Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Spring Garden Tours in Washington, DC

Each spring, I take several garden tours, not just for ideas and inspiration for my work as a garden designer, but also to enjoy the labor and love that others put into their own gardens.  Last April, a friend passed along White House Garden Tour tickets (2012 dates are yet to be announced).  
View across the White House Lawn to the Washington Monument

Petals of Magnolia soulangeana spilling onto lawn by walk to the West Wing

A cherry tree hides the view of a bee hive (across from the kitchen garden)

The Kitchen Garden newly planted

Tulips and grape hyacinths


It seems that this is the year of retaining walls.  And my favorite part of designing walls, especially dry stacked fieldstone walls like this one, is the opportunity to show off plants that want to spill over them.  And not just the tried and true Phlox subulata, but also Deutzia gracilis, Geranium x 'Rozanne' and Campanula garganica 'Dicken's Gold' with its striking contrast of golden foliage and brilliant purple blue flowers.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Egotistical Gardening?

Is it too tacky to plant a cultivar that bears my name? Maybe, maybe not. But this bellflower, Campanula glomerata 'Caroline,'  might be perfectly suited to my perennial border that remains damp after a good rain. Offered by Plant Delights Nursery, this "rarely-seen, mauvy pink-flowered" perennial blooms in May and June and attracts hummingbirds. It grows best in moist soils and is heat tolerant.

I could have an entire "Caroline Garden" if I added Malus domestica 'Sweet Caroline' (apple tree), Clematis x 'Caroline' (flowering clematis vine), and Rhododendron 'Caroline Allbrook' (azalea), Rosa x 'Sweet Caroline' and Wisteria x 'Caroline.'   

Maybe Lenten Fridays Aren't So Bad . . .

 One of my "go to" sources when I'm in the mood for a taste of home - check it out - Homesick Texan.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Winter That Never Was

Now in the end of February, we haven't seen snow since October. The daffodils are blooming and the tulips are up out of the ground as though it is mid-April. I'm not complaining, but I haven't had my "slow months" to catch up, plan and write. As a landscape designer, I count on the cold nasty winter days to reflect and refresh before diving into the busy spring and summer seasons. Rather than completed, my winter projects - including my own garden changes - are still brewing in my mind.

Adding Vaccinum corymbosum, or Highbush Blueberry, to my own garden has been percolating in my brain these days, and not just to have a bushel of juicy berries to make a yummy crisp. This native plant also offers sweet flowers in spring and brilliant fall color. It can take a little shade in the garden, too.

But absolutely keep it away from the deer - they love the berries as much as I do!