Sunday, April 15, 2018

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow Up April 2018: A Long Awaited Spring!

April 2018 Long Island Garden
It's springtime at last and its time to take a walk in my Long Island garden. It has been a long awaited spring, resulting from one of the most roller coaster journeys I can remember. A freezing start to winter was followed by one of the mildest months of February on record. It was the calm before the storm as spring arrived with strong winds, freezing cold temperatures in the 30's and four snow storms within three weeks. The storms continued into April, with the last covering of white occurring on April 2nd. At last, mid-April has arrived and those thoughts are becoming a distant memory with each passing day as the garden comes back to life and  blooms appear. Come along for a stroll in my April garden!
Hellebore 'HGC Merlin'
The first stop is to view my brand new Hellebore 'Merlin', which I was finally able to plant just a few days ago. With the later arrival of spring temperatures these late winter blooming perennials really hold down the fort with their flowers. The garden is still about three weeks behind, but spring is evident.
Purple Crocus 'Remembrance'
Crocus 'Remembrance' is displaying its vibrant deep purple blooms. I love how they look before they open.
White Crocus
The white crocus was the first to bloom this year and was determined to come up, even when covered with snow!
Pink Hyacinth
This pink Hyacinths open to a lavender-pink bloom and are so springlike. 
Spring Bulbs
Here is a full view of the perennial border. Along with crocus, hyacinths and daffodils, the foliage of lilies and Allium is starting to appear.
Daffodils add a touch of bright yellow to the perennial border.
Peach Hyacinth
Another variety of Hyacinth displays peach colored buds that open to pink blooms.
Purple Crocus
Around by the pool garden, a crocus shows off its pretty bloom alongside the evergreen foliage of a Weeping Norway Spruce.
Sedum 'Brilliant' Foliage
The perfectly shaped rosettes of Sedum 'Brilliant' have appeared, which will develop stalks of wonderful pink blooms near the end of summer. I think the foliage is just as interesting, as it adds a nice touch to the garden throughout all the warmer seasons.
Weeping Pussy Willow
As you can see, the Weeping Pussy Willow has come a long way since March with its soft white catkins that are bursting open to show the yellow pollen inside.
Weeping Pussy Willow
Weeping Pussy Willow Catkins
Here is a closer view of the catkins.
Nesting Birds
With spring comes the nesting season. The birds have been getting ready by finding the perfect tree to raise their young.
Purple Crocus 'Remembrance' Opening
Here are the crocus in the front island bed in a different light, as the late morning sun casts upon them.
Sedum Aurea Foliage
The foliage of Sedum 'Aurea', which lives in the crevices of the rock waterfall behind the pool, is turning to shades of golden yellow. Soon it will also be displaying yellow blooms.
Newest Skyland's Oriental Spruce
The view from behind the pool garden looking outward shows a more upright, narrow form of Western Arborvitae (in the background to the right) with a lingering winter bronzing, along with evergreen Skip Laurel (to the left) and golden Skylands's Oriental Spruce (front center). The bronzed foliage of the Arborvitae will turn back to green with the rising temperatures, but for now it makes for nice contrast with the other evergreens.
Bunny Visitor
With spring comes garden visitors. This visitor is probably one of the baby bunnies that was born on the property last year all grown up. He has been very well behaved (like his predecessors) only eating grass and clover and respecting the garden.
Morning Dove
The Morning Doves are regular residents on the property and have been for years. They are so gentle and sweet. 
Magnolia 'Royal Star'
The tease of warmer temperatures the past couple of days has allowed Magnolia 'Royal Star' buds to finally open. They have had a delayed start, so it is wonderful to see these fabulous blooms!
Hello Robin!
It just wouldn't officially be spring without the Robins. They arrived about a week and a half ago and are a very welcomed sight!
April 2018 Welcome Spring!
I hope you enjoyed the tour of 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 Floral Friday Fotos, Macro Monday 2, and Nature Notes at Rambling Woods. Also check out Garden Bloggers' Foliage Day at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides, Wednesday Around the WorldDishing It & Digging It and Image-in-ing weekly photo share every Tuesday. 
Plan your garden with my two books, each loaded with gardening tips and design advice for either the novice or experienced gardener. The plants discussed are hardy in zones 3-9, which covers the Northeast, Middle Atlantic and more! Click on the links below for more information and order your copy to start planning now! 😊

~As Always...Happy Gardening!~

Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening, © Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

This Month in the Garden: Plant Dahlias During Springtime for Late-Summer Blooms

This Month in the Garden Dahlia Planting & Care
It's time for another "This Month in the Garden" and it's Dahlia planting season! In colder climates such as North America, Dahlias are treated as tender perennials or annuals, which are mainly planted as tuberous roots during springtime (April or May). Dahlias add beautiful blooms to the garden from mid-summer through fall, all the way through the first frost, with a growing season of approximately 120 days. These beautiful perennials come in a multitude of colors and sizes from the giant 10-inch blooms of the “Dinnerplate” variety to the smaller 2-inch "Pompon" style, rounded blooms. On average, most varieties of Dahlia grow to a height between 3 and 5 feet tall and are winter hardy in USDA zones 8-11, where they can stay in the ground. Dahlia do tend to thrive best in cool, moist areas, such as the northeastern U.S., but have been known to be grown in warmer climates such as Florida and Texas when sheltered from the extreme heat.

