Saturday, May 28, 2011

Knock Out Rose-A New Favorite in the Garden

Knock Out Rose Double Pink
There is a new addition to my gardens this year-the Knock Out Rose.  Developed by Wisconsin rose breeder William Radler in 2000, Knock Out Rose is hardy to USDA zone 5 and has a bloom cycle that starts in spring and lasts well into frost. 

Knock Out Roses grow to 3-4 feet high by wide and should be grown in full sun in a well-drained soil.   Knock Out Rose do not require any special care but can be pruned in early spring after the threat of frost is gone to keep them full.  They do not require deadheading but if desired you can remove spent blooms to encourage more blooms. They are the most disease resistant roses on the market and are not susceptible to black-spot fungal disease.  They are virtually "care-free".

Knock Out Rose Double Red
I have always loved roses and have wanted roses in my garden for years but did not want the maintenance of a regular rose.  These are wonderful and I am already getting so much enjoyment from them.  If you want a rose that is carefree, disease-resistant and that blooms all summer then this is the beauty for you!  There is an added plus-it is also deer-resistant. 

After 20 years in the making the first introduction of Knock Out Rose was the Red Knock Out in 2000.  After that in 2004, Blushing (light pink) and Pink (deep pink) were introduced.  In 2005 Double Red Knock Out came about and then in 2007, Rainbow Knock Out (pink/yellow center) and Sunny Knock Out (yellow) were brought into the market. 

I introduced three double pink Knock-Outs into my gardens in Mid-May and just added three Double Reds.   They are in full bloom and are the first shrub I go to when walking out into the garden.  Each day there are more and more blooms to look forward to.  I am already looking for a place to put the yellow variety.   These are truly a winner and after all these years there are finally roses in this designer's garden.

Happy Gardening!

Author:  Lee@ A Guide To Northeastern Gardening Copyright 2011

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day May 2011

Pink Tulip
Inspired by the quote, “We can have flowers nearly every month of the year.” by Elizabeth Lawrence, Carol at May Dreams Gardens hosts Garden Blogger's Bloom Day. On the 15th of every month gardeners from all over the world walk out into their gardens to note what is currently blooming. It's May in the northeast and the gardens are alive with color.  I gaze in awe at what appears before me.

Perennial Garden
The perennial garden is alive with delicate red and pink tulips, Astilbe, Lamb's Ear, Heuchera, Hosta and Daylily. The variety of textures and color complement one another beautifully.

Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar, Daylily & Crimson Azalea
The Stella d Oro Daylily is displaying vibrant green foliage against the blue of the Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar and the Crimson Azalea is in full bloom. Soon there will be blooms of yellow that will last throughout the summer.
The Wisteria is a sight to behold with its magnificent lavender panicle blooms. One can also smell the fragrance of sweet perfume. Under the canopy of the Wisteria  are Hosta ' Patriot' and 'Minuteman'  to add brightness to the garden.  In the backdrop are Heuchera 'Palace Purple' and Endless Summer Hydrangea.

Heuchera 'Caramel'
Heuchera 'Caramel', a new addition to the garden this year has an interesting foliage that cannot be beat. Heuchera 'Caramel' is said to be very hardy in zone 7 and will tolerate sun as well as shade. I am giving this beauty a test run!

Nepeta 'Little Titch'
Also new to the garden this year is a miniature version of nepeta. It is Nepeta 'Little Titch'. It displays beautiful blue flowers all summer long on much more compact silvery green foliage and is also hardy in zone 7.

Sedum 'Aurea'
The sedum 'Aurea' that I planted two seasons ago in between the crevices of the moss rock boulders of the waterfall are finally starting to flourish. They are planted along side Daylily and Blue Pacific Juniper to add color and a natural look. 

Montgomery Blue Spruce & Heuchera 'Palace Purple'
Behind the Montogomery Blue Spruce is Heuchera 'Palace Purple'. and Hinoki Cypress 'Aurea'.  The color combination of the blue, burgundy and gold is striking at this time of year.  
Ajuga 'Burgundy Glow'
Ajuga 'Burgundy Glow' makes its spring appearance as it emerges along side a boulder in the garden and forms a lovely mat of purple spiked groundcover.  This is also a debut for this plant in my garden. Planted last fall it has made it through the winter and is now thriving.

Spirea 'Gold Flame'
Spirea 'Gold Flame' is an all time favorite in the garden for its firey glowing foliage in early spring. Named for its color the foliage resembles a golden flame. Soon this shrub will be covered in pink blooms that will last throughout the entire summer. 

