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.

Art in bloom

Click on image to enlarge

Hanging Baskets

The muscadine will be trained to a single standard and then it can branch out on top. 
This hangling basket has calibrachoa callie rose. trailing verbena red, and euphorbia diamond frost

The basket below has bougainville, bacopa and lobelia

no vegetables in my garden!!

The bed below was started 3 years ago with the 2 clematis vines
and this is where my herbs call home. I have Italian parsley, lemon thyme, rosemary, greek oregano, lemon grass, chives, mint and will be adding basil and lemon balm soon. 
The bed is also home to some lillies, a yellow chrysanthemum, artemesia silver mound for year round foliage and bright orange geraniums. You also get a peek at the pink garden to which a clematis niobe was added yesterday.

The hanging baskets are 20" wide and weigh over 50lbs when soaked in water. I have added a drip irrigation system to help keep the plants alive over the summer. The plants chosen are heat and drought tollerant. let's hope they survive Texas heat.

I purchased a muscadine yesterday to train up one of the pillars to provide shade. Vine # 5. Hope it works!

The beds in the rest of the garden were dug last November. I have been slowly filling in the spots as I find the plants I like. In a few years this should turn into my garden oasis.

Back yard patio pots

Euphorbia "Diamond Frost"
Flameproof Winner Dallas Arboretum
Supposed to be a great filler plant 

Mandeville Parasol Crimson 
The updated Georgia mailbox plant. Grown as an annual in Dallas. Vines will grow to 6 feet and flower all summer
Looking for a tuteur to support the vine. I think the red and white should look real pretty, especially if I find a black metal teteur.

Last year, the back yard pots had passiflora Incense and Incarta; sweet potato vine, vinca and gompherena. The passies got eaten by caterpillars. I would catch the rabbits up on their hind legs eating the sweet potato vine and the rest of the plants didnt scream "WOW" as I just couldn’t water them 3 times a day in Jul, Aug and Sept.

So this year I have put in ...rephrase...dear hubby has put in a drip irrigation system. After researching many companies, I decided to go with Mr Dig at Home Depot. The kits is $12 and we needed extra tubing which cost $4. Will need a timer later but wally world has a cheap one. I don't need a Lexus of timers...just need a cheap one that works.

Now for the pots at the base of the pillars. I pulled out the petunia and was surprised to see BOTH passies growing back. I moved the Incarta to a trellis next to the fig tree (it has never flowered..maybe this year is it's lucky year) The Incense has been potted. Going to baby it a bit and see if I can get it to florish elsewhere in the garden as I really do love the flower and fragrance of it. So the pots now hold mandeville crimson parasol. I have a temp tepee for support. Going to look for a tuteur for it. At the base of the pot, I've planted another Euphorbia. Well with all the fuss this plant is getting I thought I would give it a couple of places to live. 

Clematis are blooming

Been busy admiring all the huge clematis blooms I have. I spent last weekend restringing the supports for the clematis as my Dr Ruppel was growing like ground cover and not vertical. It's still recovering from the neglect with a lot of the leaves and blossoms turned inwards. 

The Jackmanii (purple) above was planted in 2006 together with the Dr Ruppel. This is the best it's ever bloomed. May even reach the trellis this year. Both of these clems bloom on old and new wood. Type 2 pruning group. I am going to chop them both down after the spring bloom.

Last week, I bought a gorgeous deep burgundy clem at Lowes. No surprise it was mislabled. I think its a Niobe. 

Two clems I want to buy are both Type III's Sweet autmn and clematis avalanche which is a new one and Calloways has it for 60 buks

The Pink Garden

So yesterday Shayley and I went garden center hopping and he very patiently sits in the cart or walks along thorugh all the isles with me. All of a sudden he eyes a mass grouping of dianthus and starts putting just the pink flowers in the cart. He then adds the cosmos which were in shades of pink and white. With the biggest grin on his face; he eyes the table of zinnias and goes for all the pink ones. 

This collection was picked by him:

All planted now!

My front yard - The design process

I've looked for landscape design tools and either they cost tons of money or theyre crap so I used good ole powerpoint and came up with this:
I havent figured out what to plant yet. Waiting on the rain to stop before I go to the garden center for my continued research.

