The Woodland Garden

7/10/16
Forested Flood Plain
     On one side of our house is a forested flood plain in which much wildlife passes through, eats, rests, and plays.  We regularly see deer, foxes, squirrels, chipmunks, field mice.  Our property goes several yards into these woods.  Years ago I planted a garden at the edge of these woods which I call the woodland garden.  When we moved back into this house last winter, I was amazed that most of what was planted was still there although neglected and covered with leaves, tree branches and debris.  Here are some photos of what is there.

Hellebores
     Years ago I planted about 10 hellebores, and now there is a large stand of them next to the fence that runs along the side of the yard.  There are some white and some pink-flowered ones, but the white ones far outnumber the pink-flowered ones.

Ligularia "rocket"

     Behind the stand of hellebores are about five Ligularia "rocket" plants.  Their leaves are striking and provide interest, and stalks of yellow flowers rise up to four feet tall in midsummer.  I am anxious to see if they still flower.

Ajuga

     One of the groundcovers that was planted at the edge of the woods was ajuga.  Some of it has spread into the woods.  These were uncovered after removing lots of leaves and debris this spring.

Vinca minor

     Another groundcover that was planted years ago was vinca minor which has pretty blue flowers in the spring.  This was originally planted around a tree and it has spread into the woods.

Lily of the Valley

     A gardening friend gave me some lily of the valley plants years ago, and they have spread around the tree which sits just at the edge of the woods.

Summersweet shrubs
      On the side of the house next to the woods, we have a small amount of yard.  There were bushes here before, but the previous owners took them all out and did not plant anything here.  I planted five Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia) bushes.  There are two Summersweet "Hummingbird" bushes near the deck railing which produce white flowers in late summer.  The three shrubs in front are Summersweet "Ruby Spice" which have rosy pink flowers.  The flowers have a wonderful fragrance, hence the name, and in the fall the leaves turn a striking yellow.  They do well in sun to part sun and are generally pest and disease free.

     This will be the last blog for a few weeks as our family is taking a much needed vacation.

    




Back Yard Bushes

7/3/16
Bushes at the back of the house
   
     When we bought back our old house last November we saw that the owners had taken out every bush or foundation planting around the back, front and one side of the house.  They left the rose bushes and perennial garden on one side.  I don't know why they did that unless they did not want to do any yard maintenance, or maybe they liked the minimalist look.  But the house looked pretty bare on the outside.  Anyway that gave me an opportunity to plant some new bushes.  Here are some photos of some interesting new bushes (for me) that were planted.

Boxwood Dee Runk

     There is a boxwood Dee Runk on each side of the basement doors.  This boxwood has dense foliage and a columnar shape.  It can grow to 8 feet but stays only 2 feet wide.

boxwood Winter Gem

     Along the outside of the deck we planted several boxwood Winter Gems.  These have dense evergreen foliage and are among the hardiest of boxwoods.  They are classic hedge plants that grow 4 feet tall and wide.

    
Scalawag Holly

     There are 4 of these Scalawag holly bushes edging the back of the house.  This holly has a dense rounded form and bright, shiny green leaves.  A slow growing holly, it can reach 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide.

Azalea Encore Autumn Princess

     Three of these azaleas are planted around the bay window.  These are encore azaleas that are suppose to bloom spring, summer and fall.  They did bloom in the spring, but I have yet to see any summer blooms.  The Autumn Princess has dark pink, semi-double, ruffled blooms.  These bushes can grow 3 to 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide.

Hosta Undulata Albo Marginata

     There are a few hosta plants that I planted years ago that are still here at the back of the house.  At each end of the house there is a Hosta undulata albo marginata.  I am guessing at this variety, because I know very little about hostas.  This hosta seemed to match this name when looking up hostas on the internet.

Hosta Undulata Variegata Univittata

     At the center of the of the back of the house is a hosta Undulata Variegata Univittata, which is another guess of mine from matching it to photos on the internet.

    
Hosta Golden Tiara

     This hosta (also matched from the internet) is on the side of the deck as it wraps around the house.  It has heart-shaped leaves that have light golden edging.  It has just bloomed with a purple flower.

     In my next post I will have photos of what I call the woodland garden that sits at the edge of the forested flood plain next to our property.