Bloom Day is a wonderful day of the month to be more aware of the changes going on in the garden. It is a great way to take inventory of what is growing in your garden and to view gardens of other gardening enthusiasts from around the world.  Be sure to visit our hostess May Dreams Gardens and check out all the other wonderful blooms that are emerging.

"In my garden there is a large place for sentiment. My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams. The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful." ~ Abram L. Urban

Happy GBBD.  Happy Gardening!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Walk In the Garden

One of my favorite things to do is to sit in a chair on the outdoor patio with a cup of tea in hand gazing out on the garden.   The best time is in the morning or in the later afternoon when you can hear the sounds of the birds rustling in the trees and see the sure signs of spring as the first robin appears. 

It is a time to think and reflect on life and the mind will sometimes tend to wander.  It is a time of joy and serenity.  It is amazing just how much a garden can bring joy and contentment to our lives and this Mother's Day seemed to be the perfect time to take a stroll and checkout all the beauty that the garden has to offer. A gardener nurtures the garden to make it grow and thrive adding tender loving care along the way similar to the way a mother would care for and nurture a child.  One could say, "A Garden is Grown with Love". 

At this time of year the gardens are changing dramatically.  The azaleas are now in bloom adding much color and life to the garden.   The lavender panicles of the Wisteria gracefully cascade downwards from the magnificent arching branches and the wonderful sweet fragrance of the blooms lingers throughout the yard.  I take it all in.
The foliage of the hosta emerges above the soil like a slow motion movie and I am convinced they are growing before my very eyes. As I walk throughout the gardens I just gaze in awe at all that nature has to offer.

Back at the porch it is time to gaze and ponder some more enjoying the beauty of the day. There is a well-known saying about taking time to smell the roses and today for a brief moment in time I did just that.

Gardening is a love and a passion. It brings so much to life.  Maybe I will take some time to "smell the roses" again tomorrow.

Happy Gardening and a Happy Mother's Day!  Also a thank you to my mom who gave me the encouragement to pursue the passion of gardening that was within me.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Landscape Design Process

So you're looking to change the look of your property, give it a re-vamping or start from scratch.  A common question is "What does the process of landscape design involve and what happens from here?"  The process of landscape design is just that, a process that involves a good communication between client and designer and yes...time.  
The shows on television where the complete planning, design and implementation of a major landscape project happen in one weekend are quite unreal.  It is purely for the sake of cramming the entire process into a quick one-hour segment, but in reality the process one is viewing really took weeks to even months to complete.  These shows are great for showing the "process" but one must emphasize-the "process" does take time and does not happen overnight! 

When you are ready to start your project provide the designer with a survey of the property and take an inventory of the site. Try to decide what you would like the function of your site to be and think about any existing features that you would either want to keep or get rid of. The designer can help you with these decisions. Also you should be aware of your budget. Keep in mind that the project does not have to be installed all at once. Installing your landscape in phases allows you to spread out the expenses and the amount of time you commit to the project. The big picture provided by the design plan will help you prioritize the project.

The Design Process:

 Site Analysis:

The design process begins with an initial meeting with the client. The property is walked viewing the areas to be designed discussing factors such as desired function of the site, hardscape, existing plantings, lighting, watering, slope and location of utilities. The client can view samples of work so that the designer can get an idea for the style of landscape desired whether it is formal, informal, cottage style, contemporary or perhaps a combination of styles for different areas. After careful consideration of wants and needs for the location, digital photographs and careful measurements are taken of the site. The designer then gathers all the information needed for the plan through several site visits and creates a conceptual plan.

Conceptual Plan:

The designer will meet with you to review the conceptual plan. This plan will provide an overview of the project and will include a layout of functional areas, planting areas and hardscape. At this time you can further discuss any ideas you may have with your designer.

Master Plan:

Upon approval of the conceptual plan, the designer will then prepare a scaled to size master plan (or blueprint) that will show the layout of plantings and hardscape as well as a listing of plant material, sizes and quantities and specifications. Computer rendered imaging of your design may also be supplied so that you can see what your installed landscape will look like beforehand.


At this point you may proceed with installing your project. You may decide to hire out all or some of the elements of your project and your designer can help you with this.   The master plan will show you the overall picture so that there is no guesswork when you decide to proceed with your project. 

Home improvements should be a fun and enjoyable experience and planning ahead can take the stress out of your project.  While every designer may not follow these exact steps this article will hopefully help to give an explanation of how the process works and what one can expect.    The better the communication between you and your designer the smoother and more enjoyable your project will flow.  Enjoy planning and happy gardening!

Lee@ A Guide To Northeastern Gardening Copyright 2011 All Rights Reserved.