Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Home Run Rose is the Season Opener!

Home Run Rose

While enjoying the warm company of other garden professionals and enthusiasts, along with lunch and the (frozen) lakefront view of the Chicago skyline from Riva Navy Pier on Thursday, I had the pleasure of hearing Tom Carruth of Weeks Roses tell us all about 'Home Run' Rose

Bred from the Knock Out Rose, velvety red 'Home Run' boasts lifetime freedom from both black spot and powdery mildew.  It is also the first rose to bloom and will bloom continuously throughout the growing season into fall, when it will produce both flowers and hips.  Because of this extremely short rebloom cycle - no pruning, please!

Be on the lookout for this rose in the familar Proven Winners pots at your favorite garden centers this coming season and about mid-summer you may see, in smaller pots, an even newer 'Pink Home Run' rose.  What a color!

Thanks so much Proven Winners for the lunch invitation - I had so much fun getting the scoop on these interesting new rose cultivars and meeting several Chicago area bloggers face to face!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Bed-time Reading

Oh joy - the new Digging Dog catalog came today!  I opened my mailbox this afternoon and did a little happy dance right out on the front porch!  Guess what I'm curling up with tonight?!! 

Is it just me that gets this excited about reading all the juicy descriptions and companion plant suggestions?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Good Morning America's Best Block in America

I just need to take a minute and toot my neighborhood's horn...

I am so excited - Good Morning America chose the winning block for their Best Block in America from the very neighborhood I live in!!!

My neighbors are an active, tight-knit group of people with a great sense of community and after the contest was brought to everyone's attention by Gina Seaton (hats off, neighbor!), many essay entries were submitted touting the reasons why this neighborhood is such a great place to live.

You can check out the article from last Tuesday's Daily Herald, here.

Tune in to Good Morning America this coming Thursday, July 1st, for a live view of a lively group of the great people who make up our very special community!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Janesville Rotary Botanical Gardens

I'm back in the garden again!!!

I have been on a bit of a garden hiatus since early April and missing the garden and all the parts of my gardening life, including this blog, desperately. 

Last week I had two events gently nudge me back to my senses (because to not be surrouded by all that is garden, for me, is insane!); a visit to the Janeville Rotary Gardens with my Garden Club (organized by our Field Trip Planner - thanks, Mom!), and an opportunity to do more design plans for a client's garden I'd very much enjoyed working on in the past.

So let me share a few photos from the Rotary Gardens...for information on the Gardens, please click here.

Love these pale pink and apricot hollyhocks with the mellow brick walls...so English, in the English Garden

More hollyhocks, this time with deep blue delphiniums and Orienpet lilies - I was loving this combination and will be repeating it in my own garden!

Another corner of the English Garden is home to this fun tuteur or obelisk with birdhouse topper.  And I couldn't take my eyes off of the mauve delphiniums paired with bright yellow achillea ('Coronation Gold', perhaps?) and blue Echium vulgare aka Viper's Bugloss- how 'bout that for an uncommon plant in the Midwest?!

Another view, here with the Echium and one of the many decorated flowers that will be auctioned off for charity after spending the summer in the gardens.

A Beatrix Potter moment

Beautiful waterlilies in the Italian Garden's Koi Pond

I love this design element in the Hosta Hollow

After looking all over for the tag for this woody plant I asked our tour guide, Art, for an id.  He said this is Acer campestre 'Carnival' and was recently highlighted on the site's blog, here

Love the horizontals and verticals in this garden...planted with ornamental edibles!

A relaxing view of the Japanese Bridge

This large expanse of lawn is bordered by a walkway with raised beds.  What a great design for a larger property!

Here is the shady side of the lawn pictured above, couldn't you spend some time relaxing here?!

I thoroughly enjoyed visiting and was very impressed by these gardens!  I hope you enjoyed my photo tour, please check out the site's blog - as we were winding up our tour last Tuesday our guide, Art Hilker, was asked to do a podcast tour of the entry garden by the blog's author and Director of Horticulture, Mark Dwyer!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day - April, 2010

Hello on this April Garden Blogger's Bloom Day!  Let me start by thanking Carol of May Dreams Gardens for creating this celebration of bloomin' blogs!  There is much to see so be sure to tour as many virtual gardens as you have time for!

Here is what's in bloom at here at Liberty - I really feel like what isn't in bloom?! It seems like Mother Nature just flipped a switch this year and we went from the dead of winter to full-blown spring in a matter of moments here in Chicago! Seems even more so for me - I just started a wonderful new job and so I have been at the office, busy learning the ins and outs with far less time in the garden so far this season. I can assure you I had lots of fun taking these photos early yesterday morning!

A wonderful spring ephemeral, Dicentra cucullaria aka Dutchman's Breeches

Not really a bloom - a Podophyllum peltatum, Mayapple, yet to unfold.

A red tulip that came with the garden - usually blooms a bit earlier than most others...but not this year!

