Monthly Archives: July 2012

Coming from Fern Walk and entering the Front Borders,  the morning sun shone all through the garden on the clumps of  black-eyed Susan’s, they just glowed. I was standing there in a daze for a moment,  just taking this site in. This all so announces that the mid summer heat is on and another season in the Shire is changing.

The word daisy is old english, known as days eye or the sun. The daisy like flower I am going to write about has the same Latin and  common name, Rudbeckia, without getting all techno on you, hirta, meaning in Latin ( hairy ) because of the hairy like stems is the variety or cultivar I am talking about and is a native to North America.

I grew up knowing these beauties of the summer, they grew as wild flowers in the meadows and we would pick them and remove their petals one by one saying she loves me, she loves me not, a game of chance and we would laugh, what great memories!

Rudbeckia, is a genus of about 20 species of annuals, biennials and perennials. Usually daisy like flower heads, however newer varieties have double flowers.

Our favorites are from gramma’s garden Rudbeckia – laciniata, ( Golden Glow ) a tall grower, up to 7 to 8 feet and can be a little invasive so contain with a soil collar. Gramma planted her’s around the lamp-post and enjoyed how the light came through them at night.

Also try these;

R. – hirta, Cappuccino, has 4 inch flowers and varies with shades of rust and reds and gold/orange, a really show stopper.

R – hirta, Irish Eyes, stunning yellow petals with a bright green eye , strong growth, a morning and evening delight.

R – hirta, Goldilocks, a little lower growing with what seems as a none stop bloomer of bright gold with orange ring to the dark eye and is semi-double. A gotta have.

All of them are great as cut flowers and we have them in all of Acorn Cottage’s bouquets.

When planting your annuals around your Black Eyed Susan’s try  an under planting of Lantana, Tangerine, for the look of fire or Scavola ( Fan Flower ) Brilliant, with its vivid dark blue/purple flowers, Wow what a combo. I always say have fun with color and see just how many beautiful displays you can achieve.

Because of the blooming time of these plants I feel they are one of the best bets for the mid summer to early fall show in the garden and with all the new varieties out there now a new season of color in the garden is happening, during what was often thought of as a quite moment in gardening.

Irish Eyes

Many will say to me daisies are so simple and are boring, and I always reply with; with out the simple things in live, we couldn’t begin to enjoy the riches.

A thought; A moment of daze, can be wonderful.

We have been working on the Angel garden and things are coming along. Ever sense I decided a Angel garden would go in things have happened. Some of the plants in the garden that were doing poorly have started to show signs of new life and the bunnies have left the garden, I can only hope I’ve prayed so long for that. There is a new light glow about the plants and the sounds in the garden have stepped up a bit. As I plan the last stages to the Angel Garden I received A call from our youngest daughter Alexsandra, for three years she and husband Nick have tried so hard to have a baby and today’s call was dad, as she cried, I’m having a baby! We here at the Shire are so overwhelmed by this blessing and want to share it with you. Miracles are every where, you just have to believe. And when they happen be thankful and thank the Angels for being in your life.

I know this didn’t have much to do with gardening but in away it dose, for when you create beautiful places beautiful things happen!

We love you Alexsandra my fairy in the garden, and we look forward to a new fairy in the Shire.

A thought; Believe in beautiful things and they will be in your reality.

Let me start with as a young gardener I didn’t quite care for them, maybe because they looked boring and old fashion, but somehow over the years that tide has changed and now I’m boring and old fashion and the new varieties of hydrangea are youthful and showy. These beauties have stolen my heart, the deep purples and blue, the showy pinks the greens and whites. Then there are all the shades of blues, and mop heads and cones and flat tops to climbers to minis and to the flowering stars like fire works they twinkle and splay.

Not to sound strange but as a young boy I would accompany my grandmother to the cemetery to help water the flowers on the family graves, as I watered she would clean up the plants and tell me stories about my pasted family and at the time I would think how boring it was, but I was with gramma and she was fun. Later as I matured, I understood what she was doing. She was giving me a sense of self. What I remember of those days, in the cemetery was the large over grown Pee Gee hydrangea with their large white green, that turn to deep rose flower cones that somehow stay nice even in the worst conditions and thought these are rugged plants.

What I have found over the years is that if you stay the course long enough and research long enough you have a stronger understanding of things. Like I didn’t know that Paleontologist actually found fossils of hydrangea blossoms in North America as well as China and Japan and Korea. So I guess they’ve been around awhile!

