Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow-Up February 2017: Winter Garden Interest

February 2017  Long Island Garden
The winter is winding down with just 32 days left until spring! It has been another unpredictable season with temperatures fluctuating anywhere between 20 degrees to temperatures in the 50's. We had one significant snowfall in January with occasional coatings in the forecast, only to be followed by warmer days and melting. Less than a week ago on the 9th, we were hit out of the blue with Winter Storm Niko, bringing blizzard force winds and 15 inches of accumulating snow to Long Island. The rains came,  washing away much of the snow, and now it's blue skies and cold. It is time for another Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Foliage Follow-Up so let's take a stroll in my February garden. There is a combination of structure and winter blooms, with some subtle signs of spring!
February 10th (Day After Winter Storm Niko-February 9th 2017)
Before we move along with the tour, here are a couple of snow scenes from just six days ago. Winter Storm Niko left the landscape covered in a glistening blanket of white, as it had been back in January from Winter Storm Helena.
February 10th (Day After Winter Storm Niko-February 9th 2017)
The day after a winter storm there is something magical about the gardens being covered in a blanket of snow, especially with there is a deep blue sky. All the colors seem to be more vibrant and amplified. While there still remains a thin coating of glistening snow upon much of the landscape, the snow has melted around many of the garden beds and Winter Storm Niko is just a memory. We are aiming to get back onto spring track. Come along with me to see the gardens!
Skyland's Oriental spruce and Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar
 We start with the front driveway bed with Skyand's Oriental Spruce with its bright golden foliage, along with Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar behind it to the left. Towering in the backdrop is the upright form of Blue Atlas Cedar, Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca'.
Blue Atlas Cedar (Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca')
Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca' is a majestic heat and drought tolerant evergreen with steel blue to frosty blue-green foliage. This impressive tree reaches heights of 40-50 feet tall by 20-25 feet wide and produces both male and female cones on the same plant. Finger-shaped male cones shed yellow pollen in autumn, while female egg-shaped cones form on mature plants, and turn from blue-green to lavender brown in color. 
Blue Atlas Cedar Cones February
Here are some of the male cones, which are more visible during the winter months.
Coral Bark Maple 'Sango Kaku'
For winter interest, Coral Bark Maple 'Sangu Kaku' displays bright coral-red bark during the colder months. The newer growth on the outer branches tends to be more pronounced in color and "glows" in front of a clear blue sky. Coral Bark Maple grows to a mature size of 20-25 feet tall by 15-20 feet wide.
Skyland's Golden Oriental Spruce
Here is the Skyland's Oriental Spruce that I planted back in 2008 as a memorial for my mom. Planted at just 7-8 feet tall, it now reaches a height of approximately 20 feet in stature. Mature size for this tree ranges between 10-35 feet in height by 4-12 feet wide. 
Skyland's Golden Oriental Spruce Foliage
Here is the foliage up close. Mature trees produce purplish-brown female cones. You can see some cones developing now during the month of February.  
Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar February Winter Interest
Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar is another favorite of mine. This one is located in the same driveway bed and now extends to approximately 20 feet in width by 8-10 feet tall.  The silvery-blue foliage provides structure and interest all year long. 
Foliage Combination
