Thursday, September 15, 2016

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow-Up September 2016: Late Summer Views

September 2016 Garden
Welcome to another Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow-Up! The month of September has arrived and there are subtle signs of the seasons starting to change.  After a week with Hurricane Hermine lingering off the eastern coastline, we have finally received the much needed rainfall that we have been waiting for all summer. It's much more comfortable in the garden now, for the temperatures are stabilizing in the 80's after a long, hot and dry summer. There is a combination of new growth and continuing blooms in the landscape, along with seed heads of past blooms and grasses pluming for autumn. Come along and walk with me in my Long Island September garden.
Pool Garden
Many of the blooms by the pool garden are done for their season, so now its time for the foliage to shine, as evergreens along with deciduous trees take front stage.  The Dwarf Maiden Grasses are starting to form their plumes (which we'll take a closer look at later), and the foliage of Weeping Japanese Maple and Caramel Coral Bells is looking more prominent.
Perennial Border
The perennial border is starting to look a little fall-like as Echinacea 'Pow Wow' and Astilbe 'Pumilla' show their seed heads and Lamb's Ear displays its upright flower spikes. Dwarf Fountain Grass 'Hameln' is forming its plumes in the backdrop in preparation for its autumn show. As the garden changes throughout the seasons, I always enjoy the new views.
Northwest Garden
Here is the northwest garden with Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar, Gold Mop Cypress, Dwarf Butterfly Bush Low & Behold 'Blue Chip' and Heuchera 'Caramel'...
Crape Myrtle 'Sioux' September
and the voluminous blooms of  Crape Myrtle 'Sioux', which takes center stage on one of the island beds in the backyard.
'Stella D Oro' Daylily September
Daylily 'Stella D Oro' has all new foliage and is re-blooming in September after I did a rejuvenation on it in August.  
'Stella D Oro' Daylily September next to Peony Foliage
Here are some of the blooms close up!
Bumble Bee on Dwarf Butterfly Bush
Speaking of up close and personal, this little bumble bee visitor had no issues with me being in his face with the camera.  He was too busy collecting pollen from the butterfly bush and was covered in it...making for one happy bee!
Double Red Knock Out Roses September
Along with Butterfly Bush blooms are the blooms of Double Knock Out Rose, which continue throughout the entire summer from June until frost. We are looking at the red variety here, while the pink is below.

Pink Knock Out Roses September
They continue to be one of my favorite long-blooming shrubs in the garden. 
Garden Visitor
Besides blooms, there are many visitors to the garden, including this little sparrow who frequents the birdbath. He's enjoying his solitude for now, for later on there will be a massive bathing frenzy, with water splashing everywhere as others join in.
Shade Garden
As we approach the back area of the property, there is a hidden shade garden with a path leading to it. A collection of plants known for their foliage thrive here, with selections such as Leucothoe, Boxwood, Yew, Hosta and Japanese Hakonechloa Grass.
Front Walkway
Along the front walkway, Variegated Liriope is now in full bloom with spikes of bright purple flowers that appear from September through frost...
Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar and Sedum
and Sedum 'Brilliant' sports its bright pink blooms as well.
Updated Southwest Lamppost Garden
As we move back along to the front driveway entrance, we pass by the newly renovated lamppost garden. The tall grasses that had resided there have been replaced with Spirea 'Magic Carpet', which will produce blooms all summer, along with Salvia 'Caradonna' and Agastache 'Kudos Yellow'. So far the plants seem to be happy in their new home.
Southeast Lamppost Garden
On the other side of the driveway is the established cottage-style garden with coreopsis, nepeta and coneflowers.
Front East Garden
To the left of the lamppost garden is my mature Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar, one of the two that are on the property. This particular one spans approximately twenty feet.
Hydrangea 'Tardivia' September
Along the north side is Panicle Hydrangea 'Tardivia' with its creamy white elongated blooms. This variety blooms later than many of the other hydrangeas, creating interest for the later part of the summer and into fall.
Variegated Liriope September
Let's take a look at some more foliage. Here is Liriope, which displays its wonderful variegated foliage all season long with blooms as an added punch...
Weigela 'Spilled Wine'
Weigela 'Spilled Wine', with its lovely burgundy foliage...
Heuchera 'Caramel' with Golden Japanese Sedge
and another glance at Heuchera 'Caramel', along with Golden Japanese Sedge. The Weigela 'Spilled Wine' is my newest additions to the garden. Not only is the foliage wonderful, but it also produces bright pink blooms in spring. Hopefully it will overwinter well so I can look forward to the blooms next year. 
Still Enjoying the Birdbath!
As our garden stroll comes to an end, I believe the same little visitor is still enjoying his alone time at the birdbath.  As we exit, we pass by some familiar foliage...
Leucothoe 'Auxillis' and Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola'.
and some new, as we view the plumes of Dwarf Maiden Grass very close up.
Dwarf Maiden Grass 'Yaku Jima' September Plume
Add some garden whimsy...
Garden Whimsy
and some sunflowers in a vase...
Sunflowers In a Vase on Monday
and our tour is complete.
September Garden 2016

