Thursday, July 27, 2017

Flinging in D.C.

Part of the Enid A. Haupt garden at the Smithsonian

In late June I once again had the pleasure of attending another Garden Bloggers Fling, this time in the Washington DC area. Wow, we saw a lot of extraordinary gardens, both public and private. This time around I decided not to spend so much time behind the camera and just enjoy the gardens. So my trove of pics from this trip is a little skimpy! I finally went through my photos intending to pick out one garden I liked the most and do a blog post on that. But... just when I thought I had settled on one garden I'd find pics of another garden I really liked. Eventually I settled on the Public's garden - the gardens around the Smithsonian.

Sorry, I'm not sure what these are but most likely they're one of the newer Echinacea varieties.

Yes, I know that anyone who's in Washington can see these gardens anytime and so you may be disappointed I chose them but really, they were quite extraordinary. Take this giant gardenia, for example.

One gigantic gardenia in a pot! Here Gail and Andrea take a whiff. 

Seriously, this potted gardenia was huge! It was in the Enid A. Haupt garden right next to a little sitting area. Perfect place to sit and inhale that sweet Southern perfume. I imagine it's quite a task to bring that plant in for the winter.

Assorted purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea spp.)

The Haupt garden had a huge number of coneflowers. All the newest varieties and also the tried and true species. It was a pollinator haven.

Might be Echinacea pallida. Anyone know for certain?

Next to the Haupt garden is the Mary Livingston Ripley garden. It was amazing, due in no small part to horticulturist Janet Draper and her team's efforts. We ran into Janet in the garden the day before the Fling started. She said she was cleaning up in prep for us. As if gardeners don't have messy gardens sometimes!! :-)

WANT!! Looks like blue chalk sticks (Senecio mandraliscaein the background, some kind of echeveria in the middle, and silver ponyfoot (Dichondra argentea) as the spiller.

Most of these gardens are in raised beds that give you a great up-close view of the plants. As you round the corner into the garden it becomes intimate and scaled to people. That doesn't mean it's wimpy - far from it!

A wall of succulents. This looks so good I could eat it!

There were a lot of really interesting plants in beautiful combinations. And lots of really interesting made objects, like this succulent wall.

Pollinator hotel

And like this pollinator hotel that was made mostly with found objects. It's almost like a sculpture, isn't it?

Shade garden

This shade garden caught my eye because of the sculptural little tree along the wall. The Ripley garden is relatively small but big on impact so I urge you to visit it if you're ever in the capitol.

The best part of Flings is reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones. Here are just a few of the Flingers I was happy to see this year.

Andrea, on the left, was our guide around the Mall. She's temporarily in DC but moving back to Texas soon. Gail, of Clay and Limestone, and I got the grand tour from Andrea!

Barbara Wise and I have a tradition of taking each other's pic at the Flings. Hi Barb! :-)

Gail, Janet, Karen, and I sweating it out in the U.S. Botanic Garden.

If you're a garden blogger, you need to come next year - it's in Austin to celebrate its 10th anniversary, woot!!

This post was written by Jean McWeeney for my blog Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog. Copyright 2017. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day March 2017

'Climbing Pinkie' rose

It's time for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day and spring is nigh! (Actually, I'm a day late for it but so it goes.) Fortunately down here in north Louisiana we're not dealing with the incredible snowpocalypse that the Midwest and Northeast are experiencing. But we did get some unwelcome (to me) cold temperatures. The poor plants are so confused!

'Sombreuil' climbing rose

As you can see, there are a few roses blooming in my yard. Not many yet but two out of the three climbers are starting to look pretty. Wish I could show you how the 'Sombreuil' and 'Climbing Pinkie' are starting to intertwine on the top of the pergola but I'd have to climb up there for a decent shot!

'Thalia' daffodil

The daffodil show is still going though many of the early ones finished blooming some time ago. Still blooming for me are 'Thalia', 'Pipit', 'Mount Hood' and 'Pink Charm', with a few more varieties to come.

Leucojum aestivum 'Gravetye Giant' (aka summer snowflakes)

Hyacinthoides hispanica 'Excelsior' (aka Spanish bluebells)

Other bulbs are still blooming, such as the summer snowflakes, or just starting to bloom, such as the Spanish bluebells.

Phlox divaricata ‘Louisiana Blue’

I ordered these 'Louisiana Blue' phlox last year and am shocked at how pinkish-purple they are. But I love the color! These are growing in my former alleyway now optimistically called 'the woodland garden'.

And here are a few other bloomers.

Improved Meyer lemon tree blooms

'Texas Gold' columbine (seems a bit early to me)

'Butterfly Blue' scabiosa (aka pincushion flower)
Matrix Beaconsfield pansies

I've talked before about how I'm lukewarm about pansies in the landscape. But I love potting them up. And once I learned that fertilizing them every 3-4 weeks really helps, I'm starting to really love them. These Matrix Beaconsfield pansies are quite lovely. I also have Matrix Morpheus blooming in vibrant purple and yellow.

Graptopetalum sp. 

