Monday, May 15, 2017

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow-Up May 2017: Gardening Season Has Arrived!

May 2017 Garden

In 1557, a gentleman by the name of Thomas Tusser compiled a collection of writings he called "A Hundred Good Points of Husbandry". In the April section of his works he wrote, "Sweet April showers Do spring May flowers". The proverb known today was originally a short poem, which served as a reminder that the abundant rains in April would bring about the arrival of beautiful May blooms. The wonderful month of May is here and since it's May 15th, it is time for another Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Foliage Follow-up! There are new additions for the 2017 season, so come along with me as we venture to see what is blooming in my Long Island garden.
Ajuga Burgundy Glow
The April rains with temperatures now moderating in the 60's has brought life back into the garden as colorful blooms spring up everywhere. Ajuga 'Burgundy Glow' ground cover adds interesting foliage and bright purple blooms to the May garden.
Foliage Combo May
Heuchera 'Caramel' (Coral Bells) and the Ajuga ground cover make a striking foliage combination when planted together.
Back South Garden
The back south garden to the left and behind the pool area is accented with azalea, which are now blooming. The new Girard's Crimson seen next were recently planted to replace the aging plants that were on the other side in the pool area.
New Azalea Girard's Crimson
Part of the joy of gardening involves watching the evolution of plants as they mature over the years and the anticipation of planning new additions as time goes by. As an avid gardener and designer, I am always planning away in my mind!
Garden Whimsy
This garden statue of a girl and boy with their dog was a gift from years ago, one that I cherish. The statue now has a refreshed backdrop with the new azalea.
May Foliage
With the month of May comes new foliage along with blooms. Here is a combination of Heuchera 'Palace Purple' Coral Bells (foreground), Sedum 'Brilliant' (Right), 'Caramel' Coral Bells (Backdrop) and Ajuga (Right of Boulder) with Mugo Pine and Compacta Hinoki Cypress to the left. Way behind the mentioned is evergreen Juniperus 'Gold Lace'.
Front Driveway Island Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar
As we move along to the front eastern gardens, we come across the Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar and Skyland's Golden Oriental Spruce that reside there.
Skyland's Orieintal Spruce 2008
The Oriental Spruce, planted in 2008, has now grown to a height of approximately fifteen feet. Another Skyland's has joined the back gardens, which we will visit in a little bit as we come back around to the other side of the property.
Spirea Double Play 'Big Bang'
Here is Spirea Double Play 'Big Bang' with its wonderful May foliage, displaying hues of golden-orange and pink. Pink blooms will follow in June.

Allium Globemaster
Let's venture back into the pool area where giant Globemaster Allium are preparing to open into large ball-shaped lavender blooms. The original three bulbs have multiplied into seven buds and I look forward to these magnificent blooms in June!
Pool Garden
Here is a wide view of the southern section of the pool gardens, with Weeping Norway Spruce, 'Stella D Oro' Daylilies, Allium Globemaster and Spirea 'Limemound'. In the backdrop is a Weeping White Pine and Hinoki Cypress.
Back North Raised Bed
Back around to the northeast side of the garden is Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar with Gold Mop Cypress and Coral Bells 'Caramel'. I love the new caramel colored foliage on the Heuchera.
Perennial Border
Moving to the perennial border, Lamb's Ear, hosta, lillies and Mont Blanc Allium buds rise above the garden, waiting to bloom in June and Peony buds that grow larger by day appear above wispy foliage. A grafted Montgomery Globe Spruce borders the patio and rises above the garden and is a favorite place for birds to raise their young.
Mother Dove and Baby May 2017
This May, a mother Morning Dove watches over her baby in the Globe Spruce right near the patio. She feels comfortable enough with me that I can walk right up to visit and say hello each morning...simply put...precious!
Salvia May Night
The month of May wouldn't be the same without May Night Salvia, which is now starting to bloom with its vibrant purple flowers on 12-18 inch stalks.
Dianthus 'Raspberry Surprise'
Here is the newest addition to the back gardens. While at the local nursery I noticed this Dianthus 'Raspberry Surprise' with its large pink blooms and sweet fragrance. Dianthus 'Raspberry Surprise' grows to a height of just ten inches, is hardy to USDA zone 5 (-20 F/-29 C) and blooms from spring to summer in full sun. I am test driving this perennial before recommending it to clients.
Kwanzan Cherry 2017
Another new addition is this magnificent Kwanzan Cherry that replaced a troubled maple tree in the southwestern corner of our property. I have always had an admiration for these beautiful double pink blooms in May and now own one of my exciting! 
Kwanzan Cherry 2017
Here is a bloom up close. I will wait in anticipation as the tree matures and widens over the years. I know it will just keep getting better and better!
Skyland's Oriental Spruce Just Planted May 2017
There are a lot of new larger additions this year. Another 'Skylands' Golden Oriental Spruce was recently added to the back garden.  It is starting off at five to six feet in height and will mature over time to resemble the one in the front of the property. 'Skylands' Spruce is hardy in USDA zoned 4-7 and reaches an eventual height and width of of 10-35 feet high by 4-12 feet wide.
Weeping Japanese Maple Viridus May
As we come close to to the end of the tour we pass by the two Weeping Japanese Maples on the front lawn. Above is Acer palmatum Green Viridis, which reaches a height of 5-10 feet tall by wide...
Weeping Japanese Maple
and here is Acer palmatum 'Tamukeyama'. which stays a a smaller stature of 6-8 feet tall by 8-12 feet wide.
Coral Bark Maple
If you have toured my gardens before, you are probably familiar with the Coral Bark Maple by the side driveway garden, which is now displaying its brilliant new foliage. Below is Weigela 'Spilled Wine' with its burgundy foliage. Pink blooms will emerge in June.
Bleeding Heart
Here is Dicentra spectablis (Old Fashioned Bleeding Heart). It is not in my gardens, but in a client's.  I couldn't resist taking a photo and had to share. Maybe a new addition in my own garden next year?
Succulent Planter 2017
As we come back around to the patio, the succulent planters are all ready out and displaying a variety of Sedum and Sempervivum (Hens & Chicks).
May Garden 2017

I hope you enjoyed your stroll through my May 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 Floral FridaysMacro Monday 2, Nature Notes at Rambling Woods and Saturday's Critters at Viewing Nature with Eileen. Also check out Garden Bloggers' Foliage Day at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides and Wednesday Around the World.

Before you leave, did you know I am the author of two gardening books? If you are seeking some guidance or perhaps a little bit of gardening inspiration, check out my author page here. The first book, A Guide to Northeastern Gardening is geared towards the novice or semi-experienced gardener and  recommends plants for specific types of gardens with general maintenance tips to keep your garden at its best.  The second book, Landscape Design Combinations goes into more detail, teaching the concepts of garden design. Besides teaching design, there are a variety of successful garden plans provided with labeling and detailed descriptions of each plant recommended. Each design can be used as presented, or as a guide, and may just spark your imagination!  Be sure to check out both books and I wish you all the best for a wonderful gardening season!

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

Sunday, May 7, 2017

This Month's Color in the Garden: Color Your Garden Blue-Blue Blooms for Your Landscape!

Blue Blooms for Your Garden
Welcome to This Month's Color in the Garden! The use of the color blue in the landscape symbolizes optimism and stability and often relays a feeling of calm. According to the language of flowers, "The pale blue hues of a hydrangea or the deep blues of an iris can calm worries and preoccupation." The blue hue of flowers represent peace, openness, and serenity, and are believed to be an antidote for anxiousness. There are few species that naturally occur as true blue in the garden. For the month of May I am going to focus on some of the varieties of blue blooming plants that you can add to your outdoor space.
Blue Grape Hyacinth (Muscari)
The first is Muscari, also known as Grape Hyacinth. Hardy in USDA zones 2-5, Grape Hyacinth creates a carpet of blue grape-like blooms which are gorgeous when bulbs are planted in clumps. These bulbs are available in a variety of colors, but blue seems to be the all-time favorite! Muscari is a breathtaking site when planted in mass in a woodland or naturalized setting and is a welcoming sign of spring. Plant in full sun to partial shade for best results.
Siberian Iris (Iris siberica)
Siberian Iris is a herbaceous perennial hardy in USDA zones 3-8 that offers purplish-blue blooms in mid-spring. Siberian Iris grows to a height and width of 3 feet and prefers full sun to partial shade. This perennial spreads by rhizomes and is excellent in mass plantings for that naturalized look.

