Garden Types - Created Date : 19.8.2019

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

I spent Saturday covering up plants to protect them from the snow and frost. Sunday was devoted to uncovering everything. It was raining when I woke up yesterday morning and that weather pattern is predicted to continue through Thursday. Then wait a couple of days for the ground to dry out enough for me to work outdoors.

I feel like I'm stuck in limbo waiting to reach that heavenly moment when I can garden again. Nothing to do until then but enjoy scenes from other gardens. These three images prove the truth of the real-estate mantra when it comes to something as simple as placing a bench in the garden: Location. Location. Location.




I have tried multiple times to grow Diphylleia sinensis with no luck. That's the plant to the left of the bench in the third photo. Perhaps I should try the plant growing behind the bench in the middle photo; that is if anyone can identify it for me! Perhaps a Ligularia?

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Alas, our beautiful Thai bell is not tolling for anyone at the moment. It usually hangs from a tree branch adjacent to the path into the Tea House garden. Visitors can easily strike it to announce their arrival.

But someone chewed through the rope that suspended it from the tree. One more garden chore to add to the spring list. Make that two chores: buy new rope, then re-hang the bell.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! We did not get the big storm that was being forecast for the Midwest on Wednesday. But what we got was nasty enough that it has me concerned about my garden. Here's a closeup of the fat buds on my foot-high species Paeonia mairei on Tuesday afternoon.

The same Peony on Wednesday afternoon with an old sheet draped over a plant hoop. The snow was coming down fast, the temperature was down to 33°F. (-16.11°C.) and high winds and freezing rain are next on the agenda.

Paeonia japonica on Wednesday afternoon. The buds are less obvious in this photo but the plant is covered with them.

With these Peonies up a foot or more, I was worried about damage from the weight of the wet snow as much as everything else. But most of the plants I wanted to protect were too big already to fit under these big buckets.

There are nice big clumps of Martagon lilies (below), Hellebores and Fritillarias all budded. But they are going to have to make it on their own. Too many plants to protect even if I had a good way to do it. After waiting a year to see all these treasures, I am going to be devastated if this weather kills all these flower buds.

At the same time both Mark and I are well aware that an early or late snow makes the garden shine.

The water is a sheet of rippling black glass and the stepping stones and gravel are warm enough that the snow melts when it hits them. Thus the garden has many more textural contrasts than when it is totally snow-covered.

We fired up the Weber grill (foreground above), set up the furniture and basked in the sunshine and warmth Tuesday afternoon, refusing to believe the weather reports.

I just went out to check on things and it is so cold and windy I am leaving my crazy plant covers in place for now. Much of the snow has melted and these Martagon lilies seem to be taking it all in stride this morning.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Before Women's History Month is over, I want to share some images of work by a few of my favorite women artists. They work in different media but all use the garden as subject matter. Most of them had gardens themselves. It's difficult, however, to find many photographic images of their gardens compared to images of their art. Clare Leighton, Evelyn Dunbar and Valerie Finnis are all deceased. Elizabeth Blackadder and Frances Palmer are still working. You can easily find images of their work and information about all of them online.

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I wrote about Clare Leighton here. I have a 1935 edition of this book whose cloth cover is greatly faded. I have to admit that I would love to read what Carol Klein has to say about Leighton in her introduction to the reprinted book from Little Toller Books. Leighton is known for her wood engravings.

Clare Leighton

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Evelyn Dunbar

Evelyn Dunbar is famed for her mural work and garden art. She also was the only only salaried female war artist commissioned by the British government during World War II. Dunbar is noteworthy because she recorded women's wartime work in her paintings. She documented the war efforts of women on the home front, with the Women’s Land Army, Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, and the nurses of St. Thomas Hospital.

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Valerie Finnis

Valerie Finnis was a famed gardener, teacher and photographer. She captured many well-known horticulturalists on film as well as taking plant portraits. A few of her garden photos are displayed on the wall of her workroom in the photo below. A number of plants are named after Finnis as well. Ursula Buchan's book on Finnis is a great place to start if her work interests you.