Okay, this Graptopetalum isn't really a bloom but it kinda looks like one, right? I have this growing in my rock wall and I always love how it develops a rosy tinge in the winter. Maybe I should use this for Pam's Foliage Follow-up Day?! Be sure to also visit Carol's GBBD page to see what's in bloom around the world.

This post was written by Jean McWeeney for my blog Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog. Copyright 2017. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Monthly Garden Wrap-up

Black-capped Chickadee checking out the bird box

Whew, what a year it's been! I know it's been tough at times for a lot of people, myself included, but as I look back on this year in my garden, it's saying to me, "Spend more time here." So I plan to do just that in 2017. Meanwhile, I decided to scroll through my pics of the garden and post one from each month. One that will fairly represent what was happening out there. And I have two non-garden photos at the end of one of the things that kept me so busy this year!

American Goldfinches

January was all about the birds apparently. There were a few bulbs popping but most of my garden pictures were of birds - checking out potential nest sites and eating, eating, eating, especially the goldfinches that descend en masse, eat more and more, and then leave on a nice spring day just like that!

Hellebore, variety unknown

While the bulbs really started to pop in February, the hellebores were giving me much delight.

'Pink Charm' daffodil

Ugh, it's hard to pick just one March photo when so much was starting to happen in the garden - lots of daffodils, clusiana tulips, freesia, still more birds, spring ephemerals like 'Louisiana Blue' phlox and blue-eyed grass. But I chose this photo of a new-to-me daff, 'Pink Charm'. I also like the little crab spider hiding along the corolla.

Gulf Coast penstemon in foreground, 'Little Women' rose in background

By April the garden was in full swing. Roses were the highlight but also doing great - clematis, penstemon, gaura, verbena, sacred lotus, and succulents. And Indigo Buntings passing through.

'Cherry Brandy' gaura

May usually starts to signal the transition to summer and 2016 was no exception. The gaura tried to outdo itself, daylilies started to bloom, as well as cosmos, giant coneflower, and veronica. And the last of the migrating birds were seen - Baltimore orioles and Rose-breasted grosbeaks with the goldfinches leaving the month before. I even saw a family of five racoons, one mom and four babies, in the yard!

Daylilies (Hemerocallis sp.) and purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

June brings the most daylilies into flower and the purple coneflower runneth over (does anyone else keep trying to call them pink coneflowers because they're well, pink?). So I chose this pic with both. I'm sorry I don't know the names of the daylilies but I couldn't find them in my journal. I'm hoping they still have tags out there! Though this pic really represents most of the garden in June, I wish I could have shown you two new flowers for me this year - 'Red Velvet' lily (gorgeous) and 'Deuil du Roy Albert' dahlia (yummy)!

Surprise lily (Lycoris squamigera)

Come July I don't spend much time in the garden cause it's just too darn hot. This July the taps also turned off - no rain at all. But I was surprised by a surprise lily! I had planted three a few years ago but this is the only one I got this year.

'Baby Joe' Joe Pye weed (Eupatorium (or is it Eutrochium?) 'Baby Joe')

The drought continued into mid August when we finally got a surprising several days of rain. August means the ornamental grasses start to put on some blooms but it's when the various Joe Pye weeds that I have are at their peak. The peak doesn't last that long but I know it's much appreciated by the various pollinators. One of the few hydrangeas I have, Mystical Flame (H. paniculata 'Bokratorch'), was also at its peak but the blooms of it and the oakleaf hydrangea quickly turned brown because of lack of rain. Rattlesnake master and black-eyed Susans continued to bloom through August.

'Deuil du Roy Albert' dahlia

I'll let this dahlia pic represent all the dahlias that were blooming in September (they continued through October as well). Excessive heat meant that this 'Deuil du Roy Albert' dahlia wasn't showing off the white tips it normally has. Here's the weird thing about this September through the entire fall - a lot of my plants either kept blooming, such as the 'Autumn Minaret' daylily, or re-bloomed for the first time ever, such as my sacred lotus. I attribute it to the surprise August rains but who knows.

Monarch on dahlia

October brought a plethora of butterflies so they were the true highlights of the garden! Especially monarchs. I only saw a few because we're not exactly in the middle of their migration path (we're kind of on the edge). I grow several different kinds of milkweed for them but oh well, I'll keep on trying.

Lots of daffodils to plant!

For some reason I took no photos of the garden in November. I did some traveling then yet that's no excuse. But I did snap a phone pic of all the daffodils I was trying to plant - 100 mixed daffs from ColorBlends. It kept raining though, so I kept having to wait until it was dry enough to plant. I still have about 30 left to go in the ground, oy! 😝

'Bloodgood' maple in foreground, yellowing elm and oakleaf hydrangea in background

December is when we get the best fall color so that's the real start of the December garden. A couple days after I took this pic of the 'Bloodgood' Japanese maple, whoosh, the leaves were all dropped in a storm.

Ruston Farmers Market new building with mural by Louisiana Tech art students

Ribbon cutting of the new building

Here's what really kept me busy this year and consequently out of the garden - our farmers market moved from a parking lot into a new space - an old, unused city-owned building! Lots of work and money on the part of the community made it happen. So there's at least one great thing for 2016!

This post was written by Jean McWeeney for my blog Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog. Copyright 2016. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.