I  hope you enjoyed your stroll through my September 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 FridaysI Heart MacroMacro Monday 2, and Nature Notes at Rambling Woods.  Also check out What's Blooming This Week Garden UpdateIn a Vase on Monday at Rambling in the Garden, Garden Bloggers' Foliage Day and Saturday's Critters.

For more gardening tips and design information, you may be interested in my published book, A Guide to Northeastern Gardening: Journeys of a Garden Designer (Gardening in Zones 3-9).  If you have read my book and found it to be helpful, please consider leaving a short review on Amazon. Your help would be very much appreciated!

As Always...Happy Gardening!

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

Sunday, September 4, 2016

The History and Meaning of Sunflowers

Sunflower (Helianthus Annuus ) 
I have always had an admiration for sunflowers, as do many, so I decided to look into their history and meaning. Since the sunflower has a remarkable resemblance to our sun, early Indian settlers believed the flower to represent the "life-giving" force of the Great Spirit.  A sunflower follows the rays of the sun, so it was looked upon as a symbol of spiritual faith, worship and fertility. Today, the sunflower is still looked upon as a symbol of adoration, loyalty and longevity. Much of the meaning of sunflower stems from its namesake, the sun itself.
Sunflower (Helianthus Annuus ) Taken in Newport, Rhode Island
The first wild sunflower is known to be native to North America. Evidence shows that the first sunflower crops were cultivated by the American Indian around 3000 BC, but its first commercialization didn't take place until it reached Russia. Indian tribes crushed the seeds into flour for bread and cakes or combined with vegetables, and the oil from the seed was used for cooking. Parts of the plant were used medicinally for snakebites, oils for the skin and hair and also for dyes to be used in body painting and decoration. Around the year 1500, the plant was taken to Europe by Spanish explorers and sunflowers became widespread as an ornamental. By the 18th century, the sunflower became more popular as a cultivated plant, and by 1830 the production of sunflower oil was performed widely on a commercial scale.
Sunflower (Helianthus Annuus ) 
By the early 19th century, Russian farmers were growing over 2 million acres of sunflower, and by the late 19th century, the sunflower as we know it found its way to the United States. Canada started the first sunflower breeding program, which led to the construction of a crushing plant, and future production of sunflower oil. Today,Western Europe continues to be a large consumer of sunflower oil, but depends on its own production since the U.S. exports to Europe are limited. The sunflower itself is grown worldwide for ornamental uses and is known for its radiance and beauty.

(Photos by Lee Miller and Property of a Guide to Northeastern Gardening) 

Sunflowers are seen as symbols of good luck. Planting them around your home will bring good fortune and it is said that if you pick a sunflower at sunset, and wear it on your person, it will bring you good luck the following day. According to folklore, it is bad luck to cut down a sunflower, and if you sleep with a sunflower under your pillow, you will become wise. 

Links to More Gardening Information: 

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

Monday, August 15, 2016

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow-Up August 2016: Late Summer Blooms and Color!

