Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Garden Preparation Continues...

I have been so busy trying to get ready for the "PHilomont garden PHair" this coming weekend that I haven't had time to post anything lately. However, I thought I should stop and enjoy some of the flowering trees and shrubs that are in full bloom on this lovely April afternoon and also share them with you.

The Pink Dogwood is a frothy mass of delicate yet vibrant blossoms. The Buttercup Magnolia, a new addition as of last year to our yard, looks a little spindly when you see it as a whole but when you take in the flowers up close, you can really appreciate their creamy, yellow beauty. I can hardly wait to see this tree in a few years when it is more mature. Who can ignore the Korean Spice Bush--it's cotton-like blooms smell heavenly!

Well, break time is over. It's time for me to go back to work on the garden beds. There is still much to be tilled, planted and mulched before Saturday--not to mention mowed, weedwacked and weeded. Ahhhh, gardening is so delightful!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


This past weekend offered up glorious weather to work outside. The sunshine highlighted the tulips in the front yard beds and made them the most spectacular things in our gardens.

In the language of flowers red tulips are a declaration of love and, when you see these beauties in all of their glory, what's not to love?

These tulips have been blooming for over a week now and they have given us
so much joy and beauty. I wish they could last all summer just as they are now. But, like the daffodils and hyacinths, they will fade and make way for the summer flowers coming soon so, I'll enjoy them while they last.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Garden China--Feast for the Eyes

Many years ago, while I was visiting my Master Gardener friend, Clarrissa, and walking through her garden, I noticed, beautiful pieces and shards of old broken china scatterred throughout the planting beds. There were big pieces of broken plates along with splinters and shards of china and I was truely enchanted with how these pieces, placed thoughtfully among the flowers and plants, added to the whimsy and personality of the annuals, perrenials and shrubs.

Clarissa explained to me that these were the bits and pieces left from her mother's good china which Clarrissa had inherited after her mother had passed away but the china, enroute to her from far away, had been damaged in transport by the shipping company and was way beyond repair. She couldn't bring herself to part with these beloved pieces so she thought to scatter them throughout her garden in memory of her mother. To me, it was simply a charming and clever way to preserve some wonderful memories.

Having loved her idea, I went home and immediately started to gather as many old cracked and damaged china pieces of my own and began plotting out how I would break them up even further to get the same effect in my garden beds. As I stood looking at some really pretty plates, I couldn't bring myself to intentionally damage them further, so I decided to just use them as they were and stick them into the beds among my own plants and flowers. As I dug through my own collection of plates, I was astonished at just how many I had and within a couple of days, I was using my old collectibles as an ecclectic and unique edging for the garden beds. To this day, I've never seen prettier edging for any garden, mine or others, that compares to these blue and white plates that play off of each other as well as the plants they help to define and contain.

So, for 12 years now, out come the plates into the garden at the beginning of April to line my kitchen/vegetable garden--now being turned into an english knot garden--and, in they come at the end of October to be washed and then stored away in the attic during the winter months. These plates are an accumulation of pieces and memories from my mother, aunts, cousins and sister as well as freinds who have come and seen my gardens and then thought of me when they happen upon an old china relic from their own cabinets or antique store visits.

I consider it the ultimate compliment when someone gives me a plate from their own collection because they thought of me to help preserve their memories in my own unique way. My plate collection has grown quite a bit over the years and has even seen the addition of blue and white porcelain chickens pecking through the beds and old china shoe vases that poke out from under plants and flowers as well. I love every piece and I believe it is truely worth the time and effort to set them out each year in the garden where their charm and personality come to life in a whole different way.

Above, are a few pictures of me setting the plates out this year, late in the afternoon this past Easter Sunday. This coming week begins the process of planting cuttings and setting seeds of lettuce, some veggies, herbs and everlastings and, of course, more lavender and boxwood plants.
By June, this garden will be brimming with color and overflowing with unique personality and historical charm.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Knot Garden - Work in Progress

Ahhh, April in Northern Viginia...one day it's sunny, cold and blustery. The next, it's rainy, chilly and windy, although this year, we've had a lot more chilly and windy than rainy. However, today, we awoke to a glorious inch of rain in the gauge left from last night's showers.

On those perfectly wonderful early spring days, when there is virtually no wind, plenty of sun and temperatures fit for being in short sleeves, we have to go to work...real work...the kind where they pay you to come and do their work. So, the garden, sometimes, must wait but not all things in the garden must wait--the knot garden is underway. Remnents of plants from years past are gone, the dirt is re-leveled and raked and new planting lines are laid out marking where my 2-year-old english boxwoods cuttings have been planted and where the varigated boxwoods and lavenders will be planted. We are waiting on these from a nursery in Oregon that I order plants from.
Where am I, you ask, in this whole process of redisigning and planting this knot garden? Taking the pictures, of course, for the sake of posterity. And, where is Tucker, the dog? Well, he is so exhausted by the magnatude of this project, that he decided to convalesce on the porch swing...ahhh, April in Virginia...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Cherry Blossoms

We had our own Cherry Blossom Festival, of sorts...we just enjoyed the weather and our own trees! No crowds. No traffic. Just plenty of sunshine and delightful temperature on this beautiful Palm Sunday Weekend. Perfect!

Friday, April 3, 2009

PHilomont garden PHair

April has only just begun and I'm already thinking about May...specifically May Day Weekend, from the first through the third. I've gotten myself involved in a clebrate May Day weekend (I'll do anything when it comes to promoting gardens and all of their splendor) here in Philomont and we're calling it the PHilomont garden PHair. This PHabulous PHair is sponsored by the Philomont General Store. (There's lot's of alliteration here, insn't there?!)

Anyway, come and visit the Philomont General Store on May 2-3 and browse the garden/craft PHair. There will also be May Day Baskets on display by participating homeowners throughout this picturesque village with a view of the Blue Ridge and even a few homes will graciously open their gardens for public viewing on those two days. (Hint: One of those homes will be Blooming Hill--I hope we can be ready for visitors by then--gulp!)

It will surely be a lovely time in Philomont, rain or shine. Please stop by and say "hello". I'll be manning my garden while my friend, Arlene Anderson, will be manning my booth at the PHair. I look forward to seeing you soon.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Guest in the Greenhouse

This past weekend, I noticed a small toad sitting quietly on the pea gravel and terracotta tile floor of the greenhouse and thought nothing of it. By Monday, he had moved himself into one of the small pots also inhabited by a new bay cutting that I had spent about 3 weeks getting rooted, along with 5 other bay cuttings, and then transplanted into it's new clay pot. It's Wednesday and he's still here. I hate to move him. He's so darn cute and he looks so content. He doesn't seem to care whether he gets watered on or not and, so far, the tiny bay cutting looks as though it's happy to have a companion to share it's new home. I'll give him until Friday. After that he needs to find a new home or I'm charging him room and board.