Saturday, February 15, 2020

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow-Up February 2020: Winter Blooms & Views!

February Garden
Welcome to another Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Foliage Follow-Up for the month of February. With one of the mildest winters on record here in the northeast, Hellebores are in full bloom and perennials are starting to show their presence. According to the words of Dali Lama, "Just one small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day." This quote is so true, as one of the first things I do each morning is gaze upon my garden, which brings me great joy. As winter winds down with promises of a not too distant spring, come along and see what my Long Island garden has to offer!
Hellebore 'Shooting Star'
The first stop is to view the glorious blooms of Hellebore 'Shooting Star'. This is one of the best garden investments I have made over the years, so that I could see blooms in winter, and this perennial gets the job done. When not flowering, the foliage stays evergreen on the northern side of the property, which is another plus.
Evergreens and Hellebores!
Here is a wider view the the Hellebores in front of a border of evergreens and flowering shrubs. There are three Hellebore plants in this location, supplying plenty of buds and blooms from January to March!
Welcoming Committee
Along to the western side of the property, my frequent visitors will probably recall the story of how my husband surprised me with this irresistible garden statue last winter. I love seeing it right outside the back door each morning and its amazing how something so simple can make one smile!
Welcomed Guests
During the winter months, bird visitors are always welcomed in the garden, and these House Sparrows love the Weeping Pussy Willow tree by the back patio. It is a favorite nesting place, especially in spring.

Winter Berries on Nellie Stevens Holly
As we move along to the back garden, Nellie Stevens Holly berries are nice and plump for  the winter months and Dwarf Cryptomeria (Cryptomeria japonica 'Globosa Nana'shows its golden-bronzed winter foliage.
Cryptomeria japonica 'Globosa Nana' 
In the foreground, this garden kitty has a special meaning. It was a gift from my mom many years ago and it brings back fond memories of her each time I pass it by. 
Garden Gal
This statue of Garden Gal has also been around for many years as she continues to delight visitors with her basket of Mondo Grass. Wanting to give a different perspective, this is the view from the northeastern side of the property. Euonymus 'Emerald Gaiety' is in the foreground and the large piece of moss rock was added last summer to add a little dimension to the garden.
Blue Globe Spruce
Being a huge fan of evergreens of different shapes and colors, one of my favorite additions is this Globe Blue Spruce, which displays its brilliant blue-green foliage all year round and grows to a compact 2-3 feet in height and width. Here is a close up view of its interesting needles.
Weeping Japanese Maple
Wintertime doesn't mean there can't be interest. This eight foot tall Weeping Japanese Maple displays its twisted trunk during the colder months when its foliage is absent.
Signs of Spring to Come!
In the southern exposure garden there are some early signs of spring as Sedum 'Brilliant' rosettes start to make their presence known...
Hyacinth Buds in February!
and the Hyancinths are emerging! As I had mentioned at the beginning of this post, this has been one of the mildest winters on record...with the exception of yesterday and today with temperatures not getting above freezing. Nonetheless, the spring bulbs are confused and quickly rising up out of the soil for their spring debut. But's way too early!
Front Walkway
Once in a while the skies darken as a brief passing shower changes the lighting along the front walkway. The beauty of a virtual tour is that I get to share this with you, even though it happened a couple of days ago. 
Winter View
Along the front, Skylands Golden Oriental Spruce and Coral Bark Maple 'Sangu Kaku' continue to display their evergreen foliage and coral-red bark, which the colder temperatures make more prominent...and indoors the mature Jade plant produces a rare treat!
Indoor Blooms on Jade Plant!
This Jade plant is approximately thirty years old and produces white star-like blooms during the winter months when conditions are right. The secret: This plant is in a southwestern window in full sun. The lower nighttime temperatures in the room during winter combined with increasing hours of daylight in February triggers the blooms. The plant itself is 3.5 feet tall by 2.3 feet wide. I have propagated many plants from cuttings over the years. Propagation is simple...cut off a section of stem approximately 3-4 inches in length and allow it to cure for one to two days. Moisten the cut end and dip into rooting medium, place into a light soil mix and water. The new plant will root in approximately two to three weeks. I water my plants every two weeks, allowing the soil to dry out in between.
February Garden
Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoyed your tour of my February garden! Special thanks go out to our hostess 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. Also, special thanks to Pam Penick at Digging who has hosted Foliage Follow-Up for all these years, a meme I will still continue to honor. I am also linking with some other wonderful hosts and hostesses at Floral Friday FotosMacro Monday 2, Mosaic Monday at Letting Go of the Bay Leaf, Nature Notes at Rambling WoodsDishing It & Digging It on Sunday with Angie the Freckled Rose, Image-in-ing weekly photo share every Tuesday with NC Sue and Gardens Galore Link Up Party every other Monday with Everyday Living. I am also happy to join the Homestead Blog Hop  and Weekly Photo Link-Up at My Corner of the World on Wednesdays.
      Looking for some winter reading?-Visit my Author Page

Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening,© Copyright 2010-2020. All rights reserved.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

This Month in the Garden: Indoor Gardening-8 Ways to Decorate with Houseplants

This Month in the Garden: 8 Ways to Decorate with Houseplants
Did you know that having a few houseplants in your living space can help improve concentration, enhance productivity, and boost your mood? Yep, and scientists believe the reason why is twofold: First, because plants help to freshen up the air and eliminate harmful toxins, thereby making you feel all-around healthier; second, because nature and greenery have long been proven to help us destress and unwind. In addition to helping you feel your best, houseplants also bring vibrant color, earthiness, and texture to your design scheme. So, if you’re in the market for some natural, serene décor that boosts your mood, then look to the succulents, herbs, ferns, and flowering houseplants!

1. Hang Them from the Ceiling–Macrame hangers, wicker baskets, and hooks are awesome for showcasing your very best houseplants, especially the ones that tend to cascade and climb (look for philodendron or hoya), spilling out over the sides of the pot and dancing in midair. This creates a mesmerizing look overhead and keeps your plants off the floor or furniture, as well as away from any pets or kids. Just make sure to hang them in a fairly sunny room and to always take them down to water.
Hanging Houseplants (Photo Credit: Shutterstock)
   2. Stagger Them on a Ladder–Many of our favorite houseplant decorating ideas involve repurposing or reusing old, discarded items, and why not? It’s an affordable, eco-friendly way to showcase all your gorgeous specimens. The idea of repurposing an old ladder as a plant stand, creating a tower of greenery that extends all the way to the ceiling is an exciting one. Just make sure it’s sturdy (you may have to add boards for stability) so it doesn’t waver when you move things around or water.

       3. Place Them on an Old Ironing Board–Much like the old ladder, the antique ironing board serves as a budget-friendly option for lining your plants up next to the window. Often available at estate sales, flea markets, and antiques stores, old wooden ironing boards provide ample surface area with more sunlight than your typical side table or desk. Keep your eyes out for colorful houseplants for sale to counter the rustic, antique wood. If you can’t find an old ironing board, stack up a few old fruit crates or transform drawers into cool vintage planters for the same antique effect.

3     4. Use Them to Flank the Front Door–If you’ve got a little room to spare, why not invest in a few large houseplants in floor pots? Some of the more popular large indoor plants include yucca, ficus, jade (they can get surprisingly huge), and all sorts of palms and pines. Planting two indoor trees in sturdy, matching pots and using them to flank the entryway, creates a bold threshold that totally sets the stage for the rest of your décor.

