Looking Good on Friday

June 3, 2016 Jamestown 027

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This pot has been going continuously for three years now.  We make minor changes season to season, adding plants, moving things around, and removing spent annuals.  Last summer it held a seedling Japanese Maple, which has since been moved out into the garden to grow in its permanent spot!

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June 3, 2016 Jamestown 028~

The fern is in its second season now.  Daffodil leaves are ready to die back for summer, and a newly planted Colocasia ‘Coffee Cups’ stands poised to take off in the coming summer heat.

A few Zantedeschia tubers will send up leaves any time now.  The first batch I planted in late March fizzled, we think.  Perhaps our long spring was too cool.  But new ones should show growth soon, and will fill this planter with elegant flowers by July.

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Zantedeschia offer deliciously elegant flowers and foliage.

Zantedeschia offer deliciously elegant flowers and foliage.

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Warm days make all the difference with tropical heat loving plants.  Our Cannas and Colocasias have all begun to really grow, filling our garden with vibrant color and movement.

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June 3, 2016 Jamestown 030~

Finally, the garden is looking good again!

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Rhubarb commands attention in this large pot on our 'pedestal.'

Rhubarb commands attention in this large pot on our ‘pedestal’ in the ‘stump garden.’

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Woodland Gnome 2016

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Autumn fern harmonizes with Creeping Jenny and Ajuga. We planted this combo last fall while re-doing a bed beneath our Camellia.

Autumn fern harmonizes with Creeping Jenny and Ajuga. We planted this combo last fall while re-doing a bed beneath our Camellia.

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Looking Good On Friday

 

October 30, 2015 flowers 003

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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.

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Camellia sasanqua blooming in late December of 2011.

Camellia sasanqua blooming in late December of 2011.

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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.

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Mid-March, 2015

Mid-March, 2015

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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.

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October 30, 2015 flowers 005

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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!

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September 2015

September 2015

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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.

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October 30, 2015 flowers 004

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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.

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October 30, 2015 flowers 007

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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

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October 30, 2015 flowers 006

Looking Good: Autumn Favorites

The first Camellias of the season bloomed this week.

The first Camellias of the season bloomed this week.

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The garden is looking good again now that the soil is moist, the days are sunny, and the nights are cool.  Our autumn flowers have begun blooming, filling the garden with vivid red Pineapple Sage, soft blue Mexican Bush Sage, pristine white Camellias and vividly rose pink Bougainvillea.

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October 9, 2015 First Camellias 004

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We even have a stalk of Iris buds ready to open on a rebloomer transplanted this past spring.

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October 8 Parkway 055

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Even as brown leaves litter the lawn, summer weary plants respond to our milder weather with vivid new flowers.

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October 9, 2015 First Camellias 006

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Some of our most spectacular roses open after October 1st each year and keep coming through early December.  Many of our Pelargoniums have also started pumping out plump new buds.  Late October feels almost like a reprise of spring, but with more intense color.

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Pineapple Sage waits to bloom until October, filling the garden with fragrant red flowers until frost.

Pineapple Sage waits to bloom until October, filling the garden with fragrant red flowers until frost.

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We are busy planting bulbs and perennials.  I’m ready to start filling our pots with Violas for winter color by the end of the month.

October is my favorite time of year for spreading new compost.  I bought the last few bags on offer at our favorite garden center this week.  Their next load won’t deliver until spring.  I’ll use much of it when moving shrubs out of their pots and into the ground over the next week.

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October 8 Parkway 058

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Some has already gone over a new planting of  ‘Thalia’  Daffodil bulbs, now overplanted with Ajuga, Vinca, and some bits of hardy Sedum.  A fresh inch or two of compost over freshly weeded beds keeps them looking good through the winter, and helps nourish the bulbs and perennials which will begin growing again in a few months.

Some plants, like these Colocasia divisions, which got off to a slow start in early summer, have finally come into their prime in these last weeks before frost.

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Colocasia with a scented Geranium have taken their time to grow this summer. The Colocasia divisions really took off after a placed the pot behind them, possibly providing more water and nourishment.

Colocasia with a scented Pelargonium have taken their time to grow this summer. The Colocasia divisions really took off after we placed the potted Pelargonium behind them, possibly providing more water and nourishment.

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Officially, our first frost date is October 15.  It is hard for me to believe that frost can come at any time after the middle of next week.  I’ve not yet given much thought to moving tender plants inside to the garage, basement, and living room to keep them over winter.  But it is time for me to sketch out a plan and begin putting it into action before an early freeze catches us unprepared.

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Bouganvillea begins its season of bloom in early autumn, but must come indoors before frost. It is a tender woody perennial which won't survive our Virginia winters out of doors.

Bougainvillea begins its season of bloom in early autumn, but must come indoors before frost. It is a tender woody perennial which won’t survive our Virginia winters out of doors.

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After a busy few weeks which left me little time or energy for the garden, I’m ready to begin the round of fall projects which close it out for the season.

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October 9, 2015 First Camellias 023

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There are Ginger Lilies to dig and deliver to friends; tender Colocoasia, Caladiums, ferns, and Begonias to dig and pot for their winter indoors; leaves to shred and  roses to trim back for a final time this year.

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Leaves fall steadily in our garden even as late bloomers, like this Salvia, are in their prime.

Leaves fall steadily in our garden even as late bloomers, like this Salvia, are in their prime.