Now...around to the back yard...and in winter, it's all about the foliage! The deepening color of the Coral Bells behind the golden foliage of sedge makes a nice contrast, and is one of my favorite foliage combinations.
Montgomery Blue Spruce Foliage
Speaking of foliage, Blue Montgomery Spruce adds bright blue color to the February garden along the patio...
Leucothoe Axillaris
and Leucothoe displays medium to dark green glossy foliage in the back shade garden.
Weeping White Pine February
This Weeping White Pine was planted back in 1996 when the back pool garden was constructed and has become a statement. Weeping White Pine grows to a mature height and width of approximately 6-15 feet high by 10-12 feet wide, depending on individual plant and displays a graceful cascading habit.
Weeping White Pine Cone February
Mature plants produce these fabulous pine cones!
Nandina domestica (Heavenly Bamboo)
During wintertime Bloom Days, I always share these wonderful berries from Nandina domestica, also known as Heavenly Bamboo or False Bamboo. Not a true bamboo, it has a clumping habit and is not at all invasive.  Evergreen foliage (in zones 6-11) has the appearance of bamboo with voluminous bright red berries that appear in winter...one of my seasonal favorites!  This one is planted on the north side of the house.
Holly Nellie Stevens Berries Winter Interest
Another tree that produces red berries throughout winter is Nellie Stevens Holly. Mature trees produce so many berries that they can be seen from across the property. The berries are also an attraction for winter birds.
'Kousa' Dogwood and Evergreens Winter
The newly added Dogwood in the back north side beds is doing well.  If you remember, the Wisteria that had previously been in that spot was lost over the winter of 2015-16. I do miss the Wisteria at times, but am really enjoying the new Dogwood addition. I am looking forward to its blooms in late spring-early summer.
Hellebore 'Shooting Star' February Garden
While there are few winter blooming plants, here is Hellebore (or Lenten Rose), which is a welcomed addition in the winter landscape.
Hellebore 'Shooting Star' February Garden
I get so much enjoyment from their large pinkish-white blooms that start in February and last until early spring. The foliage remains evergreen throughout the year.
Backyard Garden Design
I love the fact that the garden is always changing and even some evergreens go through color changes during winter. These upright Western Arborvitae 'Virescens' along the back fence (center) turn a coppery hue in February, adding additional contrast to the winter garden. In spring, they turn back to a light green for the summer months.
Birdbath Winter
As the tour comes to an end, we pass by the granite birdbath in the back garden. The birds love it and I get so much pleasure out of watching them. The birdbath also acts as a piece of art in this shady spot.
Weeping Alaskan Cedar
Here is the Weeping Alaskan Cedar in the back southwest garden. After being in the garden for many years, it is really coming into its element as its branches widen. To date, it stands approximately 30 feet tall by 8 feet wide.
Rhododendron Elegans
While there are still several weeks of winter left, there are subtle signs of spring. Buds are forming on the Rhododendron...
Weeping Pussy Willow Catkin February
and some catkins are starting to show on the Weeping Pussy Willow by the back patio. There will be more sure signs of spring to come as the daylight hours grow longer.
Hawk Visitor
Lastly...you never know what kind of visitors you are going to get in your garden. I looked out the window this morning and this is what was sitting on top of my Japanese Maple. I haven't seen one of these in my garden for years and was lucky enough to get a photograph. I grabbed the telephoto lens and took the picture from indoors. It was a good thing as he quickly flew off!
February Long Island Garden
I hope you enjoyed your stroll through my February 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 and Saturday's Critters at Viewing Nature with Eileen.