Floor Plants (Photo Credit: Shutterstock)
 5. Use Them as an Enduring Centerpiece–While fresh floral centerpieces are so beautiful; unfortunately, they are short-lived, and those brightly colored blooms barely last a week before they start to wilt. On the other hand, a live centerpiece endures year-round (as long as it gets enough sunlight on the dining room table) and keeps everything looking fresh and lively from one season to the next. Elaborate succulent gardens, terrariums, and cactus vases are a few great potted centerpiece ideas.

 6. Let Them Pepper in Some Color–Green is the name of the game when it comes to houseplants, and the idea of turning a sun-room, den, or office into a veritable jungle is pleasing to the senses, but color can be fun too! Look for easy-care flowering houseplants in hues that complement your home décor. Annual geraniums, impatiens, begonias, and calla are wonderful for growing indoors and are can be transplanted outside when it gets warm. Orchids are a very popular flowering indoor plant, offering relatively easy care, especially when using the ice watering method. Orchids should stay inside throughout the year, though.

  7. Set Them on the Windowsill–The windowsill is the locale of choice for your small, sun-loving indoor plants, especially herbs, succulents, and cacti. You can turn your windowsill display into a miniature herb garden and grow all your favorite flavor-adders, like rosemary, mint, cilantro, parsley, oregano, and basil. This is always ideal in the wintertime when fresh herbs are out of season and expensive to buy from the supermarket. Just make sure they’re planted in well-draining pots, preferably by a window in the kitchen for easy access while cooking
Windowsill Plants (Photo Credit: Shutterstock)
    8. Easy, Adaptable, Affordable Décor-There are few home-décor items out there that are quite as adaptable, cheerful, and versatile as the houseplant. By adding a few ferns to the foyer, you can soak up a ton of distinct benefits, from enjoying the natural beauty of nature to purifying the air and creating a sense of peace. And, once you get the hang of keeping them alive, it isn’t as hard as you think…you’ll be hooked.

Author Bio: Grace Quarer oversees Park Seed content development from Park’s headquarters in Greenwood, South Carolina. Before joining Park Seed, Grace managed garden content for a large national chain of home improvement stores. Grace grew up in a gardening family, but it was marrying into a farming family that introduced her to seed starting for home gardeners and professionals. Her hobby is teaching friends and her community how to sprout, grow and cook as a proud part of the “farm to table” movement.

I hope you enjoyed This Month in the Garden for February. Be sure to stop by on the 1st. of each month for This Month in the Garden, as I share gardening tips, information and horticultural adventures! Linking with:  Floral FridaysMacro Monday 2Friday Photo JournalImage-in-ing Weekly Photo Link-Up and Dishing It & Digging It.

~As Always...Happy Gardening! ~

Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening,© Copyright 2010-2020. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow-Up January 2020: New Year and Anticipation!

