Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Lovely Surprise from Cherry

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Yesterday I was awarded with my first award from Cherry. What a pleasant surprise. It is the Renee Award and it reads- You spread joy and love like an acorn small packages becoming tall & sturdy oaks that keep on giving. Thank you so much Cherry. From what Cherry says on her blog- this award honors women who are incredibly inspirational in their intelligent and witty writing. Me? Well, it is an honor, I am happy someone reads what I write! :-)
Now the challenge is to pick 5 others to pass this award to.

I am not sure if all participate in the award process. If you don't, that's fine, just know I appreciate what you write and your kindness in this blogging world.

1. Jen at Name That Plant
2. Daffodil Planter at Daffodil Planter
3. Tina at In the Garden
4. Jan at Thanks for 2 Day
5. Racquel at Perennial Garden Lover

This list could go on and on for quite a while. Choosing just 5 is really hard. I toyed with the idea of just putting it out there that I appreciate you the reader and not list just five, but not really the spirit of the award. So on that note-- thanks to Cherry and to the five.... thanks for being out there.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sunday Afternoon at the Battlefield

Sunday afternoon my mom wanted to take me up to the battlefield to see the newest residents on Wormley Creek pond. A pair of swans have some new fuzzy cygnets. Last week she said there were 10 babies.

The most I could count was 8 yesterday. Perhaps a couple were hidden by the adults. They are sure cute... and fuzzy.

Springtime on the battlefield is so pretty. There is such an expanse of unspoiled landscape. The redoubts at the Yorktown Battlefield are not only from the Revolutionary War, but the Civil War as well. These redoubts are so large and it is amazing to think that all this was dug by hand, during wartime. The Yorktown, Williamsburg, Jamestown area is riddled with history, it is hard to miss it.

There are plenty of websites to find more information about military fortifications --from Seizure of Redoubts 9 and 10 to the National Park page on Yorktown.
The woods are brimming with new growth of many varieties of ferns and Golden Ragwort, Packera aurea or Senecio aureus. The dappled sunlight really plays on the yellow blooms. The Golden Ragwort is common in moist, shady, wooded areas.

We did a second lap along the trail to see if the swans were any closer to our side of the pond...as we approached there were three turtles on the log in the foreground (who quickly slipped into the water as we came closer) and you can see the swans...all the way on the other side of the pond.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Nothing Could Be Finer.....

Than to be in Carolina, in the morning. Hi everyone! We are back from our trip to the future homesite. Many plans were made and decisions were finalized. It was a very fruitful trip. One of the things I found in South Carolina growing all over was this crimson clover -Trifolium incarnatum. It was gorgeous.

Another flower that was growing all over was this sweet little blue flower. Anyone know what this is? The wind was blowing so photos were hard.

Our lot was a great deal different than last we saw it...in March! There are more hardwoods than I remembered. We have dogwoods dappled through the lot. Hopefully we will be able to keep many of them. The house will have to be sighted in the right place and then septic dug and of course a driveway. So no telling how many of the trees will be still there. I have told the builder of my tree hugging tendencies.

We have many Shagbark Hickory Carya ovata, which are new to me. Interesting trees. This was taken with the camera phone-- not as clear as other photos. Many Water Oaks, Quercus nigra, various white oaks- not sure of the variety. Trees are not my forte, but I am trying to ID what I can. There are also a lot of Winged Elm,Ulmus alata. These reseed easily so there a lot of little ones.

Through the trees you can see my husband standing about where the house will sit. We have a lot of poison ivy -- oops. There are Virginia Creeper vines, Parthenocissus quinquefolia (in addition to the poison ivy) some honeysuckle..though I didn't see blooms, so not sure what kind.

The last photo...for today, is some lady standing down by the water line. We have about a four foot drop right by the water, then gentle slope up to the street. You can see how much undergrowth there is.

Friday, April 17, 2009

April Blooms in the Learning Garden

Good afternoon to all-- I went back to the Learning Garden this morning with fresh batteries in my camera to capture some of the wonderful blooms that are opening in the Learning Garden. I took so many photos today that I ended up doing multiple collages. If you want to see the smaller ones I am posting you just need to click on the photo. The top photo is a combo of colors.

