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!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Hank and Steve's Mid-Town Mobile Oasis

Welcome to Hank and Steve's Garden!  This home and garden are as charming as it's owners - I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!  Leading up to the gate is a stand of bamboo arching over a welcoming path that was assembled with flagstones unearthed while creating this garden.  Already you can see the garden is a hands on labor of love.

I was so taken by this planting at the other corner of the house's front, a combination of crepe myrtle trunks (which have beautiful bark) and shiny, spiky vase shaped Sago palms next to a hedge of variegated Pittosporum that runs along the front of the porch (just beyond the right edge of the photo).

Here is a closeup of an older crepe myrtle so you can see its colorful textured bark.  Isn't it cool!

Canary Island Date Palm II.  The first was actually stolen, right from the front lawn!

Moving into the backyard, here is a Magnolia stellata selected for the pink blush to its blossoms.  This is one of many plants bought at the Mobile Botanical Garden's plant sale, held every March.  This year it was the 25th through the 28th.

European fan palm, one of the many tropicals Hank and Steve grow.  This one made it through the harsh winter Mobile suffered - not all warmer zone plants were so lucky.  I love the spiky, airy fronds contrasting with the thick glossy leaves and rounded forms of the camellias and azaleas in the background.  So much of this garden is made up of layers of woody plants that provide privacy, ongoing interest and an absolute sense of truly forget about the world right outside!

Beautiful Magnolia rubra.  While admiring the blooms I mentioned I'd like to add a smaller pink flowering magnolia to my garden.  Steve informed me that this magnolia would be a good choice as it adapts well to pruning.  Good thing, I know myself well enough to know I'd be cutting off branches by the armload to bring inside!

Magnolia nigra.  Another beautiful saturated pink bloom.  This plant is not as tall, with a more shrubby growth habit than many magnolias.  Another candidate for me to consider!

Daintily lifting her skirts to tiptoe through the jonquils from Steve's Grandma's Farm. 

Loropetalum blooming by the side of the potting shed. 

A tuteur in one of the vegetable garden's raised beds.

A Civil War soldier's grave.  During the war, which this house predates, there were earthworks built just about at the fence to defend the city from the invading Union Army.  Steve has a good story attached to this grave and its occupant...

The late afternoon sun on shiny Magnolia leaves...

and illuminating a beautiful young fig leaf as well.
A view back across the lawn to a border filled with great bones - camellias, palms and liriope edging.

Some personality peeking out through the garlic chives! 

Thank you, Hank and Steve, for sharing your garden with me...and thank you, readers, for coming along on the tour as I share what I experienced with you!  There is more to come from Mobile so don't be strangers, ya hear?!!!