Perennial Geranium Rozanne Cranesbill
Cranesbill, or perennial geranium is hardy in USDA zones 4-10, and forms large cup shaped bright blue-violet flowers that appear from summer into fall on a 15-24 inch high by 20-28 inch wide plant. Perennial Geranium thrives in full sun and makes a great addition to borders, rock gardens and containers. In the right conditions it will form a beautiful carpet of blue!
Platycodon  grandiflorus' komachi' Balloon Flower 
Platycodon, also known as Balloon Flower is hardy in USDA zones 3-8 and displays large puffy buds resembling tiny inflated balloons. As the bud matures the bud grows and appears as if it going to burst. On most varieties, the buds reveal gorgeous star shaped flowers once opened, but on 'Komachi' the buds remain closed as balloons, making an interesting conversation piece in the garden. Platycodon blooms from early to late summer on a 8-10 inch tall by 10-23 inch wide plant. Grow in full sun to partial shade.
Sisyrinchium Lucerne (Blue Eyed Grass) 
Bright blue, star-shaped flowers with gold centers rise above iris-like foliage on this native north American plant, which is an excellent food source for pollinators. Sisyrinchium is hardy in USDA zones 4-10, grows to a height and width of 8-10 inches and prefers full sun. This plant is excellent for naturalized settings, rock gardens and native plantings.
Nikko Blue Hydrangea
When thinking of the true blue hydrangea, I always refer back to the old fashioned mophead Hydrangea, 'Nikko Blue'. 'Nikko Blue' is hardy in USDA zones 5-9 and is one of the most reliable blue Hydrangeas, staying blue in a wider range of soils. Flowers start cream in color with blue margins than turn a solid blue as the plant matures. In acidic soil, 'Nikko Blue' has deep blue flowers which appear in early to late summer. 'Nikko Blue' reaches a height and width of 4-6 feet and blooms on old wood.
Blue Lacecap Hydrangea
Blue Cassel Hydrangea is hardy in USDA zones 5-9 and features bold blue lacecap flowers from early summer into late fall on a four foot tall by wide plant. This hydrangea prefers to be grown in full sun to partial shade and is a repeat bloomer that blooms on old and new wood. The flowers are excellent for cutting and the broad green foliage is attractive throughout the season. Blue color is dependent on acidic soil.
Caryopteris x clandonensis 'Inoveris Bluebeard' (Blue Mist Shrub)   
Caryopteris, also known as Blue Mist Shrub is a 2-3 foot high deciduous shrub with a mounding, rounded habit that becomes covered with many small gray-green toothed leaves with a minty scent if crushed. Clusters of sweetly scented violet-blue flowers appear late summer into fall. Blooms are an attraction to butterflies and hummingbirds and the shrub makes a wonderful addition to perennial beds, walkways and entryways. Caryopteris is hardy in USDA zones 5-9 and requires full sun. 
Color Your Garden Blue!

Blue blooms in the landscape have relayed a sense of calmness and serenity throughout the centuries and will continue to add delight to any garden. I hope you enjoyed This Month's Color in the Garden and please do share your thoughts about the color blue!
Are you an experienced gardener or just wanting to learn? If so, be sure to check out my two published books on Amazon. My first book, A Guide to Northeastern Gardening, is loaded with ideas for different types of gardens and what plants to buy, along with gardening tips and advice on how to maintain your garden once implemented. The second book, Landscape Design Combinationsis geared towards the hands on "DIY" gardener who is looking for a little guidance, along with a dash of inspiration! This latest publication builds on the first and is full of successful landscape designs that can be used as is or as a guide. The book also teaches design principles using evergreens, flowering trees, shrubs and perennials. To preview each book, simply click on the links below!