Monday, September 30, 2013

Farewell to September

It is hard to believe that October is almost upon us. We had a really wonderful weekend with mild temperatures in the 70s and not a drip of humidity. I loved it! Today it is rainy and about 75 degrees. 

Yesterday morning I took some photos before breakfast. You will notice that everything is uncommonly green and lush right now. Normally it is parch-dry this time of year and a few drops of rain are cause for celebration. This has been a wet year and the garden and myself are greatly relieved.

Looking through the pergola, you might notice something amiss. That would be the rose "Buff Beauty" directly behind the urn. I pruned the heck of it about a month ago. The rose, although one of my absolute favorites, has had a lot of die-back on the lower branches. The rose is also much larger than I envisioned. I wanted a view through the pergola so that the eye could travel past the rose, to the statue of Efebe and to the garden wall farther behind. "Buff Beauty" changed all that with its massiveness and aside from removing it, there is no hope. Now it looks like the new growth is reaching upwards. Okay "Buff Beauty", you win!

Chester says "Who cares? It is bath and nap time."

To the side of the pergola and up the steps to the side garden. The garden is very wooly at the moment but at least it is green. On the left, coming over the wall, is the plant from hell, Chamelion Plant (Houttuynia cordata). Take my advice - don't ever plant this. It is the most invasive plant that I've ever dealt with. In the upper left, note the beautiful ginger plant that never blooms.

Garden Wall
The garden wall is rapidly being overcome with the Ivy "Gold Child".

The Secret Garden is mostly green with hydrangeas and hostas. Lots of dead wood on the rambler rose "Bobbie James" on top of the iron gazebo that needs to be cut out.
Looking from the opposite direction you see Leatherleaf Viburnum (Viburnum rhytidophyllum) on the right and Holly Fern (Cyrtomium falcatum) near the center. This area is right underneath a Black Walnut tree (at right)
On the other side of the house, the north side, is a small area underneath a Yoshino Cherry tree. The plants here are nandina, camellia, cast iron plant, hydrangea and ferns. The Goldenrod (Solidago rugosa "Fireworks") can be seen under the birdhouse. It has just started to bloom and I'll post photos for my next post.
The view from the other side. I'm afraid the rose "Sombrueil" and "Climbing American Beauty" on the archway is suffering greatly from lack of sunlight. I should just bite the bullet and replace them with a shade loving vine.
 I'm hoping for a colorful, cool Fall. Wouldn't that be wonderful?

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Visit from UT Master Gardeners

On Sunday, we had a busload of 50 visitors from the UT (Tennessee) Master Gardeners! They were a wonderful group of people and left us with a great gift basket full of jams, soaps, books, windchimes, fans, etc. A truly spectacular gift and put together with much thought and care. Thank you all so much and thanks for making the trip!

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wolf Eyes Japanese Dogwood

Cornus kousa "Wolf Eyes" is a dramatic small tree that really lights up dark areas of the garden. This is one of my favorite plants and I know that is one that I will miss the most when we leave this garden. It is about 10 years old (I'm guessing) and is a slow grower. It is about 8 feet tall and about 6 feet wide. It does sulk in dry weather and appreciates a good deep watering during the dry spells. I've never been overly fond of where I placed it but couldn't find a better spot when I purchased it. Of course my motto is "Buy now, find a spot for it later." It seems to be quite happy where it is though.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

Friday, September 6, 2013

Firecracker Vine

Manettia cordifolia - Firecracker Vine

Firecracker Vine (Manettia cordifolia) brightens the otherwise drab late summer garden with its hot red flowers. The small tubular blooms are profuse and adorn a vigorous but well-mannered vine. (Think Cypress Vine but without the headache of the invasiveness.) Hummingbirds love it!

This plant came to me from my great aunt Lesbie who loved to garden as much as I do.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Abyssinian gladiolus

Gladiolus murielae  
This is the first time I've grown these bulbs. I just picked them up at Home Depot early in the spring. Gladiolus murielae is also known by a variety of common names including "Peacock Orchid," "Sword Lily," "Acidanthera" and "Fragrant Gladiolus". It is native to the mountain areas of East Africa. They grow about 2 feet tall and bloom in late summer. They are supposedly hardy in our zone (zone 7). So far, not as much profuse bloom as I'd hoped but there has been a scattering of blooms during the past weeks.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy