Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Reviews and News

Dreaming.  I never get tired of it.

But I have a battle going on with what I want my garden to look like and the work involved in getting it to look that way.  For years now, I have been adding on.  And adding on.  And adding a little more.  And in my dreams, I still have areas that I want to add.

Take, for instance, a meadow.

Don't you think that my garden needs a meadow?  I do.

And I especially do after reading

The American Meadow Garden:
Creating a Natural Alternative to the Traditional Lawn

by John Greenlee

Need a book on grasses?  Thinking of putting in ornamental grasses instead of a lawn?  Do you want a meadow?  I heartily recommend this book, especially if you live in the United States.  (If you outside the United States, you may find this book useful, but it is specifically geared toward those of us living in the U.S.)

I have a couple of books on grasses, but in my opinion, this one is the absolute best.  He breaks down everything you might need to know in order to plant grasses.  No matter if you have a large area or a small one, there is information and inspiration to be found.

In this book, he has thought of everything.  Location.  Soil.  Temperatures.  (Those apply to the U.S.)  But he also talks about themed meadows.  Pathways.  Hillsides.  And how to make it look like a meadow, not a yard that needs mowing.

He covers putting in a meadow, maintenance, weed control, purchasing plants, timing, and even a formula for making your meadow look natural.

There are fun lists that pop up in each chapter.  Lists such as "Grasses with Good Flowerheads", "Best Daisies for Meadows", "Best Fragrant Grasses", and "Irises and Cousins for Meadows", to name just a few.  These lists made my imagination go wild!

In addition, he has a list of more than 50 grasses for groundcovers, fillers, backgrounds, accents, and natural lawns.  He tells not only the zones and plant size, but he gives a detailed description of each, with additional information from experience.

This book answered all the questions I have had on grasses, and I had a lot!  But what I loved most of all was the love of grasses that was imparted through the words of each page.  The author's passion comes through clearly in this book, and I found that his love of meadows was quite infectious.

Oh, yes, I definitely want a meadow!


Unfortunately, my meadow dream will have to be put on hold.  I've decided this next year will be the Year of Maintenance.  I finally agree with my husband that I need to maintain what I have before I add on even more.  I'll continue to dream, and one day I'll have that meadow.  Just not this year.

So, what's my news?  Well, I'm going to be putting this blog on maintenance, too.  I will have one more Garden Book Review meme on December 20th (and I hope you join me), then I will no longer host the meme.  I will post when I have the time, which may be quite irregular.  I don't want to quit blogging entirely - I get much too much from it by being able to look back at my records from year to year through it.  But, I won't be consistent.  And for my blogging friends: I will continue to read your blogs - I've learned so much and love hearing about each of you - but I won't be commenting much.

This year will be The Year of Maintenance  or  The Year of Catching Up  or  The Year of Doing What Needs To Be Done.  It all means the same.  Less talking, less writing, and more getting out there and doing!  My dreams of a meadow may have to be postponed for a year or so.  But my garden will be a much better one for it.  I can live with that.


Now it's your turn!  I hope you will join in this month, and for the last Garden Book Review meme on December 20th.

I also want to express my appreciation to each and every participant, and to the readers, of the Garden Book Review meme over the past couple of years.  The books you have recommended are a very valuable resource for me.  Thank you. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

After the Freeze

We've had a hard freeze for the last couple of nights.  There go the cannas!  And the crinum lilies.  And the bush lantanas.  :(

The roses are a mixed bunch.  Some are dropping their leaves, going into dormancy.  Others didn't seem to be affected by the cold (yet).  But I know their blooming days are numbered for this year.

It's interesting to see what's still in bloom even after a freeze.  These blooms made it through this time, but they won't be here for much longer:


James Galway

Julia Child
everyone remarks on her fabulous fragrance!

Madame Berkeley

Oakleaf hydrangea
Just as beautiful as any bloom

But there are other blooms that are just now arriving:

Possumhaw holly is spreading cheer with its bright winter berries.

Possumhaw Holly

And I'm always anxious to see the blooms of the camellias.

Camellia 'Hana Jiman'

Camellia 'Cleopatra'

Winter is slowly arriving.  But that's o.k.  There's still beauty to be found in the garden.

I'm joining May Dreams Gardens for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

How Do You Feel?

Do you feel this way about your garden sometimes?  Sometimes when I go visit another garden, one that looks beautiful, and designed so differently from my own, I come home and see all the negative parts of my garden:

  • Weeds.  To numerous to name!    
  • Imperfect design.  
  • Damage by deer and storms. 

In addition, I have had numerous obligations that have called me away from my garden, and rainy days that only increased my feelings of despair.  (Not complaining about the rain, though!)  But suddenly, I felt like I've spent way too much time (and money) on something that isn't as pretty as I had hoped.

That is, until yesterday.

new flowerbed

Yesterday I spent the entire day gardening.  Planting bulbs, pulling weeds, and preparing a new flowerbed.  It always helps my mental attitude to get outside and work.

But it was the view that I saw as I was working on the new flowerbed that made my heart sing.  New Dawn blooming on the arbor, with pink Flower Carpet roses, red salvia, pink La Marne, and white Madame Joseph Shwartz in bloom behind it.  The arbor is at the top of the flowerbed, so I saw this view all day.

Looking the other way, I could see New Dawn in front of some Knock Out roses, and that thrilled my heart, too.

As I worked, my heart gladdened.  And I saw the beauty in my garden.  It may not be the most beautiful garden in the world, but it makes me happy.  Very happy.

Suddenly, I was

  • Satisfied.  
  • Joyful.  
  • Content.  

To me, there were at least parts of my garden that was just as beautiful as any garden could be.

Do you feel this way about your garden sometimes?  I hope so.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

New Dawn

New Dawn is a climbing rose, known for its delicate coloring and vicious thorns.

New Dawn

In my rose garden, I have a fairly new New Dawn rose that I hope to train up and over my arbor.

I am already smitten with her.   I am not looking forward to pruning her thorny canes, but I am very much looking forward to her covering my arbor with her beautiful blooms.

New Dawn is a vigorous rose, and I hope she helps hold up the arbor, instead of pulling it down!  She will grow to 10 ft wide, and 20 ft tall - at least.   I have swooned over photos of roses showing her arching canes loaded with pale pink blooms covering arbors, growing up trees, and covering sheds.  When I saw her from across a room (well, across the nursery), I feel in love at first sight.

I can already imagine her climbing up and over my own arbor, blooming abundantly, and filling the air with her delicate scent.  I can't wait for the day that I wake up to a New Dawn that resembles the one in my dreams.

New Dawn is disease resistant, fragrant, and is designated as an Earth-Kind rose.  She will grow in zones 5 (possibly 4) through 9.  She has the honor of being the very first rose to be patented (the patent has since expired).

New Dawn is the look-alike sport of Dr. Van Fleet.  Dr. Van Fleet only blooms once, while New Dawn is a repeat bloomer.  If you have a New Dawn that doesn't repeat, you may have Dr. Van Fleet instead, or you may be pruning her too hard, as she blooms on old wood.

As for the vicious thorns - I heard a great tip the other day.  If you have a few rose canes that are constantly scratching you, cut the thorns off of the cane.  It should be worth the effort, since thorns don't grow back!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

My Husband's Flower

My husband helps me out tremendously in the garden, but most of the flowers I consider "mine".   There is one flower, however, that he has adopted - a bougainvillea.

I had purchased the bougainvillea to be used as an annual.  Our winters are too cold for them.  But my husband noticed that I had callously left it out to die, and lovingly placed it in our garage.  Occasionally, I would look at it and just shake my head.

All winter, it looked dead.  I hate to admit it, but I was secretly hoping it actually was dead.  But, no such luck.  Instead, this past spring we noticed new growth.

I pretended not to notice.  I decided to just ignore it.

Finally, realizing that I wasn't going to help out this poor plant at all, my husband decided to water it.  Eventually he moved it from the garage to the driveway, where it could get some sun.

I continued to ignore it.  So, Mr. Holleygarden continued to care for it, splashing it with water occasionally and marveling at the bougainvillea's growth.

Then it bloomed.

Yep, right there in the driveway.

And Mr. Holleygarden beamed.

Now that the weather has turned colder, guess where the bougainvillea is?  You got it!  Mr. Holleygarden has put "his flower" back in the garage for the winter.

Obviously, bougainvilleas are not hard to overwinter in a garage.  Even an amateur gardener (or a husband) can do it.

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