Monday, May 15, 2017

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow-Up May 2017: Gardening Season Has Arrived!

May 2017 Garden

In 1557, a gentleman by the name of Thomas Tusser compiled a collection of writings he called "A Hundred Good Points of Husbandry". In the April section of his works he wrote, "Sweet April showers Do spring May flowers". The proverb known today was originally a short poem, which served as a reminder that the abundant rains in April would bring about the arrival of beautiful May blooms. The wonderful month of May is here and since it's May 15th, it is time for another Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Foliage Follow-up! There are new additions for the 2017 season, so come along with me as we venture to see what is blooming in my Long Island garden.
Ajuga Burgundy Glow
The April rains with temperatures now moderating in the 60's has brought life back into the garden as colorful blooms spring up everywhere. Ajuga 'Burgundy Glow' ground cover adds interesting foliage and bright purple blooms to the May garden.
Foliage Combo May
Heuchera 'Caramel' (Coral Bells) and the Ajuga ground cover make a striking foliage combination when planted together.
Back South Garden
The back south garden to the left and behind the pool area is accented with azalea, which are now blooming. The new Girard's Crimson seen next were recently planted to replace the aging plants that were on the other side in the pool area.
New Azalea Girard's Crimson
Part of the joy of gardening involves watching the evolution of plants as they mature over the years and the anticipation of planning new additions as time goes by. As an avid gardener and designer, I am always planning away in my mind!
Garden Whimsy
This garden statue of a girl and boy with their dog was a gift from years ago, one that I cherish. The statue now has a refreshed backdrop with the new azalea.
May Foliage
With the month of May comes new foliage along with blooms. Here is a combination of Heuchera 'Palace Purple' Coral Bells (foreground), Sedum 'Brilliant' (Right), 'Caramel' Coral Bells (Backdrop) and Ajuga (Right of Boulder) with Mugo Pine and Compacta Hinoki Cypress to the left. Way behind the mentioned is evergreen Juniperus 'Gold Lace'.
Front Driveway Island Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar
As we move along to the front eastern gardens, we come across the Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar and Skyland's Golden Oriental Spruce that reside there.
Skyland's Orieintal Spruce 2008
The Oriental Spruce, planted in 2008, has now grown to a height of approximately fifteen feet. Another Skyland's has joined the back gardens, which we will visit in a little bit as we come back around to the other side of the property.
Spirea Double Play 'Big Bang'
Here is Spirea Double Play 'Big Bang' with its wonderful May foliage, displaying hues of golden-orange and pink. Pink blooms will follow in June.

