Tuesday, November 20, 2012

More Japanese Maples

It seems I was a bit premature on my post about Japanese maples a few weeks ago. The "Boskoop Glory" was outrageously beautiful then but now all of its leaves have fallen. In the meantime, the "Bloodgood" that was rather drab next to it, has suddenly intensified.

In the back, next to the garage, is one of the most beautifully colored Japanese Maples and I don't know the name of it. It also sits next to a "Bloodgood" variety. The brilliant yellow and orange leaves next to the crimson of the "Bloodgood" is what I'm guessing must be like a religious experience!

The Japanese Maples have never disappointed me with their fall color. You keep thinking that the color isn't going to be spectacular but you just have to be patient. It will come!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

Friday, November 9, 2012

Hydrangea Give Away!

WHO:                   Keep The Shoals Beautiful / Shoals Master Gardeners / Florence Recycling Center / Shoals Solid Waste Authority
WHERE:              Florence Lauderdale Coliseum
702 East Veterans Drive
Florence, Alabama 
WHEN:                Thursday, November 15, 2012,  9:00 a.m. until
                                    Up to three per person while supplies last

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Blazing November

Japanese Maple "Boskoop Glory"

Before we left for Florida last week, there was practically no fall color. I kept apologizing to a garden group from Huntsville because color-wise, there wasn't much to see. I guess you just have to be patient. Like last year, the color comes in November. I don't think this has always been the case but perhaps it is a result of the changing climate. When it happens though, it seems to occur overnight. 

"Boskoop Glory", the Japanese Maple at our front door. Notice on the opposite side how "Bloodgood" pales in comparison. It makes you wonder why "Bloodgood" is so preferred in nurseries?

Another famous Japanese Maple is "Sango Kaku". The bark turns red in the winter and is spectacular in all seasons.
This maple is in our neighbor's yard. Not sure what kind it is. It is massive and the color is usually prettier than this.
The maples are not the only tree with beautiful color this time of year. This is a Star Magnolia.
Trees are not the only colorful plant - there are also shrubs with beautiful color. This is Fothergilla.
Oakleaf Hydrangea
Angel's Trumpet

Looking up - dogwood in the foreground, sugar maple behind it and crape myrtle on the far left.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

Monday, November 5, 2012

Back from Florida

We are back at home from our annual trip to the Florida coast. We spent an entire week in Santa Rosa Beach. This year Michael's aunt, cousin and our friend Joann went with us. We were able to rent a larger house and we loved it. I'm always looking for houses with lush landscaping and this time we hit the jackpot. The owners are avid gardeners and have created a spectacular cliffside garden filled with decks, pergolas, pathways and shrubs. The monarch butterflies were everywhere and we also saw many dragonflies, lizards and birds. 

We arrived on Saturday with the dire predictions of a cold front coming through. This was distressing and the weather forecast changed every time you checked it. The front did come through on Monday and it was a bit chilly through Tuesday. We used those days for shopping. It warmed back up on Wednesday and the weather was fantastic the remainder of the week. So, we only had 2 un-beach-like days and with Sandy and all up the East Coast, I'm not complaining.

We also celebrated 28 years together! I still can't wrap my mind around that.

The view from the beach. The fenced in area was for our own private use. I did spend one morning in this area but for the most part, we used the decks for sunning.
Views from the decks

The plantings around the house consisted of oleander, eleagnus, sweet olive, Mexican petunias, Indian hawthorne, pittosporum, palms and privet. The house owners said that they had learned beach gardening by trial and error and over the years, experimented with plants until they found the ones that did best for them. They have been through 2 hurricanes which caused major damage, washing away the lower part of the cliff, and had to rebuild. The opposite side of the house, which faced the street, had a magnificent magnolia and plantings of camellias, boxwoods and other shrubs. I didn't get photos of the front except for some group shots of us.

We had a celebrity neighbor (if you want to call him that). Mike Huckabee's house was 2 doors down. You can see it on the left. Someone said he was on the beach one morning but I didn't see him. The huge monstrosity on the right was built by friends of Huckabee, who starting some Baptist organization. So, if you contribute to such, here is what your money goes for! These houses dwarfed all the others on the road and seemed out of place.

We had a great week, full of sun, sunsets, shopping and great food. I got my tan back and I was sad to leave. Until next year!

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Cullman County ammendment to develop protected wilderness - vote no!

Friend and fellow blogger Peggy Hill passed this along to me to share. Please take a look at her blog post "The Fate of This Land May Be in Your Hands".

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy