Monday, June 1, 2020

This Month in the Garden: Sustainable Gardening-Design of a Lawnless Landscape

This Month in the Garden: Sustainable Gardening-Design of a Lawnless Landscape 
Welcome to This Month in the garden! With today’s busy lifestyles and overwhelming schedules, many homeowners prefer to forego a lawn, yet still desire a functional and welcoming landscape. This could be a challenging task, but with careful planning, the goal can be achieved with optimum results.
Front Garden Before
I received a request for such a garden a couple of years ago from a client that no longer wanted the challenge of having to mow a lawn every week or hire someone else to do it. The client wanted to achieve a garden that could be enjoyed and also desired a place where seasonal vegetables and strawberries could be grown. As a designer, the planning of the garden took several steps and my job was to incorporate both hardscape and plantings into a functional, yet aesthetically pleasing garden. 
Front Garden After
The process started with the clearing of a large tree that was very close to the house and had overgrown its space. Afterward, environmental conditions were noted and careful measurements were taken of the site. Landscape flags were used to lay out curving bed-lines and list of desirable low maintenance evergreens, flowering shrubs and perennials was compiled along the the client. 
Front Garden After
Once the area for the garden beds was marked, I imagined a “lawn” composed of pea gravel with irregular bluestone stepping-stones, which would serve the purpose of guiding visitors from the front driveway to the main entrance, to an adjacent pond area and then towards the backyard. In the backyard, raised vegetable planters would be positioned in a central region allowing for easy access with plantings along the perimeter. Additional stepping-stones were used to access the raised beds. The lack of lawn also would create a more sustainable landscape with less watering needed.
Back Garden Before
The front gardens consist of various evergreens, such as holly, euonymus, Skip Laurel, Blue Globe Spruce, Hinoki Cypress and Japanese Garden Juniper with flowering shrubs such as Magic Carpet Spirea and Hydrangea. Various long-blooming perennials such as Salvia ‘May Night', Echinacea ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ and Daylily ‘Stella D Oro’ were added for summer color into fall. Evergold Sedge and Variegated Liriope were incorporated to a add a low maintenance grass-like element to the garden and pond area.
Conceptual Rendering
The back gardens consist of Emerald Green Arborvitae and Skip Laurel along the perimeter, giving a sense of privacy, along with various flowering shrubs such as Little Lime Hydrangea, Double Knock Out Roses, Crape Myrtle and Tree Hydrangea. Assorted perennials were also added for continuous color throughout the growing season. Above is a computer generated conceptual layout of the backyard design.
Back Garden After
The area comprising the "lawn area" in both the front and back yards was cleared and prepared with a compacted RCA base. Paths were constructed of landscape fabric and edging with a 2-3 inch thick layer of 3/4" pea gravel with Pennsylvania irregular bluestone inserts added for walking. Two Railroad Tie Planter Boxes (approximately 3.5 x 7 x 26”H) were each constructed with open gravel filled bases for drainage. Drip Irrigation lines were run in preparation for plantings.
Pennsylvania Irregular Bluestone Walkway in Pea Gravel Base
Pennsylvania irregular bluestone on a pea gravel base with landscape edging makes for an informal and inviting walkway.
Back Garden After
The completed project turned out to be a huge success and created both an enjoyable and functional atmosphere to be enjoyed by the homeowner for years to come.
Front Garden 1 Year Later
 Here is the front garden one year later. As you can see, the plantings are already starting to mature...
Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit'
 and here is a view of  Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit' that the homeowner sent me. 
This Month in the Garden: Sustainable Gardening-Design of a Lawnless Landscape 
I hope you enjoyed This Month in the Garden for June. Be sure to stop by on the 1st. of each month for This Month in the Garden, as I share gardening tips, information and horticultural adventures! Linking with: Floral FridaysMacro Monday 2Friday Photo JournalImage-in-ing Weekly Photo Link-Up and Dishing It & Digging It.

Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening,© Copyright 2010-2020. All rights reserved.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow Up May: The Spring Garden Brings Blooms & Joy!

Welcome to my May Garden!
Welcome to Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Foliage Follow-Up for the month of May as I share my passion of everything green. Many of us have experienced unusual weather patterns over the past few years, but this one takes the prize. For the first time in over a century, May 9th brought in a cold front with a daytime high of 46 degrees accompanied by snow squalls. Thankfully, it was a short visit, returning to normal conditions the following day. As the spring temperatures are now mostly in upper 50's to lower 60's, I find myself more engulfed in my own gardens as well as well as the gardens of my clients, which brings me much joy. I call the garden my "happy place" because it is where I feel at most in my element. Join me for a tour of my May Long Island garden. The first stop is to admire the cherry blossoms!
 Prunus serrulata 'Kwanzan' (Kwanzan Flowering Cherry)
This Kwanzan Cherry was planted in 2017 to replace an ailing Maple tree that was in the southwest portion of the property and it was one of the best gardening decisions I ever made. I absolutely love this tree and get to enjoy its display of cherry blossoms every spring right in my own backyard!

Cherry Blossoms!
Here are the blooms up close! They remind me of the childhood trips we used to take to Washington D.C. to see the cherry blossoms.
'Shadowland' Hosta
I added these 'Shadowland' Hosta on each side of the bird bath behind the Cherry tree and they are really starting to come into their element with their attractive golden highlighted foliage. 
Rosemary Blooms!
In the herb garden, the Rosemary is still blooming and has been for the past month! I had never seen it flower like this in the past and am enjoying its bluish-purple blooms!
Allium 'Globemaster' Buds!
Follow this way to the pool border. Allium 'Globemaster' is producing its buds and they get larger by the day. They will turn into four inch spherical purple globe-like blooms by the end of this month and into June. 
Western Pool Border
As we venture into what I call one of my "secret gardens", on the way is Girard's Crimson Azalea. Next to the azalea are Weeping White Pine on the right and 'Nigra' Arborvitae on the left. As the garden wraps around, there is a strip of lawn which creates a path leading to the more southern section of the property.
Southern Pool Border and Fenceline
Once we get to the end of the path, we will turn around and head back eastward. Along the way, you may notice the Purple Leaf Flowering Plum (Prunus Krauter Vesuvius) on the right and the Girard's Fuchsia Azalea blooming to the left. Crape Myrtle (not yet foliated) is in the distance moving forward, bordered by Gold Lace Juniper.
Perennial Border
In the perennial border, Itoh Peony 'Bartzella' is showing off its wonderful burgundy-tinged new foliage and buds, which will open later in May and bloom into June. Stay tuned!
Crape Myrtle Garden Bed
Let's swing back to the southern island bed where my Crape Myrtle resides so you can get a closer view of the Gold Lace Juniper that borders the tree, along with perennials such as Ajuga, Heuchera and Sedum. There is a backdrop of boxwood behind the planting, with an iris garden residing along the fenceline. 
Iris Garden
The Japanese Iris are now forming their buds.
Garden Love!
Another grouping Girard's Fuchsia Azalea are starting to open up their flowers. There will soon be an array of color behind my favorite statue! 
Back Island Bed
Here is one of my all-time favorite plant combinations, which was highlighted along with others in my second book, Landscape Design Combinations! The burgundy foliage and purple blooms of the Ajuga 'Burgundy Glow' displays itself beautifully against the backdrop of Heuchera 'Caramel' and Sedum 'Brilliant', plus there are also some purple Salvia 'May Night' to the left to add to the mix.
Viburnum carlesii  Blooming
Fragrant blooms of viburnum are a highlight during the month of May. The walk to the back garden is worth the visit!
Japanese Forest Grass ((Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola')
Japanese Forest Grass is that multi-purpose perennial that just keeps on giving. I admire its bright variegated foliage spring through fall.
Welcoming Committee
It just wouldn't be the same if it weren't for the welcoming (and thanks for visiting) committee by the back patio, as they greet visitors to the garden. Now that we've toured the back, come along to the front section of the property and see what's new.
'Cercis canadensis 'Covey' (Lavender Twist Redbud)
In the front east facing foundation garden, there are two new additions...that is two new 'Lavender Twist' Redbud. The two Weeping Birch trees, which had lived a long life, had fallen victim to old age. They thrived many years past their expected lifetime and for that I am grateful. After much contemplation as to what to put in the space, I selected these Redbuds, which are indeed amazing. 
'Cercis canadensis 'Covey' (Lavender Twist Redbud)
Known as Lavender Twist, this Redbud has twisted branches on which these delicate lavender blooms emerge. I will look forward to their blooms each spring and cannot wait until the trees are covered in their foliage!
Weeping Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum dissectum 'Viridis'
Speaking of foliage, the newly produced light green foliage of the Weeping Japanese Maple is amazing at this time of year.
Front Island Bed
Here is another perspective of the Japanese Maple on the front lawn along with Weeping Norway Spruce in the foreground and Blue Atlas Cedar in the background. They are all some distance apart, but appear together in one's line of sight.
I hope you enjoyed your visit!
Stay safe and well and I hope you enjoyed your visit to my May garden. As always, I thank you for being here and hope you experienced a smile along the way. 🙂Special thanks go out to our hostess 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. Also, special thanks to Pam Penick at Digging who has hosted Foliage Follow-Up for all these years, a meme I will still continue to honor. I am also linking with some other wonderful hosts and hostesses at Floral Friday FotosMacro Monday 2, Mosaic Monday at Letting Go of the Bay Leaf, Nature Notes at Rambling WoodsDishing It & Digging It on Sunday with Angie the Freckled Rose, Image-in-ing weekly photo share every Tuesday with NC Sue and Gardens Galore Link Up Party every other Monday with Everyday Living. I am also happy to join the Homestead Blog Hop  and Weekly Photo Link-Up at My Corner of the World on Wednesdays.