Allium Globemaster
Let's venture back into the pool area where giant Globemaster Allium are preparing to open into large ball-shaped lavender blooms. The original three bulbs have multiplied into seven buds and I look forward to these magnificent blooms in June!
Pool Garden
Here is a wide view of the southern section of the pool gardens, with Weeping Norway Spruce, 'Stella D Oro' Daylilies, Allium Globemaster and Spirea 'Limemound'. In the backdrop is a Weeping White Pine and Hinoki Cypress.
Back North Raised Bed
Back around to the northeast side of the garden is Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar with Gold Mop Cypress and Coral Bells 'Caramel'. I love the new caramel colored foliage on the Heuchera.
Perennial Border
Moving to the perennial border, Lamb's Ear, hosta, lillies and Mont Blanc Allium buds rise above the garden, waiting to bloom in June and Peony buds that grow larger by day appear above wispy foliage. A grafted Montgomery Globe Spruce borders the patio and rises above the garden and is a favorite place for birds to raise their young.
Mother Dove and Baby May 2017
This May, a mother Morning Dove watches over her baby in the Globe Spruce right near the patio. She feels comfortable enough with me that I can walk right up to visit and say hello each morning...simply put...precious!
Salvia May Night
The month of May wouldn't be the same without May Night Salvia, which is now starting to bloom with its vibrant purple flowers on 12-18 inch stalks.
Dianthus 'Raspberry Surprise'
Here is the newest addition to the back gardens. While at the local nursery I noticed this Dianthus 'Raspberry Surprise' with its large pink blooms and sweet fragrance. Dianthus 'Raspberry Surprise' grows to a height of just ten inches, is hardy to USDA zone 5 (-20 F/-29 C) and blooms from spring to summer in full sun. I am test driving this perennial before recommending it to clients.
Kwanzan Cherry 2017
Another new addition is this magnificent Kwanzan Cherry that replaced a troubled maple tree in the southwestern corner of our property. I have always had an admiration for these beautiful double pink blooms in May and now own one of my exciting! 
Kwanzan Cherry 2017
Here is a bloom up close. I will wait in anticipation as the tree matures and widens over the years. I know it will just keep getting better and better!
Skyland's Oriental Spruce Just Planted May 2017
There are a lot of new larger additions this year. Another 'Skylands' Golden Oriental Spruce was recently added to the back garden.  It is starting off at five to six feet in height and will mature over time to resemble the one in the front of the property. 'Skylands' Spruce is hardy in USDA zoned 4-7 and reaches an eventual height and width of of 10-35 feet high by 4-12 feet wide.
Weeping Japanese Maple Viridus May
As we come close to to the end of the tour we pass by the two Weeping Japanese Maples on the front lawn. Above is Acer palmatum Green Viridis, which reaches a height of 5-10 feet tall by wide...
Weeping Japanese Maple
and here is Acer palmatum 'Tamukeyama'. which stays a a smaller stature of 6-8 feet tall by 8-12 feet wide.
Coral Bark Maple
If you have toured my gardens before, you are probably familiar with the Coral Bark Maple by the side driveway garden, which is now displaying its brilliant new foliage. Below is Weigela 'Spilled Wine' with its burgundy foliage. Pink blooms will emerge in June.
Bleeding Heart
Here is Dicentra spectablis (Old Fashioned Bleeding Heart). It is not in my gardens, but in a client's.  I couldn't resist taking a photo and had to share. Maybe a new addition in my own garden next year?
Succulent Planter 2017
As we come back around to the patio, the succulent planters are all ready out and displaying a variety of Sedum and Sempervivum (Hens & Chicks).
May Garden 2017

I hope you enjoyed your stroll through my May garden. Special thanks go out to our hostesses Carol at May Dreams Gardens, who makes it possible to see blooms on the 15th of every month with her meme Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Pam at Digging for hosting Foliage Follow-Up. I am also linking with some other wonderful hosts and hostesses at Floral FridaysMacro Monday 2, Nature Notes at Rambling Woods and Saturday's Critters at Viewing Nature with Eileen. Also check out Garden Bloggers' Foliage Day at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides and Wednesday Around the World.

Before you leave, did you know I am the author of two gardening books? If you are seeking some guidance or perhaps a little bit of gardening inspiration, check out my author page here. The first book, A Guide to Northeastern Gardening is geared towards the novice or semi-experienced gardener and  recommends plants for specific types of gardens with general maintenance tips to keep your garden at its best.  The second book, Landscape Design Combinations goes into more detail, teaching the concepts of garden design. Besides teaching design, there are a variety of successful garden plans provided with labeling and detailed descriptions of each plant recommended. Each design can be used as presented, or as a guide, and may just spark your imagination!  Be sure to check out both books and I wish you all the best for a wonderful gardening season!

Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening, © Copyright 2017. All rights reserved

Sunday, May 7, 2017

This Month's Color in the Garden: Color Your Garden Blue-Blue Blooms for Your Landscape!

Blue Blooms for Your Garden
Welcome to This Month's Color in the Garden! The use of the color blue in the landscape symbolizes optimism and stability and often relays a feeling of calm. According to the language of flowers, "The pale blue hues of a hydrangea or the deep blues of an iris can calm worries and preoccupation." The blue hue of flowers represent peace, openness, and serenity, and are believed to be an antidote for anxiousness. There are few species that naturally occur as true blue in the garden. For the month of May I am going to focus on some of the varieties of blue blooming plants that you can add to your outdoor space.
Blue Grape Hyacinth (Muscari)
The first is Muscari, also known as Grape Hyacinth. Hardy in USDA zones 2-5, Grape Hyacinth creates a carpet of blue grape-like blooms which are gorgeous when bulbs are planted in clumps. These bulbs are available in a variety of colors, but blue seems to be the all-time favorite! Muscari is a breathtaking site when planted in mass in a woodland or naturalized setting and is a welcoming sign of spring. Plant in full sun to partial shade for best results.
Siberian Iris (Iris siberica)
Siberian Iris is a herbaceous perennial hardy in USDA zones 3-8 that offers purplish-blue blooms in mid-spring. Siberian Iris grows to a height and width of 3 feet and prefers full sun to partial shade. This perennial spreads by rhizomes and is excellent in mass plantings for that naturalized look.

Perennial Geranium Rozanne Cranesbill
Cranesbill, or perennial geranium is hardy in USDA zones 4-10, and forms large cup shaped bright blue-violet flowers that appear from summer into fall on a 15-24 inch high by 20-28 inch wide plant. Perennial Geranium thrives in full sun and makes a great addition to borders, rock gardens and containers. In the right conditions it will form a beautiful carpet of blue!
Platycodon  grandiflorus' komachi' Balloon Flower 
Platycodon, also known as Balloon Flower is hardy in USDA zones 3-8 and displays large puffy buds resembling tiny inflated balloons. As the bud matures the bud grows and appears as if it going to burst. On most varieties, the buds reveal gorgeous star shaped flowers once opened, but on 'Komachi' the buds remain closed as balloons, making an interesting conversation piece in the garden. Platycodon blooms from early to late summer on a 8-10 inch tall by 10-23 inch wide plant. Grow in full sun to partial shade.
Sisyrinchium Lucerne (Blue Eyed Grass) 
Bright blue, star-shaped flowers with gold centers rise above iris-like foliage on this native north American plant, which is an excellent food source for pollinators. Sisyrinchium is hardy in USDA zones 4-10, grows to a height and width of 8-10 inches and prefers full sun. This plant is excellent for naturalized settings, rock gardens and native plantings.
Nikko Blue Hydrangea
When thinking of the true blue hydrangea, I always refer back to the old fashioned mophead Hydrangea, 'Nikko Blue'. 'Nikko Blue' is hardy in USDA zones 5-9 and is one of the most reliable blue Hydrangeas, staying blue in a wider range of soils. Flowers start cream in color with blue margins than turn a solid blue as the plant matures. In acidic soil, 'Nikko Blue' has deep blue flowers which appear in early to late summer. 'Nikko Blue' reaches a height and width of 4-6 feet and blooms on old wood.
Blue Lacecap Hydrangea
Blue Cassel Hydrangea is hardy in USDA zones 5-9 and features bold blue lacecap flowers from early summer into late fall on a four foot tall by wide plant. This hydrangea prefers to be grown in full sun to partial shade and is a repeat bloomer that blooms on old and new wood. The flowers are excellent for cutting and the broad green foliage is attractive throughout the season. Blue color is dependent on acidic soil.
Caryopteris x clandonensis 'Inoveris Bluebeard' (Blue Mist Shrub)   
Caryopteris, also known as Blue Mist Shrub is a 2-3 foot high deciduous shrub with a mounding, rounded habit that becomes covered with many small gray-green toothed leaves with a minty scent if crushed. Clusters of sweetly scented violet-blue flowers appear late summer into fall. Blooms are an attraction to butterflies and hummingbirds and the shrub makes a wonderful addition to perennial beds, walkways and entryways. Caryopteris is hardy in USDA zones 5-9 and requires full sun. 
Color Your Garden Blue!

