Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Beauty of a May Garden: Nature's Work of Art

 "May and June. Soft syllables, gentle names for the two best months in the garden year: cool, misty mornings gently burned away with a warming spring sun, followed by breezy afternoons and chilly nights. The discussion of philosophy is over; it's time for work to begin."
- Peter Loewer
Ajuga reptans
    Spring this year has been an array of mixed temperatures combined with harsh rains and gusty cool winds but the gardens are all in bloom with an abundance of May color.  I decided to take things a step further and look deeper into the art of the spring garden. 
 The garden is like a painting with many textures and colors.   The simplicity of this azalea flower stands out against  the background of its deep green foliage.

Coral Bark Maple & Golden Oriental Spruce

The delicate foliage of the Coral Bark Maple and soft bottle-brush limbs of the Golden Oriental Spuce are exquisite with their varying textures.
The garden boy sits quietly in the nook of the garden.

I used a couple of techniques on this photo of a single hosta to bring out the uniqueness of its foliage.
Weeping Japanese Maple
The cascading Weeping Japanese Maple in the front yard is a work of art in itself with its delicate light green foliage and twisted nature of its trunk..
Nepeta 'Walker's Low'
 I took this photo while a gentle breeze was blowing and then used an oil filter to bring out the softness and motion of the foliage of the hosta and nepeta in the back garden.  
Purple Bearded  Iris
Iris...a simple but yet sophisticated flower makes such a statement!
Spirea Double Play 'Big Bang'
My new Spirea Double Play displays such a beautiful variation of color throughout its foliage that the digital art really brings it out...
Stachys (Lamb's Ear')
and the soft delicate foliage of the Lamb's Ear highlights the garden border.
The May garden is really nature's palette...a work of art which I have grown to appreciate more than I could have possibly imagined.  Through the eye of a camera and some digital art the garden comes even more alive and one can appreciate its true beauty.
As Always...Happy Gardening!

Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening, Copyright 2013. All rights reserved

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day May 2013 - Spring Blooms!

This is a crazy time of year for me so I take solitude in my spring blooming gardens to find some peace of mind and quiet time. My garden is my sanctuary and I thank everyday for it. It is May and the gardens are alive with color. It is time for another Garden Blogger's Bloom Day hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens and there is much to see. Come along and walk with me. 
May Garden 2013

Within the past couple of weeks once the temperatures started approaching the 70's, the perennials have emerged from the ground almost overnight and are in bloom.  Over the past few days the spring rains have also caused flowering  shrubs such as azalea and spirea to spring to life.  
Spirea 'Goldmound', Heuchera, Hosta, Ajuga and Nepeta (foreground)

The Nepeta 'Walker's Low' which I planted just last spring has grown into these wonderful robust clumps and I am anticipating quite a show in just a few weeks.
Sedum 'Aurea'
Along the rock of the waterfall Sedum 'Aurea' groundcover are brightening up the garden. It grows in the tiniest of cracks in between the rock and thrives there.
Ajuga reptans 'Burgundy Glow'

The Ajuga reptans is now in full bloom and livens up the shadier area of the garden with its vibrant 6-8 inch high carpet of blue.
Azalea Blooms

Traditional Azalea light up the garden with their bright fuchsia blooms.
Perennial Garden (Shadier Area)
Here is another view of the perennial garden showing hosta, ajuga and nepeta.
Lamb's Ear
The Lamb's Ear is sporting its new silvery-white foliage against the green of the rest of the garden and has taken up residence for years along the edge of the perennial border.
Perennial Garden (Sun)
Here is the full sun perennial garden.  Just a couple of weeks ago all that was blooming were the hyacinth and crocus bulbs and now the garden is completely filled in with lilies, astilbe, hosta, salvia and lamb's ear. I can't wait for everything to start blooming but for now I am enjoying all the new foliage! 
Spirea Double Play 'Big Bang'

New to the garden this spring is my new Spirea Double Play.  I can already tell you I love this plant!  It has already put on a foliage color show turning from orange to yellow and I am anticipating the very large pink blooms that will be produced throughout the summer.
Front Walkway Garden

Along the front walkway the Heuchera 'Caramel' are full of new growth. 

Weeping Japanese Maple Green Cutleaf

Both the Japanese Maples are sporting their new delicate foliage.  These were planted back in 1996 and now each approach 6 feet in height on the front lawn.
Weeping Japanese Maple Red Cutleaf
Salvia 'Maynight'

Welcome your purple blooms!  This is one of my favorite perennials in the garden and just in time for Bloom Day!
The Wisteria is really developing into a mature tree now.  Planted in 1996 it started as a vine that I twisted together to form the trunk.
Peony in Patio Garden

The peony are growing at an astonishing rate and getting ready to form buds. Did I mention how I love spring?
 Coral Bark Maple and Golden Oriental Spruce

My Coral Bark Maple has really filled in over the past few years to make a beautiful specimen of a tree that I enjoy every day along with my Oriental Spruce as I pull into and out of the driveway. The Barberry and Nepeta are putting on a show as well.
Garden Love 
Thank you for visiting my May garden. I will be sure to visit you as well.  After a long and difficult winter spring has finally arrived in all its glory and this gardener is in her element!  As I run around to clients I always stop in my garden for just a moment to take it all in and enjoy some solitude.  Please stop by and visit our hostess Carol at May Dreams Gardens to see what others have blooming in their gardens.  Happy Garden Blogger's Bloom Day and Happy Spring...and
As Always...Happy Gardening!

Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening, Copyright 2013. All rights reserved


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Feature Plant: Ajuga Reptans - Early Spring Color

Ajuga reptans 'Burgundy Glow'
Blooming in early May, Ajuga reptans is a hardy perennial ground cover that is an excellent candidate for the shadier areas of the garden.  Ajuga is hardy in zones 3 to 9 and grows 3 to 4 inches in height.  Vibrant purple blooms form a carpet of color in hard to grow areas such as under trees and between shrubs or in shade area rock gardens.  Ajuga spreads rapidly in humus soil and can be divided and replanted after bloom. 
Ajuga reptans in Shade Garden
Ajuga grows best in partial to full shade in a well-drained soil.  Depending on the variety, foliage ranges from glossy medium green to variegated cream, purple and green oval shaped leaves that stay semi-evergreen throughout the winter months.  Blue-violet flowers appear in spring on 4-6 inch spikes that add a vibrant sea of color to the garden.

Ajuga serves as a focal point when planted around a boulder or along with other shade loving perennials.  The garden here is in part shade and sun with the purple ajuga in the shade along with hosta and Nepeta next to it in the sunnier area.  I have been growing this perennial in my zone 7 garden for the past several years and have found it to be successful.  Ajuga adds a beautiful splash of color in early spring along with attractive foliage throughout the rest of the season and as an added is also considered to be "deer resistant"!

As Always...Happy Gardening!

Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening, Copyright 2013. All rights reserved