Well, just a month from now the wedding day will be upon us. The tents will be up. Abby and her mother have decided they will cover the terrace and moss lawn so that the Four Seasons Border and Firefly Knoll and Oak Grove will be the back ground setting for that evening, yes, Abby has decided for a at dusk wedding, and we all agree the lighting in the Shire is just right for the flowers and it will be in the height of firefly season and the show is always incredible.
The dinning tent will be the closest to the border garden and will have a large Tuscan table setting for our guest, she has chosen fruitwood ballroom chairs with white cushions and will cover the long table in white linens, we will top this with black square chargers and square white china with lime green napkins with a quench fold. The center of the table will then be covered with fresh soft hay fern from the garden and black hinged long candelabra will travel down the table with various heights to them with tall black lanterns in between. I will then wind together a garland of Italian ruscus and ivy and will insert green orchids and white butterfly orchids and black-eyed white anomies. As you may have guest by now Abby has chosen her colors, white, black and lime green.
Now I step in and decide that I will build a wall of rush brush between the terrace tent and food tent to create a sense of divide and mystery and only glimpses of the dinning tent can be seen before dinner. I then came up with a great idea, that over the pool under the terrace tent I will create a large chandler of flowers with water dripping from it in to the pool.
Well, as to bore you no more at the moment. There will be lots of small touches and special moments to the day, and the love that Jan and I have for our family and friends will be shared with Charlie’s family. Also after the wedding I will see to it that plenty of pictures will be here for all of my friends who visit, The Garden Shire.
A thought; When given a moment to share who you are, share lovingly with joy.
June, the month of flowers. Everywhere in the garden there are flowers and the changes are daily. Peonies and poppies, to lilies and roses and all are beautiful, however the iris steal the show early in the month and dominate the color in the garden. All though I have many types of them and varieties my love affair with the showy bearded iris at this time becomes my obsession. The blues and pinks to root beer browns, then the purples and whites, the yellows and so many more. From the tall to the medium then the short, all have out standing qualities not to mention that the foliage is of interest all summer in the garden..
Iris are easy to care for and do well in partly to full sun locations of at least 5 hours or more. Plant your iris so the top half of the rhizome is exposed. In very light or sandy soils cover the rhizome with about 1 in., of soil. Every three years I find they have to be divided this gives me larger blooms on healthy growth and also makes for a larger show. I feed my iris a little 10 -10 -10 fertilizer in the spring and some bone meal in the fall and fan cut the foliage in the fall at the time of cleanup before winter.
Iris translates to “Goddess of the Rainbow” and with names like, Last Laugh, Double Ringer, Magical Encounter to Steller Lights and Footloose, who wouldn’t want them in the garden. I would love to be the one to pick their names, how fun would that be.
I tried growing them in pots so that I might move them around in the garden when I wanted some in an area of the garden for a short time, This proved to work well, although they don’t like being in mixed pots, the rhizome doesn’t get the sun it needs to develop the next years flower.
Here, I will leave you with a photo shoot of June’s Queen of the Shire Garden, in all her glory. Enjoy!
A thought; Perhaps at the end of the Rainbow is a garden of iris, that hides the pot of gold.
May has been very busy for me, The may day celebrations are over and the work in the garden has kept me from the computer and that as some might say is a good thing. Everything is growing strong an the weeding is really keeping me on my knees. The hundreds of iris in the garden are just full of buds and I plan to blog on those in the weeks to come. The heavy snows of this winter was good for those hardy perennials, a so-called ” poor mans fertilizer “. All of our vines are climbing and the annuals that I seed sow are in. The trips to my favorite nurseries are weekly and my wallet is lighter these days.
May is one of those months for love, for love is in the air and everywhere, just ask the birds!
Abigail our oldest daughter was town hall married two years ago when Charles was being deployed,
he promised her a wedding day when he came home and in that time our first grandson Colton was Born. Well, Abby has decided there’s no place like home! The wedding plans begin, first there is the location, then the food and wedding colors and of all things the wedding flowers. Imagine how the garden must look and how much fun I will have now, more plants and lots of imagination and magic for the Shire Garden and Acorn Cottage.
I must tell you that all of my Oricale’s have been called and will be at the ready. These are my friends and their advise is always of help. I will also like to suggest to anyone who might be planning a garden wedding to purchase this book by a good friend and fellow master gardener, C.L. Fornari, titled, The Garden Wedding and ckeck out her site www.gardenlady.com she will walk you through every thing you need to know about a garden wedding.
Mean while Jan is looking for all the right touches it take to make a home garden wedding personal and Acorn Cottage in her mind must be at its homie best. So there will be more on this event in the weeks leading to the wedding on July 13. I am sure there will be a lot to write about.
A thought; We work, we play, we worry, and we laugh, let’s play and laugh more!
As a Master Gardener one of my jobs is to inspire and to teach the art of gardening, sharing the passion and the love of plants with others is rewarding. I have always felt love for our green friends, it’s their shade that cools us on hot summer days and their wood the warms us on cool winter nights, the beauty of their flowers and colors in their leave, their ever-changing growth and appearance though out the seasons keeps my eyes and mind always attuned.
