Thursday, December 15, 2016

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow-Up December 2016: Winter Garden Color!

December 2016 Garden
Well, the weather outside is frightful, but our gardens are still delightful. The winter crops we can sow...til it snows, til it snows, til it snows! December on Long Island has been bringing frigid temperatures in the 30's and 40's, which are more normal for this time of year, but the temperature for Bloom Day is in the 20's, with a chance of snow flurries showing in the forecast! I took this venture outside wearing three layers of clothing to keep warm and was delighted to see that there is still a lot going on in the December garden. Come along with me. Better bundle up!
Azalea Foliage December
As an avid gardener and designer, and now very determined photographer, I am constantly inspired by the beauty of the garden, no matter what the time of year. I have come to appreciate that there is always something amazing lurking around the corner and when there are no blooms, it is important to look deeper. As Albert Camus once said"In the depths of winter I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer."
Nandina domestica Berries & Foliage
Speaking of finding the inner beauty of the garden in winter, one of my favorite plants for this time of year is Nandina. Its evergreen foliage turns to hues of pink and yellow in the colder temperatures, while bright red berries form and grow more intense as the winter progresses. 
Young's Weeping Birch Bark
Even the bark of some trees can provide winter interest. The beautiful white bark of birch trees becomes more noticeable as the foliage disappears.
Blue Globe Montgomery Spruce
Montgomery Globe Spruce continues to shine with its bright blue foliage, that is even more prominent in winter...
Coral Bells & Sedge
and evergreen perennials highlight the garden with their contrasting colors. This is a combination of Caramel Coral Bells with Japanese Golden Sedge.
Nandina domestica Berries
Here is Nandina once again but with a closer view...and Hellebores, as they set their buds for winter bloom.
Hellebore 'Shooting Star'
  I added these Hellebore 'Shooting Star' to the garden two winters ago and get so much enjoyment from them. The foliage stays evergreen all year long and large creamy white blooms with pink highlights start in late December and continue through early spring.
Spirea Foliage December
Even though the cold has set in, the fall season has been warmer in the past couple of years, resulting in continuing foliage on these spirea through December.  This is the foliage of Spirea 'Lemon Princess' still holding on with its deep orange hue.
Frosty Heuchera
Here we see frost on Coral Bells as the temperatures plummet...
Nellie Stevens Holly Berries
and Nellie Steven's Holly forms its berries for winter.
Sedum 'Brilliant' Seed Head
Sedum 'Brilliant' extends the season with its interesting seed heads, which are also looking a little frosty right now. I try to leave these in the garden for as long as possible, for they add interest, plus the birds enjoy the seeds.
'Yaku Jima' Grass December
Here is Dwarf Maiden Grass.  Its plumes glow in the sunlight in the December garden.
Skyland's Spruce and Coral Bark Maple December
Over the years the number of evergreens in my garden has grown, as well as plants that provide winter interest. This Golden 'Skyland's Oriental Spruce was planted in 2008 as a memorial tree for my mom and has grown into a magnificent specimen. The Coral Bark Maple behind it is starting to show its reddening winter bark.
Rainbow Leucothoe December
Leucothoe also adds nice interest to the winter garden with its multi-colored foliage...
Japanese Golden Sedge December
while golden sedge continues to add color and whimsy to the garden with its spiky evergreen foliage.
Weeping White Pine
Here is Weeping White Pine with its cascading branches...
Weeping White Pine Cone
and large pine cones that form at this time of year.
Weeping Norway Spruce
I rescued this Weeping Norway Spruce from a client years ago whom no longer wanted it.  It was thin and pretty much left for dead, but I took it on and gave it lots of tender loving care. This is the tree today after years of believing in it. It is thriving and has become one of my favorites in the back garden!
Weeping Pussy Willow Catkin December
It's mid December and this is a rare sight for right now. The Weeping Pussy Willow usually sets its buds at this time of year, but it is not usual for the catkins to be popping. 
Knock Out Rose December!
While catkins are fooled by a milder fall until now, reminders of summer still linger as Knock Out Roses continue to bloom...
Rhododendron Buds December
and signs of future spring are present as Rhododendrons set their buds.
Winter Visitors
There have been many more bird visitors since the cold set in, as they enjoy their favorite seed...
December Trying to Keep Warm
and seek shelter in the trees away from the chilling winds.
In A Vase on Monday (Spreading Yew, Gold Lace Juniper, Dwarf Maiden Grass plumes, Rosy Glow Barberry, Sedum seed heads and Knock Out Rose buds)
Some of the garden is brought inside to enjoy...
Winter Bear!
 and new Winter Bear watches over the garden, as Adirondack Bear hibernates away for the winter months.
December Garden 2016
  I hope you enjoyed your stroll through my December 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 FlowersFloral FridaysMacro Monday 2, and Nature Notes at Rambling Woods. Also check out What's Blooming This Week Garden UpdateIn a Vase on Monday at Rambling in the Garden, Garden Bloggers' Foliage Day and Saturday's Critters.

