Monday, December 27, 2010

Moved In

We moved into our new house two weeks ago but just got Internet today. My first project was setting up my plant room in the basement.  The little cuttings and stock plants are now happy under lights waiting for Spring. The yard here has a lot of potential and I will spend the next few months planning the new garden. (also repainting the inside of our new home) The first big job next Spring will the front the house which will need a complete make over.  I still don't understand why people allow their foundation plantings to become overgrown..  The yew on the right blocks part of the garage door.  I will save the Rhododendron and make use of it somewhere else in the yard.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Moving On

After 22 years of living and gardening in the same place my wife and I have decided to move.  We are relocating less than an hour  away to live near our grandson.  Moving the contents of a house is hard enough but add the possesions of  a passonate gardener and life gets complicated.  Garden tools, pots, and other things are being stored at different places till Spring.  I potted up some plant material before the house was sold and heeled it in at a freinds garden for the winter. Many choice plants are being left behind but generous freinds have offered me divisions from their gardens next Spring.  Some  people think that I am crazy to leave my garden but I am looking foward to designing and building a new one. The new place is ideal for a shade garden which also happens to be my main interest. I will keep the garden smaller so my wife and I will have more time for family and travel.(Visiting other gardens)  The hardest part will be restraining my urge to keep adding more gardens and aquiring to many plants,                                                                                                

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Visit to North Hill

With the heat and drought this Summer I haven't spent much tme in the garden except for basic maintenance  The garden still looks pretty good despite the lack of attention.  Last Saturday  I took a ride over to neighboring Vermont to see one of the finest private gardens around.  The home of garden writers and designers Joe Eck and Wayne Winterwrrowd, North Hill is a spectacular garden carved out of New England forest over the last 30 years. A blend of formal and informal this garden is not only well designed but also contains a wonderful collection of many rare plants.  I have been visiting this garden every year for the past twenty years and never tire of it. The garden sits on a south facing slope and incudes a rock garden, many shade gardens a number of garden rooms and an amazing vegatable garden.  What I really like about this garden is the little details such as the carefully placed pots around the garden and the standards on the small terace.  There is a water feature tucked  along a path in one of the shade gardens.  Every detail is well thought out in this wonderful garden.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cyclamen purpurascens

When it comes to hardy cyclamen most gardeners think of c. coum or c. hederifolium but for  northern gardeners cylamen purpurascens is the one that works best (at least for me).  I purchased mine about three years ago from the now closed Seneca Hill Perennials.  Nestled between epimediums and some helllebores , this cyclamen blooms every summer for at least two months.   Since it is evergreen I loosely cover it  with a few boughs of hemlock or pine  for a little extra protection during the winter.  Last year a small number of seedlings appeared near the mother plant. They should start blooming in a few years. 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

After fours days in the 90's we got a slight break today.  Most of the time this past week was watering and more watering.  The rain last night help somewhat but we need more.  With the lack of attention due to the weather the garden has gotten a little unruly.  Hopefully tomorrow I can tackle the weeds and do some edging,  The daylilies are hitting their stride and bringing lots of color to the garden. I tend to favor the reds and oranges over the softer colors.  Some of the species lilies are also starting to come into flower.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Late June Ramblings

Last night we had a good soaking rain which perked up the garden.  Many of the mid summer perennials are starting to bloom now along with the annuals I planted. in May. One of my favorite clematis 'Betty Corning' is at peak bloom.  This past month has been a busy one in and out of the garden.  A few weeks ago I visited two wonderful gardens in upstate New York, hosted a garden tour a week later and finally last Friday went to the North Hill Symposium in Vermont. The Symposium is put on by Wayne Winterrowd and Joe Eck two inspiring garden writers and garden designers. The speakers this year included Thomas C. Cooper from the Boston area and Fergus Garrett of Great Dixter.  This symposium is always a great place for meeting fellow gardeners and getting new ideas for one's garden. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Garden Tour

After weeks of  garden prep the day finally came.  I spent five hours answering questions and comparing ideas with fellow gardeners.  The crowd was a nice mix of novice gardeners and serious plant collectors.   It was a wonderful opportunity to meet new gardeners hear about their own gardens.  The Japanese stewartia started blooming earlier this year which was perfect timing for the garden tour.  The stewartia is my favorite tree for the garden with its year around interest.  Many of the potted arisaemas were also in flower on the terrace which attracted a great deal of interest.  With great weather and a nice crowd the tour was a great success for the museum.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


After one of the driest Mays that I can remember we are finally getting much needed rain.  It is pretty strange to see lawns turning brown in the spring.  Every thing is two weeks ahead in the garden.  The good thing is my Japanese Stewartia should be in bloom for the garden tour I  am doing to benefit a local museum.  I love meeting fellow gardeners and sharing my garden with the public. 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Road Trip

The weather has turned very warm and dry for late May. Work and family has kept me from the garden until today.  I spent most of the day weeding,watering, and bringing plants up from the basement. Last Thursday my friend Drew and I took a trip to New York City to see High Line and Wave Hill.  High Line is the old rail line that is above the streets down in the meatpacking district of New York.  Once slated for demolition it is now in the early stages of being turned in to a walkway with gardens.   The first part opened last year and has become very popular.  On the way back we stopped at the gardens at Wave Hill for a quick look. I have been down to see this garden in the Fall a number of times so I was looking forward to seeing it in the Spring.  The garden was beautiful( I wish I had more time.) The staff at both gardens have done a wonderful job keeping everything in great shape.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cold Night

