Spring has sprung

The front yard

After a very late cold blast last weekend it looks like spring has sprung. Last Saturday we were in a winter wonderland with 5 inches of snow which melted by Sunday afternoon.

The camellia Nuccio's Gem are in full bloom and I expect one more round of flowers before the end of the season. The plant looks absolutely gorgeous. I bought 2 new camellias; bella rosa which is similar to nuccio's gem but red in color and Chanleri Elegans Variegated which is an anenome form with pink petals and pink and white inner stemanoids. Need to make sure to prune soon after end of bloom. Will plat them in the next few weeks.

In the front bed, I planted 14 hyacinth bulbs in pink, blue and white and the scent is just intoxicating as you walk to the front door. Every time I open the front door I get a good whiff. The colors also are perfect. May need to look for a hot pink one for next year.

A few days ago I rescued 25+ daffodil bulbs from a neighborhood garden plot. Been admiring these daffs for 2 years on my way to montessori and saw them dug up by landscapers to plant new beds. Asked if I could take them home and now they are planted in the front garden. I'll keep them in place until next year because I want white daffodils in the front yard to play off the pink and red camellias instead of yellow. The bulbs that I had bought and planted late are just sending up leaves and no blooms and since I cant remember what color they were I'll have to wait till next year.

This morning I added a peony to my collection; found the ever elusive buckeye belle and managed to grab it for 12 bucks using coupons for about 5 eyes. I should get a couple of blooms out of it too. I am going to see how the festiva maxima and inspecteur lavergne bloom before I decide where to plant buckeye belle.

The itea little henry is getting tiny leaves on it. Cant wait to see it in bloom.

winter chill

We had a dusting of snow right before xmas and in January an arctic chill for 3.5 days with temps dipping to the teens.

Camellia in the pot survived
Limri was in garage but garage door was left open all day so no idea if its ok or not
Abelia Kaleidoscope lost a lot of leaves....worried
Hawaiian ginger, and tuberose are probably toast
Dug around in peonies and saw the pink shoots forming :)
Peony - Bowl of Beauty was 5 bucks at Lowes for 2-3 eyes. Had to buy it.
Peony wish list - Red Charm, Buckeye belle, White Cap
Researching apple trees for espalier

been away a while

looks like I got a little distracted last summer and forgot to update this blog.

Here's a recap of how well everything grew in the summer:

Front yard - the purples spires bloomed like crazy. I'll probably move them back this year. 

The knock outs did ok for 1st year. The dining room side did better than the living room side. I'll have to prune them down hard for better branching in the spring.

Ornamental peppers were amazing...loads of very colorful peppers all summer. I'll probably get some in 2010 but plant them in the back yard. 

I planted 1 sunpatient in white and it was my fave plant all summer. This year I'm going to have a whole bunch more as they bloomed all summer until first hard freeze.

The OSO easy roses were a dissapointment. I'll probably end up returning them this spring before the 1 yr is up. I'd rather use that space for other flowers.

The gaura were great at first but the deep pink didnt do too well for long. the light pink one did well - going to move it though

Backyard - the thunbergia black eyed susan vine was gorgeous once it bloomed in late summer. Always covered in hubdreds of yellow flowers. 

The black eyed peas vine grew really well too. Loads of flowers and loads of purple beans. 

Figs didnt do too well. Seriously considerring chopping the celeste down and planting brown turkey. 

Knockout rose in the back yard grew almost 4 feet and bloomed profusely.

Tuberose sent out 2 shoots but didnt bloom due to cold weather

Hawaiian ginger sent up 5 shoots but didnt bloom

Lantana grew like wild fire. Always had butterflies visiting. 

Bird of barbados was a gem...three sets of blooms and cant wait to see how it grows in 2010

yellow esperanza bloomed really well and will have to be moved to the back as it will grow taller

2 out of the 4 lavenders bloomed well and this year I will try new varieties

Winter update coming up soon.

Inspecteur Lavergne Peony

So two weeks ago purchased two potted peonies at North Haven Gardens for 37 buks a piece. They both had buds on them. Lats weekend I ended up breaking off one of the buds as it looked like it was going to drop off and I expected all the others to look the same. Well 2 days ago I was very surprised by 2 gorgeous blooms. 

Inspecteur Lavergne is a bomb type peony and is supposed to be an early bloomer.

Festiva maxima bud below doesnt look too healthy either. Wait and see if it blooms

Itea "Little Henry"

Conpact version of Virginia Sweet Spire. Grows 3'x3'. Deciduous. Fragrant spring flowers and supposed to have great fall color. I think it looks nice next to the Hot pink of the knock outs. 

Let's talk peonies!

My peony Karl Rosenfeld bloomed beautifully this year :) I bought the plant potted 3 yrs ago and got 1 bloom the first year, 3 the second and 8 glorious full sized blooms this year! The color is a hot pink fading to a lighter pink. Slightly fragrant! Enjoy!

I have purchases and planted 3 more peonies this year.

Left to Right as planted

Sarah Bernhardt - Light Pink Double 36" Late blooming
Karl Rosenfeld - Dark Pink Double 34" Mid Season
Festiva Maxima - White 34" Mid-Late season
Inspecteur Lavergne - Red 34" mid season

The Front Yard is falling in place

Well I have been busy over the past several weekends doing nothing but focusing on the front yard. I would say I am about 80% done. :) So far so good! 

Here is the before taken a few days before the work in the front started. It was the typical landscapers package with no rhyme or rhythm to plant placement.

Here is the AFTER:
The beds were increased in size with the focal point beginning at the second step. The goal is to have low maintenance, xeriscape garden but with a cottage style so that I can lot of color through the year.

I kept the cleyera (big square bush) by the entrance as I havent found the perfect replacement yet. Thinking about a dwarf alberta spruce spiral..we'll see how that goes. The bright lime green looking plant in front of the cleyera is abelia kaleidescope. In first set of windows are 2 boxwood "babygems". In front of that are 2 double knock outs "RadtKo" and then there are 3 dwarf euonymus in front of the roses. In between the euonymus I planted Salvia mystic spires, a perennials that blooms all summer long with purple flowers. To the left is Itea "Little Henry"; a deciduous compact shrub with sweet smelling white plumes of flowers in the spring. Autumn color is gorgeous on it. Behind it I have bought a Ilex Sky Pencil and will be adding berberis helmond pillar too. As a space filler I currently have sunpatiens Vigour in white growing there. I also added a foliage plant with lime green leaves and purple flowers to balance the kaleidescopes. 

4 Abelia "Rose Creek" are planted in front of the master bedroom window. I should have planted 3 but I can yank one out later, I needed to have a full look so in went 4. You see my single Peony Karl Rosenfeld blooming in front. It has now been joined by the following so going left to right the peonies are: Sarah bernhardt (light pink) Karl Rosenfeld (hot pink), Festiva maxina (white with pink specs and Inspecteur lavergne (Red). Dianthus in a a variety of pink shades are at the front of the bed. 

Dont know what to do at the ends of the beds yet. Looking at carpet roses and maybe an espalier lorepetlum for winter color.

This is an older photo as I have planted several peonies since. More current photo below.

The very front has red verbena and gaura in red foliage (whirling butterflies) and green foliage. I also added ornamental peppers in Garda Tricolor and Numex Twilight as space filler until the abelias mature.