Sunday, May 15, 2016

May Bloom Day 2016

It's the 15th of the month and time to take a tour of the garden to see what is blooming in May. We've had spots of unseasonably warm temperatures this past month, which for 'cottage' style gardeners like myself...isn't the best. It pushes those sweet spring plants into a quick bloom and singes the tips of petals. However, I have enjoyed quite a few evenings outdoors, enjoying the warm temps with a good book in hand.

Here is a view of seating area in the back garden. The snowball tree is finishing it's blooms. This is my favorite place to be after a day at work.

Meanwhile, in the front gardens, the side strip of early spring blooms finds the hellebores begging for a trim.

My absolute favorite bloom in May, is my heirloom peony. It reminds me of the peony my Oma (Dutch grandmother) used to grow. It has the sweetest scent and is so 'unfussy' for a peony. Usually I have delphinium blooming behind it..but sadly this year, the plant was attacked by slugs before I could come to the rescue.

Aquilegia are the main players of the May garden. My personal favorites are the yellow ones, but I love them all. Their dainty blooms dance in the spring breezes. I love yellow columbines so much that I have two new plants to cram - err, find a spot for - in the gardens.

NOID Yellow Aquilega
But there are a few more blooming about:

NOID white aquilegia
Aquilegia 'Red Clementine'

Aquilegia 'Leprechaun Gold'
Spanish lavender is brightening up the back gardens. It does not provide scent, but it has great form and color.

Lavandula stoechas
May is an interesting month in the garden as it's becoming a transition month from spring to summer blooms. Hardy fuchsia's, geraniums. lupines are staples in my cottage gardens.

Phygelius Funfare Wine
Geranium 'Max Frei'
Hop on over to Carol's at May Dreams Garden and see what is blooming around the world. 
Cheers, Jenni

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

5.4.16 Wednesday Vignette

I'm in-between coaching soccer seasons, so I was able to wander the gardens tonight in hopes of finding a picture perfect vignette to share. The lupines I started from seed are just beginning to bloom. They look like tapered candles reaching high up to illuminate the garden. I love the color combination this lupine has sitting in front of the euphorbia.

Lupinus Russell Hybrids with Rainboow Ascot Euphorbia
A pretty little look at my cottage gardens. Join Anna at Flutter & Hum for more Wednesday Vignette posts.

Cheers, Jenni

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Fairies, Foliage and Furr

With a blog post title like could I not deliver..but necessarily in that order. Foliage first.

Rodgersia podophylla 'Rotlaub
Above is a little vignette of Rodgersia podophylla 'Rotlaub', mixed with dicentra spectabilis, aquilega and heucherella 'Sweet Tea'. A pretty combination. (yea yea...I know dicentra has some new name but I like dicentra.)

Acer palmatum 'Mikazuki'
Japanese maples have the most wonderful array of foliage in the spring. Above is Acer palmatum 'Mikazuki', with new foliage. Can you believe that color? It also has a brilliant autumn display. That's a keeper.

Here is a look at the new foliage from Acer circinatum 'Sunglow'. The leaves are like fans unfolding.

Aquilega vularis 'Icy Blue'
These dainty blooms look like fairies dancing in my shade garden. The delicate white blooms are on sturdy, tall stocks with bright, chartreuse foliage. The blooms slowly turn a slight, light blue..just the tint of it. Hence the name...Icy Blue.

Geum 'Totally Tangerine'
Bee's Jubliee Clematis
While it's only late April, it feels like late May. We had a heat wave with temps recorded in the 90's. It pushed the plants a bit and now it feels like the the time between seasons is upon us. My Spanish bluebells are blooming out and now there is a need to cut them back. It's time to prepare for the summer garden.

All the while, I have fine company in the garden. My furry friends are always near when I'm planting or weeding. Here's a picture of my dear boy 'Silver Cat'.

And of course, Demon Cat.


Saturday, April 9, 2016

Blue, Pink and White in the April Garden

Fothergilla 'Mt. Airy'
The colors in the April gardens are vivid and bold. Chartreuse, pinks and blues dominate the scene.

Pink Dogwood - probably 70+ years old - variety unknown
The old dogwood tree that my husband's great-grandfather planted likely back in the 1940's is blooming with perfect pink petals that smartly contrast with the emerging yellow green leaves.

Hyacinthoides hispanica
Another gift from the great grandparents, who built the house we now call home, are Spanish bluebells. I could do without this spring thug, but as they are all blooming right's a brilliant show of blue garden carpet.

I am absolutely smitten with dicentra. The heart shaped blooms beg to be photographed.

Dicentra formosa
I might have bought a few more last weekend. I can't get enough. The bold chartreuse foliage of dicentra spectabilis is amazing in the spring garden.

Dicentra formosa
Not sure that Demon Cat approves of the pretty pastels. He's so awful.

Soon the columbines will be delighting my eyes. I see the buds are emerging for future blooms. But, for now, the bluebells reign.

Hyacinthoides hispanica
And a random tulip...blooming in neglected pots..

I do love this moment in the spring when the grass is growing faster than you can keep it mowed and the scourge of bluebells blanket the ground. Tulips, new foliage on the trees and the sweet scent of lilacs and cherry blossoms down the street, make this time of year outdoors amazing.