Blue blooms in the landscape have relayed a sense of calmness and serenity throughout the centuries and will continue to add delight to any garden. I hope you enjoyed This Month's Color in the Garden and please do share your thoughts about the color blue!
Are you an experienced gardener or just wanting to learn? If so, be sure to check out my two published books on Amazon. My first book, A Guide to Northeastern Gardening, is loaded with ideas for different types of gardens and what plants to buy, along with gardening tips and advice on how to maintain your garden once implemented. The second book, Landscape Design Combinationsis geared towards the hands on "DIY" gardener who is looking for a little guidance, along with a dash of inspiration! This latest publication builds on the first and is full of successful landscape designs that can be used as is or as a guide. The book also teaches design principles using evergreens, flowering trees, shrubs and perennials. To preview each book, simply click on the links below!


Sunday, April 30, 2017

Color Our World Round-Up April 2017: Yellow Blooms to Brighten Your Garden!

Color Our World Yellow
Welcome! It's time for another Color Our World Round-Up post. Each month the knowledgeable bloggers from Project Beautiful get creative by writing articles with focus on a particular color. Posts cover a multitude of topics including gardening, home remedies, decor and culinary delights. April is the month of "yellow", a prominent color in the garden with the arrival of spring and with summer on the way! The authors are sharing their thoughts on all the possibilities of yellow in the garden, with a little folklore thrown in as well. Simply click on the links to read each article in full.
First up is Lynee Cherot from Sensible Gardening as she delights us with her post They Call it Mellow Yellow. Lynee shares her pick of the many yellow blooming flowers for your garden. "If you have a few years on yourself you will no doubt remember the song by that title. I can’t remember who sang it but it was a huge hit. The garden seems to go through stages of colour from spring through to fall. Early in the season my garden is full of softer tones of pinks and blues and somehow it turns face and changes to bursting with yellow flowers. This has not been by some grand design of the gardener, it just seems to happen by itself. Could it simply be that many late blooming flowers lend themselves to fall tones such as yellow. Perhaps it’s mother nature’s way of decorating since these yellow toned blooms will match beautifully with the ripening foliage that follows after the summer season." Read more here.

Next up is Terri Steffes from Our Good Life with her informative post, Daffodils-Color Our World Yellow , as she writes about the folklore behind these beautiful blooms! "Planting daffodils occurs in the fall, but the glory comes in the spring, when daffodils spring up out of the ground, usually at the first sign of warmth.  This year my daffodils came at the end of February. They were lovely and I enjoyed them so much.  For our month Color Our World segment, we are looking at the color yellow.  Yellow is between orange and green on the color spectrum and is considered a primary color.  In Europe, Canada and the United States, a survey stated that people most often associate this color with amusement, gentleness, and spontaneity, but also with duplicity, envy, jealousy, avarice, and, in the U.S., with cowardice, according to Wikipedia. I think I like the way China sees it, where it is seen as the color of happiness, glory, wisdom, harmony, and culture.  Yellow was one of the first colors used by cavemen, through clay colored with ochre.  Yellow is considered the most visible color and is preferred by birds and insects. Yellow is the most common color of flowers. Yellow is the least often color stated as someone's favorite color." Read more here.

Susan Brandt from Blooming Secrets shares her post Container Combos: Yellow and Variegated with helpful tips on how to combine color with foliage. "I love gardening in containers! Anyone who sees my garden knows this to be true as I have them everywhere! I spend the winter months looking at gardening catalogs and magazines searching for new color combinations to try. The ability to change things from year to year makes it fun and we thought that each month we would share some suggestions of cool color combinations that you can try in your containers this year. The color wheel was first designed by Sir Isaac Newton in 1666 and is a basic tool for combining colors. Analogous colors are found adjacent to each other on the wheel and complementary colors are opposite of one another on the color wheel. Analogous colors are considered to be in harmony with one another while complementary colors are designed to stand out and garner attention" more here.

