first!)....maybe it will really happen! Ha. There is still the garage waiting to be cleaned out, so I can't get too excited.

I think I have plenty of bagged leaves and my neighbor gave me permission to rake the leaves from under the cherry tree (four bags already, at least one more still to go), I think I'm set there. If I had somewhere to put them, I'd love to collect the bagged leaves I see appearing on the street now for tomorrow's trash pickup. Such a waste, but I haven't anywhere to store them...

Update: Since I wrote this in draft, I am happy to tell you that all of the garlic I intend to plant is in the ground. Hooray! In case you're interested, the varieties are: Ajo Rojo, Bavarian Purple, Burgundy (Probably), Chesnok Red, Georgian Fire, Inchellium Red (New Mex), Korean Rocambole, Lorz Italian, Music, New York White, Persian Star, Polish Hardneck, Polish Softneck, Red Toch, Unknowns (Many!), and Western Rose. I'm hoping for a great harvest next summer!

I also (yea!) have planted all but five varieties of the daffodils, some tulips, and a few other small bulbs. If the weather permits, I'm hoping to get the rest of those into the ground tomorrow.

I'm pretty excited as once everything gets planted...even if I haven't gotten everything mulched...I can still do that with colder weather. Of course, I haven't forgotten those plants in the ghetto...and sigh...all the daylily seedlings. I'm looking forward to starting this year's crop of daylily seeds...maybe next month!

The beautiful fall colors are rapidly fading. Here's Sam Cat enjoying the view:

Related Posts with Thumbnails