Looking for some gardening inspiration?-Visit my Author Page
Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening,© Copyright 2010-2020. All rights reserved.

Friday, May 1, 2020

This Month in the Garden: New Edibles for 2020 from the Growers at Proven Winners!

THIS MONTH IN THE GARDEN
Welcome to This Month in the Garden! Proven Winners has a new line of edibles with some outstanding introductions for 2020. I've had the honor of testing them out in my garden this past summer and they are each deserving of recognition. Be sure to check them out in this spring's market!

Goodhearted Tempting Tomatoes 

This compact cherry-sized tomato is perfectly sized for growing in containers and hanging baskets and produces a hearty harvest of juicy semi-sweet fruit in July-August. The almost heart-shaped appearance of this tomato makes it attractive so it can serve as an ornamental and edible at the same time! This new variety will produce tomatoes for an extended period of time and thrive in heat and humidity. Fruit ripens in approximately 65 to 72 days. Plant in full sun and keep well watered. Height 8-12 ", Spread 12-18"
Fire Away Hot and Heavy Peppers
Fire Away Hot and Heavy is the first introduction of hot pepper by Proven Winners. This sweet and spicy snack pepper is compact enough to grow in a container and provides a sweet and spicy punch with a heat level that is slightly higher than a jalapeno! Fruits start off green and mature to yellow and then to bright red, but can be picked at any stage. Fruiting occurs approximately 65-72 days after planting, producing peppers that are approximately 3 inches in length. Plant in full sun and keep well watered. Height 16-24", Spread 12-18" 
Berried Treasure Strawberry (Introduced 2019)
This strawberry is truly a treasure which is both ornamental and functional. Lovely double pinkish-red flowers are followed by tasty fruits that keep going all summer long. The plant is compact enough to be grown in either a small garden or container and is hardy in USDA hardiness zones 4-9. I have been enjoying this beauty for its second year in the garden and it just keep getting better! Plant in full sun and provide moderate watering. Height 12-16", Spread 18-24"

I hope you enjoyed This Month in the Garden for May. Be sure to check out the Proven Winners website and stop by on the 1st. of each month for This Month in the Garden, as I share gardening tips, information and horticultural adventures! Linking with:  Floral FridaysMacro Monday 2Friday Photo JournalImage-in-ing Weekly Photo Link-Up and Dishing It & Digging It.

