Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Parterre/Knot Garden

The month of July here in Northern Virginia has been the second driest on record but here at Blooming Hill the Knot Garden/Parterre is doing wonderfully. The center, as you know, was transformed in the early spring with lavender, boxwood, thyme and rosemary to resemble a
knotted pattern and the lavenders are growing in beautifully. The English Boxwood plants have taken hold as well but will grow much slower than the lavender.

The long and narrow side beds are both lined with boxwood. I planted one of these beds with different everlasting flowers that will dry and add color and texture to lavender arrangements. I planted it in neat little rows of different cockscombs/amaranths, babies breath, straw flowers , dahlias, globe amaranth and Victoria Blue Salvia. The other side bed is planted with rows mainly of salad edibles like spinach, lettuces (mescalin and spicy mixes,) calendulas, radishes, some chives and one cantaloupe and even an unidentified gourd volunteer. Basic ,yellow marigolds add a pop of hot color to the borders as well.

The half circle end caps both display a lovely Victorian vintage vine called Cup and Saucer Vine. I also planted in these two small beds basils, peppers and eggplant. However, the rabbits can't seem to resist the tender eggplant foliage so we may not see an eggplant itself materialize this season.

All in all, this parterre/knot garden with it's bay and myrtle standards, which Tucker inspects daily for new bird's nests, is doing beautifully and the plate edging adds a bit of unique formality and structure. The centerpiece black iron wire basket packed with geraniums, lavender, petunias, pinwheel zinnias and chamomile is the crowning, whimsical touch to this garden. I only wish the rabbits and chipmunks didn't like what's growing in this garden so much but how can they help themselves. It is a pleasant place to sit and relax on the wrought iron bench in the cool of the morning or the warmth of the early evening

Monday, July 20, 2009

A New Urn

Peter came home with a new urn this past Friday night. It is a lovely cement urn, low and wide with lots of classic, scalloped detailing and, oh yeah, a bit broken.

Ever the resourceful gardener hooked on urns and statuary, he knew he could fix it in a jiffy with just a smidgen of cement adhesive. So, for $25 dollars, Peter bought a $400 urn at a local nursery , where I sent him to pick up a few Portulaca plants to replace the dying Calibrachoa in our window boxes. The Calibrachoa (Million Bells) have been especially persnickety this year with all of the rain and they don't like to have a full watering can dumped on them either even when they are particularly dry. They like it it just right--whatever that may be on a daily basis.

Anyway, back to the urn...I thought I 'd show you the newest addition to the family collection, from it's first night fresh off the pickup truck to it's debut today all planted and pretty with a ceramic guinnea hen who will call this home for the rest of the summer along with the pink "Wave" Petunias and a petite "Buttercup" Barbarry shrub. How pretty is that surrounded by "Autumn Brilliance Sedum, Hypericum and English Boxwood?!

While we're at it, take a gander at a few other urns around the place as well. The large urn, planted with a "Shamrock" Holly, positioned at the center and in front of the garage doors was also a find that we picked up in Fredrick, MD last fall. It's pedestal was broken when we spotted it in front of an antique shop. We bought that urn for $95 while it's original price was $700. See what you can do with a little imagination and determination (and a husband who is pretty handy around the house)?

The rest of the urns are just as beautiful in their different shapes and sizes. They all came to Blooming Hill in one peice however, and it's just about high summer so I thought I'd show what they look like packed with blooms and vines in the middle of a cooler than usual northern Virginia summer. If I haven't mentioned it before, I should tell you now...we love garden urns!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Cottage Herb Garden in July

Take a stroll through the herb garden with me and enjoy the abundance of color and foliage. The garden"to-do" list grows longer everyday along with
the zinnias and phlox. The bronze fennel and lovage stalks are reaching and providing shade for the heliotrope and petunias on the garden floor. The

yarrow has bloomed and been harvested so it's green, stiff branches are beginning to wither but the pineapple sage and agastache are ready to take their rightful places in these garden beds. The "Betty's Blue" and "Lady" lavender plants in these beds have also been harvested but, I think that I'll leave them alone next year and enjoy their color well into the summer. After all, there is enough lavender around here already that has to be cut and gathered for the fall fairs starting in September. Lavender blooms from a few plants won't be missed.

