Saturday, April 15, 2017

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow-Up April 2017: Welcome Spring!

April 2017 Garden
April showers bring May flowers and at last the garden is alive with colorful blooms! After one of the coldest arrivals of spring, early April has brought in some rainy days, followed by sunny blue skies and 70 degree temperatures, just in time to bring the garden out of its dormancy. It is time for another Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Foliage Follow-up, so come along with me on a tour of my Long Island garden!
Perennial Border April
The perennial border by the back patio comes a little more to life with every passing day with the arrival of new foliage and blooms. While Crocus, Hyacinth and Daffodils are in bloom, Allium, Astilbe, Lilies, Coneflowers, Hosta and Peony start to show their new spring foliage.
Purple Crocus
Crocus is one of my favorite introductions to spring with their beautiful purple, white or yellow blooms that close by night and open by day.
Purple Crocus
The morning sunshine warms and opens the blooms, bringing cheer to start the day.
White Crocus
These white crocus are so pure and beautiful and are a welcomed sight in the spring garden. The pollen lined anthers emerge from the centers of each bloom.
Pink Hyacinth
Hyacinth blooms in shades of pink and purple become fuller with each passing day and last for weeks. As you can see, these two are right next to each other in the perennial border.
Purple Hyacinth
The hyacinths had a slow start this spring with colder than usual March temperatures, but the sudden warmer temperatures we have been experiencing have put them right back on schedule.
Miniature Daffodils
The miniature daffodils are now fully opened as they display their bright yellow, cheery blooms! The pollinators love them too!
Itoh Peony Foliage
Itoh Peony 'Bartella' is right on schedule with its sturdy new foliage which glows a pinkish-red. Voluminous yellow blooms will appear in May as foliage turns to green.
Hellebore 'Shooting Star' April
These Hellebores have been blooming non-stop in the northern garden since February. The blooms of 'Shooting Star' turn from shades of greenish white to pink.
Hellebore 'Shooting Star' April
I just planted a new member of the Hellebore family...Helleborus 'Dark and Handsome' in my garden for more winter interest. I am looking forward to it maturing and producing the unusual purplish-black blooms it is known for. Hellebores are a new favorite in the garden, for they provide interest in the wintertime as well as in early spring.
Salix caprea Pendula (Weeping Pussy Willow) April
Springtime is a delight with Salix caprea 'Pendula' (Weeping Pussy Willow). I look forward to its lovely silvery catkins that burst open, exposing yellow pollen covered anthers.
Weeping Pussy Willow April
Here is a long view of the tree and gardens behind it. The upright Western Arborvitae in the backdrop have really matured and are now approximately twenty five feet tall.
Magnolia Tree
As we move along to the northwestern section of the backyard, we approach the pool area and the Star Magnolia tree, which was planted in 1996. It has matured into quite a beauty and is filled with blooms in April.
Magnolia 'Royal Star' Bloom
The creamy white delicate blooms are magnificent against the blue sky and the sweet fragrance is evident while close up.
Magnolia 'Royal Star' Bloom
Magnolia 'Royal Star' is a hardy, cold tolerant form of Magnolia which thrives in zones 4-8 and requires full sun to partial shade. The tree stays compact when compared to others, reaching a height and width of about 10-15 feet tall by 10-12 feet wide.
Front Driveway Garden (Skylands' Golden Oriental Spruce, Coral Bark Maple, Golden Hinoki Cypress and Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar)
As we approach the front driveway garden, Golden Oriental Spruce 'Skylands' and Coral Bark Maple take front stage. The bark on the Maple can still be seen glowing red, and light green foliage will be appearing soon as the temperatures warm.
Spirea 'Magic Carpet'  Spring Foliage
Spirea 'Magic Carpet' has its foliage starting to appear! Magic Carpet Spirea is hardy in zones 4-9 and displays colorful foliage that starts off as a burnished red in spring and fades to a bright golden hue  in summer. In fall, the foliage turns to russet red and finally bronze. Bright pink blooms adorn the shrub throughout the summer months.
As we move along the front yard, across on the median is the Forthysia I planted years ago. It has now matured and I enjoy looking out the front window at its vibrant yellow blooms each spring.
Violas for April
Violas are a sign that spring has arrived and of course every year I visit the local nursery on opening day to purchase these lovely little blooms. They will even re-seed themselves in my garden occasionally when the conditions are right.

