Monday, May 27, 2013

Garden Party Disaster

Yesterday was our "Lilac Tea".  The night before, after my wood pile fell over in my woodshed and probably before a small herd of heifers spent all night cavorting in the middle of my vegetable garden, we had about 4 inches of wet snow which didn't help my lilacs one bit.  I lost about a dozen plants which I haven't had time to clean up yet.  The thing that irritated me was that someone or at least two people walked through my vegetable garden stepping on every baby beet and baby carrot in two fifty foot rows which were raised beds.  Also someone else broke off two leaves of my special ornamental rhubarb which Bill Noble gave me to (I think) wipe dog excrement off their feet.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Garden Open Tomorrow

Our Annual "Lilac Tea" is tomorrow and on the one hand my lilacs are outstanding (except for all the dead bits which I will not have time to mess with) abut on the other hand our weather has taken a turn for the worse.  It's very cold and expected to be cold tomorrow, maybe too cold for the piper to play his bagpipes which are a very fine set.  It was sleeting a bit earlier and in general it's been raining for a week now so I haven't been able to mow.  Also we're not ready: with things like all the trash still cascading off the porch.  Some one just told me we're expecting snow tonight and we've had high winds to go with the monsoon like deluge.  I think people might not be drinking as much ice tea as some times.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Embroidered Ground:Revisiting the Garden by Page Dickey

I read this Fairly new book last month but it takes me a while to get around to things like blogging my reaction to it.  It's a very well written, intersting book with enough detail to be able to picture her gardens.

Some of her points are:

Leave some lawn- negative space is important.

Garden "rooms" are successful- walled with hedges.

Herb gardens are not so easy in the northeast, as most herbs like it hot and dry.

Her vegetable garden is very formal- like in a French estate with a columned chicken house at the end of the path looking like a temple or folly.

Meadow gardens require more care than one thought .

Repeated plants in a garden can be very successful, like buttons on a vest(provided not everything is like that).

Doorways ans paths are very important to the overall affect.

We all to combine artistic tendencies with over the top addictive  plant collecting.

Ornamental grasses work well with other plants.

Labelling is important.

Don't use too many variegated plants.

A swimming pool can be a wonderful "water feature" if sited in the right way.

Use multi-season plants.

She dug out an entire Japanese barberry hedge.

Use multiple compost piles so you can be using one while others ripen.

Smaller dogs are better with gardens than larger dogs.

Gardens get shadier as they mature.

Switch to more shrubs as you age.

She prefers lots of water spigots and hoses to irrigation systems.

The only quibbles I have with her book (and maybe she put in something that nit-pickers could latch on to on purpose) are that 'Beauty of Moscow' lilac is double and I don't thin Magnolia 'Merrill' is very fragrant.

Lilac Tea

Our lilac tea is happening in six days.  I think the lilacs should be at about their peak.  The Hyacinthifloras are  perfect right now so they will probably be gone by by Sunday but most of the vulgaris cultivars aren't quite there yet.  Excell is certainly looking very good.  Pocohantas, Evangeline, Cheyenne, Betsey Ross, Mount Baker  are all in good form now.  I am trying to weed the most objectionable stuff, trim dead lilac branches (let alone twigs), and I still need to go around with my book and sure I know what's what.  I don't think the orange poppies will be out yet- nor the orange deciduous azaleas ('Mandarin Lights') but the lilacs aren't too bad.. Krasavitsa Moskvy or Beauty of Moscow isn't looking as good as some years but you can't have everything.  I'm sorry some people came all the way up to West Newbury yesterday, a week early, due to me getting mixed up last month about when it was going to be.  The porch still isn't cleaned off.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Daffodil Walk

Our annual daffodil tea party came off without disaster this past Sunday afternoon.  The early daffodils were out, none were gone-by, the magnolias were beautiful, the Forsythia were peaking and nobody showed up before 2:30 for a 4:00 event.  I was still dressed in my bathing suit as I'd been for a swim after church and I didn't want to get butter, jam or tea all over my tie, my lime green shirt or my black suede lederhosen with emerald green embroidery around the crotch.

I bet 25 varieties were in flower and the place looked nice but not as grand as Downtown Abbey.