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Elizabeth Blackadder

Elizabeth Blackadder is one of my favorite botanical artists because she paints loose, lively portraits of plants, her cats and any of her other treasure that catch her eye. You never know what will appear in her work. She appreciates Irises, in particular, and is known for her paintings of them. But my eye was delighted by the Toad Lillies in this work.

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Frances Palmer

Frances Palmer is the only American in this group of women artists. She has a spectacular garden on the east coast and is known for her Dahlias. But Palmer is a potter and grows flowers and foliage that she uses to showcase her vases and containers. Much of her work is glazed in white or pale celadon. These blue and white pots are among my personal favorites. But I don't think my finances will ever allow me to splurge on one of her creations. Instead, I look at her website and Instagram for inspiration on putting together floral bouquets.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

The old Rayovac corporate headquarters, located not far from our house, had beautiful landscaping. It looked good all year but never more so than in the winter. One year I made Mark take a few photos when I was doing a talk on "winter interest." I'm glad I did as Rayovac is gone and a new corporation is building on this site which is now covered with retention ponds and construction equipment. This lovely landscape is only a memory.

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Our New Year's Eve rain turned into snow making for a bit of a slippery commute home for folks who had to work and for revelers like ourselves heading out to evening parties. We made brief appearances at two celebrations but were home in bed by 10 p.m.

Next morning we were up at 6 a.m. on New Year's Day doing final prep for our annual brunch. Mark also spent an hour clearing the driveway of snow. But the garden looked spectacular. These photos were all taken from inside as we didn't want to spoil the scene with footprints.

When snow begins as rain it tends to be heavy and wet which makes it stick to all the trees and shrubs. It also can weigh them down dangerously. It's snowing again right now but temps are supposed to rise enough in the next few days that I don't think anything in the garden will suffer permanent damage.

Friday, November 02, 2018

I've known Penelope Lively's name for years but somehow never read any of her books. I'd just ordered her latest work (the garden memoir pictured below) when I discovered this little novel at Half Price Books. I decided to take a chance since it was only $3.00. Not much of a chance really as I stood in the store reading the first page and was immediately entranced with Lively's language. A beautifully written book about the last days of an aging parent. Driving to visit her father at the nursing home and then taking care of his house, sets a whole series of events/memories/histories in motion for the man’s daughter, her family and sibling. Just a lovely read. Lots of side story about historic preservation in an English village with crazy characters and thoughtful discussion about what is worth preserving and why. Highly recommended.

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Life in the Garden by Penelope LIvely.

Penelope LIvely is a winner of the Booker Prize and a Dame Commander of the OBE, no small achievements which give you a sense of the length and breadth of her career. I ordered this book from Mystery to Me, one of my favorite local independent bookstores as soon as I read about it in Gardens Illustrated, the UK magazine I subscribe to. The two central activities in Lively's life —alongside her writing — have been reading and gardening. I am now at an age when I can say the same.

I've been married 30 years and was gardening before I met my husband. I've been blogging for ten years and worked as a print journalist for about 30 years before that. So Lively's book had great appeal to me as she writes about the other aspects of gardening — not the how-tos. She considers the written, imagined garden from Daphne duMaurier's Manderly to Willa Cather's prairies in 'My Antonia" and beyond, in a wonderful, wide ranging discussion that looks at reality, metaphor, art and fashion. Like me, she pays great attention when a writer conjures up a garden. How it's done, why it's done can make or break a story or an entire book.

Lively looks at garden style, town and country gardens and opens the book detailing her own garden history from her childhood in Egypt to her current London townhouse garden (below) which she still works in though she is now in her 80s. Lively's age is one of the strong suits in the book: she has experienced a lot of gardening in person and in print over the years. Gardening is in our psyche, Lively says, going back to the Garden of Eden. We garden in expectation which is why it's so invigorating; gardening lets us leave the here and now. As most gardeners know and Lively points out, to garden "is a defiance of time . . . a garden is never just now; it suggests yesterday and tomorrow; it does not allow time its steady progress."