Want more April blooms..head over to May Dreams Garden and see what is blooming in April around the world. Cheers, Jenni

Monday, March 21, 2016

Images of Spring from my Garden

We've had two glorious days of sunshine, right before the Spring Equinox. Otherwise, it has been rain. I fear I'm developing web feet as I slosh about outside. March in the PNW = mud.

Nevertheless, when the sun did come out, it was glorious. Aside from the rain, the temperatures have been mild, enticing many plants to emerge early. 

Here is what is blooming in my garden:

Pear blossoms

Euphorbia rigida

Old fashioned lilac's
Euphorbia characias ssp. wulfenii

Ribes sanguineum 'King Edward VII'

Bleeding hearts have become my favorite plant in March.  The fronds emerge with a look like something out of a science fiction novel, but they are soft and gentle to the touch. I need to add more to my collection

Dicentra spectabilis 'gold heart'

Dicentra spectabilis
The hellebore's continue to amaze me with their extended bloom time. I still find new blooms on plants that first produced their showy wares in early November. 

Helleborus 'Blue Lady'
And finally, a shrub that can keep on growing...I just love it.
Kerria japonica 'Pleniflora'
I'm so delighted to see my little garden grow and mature each year. My garden makes this home. 

Happy Spring!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Images of the Netherlands in Winter Part 2

This is the second installment of my sharing some of my favorite photos from my trip to Holland over this past Christmas break (2015).

My family is very fortunately to have extended family to stay with and visit in the Netherlands. It is the birth place of my mother and it was wonderful to soak up the people I am lucky enough to call family. For my children, it was their first time on an airplane, and turned out to be a wonderful way to show them their family roots. Here are the littles in Holland as the family gathered to celebrate the boy's 10th birthday on Christmas Eve.

My husband and I nearly wore out the kids with our cross country trekking..but we did get in some amazing sights.

Giethoorn, Overijssel
Giethoorn, is a famous village in the Netherlands where travel is done primarily by boat. The homes are accessed via canal and row boat. While I suspect this village is primarily just for show now, there did seem to be a few permanent residences. 

Giethoorn, Overijssel
Perfectly thatched roofs and brightly painted shutters adorn the homes. It was a misty and damp day, when we visited, but it only added to the quiet and peaceful atmosphere.

Giethoorn, Overijssel
Outside of town are vast wetlands full of grasses that are cut for the thatched roofs. We happened upon a home was mid-roof replacement. I was in awe at how the grasses are bunched and laid. It is only after they are laid out, layer by layer, that they are cut to precision to form the perfect roof lines.

Giethoorn, Overijssel
The gardening geek in me loved checking out what types of plants were used. Hydrangea's are a favorite choice. If you have a pretty cottage in the Netherlands....a hydrangea is required.

Another common garden staple is to have a hedge. Buxus or Fagus (a type of boxwood or beech...pretty sure I saw more of the beech) was the most memorable. It makes sense to have hedges around gardens. They create wind breaks as well as privacy. Hedges can be deciduous or evergreen, but it was the hornbeam that I believe I noticed most often as we traveled around the country. I'm hoping a dutch native will set me straight if I am incorrect.

And for those of you interested in garden shopping as well as interior design....well, do I have the stop for you! My cousin took me to a fantastic store called Tuinland in the city of Zwolle. They were having an after Christmas sale. It took great restraint not to purchase another suitcase and buy out the store.

I loved this store because so many of the decorations were 'natural' and winter-y without being cartoonish. It was a fun space to wander and admire.

In the next post, I'll share some pics of the city of  Delft and the Summer Palace / Hunting grounds of the Dutch royals called 'Het Loo'.

Here are links to my prior posts on this winter's visit to the Netherlands:

Cheers, Jenni

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Spring Emerges

It was a happy day yesterday, the sun was out after days of unrelenting rain. I had a chance to walk about the gardens and look for signs that spring is emerging.

I found some pretty things, signs of life and some furry friends in the garden.

Autumn Joy Sedum
All three sedums are beginning to form rosettes. I have three varieties in one pot. They make the most brilliant display in September through the fall.

Blue Lady helleborus
 All of the hellebores are blooming, save my white 'Snow Frills' (it's a late bloomer...). Since I've become addicted to hellebores, I will say that my outlook towards winter gardening has changed....for the positive. The winter garden is no longer drab and dreary, but alive and colorful with frilly blooms.

Double painted helleborus

Pink Frost helleborus
I am excited for all my hellebores to spread their roots and gain some girth! Imagine, big fat clumps of glorious color during the rainy season to carry me through the winter gloomy months.

Daphne odora 'Zuiko Nishiki
The spicy scent of the daphne is divine; it smacks me right in the nose as I wander, like a breath of summer.

Sometimes one finds a fuzzy beast in their wanderings.

heirloom camilla, name unknown
Winter roses sometimes come from trees....beautiful heirloom camilla trees. Our house still has the original camilla that was likely planted in the 1930's. It has the most perfectly symmetrical petals. I never thought that I would find such beauty in winter.

Pieris japonica 'Scarlett O'Hara

Pieris japonica 'Valley Valentine'

The Pieris is beginning to bloom and the early bee's are thankful. It's the bumbles that are out just now, when the temperature is warm enough. They lumber through the air like big B-52 airplanes.

Spring is around the corner. I just know it.

Cheers, Jenni