For more about the use of yellow in the garden, here is my post This Month in the Garden-Three Seasons of Yellow. "A cheerful indicator that spring has arrived, yellow blooms in the garden create a positive effect and bring warmth to the landscape, especially at the end of a cold and dreary winter. Continuing after spring, yellow continues in the landscape in the form of summer and fall blooming perennials, and can even be continued into the winter months in the form of golden hued evergreen shrubs. Groupings of yellow blooms tend to brighten and enlarge the garden, especially when the area is small or shaded, and the warmth of yellow is easily complemented by cooler hues of purples and blues. One of the first signs that spring has arrived is the sighting of yellow crocus peeking out through the winter's snow. Hardy in zones 3-8, there are over 80 known species of crocus in a variety of colors ranging from yellow to purple, white and variegated forms. While providing late winter-early spring more here.

Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoyed #PB Color Our World Round-Up for the month of April. If you are enjoying these monthly Round-Ups, please leave a comment, and do share your thoughts about the color YELLOW! Also, be sure to visit these wonderful bloggers regularly for their inspiring articles on gardening, home remedies, DIY projects, decorating, culinary delights and more! I am also linking to Floral Friday Fotos. Be sure to check out their weekly meme!

NEXT UP is This Month's Color in the Garden on the 7th, where it's all about the color blue, Then, join me for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Foliage Follow-Up each month on the 15th, and Round Up posts at the end of the month! 

Are you into gardening? Do you enjoy reading about gardening? If so, be sure to check out my two published books on Amazon. My first book, A Guide to Northeastern Gardening, is loaded with ideas for different types of gardens, along with gardening tips and advice on how to maintain your garden once implemented. The second book, Landscape Design Combinationsis  geared towards the hands on "DIY" gardener who is looking for a little guidance, along with a dash of inspiration! This latest publication builds on the first and is full of successful landscape designs that can be used as is or as a guide. The book also teaches design principles using evergreens, flowering trees, shrubs and perennials. To preview each book, simply click on the links below!


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow-Up April 2017: Welcome Spring!