The book itself is lovely with thick paper, a cover that's a mosaic of dried flower petals and leaves and chapter illustrations by Katie Scott that are reminiscent of floral wallpaper patterns. Two perfect reads as we go into the season where we need to be distracted from the weather.

Friday, October 05, 2018

When I visited Olbrich Botanical Gardens last month, I was completely charmed by this piece of art in the center of their Herb Garden. I checked with the garden to find the name of the artist who created it.

Turns out it was the work of Erin Presley, one of Olbrich's horticulturalists who works in the Herb, Wildflower and Pond gardens and is also a mapping specialist. She told me via email that the tree is a 'King Arthur' crabapple that is showing its age.

She noted that some of the tree's large branches had been dying off intermittently over the past few years. After they lost a large section this past winter, the choice was made to remove the smaller twigs and branches, leaving most of the main branch structure intact.

Erin noted the clay balls had been around the garden for a while and the copper balls were remnants of an art installation at the gardens several years ago.

She said — and I completely agree — that "they provide a playful foil to the strong architecture of the remaining trunk and branches." At the moment, Olbrich is having their annual exhibit featuring local, national and international artists creating light-based installations throughout the outdoor gardens.

Called "GLEAM, Art in a New Light," this art extravaganza runs until Oct. 27th. Complete details are here, including times and admission information. While those night-time art installations are quite dramatic and eye-catching, don't miss Erin Presley's daytime delight in the Herb Garden.

Next year this area will look completely different because Olbrich will be moving the vegetable plot for the Herb Garden into this space. About this change, Erin says she's "looking forward to growing vining plants on the tree; can’t you just see gourds and pole beans dangling off of there?!" Make a note on your calendar right now to visit Olbrich's Herb Garden next summer to see Erin's whimsical re-do of this old crabapple tree.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Last Friday I found myself doing errands just down the street from Olbrich Botanical Gardens, so naturally I bopped in to see what was happening. All the rain had caused some flooding in the gardens especially in the area along Starkweather Creek which is visible in the background.

But elsewhere, it just seemed as though all that moisture had pushed the plants into overdrive. I could hear people but I could rarely see them over the huge shrubs and tropicals and trees. It was a lovely wander.

What is the best way to replant your lawn?

If you're tired of tanning in your garden, lifeless grass stains or stubborn heaps of crab grass, there may be time to refresh your lawn. There are several ways to regenerate your lawn, but sometimes damage can be too heavy for a quick repair. Destroy your entire garden - lawns and all - for complete regeneration and sprinkle brand new grass seeds on the lawn.

Step 1

Determine whether to install a new series of cold season grass or warm season grass. Cold season grasses - as the name suggests - grow in cold months. Warm season grasses develop well in warmer weather. Your seed selection determines when you need to plant your new seeds. Start sowing seeds in the warm season in early spring and plant seeds in the warm season in early autumn.

Step 2

Kill your old herbs with herbicides. Spray the herbicides directly on the grass. Avoid spraying everything you don't want to die for (trees, bushes and flowers, for example). Begin the destruction of old herbs early, because it may take several weeks for the herbicides to function properly. Read the instructions for herbicide containers carefully before use.

Step 3

Turn the soil 6 inches up in your garden. Use a shovel for small areas. Larger grass areas may require rototiller. A rototiller is a machine specially designed to break up soil. Break up piles of soil larger than your fist.

Step 4

Pour your grass seeds into a manually pushed seed spreader. Bring the seed drill to the corner of the garden and start pushing it slowly and steadily. Walk along a zigzag line in your garden, distributing the seeds evenly across the raised soil.

Step 5

Apply a thin layer of soil over the freshly sown seeds. This helps to protect them from hungry birds and other animals that may try to eat your seeds. Water the lawn with a soft water spray.