Last night the temperature dropped to 25 degrees.  Normally this would not be a problem but with our early spring everything was two weeks ahead.  A number of trees and shrubs suffered leaf damage including Magnolia 'Butterflies' and Styrax obassia.  Some varieties of hosta also had frost damage too, but  overall the garden came through fine and the plants will recover.   I won't put any tender plants out for another few weeks.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Daffodils and more

 Spring came fast and furious this year and the garden has never looked better this early.  I have also spent more time in it. The compost pile in the driveway is over half gone. All my Spring flowering trees seem to be in sync this year with the redbud taking center stage right now.  The epimediums should peak this weekend in the back shade garden along with the primroses.

  Last Thursday I went up north to the Adirondacks with my friend Drew (Baneberry Garden Blog) to see thousands of daffodils planted over the last nine years.  Daffodil Dan with his partner Ruth have one hundred acres of woods that they are planting with daffodils ( about 300,000 so far) and other deer proof bulbs.  It was a spectacular sight walking the trails and seeing large swaths of white and yellow scattered under the trees.  While showing us around the woods Dan discussed the management of the woodlot and its soil while Ruth talk about the different kinds of daffodils and their care. (They try to deadhead all the flowers every year.) I think this will become an annual trip.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Christmas in April

When I arrived home this afternoon there were two boxes waiting on the front porch.  For  weeks I have been waiting for this day to come.  One was from Plants Delight and the other box was from Seneca Hill Perennials.  I have been dealing with both of these nurseries for years and have had great results.  This year I ordered plants for the shade gardens such as epimediums, a couple of trilliums, primroses and more arisaemas.  All the plants look great but will have to be hardened off before planted out in the garden.  Tomorrow an order from Asiatica will arrive with more goodies for my garden.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Spring Delivery

This past  week has been very warm with a number of days going over eighty degrees which has caused many plants to leaf out and bloom earlier than usual.  Today was much cooler which will slow things down.  This year I broke down and had two truckloads of compost delivered.(Almost as good as getting plants in the mail).  The soil here is very sandy and needs all the help I can give it. I read somewhere that die hard gardeners always have piles of something in their driveways. It will have be gone by June when the garden goes on tour to help raise money for a local museum.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

March Ramblings

We have had an early spring here in upstate New York.  For the past week the temperatures have been in the sixties during the day.  I have gotten ahead on garden cleanup and started screening compost. Snowdrops and a few hellebores have been blooming for awhile and. the first Iris retculata opened today.(11days earlier than last year). 

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Field Trip

Yesterday my wife and I took a ride over to Smith College in North Hampton Massachusetts to visit the Lyman Conservatory. The conservatory is over 100 years old and has a wonderful collection of plants from around the world.  In March the conservatory puts on a Spring bulb show for the public. We got there early so the crowds weren't to bad.  The great thing about this show is that the pots are labeled and displayed at eye level for easy viewing.  It is hard to pick a favorite but the fritillarias and species tulips were on top of my lists.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Return to Winter

February is going out with a bang.  All month it has been mild and little snow has fallen. The last  week of this month is making up for it with three storms. Today we got around ten inches with more on the way tomorrow.The snow was very wet and damaged a few shrubs which will have to be cut back.  There were snowdrops up in the front garden but they are now covered with snow.  Speaking of bulbs I found a great source for unusual bulbs called Odyssey Bulbs in Massachusetts that specializes in minor bulbs such as corydalis and fritillaria. I also have snowdrops' in the green' coming in April from The Temple Nursery in Trumansburg New York.  This small nursery grows a nice selection of  these wonderful bulbs.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Yesterday I went to the Berkshire Botanical Garden in Stockbridge Massachucetts to hear a lecture on Epimediums. I was glad to see  the talk attracted a good crowd.  The presenter was Karen Perkins of Garden Vision Epimediiums a nursery specializing in these wonderful plants.  The program was both informative and inspiring.  Not only did the talk cover many species and hybrids but also Darrell Probst 's (founder of Garden Vision) trips to China to study and collect new species.  Unfortunately, epimediums are used for medicinal purposes in China and are harvested in large quantities.  One of the goals at Garden Vision Epimediums is to act as a repository for these plants in case they are wiped out in the wild.

  I fell in love with epimediums a long time ago but only began to seriously collect them in the past five years. Once established they are one of the easiest plants to grow and combine beautifully with hellebores and spring bulbs. The best place to find epimediums are mail order nurseries such as Garden Vision , Plant Delight Nursery, and Asiatica.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

January Ramblings

Compared to most of the country our winter in upstate New York has not been too bad.  The garden has enough snow cover for protection and the coldest temperature has been 8 below zero.  One can't help but feel bad for gardeners down South.  The catalogs have been arriving by mail or internet and I have started my Spring orders. I am  ordering mostly shade plants from Asiatica, Plants Delight, and Seneca Hill Perennials.  It is hard not to get carried away especially when ordering online.