Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tower Hill Botanic Garden

I had a lovely day touring Tower Hill Botanic Garden with my dear, longtime friend Celia who is visiting from Hawaii. What could be better than sauntering through a beautiful garden, catching up on conversation and enjoying a delightful al fresco lunch on a lofty terrace with spectacular views of  mountains and the Quabbin Reservoir. The weather was a perfect 71 degrees, sunny with a thin scrim of clouds to tone down the intensity of the near to solstice sunlight and a light breeze that carried the scents of flowers and newly mown grass. Sigh...
I've never been to Tower Hill this time of the year before and although it doesn't have as much drama as later in the season when all the tropicals and temperennials from the conservatories are outside, hardened off and strutting their stuff, there were hundreds of blooming shrubs and trees that made for a great walkabout.
Beautiful specimen of  Euphorbia tirucalli (Stick Plant) and Aloe ferox (Cape Aloe) in the entrance garden.
Some of the conservatory collection gettng hardened off for ther outdoor summer locations
A beautiful specimen of Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca Pendula' (Atlas Cedar)
I wish I had room for this one in my garden!
They have many beautiful specimens of Fagus sylvatica (Purple Columnar Beech) throughout the gardens
Great grouping with Spirea 'Ogon' in the foreground
I want to find some of these great little Allium karataviense (Kara Tau Garlic)
Enkianthus campanulatus, love this shrub!
Lovely blooming Aesculus carnea (Red flowering Horsechestnut tree)

The splendid double arbor and stairway.
I've decided I'd like to get over here once a month or so during the growing season to see how the emerging perennials and new annuals fill in and change over the season.  Of course I'll have to have another al fresco lunch on the beautiful terrace...


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Spring delights

Moving along at light speed, spring is zipping through its yearly display here in the gardens. There is something so uplifting about the beautiful yellow-greens of the emerging foliage on the deciduous trees, the fresh sinuous curls of the unfolding hosta foliage and of course the early blooming shrubs and perennials. I'm making a real effort this year to get outside with the camera every other day or so to make myself acutally look and enjoy the gardens instead of just looking for, and at, all the work that needs to be done. Here are a few highlights from the last couple weeks.

This gorgeous clematis vine that decorates my mailbox is looking great this spring. It's an early large flowering variety 'Miss Bateman' that is pruning group two. I love this combination because the round, violet shape of the allium heads echo the flower centers of the clematis blossoms. This is grown with a Rosa 'The Fairy' at it feet.

Clematis 'Miss Bateman' with Allium 'Globemaster'

Clematis 'Miss Bateman'

Clematis 'Miss Bateman'

This tree peony has been in my garden longer than I've kept track of plant names so I have no idea 'who' it is, but, what it was this year is absolutely stunning.  I had it in another location in my garden and I moved it to my east facing perennial border a few years ago and it has let me know it loves it new location.  Unfortunately the heavy rains of the last several days have ruined the flowers for this year but the four or five days I got to enjoy them are still worth giving this plant space in the gardens.
Tree Peony

Rhododendron 'Boule de Neige' in the shade garden at the back of the garden.

Rhododendron 'Boule de Neige'
 I started this fuchsia standard nine years ago and it's still doing well. It had a good winter under the lights this year. I upgraded the light fixture I keep the fuchsia standards under to a unit that has eight 6400K tubes. Lots more light and the fuchsias love it.  The dwarf tree behind the fuchsia is a twenty year old Rosa Rugosa.
Fuchsia Standard 'Beacon Rosa' with Rosa Rugosa standard
 My Japanese Wisteria has been in the gardens here for fifteen years or so and I've had a love/hate relationship with it.  It took seven years before it decided to begin blooming regularly for me and I almost removed it countless times. This year it's still recovering from the 'Snowtober' storm we had in October of 2011 where it lost more than half of it's canopy.  Not as much of a show this spring but it still beautiful flowers and is wonderfully scented.
Wisteria japonica 'Alba'
Wisteria japonica 'Alba'
This bearded iris is a star here and the only re-bloomer I've had good success with flowering reliably  in the fall. Immortality is one of the few bearded iris I give garden space to. 

Iris germanica 'Immortality'

Iris germanica 'Immortality'
Beautiful chartreuse foliage emerging on my Hydrangea 'Little Honey'. This plant is a star in the east border. Its beautiful foliage lightens up the garden all season.
Hydrangea quercifolia 'Little Honey'
A pretty spring combination of Lysimachia 'Alexander' and Salvia 'May Night'. This looks great all season. I prune back the salvia and it rewards me with continuous re-bloom.
We're having a rainy weekend here which is what allowed me the time to put this together but I'm thinking I'll go out to the garage and get a few containers put together. Maybe sneak out between the raindrops with my camera and see what other beauties are emerging out there. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Racing Through Spring....

Why oh why does spring seem to zoom by at light speed when winter crawls by oh so slowly.  It seems I'm always in such a rush to get plants moved around, out of the house, back in the garage (because of a frost warning) then back outside, clean the winter debris out of the borders, edge and mulch... not to mention get the container gardens assembled which includes planting giant ensetes, brugmansias and alocasias in their summer locations.  By the time I stop to catch my breath the flowering crabapples are done, the dwarf iris have passsed me by and the lilacs and dogwood are ready to drop their blossoms. 

This year I made myself take a couple walkabouts with camera in hand to record and revel in the glorious floral abundance this spring. These beauties are only at the peak of perfection for such a short time I needed to stop and spend some time enjoying the show instead of running around every day like a crazy person.  I'd noticed a cherry and crabapple across from each other in a parking lot  and thought it would make a great photo op. That dark pink crabapple makes a perfect background for the soft pink multi-petaled cherry  blossoms.

And I would be remis if I didn't include pics of the crabapple that provided such a beautiful backdrop for the cherry photos.

About the same time the cherry trees are blooming my dwarf iris are pushing out flowers. I adore the color of this deep purple one. Looks like grape jelly.

I also have a pretty white and blue variety and a peach colored dwarf iris as well.  They were all gifts from fellow garden friends and didn't come with names. They multiply like crazy and are great to share.

The lilacs this year are the best I've ever seen, the blossoms so abundant the shrubs are bent over with the weight of the flowers, wonderful!

What's not to love?

OK time to get my running shoes back on.