Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Remembering Tasha Tudor

This morning I stumbled upon the news that Tasha Tudor has died at the age of 92 at her home in Vermont. She was many things - mainly a children's book illustrator - but among gardeners, she was justly famous for her quaint cottage style garden that was illustrated in at least two book in 1990s by photographer Richard Brown. I have Tasha Tudor's Garden and it is one of my favorites. I remember being in awe when I first saw this book and was mesmerized by the photographs as well as reading about Tudor's lifestyle. She loved the old times and lived that way. She dressed in old-timey clothing (making her own and buying them in antique stores), raised chickens and cows, and made her own candles which illuminated her farmhouse that was built by her son. Her garden is full of stone terraces that overflow with foxgloves, peonies, roses and all kinds of flowers. She also loved Corgis and had a menagerie of them. She believed she was the reincarnation of a sea captain's wife and her obituary says that she intended to go back to the 1830s when she died!

Monday, June 23, 2008

The perfect spot

This is a neighbor's cat but he may as well be ours since he spends 90% of his time in our garden. We call him Chester. He has the sweetest personality and has the oddest choice for sleeping areas. When he was smaller, he would curl up in a pot of portulaca on top of the garden wall but I guess he outgrew that. Now he prefers the birdbath.

Ah, the life!

Uh, would you get out of here with that camera so I can get my beauty sleep?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Perry Garden

I have an article in the upcoming July/August issue of Alabama Gardener (available at a magazine stand near you!) about the garden of Leon and Dean Perry in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Leon Perry is 85 years old and moved to Alabama from Mississippi about 20 years ago when he married his wife Dean. He brought with him hundreds of rootings of his azaleas, rhododendrons and camellias and started a new garden here. It is now a mature wonderland and utterly breathtaking. It was a treat meeting him and listening to him discuss his vast knowledge of rhododendrons. I hope you can read the article - in the meantime, here are some photos that I took.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

June Bloom Day

Hydrangeas make up about 90% of the blooms in the garden now (I posted those in an earlier post). I did find a few other blooms this morning. We had a good rain yesterday which was badly needed.

My first photo is for Randy and Jamie because I know they love daylilies. I took some photos of a beautiful red one but it didn't turn out that great so I'm not posting it. I don't know the names of our daylilies although I do have them written down somewhere.


This is a Red Yucca that I bought on impulse at Lowe's a few years ago.


One of my favorite perennials is Salvia 'Black and Blue' - I love this color in the garden.


Fleece Flower 'Red Dragon'


Coleus (I forgot to check the name)


Another coleus with Creeping Jenny (Michael stuck that redbird in it, it came from a flower arrangement that a friend sent me on my birthday).


Ivy and Purple Heart


What would be do without impatiens?


Rose of Sharon 'Blue Bird' which should have been pruned this year


Chaste Tree (Vitex)


Okay, a few more hydrangeas. This is one of the best - 'Veitchii'


'Geoffrey Chadbun'


To see what's blooming in other gardens, check out Carol's May Dreams blog!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Oprah does gardening

So I'm home on my lunch hour and flipping channels while I'm eating and stumble across Oprah. I rarely watch her show but she caught my attention with this hunky gardener who had apparently made over her neighbor's balconies. I had never heard of him although her website claims that he is a big star in Australia. Anyway he's welcome to come weed in my garden any time. :) It was obvious though that Oprah knows nothing about gardening. She had never heard of a mother-in-laws tongue, for heaven's sake! I will give her two thumbs up though for her show today. Everything she touches turns to gold so maybe she'll inspire more people to start gardening. Her show gave a huge plug to Lowe's - the store's name was mentioned in every other sentence. And, at the end of the show, she gives all the audience members gift boxes (supplied by Lowe's of course!) to start their own window boxes and they scream and yell and act like they just won a million dollars.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The hydrangeas are a bloomin'

Last year was a disappointment for hydrangea lovers when the late freeze nipped all the blooms. This year they are glorious. Michael is the hydrangea lover in this family and we probably wouldn't have as many if it wasn't for him. I have to admit though that I really love hydrangeas more than I used to. I really can't think of a more versatile shrub (they will perform well in various degrees of light situations) and they are colorful and dramatic in the landscape. All that, plus they are easy to care for.

We have hydrangeas all over our garden but the majority of them reside under a massive pecan tree.


The same border from the opposite direction (looking towards the secret garden). The foliage on the right is the variegated dogwood 'Wolf's Eyes'


The same border, from the top of the hill, near the patio.


Inside the secret garden, the old stand-by 'Nikko Blue' is in full bloom while 'Annabelle' is just getting started.


And now for some close-ups. This is 'Harmony,' and oakleaf whose blooms are so big that they nod to the ground.






'Tokyo Delight'


Michael's favorite, 'Purple Tiers.' Last year, it was purple and this this year it is pink as can be. That is the weird thing about hydrangeas - they can be pink or blue depending on your soil conditions.


This is my favorite, 'Lilacina.'


I love because it has both blue and purple colored blooms, which I'm sure is due to the soil conditions.


Friday, June 6, 2008

Fears and tears

I love a good scary movie but these days it is hard to find one that doesn't resort to slasher tactics or attempt to gross you out. What a find "The Orphange" is! Here is a film that presents old-fashioned horror in the best possible way, is beautifully told and crafted, and is a film that lingers with you long after the goosebumps have subsided. While I was watching it, I kept thinking that this is how scary movies made me feel as a child. "The Orphanage" also packs an emotional wallop that will leave you in tears by the ending. There are some cryptic plot details and after viewing it twice, I still am not sure if I fully understand the twists (that's ok, I'm a little slow!). Still, it doesn't affect my affection for this wonderful film, so far the best I've seen this year.

Monday, June 2, 2008

First tomato

Michael is in hog heaven - he picked the first tomato of the season today (the variety is 'Early Girl'). I myself am not crazy about tomatoes. In fact, I didn't even eat them until a few years ago and today I only like them on a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich (which, he informs me, is what we will have for supper tomorrow night). Our vegetable garden is very small, resides under a dogwood tree of all places, and consists of a narrow raised bed that runs around the perimeter of a small enclosed area. Still, there is apparently enough sun to produce tomatoes and a few peppers and herbs. I added mushroom compost this year which really caused the tomatoes to grow at warp speed. I also added a tip that I learned from a lady in my master gardener class that she said her father did and he always had great tomatoes - add 1 tablespoon of lime and 1 tablespoon of Epsom salts to the planting hole. I usually have to spray for blossom end rot but I have not noticed it this year. Perhaps the lady's tip did the trick!