Isn’t Mother Nature The Best??

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Oh My, The Winter Rye!

Wow! I am very lucky some days and I get to visit places that look like this. Airy Hall in Charleston, South Carolina is a private piece of heaven and this is the ancient Live Oak, or Quercus virginiana, drive way. She is underplanted with lime shaded, gorgeous annual Ryegrass or Lolium multiflorum. Used for color, beauty and erosion control out of doors and quick growing (seeding almost overnight) color terrarium extravaganza indoors by me (see category). And, I must credit myself with the photo, though, I would like to make sure that everyone knows that I have not always used mine own photographs and will continue to find others that enchant me….however, I will try and find the author and give credit where credit is due!

Hellebores and Haute Couture

hellebores-and-peacockYou don’t have to be Christian Louboutin to keep a peacock around. Though, this enchanting woodland forest IS his. Peacocks are rather large birds. And, in my experience, too large for a stray cat’s psyche. They leave them alone. And, like ducks, the majestic peacock will just occupy itself while roaming your property making a great cry here and there. But, what I really wanted to point out are the Hellebores at the peacock’s tail. The woodland garden is an extreme of our ecology, juxtaposed, of course to the arid landscape. How to get a natural and sublime cutting garden under all those trees is answered for me with Helleborous orientalis. Wow, they come in such an array of exotic patterns and colors: from crazy, beautiful spotted varieties to the mocha black and chartreuse blends! And, as a bonus, they are great as a cutted ornament inside your lovely dwelling. They have a long blooming season from February to September in my neck of the woods: Zone 8. They are considered quite hardy. What else can you ask for?

The Deciduous Tree

Fall and Winter is a beautiful time in the garden. I think of deciduous trees during these seasons as being architectural sculptures rather than plants once they have lost their leaves. I love this select from David Joyce’s book, Topiary, because of the bare standards with the oh-so-slight bud beginning and most often use a Magnolia x soulangiana “Alexandrina” in my garden schemata for the gracious scent of the blossoms or I plant “Leonard Messel” for the antique pale pink of his blossoms. Both are small trees and will fit into the small, secret gardens we have in urban landscapes. And, both are considered pest free. I have a love affair with the more common “Alexandrina” because of it’s chartreuse leaves in the Fall and it’s stark, pale gray bark in the winter. They begin to bloom around 3 years of age and I just would hate to have to miss these beautiful blossoms beckoning the Spring. I have just ordered one for a garden and just wanted to share this photo since I hope to achieve something this elegant with my choices. This photograph above is of a private garden in Barnsley, Gloucestershire and designed by Rosemary Verey.

Hosta Fields, Forever

Hosta is a fantastic “under planting” herbacious perennial given their love of shade. (Here you see it blending beautifully with Astilbe in Maiden Hair white.) Hostas in large numbers are beautiful, especially since they come in such varieties of colors; shades of chartreuse and variegation. And, they bloom airy spires that dance with the breeze. One of my favorite things to design into a garden…pruning woody ornamentals that have been there a long while, cleaning the brush from underneath and then planting Hostas in all varieties beneath them. You can create this forest in any back yard this way.