Monday, July 6, 2015

My, How You've Changed- Annual Review 2015

Five years ago this week we moved from Seaford to our present location in South Carolina. For those who are new here, we built our home on a lake in Upstate SC. We started from a blank slate, each year offered its own challenges--deer, voles, rabbits, dry conditions, wet conditions and my own fickleness, changing things up just because. Some of the changes will be addressed in later posts. Each year I take photos of the various parts of the gardens. You can see previous years' posts here- 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and when we were building in 2010.
So from the very beginning we looked like this--

We had some big changes this winter with the ice storm and an early snowfall-- November 1st! The ice storm will be talked about in my next post.  Last year's photos are posted to compare with this year. Follow the links above to see yearly progress. 

View from the front door...notice the size of the Magnolia grandiflora 'Little Gem' in the middle of the yard.
 And the Magnolia storm damage.

The driveway garden has had more added to it. I do like having a container near the Crape Myrtle to add some color.

 The front gardens are filling in, in most spots. 

 The winter was hard on the Gardenia 'Frostproof'.  I was going to cut it back, but never got around to it. Now that it has bloomed, perhaps I will get out there and cut it back a good bit.  The Japanese Maple is certainly happy. Acer palmatum 'Sango-kaku'
The backyard is ever evolving.  Left side as you look from the deck.



Right side as you look from the deck.

 The Japanese Maple near the white container in the photo above had severe damage from snowfall, a third of its crown broke off.
The backyard, looking back to the house from the lower right corner. 
 Same shot, this year. Included the patio on the right and the slope to the lake. 
 Out on the dock, looking back at the house, far enough away to not see all the weeds.
 One of the major changes this year - we bought the lot next door to us on the left. Too many folks were looking at it with plans to build...soon. Since it was a bargain price, we swooped it up. The only plans right now for us it to have it bush-hogged. There are a lot of blackberry brambles, honeysuckle vines, and scrubby trees that need to be thinned. After bush-hogging I am not sure what we will do with this lot, though my husband says he sees a Sourwood, Oxydendrum arboreum, in its future.

We got solar panels this past year and are really loving it! Also planted some Rudbeckia varieties near our well. It adds a nice punch of color.

There is also a new blank spot in the front yard. Grass was thin, so we added some mulch on top of a lot of cardboard. It is now waiting for me to choose some plant material. 


The shed got a new plant-- for Mother's Day I received a Schizophragma hydrangeoides 'Rosea', a climbing Japanese hydrangea vine. It will climb on the old iron railing on the right of the door. The blue cypress to the left of the shed along the prior property line really took a hit from the February ice storm. My pruning skills came into practice to keep them shaped nicely. 

More of the Fling posts will be coming. I wanted to get this post done as our anniversary as South Carolinians is this week. If you haven't done this, think about taking a photo each year on a given date. It is amazing to see tree growth and foliage filling in. Some changes are subtle and others are significant.

©Copyright 2015 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Fling Experience - Toronto Style

I have been asked many times about the Garden Blogger Flings that I attend. In a nutshell a Fling is where the hosting Garden Bloggers find wonderful gardens, public and private, to show off their city/region. It involves a lot of work, coordinating times, schedules, buses, locations, food, and 80+ Garden Bloggers. 
Those of us who attend these Flings take away so much more than garden design, plants, and landscaping. Imagine an annual pilgrimage to get reacquainted with many of your fellow gardeners. Friendships are formed, nurtured, and bloom. (like the gardening metaphor?)
First we check into a grand intown hotel. This year's hotel was quite grand indeed. We stayed at the Fairmont Royal York. A brief history of the hotel can be found here.

My fellow traveling companions were game to explore the city upon arrival. 

Julie, Marian, Helen, Karin, and Julie
It is nice to get a lay of the land before we start our whirlwind of activities. Toronto a city on Lake Ontario, is the provincial capital of Ontario.

From just about everywhere the CN tower is in view.

Since the Toronto Music Garden wasn't on our list of many gardens we checked it out. Certainly worth a look if you visit Toronto.

Once the Fling was underway it was time to catch up with fellow bloggers from near and far.  The camaraderie is wonderful. Each year I look forward more and more to seeing my friends from Texas, and England and Wisconsin and Minnesota and Ohio and California and and and..... you get the idea. It is a giant talkfest.

We document our gathering with regional blogger photos. Seeing a city through the eyes of someone who lives there is special....but so is getting to know fellow bloggers. Toronto has great vistas...many include the CN tower.

Julie, Lisa, me, Marian, Karin and Julie
 Traveling with so many gardeners lends itself to many garden views, each gardener sees something different. When we get home and share posts and photos of the Fling there will be something in a photo that one of us has missed. Eighty gardeners can see a garden and come out with 80 different views. A few will take photos of this dragon.

Dragon sculpture on Wards Island
 Some views will be shared multiple times...who could resist this kind of photo opportunity?

View from Algonquin Island
 Meal gatherings tend to grow as another blogger joins the group and then another. By the time this meal was done our table looked like a Hungry Hungry Caterpillar table...adding more and more round tables together. Luckily our waiter was nonplused by our ever growing group.

Photo angles can be all important, one learns from the best on how to achieve that best shot.

