Friday, April 15, 2016

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow-Up April 2016 - Spring at Last!

April 2016 Garden
Spring arrived like a lion as Mother Nature graced the landscape with her last snow of the season. It quickly melted within the same day to expose the spring bulbs that had been well under way.  After an unusually mild winter, the first week and a half of April had been one of the coldest on record with prolonged periods of rain.  Now we cannot complain too much about the rain, since “April showers bring May flowers”, as the expression implies.  Also, within the past two days spring has finally arrived in all its glory, with temperatures in the upper 50's and 60's and blooms starting to appear everywhere.  Come walk with me through my Long Island garden.      
Spirea 'Limemound' Foliage

We start the tour with some new spring foliage. Just within the past couple of days the foliage on the 'Limemound' Spirea has appeared with its new pinkish-orange hues for spring. One of the interesting characteristics of Spirea is that the foliage transitions into many hues throughout the different seasons, and of course the blooms are lovely as well.
Dwarf White Pine and Daylily 'Stella D Oro' 
In the back gardens, evergreens such as this dwarf White Pine are showing new growth, and 'Stella D Oro' Daylilies are emerging with their bright green foliage.

Weeping Pussy Willow (Salix caprea 'Pendula')
One of my favorite trees in the backyard is this Weeping Pussy Willow, which is abundant with brightly colored catkins every spring.  I can see this one right from my kitchen window and there is a lot of activity, as the birds love to nest in it.
Magnolia 'Royal Star'
The 'Royal Star' Magnolia is another welcomed sight every spring.  Its beautiful white blooms cast a fragrance that can be detected across the property and I just cannot get enough of this lovely tree.
Magnolia 'Royal Star' Bloom
The blooms are like a piece of nature's artwork that appear in many forms with no two exactly alike.
Magnolia Royal Star
The flowering period is short-lived, but worth every moment!
Nepeta 'Walkers Low' April
As we stroll around to the back garden beds, Nepeta 'Walkers Low' is starting to emerge from its winter's sleep and is sporting its lovely silvery foliage, which will soon give way to brilliant lavender blooms.
Miniature Daffodils
The Miniature Daffodils are showing their delicate yellow blooms. They were introduced into the perennial border just last year.
Miniature Daffodils
This is also the second year for Allium 'Globemaster', which has been pushing up foliage since March. I wait in anticipation for the giant stalks to form which will be topped with voluminous purple blooms in June.
Allium Globe Master New Foliage
Here are Hyacinths, which are very reliable in the perennial border...
Pink Hyacinths
with hues of pinks and purples and fragrant scent. I bought more purple bulbs this year because I just couldn't resist! They are always such a welcomed sight.
Purple Hyacinths
Violas are also fun to look forward to in spring.  I purchased these from the local nursery on opening day in March and they are still blooming away. There are also some in the garden bed that re-seeded from last year, which I am enjoying as well.
As we take a look at the front gardens, there are hints of life as perennials start to appear among the evergreens...
Driveway Evergreens and Perennials Starting to Show
and of course the evergreens are what provide reliable structure in all the seasons.
Front Gardens and  Walkway
The Caramel Coral Bells are also showing spring is here as they sprout new growth after the winter. Grape Hyacinths are also showing their delicate purple blooms.
Grape Hyacinths
Hellebore 'Shooting Star' April
Here is another one of my favorite additions to the garden.  Planted last winter, these Hellebores have been blooming from January until now...making a bloom time of four months. They have bloomed through snow and cold, and everything else that has been handed to them.
'Skylands' Oriental Spruce and Coral Bark Maple (Acer palmatum 'Sango-kaku')
In the distance behind the Golden Oriental Spruce, you can see the buds of the Coral Bark Maple swelling to display a pinkish hue.  Soon the leaves will appear as a light green. Coreopsis 'Zagreb' is showing the start of foliage and will also soon be in bloom.
Back Perennial Border

Now that the Hyacinths and Daffodils are coming to the end of their bloom period, Daylilies, Allium, Astilbe, Coneflower and Hosta are all starting to emerge, preparing for the next round of blooms.
April 2016 Garden
I  hope you enjoyed the 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 FlowersFloral FridaysMosaic Monday at Lavender Cottage, I Heart MacroMacro Monday 2, and Nature Notes at Rambling Woods.  Also check out What's Blooming This Week Garden Update.

Celebrating my 200th Post!

Have you checked out my book A Guide to Northeastern Gardening: Journeys of a Garden Designer?  Here it is on Amazon

As Always...Happy Gardening!

Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening, © Copyright 2016. All rights reserved

Thursday, March 31, 2016

National Tropical Botanical Garden-Limahuli Garden & Preserve: Kauai, Hawaii

Limahuli Garden, Kauai
Today's garden tour travels beyond the Northeast. The Limahuli Garden and Preserve, located at the beginning of the Na Pali Coast on the north shore of Kauai in the Pacific west, has been named as the best natural botanical garden in the United States by the American Horticultural Society. The gardens are known to be the home of 250 taxa of rare and endangered native plants and birds (50 of which are on the verge of extinction), that are protected and maintained by the National Tropical Botanical Garden, an organization recognized for its outstanding involvement in the preservation of Hawaii's native flora.
Limahuli Garden, Kauai

