a vase and a stroll around Joy Creek

DSC_0059

Cheater alert: these sunflowers are not from my garden. They were a hostess gift. I usually have a hard time finding a background for photographing my vases but I loved these in front of Richard’s painting in our kitchen, so there you have it: my entry into Cathy’s ‘In A Vase on Monday’ meme.

Calycanthus 'Hartlage Wine'

Calycanthus ‘Hartlage Wine’

So now for a peek at what’s looking good at Joy Creek Nursery (well, a very narrow slice, really, of what stands out right now). Calycanthus ‘Hartlage Wine’ has a very long blooming period, with flowers that are slightly larger and redder than the browner floridus.

DSC_0050

Flowers may rule, but foliage combinations bring their own subtle beauty to the shade gardens.

Fuchsia magellinica alba

Fuchsia magellinica alba

I’m crazy about this low-key fuchsia growing in both sun and shade at the nursery. Unfortunately we don’t have it available for sale but if enough requests come in, that could change.

Crocosmia 'Lucifer'

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’

In full sun, ‘Lucifer’ is the first of the Crocosmias to bloom. It’s fiery presence and tendency to spread are mighty welcome in my garden.

DSC_0038

Like artichokes on steroids, Cardoons have the stature to make a bold statement…and you can even eat the stalks if you’re willing to learn some Italian cooking techniques from the likes of Ann Amato.

Hydrangea 'Enziandom'

Hydrangea ‘Enziandom’

Some folks view Hydrangeas as old fashioned but I double dare you to come upon this stunner without gasping in admiration. In front of it is a Phormium that is blooming. I have seen them blooming at the coast or in a greenhouse but this the first one growing in an open field. Perhaps the great Phormium die-off is behind us?

Hydrangea quercifolia

Hydrangea quercifolia

We have Hydrangeas blooming in the shade, like this oakleaf form…

DSC_0040

and in full sun, where they need more water but obviously perform beautifully.

DSC_0031

There are lacecaps…

Hydrangea 'Preziosa'

Hydrangea ‘Preziosa’

and mopheads…

DSC_0035

tucked into shady nooks…

DSC_0039

or backing up a long path lined with sun lovers. So how about it? Are you a fan of Hydrangeas? And if not, did I manage to change your mind just a little bit? Allow me once final plug: the flowers take on duskier tones as the season progresses and can be dried to enjoy right through the winter months.

ANLD: new twist on ‘In a Vase on Monday’

DSC_0068

I always admire the pots assembled by designers for the ANLD tour. It struck me that they are very much like flower arrangements, though longer lasting. I’m going to stretch the rules of the game this week and show you a few of them. The one above was in the garden designed by Lucy Hardiman.

DSC_0240

In the garden designed by Barbara Hilty, this pot will soon be bursting with Nasturtium blossoms. I quite like the quiet simplicity of the foliage right now.

DSC_0188

Amy Whitworth put together this symphony of foliage in a grouping of pots…

DSC_0187

I didn’t catch the whole grouping in one shot so we’ll pan left to catch that cute little composition on the left.

I’ve heard of putting together bouquets to test the visual compatibility of plants. Container gardening is more challenging because the plants need to have similar needs to perform well over time. Pretty impressive, if you ask me. Now if you click through to Rambling in the Garden, Cathy will show you what she has found in her own garden to put in a vase this Monday.

ANLD garden tour coming up

DSC_0024

Devised as a way to showcase the artistry of its members, this tour has it all.

DSC_0077Swoon-worthy plants shown off to best advantage in creative combinations (those fish swimming through a sea of grasses in the background are an example of the way art is incorporated into the gardens).

DSC_0160

Often the plants can be seen playing ingeniously with elements of the built environment.

DSC_0122

Clever ideas to swipe and make your own abound.

DSC_0107

Some of those ideas might elicit a chuckle or two.

DSC_0106

Blue sky is a bonus, but this blue wall can pinch hit on a grey day.

DSC_0165

Art can be utilitarian as well as decorative and/or thought-provoking, as evidenced by this clever use of materials.

DSC_0207

Trees are often as sculptural as any artwork.

This is just a teaser to whet your appetite. Here’s the info you need to get in on this tour: visit the ANLD website for the full scoop and to order tickets online or pick them up at Al’s in Sherwood, Cornell Farm, Garden Fever or either Portland Nursery. There are 7 gardens on the tour, each created by a professional landscape designer and chosen by a jury of his/her peers. After the tour, I will go into more detail for those of you who are out of our area. If you live in this neck of the woods, this would be a fine¬†way to seek out design help or inspiration and spend a pleasant day doing so.

crammed in a vase

DSC_0010 (1)

I plonked a bit of everything in this big vase with the intention of arranging them into several bouquets. Instead, Richard confiscated it for his painting studio.

DSC_0012

I’m not going to even try to identify everything in there.

DSC_0013

A few close-ups will have to do.

DSC_0014

If you click through to Rambling in the Garden, Cathy will have a vase worthy of the name, as well as links to the many others who participate in this popular meme.

grab bag on thursday

DSC_0013

Here’s the little patch in the middle of the “lawn” meant to gradually expand to take over as much of the open space as I can manage. Several grasses came home with me from the swap so it will be expanding faster than I had even hoped. There’s a big rock there that we rescued from the highway verge (biggest one the both of us could manage…oh, for a truck with a lift).

Allium 'Gladiator'

Allium ‘Gladiator’ provided nice spots of color while blooming.