VARIETIES OF DAHLIA: There are thousands of Dahlia varieties that exist today, all which were derived from the original 35 genus of Dahlia found in the highlands of Mexico and Central America. Today, there are approximately 42 species existing, 25 which came from the wild. Basic cultivars of Dahlia available include the larger "Decorative" Dahlia and "Dinnerplate" Dahlia, "Pompon"(rounded) Dahlia, Cactus and Semi-Cactus flowered dahlias (spiky), Waterlily dahlias, Peony-flowered dahlias and Daisy dahlias, with new color combinations introduced every year. Since there are more than 57,000 registered cultivars of Dahlia to choose from, I would recommend purchasing your selections through a reliable website or nursery that has photographs and descriptions of each plant. In the meantime, here is some important information on the planting and care of these gorgeous cultivars.
Cactus Dahlia
WHEN AND HOW TO PLANT DAHLIA: In cooler climates, plant Dahlia tuberous roots when ground temperatures reach 60 degrees Fahrenheit and all danger of frost is gone. As a rule of thumb, schedule planting around the same time, of just after, tomato seedlings are able to go outside. Choose an area of full sun (6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily) in a rich, but well-drained soil with a pH of 6.5-7.0 (slightly acidic). Add sand or peat moss to a heavier soil to allow for better drainage and air circulation. Be sure to shelter plants slightly by placing them in a location that has protection from the wind. Another tip is that Dahlia do well with morning sunlight.
Semi-Cactus Dahlia
PLANTING DEPTH: When planting Dahlia, place tuberous roots approximately 9 to 12 inches apart either in the ground or in a planter. Varieties growing more than three feet tall should be spaced two feet apart and larger, taller growing varieties should be placed three feet apart. Generally, the taller and larger the blooms, the more space they need to grow. There is a smaller Bedding variety which is ideal for planters. Inspect your Dahlia for any wrinkles or rotting of the tuberous roots and plant only those that look healthy and that may have signs of growth. Dig the hole wider and deeper than the root and place some compost and a little bone meal into the planting hole to ensure a good start. Position the root about six to eight inches deep with the “eyes” (growing surface) facing up. It is recommended not to mulch over your newly planted Dahlias or water too heavily until growth starts to sprout.
Waterlily Dahlia
GENERAL CARE: Once your Dahlias are established water two to three times a week for approximately 30-40 minutes at a time and adjust according to climate. Dahlias benefit from an application of a low-nitrogen liquid fertilizer such as a 5-10-10 or 10-20-20. Fertilize after sprouting and then every 3 to 4 weeks from mid-summer until early autumn, but do not over-fertilize. As Dahlias get taller, some of the larger varieties may require staking to keep blooms from falling over. Bedding Dahlias generally do not require any kind of staking if you deadhead any spent blooms and pinch back growth to keep them full.
Pompon Dahlia
PESTS & DISEASES: Dahlia are generally free of pests, but should be regularly monitored for any signs of distress. They can be a target of insects such as Japanese Beetle, slugs, snails, mites and aphids. Diseases include powdery mildew, verticillium wilt and Dahlia smut, which mostly result from over-watering of the foliage. Some growers recommend being proactive and tend to use a slug repellent at time of planting to prevent any issues from ground insects as the plants are trying to develop.
Decorative Dahlia
STORAGE OF DAHLIA: In warmer climates (zone 8 and above) Dahlias can be cut back and left in the ground to overwinter. If doing so, cover the location of the tuberous roots with a 2-3 inch layer of dry mulch for protection. Elsewhere, (zones 7 and under) the tuberous roots should be lifted and stored during the winter. Remove any remaining foliage before digging them up and carefully remove from the soil, not to break the root. Once dug, gently shake off any soil and pack the dry tuberous roots in a loose fluffy medium such as vermiculite. Store them over winter in a well-ventilated frost-free space, such as a garage, and start over in spring.
Ball Dahlia
Dahlia Classifications (Source: Nineteenth Supplement to the International Register of Dahlia Names 2007)

For more Information on Dahlia Varieties visit:

As Always...Happy Gardening and Happy New Year!

Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening, © Copyright 2018. All rights reserved

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow-Up March 2018: Bring on Spring!