Janet and Barbara
 There were questions from passersby on the street as to who this group might be. What? Doesn't your neighborhood have dozens and dozens of folks with cameras taking pictures? Many people wanted to know about blogging, asked for information about our blogs so they could read about what we have seen in their city.  This dog didn't ask.

We saw more than gardens. Those who like architecture would have loved seeing Cabbagetown, a section of Toronto that was once home to many Irish immigrants. It is known as the largest continuous area of Victorian homes in North America. 

There was a nice dose of history in our tour of Toronto. The Evergreen Brick works is a reclaimed brick factory and quarry. The wall art depicts the waterways through Toronto that feed into Lake Ontario. The quarry was site to archeological findings of a second Ice Age. 

Brick Press

Remaining ductwork in the furnaces

Seeing so many aspects of this city was really amazing. Big thanks to our planners, Helen Battersby, Sarah Battersby, Lorraine Flanigan and Veronica Sliva. We made new friends, saw incredible gardens, learned a bit about Toronto, rode the ferry, and chatted with all sorts of Torontonians.
Dog parking station at Evergreen Brick Works
 Did I mention the fun bloggers? Each Fling is a unique blend of garden bloggers. Wish we had time to get to know each and every one of these fun gardeners. Once home I realized there were some folks I didn't get a chance to spend time with. Guess I will have to find them next year in Minneapolis.

Maya and Beth
 Flings have been like a big family reunion, a family of friends, a family of gardeners. These are the people you feel comfortable with, you can laugh and be silly with, THESE are the people you take selfies pink sunglasses.

Judy, me, Tammy, Karin, Brandon, and Julie

 Flings are times you get to check off a bucket list item - Niagara Falls

And did I mention all those wonderful fellow bloggers? Miss you all and looking forward to next year!

©Copyright 2015 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

How Do You Know?

You plant and you plant. Some are shrubs, some are trees, some are perennials, and some are bulbs.... one would think shrubs and trees are visible in the garden. HA! In my garden  I have a lot of baby plants. When I say baby, I really do mean teeny tiny.  See the palm leaf? The stem to the left of it? A small beautyberry 'shrub'. Callicarpa dichotoma 'Issai' was transplanted to an area where the weeds, grasses and rushes, are taller than this little guy. He needs to be marked, and remembered.


Another area in my garden, lots of oak and hickory leaves cover the garden. I am not going to rake out the leaves...they are just there. But the question arises, where are the plants? 


I use various forms of marking where plants are located in the garden. Above you see a bamboo stake with a plant tag, pretty straight forward. It is marking where a deciduous azalea is planted.

 Sometimes I don't have a plant tag so I use whatever is handy. For this struggling Mahonia eurybracteata 'Soft Caress'  I used a stick. I have a lot of sticks that have fallen into the garden. Seemed like a good choice.

Last year I ordered some plant labels because I have a lot of bulbs planted all over the garden. I forget how many I ordered -- maybe 100, maybe 500- I don't know. Whatever the number, it wasn't enough. In the photo below is an Autumn Crocus...hence the AC.  It helped this spring when I was looking for new growth emerging. I have stepped on a few of them though, breaking off the top. I found more than one wayward plant label snapped off. Oops. 

Sticks also make a good defense against critters who like to dig up newly planted Hellebores. Sadly I didn't realize I needed to put up a small barricade, so I lost two out of the three newbies.  

I was lucky enough to receive some ferns from a friend from Virginia when he and his wife visited. His ferns came with plant tags-- since they are deciduous ferns, having the location marked is helpful. 

New trees and shrubs needed a new way to mark their locations in the woods. I ordered some bare root Cornus florida, Dogwoods, and Hamamelis vernalis, Witchhazel from Missouri Department of Conservation. I think it was 10 seedlings for $8.00 - a bargain in my mind. These seedlings are not small, averaging about 3 feet tall.  

See the purple ribbons? Yes, my latest tool for marking my newest plantings. 

After soaking the bare rooted seedlings, I tied a purple ribbon on each one.  After planting them around the woods,  I looked back, checking to see if  I could 20 seedlings in the woods.  See the ribbon below? It does stand out in the landscape enough to find each of them to water them and check for new growth.

My missing Chionodoxa alba finally appeared. I really need to mark its location.

Again, up by the street I used a wayward stick...marking some Gladiolus. Seems pretty straight forward early on, but now that other plant material has grown and filled in, it was a good idea to mark the spot.

Back in the backyard new ferns were marked with sticks as they were planted. I ordered some New York ferns, Thelypteris noveboracensis. After planting I found the notes from a talk my friend gave on ferns....his take was New York ferns were on the aggressive side. Oh man. Well, looking for the sticks wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. Ordered five ferns, dormant, bare-rooted. Planted about seven (the bare-rooted ferns were easy to divide). So now I had about to find seven sticks marking bare-root ferns. I found some and planted them in planters. 

So far I haven't seen any of them come up. Since then I have done more reading on Thelypteris noveboracensis, apparently the further south, the less vigorous they are. Hoping some of them come up.

As you can see, this post was started a while ago...daffodils were still blooming. The garden has filled in but still no New York ferns to be found. Feels like they should be up by now. How do you mark your bulbs or shrubs or bare-rooted saplings or ... or? I think I will find another way to mark new plantings as the sticks seem to disappear over time.

©Copyright 2015 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.