Monday, July 26, 2010

How does your garden grow - Pawtucket RI

Three years ago I was contacted by a couple in Pawtucket, RI who are very gifted gardeners. They had done some wonderful stuff in their backyard shade gardens. This side of the house was a barren wasteland of a couple of shrubs and a slope covered with ailing grass. Her husband had the vision of the wall and the grass strip and he took that part of the project on himself with the mason. I was given the task of helping the wife with choices of plants and placement of the shrubs they had in the stone wall gardens to come.

They had a mix of sun and shade with the dogwood in the corner of the wall by the street and the north facing house. The side of the house is blazing west sun and they wanted something that would give them all year interest. We chose red twigged dogwood 'Ivory Halo', winterberry 'Red Sprite', Globe Blue Spruce for some of the new shrubs. They had quite a few perennials around the yard that needed to be moved. We also utilized a clematis that never flowered for them before until it was moved to this garden.

They installed the gardens themselves last June during the torrents of rain which became a god send for all of the newly planted plants. These photos are of the gardens in their second year. As far as I know, they didn't have any failures and everything came back.

We used mostly the shade plants they had in the back yard to build this bed here by the street. I did suggest some new things for textural differences which the clients really enjoy.

I'm very pleased with how this project turned out as are the clients.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Waterlily Wednesday!

Watching me trying to get these shots must have been entertaining....I was teetering on the pond edge with my camera set of super zoom to get these. But I **heart** waterlilies. I think this little one is darling. I used to know who was what...but over the years, variety names have become lost in the recesses of my mind.

This is my kind of yellow....soft and muted.

I've had water hyacinths off and on in Lake Larson but they have never flowered for me until this year...I've had two now! I know...they aren't waterlilies. But they are pretty just the same.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Oooo...someone forgot to turn on the A/C

If you're in the Northeast, I don't have to tell you it's brutally hot. I just checked the Weather Channel's website and it's 98 degrees out with a heat index of 103 at 4:15 pm. Ugh. I don't do heat...Lars doesn't even do this kind of heat. So, we're holed up down in the basement where the office used to be. I don't have walls or a floor, but it's cool...and that's all that matters. I actually moved back down here a couple of weeks ago because I just got tired of staring at all of the work stuff all the time. At least down here, I can close the door and walk away from it.

I let the garden be for a couple of weekends and got back into weeding and deadheading over the first part of the weekend. We haven't had much rain these past couple of weeks and watering has been my big priority the past several days. I have had all of the soaker hoses running off and on. I have been seeing some stress on some of my plants which I'm bummed about. It's mostly in areas where there are no soakers at the moment and I have been leaving the hose on a trickle on individual plants. I have been keeping the rain barrels fairly full after the thunderstorms from last Monday. I've been adding the water from the dehumidifiers down here. We do pull a lot of water out of the air in the basement which is surprising. Watering can be a big job around here especially with the sandy soil. Right now, it's like a desert here. I think the next opportunity for rain will be on Saturday which some scattered thunderstorms. It's hard to believe this past March a lot of RI was under water and we sit scrambling with hoses.

I have a potpourri of photos today and we'll start with the wet pets. Chunk is getting bigger and bigger...dare I say he's getting close to 18" long. He's the most friendly out of the koi and will come say hi when he feels your footsteps in the yard. We have another spotted koi who is almost and if not as big as Chunk. We've never given that one a name and I sort of feel badly about it...I'll have to come up with one. Maybe I'll call him/her "Rorschach" after the ink blot tests. :)

I'm on a mission right now to clear up Lake Larson with polyester batting. It's acting as a cheap and throw away filter medium. I am filling porous water plant pots with it and place them in the skimmer where the pots are. There's just a lot of sediment floating in the water and it's very cloudy. It's not algae, but sludge/dirt. I think it's going to take me a while to do this and it will probably become something we always have to do with the amount on junk that falls in the pond from the fish waste, dead water plants and the trees. Once again...the un-glamorous side of water gardening no one ever tells you about - the battle of sludge loaded batting.

I took this photo below a couple of weeks ago and it's of my new Oakleaf Hydrangea I planted last summer. I won it at a Plant ID contest at the RINLA Summer Meeting! I have always liked Oakleaf Hydrangea but had never really been able to appreciate the flowers because I have never been up close and personal with them. After having them this year, I will say I think they are out of this world!! I love the contrast of the creamy white blooms against the dark purple leaves of my Palace Purple Heuchera. Oakleafs have a nice burgundy fall color that sets them apart from the other hydrangeas. Most of the other species don't offer much in the way of fall foliage color.

Last but not least, I promised some photos of the other edible oddity of ours this year. Here it is...our little fig tree. I grabbed this from Logee's earlier this winter and it didn't do much other than go partially dormant in my kitchen this spring. Once the weather got nicer and the threat of a hard freeze passed, I potted it up and moved it outside. Then it started to grow and I had to move it up to a bigger pot. Right now, it's in a #5 container and I think it can stay there for a while. I might have to shift it up again later this summer if it keeps growing the way it is. I think this winter I'll store it down in the basement and let it go dormant for real. I think this guy is hardy to zone 7/8 but I won't risk it keeping it outside.