For more gardening information...

~As Always...Happy Gardening! ~


Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening,© Copyright 2010-2020. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow-Up April: The Garden Brings Refuge and Peace

Welcome to my April Garden!
Welcome to Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Foliage Follow-Up for the month of April, a time when gardeners venture into their surroundings to appreciate all the beauty that nature has to offer. During these uncertain times around the world, I have been finding the garden to be a place of refuge, solitude and peace now more than ever. Having been somewhat on hold from traveling to the gardens of my clients, I now spend up to four to five hours a day doing what I love most...pruning, weeding, planting and putting my hands in the dirt. As a matter of fact, the dirtier my hands and the infamous purple Crocs become signifies the total productivity of the day.
April Garden
Spring temperatures and earlier than usual blooms have been the trend this gardening season. In past years, it has been way to chilly to work outdoors in April, but everything is accelerated. Weeds are on the verge, shrubs are pushing out new growth, blooms are popping up everywhere and the lawn is growing like crazy! Days have been mostly clear with temperatures topping in the upper 50's and low 60's, setting the stage for a pleasant and enjoyable gardening experience. As we take time to be thankful for nature's beauty, come take a stroll with me in my garden.
Helleborus orientalis 'Dark and Handsome'
One of my favorite blooms to transition from winter to spring are Helleborus, otherwise known as Lenten Rose. I love them for the fact that they start blooming in January (depending on the variety) and keep going all the way through April. This one is called 'Dark and Handsome' and rightfully so. It's gorgeous purplish-black blooms are irresistible!
Helleborus orientalis 'Champion'
This Helleborus 'Champion' is new to the garden this season. Right before the pandemic broke out, I had gone to a local nursery with a friend and spotted them. I did not buy them right away, but after one night of "sleeping on it", I quickly ventured back to purchase the only three that they had. It had been a purchase that was meant to be.
Helleborus orientalis 'Merlin'
Helleborus 'Merlin', planted last year, is another beauty similar to 'Shooting Star', only a bit more pink in color. Also on the northern side of the property are Helleborus 'Shooting Star'. Their blooms are fading up now, since they first opened all the way back in January. All together, I have the four varieties, varying in color and bloom time. Could there be room for more? Fun Fact: Helleborus are hardy in USDA zones 4-8 and prefer to be grown in partial to full shade. The reason why their blooms have such a long lifespan is due to the fact that what appears as petals are actually sepals.
Hellebore 'Champion' Pool Garden
Here are the latest additions in their new home, comfortably positioned just outside the canopy of this Weeping White Pine, sheltered in shade from the afternoon sun.
Weeping Pussy Willow (Salix caprea 'Pendula')
Follow me around to the outer perimeter of the backyard patio where you'll see Weeping Pussy Willow (Salix caprea 'Pendula') loaded with fluffy white catkins. They are now opening to expose their yellow pollen, providing an attraction for pollinators.
Weeping Pussy Willow Catkin
Every spring the birds migrate to this tree and plan their nesting site. As mentioned in the past, there is a lot of competition for this prime piece of real estate! Throughout the entire day there is much chirping and activity to be seen in the branches above.
Flowering Plum Prunus cerasifera Krauter Vesuvius 
Venturing over to the southern fence line is the new flowering plum that replaced the troubled one last summer. The previous tree had a missing buttress root, making the tree very unstable. After a battle to keep it healthy, it had to be replaced. This is the first bloom for this new tree that I have gotten to experience and I must say I am loving it!
Flowering Plum (Prunus cerasifera Krauter Vesuvius) Blooms
Here you can see the blooms close up. Flowering Plum blooms are small, but so delicate and fragrant. The deep burgundy foliage that follows really makes a statement in the landscape.
View From Back Patio
I hope you are enjoying the tour so far. I am always talking about the different sections of the garden, so let's try something new. Come take a seat in my favorite chair and view the garden as I see it every morning. You are facing west right now and the blooming Magnolia tree is to the north. The flowering Plum is to the south, so that would be located towards the far left side of the pool area.
Magnolia stellata 'Royal Star'
Now that you have a sense of direction, we are headed back to the northwestern side of the property (to the right of the pool area) to see the Magnolia up close. It might be my imagination, but I think with the mild winter this is the best bloom this tree has shown yet.
Magnolia 'Royal Star' Bloom
Here are the blooms close up. If you want fragrance, this is the tree for you!
Peony 'Bartzella' Foliage
Right in front of the west facing patio is Peony 'Bartzella' showing its brand new deep burgundy foliage before it turns to green. Large yellow blooms will follow in May, so look out for those in next months post!
Hyacinth
Hyacinth is a reliable bulb that produces fragrant long-lasting blooms in early spring. As you know, it is available in an assortment of colors including pink, salmon, yellow, white and the purple one seen here. Tip: Hyacinths grow best in zones 4-8 and require a period of colder temperatures in order to bloom.