Planning your garden for next spring, looking for some winter reading or perhaps a gift for the gardener in you life?  Check out my book, A Guide to Northeastern Gardening: Journeys of a Garden Designer (Gardening in Zones 3-9). It covers a wide range of information on garden design, tips, maintenance and more! If you have read my book and found it to be helpful, please consider leaving a short review on Amazon. Reviews are vital in getting a book noticed and your help would be very much appreciated! Click on the photo or links for details!

As Always...Happy Gardening and Happy Holidays!

Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening, © Copyright 2016. All rights reserved

Monday, December 5, 2016

This Month's Color in the Garden: December 2016-The Power of Red in the Landscape

The Power of Red in the Garden Clockwise Left to Right: Dahlia, Landscape Architectural Element, Dahlia, Winterberry and Knock Out Rose (center)
In landscape design and architecture, the color red tends to dominate when compared to other colors. Red tends to make a strong, dramatic statement and creates an illusion of boldness and depth. Red can be used to brighten a space in all seasons, including winter, with the incorporation of architectural elements or perhaps some berry producing shrubs in the garden against a white snowy background. Red foliage creates striking contrast in spring throughout fall, and red flowers, especially tubular-shaped ones, are an attraction to hummingbirds and other pollinators. The color red will have a lot more impact in your garden when used sparingly, and is nicely complemented by the the color green, which is considered neutral.

Nandina domestica berries
Examples of red blooms in the landscape include Red Knock Out Rose, Tulips, Peony, Zinnia, Dahlia and Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal flower). Red berry producing plants include Nandina domestica, Winterberry, Holly, Skimmia and some varieties of viburnum. Plants exhibiting red or maroon foliage include Heuchera ‘Palace Purple' (Coral Bells), Weigela Spilled Wine, and annuals such as Coleus, Impatiens and Begonia. The most prominent red in the garden that keeps coming to mind is that of the traditional red rose.

Red Knock Out Rose 'Radrazz'
Roses have been grown throughout civilization and are a timeless tradition, speaking the language of love, beauty, courage and respect. Historical evidence shows they were grown in China about 5,000 years ago, and have carried their special meaning ever since. A deep red rose can be used to convey heartfelt regret and sorrow. or twelve red roses conveys "Be mine" and "I love you. The red rose began its history during Greek and Roman times, where it was tied to Aphrodite, or Venus, the mythical goddess of love, who was often seen with roses around her head and covering her feet and neck. The red rose throughout time has symbolized an immortal love that could never fade, even through time or death. In early Christianity, the rose became associated with the virtue of Virgin Mary and in the Tarot it has been considered a symbol of balance, promise, new beginnings, and hope. In Shakespeare's writings, roses had become a poetic standard throughout his works. Throughout its history, the red rose continues to hold its status as the ultimate symbol of affection. Other flowers and their meanings include red Amaryllis, a statement of splendid beauty and pride, red aster which symbolizes patience, Anthurium symbolizing happiness and hospitality and poinsettia symbolizing good cheer and success. 

Architectural Elements Old Westbury Mansion Long Island
In landscape architecture the color red is often used to draw attention or create a focal point, as in the use of red brick for walkways, labyrinths, benches or perhaps some red Adirondack chairs to highlight a sitting area. Estate gardens are known for their mass plantings of red tulips, dahlias and rose covered arbors. In color theory, red tends to make a space look smaller and can be used to make a large space seem more intimate. Red brick also brings to mind thoughts of mansions from colonial time, and can be implemented in modern day to create an old world feel. 
Clockwise Left to Right: Red Knock Out Rose, Dahlia, Tulips, Nandina 'domestica', Amaryllis (center)
Do you have any design or architectural elements in your space that are red and if you do, when and where are they most prominent? I invite you to share whatever shades of red you have going on in your garden in the comments below, whether it be in the form of plants or otherwise. I hope you enjoyed "This Month's Color in the Garden". I'm already thinking about next month's theme, which is the color white! Next up is Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow-Up on the 15th. and Color Our World Round Up on the 30th. 
For more on Garden Design-My Books on Amazon:

A Guide to Northeastern Gardening
Landscape Design Combinations

As Always...Happy Gardening!

Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening, © Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Allerton Tropical Botanical Garden, Kauai

Allerton Botanical Garden Kauai
Hawaii is the home to many botanical gardens, and Allerton Tropical Botanical Garden on the island of Kauai is one of my favorites. Located in the beautiful Lawa'i Valley, Allerton Gardens encompass approximately 85 acres of land. The mission of this private, non-profit organization is to preserve and protect the one third of all plants that are threatened by extinction. The Allerton Garden Guided Tour lasts approximately two and a half hours and is presented by knowledgeable tour guides, each sharing their vast knowledge of Allerton's botanical and cultural history. Sit back, listen to some Hawaiian music and enjoy the tour!
Allerton Tropical Botanical Gardens Kauai
Kauai's Lawa'i Valley was known in ancient Hawaiian culture as the land divide of Lawa'i. In 1848, the land was granted to King Kamehameha I, who willed a third of the land to Queen Emma. In 1885, Kamehameha's widow gave the remaining land to Queen Emma, and she took permanent residence there after her husband and son passed away. Since she possessed such a deep passion for gardens, Queen Emma planted numerous plumeria, bougainvillea, mango, pandanus, rose apple and fern throughout the valley. Queen Emma leased the Lawa'i Valley to the McBryde family, who eventually bought the estate from her in 1886. The McBrydes continued to plant sugarcane, taro and rice, then sold the land to Robert Allerton in 1938. Allerton was the only son of a Mayflower descendant who had made his fortune in Chicago in livestock, banking, and real estate, who had became fascinated by landscape architecture. Allerton met John Gregg, a young architectural student at the University of Illinois, whom he eventually adopted. The two men traveled the world purchasing works of art and getting new inspiration for the gardens. On their way home from a trip in the Pacific in 1937, the Allertons visited Kaua’i and were amazed with the lower portion of the Lawa’i Valley. They purchased the property and in 1938 moved into their new home, which was designed by John Gregg. They called the property “Lawa’i-kai” (kai is the Hawaiian word for “near the sea”). In 1964, Allerton was declared as a tropical botanical garden, chartered by the U.S. Congress, which completely took over the estate in the early 1990's.
Water Lily
The ride into the gardens starts with Pump Six, the original pump house that delivered water to the sugarcane fields in the upper valley during the early 1900's. These beautiful water lilies now thrive in the water source behind the pump house.
 Pachypodium rutenbergiantium 
Next is Pachypodium rutenbergianum, an unusual looking tree with spiny leaves that only grow at the very tips of the branches. The tree reaches a height of 3 to 12 meters and displays fragrant white and yellow flowers in the warmer months, the blooms resembling those of plumeria.
Hawaiian Native Hibiscus
 Hawaiian Hibiscus is endemic to the island of Kauai and grows as a shrub or small tree, reaching a height of 10-23 feet. The state flower of Hawaii is the yellow hibiscus, while other forms such as red, orange and white can be seen throughout the islands. Native Hawaiian hibiscus is on the endangered species list and is under protection by the National Tropical Botanical Gardens.
Monkey Brain Tree 

If you look closely at the fruit of this tree, it exhibits a bumpy appearance, almost  resembling a brain. This tree is known as Osage-orange, hedge apple or monkey-brain tree. It was late in the season when these photos were taken, so the fruit which is normally a yellow-green has started to fade. The fruit of the tree is related to the Mulberry, but for the most part is not edible.  The seeds are edible and the hard wood has been widely used in the making of bows.

