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Saturday, June 26, 2010

All the difference...

Today I had the pleasure of visiting my friends Gianna & Rich up the street. Gianna is the most talented container designer ever. Rich is the most knowledgeable plants person ever. Together they've created a garden that tugs at my heartstrings every time I visit.

If you ever need some top notch garden advice you can go to Main Street Nursery in Huntington to talk to Gianna about container plants or to Rich at Zaino's Nursery in Old Westbury for info on the best shrub/tree/perennial for your Long Island garden.

What is most amazing about their garden is the way they showcase their collected pieces, accents, accessories and containers and use them as jewels to display their amazing plants.

Gianna has ducks and swans tucked into many spots, bunny rabbits too (even a few live ones).

See the swan in the larger container? It's so incredibly elegant I just wish this photo did it more justice.

This shot is my favorite, I'm going to try to recreate it exactly with my better camera and hope for more clarity and color saturation. If it works out I'd like to have it printed out and framed.

While the above containers were Gianna's, Rich has a few knockouts too. How's this trough? I'm in love :-)

Just the way it's set up on the boulder is enough to keep me salivating for days. I love gardening on this scale but let's be honest, you need a man if you want to do something like this!

This last container isn't even a container, it's just a wonderfully textured rock with pockets that are perfect for planting. I had to include this photo for my other dear gardening friends Kim & Paul because they are into many of the same concepts.

I've posted a number of other photos from this garden on my other blog at Melanie's Old Country Gardens...stop by and take a peek :-)


Monday, June 14, 2010

Thalictrum flavum subsp. glaucum

Today's perennial spotlight is on a plant that not too many people grow. Thalictrum flavum subsp. glaucum (commonly called meadow rue) has been growing in my garden for at least 10 years. It's one of those treasures I bought many years ago at Franks nursery.

I have it in a lousy spot, extremely dry, shade for most of the day except two hours of direct sun right around noon.

One of the mistakes I made with this lovely perennial is planting it at the edge of a border. In a shaded spot like this it wants to lean towards the sun and there's nothing much there for it to lean on.

I did put a metal structure there and have a few wires to help it stay inside the form but it really isn't the right spot at all for this perennial. The piece I've moved to a sunny area is much happier but too small to photograph right now.

Unlike the other Thalictrums I grow, this variety has blue foliage, hence the word "glaucum" in it's name. The blue foliage and the sulphur yellow blooms are a great combination!

If you leave your Thalictrums alone (that means leaving those ugly dead blooms on them for awhile), they will scatter a few seedlings. For some reason I've got a bunch of little babies growing right out of the cracks of the belgium block border of my driveway. The foliage is in the bottom left corner, the bloom is in the top right corner.

Other Thalictrums grow here too. Next to my telephone pole is a large clump of Thalictrum
'Elin'. I just did a quick search on this plant and was surprised to see that it is a cross between Thalictrum flavum subsp. glaucum and Thalictrum rochebrunianum (hmmm, a thalictrum I don't grow!).

Now this is a case of the right plant in the right location. It's at least 8 feet tall right now and stands up perfectly straight.

At the total opposite spectrum is the teeny tiny Thalictrum kiusianum. This dwarf Thalictrum is so small that if you didn't know it was here you'd mistake it for clover or some other little thing. Last year I planted a piece in a dish garden and it did better there than it does in the garden. Maybe it finally feels it has room to grow without any thugs taking over?

Oops, looking at the photo I see exactly that, a little piece of clover snuck right in the middle :-)

Most likely the most well known Thalictrum is Thalictrum aquilegifolium. As the name says, the foliage looks just like an Aquilegia (columbine) and many people mistake it for one, that is, until it blooms.

I find Thalictrums easy to grow, they have no pests that I'm aware of and require little extra care. Try one out, I think you'll love them!


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Oh Baby!

This morning as I walked around the garden I noticed that the Hellebores are still looking quite nice. Wow, here it is June and I'm still looking at the Hellebores. I started photographing the buds on March 16th and by March 31st was taking shots of full blown blooms.

Upon closer inspection I realized that these babies are actually chock full of seed pods! If you look closely you can see that many of these have already released their seeds. I sure hope I find some little babies around later this summer.

The Hellebore foetidus near my shed is also full of seed pods. This plant is actually a baby I moved from one of my front beds. They seed very nicely, not invasively. One thing I've learned is to move the seedlings when they are young, once they are older they become leggy.

This dusky purple Hellebore still looks good, especially now that the Athyrium nipponicum (Japanese painted fern) has filled in next to it.

Last but not least, you can see the newest seeds in the garden. Only difference here is I have no intention of planting these seeds... I love peas. Today will be my first harvest, yum!

For those of you who like to stop by, please note that my garden will not be open this Friday (June 4th). I've broken my own rule and have been planting an English perennial garden for somebody else. She's given me free rein to choose the plant material and I so love the creative challenge.