Seasons

A Tinge of Frost

A tinge of frost adds a unique beauty to plants. It’s a fleeting beauty. Once the temperature rises the tinge of frost becomes a memory, unless drawn outside to digitally capture frost-kissed plants in the garden.

These views greeted me this morning, urging me to grab the camera and head into my Connecticut garden, even before sipping my first cup of coffee.

Leaving seed heads standing through the colder months adds garden interest even without blooms. Sedum seed heads catch the eye when viewed in front of an evergreen shrub.

Sedum seed head contrasts nicely with Ilex compacts

Sedum seed head contrasts nicely with Ilex compacta

But the beauty of Ilex compacta leaves stand on their own, particularly when kissed by frost, giving  them a variegated look.

Frost-tinged Ilex compacta

Frost-tinged Ilex compacta

Adjacently-planted rose and lavender complement each other in every season.

Frost-tinged rose bud

Frost-tinged rose bud backed by a lavender shrub

But lavender, too, is lovely on its own.

Frost-tinged lavender

Frost-tinged lavender

The holly and the ivy take on a special glow when covered in frost. Holly berries are a perennial favorite.

Frost-tinged holly berries

Frost-tinged holly berries

Frost highlights the details of ivy leaves.

Frost-tinged ivy

Frost-tinged ivy

Even lifeless leaves and buds look special draped in frost’s silvery glow. Frost transforms browning bayberry leaves,

Frost-kissed bayberry leaves

Frost-kissed bayberry leaves

and adorns a common coneflower seed head.

Frost-kissed echinacea

Frost-kissed echinacea

A reddish glow gives holiday flare to azalea leaves,

Frost-tinged azalea leaves

Frost-tinged azalea leaves

and turns pieris buds into Mother Nature’s holiday decorations.

Frost-tinged pieris buds

Frost-tinged pieris buds

 

 

 

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Marking bulb plantings

Autumn sends northern gardeners’ thoughts to spring when bulbs cheerily bloom and chase away a gardener’s winter doldrums. But when planting groups of spring-blooming bulbs, how do you mark their location?

When I first began planting bulbs, I had smaller gardens with fewer plantings making it easy to recall where I dug in each grouping. Through years of adding bulb plantings to my expanding gardens, it became harder to keep track of the exact location of each bulb group. Many springs I surprised myself by forgetting about the location of a previous autumn’s bulb planting. This is not a bad thing, but it’s not exactly good gardening practice. Then, after accidentally digging into a group of bulbs during one of my many perennial bed rearranging spurts, I began marking each bulb planting in some way.

The obvious labeling option is to stick a plant tag into the ground towards the rear of each grouping. I suppose this works for botanical gardens and/or really, really organized gardeners using special metal plant markers, but such markers become quite an investment. Less expensive wooden or plastic plant tags either decay or break and I’m just not a fan of the sight of plant tags sticking out of perennial beds during snow-less winter months. Besides, I’m not that organized!

This led to a different obvious marking method … rocks. In New England we ‘grow’ as many rocks as anything, so encircling each planting with rocks became my go-to method. Flat rocks nicely mark bulb plantings when bulb foliage is no longer visible. Rocks blend into summer-blooming plantings. Rocks are free and abundant. Plus it’s easy to expand a rock circle outward as bulb groupings expand in size.

Spring bulb planting marked by a circle of flat rocks.

Spring bulb planting marked by a circle of flat rocks.

My absolute favorite method, though, uses re-purposed metal bands from no longer usable barrels … yep, those half-barrels sold as planters. The circular bands that once held wooden barrel slats in shape are perfect bulb-planting markers in my gardens.

Spring bulb planting marked with a re-purposed metal barrel band.

Spring bulb planting marked with a re-purposed metal barrel band.

The bands clearly mark bulb plantings, stay in place and don’t break or decay. The bands virtually disappear from view as neighboring perennials grow and, since I like to use old garden tools as garden ornaments, the rusty, old barrel bands fit right into my garden design style.

And while on the subject of planting bulbs … for the most look-at-me impact, plant bulbs in groupings of 5 to 10 bulbs per planting hole. Please avoid planting a row of one bulb in one hole. They’ll end up looking like a bunch of schoolchildren lined up to head to the lunch room.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Joene Hendry

Morning in the garden – July 13, 2014

Early morning is my favorite time in the garden. It’s quiet and there are few distractions. It’s a perfect time to enjoy the views. Here’s a look at my perennial beds this morning, July 13, 2014.

Having a back yard fence protects ‘deer candy’ plantings from the jaws of the area’s most prolific herbivores. Until we added the fence a few years ago, a necessity once we installed an in-ground pool, I had little success getting day lilies to bloom, and trying to grow phlox was futile. The beds have matured nicely. This week I finally had time to devote to my own rather than clients’ gardens. So … with fresh edging and mulch these beds are ready to show.

We enter from the gate.

Welcome to joene's gardens in mid-July.

Welcome to joene’s gardens in mid-July.

And walk to the other end of the fenced-in yard.

Early morning in joene's gardens, mid-July

Early morning in joene’s gardens, mid-July

The yellow and pink shades of the lilies provide the bulk of the mid-summer pop.

Here’s a closer look at the lilies currently in bloom.

Asiatic lily 'Landini' (foreground), Asiatic lily 'Rosella's Dream', and the yellow Hemerocallis 'Hyperion' July 13, 2014

Asiatic lily ‘Landini’ (foreground), Asiatic lily ‘Rosella’s Dream’, and the yellow Hemerocallis ‘Hyperion’ July 13, 2014

Landini is a stunning shade of maroon, offering an unusual dark contrast to the Asiatic lily display. Take a look at the photo of ‘Rosella’s Dream’ in last week’s Morning in the garden post and you can see Landini’s buds.

Asiatic lily 'Landini' July 13, 2014

Asiatic lily ‘Landini’ July 13, 2014

Farther along in this bed, beyond the lilies, is day lily Hemerocallis ‘Siloam Ury Winniford’.  She never had the chance to bloom until I transplanted her to this deer-protected area.

Hemerocallis 'Siloam Ury Winniford' July 13, 2014

Hemerocallis ‘Siloam Ury Winniford’ July 13, 2014

Then, farther along near a bird bath, is the last bloom of this Iris ensata.

Iris ensata (unknown variety), July 13, 2014

Iris ensata (unknown variety), July 13, 2014

Looking back toward the gate from inside the fence …

Perennial bed in joene's garden, July 13, 2014

Perennial bed in joene’s garden, July 13, 2014

Two of the three day lily varieties have opened. You can see ‘Prairie Blue Eyes’ above and in close-up below.

Hemerocallis 'Prairie Blue Eyes' July 13, 2014

Hemerocallis ‘Prairie Blue Eyes’ July 13, 2014

Not captured in the overview shot is ‘Catherine Woodbury’.

Hemerocallis 'Catherine Woodbury' July 13, 2014

Hemerocallis ‘Catherine Woodbury’ July 13, 2014

Along the fence, phlox ‘Blue Paradise’ continue to bloom and send a sweet fragrance through the garden.

Phlox paniculata 'Blue Paradise' July 13, 2014

Phlox paniculata ‘Blue Paradise’ July 13, 2014

And the first balloon flower opened this morning.

The first Platycodon grandiflorus, aka balloon flower, July 13, 2014

The first Platycodon grandiflorus, aka balloon flower, July 13, 2014 . 

Hemerocallis ‘Going Bananas’ continues to bloom between the phlox and balloon flower. See last week’s Morning in the garden post for a closer look of these bright yellow blooms.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Joene Hendry