I believe that a garden and the gardener must be able to intuitively grow together to become a greater space, a space that not only is beautiful and useful but also transcending and spiritual, when this happens the magic of the garden and gardener reveals it’s self.
How can one come to this, how do we creat a space with such magic?, Simple, first you must believe in the plants and earth as living things and care for them in loving ways, you must always welcome goodness in and always allow your thoughts to fly. The garden will do the rest.
April in the Shire Garden is magical, because every morning when I open the door and step into the Garden something new is in bloom or starting up out of the ground, the buds on the trees swell bigger each day, to watch all of this growth and renewal at such a fast pace fills me with so much hope and happiness!
To garden for me is like prayer and with the knowing that the prayer will be answered in many ways. This is just one of the magics of the garden others are spiritual warm feelings and wonder, beauty and nourishment for mind, body and soul, the magic is endless.
A thought; Live life in the moment, Love like it is your last, and garden with a passion for both.
March, one of those in between months to cold to plant, storms are often and the wind most likely is always blowing. This year March came in like a lamb and looks like its exit will roar out like a lion, with more storms on the way. So much in the shire garden has begun the awaken and the signs of growth is all around. The Frog ponds ice is gone and a few peep frogs have sounded off after a few days of being in the 40s.
I took some time with the last two days of cool sun to prune the many clematis in the garden. Many will tell me that they find this a difficult vine to grow and that they often lose them a year or two after planting. The basic thing to remember about clematis, they like their feet cool and their heads warm. keeping this in mind will help with plant location and or conditions to creat to keep them happy. Heres a little more, Clematis offer a huge array of color and need support for their twinning stems and can be very effective when grown through other shrubs.
There are three basic pruning groups and it help to know the blooming time of your clematis to know which of the three groups yours falls in. To simplify:
Group 1: Early flowering types bloom on last years or old wood and rarely need pruning, but to keep them neat and showy prune them right after flowering.
Group 2: Many clematis fall into this group, they bloom on both new and old growth, prune this group lightly after the first light bloom to encourage new growth mid-season for continual bloom. This is the group that if you have planted them where the soil heats up, place a few stones at their roots to keep their feet cool.
Group 3: This clematis blooms on new wood, so prune hard in the early spring to about one foot off the ground that would be to about three or four pairs of buds close to the ground. By mid summer and fall the bloom will be out of this world.
Clematis – Old man’s beard, Traveler’s joy or Virgin’s bower, A Genus of more than 250 species of evergreen and deciduous, semi woody twining climbers from all over the world. Should be grown in fertile, humus rich, well-drained soil. with their roots in the shade and their heads in the sun.
I plan this year to plant two new ones to the Shire; Elf Clematis [ Clematis viticella ] ” Elf ” it will bloom all summer covered in small bells with white interior petals and rosy mauve exteriors, and will grow to a height of 7 to 8 feet. This is as I am told is a hummingbirds favorite.
The second will be Clematis ” Princess Diana “, with its vivid 2 to 3 in., belle blooms that face out to you from June through September. It is a show stopper and attracts many hummingbirds with its hot pink and mauve tones.
I plant clematis not only for its bloom but it’s seed are beard covered in the late season and is very attractive to the eye and is of great winter interest in the upper view of the garden.
This spring look at the many types and colors of clematis and try some out, your bird friends and garden will thank – you.
A thought; Beautiful things are sometime found in lofty places, dream on!
I learned a long time ago, that you must take each day as it is delivered to you. You must learn to listen a little longer, watch more patiently and remember to breathe more deeply. My morning in the garden was full of spring promise, the crocus and snowdrops are in bloom along with the buds of the daffodils that appeared after the snow melted. The Helleborus are beautiful even after all the snow cover they received and signs of growth is everywhere.
This morning is over cast and the grays of the trees seemed all about me. Although their branches have large leaf buds they still seem tight as to say, not yet, just a little longer. Even the forsythia seem rather tight bud, but as we know it would take just a few warm sunny days to change that.
This was a winter of large wind and snow storms unlike the past two winter we had, and there seems to be some winter damage due to the wind and snow despite my efforts to remove snow, the clean up of fallen sticks and branches will be huge and time-consuming.
The Hazel, Corylus ‘ Contorta ‘ ( Corkscrew hazel, Harry Landers Walking Stick ) has begun to bloom and is stealing the show with all of the grays around it, I just love the twisting stems with the long yellow catkins. Hazel’s are a genus of about 15 species of deciduous tree and shrubs. Growing as under plants in the northern temperate woodlands. The hazel likes slightly alkaline soils and will take the bright sun to partial shade. Keep the sucker cut out and this beauty will welcome you in early spring, heralding the end of winter.
March brings the official spring season on the 20th and baring we don’t get any spring snow storms, we here will begin the spring clean up and flower bed prepping. The time we spent this winter planing and preparing for the growing season ahead will begin and I look forward to that.
So look a little longer for the signs of spring around you and breathe in the fresh spring air a little deeper and let it fill you with a sense of renewal.
A thought; Spring reminds us, that all can be new again.
