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 Update and In a Vase on Monday at Rambling in the Garden.  

Links to More Gardening Information:

https://www.facebook.com/landscapedesignbylee
https://www.facebook.com/AGuideToNortheasternGardening/
https://landscapedesignbylee.wordpress.com/
 https://twitter.com/NEGardening

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As Always...Happy Gardening!

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

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Guest Post -Types of Hydrangeas: A Visual Guide


The following is a very informative guest post by the authors at  FTD FRESH.
Hydrangeas are a classic flower that are a favorite amongst florists and gardeners. Their large, round flower heads are what distinguish them from other flowers. But did you know that there are five main types of hydrangeas?
Although blue and purple hydrangeas are one of the first colors that come to mind, most species are actually white. In addition, hydrangea leaves can vary from bigleaf, to oakleaf types that display bright colors during the fall.

To help you find the right hydrangea for your home and garden, we’ve outlined the five main types of hydrangeas and their unique and distinguishing factors including: growing conditions, flower shapes and different flower colors. We’ve also created a visual guide so that you can easily reference the different characteristics of each hydrangea type.
Types of Hydrangeas
1.   Bigleaf Hydrangea
Known by their scientific name as Hydrangea macrophylla, bigleaf hydrangeas are the most common type of hydrangea. Other common names include florist’s hydrangea, garden hydrangea, and French hydrangea. Chances are the hydrangeas at your local florist’s shop are bigleaf hydrangeas.
There are three main types of bigleaf hydrangeas:
1.    Mophead hydrangeas are the most recognizable and popular hydrangea due to their large puffy flower heads. Their flowers can be purple, blue, or pink, and they thrive in hardiness zone 6. The flower buds of mophead hydrangeas can be sensitive to the cold, and therefore may not survive the winter months.



2.    Lacecap hydrangeas are almost identical to mophead hydrangeas with the only difference existing in its flowers. They have tiny fertile flower buds in the center, with showy flowers that circle the edge of the flower head. These showy flowers are sterile, and their only purpose is to attract pollinators like bees and butterflies to the fertile buds in the center. Like mophead hydrangeas, they thrive in hardiness zone 6.


3.    Mountain hydrangeas are the least common type of bigleaf hydrangea. Scientifically known as Hydrangea serrata, it bears a similar resemblance to lacecap hydrangeas with its flattened heads but has much smaller flowers and leaves. Mountain hydrangeas have hardier buds and thrive in hardiness zone 5 — making them a great choice for areas with late winter cold snaps.


True to its name, the characteristic that distinguishes the bigleaf hydrangeas from other types of hydrangeas is their leaf size. Bigleaf hydrangeas leaves can grow to about 4”-6” long and 3”-5” wide. The leaves are thick, shiny and heart-shaped with short stems. 

Bigleaf hydrangeas prefer shade but not too much shade, as it can result in reduced flowering. Their bloom times occur during June and July and they prefer moist and well-drained soil. It is important to keep the bigleaf hydrangeas watered on a consistent basis as they are sensitive to drought.

It is possible to change the color of your hydrangeas by altering the acidity of the soil. Acidic soil at pH 5.5 or below, will produce blue flowers. Neutral or alkali soils at pH 6.5 and higher, will produce pink flowers. For soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5, either purple flowers or a combination of blue and pink flowers will be produced.


2. Smooth Hydrangea
Also known as wild hydrangeas, the smooth hydrangea is native to the United States. It is a large shrub that can grow up to six feet tall, and is usually planted as a hedge plant. It’s scientific name, Hydrangea arborescens, is derived from the word “arbor” meaning tree due to its branching patterns and size.
Unlike bigleaf hydrangeas, the smooth hydrangea can tolerate hotter climates and thrive in hardiness zones 4 to 9. Their bloom time occurs between June and September and their flowers are typically white and smaller than the bigleaf varieties. Upon first opening, their flowers will appear green and whiten as they mature. The smooth hydrangea is a low-maintenance plant and can prefers to be exposed to full sun and partial shade within the same day.
The most striking cultivar of smooth hydrangea is the “Annabelle,” — which is a name that is commonly used to refer to all smooth hydrangeas. The name is inspired by the town of Anna, Illinois, where the first smooth hydrangea was first discovered in the 1960s. The Annabelle produces white, round flower heads that look like large snowballs and can grow to be 12 inches in diameter.
3. Panicle Hydrangea