March Garden
What a difference a day can make! Welcome to this month's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Foliage Follow-Up! Saying that the month of March has been unpredictable would be an understatement. March came in like a lion on the 2nd. with one of the worst storms we have had in a while, bringing in high winds and torrential rains for the northeast. The rains brought renewal to the garden and with temperatures in the 40's and 50's, the landscape started to become alive. On the 7th, our first thunder snow in years brought thunder, lightening and 6 inches of snow, followed by sunshine, blue skies and melting on the 8th. The vernal equinox is just less than a week away and the gardens are showing signs of full spring ahead. Come along for a walk in my March Long Island garden, and be ready for some surprises along the way!
Hellebore 'Shooting Star' (Lenten Rose)
Hellebores are one of the first perennials to bloom in late winter/early spring, so I had to plant some in the north garden some years ago. I am always in awe over their large beautiful blooms.
Hellebore 'Shooting Star' (Lenten Rose)
Lets get close up and take a look. The anatomy of the flower is quite intriguing, with an eye-catching spiral pattern of many stamens surrounding several pistils at the center, forming a structure that resembles a pin wheel.
Weeping Pussy Willow Catkins!
It's March, so it's time for Pussy Willow catkins. The tree's small white fuzzy buds emerged from brown pods and tripled in size after the rains.
Weeping Pussy Willow March
The birds that frequent the property compete for this Weeping Pussy Willow tree every spring to see who will get to nest there. All day long there is activity with various groupings of birds, mostly consisting of sparrows, mockingbirds and chickadees. They find the tree to be very reliable for providing protection and there are baby birds every spring.
Bird Visitors Seek A Nesting Site
Follow along with me towards the front of the property. One of my goals when planning is to create all year interest in the garden. The Golden Oriental Skyland's Spruce and Coral Bark Maple (Acer palmatum Sangu Kaku') do just that. Each specimen tree changes in appearance throughout the seasons.
Coral Bark Maple 'Sangu Kaku' Bright Red Bark in March (on left) and Skyland's Spruce (right)
Coral Bark Maple (photo left) starts off the season with light yellow-green foliage which turns to medium green and eventually to a vibrant golden-orange in fall. The bark glows a coral-red hue in wintertime, especially when the temperatures are at their lowest, and appears most vibrant when it snows.
Skylands Oriental Spruce (Left)and Coral Bark Maple (Right)
Skylands' Oriental Spruce (photo left) shows off its beautiful golden foliage all year long, but gets bright golden tips on new growth in spring. The tree produces large purplish-brown cones, which mature to their full size by the end of winter. If you look up, the underside of each branch is a deeper green with golden highlights on the upper surface, creating a two-toned effect.
Liriope (Front) and Blue Star Juniper (Backdrop)
Around to the east side, Liriope from last season and Juniperus 'Blue Star' still provide interest in the winter garden. The golden-green grass-like blades of the Liriope will be cut back within the next few weeks to allow for new growth. It is best not to cut this perennial all the way back in autumn, as the foliage provides protection during winter.

Front Walkway
Here is a long view of the front walkway area with Weeping White Birch, 'Blue Star' Juniper, Golden Sweet Flag and 'Gold Spot' Euonymus to the left of the tree. Beyond that is Euonymus 'Greenspire' and Weeping White Pine.
March Snow on the 7th!
What???!!! Just as spring was on its way, March played it's unpredictable game on the 7th. Weather forecasts called for snow, but since the temperatures had been so mild, it was unlikely...right? The storm started as rain during the day and quickly turned into a heavy snow by late afternoon, bringing six inches of white to cover the landscape.
March Snow Covers the Garden
Being the enthusiastic gardener that I am, of course I had to quickly run outside with camera in hand to capture the snow covered garden from what was hopefully the last snowfall of the season. I do enjoy the view of the pool area covered in a blanket of white.
March Landscape in Snow 
The view of the Coral Bark Maple in the front is also a beautiful sight as the reddish bark actually seems to glow through the snow covered branches.
Garden Gal & Boy After the Snow
As quickly as the snow came, it started to melt. 
After the Snow Next Morning
The next day, the sky was as blue as could be and the garden was headed back into spring mode.
After the Snow By Afternoon
I think the Weeping Pussy Willow got even more catkins on it and the birds were happy that the snow was over 
as they went back to their usual routine.
This Blue Jay actually allowed me to capture him through the camera lens as he perched on a tree above.
Blue Jay in March

Bring on Spring! (Daylillies)
Now, let's get back to the tour after our step back in time. In the garden, daylilies, hyacinths and alliums are starting to emerge and make their appearance.
If you look closely, you can see little purple and pink hyacinth buds forming. They will progress a bit each day from now on in.

Allium 'Globemaster'
The Allium 'Globemasster' bulbs are sprouting and have multiplied from the original three that were planted two years ago to now what is looking like a possible eight or nine!
Sedum 'Brilliant' is one of those low maintenance perennials that looks attractive even when it is just coming up. A multitude of rosettes are now visible. Now, it is really starting to look like spring here on Long Island. Hopefully, there won't be any more surprises for the month of March, but we all know that March can be unpredictable!
OH NO!!! 
March 13th
March 2018 Garden

I hope you enjoyed this month's tour through my 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 Floral Friday Fotos, Macro Monday 2, and Nature Notes at Rambling Woods. Also check out Garden Bloggers' Foliage Day at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides, Wednesday Around the WorldDishing It & Digging It and Image-in-ing weekly photo share every Tuesday.
Gardening Season is Almost Here!
Check Out My Books For Planning Your Garden:

~As Always...Happy Gardening and Happy Almost Spring!~

Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening, © Copyright 2018. All rights reserved. 


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