Have you heard about my new book,Landscape Design Combinations? It is a continuation of my first book, with a greater emphasis on design, including numerous numbered and labeled photographs of successful landscape plans. Step by step, the book teaches the elements of landscape design, how to choose and place various types of plants to serve a function, and how to design for the seasons. Also included are illustrations on how to build a natural stone patio or walkway, simple container combinations and the development of different garden styles throughout the centuries. If you have read Landscape Design Combinations and found it to be useful, please consider leaving a brief reviewReviews help a new book get noticed, and I would really appreciate your help! Click on the link below for a preview. I hope to inspire you!


 Next up on the 28th. is "Color Our World Round Up" for the month of February, then "This Month's Color in the Garden" on the 7th. Also...celebrating 7 years of garden blogging on February 17th!

WAIT!!! There's more! A blogging colleague is doing a review and giveaway of my first book. You can visit her beautiful blog and enter a comment to win at Three Dogs in a Garden. 
(Deadline for entry is February 25th.)

As Always...Happy Gardening!

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

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

This Month's Color in the Garden February 2017: Hellebore-Pink Blooms for Winter

Hellebores for Winter Blooms

Hellebores, also known as Lenten Rose or Christmas Rose are grown for their winter interest in the garden. The plants are frost-resistant and produce showy blooms starting in late-winter, when other perennials in the garden are dormant.  I was fortunate to have found some of these wonderful plants at a local nursery two years back, and they have proven to be a rewarding addition to the winter landscape.
Hellebore 'Shooting Star'

There are 22 species of Hellebore with different bloom times and flower colors.  Many of the species are evergreen, possessing leathery deep green foliage. Hellebores can be grown in full sun to full shade, but mostly prefer a partially shady spot, such as a northern exposure. Plant Hellebore in a slightly acidic, moderately moist, but well-drained soil and be careful not to plant too deeply. Like Peony, the crown should be just covered with soil, because planting too deeply inhibits flower production. Bloom time is during late winter and into early spring and buds are often a pinkish-white, followed by beautiful three to four-inch wide blooms in February. Plants grow to a height and width of approximately 1-2 feet.
Hellebore Foliage and Buds

Out of the different species, the most popular and easiest to grow are the Oriental hybrid hellebores (Helleborus x hybridus), hardy in USDA hardiness zones 6–9. Their common name is Lenten rose because their blooms resemble those of roses and they bloom around the beginning of Lent, in late winter. Hellebores come in a variety of colors, including pink, white, green, apricot and purple, and can either exhibit a solid color or combination of hues with colorful specks towards the center. Flower shape includes that of single bloom, double bloom or star-shaped.
Hellebore Winter Blooms (Photo Credit:  Center portion of Photo Monrovia Brandywine Collection)

Use of Hellebores dates all the way back from 1400 BC, when they were used by herbalists to cleanse the mind of all irrational habits. Considered as both a poison and medicinal remedy, the roots, leaves and rhizomes of certain Hellebores were also used as a strong laxative for cleansing livestock taken ill. Back in Biblical times, the flower got its nickname of Christmas Rose because it was believed to be discovered from underneath the snow by a young shepherd girl named Madelon, who brought it as a gift to the newborn Christ. The ancient Greeks associated the flower with demons and possession, and considered it a cure for insanity. Although Hellebore is toxic, its parts when used in small amounts served a number of medicinal uses. The leaves and blooms of Hellebore are extremely unpleasant tasting; therefore, not readily touched by animals. Strangely, in later times, a vase of Hellebores brought into a home was considered to drive away an unpleasant atmosphere and create tranquility.


Have you heard about my new book, Landscape Design Combinations? It is a continuation of my first book, with a greater emphasis on design, including numerous numbered and labeled photographs of successful landscape plans. Step by step, the book teaches the elements of landscape design, how to choose and place various types of plants to serve a function, and how to design for the seasons. Also included are illustrations on how to build a natural stone patio or walkway, simple container combinations and the development of different garden styles throughout the centuries. Landscape Design Combinations was written to provide you with the tools needed, along with sample designs as guides, to help you to create a garden of your own. Click on the link below for a preview with more details about the book. I hope to inspire you!
As Always...Happy Gardening!

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

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Book Launching: Introducing My Second Book-Landscape Design Combinations!

Landscape Design Combinations
The Story Behind the Book:

I am very excited to be officially announcing the launching of my second book, Landscape Design Combinations! Fifty something years ago, I developed a passion for all things green and started digging in the soil by the age of five. In the 1980's, I entered the field of education and after sixteen years, with the encouragement of friends, started up a landscape design business in 1996. I took up an interest in blog writing and photography in 2010, and after retiring from 32 years of teaching in 2013, I decided to put all my experiences into a published work. I had quickly realized that writing and publishing a book was not an easy task, but persisted in accomplishing what I had started. By 2015, I published my first book A Guide to Northeastern Gardening. 

The thought of starting the process all over again was the furthest thing from my mind, but to my own astonishment, the desire to write within me grew even stronger. There was still so much I wanted to share. As I started to write, the words came easily, and a second book started to materialize.  Now, two years later, I have completed Landscape Design Combinations, which takes the first book a step further by going much deeper into the design process, while offering numerous landscape designs with labeled photographs and descriptions. One can say that it completes what I had started. I am now thrilled to be able to share my love of gardening and design with you through a second book. 

What does this book have to offer?