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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 take a moment to enjoy her beautiful apples this week.  Gillian also offers up an enticing recipe for Apple Cake, which I want to try making this weekend with apples from our favorite farm stand.

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October 9, 2015 First Camellias 033

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Woodland Gnome 2015

 

October 8 Parkway 046

 

“Looking Good,” Cleaned up and Freshly Planted

September 30, 2015 Parkway 087

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The bed beneath this Camellia shrub needs work two or three times each season.  There are Daffodils planted here, and seedling Hellebores I planted in spring.  But over summer, grasses grow and the seashell border gets buried.  I spent a few hours before the rains began this week to freshen it up, a bit.

Last spring’s planting of Alyssum didn’t make it past July.  But most of the little Hellebores have survived the summer.

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September 30, 2015 Parkway 086

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I’ve added quite a few bulbs here:  some fall blooming Crocus and a few for spring; and some Muscari.  I also decided to stop fooling with annuals and plant ground cover to carpet the soil under the Hellebores and around the bulbs.  I’ve planted divisions of Ajuga from a pot and Creeping Jenny from the bog garden.

I’ve also added two Autumn ‘Brilliance’ ferns, which will grow well here in partial shade.  They will blend into the next bed over where ferns have already been established for the last year or two.

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I began using shells in this bed to hold the compost and discourage digging by the squirrels. It works... most of the time....

I began using shells in this bed to hold the compost and discourage digging by the squirrels. It works… most of the time….

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Blessed with overcast cool days and near constant rain, I trust everything is getting off to a good start.  For the moment, at least, this bed is finally Looking Good!

Please check out Gillian’s new meme, “Looking Good!” which she publishes each Friday on her blog, Country Gardens UK.  I appreciate this opportunity to focus on what is beautiful and successful in the garden each week.

Woodland Gnome 2015

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March 31, 2015 shamrock 023

This same bed at the end of last March

 

Looking Good

Begonia, "Arabian Sunset"

Begonia, “Arabian Sunset”

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I want to join Eliza, who is participating in a new Friday meme begun this week by Gillian at  Country Gardens UK  called “Looking Good.”  Gillian invites us to celebrate what is looking good this week in our own gardens.  Gillian takes a close look at wild roses, blackberries and other berry producing plants at their peak now in the hedgerows around her garden this week.  Her photos are stunning.

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Begonia Rex

Begonia Rex

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Admiring what is doing well in one’s garden is a happy way to end each week, and I will join in on Fridays as often as I’m able.  If you want to join Gillian’s meme, please be on time.  She plans to close her link at noon Saturday Greenwich time.

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Oxalis has proven one of my favorites this season. It takes sun or shade, has lovely leaves and flowers, and roots very easily in water. The bag of little tubers proved a good investment.

Oxalis has proven one of my favorites this season. It takes sun or shade, has lovely leaves and flowers, and roots very easily in water. The bag of little tubers proved a good investment.

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First thing this morning, I spent a few minutes admiring a few of our dark leaved plants on our deck.  Our cat joined me in the early morning mist with my camera.  The beautiful Coleus is now mostly gone, thanks to a determined squirrel who has made destroying it his project lately.  But he hasn’t touched the ornamental peppers.  Our cat has given us the alert to his presence several times so we could chase the squirrel back into the surrounding trees.

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September 25, 20015 foliage 009

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Anna, at Flutter and Hum, and I both are drawn to dark, jewel tones in flowers, leaves, and berries.  She wrote to give me the name of a Colocasia she photographed for a post about her more dramatic plants, and it reminded me to savor my own.  Reading her post again, and seeing her Colocasia  ‘Black Coral,’ inspired me to take this series of photos.

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Ajuga

Ajuga

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A bit of our dark leaved sweet potato vine is left, and looked especially nice after early morning showers.

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Sweet potato vine has wonderful dark leaves. It looked much better on Monday before the squirrel began destroying it.

This ornamental sweet potato vine has wonderful dark leaves. It looked much better on Monday before the squirrel began destroying it.

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My favorite dark leaved Begonia now has a name.  A helpful reader, who goes by “DS,”  told me this morning it is called Begonia, “Arabian Sunset.”  A very evocative name, don’t you think?  We have thoroughly enjoyed its dark red leaves which grow even darker and glossier with sun.

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September 25, 20015 foliage 012~

A simple bit of Tradescantia pallida  given to us a few years ago by a friend has saved a hanging basket this summer.  The original Petunia met an untimely end by early August.  But rooted cuttings of the Tradescantia took hold in this  hot, dry spot. 

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Tradescantia

Tradescantia

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This is one tough plant and has thrived in all the places I’ve stuck cuttings into Earth.

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September 25, 20015 foliage 020

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I am always drawn more to interesting foliage than to flowers.  And this year I was delighted with several seedlings from last year’s ornamental peppers which cropped up in pots on the deck.

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September 25, 20015 foliage 003~

They worked beautifully with plants I had already planted this spring in the pots.  What a bonus!  Now their tiny flowers are giving way to little pepper fruits.

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A volunteer pepper came up in the same pot with a volunteer Petunia. Last summer's beauty lives on!

A volunteer pepper came up in the same pot with a volunteer Petunia. Last summer’s beauty lives on!

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This is a lovely way to ease into the change of seasons.  We still have several weeks left to enjoy these beautiful foliage plants.

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September 25, 20015 foliage 016~

Woodland Gnome 2015

 

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