Welcome to Our Garden!
Every garden needs a little whimsy. This little welcome sign resides in the herb garden...and this garden helper tends to the back pool area, bringing joy to all who encounter him.

Garden Whimsy
Spring Planter
Spring is bountiful with all its colorful blooms. Author Barbara Winkler quotes, "Every gardener knows under the cloak of winter lies a miracle...a seed waiting to sprout, a bulb opening to light, a bud straining to unfurl. And the anticipation nurtures our dreams." Part of the beauty of winter is the anticipation of spring and the excitement of awaiting its first blooms!
First Spring Robin!
April 2017 Garden

I hope you enjoyed your stroll through 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 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.

Gardening season is here! Have you had a chance to check out my books? If not, you can see my author page with links to previews of both books here. The first, A Guide to Northeastern Gardening focuses on specific types of gardens with plant recommendations and maintenance tips to keep your garden looking its best. The second book, Landscape Design Combinations goes into greater detail, teaching the concepts of design, while offering a multitude of garden plans with numbering and detailed descriptions of each plant suggested. If you have read either A Guide to Northeastern Gardening or Landscape Design Combinations and found them to be useful, please consider leaving a brief review. Reviews help a book get noticed and I would really appreciate your help! Best wishes for a wonderful and successful gardening season, and I hope to inspire you!
Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening, © Copyright 2017. All rights reserved

Friday, April 7, 2017

This Month In the Garden: Three Seasons of Yellow

Yellow Blooms in the Garden
A cheerful indicator that spring has arrived, yellow blooms in the garden create a positive effect and bring warmth to the landscape, especially at the end of a cold and dreary winter. Continuing after spring, yellow continues in the landscape in the form of summer and fall blooming perennials, and can even be continued into the winter months in the form of golden hued evergreen shrubs. Groupings of yellow blooms tend to brighten and enlarge the garden, especially when the area is small or shaded, and the warmth of yellow is easily complemented by cooler hues of purples and blues. 
One of the first signs that spring has arrived is the sighting of yellow crocus peeking out through the winter's snow. Hardy in zones 3-8, there are over 80 known species of crocus in a variety of colors ranging from yellow to purple, white and variegated forms. While providing late winter-early spring interest, Crocus bulbs tend to naturalize for an even larger and more beautiful display year after year.
Plant crocus in mid-fall (generally November when soil temperatures are below 60 degrees) in a sunny location with moderate watering and a well-drained soil. They thrive in a variety of soils, but do best in a soil with a pH of 6-7 (slightly acidic). If squirrels are a problem, cover your planting bed with a thin layer of wire mesh to ensure their survival. When the flowers are spent, allow the foliage to die back naturally so that the bulbs can produce food for the following year.
Miniature Daffodils
The next blooms to emerge in early spring are the Daffodils. Daffodils require full sun to partial shade and are hardy in USDA zones 3-8. They are an easy perennial to grow in most areas of North America, with the exception of Southern Florida. Their attractive flowers usually bear showy yellow or white flowers with six petals and a trumpet-shape central corona. Daffodils are perfect for planting between shrubs or in a perennial border and look wonderful naturalized in a woodland garden. The same planting guide applies for Daffodils as for crocus. Daffodils are both deer resistant and rodent proof, as these animals do not like the taste of bulbs in the Narcissus family.
Miniature Daffodils
Tulips are available in a multitude of colors and start to appear once spring is underway. Hardy in USDA zones 3-8, height and bloom time depends on variety. Yellow Tulip 'Big Smile' is a later blooming species with very attractive, large sunshine yellow blooms on 20-26 inch stems in May. Tulips should be planted in fall and prefer a location with full to partial sun and a well-drained soil with moderate watering. Bulbs can be protected from rodents with a thin layer of wire mesh as with crocus.
Tulip 'Big Smile'
Blooming in late May into early June is Hybrid Paeonia, Itoh 'Bartella'. 'Bartella' exhibits the large double blooms of tree peony, but has a similar growing habit to that of herbaceous forms. Once established, Itoh Peonies have an extended blooming period, with as many as 50 blooms in a single season due to their ability to produce primary and secondary buds.
Itoh Peony 'Bartella'
Itoh Peony 'Bartella' is hardy in USDA zones 4-8 and is a herbaceous 24-36" tall by wide perennial. Peony prefers full sun to partial shade and requires a moderately moist soil with good drainage. Plant Peony slightly above grade and mulch around the plant to protect the root area. After flowering, lacy green shrub-like foliage remains attractive through fall. Slightly fragrant blooms are deer resistant, bee friendly and excellent in cut flower arrangements.  Itoh Peony 'Bartella' is a true beauty in the landscape.
Hemerocallis 'Stella D Oro'
June blooming 'Stella D' Oro' Daylily brings in summer with continuous bright yellow blooms from late spring until frost. This is by far the most popular Daylily selection of all time, performing well in zones 4-11, and flowering for months on end. 'Stella D Oro' forms a dense clump of grassy green foliage, with upright stems of fragrant, golden yellow trumpet flowers on 24-30 inch stems. 
Hemerocallis 'Stella D' Oro'
Plant Daylily in an area receiving full sun to partial shade in a well-drained soil with moderate watering. Deadheading spent blooms will increase bloom time well into autumn.
Threadleaf Coreopsis 'Zagreb'
Threadleaf Coreopsis 'Zagreb' forms a 12-18 inch tall by wide spreading clump of delicate, ferny foliage, with an abundance of bright, golden yellow daisies from early summer into the fall. Tolerant of hot, dry sites once established, Coreopsis 'Zagreb' is hardy in USDA zones 3-9 and requires full sun and a well-drained soil. Coreopsis is deer resistant and drought tolerant once established. Clipping off faded flowers will encourage buds to form all season. 
Oriental Lilly
Asiatic Lilies, hardy in USDA zones 4-9, are easy, dependable perennials that put on a colorful show in early summer. Asiatic lilies grow on 2-3 foot tall straight stems and show exhibit multiple brightly colored blooms ranging from yellow, white and pink pastels to fiery reds and oranges. Asiatic Lilies prefer to be grown in a sunny location with a well-drained soil.

