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

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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.

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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.

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

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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

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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).

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

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Clever ideas to swipe and make your own abound.

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Some of those ideas might elicit a chuckle or two.

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

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

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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

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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.

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

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A few close-ups will have to do.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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They are all dark, some redder than others.

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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

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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

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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.

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

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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?

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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).

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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

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

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

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

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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.

friday grab bag…and more foliage

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I’ll start with the foliage, joining (Christina) for her Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day. Finally, after three tries, I’ve gotten a Tetrapanax ‘Steroid Giant’ to take. Thank you, (Jane).

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Valerie Finnis must have been something special to get this beautiful Artemesia named after her…and (Linda) is just as special for passing it along.

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My consolation prize for missing Hortlandia was a visit to Xera, where I OD’d on luscious plants and brought home these two.

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Here’s the tag description for Podocarpus macrophyllus ‘Maki’: “A compact form of the Japanese Yew Pine that forms a wonderful fine textured shrub with a distinctly asian appearance to 4′ tall in 5 years and 4’wide. Waxy needles are fresh looking year round. Adaptable to many situations including understory shade. Tough and draught resistant when established but just as happy with regular irrigation. Tolerates extreme heat well and may be grown against a hot wall and even endures dry shade. Underused.” Amen to that! I have it in a pot for now, but it sounds like a trooper, wherever it lands.

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You may detect a theme developing here. This one is Pitosporum tobira ‘Tall and Tough’: “Japanese Mock Orange is an exceptionally tough, handsome and long-lived evergreen shrub. Scrolled green/black leaves are good looking year round. In May/June, clusters of white/cream flowers emit a powerful orange blossom fragrance. Full sun to shade in average well-drained soil. Light summer water, extremely drought tolerant when established. To 6′ x 6′ in 5 years. This selection is much hardier to cold than other P. tobira. Fantastic shrub.” OK, there might be more than one theme here, but the one that grabbed me was the indestructible part. The flowers are already starting to open and my nose knows that I did the right thing.

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Speaking of indestructible, take a look at Berberis ‘Jamesiana’. Isn’t it a beauty? Now tell me, how can it be that R has a vendetta going against this fabulous shrub. It does have a very prickly personality, but that is just because he keeps hacking away at it to liberate a nearby Italian cypress (of which we have MANY).

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On one side, it is complemented by Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’…

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…while on the other a carpet of Ajuga ‘Black Scallop’ does the honors. Jim’s pendulous flowers will give way to pearlescent pale yellow drupes on their way to blushing red later on.

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I hope you won’t tire of my going on and on about (Joy Creek), but how can I help myself, surrounded by plants like this Weigelia middendorffiana with its charming splashes of orange peeking out of buttery yellow blossoms?

That’s my roundup for this week. I hope you have a memorable weekend.