Aloha! Limahuli Garden, Kauai
Aloha and welcome to a virtual tour of the Limahuli Garden!
Limahuli Garden, Kauai
Entering the gardens, these ancient lava rock terraces are the archaeological remains of a large agricultural complex where Polynesians grew food for their communities.  The plants grown here are referred to "canoe plants", as many of them were brought over by early Polynesians as they voyaged across the Pacific to the islands by canoe.   
Traditional Hawaiian Hale House Limahuli Garden, Kauai
 The ancient Hawaiians constructed hale houses of tropical resources which were  highly abundant; hence, respecting and protecting the forest community of the Limahuli valley.  
Limahuli Garden, Kauai

Hawaiian Ti Plant (Cordyline fruticosa) in Plantation Era Garden Limahuli Garden, Kauai
The smooth, waxy leaves of this familiar Polynesian plant served many purposes, including wrapping food for cooking or storing, thatch for houses, and as a material for rain capes and sandals. Ti was considered sacred by the early Hawaiians and was an emblem of high rank and divine power. It was worn as protection against evil spirits and was important in ancient ceremonial rituals.
Limahuli Garden, Kauai

Hibiscus arnottianus Limahuli Garden, Kauai
Hibiscus is referred to as pua aloalo in the Hawaiian language and are seen growing all over the island. Many were brought here as ornamentals but the arnottianus variety are endemic to the islands.
Tropical Hibiscus Limahuli Garden, Kauai

Ravenala madagascariensis (Traveller's Tree,Traveller's Palm or Peacock Fan Palm) Limahuli Garden, Kauai
This large fan-like tree is not a true palm but rather a member of the flowering plant family Strelitziaceae. The flower it forms in the center very much resembles the Bird of Paradise, as seen below.
Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae) Limahuli Garden, Kauai
The beautiful and unusual Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae) came to Hawaii in the 19th century as an ornamental and continues to be an admired plant by many. It's striking colors and appearance of blooms resembling a bird's beak and feathers is intriguing.
Bromeliad Limahuli Garden, Kauai

Plantation Era Garden Limahuli Garden, Kauai
The Plantation Era Garden is the home to pineapple. mango, papaya, fragrant plumeria, gardenia, colorful orchids, Bird of Paradise, ginger and heliconia.  These plants are not indigenous to the Hawaiian Islands, but were brought over from other locations less than 200 years ago. The enormous changes to the culture and ecology of Hawaii started in the mid-1800s after Captain Cook anchored off the islands in 1778. During the Plantation Period the local Hawaiian culture emerged, mixing old traditions with the customs of new immigrants.
Rainforest Life Limahuli Garden, Kauai

Monstera deliciosa (Swiss Cheese Plant) Limahuli Garden, Kauai

Aerial Roots Hala (Pandanus tectorius) Limahuli Garden, Kauai
Hala is a native plant of Hawaii that was used by early Polynesians for weaving into mats, baskets, flooring and pillows and also for the sails for canoes. These trees grow to a height of approximately twenty feet and produce thick aerial roots that spread into the ground.
Limahuli Garden, Kauai

Limahuli Garden, Kauai
Through habit loss and the competition of invasive species, Hawaii has lost many of its native species, but along the trails in the Limahuli Garden, remaining native species have been preserved and saved from possible extinction.
Alula (Brighamia insignis) Endangered Species
This Alula is an endangered species that is native to Kauai and extinct in other parts of the world.  Alula suffered a serious decline in population from Hurricane Iniki  in 1992,  which destroyed half the natural population, leaving only one remaining growing in the wild. The National Tropical Botanical Garden has made an increased effort in protecting and growing this endangered plant, saving it from extinction. An even greater treat is to experience one of these rare and unusual plants in bloom, which makes it even more amazing!
Awapuhi Shampoo Ginger (Zingiber zerumbet)
This Polynesian introduction was the dominant ground cover in the Limahuli forest.  The ancient Hawaiians used "awapuhi" for shampoo, medicine and to scent kapa fabric, which was made from the fibers of certain trees and shrubs. The plants we encountered were approximately four feet in height with unusual white blooms that emerge from large cone-shaped bracts.
(Crinum augustum) Queen Emma or Spider Lily

Bread Fruit, Ulu (Artocarpus altilis)
Breadfruit or Ulu, as it is named in Hawaiian, was one of the few life-sustaining plants the Polynesians brought with them when they sailed to the Hawaiian Islands.The fruit and seeds of all three species are edible and very nutritious filled with vitamin B, calcium and complex carbohydrates. Ulu is known as the "tree of bread" in Hawaii.
Araucaria columnaris (Cook Pine) Limahuli Garden and Preserve Whale Trail
This trail extends along the northern coast line of Kauai and overlooks the Pacific Ocean below where endangered Humpback whales migrate to Hawaii from the North Pacific every winter to give birth to their young. The tall narrow pines are known as "Cook Pines", named after Captain James Cook. They were first classified by botanists during Cook's second voyage in the late 1700's. 
Bali Hai,  Limahuli Garden and Preserve
Almost magical, Bali Hai, also known as the Makana Mountain, can be found in the Limahuli Gardens. The name for this peak means reward or “gift from heaven” in the Hawaiian language. The movie South Pacific released in 1960 featured this mountain as a forbidden but exotic island called Bali Hai. From that time on, the name “Bali Hai” has stayed with this special place, and if you use your imagination...maybe just maybe you can hear the gentle breezes coming from the mountain as if it is calling to the legend implies.
Limahuli Garden and Preserve
Limahuli Gardens are truly a wonderful and magical place in which the flora, fauna and culture of the Hawaiian islands is nurtured and preserved. I hope you enjoyed the virtual tour out of the northeast to the gardens of the west Pacific. 

For further information visit Limahuli Gardens and Preserve.


As Always...Happy Gardening!

Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening, Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.


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