 Agastache 'Kudos Yellow' 
Agastache 'Kudos Yellow', or Dwarf Hummingbird Mint, exhibits multiple yellow flowers on a compact 24-26 inch tall by wide plant. 'Kudos Yellow' is hardy to Zone 5 and is naturally resistant to downy mildew. Agastache requires full sun and a well-drained fertile soil with excellent drainage to overwinter. Agastache is drought tolerant once established, produces abundant blooms from June through August, and attracts hummingbirds.
Rudbeckia 'Goldstrum' (Black Eyed Susan)
Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susan) displays golden yellow daisy-like blooms with brown centers, on 2-3 foot high plants. Blooms start in late summer and continue well into October in many regions. A terrific choice for mass planting, removing faded flowers regularly will greatly increase the blooming time. Seed heads left on plants provide winter interest and are a food source for over-wintering birds. Rudbeckia is hardy in USDA zones 3-9, requires full sun to partial shade and has low water needs once established.
Solidago 'Golden Fleece' (Goldenrod)
Solidago 'Golden Fleece' (Goldenrod) displays sprays of golden-yellow flowers late summer into fall. Hardy in USDA zones 4-9, Solidago prefers full sun to partial shade and moderate watering. Plants exhibit a clump forming habit and grow to a height and width of 18-24 inches. Solidago naturalizes beautifully as an edging in a perennial border and brings color to the autumn landscape. 
Yellow Blooms for the Garden
Yellow blooms can be a prominent feature in the landscape over three of the four seasons in colder climates and all year long in warmer areas. In colder climates, golden evergreen shrubs can take over to add structure and some golden hues to the landscape, while February-March blooming shrubs such as Witch Hazel can also add yellow to a winter setting. Whatever the season, the color yellow will add warmth and brightness to just about any garden.

Gardening season is here! Have you had a chance to check out my two books? If not, you can see my author page with links to previews of both books here. The first, A Guide to Northeastern Gardeningfocuses on specific types of gardens with plant recommendations and maintenance tips to keep your garden looking its best. The second book, Landscape Design Combinationsgoes into greater detail teaching the concepts of design, while offering a multitude of garden plans with numbering and detailed descriptions of each plant suggested. Be sure to check them out, and I hope to inspire you as you venture out into your garden!

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


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