The colors range from dark red to light pink to pale yellow to lavender to blue. It is really quite a show.

This coming May 2nd the Learning Garden will be having a plant sale from 9 AM to Noon. I know many of those who read this blog are not from this area, but if you are- please come! I will be there, ask for the Queen of Seaford or the Plant Doctor and you will be directed to my table. Would love to say hi!

We offer tours throughout the summer months. Every month is a new show of blooms. Would love to show off the garden to you!

With all this promotion for the Learning Garden, I will want you all to know this coming week we will be in South Carolina getting some of our plans firmed up. Hope to be able to have access to a computer off and on. Have a great week everyone.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What is the Color du Jour? Mostly Yellow, with a Smattering of Purple and Pink

Since today is the 15th, the garden bloggers have Garden Blogger's Bloom Day. This is hosted by Carol over at May Dreams Garden I am late in getting my blooms posted today. I am number 83! If you want to see what blooming around the world today.. go check out her post.

As you can see, my garden is starting to fill in. I have a lot of Sedum sarmentosum, otherwise called Stringy stonecrop. It fills in the bare spots and I treat it like a weedy groundcover. As the season continues it will get brighter yellow. The bermuda is starting to get a bit greener. I love a bermuda lawn in the winter, you can tell where the weeds are!! The Alyssum saxatile 'Golden Flourish' is just starting to bloom and the Wallflower Erysimum species is getting brighter and fuller yellow every day. The Isla Gold Tansy is turning yellower as the season progresses as well. Yellow Pansies round out the front yellow area.

Alyssum saxatile-

Jane is still blooming. This Magnolia will continue to bloom off and on through out the spring and a little in the early summer. What a gal!!

The portion of the lilac bush, Syringa vulgaris, that the vole didn't eat is now blooming. It has not been a consistent bloomer...perhaps the threat of death caused her to put forth more blooms!

The Wallflower getting taller every day!

I have a variegated ground cover in a pot that can be invasive-- so in the pot he will stay. I didn't know he had a bloom. Glechoma hederacea "Variegated Ground Ivy" is in a container with three Gaura.

Here is this year's photo of my header bloom...an unknown as yet Narcissus. I have sent the photo to Brent and Becky and asked for a name. Will keep you updated.

And my last one for today will be the Christmas cactus that is blooming in my dining room. Since these Schlumbergera Bridgesii are photo sensitive and need specific light and dark periods to bloom, I think this one is a little mixed up since it has been in the dining room all the time. It is pretty though........ Happy Bloom Day!!!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Spring Sightings

Spring is bustin' out all over..... My 'almost' daughter, Kate sent me some wonderful photos from Washington, DC. The cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin and all over DC are just beautiful. This link will give you lots of info Cherry Trees.


On Tuesday my friend LL and I went to the Norfolk Botanical Garden. After Les talked about the Hofheimer Camellia Garden, we figured it was time to go and visit. We spent a lovely time walking around the gardens. The color combinations with the tulips and pansies were really striking. In one of the beds they used leaf lettuces and kale and Swiss Chard for foliage color.

There is a small building that has a green roof --full of various types of sedum, some cascading over the edge.

We really loved all the Camellias..falling in love with one after the other. The one in the center of the collage is Camellia japonica 'Agnes of the Oaks' but I can't seem to find anything about it. The red and white petals were almost tie-dyed.

I think the best plants of the day were the Viburnum carlesii 'Korean Spice Viburnum' and the Viburnum burkwoodii 'Mohawk'. Their scent was so intoxicating. This is one time I wish there was "Smell-o-vision"! Enjoy---

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Carolina in My Mind

It is the chorus that keeps floating through my head. I first loved James Taylor during high school. I spent my time between him, Carole King, and Carly Simon. Guess the highway is calling us as well.

