April 2017-Year 3

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In this, our third year in the new house, both the humans and the garden are getting settled in. It feels like home. Plants that were brought with us, some of them, have done very well, enough to be divided and spread about. Among those is Spiraea ‘Magic Carpet’. It was selected for the Asian Garden that is located in the oddly shaped back corner inside the fence. Hyacinthoides hispanica ‘Excelsior’ planted around the granite koi bowl birdbath complements the shrub’s colorful foliage. This area is the view from our dining room window. It is especially pleasing at the moment.

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Evergreen azaleas were chosen for the fresh, dark green leaves and  flowers of red and white. Rhododendron ‘Snow White’ is the first to open. I do adore white flowers, they allow their neighbors to shine brighter. I read that Asian gardens use red flowers rather than white, which is more often used in memorials. That’s okay, I have never been a traditionalist.

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The main garden beds within the fenced back yard include the nursery, and the lower nursery. The nursery was formed when a dump truck carrying six yards of planting mix deposited the precious stuff in a large pile in the crabgrass lawn in August of 2014. Plants potted and those simply tossed into black plastic trash bags were planted into the smoothed out pile. Included in those were the yellow flowering Primula veris, grown from seed in the old greenhouse and Phlox divaricata that was tagged Blue Moon. It is closer to white than blue, but it came from Walmart so you take what you get.  It’s still pretty. Polygonum odoratum ‘Variegata’ was one of many plants shared with us by neighbors Mae and Mickey after we had moved into the old house we originally bought for our daughters to live in while they attended college. Let’s just say that we were welcomed with open arms as residents after the girls moved on with their lives and the house was renovated several times. The garden also improved.  We moved to the current house from there.

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Many seeds were scatted into the new beds, including various Aquilegia ssp. This little one looks like a descendant of A. ‘Magpie’, which has proven to have very dominant genes. Last year Gardoctor built a wooden walkway to replace the trio of rotting bench tops that had been spread between the upper and lower nurseries to provide a dry tootsie means of transport. It looks quite nice and is much appreciated, thank you, dear son.

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Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Little Honey’ has made itself at home in the shady environs of the lower nursery. Ferns, geraniums, ajuga, among many others, are filling in the space and make a colorful, contrasting chaos.

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Little Honey is really a fine shrub. It needs partial to full shade and enough moisture to keep the roots from going bone dry. Highly recommended. In the distance is a budded but not blooming yet Baptisia alba and a sunny swath of Salvia ‘May Night’ in the upper nursery.

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Here are more seed grown columbines, Aquilegia ssp. with a new native azalea. Three unnamed seedlings were purchased at the University of Tennessee Arboretum spring plant sale in 2016. So far, none of these types of azaleas, which grew to perfection at the old garden, are what I would call thriving. The soil is less acidic here and summers have been droughty. I am giving them extra water and have gone so far as to plant a couple in large containers to see if that helps. I won’t give them up without a fight.

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Figuring out the best times to take photos here has been a challenge. Too much light, not enough light, no slope to get that exquisite backlighting, too tired, too hungry, nothing looks good, maybe I need a new camera (or new body to do contortions on the ground) have dampened my image capturing enthusiasm. I still love to garden, though, and still love to try and share the beauty of it through blogging. Buds just ready to burst, like these chives are still one of my favorite subjects.

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Kitty remains ever helful, snoozing on top of emerging flowers and foliage. He especially likes to pretend he is on the Savannah in tall grasses and has done a number on a stand of Carex ‘Red Rooster’ in the lower nursery, jumping and kicking imaginary interlopers.  I like having him around. Onward.


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12 Responses to April 2017-Year 3

  1. Marguerite says:

    “A dry tootsie means of transport” . I love it when you speak “technical”, Frances! (Picture me kissing your arm, a la Gomez Addams). Three years is enough time for the transplant shock to wear off and some roots to grow for both flora and fauna. The colors flowers look as happy and content as you sound in your “new” surroundings. And what a joy to remember your path is built by a loving son every time you encounter it. I hope that next time you post you will include a shot of the whole garden… the flowers look so vivid, would love to see how they have filled in the “bones” of the garden, you planned and showed us when you first moved. Please keep us posted on the beauty in your garden and on you…. your posts are such a gift. be well1
    P.S. Just wanted to add, am LOVING all the bluey blues and purples…and the highlights on Kitty look pawsitively lavender!

    Ah, my sweet, sweet and clever Marguerite, how your comments always make me grin. Thank you. I promise to take more long shots soon. Right now much of the garden is a sea of green, but many things are close to blooming. Trying to have something flowering all season in a small garden is tricky, there is always down time somewhere. The lower nursery is the place to look in spring. More to come, I promise! Kitty says thanks!

  2. Barbara H. says:

    Oh Frances, how happy I am to see your post. I was just thinking this last week that it was getting to be time for a post from you. I’m so glad things are settling in. What’s the saying? First year they sleep, second year they creep, third year they leap? If so, stand back and gaze in wonder. Your chives photo is especially wonderful – love it. Kitties in the garden add a lot, I think. Besides my transitioning to elderly grand dame black cat, I have recently acquired a spunky, full of personality (and full of himself) young male cat. The grand dame was to be the last, but never say never. Happy spring to you.

    Hello, dear Barbara, so nice to hear from you. Ever the supportive reader, and I thank you for being so sweet. The garden is in leap mode, things are larger and some are blooming finally after adjusting to being moved from the old garden. The chive photo speaks to me, so glad you appreciate it, too. Dear kitties, what would we do without them? We had said when this one goes, there will be no more, but I doubt that will be true. I have always had a cat from the time I was born, even it only a stray that came around for a free meal. Enjoy your young boy!

  3. Lovely photos as always. So glad you feel more settled and the garden is looking that way, too. Onward, as you say.

    Hi Kathy, thanks for reading and leaving this sweet comment. There is still lots to do in the garden, as always. These are the best bits at the moment, but it’s getting there.

  4. Rachel says:

    Hi Frances,
    It’s never really easy to settle into a new home and a new environment.Glad to know you and your family are finally settling in.
    The plants look lovely and Kitty is soo adorable!

    Hi Rachel, thanks for the kind words and Kitty says meow! Moving is always hard, but the gardening is always a joy.

  5. Valerie says:

    Love to hear how your new garden is progressing. Everything looks lovely. Valerie

    Hi Valerie, thanks for following along. I apppreciate your support!

  6. Jill says:

    “Colorful, contrasting chaos” – just what I love! Happy to hear from you this spring. I’m amazed by your color. Atlanta’s late frost zapped everything in my yard. One late blooming native azalea in bold yellow has recovered but there is not a spot of color remaining anywhere else. This is the saddest spring I’ve ever had.

    Oh Jill, I am so sorry! That 20 degree snap after everything had started to grow was devasting here, too. That is one reason for the lack of long shots in this post. I covered the peonies with big garbage bins but it wasn’t possible to cover everything. I hope the rest of the garden season is better for you.

  7. Layanee says:

    Oh the photos are luscious and your new garden is leaving the baby steps behind. Great photos and happy gardening.

    Hi Layanee, thanks for being so supportive. The garden is now a toddler, I guess, wild and unruly! HA

  8. Gosh I have been working on my garden for almost 23 years and I am still trying to have something blooming at all times. It is not an easy task. It is fun trying though. Love seeing that you and your plants are finally feeling at home. Your Purrfect friend looks settled too. I am not often described as ‘traditional’. So many of my favorite views of my garden are through the patio doors. I sit here and look out the most. I seem to want to plant everything in that point of view. ha… and so it goes. Happy Spring!

    Happy Spring to you, dear Lisa! I am a firm believer in planting for your view from inside the house. It should be the bestest. That having something in bloom all the time thing is a fantasy goal, especially since things have a way of dying or getting crowded out or blooming at different times each year. That last one is particularly perplexing. You are anything but traditional, and that is a compliment.

  9. Carol says:

    Love the views of your flowers. It’s amazing what a few years can mean in a garden.

    Thanks for visiting, Carol, always nice to see you. Time is the friend of a newly planted garden, for sure.

  10. Norine says:

    I have missed your lively posts and beautiful gardens. Thanks for posting – you inspire!

    What a kind thing to say, thanks to you, Norine!

  11. Rose says:

    It’s always a treat to get a glimpse of your garden, Frances! As much as I enjoy all the emerging blooms, I also enjoy all the combinations of foliage–‘Little Honey’ is a beauty, for sure. I think you were one of the first to inspire me to think about foliage as well as blooms, and I thank you for that, Frances. Although I took that lesson to heart, most of the combinations of contrasting foliage in my garden are still happy accidents rather than the result of careful planning:) Glad you are settling in and glad to see Kitty is happy playing King of the Jungle in his new home, too.

    Hi Rose, thanks for being so awesome! My best combinations in the garden are accidental, but it is possible to learn from those and repeat as if you thought of it yourself. HA

  12. Vicki Jacobs says:

    Hello to you Frances,
    I always enjoy your posts. Such awesome combinations that inspire me. We just got back from northwestern Tennessee near Big Sandy and Dover. So I have been able to enjoy the budding and blooming of the trees and flowers twice this year. I thought of you gardening on a slope (with such delicious results) and then the new garden which is leaping now. I was so glad to see your post – like visiting with an old friend.

    Hello Vicki, thank you for taking the time to read and leave such a sweet comment. Spring has sprung here in TN and we are having welcome rainfall to help the plants thrive.

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