Bushes in the Back Garden

6/26/16
Viburnum

     In one of the barest corners of the back garden I wanted something that would fill the space and be evergreen.  I chose a viburnum called "leatherleaf".  This is an evergreen viburnum with shiny, thick,  puckered leaves.  It had white flowers in the spring and has doubled in size.  It can grow six to ten feet high and spread six to ten feet.




Fothergilla Blue Sjadow

     One bush I have never had is a fothergilla which was planted in the middle of the back garden.  It  had white flowers in early spring and has powder blue leaves.  I am waiting for the striking fall colors of the leaves in autumn that I have read about.  It has suddenly doubled in size and can get four to six feet high and wide. 

Dragon Lady Hollies

     There are six dragon lady hollies planted along the fence in the back garden.  They had tiny, white flowers in the spring, and now have lots of green berries that will turn red in fall.  They are starting to fill out, but are supposed to keep their columnar shape and can grow ten to twenty feet, but will only get four to six feet wide.

    
Azalea Encore Autumn Chiffon

     In the back garden there are three azalea bushes, one of which was planted  here  years ago that blooms in the spring with white flowers.  The other two are recently planted Encore azaleas that bloom spring, summer and fall.  One is white azalea called Encore Autumn Moonlight which can grow to five feet, and this bicolor azalea pictured above called Encore Autumn Chiffon whose flowers are bicolor pink and white.  This azalea will only get 21/2 feet tall and three feet wide.  They bloomed in the spring, but I am waiting to see if the Encore varieties bloom in summer and again in the fall.


Dwarf Nandina

     There are six dwarf nandina bushes in the back garden, three on each end of the garden that were planted many years ago.  Some have not been pruned and were very leggy.  In March I pruned them, and they will need more pruning next spring.Here is one of the nicer looking bushes with lots of white flowers that will turn into red berries in the fall.  

back garden with pink begonias

    I took out the tired looking pansies and planted pink begonias along the wall in the back garden.  I wanted a flowering shade annual for some color and these looked so beautiful at the garden center.

Back Garden Plants

6/18/16

Autumn fern
     There are several other shade plants growing in the back garden besides the hostas and heucheras I posted about last week.  The Autumn fern (Dyopteris erythrosora) pictured at right is one of three planted in the garden.  This is the first time I have planted this fern.  I am hoping it will be at least semi-evergreen in the winter here as I've been told.  I decided to give it a try since I wanted something in this fairly bare spot in the garden all winter.  I like the orange or copper color of the new fronds.

Black cohosh

     Along the fence I planted five black cohosh (actea racemosa, formerly cimicifuga racemosa).  This is another new plant for me.  I wanted something against the eight-foot fence that runs along most of the back yard.  I have read that the whispy plumes of tiny, star-like flowers can grow up to eight feet tall, and that the seed pods can be attractive as winter interest in the garden.  I am anxious to find out if the flowers can be as unpleasantly scented as I have read.

Brunnera macrophylla

     There are six Brunnera macrophylla, or Siberian bugloss, in the garden.  Brunneras are one of my favorite shade plants, not only for their tiny, lacy blue flowers in  the spring, but also their large, heart-shaped leaves that last till frost.

    
Hellebores

     There are a few hellebores on the side of the back garden that is near the forested flood plain.  There is a whole field of hellebores there outside the fence that I planted years ago.  I was surprised to see when we bought this house again, that some of the seeds from that area had made it over the fence.

Hardy begonia

     I received two hardy begonias (Begonia grandis), a winter hardy begonia to zone 7, at my garden club plant exchange this May.  I planted them on the somewhat empty edges of each side of the back garden.  I love the plants large mounds of often red-veined, heart-shaped leaves and delicate pink flowers that bloom in August-September.

     There are a few more plants and several bushes in the back garden that I will post photos of next time.  Happy Father's Day to all the dads and father figures.

Hostas and Heucheras

6/12/16
Great Expectations Hosta

     The back garden is shade to part shade, and I have planted 11 hostas and heucheras there.  I have planted three of the Great Expectations hostas shown at right.  I planted them because they add brightness to a shady area.  They are supposedly slow growing but can become very large, which is fine with me because I have a lot of ground to cover in the back garden.  They can spread to three feet wide (some info says spread can be four feet) and height can reach three feet..  They have white flowers in June/July and they are just starting to flower now.

