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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Azaleas: to prune or not to prune?

The azaleas are in full bloom at my house and in my neighborhood. I love the splash of color it provides in the garden. Here is mine nestled next to a weeping spruce:


My neighbor has a whole hedge of azaleas along the sidewalk: 

For all other times of the year, these shrubs are rather ordinary. But for the few weeks they are in bloom, it's a show stopper along the street. I love the how the different color blooms mesh together in this informal hedge, like a painter's palette at the end of a painting session.

Personally, I like the informal look to these shrubs rather than the perfectly sheared forms. Here are a few examples of those:



Azaleas should be pruned immediately after flowering which will allow for new leaf growth and return to natural form before it sets its new buds for next year. Waiting three months or later after bloom may sacrifice next years blooms. 


Here is another example of the natural beauty of this shrub. Here, the yellow, red and purple azaleas flank the winding stone path, as if to lead us to a woodland retreat. 

So which do you like? The informal woodland hedge or the sheared gumball shaped shrub? Share in the comment section below!


Friday, May 15, 2015

What's Blooming in the Garden? May 2015

Dogwood trees and azalea bushes are in full bloom. Tulips are saying goodbye as iris are saying hello. Hostas, ferns and solomon's seal are speading their leaves and making themselves comfortable in the shade. Here are a few other things blooming in my Long Island, zone 7b garden this month.

The allium are just about to pop open in front of a stunningly gorgeous azalea.

 Clematis Claire de Lune just opened yesterday. It's peeking out above a nearby hosta which will contine to keep it's roots cool during the hot summer months. 

 These Anenome Madonna are enjoying their first year in my garden. I love the delicate wispy stems on these flowers and look forward to watching them continue to grow.

 A lovely pink columbine is blooming happily next to the ferns and hostas.

Under a blanket of pink petals from the fading Kwanzan cherry tree, the shade garden is coming to life. Taking center stage right now are the 2 magnificent bleeding hearts. 

The viburnum shrubs just started blooming a days ago. 
I love how the delicate flowers rest atop the branches. 

 The tulips are just about finishing up, making way for the purple iris behind them. 

 The last of the many bulbs (tulip and hyacinth) planted last fall, finishing their bloom. It's so rewarding to see that hard work from a cold November day to finally come to fruition. 

Keep up with me on Instagram and Facebook to continue to see what's blooming and making me smile these days.

Then, head on over to May Dreams Gardens blog for a look at what's blooming around the country today.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Spring Flowering Trees

Compared to summer's bold riot of colors, spring begins in a slow crescendo of color. Mostly pastels followed by a few brightly colored tulips or daffodils. But for me, the real spring show is the trees. Spring flowering trees are simply magnificent. They bloom before the leaves appear and since so many other "leafy" trees are just starting to break dormancy, their lovely blooms stand out all the more. A quick drive around my neighborhood had me spotting these beauties:

Yoshino Cherry Tree (Prunus x yedoensis)
A round shape with the palest, almost white flower petals.

Saucer Magnolia Tree (Magnolia x soulangeana)
Large petaled blossoms flushed with pink, white and hints of purple

Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata)
One of the first flowering trees to bloom. It's blossoms consist of up to 15 individual white petals, giving the illusion of a star.

Flowering Plum Tree (Prunus cerasifera)
Small light pink flowers contrast nicely against the burgundy leaves of this upright, vase shaped tree.

Bradford Pear Tree (Pyrus calleryana 'Bradford') 
Clusters of small white, fragrant flowers appear just before the green leaves. 

Weeping Cherry Tree (Prunus subhirtella 'Pendula')
This gracefully wispy tree has light pink flowers hanging on dangling branches. 
When it sways in the wind, it's absolutely captivating. This one is on my property, and though it's quite old, it still stops me in my tracks each spring. 

So many gorgeous trees out there right now. I'm looking forward to seeing the dogwoods, eastern redbuds and kwanzan cherry trees bloom in the next few weeks too! 

Do you have a favorite? I'd love to hear it in the comments section below!