Looking Good On Friday


October 30, 2015 flowers 003


A lot of satisfaction comes from re-freshing parts of the gardens fallen to neglect.  So it is with this little bed beneath a Camellia shrub.  The bed and shrub have grown here since 2011.  The shrub has at least quadrupled in size on those years, and the bed has gone through many transformations.


Camellia sasanqua blooming in late December of 2011.

Camellia sasanqua blooming in late December of 2011.


At first, it was planted in Violas and covered in a mosaic of shells picked up by family on the North Carolina beaches.   When the shrub was new, I wanted to protect its root ball from digging squirrels and burrowing voles.  The shells were there to thwart the squirrels.  I planted a few Daffodil bulbs around the shrub to ward off the voles.


Mid-March, 2015

Mid-March, 2015


As one season melted into the other, Violas were yanked out or planted new.  A variety of summer annuals were planted and lots of grass and wild strawberry overtook the bed from time to time.  I’ve had to dig out the shells and place them again at least a half dozen times.  I’ve added compost and coffee grounds, Espona and Neptune’s Harvest.


October 30, 2015 flowers 005


And bulbs…. I tuck a few more bulbs into this bed each year, it seems.

This spring, I decided to transplant some Hellebore seedlings up to this spot.  Maybe I’m reaching the age when simplifying the workload feels right.  Maybe I expect the Hellebores to last longer and look better than the various annuals I’ve tried.

But the Hellebores grew on all summer, slowly, despite the grass creeping into the bed through the hot summer when I didn’t take time to weed.  And one day in early fall, I decided it was way past time to get this bed looking good yet again!


September 2015

September 2015


After a thorough weeding, I added a few more Hellebores, two Autumn Brilliance ferns, some nearly black Ajuga, vines, and of course, more bulbs.

But this time I added a new flower to our garden:  autumn blooming Crocus speciosus ‘Conqueror.’  We picked these bulbs from the Heath’s Bulb Shop in Gloucester on one of our visits along with several other fall and winter blooming bulbs we are trialing for the first time this year.


October 30, 2015 flowers 004


These Crocus are as welcome as the early spring ones, but look how much larger and lush they grow!  I love the markings on their petals and the delicate stamens in the center.  These opened for the first time yesterday, and I was glad to have a moment for taking photos this afternoon.

Last week I added a few more Daffodils to the bed, and some additional Muscari.  There are bulbs for spring Crocus buried in the bed now, too, and a frosting of white Violas.


October 30, 2015 flowers 007


This little flower bed, which we pass each day, finally is looking good again!  It looks fresh and clean, even with its dusting of fallen leaves.  The Camellia is sporting a few buds, which will open red in December.

Taking time to notice what is Looking Good each week keeps my focus on the positive.  Many thanks to Gillian at Country Gardens UK for hosting this theme each Friday.  Please visit her site to enjoy gardens from around the world, which are looking good today!


Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015


October 30, 2015 flowers 006

About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

16 responses to “Looking Good On Friday

  1. Haha, those baby pictures of the camellias look like your garden is so empty, my my how things have grown!
    I keep saying I’ll add more autumn crocus but never do. Maybe next year 🙂

  2. debsgarden

    Hi, I just discovered your blog. I was drawn to it because of its name. I, too, garden primarily in the woods. It is a blessing and a challenge. Your little camellia has certainly grown! The fun of gardening is the way it is constantly changing, with or without our permission!

  3. That’s a good idea to use shells to protect your bulbs. Last year some of my tulips in pots were treated like the lunch buffet by our local squirrels. I usually plant them deep in the ground which seems to work quite well and now you have given me another idea!

    • Gravel works well in pots to keep the squirrels at bay, and some ground chili flakes sprinkled on the soil works well, too. Some gardeners will treat their bulbs with ground hot peppers or pepper oil before planting to protect them from squirrels and rodents. Such cheek! I hate when the squirrels dig up our good bulbs and beautiful transplants! Best wishes, WG

  4. Can’t ever consider a bed “done” and just forget about it, can we? The tweaking and refurbishing is half the fun, don’t you think?

  5. It’s fun seeing the evolution of this special bed and how the camellia has grown. I think the latest additions are so lovely!

    • Why thank you, Eliza! I appreciate that. I hope by next spring/summer this bed will be on ‘auto-pilot’ need not much more than a little weeding from time to time. Can’t wait to see the flowers this winter. It has been a good season for Camellias here thus far ❤ ❤ ❤

  6. Beautiful aren’t they. A truly gorgeous shade of blue.

  7. I love it when little bulbs you’ve forgotten all about pop up to remind you spring is on the way. 🙂
    I’ve got some little snowdrop bulbs in the shed in a cereal box, I rescued them from a pot I gave away and I must put them into the little flowerbed so they will pop up again this year.

    • Absolutely, Sally Ann. I found some little bags of bulbs which came as a gift with another order in late spring. I set them aside and forgot to plant them. Wonder if they will bloom in spring if I plant them now? Flowers from bulbs are like pure magic when they pop out and surprise us! Thank you for visiting, Sallyann, WG

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