DSC_0015 (1)

The foliage on the oak tree from the Tough Love sale (can’t seem to find the tag) has such delicate foliage that I think it will provide sparse shade even as it grows.

DSC_0029

R did some selective mowing, leaving patches of buttercups (they are the bane of my existence as they try to invade every bed and border, but I love their cheery presence here.

Rosa moysoii geranium

This rose, purchased from Roger Gossler at the Portland Fling, was purchased for her shapely hips. This is the first time I have seen her brilliant, single red blooms. Now I am in love all over again. Pay no attention to that woman behind the computer who claims to not care for roses.

Iris 'Raven Girl'

The Iris show was resplendent this year. A newbie this year is this near-black one…’Raven Girl’

Iris spec-x 'Alley Oops'

Proof that a silly name can’t keep a delicate beauty down…’Alley Oops’…really?

Panicum 'Heavy Metal'

Panicum ‘Heavy Metal’

And now for the Means report. It’s time for the super sales. All of these are 5 gal pots or larger, starting with Panicum ‘Heavy Metal’, one of my favorites, at $6.99 ea. It doesn’t look like much now, but the flower spikes are fabulous later on.

pink Rhododendrons

pink Rhododendrons

Good-sized Rhodys for $4.99.

variegated Agapanthus

variegated Agapanthus

At $4.99 ea. these variegated Agapanthus are a bargain even if they don’t make it through the winter.

DSC_0009

They are just coming into bloom, with lots of buds showing.

Stella d'Oro day lilly

Stella d’Oro day lilly

If anyone is interested in Stella d’Oro, here they are for $4.99, about halfway through their bloom cycle.

DSC_0004

Lots of good-sized Jaspanese Maples in several colors are $9.89 ea.

DSC_0003

They are all dark, some redder than others.

DSC_0002 (1)

I’m not exactly sure of the size, but those pots are larger than 5 gallons. If you’re out this way on Sunday, stop by Joy Creek to say hello. The garden is looking fabulous and we have a new batch of Heucheras for just $7.50 ea…’tis the season of hot sales, dontcha know.

wednesday vignette

DSC_0041

I was drawn to the sharp shadows created by the emerging flower heads on Hydrangea ‘Preziosa’. This one, at Joy Creek, gets more sun than my two plants and is denser and further along in the blooming process. These are easy to propagate by layering so I think I’ll start a couple more to place in a sunnier locale. Click through to see what Anna (Flutter and Hum) has in store with her Wednesday Vignette.

in a vase on monday

DSC_0012

The subtle coloration and markings of these Iris from Alison are best appreciated in a vase, up close and personal. The dark leaf of Persicaria ‘Purple Shield’ sets it off nicely.

DSC_0013

Herer’s a closer look at that cute little vase by a local potter.

DSC_0016

When the rain beats down a few tall bearded Iris, those come inside as well. Join Cathy (Rambling in the Garden) to see what she and others have found for their vases this morning.

how much fun is a blog swap?

DSC_0006

If you’re a plant geek (and you probably are, if you’re reading this) you are probably salivating at the thought of getting together with a bunch of like-minded plantaholics to swap stories and plants. Even better if you get to see the beginnings of a new garden being crafted by a creative and ingenious gardener like our hostess, Tamara (Chickadee Gardens) here seriously contemplating a point raised by Evan (The Practical Plant Geek).

DSC_0004

Tamara and her husband, David, recently moved from a densely planted city place to their dream spot in the country.

DSC_0001

Already, they have begun to put their stamp on the property. The Blogging buddies were excited to see it in the beginning stages. We’ll be keeping tabs on the progress as it evolves into the little piece of paradise it is destined to become.

DSC_0002 (1)

Lots of good things to eat, the fellowship of others whose passion for plants might be misunderstood in ordinary circles and a bucolic setting made for a cool way to spend a hot day.

DSC_0009

Linda (Whatsit Garden) managed to look stylish relaxing in the shade.

DSC_0008 (1)

Peter (The Outlaw Gardener) returns from exploring that colorful outbuilding bearing Tamara’s signature bright colors. For a bunch of people who mostly claim to be introverts, we sure do have a good time. And then there are the plants. More about that next time.

In a Vase on Monday (on Tuesday) and more

DSC_0027 (1)

All of the big, showy flowers are showing up early this year. I say, while we got ’em, flaunt ’em.

DSC_0016 (1)

The bearded iris ‘Immortality’ starts as an icy blue bud that unfurls to pristine white perfection.

DSC_0031

This clump is about ready for dividing. I plan to put some closer to the house, where we can truly appreciate them.

DSC_0028

The tree peony ‘Chinese Dragon’ produces magnificent deep red flowers but I haven’t perfected the pruning techniques that would coax the shrub into a pleasing overall shape. Enter the close-up, a device used by gardener/photographers to fool you into thinking that all is sweetness and light. To fill out the bouquet, I added a few stems of Weigelia ‘Wine and Roses’ and some Tellima grandiflora, a wildflower that looks something like Heuchera.

And now for the “and more”: (Joy Creek) has changed up its Sunday seminars a bit. There is still the occasional free talk we’ve become used to, but there are now expanded sessions for a nominal fee. Coming up this Sunday is a class called Troughs the Easy Way, taught by a true rock garden star, Christine Ebrahimi. This might be a creative way to spend part of Mothers’ Day. Disclaimer: I am now part of the JC team, but my enthusiasm is genuine and I just have an inside track on what’s going on there.