Fragrant Blue Hosta

     I have two of these Fragrant Blue hostas.  Some information says they are only barely fragrant.  Since I have never grown this hosta, I will find out.  Blue leaves are suppose to emerge all summer.  This hosta also has a large spread from three to four feet with a height of eighteen inches.  This hosta has white to lavender flowers in August to September.

Heuchera Caramel

     I planted three of these Heuchera Caramel.  This heuchera has lots of color.  The leaf color can range from bright gold to apricot, peachy orange to amber.  But there is also a lot of lime green to the leaves which I thought would add some brightness to the shade.  The underside of the leaves are purple/red.  This heuchera tolerates high heat and humidity and is evergreen in mild winter areas.  It grows up to eighteen inches tall and two feet wide.  It has white to light pink flowers June to July.

Heuchera Grape Soda

     I bought three of these heucheras because I was struck by the color.  In the spring when I bought them the leaves were rose pink, and they have now matured to silvery purple  They have light purple flowers that bloom April to August.  They grow eight to ten inches tall and eighteen to twenty inches wide.

New Gardens

A Graham Thomas rose bush in side garden

6/5/16

     I can't believe it has been seven months since my last post.  Life gets in the way when you move.  I do not recommend moving five days before Christmas into a house where kitchen remodeling is still going on, the entire yard has been neglected, and then having to endure snowmaggedon the end of January, a bitterly cold April with snow, a month of rain in May.  Trying to garden has been a real challenge.  We jumped at the chance to buy back the house we built and lived in for twenty some years when it came on the market last fall.  We love the house and neighborhood. 

     The house we moved from (a bargain fixer upper that we bought when we were transferred back to this area ) was much too large for us with an acre of mostly grass, with only a few trees that were far away from the house.  It was hard to see and hear birds because the trees were so far away.  But now back at our old house, wildlife is a few steps away from the windows.  Lots of trees, birds, squirrels, chipmunks.  And with a forested flood plain on one side of the house, we see deer, fox, rabbit, and raccoons.

The neglected back garden

     Here's what the neglected back yard garden looked like last November just after we bought the house.  Trees and bushes were overgrown and not pruned.  There were all kinds of vines, weeds and stray plants growing everywhere.

Back garden early spring

     This is an early spring (mid March) photo of the same area cleaned up, planted with new hollies and other bushes.  The daffodils I planted years ago are still there.  I put in some pansies along the edge of the wall. We had sod put down in the back yard because it was mostly weeds and mud.

    
Back garden early June

     Here is a photo I just took today of the same area now planted with lots of shade plants.  The daffodils are done, and the pansies are bushier and bigger and still doing fine since it has been cool so far.

     I will detail what's growing in the back garden in the next post, and in following posts I'll include the side gardens, the woodland garden, and the front garden.

The Growing Season is Over

10/31/15
trees in our backyard

     We had our first hard freeze about two weeks ago, a little earlier than normal.We usually don't get the first hard freeze until November.  We had peak color on the trees here this week.  Now suddenly the leaves are falling in abundance.  Here is what the yard and gardens look like now.







One of several maple trees in the yard, this one is in the front yard.

This is the only cherry tree in the yard that still has leaves.



The dogwood trees in the back yard add a bright note with their red berries.

I am still cleaning out all the annuals in the side yard garden that died in the hard freeze. The zinnias and vinca are pulled, but the marigolds and lantana  are still there waiting to be taken out.

In the back yard garden the hardy begonias are dying back.

I still have pansies blooming in the back yard garden.

There is a protected petunia that is still blooming in the back yard garden also.

The standard impatiens that are in a protected corner of the deck made it through the hard freeze.

The miniature rose bush my husband gave me on valentine's day that I planted in the back yard garden is still blooming.
     
     I won't be posting as much in the next few months as we are beginning to move to our old house we lived in for many years before being transferred out of state.  We will be doing renovations so we probably won't be in until mid-December.  It was such a coincidence that our old house, that we built many years ago, came on the market as we were looking for a smaller house and yard than the one we moved into after getting back here three years ago.  It was meant to be. Happy Halloween!