Landscape Design Combinations is a comprehensive guide to help you plan your outdoor space. If you have ever felt overwhelmed by “what to plant where” in your garden, or have spent months, or even years, not knowing where to begin, Landscape Design Combinations will help to facilitate the process. The first two chapters deal with the basic principles of landscape design and color coordination. You will get ideas for the desired function of your space and discover your own personal sense of garden style and color preference. Throughout the book, each chapter builds upon the one before it, discussing foliage combinations, then types of and proper placement of evergreens, followed by flowering shrubs and finally, perennials.

Numbered and labeled photographs are supplied throughout the book with information on each plant, such as common or scientific name, plant descriptions and cold hardiness. Once plant usage and placement is covered, the remaining chapters discuss hardscape, with directions on how to build a simple stone walkway or patio, along with more information on garden styles. Each chapter will incorporate plants discussed earlier and create designs starting from simple perennial combinations to full landscape designs.

Discussion of evergreens and flowering plants will focus on placement and interest provided, while perennial combinations will include bloom time for each plant discussed. As each chapter progress, more detailed design plan layouts will be provided as a guide to assist you in planning your space. In the later chapters, topics covered include designing for seasonal interest, container combinations and hardscaping, with easy to follow designs. The book ends with "Garden Inspiration", which discusses garden styles throughout the centuries and how various design elements have developed over the years. Finally, a glossary is included with definitions of design terms used throughout the book.


About the Book:
Landscape Design Combinations provides the necessary tools to help you easily plan your garden, while offering a multitude of design plans with labeled photographs and detailed descriptions. Topics such as landscape design principles, color in design, the use of foliage, designing with deciduous and evergreen plants, planter combinations and landscape planning are discussed. Additional topics include designing with hardscape with “quick and easy” landscape designs and garden styles throughout history, with colorful illustrations. The information presented is applicable to both novice or professional gardener alike, and is all based on Lee Miller’s personal experience as a landscape designer for over twenty years. Lee Miller is also the author of “A Guide to Northeastern Gardening: Journeys of a Garden Designer”, initially published in 2015.

About the Author: 
Lee Miller is a professional landscape/garden designer involved in the horticultural industry since 1996. Having started a gardening blog in 2010, she is the author of over 200 articles on general gardening, landscape design principles, gardening tips, planting, pruning, garden maintenance, feature plants and more. In addition, Lee Miller has donated her time as a contributing writer for the American Heart Association Gardening Blog, as well as Gardening Know How, and has been involved as a presenter at local gardening clubs. 

To Preview Landscape Design Combinations, simply click on the link or icon below. I hope to inspire you!

As Always...Happy Gardening!

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

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Color Our World Round-Up January 2017: White Blooms for the Garden Plus Tasty Treats!

Color Our World Round-Up January 2017
Welcome! It's time for another Color My 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. This month the color is "white" and the authors are sharing their thoughts on all the possibilities of using white in the garden, with some tasty treats to bring along the way. Simply click on the links to read each article, and enjoy!

First, before we visit some gardens, let's look at some delicious recipes for the cold winter months. Terri Oliver Steffes from Our Good Life shares her recipe for warm vanilla milk."This month our group of bloggers from Taste Creations focused on warm drinks for your sipping pleasure during the chilly months that are still to come. These beverages are easy to make and definitely easy to drink! This Warm Vanilla is the complete opposite of Hot Chocolate in every way. This drink is mellow, not too rich and can be very low sugar and low fat, depending on how you want to make it! My grandmother used to make this for us when we were little and spent the night at her house. I don't remember her calling it Warm Vanilla, though. I think we called it Hot Milk"...read more

Next is Terri McNeil Schuler from the Freshman Cook with her recipe for her easy to make and delicious Chicken Marinara Panini. "Happy New Year to everyone! Today we are celebrating Easy Supper Recipes as we kick off a month long celebration of National Sunday Supper month! As much as I love to cook and create new recipes, there are also times when all I want is something simple, easy and tasty. That's how this Chicken Marinara Panini came to be. I always have chicken breasts in the fridge, and if you do too, this recipe is definitely for you!  If you cook the chicken the day before, this panini comes together in about 10-15 minutes. Make it in 30 minutes if you cook the chicken as you make the meal. Any way you make it, this Chicken Marinara Panini is sure to become a favorite!"...read more