It took the eighteenth century English plant hunters to search the globe for new beauties to cultivate and to breed new varieties and to give stories and folk-lore to them. The meaning of this flower signify’s a boaster because its showy flower never bares fruit. It was also believed that the roots of Hydrangea – (arborescens ) was used in treatment of kidney stones. And one last one, to plant a hydrangea on the grave of a loved one would ensure a safe passage to heaven!

Here in the Garden Shire our Hydrangea are in full bloom. The colors just change not only the look of the garden but its feeling, everything seems to dance together now. Hydrangea in most part are semi shade lovers and often like water at their feet but as I said earlier I’ve seen them in the worst of condition doing well. The trick to color changes and intensity is acidity of the soil, if you want more color add ammonium sulfate or to lighten the colors ad lime, try the new liquid lime it works faster. Have fun with this I love the surprises you get. Don’t think that what I’m about to say is a cop-out, but as not to bore you with all the science that goes with these beauties, check out this book a quick and fun read; Hydrangea by Daria Price Bowman, you will love the pictures too. Or go to also check out this nursery  and learn all you need to know about my new but old found friends Hydrangea. and by the way let me know what you might think of Jan’s slide show of the Shire’s Hydrangea, Enjoy!

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A thought; Old things can be new again, with new feelings you didn’t feel before.

Well, summer is here, no rain insight and the heat is on all I do is water and weed and dead head spent flower. This one job a lot of people don’t understand, it is very important because if the plants go to seed they stop blooming and your color show stops. Keep removing spent flowers and long stems and feed, the plants need it now for they have a lot of work to do at this time of year.

The firefly’s are out at dusk and it’s a real treat they are everywhere. The herbs are being harvested and hung to dry for later season cooking and decorating, the vegetables are coming in full force, the pansies are going right along this is a pleasant surprise and the day lily’s are full of bloom and buds. The garlic is out of the ground and is being cured and this years crop looks great and so will the Christmas gifts they will make.

The hydrangea are incredible and I will blog on that the next time, after all we live in hydrangea country and here we have about 125 plants and about 20 kinds, just wait for Jan’s pictures of these beauties. Our photo gallery is almost ready and we can’t wait for you to see the Shire and it’s flowers and the many that visit.

Remember that a garden is a place to find yourself in a moment. We make things happen because we believe we can in that moment, but what is most important is that we hold on to that belief and more important than that is you must hold longer than that moment, always believe and it will be.

A thought; Warm summer days remind us of long summers nights dreams, and we believe again!

I’ve been asked a lot about why I name the spots in my garden and why name a place or garden. Well humans have been giving names to things as long as they’ve been around. I believe it maybe that to name something is to bring ownership to it and to help other to remember where they may be going to and from and to help with where they are at any given time. However I enjoy naming things because its fun and it helps my wife to find me when I tell her where I’ll be.

Giving names to things shows you care and that in some way gives it life of its own, the Angle Garden is for the Angels and the Fairy Garden the fairies and the Frog Pond the frogs and everything that goes with that.

Give great thought to naming for it is more important than you think, So many times people name things and think nothing of it. The result is terrible, leaving other to ponder why?

Naming a home for example should come from and address or personal connection like great names like Thornton Hall, Long Woods, Graceland, The White House, Green Gabbles and so on, all great examples of naming a place. Think about county names, history and if there is a great oak or elm or maple all could have tree names and that is noble like Willow Lakes, Willow View, or just Willows see how much fun this is.

Naming is not elitist, it’s a thing of place and being and that is important because we all need to be a part of our place and we will honor these places more when we name them. Evan if you live in a one room apartment, name it and honor this space because its yours and the name given gives it life.

Acorn Cottage is named for two things the street name and the large old oak that graces us with tons of acorns. The home is small and cottage like and sits in the middle of the Shire garden, which has the Front Borders, the Angle Garden, Hydrangea Row. Fern Walk. the Fairy Garden, the Blue and White Border which leads to the Seasons Border. Firefly Knoll to the Frog Pond to the Garden Terraces and then there’s the Column Garden and of all things there’s Oak Grove, so name away its yours, why not, its fun and it gives purpose to why you have these spaces.

So have fun name away and when others say why? Say, whats in a name any way someone gave you one!

Like it or not we as humans name things and for what ever reason we name  things and places and thus they become real and alive and the creator within each of us is satisfied.

A thought; We name things, because we love to, and that is whats truly in a name.