Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A Found Plant - Guess the color!

A few years ago we moved to this house. The property was very overgrown with random plants in random places. 

I found sun loving plants growing in the shade, like this daylily below, which I soon transplanted to a more suitable spot. 

Now, for the past few years I've watched this plant thrive but never once has it bloomed - let alone send up a bud. 

But yesterday I saw two flower buds appear above the foliage. So the question is...what color will the flowers be? Orange? Yellow? Red?

What color do you think? Leave a comment below and in a few days I'll let you know!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Feathery Plumes of Astilbe

Astilbe is one of those plants I have really become fond of over the years. The fern-like foliage looks so handsome in the garden and suddenly, spires of feathery plumes arise above in an array of colors. 

Below, Astilbe 'Bressingham Beauty' enjoys the dappled sunlight in my backyard.

These shade loving plants can certainly brighten up a darkened section of the garden or even along a garden path to do the same. In colder climates, they can tolerate full sun, but they really thrive in the shade/dappled shade of my zone 7b garden on Long Island, NY.

This red variety doesn't get much "fuzzier" than this and also does well in some sun (most it gets is 2 hrs direct sun a day). But it's tall spires look like soldiers above the lush foliage below.

Here is a row of white astilbe I saw while on a local garden tour. I love how whimsical they look along the border. Such a great plant!

Monday, June 15, 2015

What's Blooming in June?

The early spring pastels are starting to be replaced by richer yellows, deep purples and warm pinks. Summer is nearly here on Long Island, NY (zone 7b).  Here's a look at some of the things blooming in my garden this month:

The pink Astilbe is the show stopper in this garden bed, but the yellow Evening Primrose seem quite content to be sandwiched amongst the pink plumes.

Endless Summer Hydrangea are nearly in full bloom. These are the mop-head style hydrangeas and will alter their color based on the pH of the soil - pink blooms in alkaline and blue blooms in acidic. 

A few of the hostas are starting to bloom. I love how this variety has the flowering stems floating just above the stems.

It took a few years to establish, but now the Foxglove (Digitalis) is ready to bloom! It's a welcome addition to this shady spot in my garden.

The flowers in my new, full sun, cutting garden are starting to bloom - Erygnium (Sea Holly, above), Snapdragon and Digiplexis (below, respectively).

Along the sidewalk, the Hemerocallis 'Happy Returns' (daylily) is making a lovely border above the stones. Daisy, Yarrow and Salvia fill in behind.

And over in the shade garden, the ferns, hostas, solomon seal and astilble are blending together beautifully in form and texture. 

June is really a special time in the garden - so many things blooming week to week. Keep up with me on Instagram and Facebook to continue to see what's blooming and making me smile these days!

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

Friday, June 12, 2015

Easy Care Roses

Roses. Something about them makes people swoon at the mere mention of the name. What is it about roses? The smell? The loveliness of the petals? The nostalgia they conjure?

Whatever the reason, I'm so happy to have them in my garden. And even better, I have roses that require little care on my part. I simply get to enjoy their beauty in looks and smell.

The Knockout Rose is one of the easiest roses to grow. It's very disease resistant and once established, needs little care. I prune mine every March to reshape and keep it from getting too big. But starting in June and going well into the fall, this rose bush keeps blooming beautiful deep pink blooms atop rich, blue-green leaves.

I love the color and texture combination of the wispy, chartreuse Lady's Mantle with the deep pink of the Knockout Rose:

The other roses I have are the Carpet Roses. Mine are a lovely light pink color with many petals, giving it a delicate texture.

I have a few Carpet Roses bunched together atop this rock wall in my backyard. They don't get too tall and bloom all summer long with a delicate, sweet scent.

I think all roses are spectacular - tea roses, climbing roses, miniature roses (just to name a few). But for me, the ease of these two, coupled with their beauty, makes me smile daily.

What sort of roses do you have or want to have in your garden? I'd love to hear from you!

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!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

What's Blooming in the Garden? April 2015

Spring has finally sprung in my Long Island garden and all my hard work planting 200 bulbs last fall is finally paying off! Some of the bulbs are in full bloom, others are still sending up shoots. Each day there is something new to see and it's all very exciting to watch unfold. In the photo above, a group of Tete-a-Tete daffodils are happily mingling with purple hyacinth. 

Clumps of crocus are all over the property - some deep purple, some white and some purple and white!

And the lovely chinodoxa (Glory of the Snow), smiling happily upwards.

This Lenten Rose is one of three plants I planted last year. The delicious pink hue of Helleborus 'Cotton Candy' brightens my day.

Looking forward to more and more blooms and new growth as the month wears on. Hope you are enjoying your gardens were you are!

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

Friday, April 10, 2015

Orchid Chandeliers at NY Botanical Garden

Spring seems to be taking it's timing coming to New York this year. But inside the conservatory at the New York Botanical Garden, one quickly forgets the weather outside and its transfixed on the beauty and majesty inside. This year, the annual Orchid Show has been expanded to include beautiful displays throughout all the Rain Forest Galleries as well as the main exhibit section. In addition, the orchids aren't simply on display here and there, they are suspended from the ceiling and from the tops of trees and arches, truly living up to this year's theme name: Orchid Chandeliers.

By suspending these "chandeliers" one can admire the aerial beauty of these gorgeous and fascinating flowers.

Most of the cultivated orchids are epiphytes, which literally means "air plant" or "to grow on a plant." The roots of these plants do not grow on the ground, but rather in trees or on rocks. They are not parasites though, and therefore do not take anything from the host plant. They simply cohabitate, getting their moisture and nutrients from the air.

Other orchids (like Cymbidiums) are terrestrial, which means "growing in the ground." These orchids prefer to have their roots firmly in the ground, rather than on trees or bushes. There are over 200 species of terrestrial orchids and most grow wild in subtropical and tropical areas of America.

There is an estimated 30,000 naturally occurring orchid species and tens of thousands artificially created hybrids, yet each orchid flower shares similar characteristics, setting them apart from other flowers. Each orchid has the same "parts" - three sepals, three petals, a column and a lip. The lip (or labellum) is actually the third petal, but since it looks so different from the other two, it gets a different name. All orchids have a lip and it's function is to aid in the pollination process. Think of it as a fancy landing pad for an insect to land and do it's pollination business. The second characteristic is the column, which contains the reproductive organs ("male" anther with pollen and "female" stigma). 

Some orchids mimic bees, wasps, butterflies and wasps. These adaptations help ensure that insect pollinators visit the flowers. I loved this one that looked like a spider. 

Walking into the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, these enormous clusters of orchids sit on top of the reflecting pool creating a mystical effect.

The true masterpiece of this show is the huge three-tiered, star-shaped chandelier that overflows with orchids. If you go, be sure to stand beneath it and look up. It's magical.

The 13th annual The Orchid Show at NYBG showcases so many different varieties of orchids and is a must-see this spring. The show continues through April 19 at New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY;