Monday, November 10, 2014

I'm trying to put the garden to bed...and it's not working

I can't remember the last time I was this busy with work and things and other responsibilities. I'm struggling to get all of my garden work done, especially since it's dark by the time I get home now. It's tough to plant bulbs by the light of a lamp post.

There was also a big project (more later when I can bear to show the results) that took up many of my weekends in October. On the bright side, at least I'm not addicted to caffeine pills like Jessie.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - October 2014

I'm trying to hold off the dread that comes with writing the last Bloom Day post of the year. Pretty soon I'll be seeing nothing but gray skies and dirty snow but for now, the fading blooms in the garden are keeping my spirits alive. And hopefully at this time next year, I'll have a lot more to show for the end of autumn after making some recent strategic perennial purchases.


The back yard

Ipomoea lobata, an annual vine, grows along my fence

The old reliable Sedum 'Autumn Joy'

Caryopteris x clandonensis 'Iforgettheexactname'

The allée

Geranium 'Rozanne' and my Energizer bunny, Coreopsis 'Moonbeam'

Not flowering but lovely foliage from a hibiscus

The Pharm

Annual I overwintered for Neighbor M (and then took some). Can'trememberus 'Thenameii'

Butternut squash is still blooming

The end of the Russian sage

A bee on the Gaillardia

Aster 'October Skies' along the front wall. The dead looking stuff to its
right is creeping phlox.

Aster 'Alma Potschke' surrounding an echinacea seed head

And that's all she wrote for 2014 Bloom Days! Thanks to May Dreams for hosting.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Chanticleer - Part 3

I'm wrapping up my tour of Chanticleer today. My first two posts on it can be found here and here.

Following the path from the Ruin Garden we came to a potting shed and this rather large cold frame. Can you imagine having such a space to keep your plants in the winter? Put this on "Things I Really Want in My Next House"!

See the step stool in the middle of the picture?

The potting shed and the cold frame signaled we had arrived at the Cut-Flower Garden. Laid out in a series of rectangles, it just kept going on and on. Can you envision having the luxury of all of these flowers to cut and bring inside to enjoy?

There are fifteen pages of plants listed on the Cut-Garden Plant Guide.

Next to the Cut-Flower Garden is the Vegetable Garden. J and I talk about what we'd like in a home if we ever move out of the city. He wants a driveway. I want a space large enough for a veggie garden like this.

Bench in front of fence-growing veggies

From the nonstop color of the Cut-Garden we walked just steps away to Bell's Woodland. Opening in the spring of 2012, this is the newest addition to Chanticleer Gardens.

Plant list box shaped like a hornet's nest.

To traverse the stream, you cross a bridge created to look like a downed beech tree.

Beech tree bridge

Image courtesy of Sorta Like Suburbia

The plants are still maturing in the woods, but even so it was a tranquil place with pops of color here and there.

Following the path through the woods, we were led past the Tennis Court Gardens once again and back to the beginning where we started.

I'm really glad that J and I explored this garden. It's different than what I'm used to from my trips to Longwood - it seems more experimental - more wild - but really creative in its own way. It also has an air of relaxation with myriad places to sit and take it all in. I look forward to returning in the spring when everything will look very different but likely just as beautiful.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Chanticleer - Part 2

Earlier this week I posted about my visit to Chanticleer. I wanted to continue the tour with this follow-up post. It might be helpful to follow along with the Garden Guide map. Again, it was a really sunny day so good pictures were difficult to come by.

J and I left the Chanticleer Garden House, the main residence, and continued on to the Serpentine. This was filled completely with red and yellow sunflowers. It was a paradise for bees. Considering how worried I've been lately about bees, it made my heart happy!

From there we continued through the Bulb Meadow...

... and into the Asian Woods.

There were little seating areas like this one tucked away in many areas of Chanticleer

Stone steps leading to a stream

From there we walked on to the Pond Garden. I was admittedly a little stressed out in this area - there were so many little paths here and there and I didn't want to miss any of them! 

There were several different ponds feeding in to one another. Each had plantings all around them but ample space to step up close to the water and take it all in. This area had a very loose and wild feel, as if there was no rhyme or reason to the plantings. 

If you look closely, you can see a pond on the left of the above photo. To the right is a stone path leading over a stream and into another pond garden area. I didn't realize there were so many ponds until we'd gone up a hill and looked down below. Each set of plantings made you feel like you were enclosed in your own little universe. 

Behind the pond gardens and up a hill was an arbor. This started to set the mood for the Ruin Garden.

Arbor with intentionally overgrown plantings and stone steps

The Ruin Garden was built on the footprint of the now-razed home of Adolph Jr. (who, besides being an arborist was a decorated World War 2 spy!)  The original home was apparently too unstable to use as part of the garden so it was torn down. A new structure was built to resemble a ruined home. 

A giant stone head greets you on your way to the Ruin Garden

A fountain with heads in it. This was apparently the site of the bathroom. Get it?

If the garden designer was going for an eerie, abandoned feel here, s/he achieved it.

On from the Ruin Garden past Bell's Run Creek...

... and to a working water wheel surrounded by perennials and roses.

And with this post, we've gone two-thirds away around Chanticleer Gardens. I'll wrap it up with a final post, so stay tuned!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Chanticleer - Part 1

Thank goodness for garden blogging! Several times a year I'll drive an hour to Longwood Gardens to spend the day taking in the grandeur of their incredible space.  But it wasn't until I read another blogger's post about Chanticleer that I realized there was another majestic garden only a short drive from my house. So, a few weeks ago, J and I headed there during the late afternoon. 

Chanticleer was originally the estate of Adolph Rosengarten, whose pharmaceutical company would later become Merck. When his heir Adolph Jr. died in 1990, the estate was closed for a few years until the Chanticleer Foundation reopened it as a public garden. It's a 27-acre property that seems much, much larger. Each garden area has its own unique feel (and, as I learned, is cared for by a different staff horticulturalist). It all feels much more relaxed and carefree than Longwood. Even in September there was so much to see!

It was a really sunny and bright afternoon so it was tough to take good pictures. Plants there aren't tagged individually but you can look through on-site plant guides (found in really unique wooden boxes throughout the gardens) to try to learn what it is you're looking at (I didn't do this so most of the individual plant pictures are of unknown-to-me flowers). 

You start out at daughter Emily's home and into the walled Teacup Garden. This garden had a lot of formal lines and a nice mix of tropicals and natives. It would be the perfect place to sit, relax, and sip a cup of tea (not sure if that's why they named it as such but I can totally see this happening). 

A fountain partially hidden in the courtyard of the Teacup Garden

From the Teacup Garden, we moved on to the Tennis Court Garden. I'm just guessing, but I think it was probably the former site of the tennis court. Just a guess though.

Steps down to the Tennis Court Garden

By the way, I do recommend that you check out the plant lists on the website. They can give inspiration for planting combinations in garden beds, pots, against walls or in gravel, and so forth. 

Onward to the main house on the estate. I really loved this part.

Plantings by the driveway

More plants by the driveway

Indoor/outdoor porch. I could sit here all day.

Wading pool in the back yard

Fountain at the end of the wading pool

They even planted on top of walls

Planting bed by the swimming pool

Formal boxwoods containing dahlias and other flowers

These three gardens comprised about one-quarter of all of the gardens on the estate, so stay tuned for future posts and pictures about my visit to Chanticleer.