As of now this is what I am thinking:

1. Leave the 2 plants closest to the walkway as is cos theyre pretty and the left one hides the hose pipe. I think it's a cleyera. I know it's a cleyera.
2. Plant 2 knockouts in front of the cleyera
3. Plant some kind of a low creeping evergreen in front of the knockouts. Maybe even artemesia powis castle
4. In front of that will be the seasonal color bed. Verbenas and euphorbia
5. Under the window would be 2 -3 pittosporum
6. The camellia nuccio's gem would move from the pot in the entry to the brick wall between the master and dining room window.
7. 3 youpon hollies would go in front of thecamellia
8. Under the 3 windows would go dwarf burford hollies or boxwoods or lorepetlum
9. My peony's would have to be divided so that I have 3 and they would be planted in front of the burfords
10. remove the large burford and replace with dunno what yet.
11. In front I want barberry

The colors of the blossoms 
Knockout redrazz - Hot Pink
Crepe myrtle - Bright pink
Camellia Japonica Nuccios Gem - white
Peony - baby pink

I am going with a pink and white theme partly becasue i love the pink in the knock and also the existing crepe myrtle is pink and i love my white camellia

This is what I want....

I've been working on redesigning my front landscape for a couple of years now. Last year driving past this house I did a double take becasue of how pretty the front yard looked. I took a picture with my cell phone and it has now become my inspiration piece.

This is what I want my front yard to look like:
This is what My house looks like right now:

This is a mock up of my house with what I want:
Pretty huh? 

Not afraid of worms

The spring gardening bug struck again. A trip that meant to see what the garden stores had in stock ended up with me buying this collection:

Creeping Phlox - clearance 99 cents (the pink flowers)
Dwarf Coreopsis - 1.99 (yellow flowers)
Geranium - orange sunset something - clearance 1.49 
Dwarf lilly orange and yellow - clearance 99 cents
Hibiscus yellow and double dip but the tag said coral something - 7 buks each

Ok so I start digging the holes for this collection and every time I dig a hole I see tons of worms...eeeeewwwwwww. I plan a few then decide to move to another area. Same thing..worms galore. yes I know it's a good thing to have so many worms but I find my self repeating...not scared of worms as I dig away.

Camellia Nuccio's Gem - Possibly the most perfect shaped white flower I've ever seen. Pure white and spanning 4 inches across; flowers December to February. 

The price tag nearly knocked me out but I had to have the plant. I potted it in a brand new container of course. It grows between 6 and 8 feet tall but I'll keep it pruned to not spread too much. I'll have to watch it like a hawk in the Dallas summer heat and in the winter I may need to wrap it in a blanket on nights the temps go below freezing. Note to self not to prune from June to September as this is when the flowers are formed. 

Camellia Japonica Nuccio's Gem - founded in 1970 by Nuccio's nursery in Altemeda, CA.
Bought it - February 2009
Location: East facing under porch. Sheilded by brick pillar. 

The list

  1. Rows of lavender
  2. Armfuls of peonies
  3. Mmmmm the smell of a plumeria lei
  4. Sunflowers peeking over the fence
  5. Passionfruit and lemon pepper salt
  6. Fuscias like they grow in Leeds
  7. Tuberose in my hair
  8. Pop those Impatience pods
  9. Insalata Caprise..yumm
  10. A living fence
  11. How to knot a garden
  12. Ivy topiaries Smith & Hawken style
  13. Making daisy chains
  14. Strawberries and cream
  15. Minty fresh lemonade
  16. My rose garden
  17. From the tropics
  18. Butterflies everywhere
  19. Hummingbird in my garden
  20. Make a cup of chai
  21. Flowers at that blah time of the year - Camellias
  22. Flowers every month
  23. Under the porch
  24. Corn on the cob Zambian style
  25. Lilac dreams
  26. Watch them climb
  27. Chelsea Flower Show
  28. Lychee love
  29. Dahlias as big as plates
  30. Rose parade
  31. Proteas 
  32. English country garden
  33. Birdie bath time
  34. Tulips & Windmills
  35. The underwater garden
  36. Rainforest
  37. Divide & Conquer
  38. My grandad was a farmer
  39. A mothers green thumb