August Garden
The month of August is a transitional time for the garden. There are subtle signs of fall approaching, as early summer blooms fade; however, a whole new wave of blooms and color arrive for late summer interest. Heat waves come and go as temperatures linger in the upper 80's and 90's for days, then slowly go back to normal as the summer season progresses. As the garden changes, it is time for another Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Foliage Follow-Up to see what is blooming. Bring a cool drink and come along with me to explore my Long Island garden!
Garden Visitor
There have been many new families of birds this summer with constant visitors to the property. The younger birds seem to be much more comfortable in their surroundings and remain much closer for a photo opportunity.
Early Bird Catches the Worm!
The saying says, "The early bird catches the worm", which is true in this respect!
Dwarf Butterfly Bush August
As we take a look at some blooms, Dwarf Butterfly Bush Lo & Behold 'Blue Chip' is displaying a full array of long purple spiked blooms for the late summer, which is a major attraction for butterflies.
Swallowtail Butterfly
This Swallowtail is a frequent visitor who can be seen regularly in the garden several times a day.
Lagerstroemia Crape Myrtle 'Sioux'
The month of August is also Crape Myrtle time with voluminous deep pink blooms that last from the end of July, throughout the entire month of August and into late September. This tree started as a small shrub in a planter some twenty years ago and now towers at about 25 feet and reaches a width of 15 feet. The blooms are non-stop and bring so much joy to the landscape and to me!
Hemerocallis Daylily 'Stella D Oro'
The 'Stella D Oro' Daylilies which have been blooming since June are still producing their bright yellow flowers.  A few of the clumps needed some rejuvenating, which I just performed a week ago, so a new wave of blooms will be forthcoming into the fall.
Platycodon  grandiflorus' komachi' Balloon Flower
Here is my conversation piece. This species of Balloon Flower is very hard to find and I only have one clump that I purchased years ago. The blooms stay closed like mini balloons and are fun to pop once they dry out. It will also bloom for a couple of months.
Pool Garden
Along the pool border are Lillium 'Stargazer'. Even though the blooms are short lived, the color and fragrance are amazing.
Lillium 'Stargazer'
I always look forward to their beautiful blooms!
Hydrangea 'Tardivia'
Here is Hydrangea 'Tardivia' which is located on the north side of the property. Its elongated pure white blooms are also slightly fragrant.
Dragonfly on Lamb's Ear Bloom
One of my favorite summer visitors are the dragonflies that frequent the property. They enjoy landing on the spikes of Lamb's Ear as you can see here, and are not at all camera shy, so I can get up close without them moving.
Perennial Border August
Here is a long view of the backyard perennial border...
Echinacea 'Pow Wow'
where Echinacea 'Pow Wow' is in full bloom at this time of year.
Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit'
Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit' is also in bloom with multi-colored flowers on the same plant.
Front Walkway
Sometimes its all about the foliage!  Here along the front walkway is Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar (left), Weeping White Pine (right), Blue Star Juniper, Japanese Garden Juniper and Variegated Liriope. The Liriope will sport spikes of bright purple blooms later this month.
Foliage Combination August
Here is a closer view of the Liriope (right) against Blue Star Juniper (left) with Heuchera 'Palace Purple' to complement the two.
Sedum 'Dragon's Blood'
Back by the pool garden is Sedum 'Dragon's Blood'. Despite the name of the plant, the blooms are a beautiful vibrant pink, and last from July through September.
Driveway Garden (Right)
Moving along to the driveway piers is a mixture of coreopsis and echinacea, along with nepeta, weigela and accompanying evergreens. 
Driveway Garden (Left)
On the opposite side is Weeping Norway Spruce with Heuchera 'Palace Purple', Salvia 'Cardonna' and my new Agastache 'Kudos Yellow'. 
Agastache 'Kudos Yellow' Anise Hyssop
This Agastache is a new hybrid for 2016. It is a smaller variety, growing to a height and width of 24 inches and is hardy in zones 5-10. I am hoping it will do well for many years in my garden.
Spirea 'Magic Carpet'
Another new addition to the garden this year is Spirea 'Magic Carpet'  As the name implies, the foliage goes through a series of color changes from pinkish-burgundy tipped foliage in spring, to green in summer, and then to an orange-pink, with persistent pink blooms throughout the summer months. 
Double Pink Knock Out Rose August
Other blooms for August include this Double Pink Knock Out Rose...
Sedum 'Brilliant' Flowers Starting August
and Sedum 'Brilliant', which is just getting ready to bloom in another week. 
Some Garden Whimsy!
 Along with blooms, add a little bit of garden whimsy... 
Another Garden Visitor
and a touch of wildlife, and the garden is complete!
August in a Vase on Monday (Pink and Red Double Knock Out Rose, Butterfly Bush, Stella D Oro Daylily, Platycodon, Heuchera blooms and a little bit of sweet potato vine)

August Garden...feeling hot,hot,hot!
August Garden 2016

I  hope you enjoyed your stroll through my August 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 FridaysI Heart MacroMacro Monday 2, and Nature Notes at Rambling Woods.  Also check out What's Blooming This Week Garden UpdateIn a Vase on Monday at Rambling in the Garden and Saturday's Critters.

Links to More Gardening Information:

My Book on Amazon:
As Always...Happy Gardening!

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


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