Friday, September 15, 2017

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow-Up September 2017: The Garden Brings Peace

Hello September Garden!
Welcome to another Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow-Up in my Long Island Garden. The month of September has arrived and there are signs of perhaps an early fall. Temperatures have been consistently in the 70's by day and 50's and 60's by night, very early for this time of year, and the Atlantic has been bombarded by several hurricanes, with Hurricane Irma making history after Andrew years ago. As I write this post and look at clear skies above, my heart goes out to all those affected by Irma and wish them safety and a quick recovery. I have been taking numerous walks out into the garden, for the garden is my sanctuary and brings me peace. It's time for another stroll and there is much beauty to be seen, so come along with me.
Dwarf Butterfly Bush
The first bloom we come across that is prominent this time of year is that of Dwarf Butterfly Bush (Buddleia Low & Behold Blue Chip) with its brightly colored fragrant blooms, which are an attraction to bumble bees and butterflies. The elongated purple blooms are one of my favorites.
Dwarf Rudbeckia 'Little Goldstar'
Rudbeckia 'Little Gold Star' (Black Eyed Susan) is blooming in the back border garden. This dwarf variety blooms for several months, and grows to about 18 inches high, making it excellent for smaller spaces. It also tends to stay in tighter clumps and does not take over like the original species.
Variegated Liriope Blooming for September
One of my favorite blooms in September are those of Variegated Liriope (Lillyturf). While the foliage is striking all summer long, the stalks of vibrant purple blooms make the plant come even more alive late summer and fall.  
Sedum Dragon's Blood
There are many varieties of Sedum that bloom throughout the late summer months into fall. This one by the back pool garden is called Sedum 'Dragon's Blood'. It serves as a ground cover, growing to only four to six inches tall and spreading to about 24 inches wide. It's foliage forms interesting wine-red tips in late summer along with blooms.
Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar & Sedum
In the front garden, below this Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar is Sedum 'Brilliant', a medium sized variety, growing to approximately 18-24 inches tall with deep pink blooms. Mugo Pine rests between the two.
Hydrangea Tardivia
Another favorite late summer bloomer is Hydrangea 'Tardivia'. Each September I love to collect cuttings and bring them to my neighbor Joan, the dear lady next door who is like a second mom to me, and to whom I dedicated my second book. She returns the vase I delivered them the following September and I refill it for her. The flowers have a light fragrance and keep for a long time, then can be kept as a dried flower display over the winter.  
Pool Garden
Take one last peek at the pool area in summer mode. I am enjoying the gardens with the pool open for a few more days and then it will be all tucked away for the winter season. I can't believe how quickly the summer has passed, and that autumn is already on the way. 
Pink Knock Out Rose in September
There are still reminders of summer as this Double Knock Out Rose keeps on blooming along the patio garden. These hardy roses just keep on giving, right through the first hard frost!
September Foliage
As autumn approaches, much of the attention is on foliage. Here in the front raised garden, a towering Blue Atlas Cedar has Juniperus 'Gold Lace' and two varieties of Heuchera (Coral Bells) as a second and third layer beneath it for all season interest.
Back Secret Shade Garden
In the back secret shade garden is Heuchera 'Caramel', which gets as big as hosta, while remaining semi-evergreen throughout winter. I cannot get enough of this plant and it has also become very popular with my clients. If you're wondering, Caramel Coral Bells are hardy in USDA zones 4-9.