Panicle hydrangeas, Hydrangea paniculata, are known for their long panicles from which their large flowers bloom. Their cone-shaped panicles can range from six to 18 inches long, as opposed to the bulb shaped flower heads of other hydrangeas. Their flowers will first appear as white, but as the plant grows older, the flowers may turn pink.

Out of all the hydrangeas, panicle hydrangeas are the most cold-hardy, and can thrive in hardiness zones four to seven. Native to Japan and China, they are one of the few types of hydrangeas that need several hours of sun and can even tolerate full sun. They flower from mid to late summer and the flowers can last a long time.
Because panicle hydrangeas have such persistent flowers, they are great for drying or for use as cut flowers to decorate your home. Their unique cone-shaped height makes them a great addition to any bouquet or centerpiece.
The PeeGee or ‘Grandiflora’ hydrangea is the most popular cultivar of panicle hydrangeas. As with all panicle hydrangeas, they grow into large shrubs and can easily be pruned into trees. However, the PeeGee hydrangea in particular can grow exceptionally large and reaching heights of up to 25 feet.
4. Oakleaf Hydrangea
The oakleaf hydrangea is named for its foliage which is shaped like oak tree leaves. In fact, its scientific name,Hydrangea quercifolia, is derived from Latin word “quercifolia” which literally translates into “oakleaf.”


Not only do its leaves look like oak tree leaves, the oakleaf hydrangea leaves turn color during the fall as well and are the only type of hydrangeas that do this. Their leaves can range from golden orange and bright red, to deep mahogany—making them one of the most attractive shrubs for your fall garden.
The oakleaf hydrangea is one of the few hydrangeas native to the United States. The only other hydrangea that’s native to the US is the smooth hydrangea. The oakleaf hydrangea has white cone-shaped flower heads (similar to those of a panicle hydrangea) and can come in two forms: single blossom and double-blossom. Just like the panicle hydrangea, its flowers will gradually turn pink as the plant matures.
Sturdier than its cousins, the oakleaf hydrangea can withstand a wider range of climate conditions than most bigleaf hydrangeas. Oakleaf hydrangeas can survive drier conditions, and are more winter hardy. Unlike mopheads, these oakleaf hydrangeas need drier, well-drained soil as they are highly sensitive to water log.
The oakleaf hydrangea is a popular choice for gardens because of their long-term benefits. Their flowers bloom in early summer and last until late summer. When fall begins, their leaves steal the show by turning into attractively bright orange and red colors. When planting them in your garden, avoid areas with deep shade as too much shade can actually cause their fall foliage colors to fade. Oakleaf hydrangeas thrive in hardiness zones five through nine.
5. Climbing Hydrangea

The climbing hydrangea, Hydrangea animola ssp. petiolaris, is the most distinct type of hydrangea because it is actually a vine. The climbing hydrangea is native to Asia and is also commonly called “Japanese hydrangea vine.” Native to Asia, the climbing hydrangea is becoming increasingly popular for its ability to climb up walls and other structures — even reaching up to 80 feet!

It takes a patient gardener to reap the benefits of the climbing hydrangea as it is a slow-growing plant that can take three to four years to show signs of growth. Once matured, these white hydrangeas with lacecap-like flowers will bloom that are known for their pleasant fragrance. Bloom time for the climbing hydrangea occurs from early to mid summer and it is hardy in zones four through eight.
When planting climbing hydrangeas are grown as vines, keep in mind that they need substantial support for their thick and heavy vines. Although they are one of the few flowering vines that tolerate shade, they do prefer full sun or partial shade, but never full shade. Alternatively, climbing hydrangeas can be grown as shrubs when they don’t have a supporting structure and can reach three to four feet in height.
How to make your hydrangea bloom
A common problem that gardeners have is that their blooming can be unreliable. A plant that bloomed abundantly this year, may not bloom at all the next. Here are the three main reason why your hydrangea is not blooming.
    1.   Too much shade – Hydrangeas prefer shade, but too much can reduce flowering. Bigleaf hydrangeas prefer more shade than panicle hydrangeas which prefer full sun.