Garden Visitor
There have been generation after generation of bunnies in the garden over the years and to my good fortune they have been well behaved and respectful of their surroundings. This visitor remained in the same place under a spirea shrub for an entire day and didn't even flinch with strollers passing by. I think it may be a mamma looking for a place to have her babies. Time will tell.
Spirea 'Limemound' Foliage
Here is the foliage on the Spirea 'Goldmound' starting to emerge. 
Miniature Daffodils
In the perennial border, the miniature Daffodils are blooming along with Hyacinth and remaining Crocus, while the foliage of Allium, Hosta, Astilbe, Daylily, Stachys, Salvia and Echinacea grows taller by the day.
Nepeta 'Walkers Low'
In the southern bed, Nepeta 'Walkers Low' is starting to appear.
Backyard Patio Garden
Everyday brings something new to explore as a renewal of life accelerates again in the garden. It comes at a good time.
Winter-Spring Bear
On the patio, "winter bear", transitions into "spring bear"...
Miniature Garden
and the new miniature garden added last season has over-wintered very well. Left to right is Variegated Boxwood, Compact Juniper and Golden Dwarf Hinoki Cypress. The addition of mulch, decorative logs and a small rock add to its character.
Tulips to Make You Smile!
To end the tour are these tulips, which grow just across the street in Mrs. O'Hara's garden. She is the gardener next door who I've lovingly written about in my latest book. Having grown up and remained in the same home all my life, she has been like a second mom to me, and it is Mrs. O'Hara who has greatly influenced my passion of gardening since childhood.
April Garden-Thanks for Visiting!
Stay safe and well and I hope you too can find refuge and peace in the garden. I thank you for being here, hope you enjoyed your visit, and perhaps got a smile along the way. 🙂Special thanks go out to our hostess 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. Also, special thanks to Pam Penick at Digging who has hosted Foliage Follow-Up for all these years, a meme I will still continue to honor. I am also linking with some other wonderful hosts and hostesses at Floral Friday FotosMacro Monday 2, Mosaic Monday at Letting Go of the Bay Leaf, Nature Notes at Rambling WoodsDishing It & Digging It on Sunday with Angie the Freckled Rose, Image-in-ing weekly photo share every Tuesday with NC Sue and Gardens Galore Link Up Party every other Monday with Everyday Living. I am also happy to join the Homestead Blog Hop  and Weekly Photo Link-Up at My Corner of the World on Wednesdays.

Looking for some garden reading?-Visit my Author Page
Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening,© Copyright 2010-2020. All rights reserved.

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