Rue, horse raddish, nastutiums, tarragon and rosemary grow lusher each day as we go deeper into July while the delphiniums and oriental poppies fade away. Pentas, floss flower (ageratum housetonium) and marigolds provide bursts of color under tall "Hummingbird" and "Black and Blue" sage. Even the guara is providing new flower blossoms each day--it likes heat which this July is just now beginning to offer daily. Have I mentioned that there is also lemon verbena and scented geranium as well as miniature roses packed into these cottage beds along with santolina, curry plant, margoram, oregeno and carnations, too? All eagerly contributing to the fragrance and color this beds exude. It's amazing what you can pack into a small space and every year they come back to claim their own piece of real estate here.

The deer are visiting this garden nightly and having their pick of delectible blooms. I can hardly blame them but it's time to get the liquid deer fence out and stop their foraging and "salad habits." They don't touch the lettuce in the salad beds around the corner of the house, yet they seem to have a discerning eye for colorful things in the dead of night. The rabbits are a bit more cautious this year in the cottage herb garden, having caught the scent of Tucker who sniffs around daily trying in vein to catch one of the chipmonks who also get their "fair share" of garden food.

This garden is just coming into it's own for the summer. I'll think about the weeding, watering, dead-heading and so on tommorrow and it's too pretty a day to start taking note of what needs to be done in August. Instead, I'll savor this moment spent here in this garden and just enjoy!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Robin's Eggs

I'm down to the final stretch in the lavender harvest--about 15 bushes to go and I'm taking a break for the day. I was walking through the knot garden early this morning, with camera in hand, when a robin startled me by flying out of the bay standard positioned in one of the corners. I peered carefully through the bay leaves and in the very center of the branches is perched this robin's nest with three turquoise blue eggs. They are so pretty, I had to take this picture. It's a rather pleasant place here in the center of this small bay tree. I can see why the robin chose this place for her nest. Lot's of sunshine as well as shade, water, flowers to fill the air with light fragrance, a slight breeze flows through the sturdy plant providing good ventilation and a nice view of the garden to boot. This is a pretty nice set-up for a family of free, too.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Mary's Garden

Enough with the lavender cutting, already. I took a break last night and went to my friend, Mary's house in Leesburg, VA, for a meeting with the Night Bloomers Garden Club and had a wonderful time. Mary's home is beautiful and her lovely, private, walled garden is a little piece of paradise located on a side street in bustling Leesburg. She made a delicious, herb-infused dinner for those of us who attended. Take a look a this gorgeous bunch of gardening "Night Blooming" gals posing in Mary's garden filled with vibrant

bee balm, catmint, budlea, pink hydrangea, tomatoes, herbs and various annuals and perennials not to mention one whopping rosemary that is at the center of her garden. Unfortunately, my cellphone camera did not truly show off her planting prowess, or, could it be the photographer...hmmmm...No...Couldn't be...I'm sure.

Also, the first two pictures posted at the top of this blog entry are of Courtney's front garden bed who lives just across the street from Mary. Courtney is another Night Blooming aficionado and she has a beautiful yellow echinacea growing amongst the flowers in this front bed.

Somewhere in the middle of all of these pictures is a snapshot of the group transporting from Courtney's garden to Kim's car (the head Night Bloomer extraordinaire) scalloped brick garden edges. Don't let their smiles fool you. They were not exactly happy with me when I asked them to stop and pose for a picture, however, they were all good sports about it. Kim and Mary are the first two in the picture. No, these ladies are not stealing these brick edges. Courtney is in the process of redesigning her walled garden with wooden raised beds and graciously gave them away last night.

Well, it was a fun evening. The weather was perfect to match the hostess, company and food. Thank you, Mary and Courtney, for sharing your gardens with us. For those of you who were not there, if you are not part of a garden club, I highly recommend that you join one and I know of a good one if you live in my neck of the woods.