2. Improper pruning – Different hydrangea types flower on different years’ growths. Bigleaf and oakleaf hydrangeas flower on the previous year’s growth so if you prune them during the fall, winter or spring, you are removing potential flower buds. Panicle and smooth hydrangeas flower on the current year’s growth, so pruning in early summer would eliminate the potential flower buds for the year.

3.  Unfavorable weather – Most hydrangea species are highly sensitive to weather changes. For hydrangea types that flower on previous year’s growths, weather conditions that damage the plant during the fall or winter can greatly reduce flowering in the summer. Damage can occur anytime before the plant is completely dormant, and most damage occurs due to freezes when temperatures drop below the norm during early fall, late spring, or winter.



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Guide to 7 Types of Hydrangeas
It’s easy to see how the hydrangea has become such a timeless flower. From home gardens to wedding centerpieces, it’s easy to incorporate these classic flowers into your decor. Use the guide below to help you identify the seven different types of hydrangeas and help you choose the one that’s best for your area so that you can enjoy their bountiful blooms year after year.
www.gardeningsimplified.tumblr.com  |  www.usna.usda.gov  |  www.hydrangeashydrangeas.com  |  www.bhg.com 12  |  www.provenwinners.com  |  www.finegardening.com  |  www.missouribotanicalgarden.org  |  www.gardeningknowhow.com 12  |  www.landscaping.about.com 123 |  www.gardenia.net  |  www.sustainable-gardening.com
Image Sources
Lacecap CC Image courtesy of Ken McMillan on Flickr
Smooth CC Image courtesy of Yoko Nekonomania on Flickr
Panicle CC Image courtesy of Leonora (Ellie) Enking on Flickr
Oakleaf CC Image courtesy of Eric in SF on Wikimedia Commons
Climbing CC Image courtesy of Meneerke bloem on Wikimedia Commons

I hope you enjoyed the guest post from FTD Fresh. FTD FRESH.is committed to connecting people through life's simple pleasures. Whether it's sharing about how to brighten your home and garden with flowers or offering decor tips, we aim to bring together people who see beauty in the little things


As Always...Happy Gardening!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow-Up: July 2016 Long Island Garden in Bloom!

July 2016 Garden
Welcome to my Long Island garden! The arrival of July has prompted a succession of colorful blooms throughout the landscape. While June temperatures had remained in the upper 70's to lower 80's, the month of July has delivered a warming trend with some days reaching into the upper 80's and low 90's. The perennial borders are bursting with an array of color, along with the arrival of new blooms daily. Come take a walk with me in my July garden.
(Coneflower) Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit'
July marks the appearance of Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit' blooms in a multitude of colors, all on the same plant. I never knew I could get so much enjoyment from a single species of coneflower. Now that this one has become established in the garden, it has become a focal point at the entrance to the front beds.
Pollinators love Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit' (Coneflower)
As an added bonus, the pollinators love it and the blooms are often visited by a multitude of bumble bees and butterflies.
Alium Mont Blanc Seed Head
Another plant which has given me much pleasure is Allium. This dried seed head from Allium 'Mont Blanc' even offers interest once the flower is spent, so I keep the decorative stalks in the garden bed all throughout the summer months.
Montgomery Globe Spruce and Stella D' Oro Daylily
As we walk around to the back garden beds, Montgomery Globe Spruce and Daylily 'Stella D'Oro' make an excellent combination of foliage and blooms. The brilliant blue of the globe spruce with the bright yellow blooms of the lilies complement one another perfectly.
Backyard Long View (North Side) Perennial Border and North Garden
As we follow the gardens to the north side of the property, here is a better view of the perennial border as it wraps around from the patio area to the north fence garden.
Backyard Long View (North Side) from Garden Tour 2010

Funny...I was just looking at some photos of the garden tour from a few years back and the photograph is of the same identical spot. The upper photo shows the new Arborvitae additions to the left that were planted just last summer. All things considered, the garden has remained pretty stable.

Perennial Border


Here is the perennial border as we get closer up. It has gotten to be very established over the years with a combination of Allium, Salvia 'May Night', Astilbe 'Fanal' and 'Pumila', Lamb's Ear, Hosta, Echinacea and Daylily.
Perennial Border Lamb's Ear and Astilbe
The white of the Lamb's Ear and shocking pink of the Astilbe provide contrast to one another.
Salvia 'May Night' and Sedum 'Brilliant'
Salvia 'May Night' has become a stable in the gardens. providing bright purple blooms.  It companions nicely with just about anything...
Add a little Heuchera 'Caramel' to the Mix!
including this combination with Sedum and Heuchera 'Caramel' in the south garden bed.
Backyard Left Long View
As we travel along to the southeast gardens, there is a mix of evergreens and flowering shrubs. The blue evergreen to the left is a grafted Montgomery Globe Spruce and the golden evergreen is Hinoki Cypress 'Verdoni'. It wraps into the island bed which is home to Crape Myrtle 'Sioux' (which will bloom at the end of this month and into September).
Backyard Right Long View
Here is a view from the back island bed to the western corner of the property. Prior to 1996 this entire backyard area consisted of all lawn and just a few maple and cherry trees. It was when the pool went in that year that the property started to transform, which was also the time I had started a second career in garden designing.
Lampost Planting
The lamppost seen at the end of the driveway is surrounded by Coreopsis 'Zagreb', Nepeta 'Walker's Low, Weigela 'Wine & Roses' and Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit' with more of a cottage style look.
Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit' (Mix)
The blooms on the Echinacea never cease to amaze me!
North Border
Around towards the western side of the property is a combination of Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar, Gold Mop Cypress, Purple Salvia 'May Night' and Dwarf Butterfly Bush (which will bloom in August). There are also Nepeta and Knock Out Roses to the right.
Heuchera 'Caramel" Blooms
Heuchera 'Caramel' is blooming in July. The blooms are just an added bonus to the fascinating caramel colored foliage, which is also semi-evergreen. Heuchera 'Caramel' is a personal favorite of mine, as the foliage varies 
throughout the seasons with hues of caramel, peach and orange, depending on the sunlight and temperature. 
East Perennial Border
Here is another view of the east perennial border...
Nepeta 'Walker's Low'
along with some Nepeta blooms and a visiting butterfly moth.
Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit' (Peach)
'Cheyenne Spirit' displays more blooms...this time peach in color...
Hosta Blooming
and the Hosta 'Patriot' are producing blooms on long graceful stalks.
Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit' (Orange)
Here is one last stroll by the coneflowers sporting their multi-colored blooms...
Birds Loving the New Feeder
and views of the new feeder, which has been a haven for birds visiting all day long.
Birds Loving the New Feeder
I can't seem to keep it filled enough and the birds are loving it!
This Year's New Succulent Planter
Last, but not least, I have a new interest in creating succulent planters such as this one here for the summer of 2016. It is about as low maintenance as you can get and the various species of sedum are producing blooms.
Hens and Chicks Blooming!
This Hens & Chicks planter which I made up last year is blooming profusely, which actually came as a surprise. They are thriving in the full southern exposure and the blooms are magnificent!
In a Vase on Monday! (Pardon Me Daylily, Stella D'Oro Daylily, Heuchera Blooms, Hosta Blooms, Salvia May Night and Coleus Bloom)
Cut flowers from my July garden to brighten your day!
2016 July Garden
I  hope you enjoyed your stroll through my July 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 Update and In a Vase on Monday at Rambling in the Garden.

For more gardening information, you may be interested in my newly published book, A Guide to Northeastern Gardening: Journeys of a Garden Designer (Gardening in Zones 3-9). You can see a preview here on Amazon

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