Learning As I Go

I’m crazy for beautiful gardens, but I’ve never been much of a gardener.  Now there is no choice as every area of our yard has growing things that require attention, and that has meant a pretty sharp learning curve for me.

Gardening is a bit of a challenge as much of the growing area is on a rocky cliff which makes footing in some areas rather treacherous.  

Much of the area facing Rockport Harbor is in shade, and I have learned the hard way that not all plants do well without lots of sunshine.  Hostas are one of the exceptions, and right now they are coming into their own. The oodles of varieties make them a most interesting garden addition when it comes to color and texture.

Day lilies are doing their thing, and I do love their vibrancy, 

Peonies have been deadheaded though there is one lone bloom that refuses to give up, perhaps because it doesn’t want to leave its insect dweller homeless.

I don’t know where they came from, but this year dainty forget-me-nots have shown up in every garden area.  Earlier in the summer I was pulling them up, but the task was never ending and I decided to leave them as ground cover.  Their little blue blooms are sweet, but I’m still not sure how I feel about their presence.  Any ideas for getting rid of them?

Climbing hydrangeas bloom through the summer and need little attention other than an occasional trim.  It’s best for the hubby not to be the one who takes on that task as he gets carried away and they get scalped!

Lacecap hydrangeas line a garden path.  They are trouble free which is a good thing.  The down side is they don’t last as long as some of the other varieties which is sad because they may be my favorites.

A favorite part of the yard is what the kids call beautiful land.  Among the rocks, ladies’ slipper, mosses, ornamental thyme and other ground covers flourish.  Best of all, this area requires little maintenance other than some weeding.

Wherever I look there is something of beauty whether it’s lining a pathway

or adding its own unique touch in another garden area.  

Even the unruly, unkept areas that belong only to nature make their individual statements.  One thing’s for sure, I won’t be scaling the rocks to try to get any of it under control.  That’s a lesson learned early on!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Garden Bounty

While I may not be very experienced  when it comes to laying out a garden and choosing complementary plants, the garden does provide bountiful beauty from spring until fall.

Gardening is a learning process filled with errors and rewards.

The reward comes when the garden blooms making it possible to cut a few stems varied in color and texture.

flowers/rhdodendronThe rhododendrons are all but gone,

peony but coming in right behind them are peonies changing daily from tight little buds

peonyto partially open teasers

peonyto full blown beauties.

They don’t last long, especially if it rains, so I cut them and fill the house where they can be enjoyed.

Their differing colors and textures make each bloom a special gift.  Salvia, which tries to take over my little garden, provides wonderful contrast, and the alium which is past its prime adds an interesting texture.

So grows my garden.  It may not be perfect, but the same is not true for the beauties that grow there. 

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Gardens Galore

 

Trials and Miscues

I’ve never been much of a gardener choosing to make a yard as low maintenance as possible.  In Maine, however, it’s impossible not to get a little excited about gardening as flowers are, in the words of one daughter, so brave and outspoken.

All you have to do to see that is visit a nursery

where the selection of growing things edible and decorative is overwhelming.

My attempts at gardening so far are mostly trials and even more miscues.  What I am striving for is a cutting garden  with blooms lasting through the summer and into the fall.  While that is possible, there’s lots to learn about what works.  Take delphiniums which are beautiful to look at, but they get so top heavy they topple over, especially after a rainfall.

And, that flower around them, which I think is a type of geranium, is the right height, but rather than stand up it spreads all over the place destroying other plants with their weight.

So what have I learned about gardening? A successful garden has a blend of annuals and perennials.  That means investing in new plants every year, but to get the right combination of color and texture, it’s worth it.  Thanks to a series of trials and miscues I realize that defining scale and developing a cohesive color scheme is a must to avoid chaos.

Flowers and herbsPerhaps the most important lesson is that successful gardening can be done in pots! It is ever so much easier to combine interesting plant materials in pots than to try to balance them in a garden.

 As I continue to learn to create the bigger picture, I’ll not abandon my successes!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Gardens Galore

Once Again

dahliasI’m crazy for dahlias, but no matter how hard I try to grow them they never do well.  Dahlias need lots of sun and my yard is shade challenged!

DahliasSo, I get my dahlia fix by making an annual trek to Endless Summer Flower Farm where  at least 250 varieties flourish.

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They come in all sizes from small 

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to medium

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to almost as big as your head.

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They are so perfectly formed and the texture so waxlike you have to touch the flower to make sure it’s not artificial.

And the colors….well, it seems they are limitless!

dahliasThere’s no walking away without a bouquet of these beauties

tablescape/dahlias & gourdsand no matter where they are used, they are perfect.  

I’m thinking next year I’ll try again to grow my own, this time in pots.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Maine’s Gardens II

Heading on up the coast of Maine, let’s stop for a visit at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Gardens in Seal Harbor.

This is a private garden open to the public one day each week from July until September.  This year visitors are allowed on Thursday thru September 6, and reservations are a must as is seeing the garden when you are in the area.

The garden is a potpourri of color

with more flower varieties than you would think possible in a single garden.

 An

interesting mix of eastern and western influences define the spaces

and throughout  are quiet places where you can sit to take in all the beauty that surrounds you.

Here and there are little surprises

and each brings a special delight.  As I walk through this fantastic space I feel gratitude for all that is given to us through the generosity of others.

i so enjoy your visits and the comments you leave behind.

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Peony High!

Peony or paeony is a name for plants in the genus Paeonia, the only genus in the flowering plant family Paeoniaceae. They are native toAsia,Southern Europe and Western North America. Boundaries between species are not clear and estimates of the number of species range from 25 [1] to 40.[2]

Most are herbaceous perennial plants 1.5 – 5 feet (0.5 – 1.5 metres) tall, but some resemble trees up to 5 – 10 feet (1.5 – 3 metres) tall. They have compound, deeply lobed leaves, and large, often fragrant flowers, ranging from red to white or yellow, in late spring and early summer.

 One thing the above information from Wikipedia omits is that peonies are plentiful in Maine, and right now they are blooming like crazy.  All it took was a few days of sunshine following many days of rain to color the landscape with their beauty.
Why do I get so excited about these gorgeous flowers?  Because part of the year the only place I see peony stems is in a flower shop and the cost is from $3-$5, so when I have them in my own garden I am more than thrilled. I cut as many as I dare without leaving the bushes bare.
From the time the peony is a tight little bud
to slightly unfurled
to a full blown wonder I am outside every day talking to them, making sure all their branches are supported so the weight of the blooms won’t cause them to topple over, praying that it won’t rain until their splendor is done.
The season for these beauties is all too short, but their memory lingers until the next season when they are sure to return in full glory and the thrill will be just as great.
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