Tulip 'Prinses Irene'

Helleborus orientalis.  This year I plan on adding some in the deep purplish shades along with the pales and purple spotted I have so I will have a mix bag of offspring down the road.

My pal Charlotte, showing off her handiwork

The tesselated blooms of Frittilaria meliagris or Snake's Head Frittilary.  An absolute favorite of mine.

Species tulip - T. tarda - which open flat in the sun...

like this, for a completely different look!

Erythronium, commonly known as Trout Lily due to the gorgeously mottled leaves.  This one came with the garden and if I had ever identified it I can't recall...

Beautiful 'Green Wave' tulips. You can see T. 'Negrita' still in bud and in the background a Dicentra - common Bleeding Heart - as well. 

Arabis blepharophylla 'Spring Charm' which I picked up at the end of the season last fall.  I am crazy for this color!

Doronicum - great spring perennial.  I need to find a new home for it and just might plant it in combination with the above Arabis and some Muscari, as well.

Muscari 'Blue Magic'

Narcissus 'Hawera'

An unidentified Daffodil that came with the garden.  The closest I can come to identifying it is 'Rip Van Winkle' but I am not convinced.  Usually you can see a decent amount of green on the petals, this year he is far more yellow.

A beautiful old quince - what a gorgeous color!

I believe this is Tulipa 'William and Mary'.  Lily flowered, it starts yellow then picks up the blush as it matures.

Myosotis 'Blue Ball', aka Forget-Me-Not.  It reseeds everywhere...

Bellis perennis or English Daisy.  Another (more mannerly) reseeder.

Species tulip T. linifolia

A Summer Snowflake, Leucojum 'Gravetye Giant'

A Pulmonaria with pink flowered Epimedium x rubrum

Viola 'King Henry'

Unknown yellow tulip

Unknown coral pink tulip

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Katharine's Urban Paradise

Hey all, welcome back!  The very next garden that I had the pleasure of visiting while in Mobile belongs to Katharine..  She is the owner of Garden of Weed'n. Her specialty is small garden designs, in which she promotes the use of native plants and eco-friendly solutions to pests and weeds.  The above photo gives a preview of what is come...I won't spoil it by saying too much just yet...

A juniper topiary named Mardi Gras* presides over this garden, giving yet another glimpse of the fun, light-hearted personalities of Katherine and her husband, Jim.  If you look closely you will notice the lettuce - this is Katherine's front yard vegetable garden.  To recommend this idea, let me pass along that she has found passers-by love to stop and chat with her about what she is growing and has experienced no trouble at all with anyone helping themselves to her produce!  What a wonderful way to connect with and enhance the neighborhood.

Everyone came out to greet us, even this little guy peeked out to welcome Michael, my Mobile host with the most, and I as we were walking up to the front door.  I can never resist signs of life in a garden!

Terrestrial orchid - Bletilla striata.   Right away these blooms caught my eye.  I have admired this plant in catalogues but had never seen it growing.  I could grow this here in Chicago...with a little protection in the winter.  I might have to try, it's very pretty and very intriguing to me!

The potting shed.  The brick wall you see is actually a building that backs up to the garden.  Functional and charming to boot!

Upon Katharine's recommendation I took a peek inside the potting shed and was delighted by the fragrance of this flowering Meyer lemon.  I'd heard citrus trees in flower smell heavenly and can now confidently confirm this!

The Meyer lemon was sharing its space with these eggplants which are nearly ready to be planted out in the raised beds.  So heavenly for a warmth-starved vacationing gardener like myself to see!  If you look closely you can see another wonderful plant at the back of the plant table - a rather large staghorn fern.

The adorable, very well-behaved and appropriately named young corgi, Bilbo Baggins.  You can just hear him saying "I am very cute, aren't I?"

Yes, chickens, too!  A Rhode Island hen and two auracanas - you can see one is attempting to make a mad dash to fly the coop!

A taste of Austin, TX, Katharine and Jim's previous home, providing a home for a lucky bird family.  If you look closely you can just see that somebird has decided this is an ideal place and has moved in!

Looking back towards the house you can see the large veranda, allowing for a pleasant place to sit and relax before and after a day of gardening.  A few days ago Katharine emailed an update, the curving steps to the deck on the right have been removed since my visit and are being replace by a bluestone patio.  Onward and upward - there is nothing quite like a great garden project!

There is also a koi pond to allow for your quiet contemplation.

This quirky emerging plant is Equisetum, commonly known as horsetail.  I love its dramatic architectural presence, even now, not yet fully grown.

Gorgeous deep, dusty pink Hellebores from Katharine's grandmother's garden.  A visual and heartfelt addition to the garden, don't you agree?

Katharine, thank you so much for opening your garden to me and my readers, and thank you readers for joining me on another garden tour.  I hope you've absolutely enjoyed your visit as much as I did!

Click here if you missed Hank and Steve's garden and here for Bellingrath Gardens. Next up, the Mobile Botanical Garden!

*If you are not familiar with Mobile, you may not realize that Mardi Gras is celebrated just as it is in New Orleans, though with more of a family oriented flair!