April 2017 Garden
April showers bring May flowers and at last the garden is alive with colorful blooms! After one of the coldest arrivals of spring, early April has brought in some rainy days, followed by sunny blue skies and 70 degree temperatures, just in time to bring the garden out of its dormancy. It is time for another Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Foliage Follow-up, so come along with me on a tour of my Long Island garden!
Perennial Border April
The perennial border by the back patio comes a little more to life with every passing day with the arrival of new foliage and blooms. While Crocus, Hyacinth and Daffodils are in bloom, Allium, Astilbe, Lilies, Coneflowers, Hosta and Peony start to show their new spring foliage.
Purple Crocus
Crocus is one of my favorite introductions to spring with their beautiful purple, white or yellow blooms that close by night and open by day.
Purple Crocus
The morning sunshine warms and opens the blooms, bringing cheer to start the day.
White Crocus
These white crocus are so pure and beautiful and are a welcomed sight in the spring garden. The pollen lined anthers emerge from the centers of each bloom.
Pink Hyacinth
Hyacinth blooms in shades of pink and purple become fuller with each passing day and last for weeks. As you can see, these two are right next to each other in the perennial border.
Purple Hyacinth
The hyacinths had a slow start this spring with colder than usual March temperatures, but the sudden warmer temperatures we have been experiencing have put them right back on schedule.
Miniature Daffodils
The miniature daffodils are now fully opened as they display their bright yellow, cheery blooms! The pollinators love them too!
Itoh Peony Foliage
Itoh Peony 'Bartella' is right on schedule with its sturdy new foliage which glows a pinkish-red. Voluminous yellow blooms will appear in May as foliage turns to green.
Hellebore 'Shooting Star' April
These Hellebores have been blooming non-stop in the northern garden since February. The blooms of 'Shooting Star' turn from shades of greenish white to pink.
Hellebore 'Shooting Star' April
I just planted a new member of the Hellebore family...Helleborus 'Dark and Handsome' in my garden for more winter interest. I am looking forward to it maturing and producing the unusual purplish-black blooms it is known for. Hellebores are a new favorite in the garden, for they provide interest in the wintertime as well as in early spring.
Salix caprea Pendula (Weeping Pussy Willow) April
Springtime is a delight with Salix caprea 'Pendula' (Weeping Pussy Willow). I look forward to its lovely silvery catkins that burst open, exposing yellow pollen covered anthers.
Weeping Pussy Willow April
Here is a long view of the tree and gardens behind it. The upright Western Arborvitae in the backdrop have really matured and are now approximately twenty five feet tall.
Magnolia Tree
As we move along to the northwestern section of the backyard, we approach the pool area and the Star Magnolia tree, which was planted in 1996. It has matured into quite a beauty and is filled with blooms in April.
Magnolia 'Royal Star' Bloom
The creamy white delicate blooms are magnificent against the blue sky and the sweet fragrance is evident while close up.
Magnolia 'Royal Star' Bloom
Magnolia 'Royal Star' is a hardy, cold tolerant form of Magnolia which thrives in zones 4-8 and requires full sun to partial shade. The tree stays compact when compared to others, reaching a height and width of about 10-15 feet tall by 10-12 feet wide.
Front Driveway Garden (Skylands' Golden Oriental Spruce, Coral Bark Maple, Golden Hinoki Cypress and Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar)
As we approach the front driveway garden, Golden Oriental Spruce 'Skylands' and Coral Bark Maple take front stage. The bark on the Maple can still be seen glowing red, and light green foliage will be appearing soon as the temperatures warm.
Spirea 'Magic Carpet'  Spring Foliage
Spirea 'Magic Carpet' has its foliage starting to appear! Magic Carpet Spirea is hardy in zones 4-9 and displays colorful foliage that starts off as a burnished red in spring and fades to a bright golden hue  in summer. In fall, the foliage turns to russet red and finally bronze. Bright pink blooms adorn the shrub throughout the summer months.
As we move along the front yard, across on the median is the Forthysia I planted years ago. It has now matured and I enjoy looking out the front window at its vibrant yellow blooms each spring.
Violas for April
Violas are a sign that spring has arrived and of course every year I visit the local nursery on opening day to purchase these lovely little blooms. They will even re-seed themselves in my garden occasionally when the conditions are right.

Welcome to Our Garden!
Every garden needs a little whimsy. This little welcome sign resides in the herb garden...and this garden helper tends to the back pool area, bringing joy to all who encounter him.

Garden Whimsy
Spring Planter
Spring is bountiful with all its colorful blooms. Author Barbara Winkler quotes, "Every gardener knows under the cloak of winter lies a miracle...a seed waiting to sprout, a bulb opening to light, a bud straining to unfurl. And the anticipation nurtures our dreams." Part of the beauty of winter is the anticipation of spring and the excitement of awaiting its first blooms!
First Spring Robin!
April 2017 Garden

I hope you enjoyed your stroll through my April garden. Special thanks go out to our hostesses Carol at May Dreams Gardens, who makes it possible to see blooms on the 15th of every month with her meme Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Pam at Digging for hosting Foliage Follow-Up. I am also linking with some other wonderful hosts and hostesses at Today's Flowers, Floral Fridays, Macro Monday 2, and Nature Notes at Rambling Woods. Also check out Garden Bloggers' Foliage Day at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides.

Gardening season is here! Have you had a chance to check out my books? If not, you can see my author page with links to previews of both books here. The first, A Guide to Northeastern Gardening focuses on specific types of gardens with plant recommendations and maintenance tips to keep your garden looking its best. The second book, Landscape Design Combinations goes into greater detail, teaching the concepts of design, while offering a multitude of garden plans with numbering and detailed descriptions of each plant suggested. If you have read either A Guide to Northeastern Gardening or Landscape Design Combinations and found them to be useful, please consider leaving a brief review. Reviews help a book get noticed and I would really appreciate your help! Best wishes for a wonderful and successful gardening season, and I hope to inspire you!
Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening, © Copyright 2017. All rights reserved


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