January 2020 Garden
Welcome to a brand new year filled with gardening anticipation. I am a true believer that the gardening year ends on December 31st. and starts on January 1st. with a dream! Similar to last year, this is one of the mildest January's I can remember with some days in the 50's and warm enough to go outside without a winter coat. There are other days in the lower digits of course, with a dusting of snow on the 8th, but the milder days leave me dreaming more about spring and what awaits outdoors. Come along and see what January has to bring in my Long Island garden.
Evergreens Backyard Northwestern bed
As we start our stroll, here is the northwestern poolside bed with Weeping Norway Spruce (center) and Dwarf White Pine (foreground). In the backdrop are Emerald Green Arborvitae (right) and Gold Lace Juniper, Skip Laurel (left) and spring blooming Kousa Dogwood to the right of the shed. There are some low spreading 'Repandens' Yew to the far left by the patio.
It's all about the Foliage!
Closer towards the main patio is a grafted Blue Globe Spruce with Gold Mop Cypress, Blue Star Juniper and Dwarf Mugo Pine 'Slowmound'. We are looking at this garden bed from an angle, which is a different perspective than usual. I love how the garden can change with just the slightest alteration of view. 
Dried Hydrangea Blooms January
Hydrangea are a favorite flower for summer. I enjoy seeing the dried blooms in winter and sometimes use them in floral displays.
Garden Whimsy
One could use a little garden whimsy in every season. Here is one of my favorite statues reminding me of childhood. It looks like I'll be applying a new coat of paint in the spring!
Crape Myrtle 'Sioux' Bark in Winter
Around to the other side of the backyard is the peeling bark of Crape Myrtle, which adds just a little more interest to the winter garden.
Shade Garden
The wintering birds have been enjoying the feeder under the canopy of the Star Magnolia. The shade area directly beneath the Magnolia tree is the perfect place for evergreens such as Leucothoe Auxillaris, Variegated Boxwood and Golden Sweet Flag.
Winter Foliage Combination
As you may know, this is one of my favorite foliage combinations, that of Heuchera 'Caramel' and Golden Japanese Sedge 'Everillo'. It works through all four seasons.
Nellie Stevens Berries Winter
Nellie Stevens Holly is displaying its bright red berries for winter, which are also a food source for birds.
Magnolia Buds!
Here is the Magnolia 'Royal Star' we passed by just a few minutes ago for a closer look. It starts to form the buds for next year in January, which really is a tease for the blooms to come.
Back Pool Garden-Southwestern Side
Behind the pool area is the burgundy winter foliage of Azalea bordering each side of the Skyland's Oriental Spruce, which I added a couple of years ago. Rhododendron is to the right with Caramel Coral Bells and Golden Sedge in the foreground.
Oriental Spruce Foliage Up Close
The foliage on the Skyland's Spruce deserves a closer view. Its golden color can be enjoyed all year round.
Winter Visitor
It is often difficult to get a capture of some of the visitors to the property. This one was easy, as I had accidentally dropped some seed right by the back door on my way to fill the feeder. This little guy found the seed and was enjoying it so much that he couldn't care less that I was there!
Winter Decor
Follow me around to the front of the property to get a view. I had been looking for a gate sign like this one for a couple of years with the red pick up truck and tree and found it...such fun! 
Front Eastern Garden
Around to the southeastern side of the front property is a view of the garden from another perspective. The glowing tree behind the Weeping Norway Spruce is the Coral Bark Maple (Acer Sango Kaku). There's something about the lighting this day that makes it appear more purple than pinkish red, so this is a rare sight.
Front Southeastern Garden
Here is the same island bed from a different direction and angle facing the northern side of the property. In the backdrop are Weeping Japanese Maple and Blue Atlas Cedar.
Weeping White Pine
Also around the front is Weeping White Pine. This one is over twenty five years old. That is Golden Japanese Sedge below it.
Weeping White Pine Seed Cone Winter
I always admire the seed cones from this tree, which are so decorative.
Front Walkway
Along the walkway is another view of the Coral Bark Maple with Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar and Golden Euonymus. There is also Variegated Sweet Flag along the right side of the path in the foreground. On the left is Japanese Garden Juniper and Variegated Liriope.
Hellebore 'Shooting Star' Buds on North Side
There can be blooms in winter and Hellebores are forming their buds! They should be blooming within the next month! 
Thanksgiving Cactus
While anticipating the winter blooms outside, the Thanksgiving cactus is blooming inside and has been blooming on and off for the past three months. Here is a tip: You can tell the difference between a Thanksgiving Cactus and Christmas Cactus by looking at the leaves. Thanksgiving Cactus leaves are serrated and pointed while Christmas Cactus leaves are more smooth and rounded.
Phalanges orchid
Also blooming indoors is this Phalanges Orchid. Tip: I grow my orchids in a bark medium and water them every other week. I give them 4 ounces of  purified (chlorine free) water per plant. Feeding occurs every 2-4 weeks when not flowering.
January 2020 Garden
Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoyed your tour of my January garden! Special thanks go out to our hostess 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. Also, special thanks to Pam Penick at Digging who has hosted Foliage Follow-Up for all these years, a meme I will still continue to honor. I am also linking with some other wonderful hosts and hostesses at Floral Friday Fotos, Macro Monday 2, Mosaic Monday at Letting Go of the Bay Leaf, Nature Notes at Rambling WoodsDishing It & Digging It on Sunday with Angie the Freckled RoseImage-in-ing weekly photo share every Tuesday with NC Sue and Gardens Galore Link Up Party every other Monday with Everyday Living. I am also happy to join the Homestead Blog Hop  and Weekly Photo Link-Up at My Corner of the World on Wednesdays.

"Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter lies a miracle ... a seed waiting to sprout, a bulb opening to the light, a bud straining to unfurl. And the anticipation nurtures our dream."- Barbara Winkler
      Looking for some winter reading?- Visit my Author Page

Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening,© Copyright 2010-2020. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

This Month in the Garden January 2020: Happy New Year & Reflections of a Year Past

January 2019 (Left to Right: Skyland's Spruce Seed Cone, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Blue Globe Spruce and Nellie Stevens Holly Berries)
Welcome to This Month in the Garden and a Happy New Year to all! January is good a time as ever to reflect upon and celebrate the year past and welcome a new gardening season ahead. I cannot remember such a mild start to January for quite some time. The start of 2019 was a bit of a roller coaster ride with temperatures fluctuating from the 50's some days to 30's the next. There were plenty of in between days to enjoy the outdoors.
February 2019 (Left to Right: Sparrow Visitor, Skyland's Spruce, Hellebore  and Junipers 'Gold Lace')
The past few winters in the garden have been unpredictable (to say the least) and February of 2019 was no exception. Between the end of January and start of February, temperatures have experienced a fifty-nine degree fluctuation, with daytime lows in the single digits (6 degrees) at the beginning of the month to temperatures topping off at 60 degrees by February 5th. Snow was scarce, with the exception of a light dusting, and the garden showed signs of both winter and spring.
March 2019 (Left to Right: Hellebore 'Shooting Star', Hyacinth, Skyland's Spruce and Sedum)
The month of March started off with the first significant snowfall of the season on March 4th with approximately 3-4 inches of snow. The garden was definitely confused from the temperature extremes throughout the winter months, but once the snow melted, perennials and bulbs could be seen emerging around the landscape.
April 2019 (Left to Right: Purple Crocus, Hellebore, Forthysia and White Crocus)
After an uneventful winter, April came in with full force as crocus, Magnolia, Forthysia, Pussy Willow catkins, Hellebore, Hyacinths and Daffodils came to be. Even the pollinators were out working away. While there were plenty of blooms to be seen, the April temperatures were cooler than normal, and this gardener wasn't quite ready to go full force just yet, but there were frequent walks around the property to take in what was blooming!
May 2019 (Left to Right: Hellebore, Ajuga 'Burgundy Glow', Kwanzan Cherry and Azalea)
I must say that May was one of my favorite months of 2019. Steadier spring-like temperatures in the upper 50's to mid-upper 60's with frequent rain showers had arrived, causing the garden to come to life. Vibrant new foliage with hues of pinks and greens had emerged and blooms were abundant everywhere. There was a party going on in the garden. I think the winner for best May blooms were those of the Kwanzan Cherry in the backyard, but the blooms of Azalea, Ajuga weren't bad either!  Even the Hellebores were still blooming, which added to the spring display.
June 2019 (Left to Right: Peony 'Bartzella', Kousa Dogwood, Knock out Rose and Allium 'Globemaster)
The month of June brought temperatures in the 70's with frequent night time precipitation, and something new to enjoy every day. Blooms of Peony, Salvia May Night, Magnolia Royal Star, Allium, Roses, Rhododendron, Azalea and Iris embellished the garden with their presence. The Peony 'Bartzella' definitely wins the prize for best blooms, along with the tall spikes of Allium 'Globemaster', but I cannot resist the blooms of Knock Out Roses and Dogwood, which always amaze me.
July 2019 (Left to Right: Pool Garden, Mophead Hydrangea, Weeping Norway Spruce and Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit')
After a rainy June, July brought temperatures rising up into the 80's with humidity and sunny skies. Blooms of Hydrangea, Roses, Daylily and Echinacea were abundant in the garden and everything appeared so green! The garden behind the pool was exceptionally green with the foliage of Leucothoe, Hosta, Japanese forest grass and spreading yew, which were all so full and lush! The blooming perennials added even more color to the landscape. 
August 2019 (Left to Right:Stargazer Lilly, Dwarf Rudbeckia, Echinacea and Rozanne Geranium)
The month of August brought temperatures in the 80's and 90's with humidity and occasional thunderstorms, as the garden went through its fourth round of blooms. The usual Dragonfly visitors abundant at this time of summer seemed to be exceptionally huge, as I watched them as they would dance across the backyard! Blooms to be seen included Rozanne Geranium, Coneflower, Stargazer Lilly, Rudbeckia, Stachys, Astilbe 'Sprite', Platycodon (Balloon Flower) and of coarse...Crape Myrtle!
September 2019 (Left to Right: Pentas, Rozanne Geranium, Sedum with Painted Lady Butterfly and Variegated Liriope)
As the late summer garden slowly transited into fall mode, temperatures that were in the 80's and 90's dropped into the 70's by September, with a feeling of autumn in the air. There were still plenty of blooms to be seen, along with some surprises, and even some unexpected visitors! The big surprise for this month was the first Hummingbird Moth I've ever seen up close and personal. He seemed to become very attached to my dwarf butterfly bush that resides in a container on the patio. Blooms in September included those of Butterfly Bush, Liriope, Rozanne Geranium, Daylilly 'Stella D Oro'(after rejuvenation), Sedum and the yellow blooms of the newest addition...Dwarf Solidago.
October 2019 (Left to Right: Montauk Daisy, 'Stella D Oro' Daylily, Succulent Planter and Dried Coneflower Seed Head)
The October garden was a great time of transition. While temperatures were in the 80's just  a few weeks before, they had moderated into the upper 50's to mid-60's with a feeling of autumn crispness. While the 'Stella D Oro' Daylilies were still blooming, Montauk Daisies and Chrysanthemums had now joined in, Dogwood were producing their colorful red fruit, pumpkins were out and grasses were showing their decorative plumes.
November 2019 (Left to Right: Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar, Coral Bark Maple, Sedum 'Thundercloud' and Astilbe/Lamb's Ear)

