Gotta Garden

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Bits and Pieces

We can't just stop with that last glaring post, now can we? Here are some shots from yesterday (I'm so far behind...):

The first of the peonies, an unknown single, with Dutch iris (above).

Sometimes, foliage is every bit as beautiful as flowers (above) emerging Japanese Maple (one of the Full Moon ones...I'll have to check my tags (no label!) for the exact name)...

A very appropriate three blooms on some Wake Robin Trilliums (above).

Freckles viola taking the 'be fruitful and multiply' thing seriously (above). I've decided this is a good thing...a cute viola covering the ground is better than troublesome weeds.

I'll end for now with Dogwood blooms...what's not to like?

What Not To Do: Pink and Orange

The problem is not with your computer. Do not adjust your monitor. Yes, you're not imagining it (although you might wish you were). Feel like covering your eyes, do you?

That's PINK and ORANGE. Right there. Together. I know Nature throws some wild combinations together, but that's Nature....and she clearly knows what she's doing. Nature is not responsible for this...ahem...combination. I must bear that shame. In my defense, the azalea was labeled as being pink (not orange!)...but, alas, I did not take my own advice (some years ago) and buy in bloom. I actually trusted the tag. Silly me. And, here we are, all these years later.

From another perspective, just in case the first wasn't enough:

Each has redeeming qualities. I mean, who doesn't like a pink dogwood? The azalea is fragrant which is a big plus in my garden. Occasionally, they actually manage to not bloom at the same time...occasionally. Not this year. Sigh.

This azalea is blooming in the probably would have been a better choice...a few years ago.

Or better yet, my "white" lights azaleas which are really pink....oh's spring!

....and there's so much to see and enjoy, what's a little pink and orange??

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Mary Washington House Spring 2008

Today I made it to the Mary Washington House garden. My first visit of the season! Everyone was hard at work when I arrived and it was just great to see our group. There have been some changes since we (you and I) last took a look here.

For starters, a new fence is up thanks to some intrepid Boy Scouts. It looks most lovely behind all these yellow tulips, doesn't it?


Those Boy Scouts hand cut each piece of wood which is really in the spirit of the time.

Last year, I missed the blooming of the tree peony. I am determined to see it this year.

This is a rescue by H the Horticulturist and some of the garden gang. It's doing amazingly; one would never know it was moved (I told you they are a talented bunch).

These black tulips against the white wall are pretty stunning.


The redbud is striking as well:

You may remember the native columbine (some of these reside in my garden thanks to the MWH garden) from before. Look where this one has placed itself:

As we head out, it's hard not to notice the lilacs in bloom:

This was just a little taste of spring today. It will be a different garden when next we visit.

What Not To Do: Tulips

So, I really do mean it when I say I've had it with plants/bulbs, etc. that are not as promised. Really, I do. And, I'm better...but not totally cured. Last fall I actually got all my bulbs planted in a mostly timely manner/fashion. That alone was record setting (for me).

When I happened upon these tulips

marked down for clearance, I thought to myself, "why not?" After all, every spring I look around and wish I had planted more tulips. Especially pink tulips. I don't know why, but I really like pink tulips (maybe because I have...ahem...a few daffodils around). The tulips I especially like (big ones!) do not return reliably here. The price of these was less than a bunch of fresh tulips. Good deal, yes?

Okay, flower probably guessed it...Do I have pink tulips???

No, not a single one. Zero. In fact, there's every color BUT pink. (Not's mostly red and yellow...) Would I have bought these if they were correctly labeled as a mix of colors (except pink)? Maybe. But, probably not (I had pink on my mind).

I know, you're probably saying that I only paid a small price for them. True, but I want/expect/demand (ha) that I get what I pay for. At least I intend to. From now on.

Down with vendors/sellers who sell you one thing and provide something totally different. I may have to consider this for the slice blog as I think this problem is epidemic.

If it matters to you (shouldn't it??), make a vow as I am to do your best to only support growers and sellers who provide a true product. It can't be that hard to put the proper label on your bulbs, can it?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Garden Reading: The Garden Primer

If you knew someone to guide you, keep you from making mistakes and just generally mentor you in gardening, I suspect that someone would resemble Barbara Damrosch. At least, I hope she would!

Image courtesy of Workman Publishing.

Newly updated and greener than ever, Barbara Damrosch's The Garden Primer is available and ready to lead you down the garden path. While the beloved original still rests on many a gardener's bookshelf (saw it myself recently at my sister's), this new version brings it right up to date. Armed with the latest information, any one of us could venture out and make magic in the dirt. You know you can...and if you didn't, this is the perfect manual for you.

Ms. Damrosch jumps right in with What Plants Need. Of special interest to me was the section on Bulbs (you know how I love my daffodils) where I was reminded that it just might be time to divide some of mine. On page 513, I read, "If a clump is dense and the leaves have started to flop, it's a sign that division is needed." Well, that describes my clump of Mt. Hood exactly. Guess what I'll be doing after the foliage has withered (it will be fun to see exactly how many are in the clump).

I also dug right into the section on Vegetables. You might remember those peas I planted on a whim? Just waiting for me was a load of information on peas (pages 340-345). There I learned that I was right (whew) to have a trellis waiting for them and that I needed to not let them over ripen on the vine, lest they lose their sweetness. I'll have to remember that as they are just now breaking the ground. Also, to pick them right before dinner (unless I'm eating right where they grow) as they start to lose their sweetness upon picking. I also learned they freeze well (hope I have enough to freeze!). You can see I focused on the reward, i.e., the eating (hehe) vs. the actual growing; however, The Garden Primer contains plenty of information on the actual growing.

After each section, there is an extensive glossary with pictures and detailed information on, for example, numerous vegetables. Just liked I looked up peas, you could look up anything you wanted, like tomatoes (pages 373-379), for instance. Of course, trees, perennials, shrubs, herbs, wildflowers, you-name-it are all covered including a section on houseplants. If you can grow it, there's information for you to absorb and learn.

Because I have vegetables on my mind, it was with special delight that I discovered a lovely and very colorful feature on Barbara Damrosch and Eliot Coleman's Four Season Farm in Harborside, Maine, in the Spring 2008 edition of Country Gardens magazine. On display were the vegetable gardens (advice put into practice), luscious vegetables themselves and a flower garden in full bloom. A feast for the eyes and so very inspiring! Pictured also was the herb garden, complete with a plan featuring the actual plants used. I immediately turned back to the section on Herbs in the book, eager to learn more. (It's hard to put down; you'll see!)

If you didn't guess or or were unaware, let me be sure you realize we are talking about organic gardening. And, at Four Season Farm, they clearly know what they're doing! If you don't know something or, like me, are always eager to advance your gardening skills and knowledge, then make sure you have a copy of the new and improved The Garden Primer at hand. Our gardens will thank us!
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