Now from the gardens, here is Susan Brandt from Blooming Secrets with The Year in Color-White As Snow. "One of our special features this year is something we call “The Year in Color”. Each month we’re going to share with you, our take on the color of the month as determined by our secret panel of experts. This highly scientific selection process (you can tell I am kidding right?) helped choose the color that the panel believes is most associated with that month and then challenged us to take you on a colorful journey each month...What would the winter be without snow? In many areas of the country the color white dominates the landscape at this time of year yet snow isn’t the only “white” source. Indoors our homes can be full of fragrance from forced bulbs like paperwhites and hyacinths or if you are lucky you" ...read more

Next is Lynee Cherot from Sensible Gardening as she discusses Gardening with White Flowers. "Of all the colours flowers come in, my favourite is pure white. White of course is not even a colour, but the absence of colour. White sunlight is a mix of red, orange, yellow, green blue indigo and violet ( just like the rainbow). The colour of an object is the reflection of certain parts of this spectrum of white light. Leaves appear green because they attract all the other colours but reflect the green light. An object appears white because its surface reflects all of the light reaching it and absorbs none.  Black on the other hand absorbs all the light and reflects none.Not all white blooms look exactly the same, there are many variable tones. Some white flowers are totally white and others are flushed" ...read more

Karen Creel from Garden Chick enlightens us with the Obedient Plant. "I can’t resist a bargain, and while shopping at Lowe’s last week, I headed to the half off rack at the back of the lot.  Perennials were on sale $3.00.  I like to find plants that I don’t have and ones that will multiply and fill in the large spaces of my yard.  The obedient plant caught my eye, and I chose two.  I don’t usually choose white flowers, because I don’t like how they turn brown after a rain.  But the tall spiky flowers which resemble snapdragons and the fact that they bloom in late summer and fall, convinced me to put two in my buggy.I planted one of my plants in the herb garden beside the spiderwort.  The white of the obedient plant and the purple of the spiderwort will give some color to an otherwise green area. The obedient plant gets its name because the stems will stay in place when bent.  But, it’s not very obedient.  It easily spreads.  You can  plant it in a pot with holes, and sink it into the ground to keep it from spreading, or easily dividing the rhizomes to other areas of the garden"...read more 

Renee Cumberworth at the Garden Frog shares her knowledge of Formosa Lily. "I added the Formosan lily (formerly known as Formosa lily) L. formosanum late last summer at the fall plant sale at the Lewis Ginter botanical garden. As I walked up I could smell the lovely fragrance and stood there inhaling the intoxicating aroma fragrance of the  white trumpet flower. I was in heaven. I thought it was an Easter Lily at first because of the beautiful fragrant white trumpet flower atop the tall stem. The grower told me it was grown from seed this spring and they are easy to grow and love moist but not wet soil in full sun or partial shade here in zone 7...The Formosan lily blooms late summer and grows upward to 7 feet tall in the south where the growing season is longer"...read more 

Finally is my post This Month's Color in the Garden January 2017-White for Moon Garden. " The color white is considered neutral in the garden and often radiates a sense of peace, romance and elegance. White blooms and foliage offer contrast in the daytime garden and make other colors "pop", but as darkness approaches they take on yet another role. Plants with white blooms or silvery-white foliage have a tendency to become more prominent during the early dawn and evening hours, and have become quite popular in the design of moon, or night gardens. Moon gardens are designed with plants whose foliage and blooms cause them to stand out at night and can be planned to create a peaceful oasis. Many night-blooming plants, such as Moonflower (Ipomoea alba) have blooms that are white and extremely fragrant, while some blooms, such as petunia, release their fragrance at night. When using foliage plants such as such as Stachys (Lamb's Ear), Dusty Miller or Artemeisia in a moon garden, their silvery-white leaves appears to "glow" in the moonlight"...read more

Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoyed #PB Color Our World Round-Up for the month of January. Next up is This Month's Color in the Garden, where the color pink is the focus. Then join me for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Foliage Follow-Up each month on the 15th. Linking to Floral Fridays and Monday Macro 2.

Visit My Author Page on Amazon

It's official! Read about my New Book Launching: Landscape Design Combinations

As Always...Happy Gardening!

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

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