Slept a little later this morning, the bed felt so good and with the snow storm raging outside, just laying there was wonderful. I started to think about what I might try to complete for the day and as I thought about maybe planting some seeds and watering the plants and perhaps starting the painting of the guest room, I found, I really didn’t feel like starting any of it. Even the thought of getting breakfast didn’t appeal to me and I then thought, a late brunch sounded like a possibility. As I lay here and listen to the wind blowing the snow around, things didn’t seem to matter so much.
Why did I feel that I had to get up to do any thing, was it because of the way I was brought up, that it was a sign of a none productive life, that to lie around all day might make a lazy, idle man of me. That some how, it was wrong.
I’m a grown man, I work hard, play hard and worry about things and laugh at my self most of the time. So I’m taking the day off, yes, I’m doing nothing, that’s right, nothing at all, well maybe watch some TV if there is anything on that I won’t have to think to hard about. As I lie here in bed, even thinking about this blog makes me tired. So before I try to get a few more Z’s , and snuggle into my warm blankets, I’ll promise not to judge if you do the same, after all everyone needs a day off every once and awhile.
A thought; Doing nothing in of its self is doing something, so it’s OK.
I use this time of the year to update my skills in many areas and with the winter pruning now under way, I managed to finished and excellent book by the American Horticultural Society, entitled Pruning and Training, The definitive guide to pruning trees, shrubs, and climbers.
The information in this revised and updated book is wonderful, full of pictures and step by step diagrams of over 800 plants. I cannot tell you how many people will ask me, how do I prune my plants and when is the right time to do such pruning?
For me I have years of training and hands on experience to rely on, having worked with so many plants. This book shows you what to look for and where the right cut is, to produce growth where you want it and in the direction you need that growth to go. You are told about the right plant choice for the right spot so the future corrective pruning may never happen. This is important information for the new gardener, however the book is much more than a beginners book, the seasoned gardener would do well to take a few hours to study this information. There is so many new ideas and thoughts about pruning.
I believe all topics on pruning are addressed in this book, from root to lateral to top and tip pruning of trees and shrubs to dwarf trees and roses of all varieties to cane removal to training for best bloom. There is the renovating conifer hedges and restoring lines, to all types of fruit and fruit tree pruning. Then there is a spot where it is all about vine care and growth production and control pruning and training. The book is a wealth of information for the highly skilled and will help those starting out with the question how and when do I prune.
All in all its a practical approach, devoted to the practical needs of individual plants and for some of us a really fun read.
Why do we prune? We prune to create new growth, bigger flowers better fruit and to control size, but many times we prune plants to conform to our will for the price of space and art.
A thought; Think about your own life, is there anything that might need to be pruned away to make room for new growth.
With the morning sun rise comes long shadows of the oaks of Oak Grove, they create a silhouette that stretches across the snow-covered border gardens and moss lawn, it is like a painting and the air is cold and still. The rhododendrons foliage is curled low, natures way of saying, stay inside and enjoy the fire.
January can be a long month, even with all of the dreaming and planning of this years garden season to come, it still seems a long ways away. I find myself at almost every window looking out upon the Shire Gardens thinking of new winter interest plantings from these views, an that, these days seems to be endless.
Reading and drawing new designs and reaching new plant material is always on going, however it makes my heart ace to be back in the garden, believe it or not weeding and enjoying the growth, maybe I’m crazy but my garden rest is over!
As evening falls here one of the most wonderful sights is the sun set behind Oak Grove. The sun is low in our horizon and the brilliant colors of orange mixed with reds and the many shades of purples and yellows mixed with the darken blue sky is soul touching. Then there is the black silhouette of the oaks in the front of this light show,that will last for at least a couple of hours. I stand with my evening glass of wine and think how wonderful life is.
A thought; That, that is in my sight, is all I should need to carry me forward.
I just finished reading a book I found in our family’s library, entitled” Planetary Planting ” a guide to organic gardening by the signs of the zodiac, by Louise Riotte. She opens with this, ” Why Believe? The study of the stars is almost as old as man himself. All nature dances to the rhythm of the music of the spheres…..” The read was lite and infectious and eye-opening, I always believed in gardening by the moon but never took into consideration the planets or zodiac as ruling forces as well.
The books information was wonderful and worth the read. She writes about planting spring bulbs under the signs of either Libra or Virgo in the first or second quarter, for the best of spring flower. She writes about vegetables, fruit and herb and flowers as well as trees and shrub as to best planting time astrologicaly for ultimate results. She has great tips on tomato production and weed controls of an organic and planetary nature. She will fill you with basics to gardening yet with a whole new look. She talks about assigning plants to their zodiac but also to the elements those zodiac represent and I found this to be quite and eye opener that came with a greater understanding of the plants them self, making them not just of this planet but of the universe that brings everything to the connection of oneness.
This gardener was given some renewed insight to the way I garden and know now that my new-found garden awareness will forever change the way I look at a garden as well as the ways to which I will garden.
I have talked before about magic in the garden and with this new view of the plant life around me, it will help in the understanding as to why a plant might not be doing well when everything I’ve learned tells me differently.
A thought; When we open our minds to the universe, we receive a better understanding of all things.