We are two Army brats that spent our early married life traveling the world with my sweet husband’s career in the Army. When time comes, I will have lived here 3 times longer than anywhere else in my life. Sure we have put done some roots here in Seaford, but change is something that we seem to embrace. With my sweetie retiring next year, it seemed like the time to make the move.
In the summer of 2010 we will be packing up and moving to a new place. What makes this move interesting is the choice of our new home. We almost did the old dart on a map to pick where we would go, sort of. We knew we wanted to be on a lake, in the south, inland enough that hurricanes would not bother us. In 2003 we got hit with Hurricane Isabel – just enough to make life a pain in the butt for a year. We were luckier than a lot of folks, we realize that. Each subsequent hurricane season gave me a knot in the pit of my stomach. It was time to go where the water doesn’t come into the house.

So using a website that lists property on inland lakes we started our search. I do like Virginia, though I have seen some of our lakes low during drought times. I know there are some lakes that are used for municipal water sources and others are primarily hydroelectric power. After looking for about a year, we settled on Lake Greenwood in South Carolina, a hydroelectric power lake. This lake is between 11,000- 12,000 acres and is very pretty. For those of us who garden this is a great place to be…home of Park Seed Company, Wayside Gardens, and now Jackson and Perkins.

Since 2010 will be here before you know it, time is of the essence. We did buy some land on the lake last March. It is an acre lot with about a 10% slope to the lake. Later this month we will go down to Greenwood and talk turkey with a couple of builders, landscape companies, and dock builders. Needless to say I have some specific ideas about plant material for the new place, but we need someone to install sod (remember the three dogs—can’t wait for seed to grow). I did spend a nice long morning with my favorite extension agent, picking his brain, showing him my ideas, and sharing the ‘plan’ I framed out. I have had a wish list on the sidebar of this blog for a while. Some of the plants are reminders of places we lived.

When we first got married we lived in an apartment on Chinkapin Trail…so Quercus muehlenbergii, Chinkapin Oak. Time in Frankfurt, Germany has some of the German named plants….some were ones we had in our garden, not necessarily German plants. From Germany we went to Texas—hence the yellow rose. I would love to grow Texas Bluebonnets, but I know they don’t always do well outside Central Texas; I will give them a try though. On to Florida for a short year, I just realized I don’t have a plant for Florida. Hmm, will have to think about what reminds me of Jacksonville. After Florida we went back to Germany, Spardorf. We had the garden in Spardorf. Afterwards we moved here. Many of the plants are Virginia natives that I think will do quite well in South Carolina.

The rest of the list is made up of various plants that have caught my eye. Some are new varieties, others are ones I like and want to include in the new landscape. So now I throw out the thought to some of you….if you could plan a whole new landscape…how would you do it?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Multiple updates- prunings, transplants and blooms

Back in February I posted a dilemma as to whether I should prune my rose bush/ Clematis/ Passion Flower combination that is growing on the swing set. In this post I lamented about the birds having a place to perch and hide near the feeders. I was made aware of the Gulf Fritillary butterflies needing the Passiflora incarnata. Well, I trimmed down all the Passiflora but didn't Round up the cut ends. I will probably be sorry later in the season. I have nowhere else to put the vine that wouldn't get into the waterways.
So after many rose thorns and lots of tug-of-war struggles with the vines I went from this---

to this-

I didn't stop there- I have a Carolina Jasmine, Gelsemium sempervirens. I first put it on the side of the house, behind the elephant ears, Colocasia ssp. that grow very happily. The vine wanted more sunlight. As you can see, it moved around the corner of the house to reach for more light. Since it was going into the gutter, I needed to move it.

After looking around the yard, I found a great place for it to grow as large as it wants.

So now I will have more seasonal color on the wooden swing set.

Additional updates-- I bought seeds and some bulbs at the Maymont Home and Garden Show.. The lettuces are growing and the hyacinths and tulips are finally blooming. Here is the container I did of the tulips, hyacinth, crocus, and a Veronica repens. The tulip is Tulip "New Design" and is variegated and the hyacinth is Hyacinth "Chestnut Flower". Both flower colors are pinkish and quite sweet.

Last but not least is the lettuce crop-- Red Romaine and Red Sails. I have them in windowbox planters. For convience sake they are on the deck, also away from the bunnies as I have them perched on an upside down planter. I will thin them some more-- hard to do sometimes as I am happy for such germination.