Our Tour Guide explains the nutritional value of Artocarpus altilis – Breadfruit Ulu

Native to Hawaii, Breadfruit grows in tropical lowland areas, especially in those areas near ancient Hawaiian settlements. The ancient Polynesians had brought Breadfruit to Hawaii in their canoes and used it as a life-sustaining staple, the fruit and seeds are edible and very nutritious. The milky sap was used for medicinal purposes and the fruits were cooked and eaten, sometimes used to make poi. Ulu is known as the "tree of bread" in Hawaii.
Breadnut Tree
This bread nut is a smaller version of breadfruit, containing seeds which are very high in minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. The fresh seeds can be cooked and eaten or allowed to dry out.
Allerton Garden Room

Robert Allerton had an affection for formal gardens, so he created this enclosed walled garden. The room serves as a peaceful retreat and leads to a more open area.
Shell Ginger
The lattice structure above leads to these beautiful Shell Ginger which grow in the gardens beyond.
Allerton Garden Kauai
The tour continues through a rain forest of tropical plants including native palms, bromeliads, orchids and ferns, leading to the Allerton family orchid.
Palmello Tree (Hawaiian Grapefruit)
The fruit orchid is full of culinary delights, including this Hawaiian grapefruit, which is quite a tasty treat. It has a similar appearance to grapefruit as we know it and the taste is much sugar needed!
Pomegranate Tree
The tropical climate on the island of Kauai allows these Pomegranate trees to grow upwards to 100 feet, producing pomegranates larger than I have even seen.
Diana Goddess of the Hunt Allerton Garden Rooms
Following the trail, we encounter this peaceful reflecting pool being overlooked by a beautiful Romanesque statue...and
Spilt Leaf Philodendron
over-sized philodendron and aerial roots lead us to another garden room.
Mermaid Room Sculpture and Fountain
One hundred year old Monkey Pod trees and naturally scalloped palms line the Mermaid Room, where a scalloped-shaped fountain creates a soothing water flow at a pace of about 52-54 pulses per minute. Allerton had this fountain designed in order to create a calming "Neptune Effect", which is achieved by sitting on the bench and allowing your mind to relax and heart rate to slow to the beat of the pulsating water.
Chinese Ceramic Urn
More unique sights are seen as we move along. This ancient Chinese urn is placed in just the right location in the gardens.
Three Reflection Pools Room Art
Next is this elongated, three-tiered reflection pool which is overlooked by a Sleeping Horse. This original Hawaiian artwork was purchased by Robert Allerton. It is important to note that all the reflection pools in the gardens are fed by underground springs.
Allerton Garden Opening Scene of Gilligan's Island
Do you remember the television series "Gilligan's Island"? This lagoon is where the filming of the opening scene took place.
Pink Quill Bromeliad and Orchid
Along the walk to the Bamboo Room is an abundance of tropical Bromeliads and Orchids. 
Clumping Bamboo (Non-Invasive)
This Bamboo Room was one of the first garden rooms that Robert Allerton came up with. Many do not know that Robert Allerton was partially deaf; therefore, he enjoyed the loud clicking and clacking of the bamboo reeds as they moved in the wind. This bamboo grove was also used in the filming of 'Pirates of the Caribbean IV:" when Captain Jack crossed over the bamboo bridge!
Crytostachys renda Lipstick Palm 
As we leave the Bamboo Room, we encounter a tropical Lipstick Palm. Its bright red bark was used to make dyes by the ancient Polynesians.
Moreton Bay Figs Kauai
Here are the famous Moreton Bay Figs. In 1992, Steven Spielberg filmed the movie "Jurassic Park" right here at this sight. If you remember the scene of the raptor eggs, they were placed in the root of the second tree, and the jeep scene took place in the third tree over. The Moreton Bay Fig, originally native to Australia was introduced to Allerton Gardens just 70 years ago. 
Moreton Bay Figs Kauai
The figs that were collected as saplings by Allerton and shipped in empty beer cans now have roots reaching 6-8 feet in height.
Palm Seeds
As we continue the tour, bright red palm tree seeds tower above our heads...
Vanilla Bean Orchid
and Vanilla Bean Orchid vines can be seen climbing up a palm tree.  If you are wondering if this is where vanilla comes are correct!
Heliconia (Lobster Claw)
Other sites are the beautiful and unusual blooms of Heliconia, also known as Lobster Claw Plant...
Staghorn Fern Allerton Garden
and Staghorn Fern hanging from the trees above.

Allerton Botanical Garden Kauai
I hope you enjoyed the tour of the beautiful Allerton Botanical Gardens in Kauai. For now it's Aloha or A hui hou...until we meet again.
Allerton Botanical Garden Kauai

For more information visit Allerton Botanical Gardens 

Visitors Center - 4425 Lawai Road, Poipu 96756

As Always...Happy Gardening!
Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening, Copyright 2016. All rights reserved