Welcoming Water Hole
In the back of the secret garden is this decorative birdbath that I purchased out in eastern Long Island a few years ago. I love the engraving on it and the saying inside which says, Love is on the sparrow and I know he welcomes me." If you get closer up you will see that it goes down pretty deep and that there is actually water in the birdbath for the birds to enjoy, along with the engraving! 
Rejuvenated Daylilies for September
Do you rejuvenate your Daylilies?  This is a clump I rejuvenated back in August and it is now full of brand new foliage and blooms. It works very well with these Stella D Oro's.
Stella D Oro Daylily Blooms for September
I do enjoy the prolonged blooms into autumn.
Crape Myrtle Sioux September
Lets walk around to the southern portion of the backyard where the Crape Myrtles are blooming. These two trees supply blooms for several months, and I always look forward to the end of July, when they usually start to show their first buds.
Crape Myrtle Sioux 
Crape Myrtle 'Sioux'  and 'Muskogee' are both hardy in zones  6-9. 'Sioux' displays  large deep pink blooms...
Crape Myrtle Muskogee September
while 'Muskogee' produces lilac-pink blooms. This 'Muskogee' is the newer of the two, just completing it's third season.
Back Shade Garden
Let's take a look at some more of the shade garden where Rependens Yew, Japanese Forest Grass, Variegated Boxwood and Leucothoe thrive. is all about the foliage, and I enjoy combining different shades and textures.
Hakonechloa macra
The Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra) has grown to several feet wide over the years and I get so much enjoyment from it as it fills in this spot.
Perennial Border
Here at the perennial border, there are signs of autumn approaching. As blooms turn into seed heads, food is supplied for the birds. The other day a beautiful Eastern Goldfinch was enjoying the Echinacea seed heads in the backdrop (right). I ran for my camera, but he flew away too quickly for me!
Viburnum Summer Snowflake Blooming in September
As we approach the back western garden, Summer Snowflake Viburnum is showing off its last hurrah with a third round of blooms for the summer season, while there are subtle signs of fall in the other areas.
Nellie Stevens Holly Late Summer Berries
The berries on the Nellie Stevens Holly have become much larger and are a brilliant red, while the Weeping White Pine shows off its handsome pine cones.
Pine Cones on White Pine
One thing I love about this time of year is when the large wispy plumes of 'Yaku Jima' Maiden Grass sway in the slightest breeze. 
Almost Fall!
Last, but not least, the garden has a new visitor. This bunny was probably born on the property and we have watched him grow from youngster into adult throughout the summer. He has been very respectful of the garden and spends most of his time nibbling the grass.
A New Garden Visitor
As we come to the end of strolling through my September garden, I will leave you with this quote by Abram L. Urban. "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." The quote just seems so fitting to me, as I gaze upon my garden and gather my thoughts at the end of each day, finding peace and tranquility.
Thanks for Visiting My September Garden
I hope you enjoyed this month's tour through my 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, and Nature Notes at Rambling Woods. Also check out Garden Bloggers' Foliage Day at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides, Wednesday Around the WorldDishing It & Digging It and Image-in-ing weekly photo share every Tuesday.

Landscape Design Combinations

As Always...Happy Gardening!

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

Sunday, September 3, 2017

This Month's Color in the Garden September 2017: Feature Plant-Black Mondo Grass

This Month's Color in the Garden
Welcome to This Month's Color in the Garden! It's September and the feature color is black. Black is a rare and unusual color in the garden, but is exquisite when mixed with the right combination of plants. Although there are no truly black flowers or foliage, some varieties appear black due to the deepness of the purple or burgundy hues within them. Black blooms or foliage can bring interest and drama to the landscape when used properly. One plant in particular, which is known for its striking black foliage, is Black Mondo Grass. Mondo Grass is actually not a grass, but rather a member of the genus Ophiopogon, a genus of evergreen perennial plants native to India, China, Japan and Vietnam. Black Mondo Grass, Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens' is considered a ground cover that grows to approximately ten inches tall and slowly spreads to about two feet in width. Foliage emerges as dark green in spring and matures to a deep purplish-black by summer. Black Mondo Grass is hardy in zones 6-10.
Black Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens' )
Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens' produces spikes of small light pink-white bell shaped flowers in mid-summer, followed by small black berries. Mondo Grass prefers to be grown in full to partial shade in a well-drained, slightly acidic soil. In cooler climates, Mondo Grass can withstand some sun. These plants can be propagated by division, best to be performed in early spring before new growth emerges. 
Black Mondo Grass and Golden Japanese Sedge (Photo Credit: Houzz Idea Books) 
To add that wanted interest and drama to the garden, combine Mondo Grass with other grass-like plantings such as Variegated Liriope, Golden Japanese Sedge and Golden Variegated Sweet Flag (as pictured above). Black Mondo Grass fits into a variety of garden styles, including container gardening, mass plantings and rock gardens. Mondo Grass is mostly maintenance free, except for an occasional feeding with a light fertilizer, or as mentioned, a division in spring. If desired, prune back old foliage in spring to tidy up the plant and promote new growth. 
Black Mondo Grass with Variegated Liriope in Backdrop
When discussing the color wheel and design, 
black, white and gray are not true colors (or hues) but are considered as neutral, achromatic colors. According to the language of flowers, the color black has been associated with power, elegance, formality, death, evil, and mystery throughout history. It denotes a feeling of strength and authority, and is considered to be formal, elegant, and prestigious. In the horticultural industry, plant developers have been working on hybridizing even darker varieties of plants due to the increased interest of using black in the garden. 

I hope you enjoyed This Month's Color in the Garden for September. Please do share your experiences with the color black in your garden, whether it be with plants, hardscape or garden decor. Next, join me for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Foliage Follow-Up on the 15th! See you around the garden!

As Always...Happy Gardening!

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