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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What's Blooming: November

It's been unseasonably warm the past few weeks and the fall foliage is loving it. Everything is in peak color right now. Here are some of the great looking trees in the neighborhood:






As for my pots and containers - not much is blooming anymore, save for a few hardy mums. But the foliage on the hostas and the ferns still look attractive:



And this poor container - it was planed with lovely fall colored pansies. But the silly squirrels keep digging in the soil thinking they have buried some food treasure. I had been dutiful about putting down "squirrel-be-gone" repellent, but at this point, I've given up trying to keep them away. Ah well!


Monday, October 24, 2011

Spooky Halloween Plants

Halloween is just around the corner and with a little imagination, everything can look a little spooky these days...

An Evil Eye?
(or just Rubeckia hirta)

Dried up brains?
(or just a fungus)

Long, sticky fingers of a witch? 
(or just an ornamental pepper)

Hairy arms reaching out to strangle?
(or just an old vine on a tree trunk)

A magic electricity ball?
(or just pine needles)

Pimpled, decaying flesh?
(or fungus on a tree stump)

Sweat on the green monster's face?
(or morning dew on a leaf)
 
Bloody fingers?
(or just Amaranthus)

Skeletal fingers, reaching out to grab you?

Maybe.
Mwahahaha! Happy Halloween!



Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Spooky Halloween Tree

One of the spookiest trees out there, in my humble opinion, is the Black Locust tree (Robinia pseudoacacia).

It's trunk is covered in thick, deep furrows (grooves) making it look sinister to the touch.


In addition, the branches are gnarled and twisted, which can create an eerie silhouette on a leafless, winter evening.


The Black Locust tree can grow to a height of 50 feet if given the right amount of space.

A tree that large is too big for the inside of my house.

So instead, we decided to make our own spooky looking tree, complete with spiders and monsters:

I found some twigs in my yard and had my children paint them black. I stuck them into a pumpkin container filled with rocks and covered the base with artificial black leaves.
Then we created monster heads - some have five eyes, some only have one! The kids had a great time creating different monster variations. We added a few store bought spiders and cats to the tree as a finishing touch. I think it looks rather spooky, don't you?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fall Gardens Blooming with Color

Even though autumn doesn't officially start for another few days, it certainly feels like it outside. The air is cool and crisp and the sun still feels warm - a perfect day for a fall festival! The teaching gardens at Farmingdale State College are always beautiful and lush. But the colors I saw today at their annual fall festival were just stunning. Have a look:









Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bloedel Reserve, Seattle WA


The last stop on the Garden Blogger's Seattle Fling tour was to the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island, just east of Seattle, across the Puget Sound. The private and public gardens we visited in Seattle were beautiful but the Bloedel was truly spectacular.
 
The Reserve's 150 acres were filled with quiet trails through woodlands and landscaped gardens, including a Japanese Garden, a Moss Garden and Reflection Pool. 


The Bloedel Reserve was once the home of Prentice Bloedel and his wife, Virginia, who resided on the property from 1951 until 1986. He was deeply interested in the relationship between people and the natural world, and the power of landscape to evoke emotions ranging from tranquility to exhilaration. You can read more about the Bloedel Reserve here

True to Seattle's reputation, it rained the entire day we were at Bloedel, but somehow the wet and the mist added to the beauty of the landscape.


My favorite was the Moss Garden area. Everywhere I looked, moss covered the ground, tree trunks, fallen branches and stones. Ferns and low growing plants filled in the other areas:


The Japanese Garden was serene and beautifully manicured:


The Glen was filled with Birch trees, Rhododendrons and a lovely pond:


Every twist and turn within the Bloedel Reserve was truly breathtaking and magical. If you are ever in the neighborhood, I highly recommend it!



Monday, August 15, 2011

What's Blooming: August

It's Garden Bloggers Bloom Day! Here's what's growing and blooming in my garden this month.

It's been a rainy past few days here in western Long Island, but at least I got to photograph a few of my plants while the sun was still shining.

The Black-eyed Susan's have finally bloomed. I just love their cheery yellow with the dark center.


The purple Salvia has really done well in these boxes and their darkness is a nice contrast to the lemon-yellow Zinnias.

Every time I look at these impatiens, I am still in awe that these were from cuttings I made. Look how full and lush they are!

The Morning Glory vines have really taken off and trying to grab hold of anything they can climb on. I love the shade it provides from inside the house and the way it looks from the outside. I planted a mix of seeds, so the flower colors range from a deep purple to pink to a deep blue. So pretty.


The ferns in the shady area of my backyard are also doing well (as you can see from the fertile fronds on the fern below). But even happier is the Tradescantia zebrina creeping along the grass below the container.


The Caladiums look great, although the spotted pink/green ones are competing a bit with the white Impatiens. Still, they look full and lush and add a spot of color under that maple tree.

The pink Begonias I transplanted from a full shade spot are much happier now in this partial shade spot.

Next year I must remind myself to only plant Coleus in this container. I love the foliage color, but it completely choked out the other plants I had planted with it. Frankly, I don't really mind because it looks so healthy, but still...

I've noticed some garden nurseries advertising garden mums already. Much too early for me - I'm hoping my garden continues to look good through the month of September. See you next month!

Many thanks to Carol over at May Dreams Gardens for hosting the monthly Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.