The month of November started off with normal enough temperatures in the mid-50's, but temperatures rapidly dropped into the 40's with a downward plummet to 22 degrees Fahrenheit early in the month and some snow showers. The garden had transitioned into an array of autumn colors with hues of golds and oranges. We did get a number of milder days in the 50's as the month went on and unlike last November, it turned out to be one of the mildest Thanksgivings I can remember. December brought the first coating of snow on the 3rd, followed by another on the 11th and fluctuating temperatures from in the 50's one day to 30's the next. The shift in seasons is definitely evident, so the garden and I are adjusting.
December 2019 (Left to Right: Weeping White Pine Seed Cone, Azalea/Sedge/Heuchera Combo, Nandina domestica berries and Crape Myrtle Bark )
I hope you enjoyed This Month in the Garden for January and wish each and every one of you, my readers, all the best for a wonderful new year filled with good health, prosperity and happiness. As we welcome in the new year, be sure to stop by on the 1st. and 15th. of each month as I continue to share gardening tips, information and horticultural adventures! (Linking with: Floral FridaysMacro Monday 2Ruby Tuesday, Friday Photo JournalImage-in-ing Weekly Photo Link-Up and Dishing It & Digging It.)
For winter reading and planning your 2020 garden... 
Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening,© Copyright 2010-2020. All rights reserved.


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