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May Blessings

Chilly temperatures returned this week, and for a few days I could imagine it was early spring again. I enjoyed being in the garden and found myself tinkering around, planting and weeding and moving rocks. Nothing like fresh, cool air to invigorate the body and soul!

When I am outside, I am deeply aware of my blessings. Here are a few scenes from the garden this week:Top: A view of the garden next to the patio. 2nd photo: Light shines through the autumn sage and blue salvia growing near the parking court in front of the house. 3rd row: 'Anthony Waterer' spirea; Autumn fern growing in front of a late blooming azalea. 4th row: French hibiscus; Hosta 'Francis Williams'.Hydrangeas are beginning to bloom. Long ago in another life, I did not like hydrangeas. The large heads of macrophylla especially repulsed me. What was I thinking?

When we moved here in 1985, the property contained many oakleaf hydrangeas, which are native to Aabama. I grew to love them, but I still turned away from other hydrangeas. Then I discovered lace caps, such as 'Lady in Red' and 'Mariesii variegated'. These also are within the macrophylla species, but their flattened clusters of flowers and loose, billowy form seemed more graceful and suited to my woodland setting than the mopheads.

Then a few years ago I took a garden tour and came across a wooded hillside with an understory of mopheads. Great colorful bouquets of flowers — pastel pinks, deep purple, lavender, blue, fuchsia — billowed around the trees, like the ruffled party dresses of antebellum beauties. I was completely, hopelessly enchanted, and I have loved them ever since.

I can't replicate what I saw on the garden tour, but I have started a hydrangea walk leading from the Lady Garden up to the Front Garden. Here are some of the hydrangeas along the hydrangea walk and in other parts of the garden:1st row: Masja ; Endless Summer. 2nd row: Annabelle; Oak Hill. 3rd row: Lady in Red, growing in different areas. Pink comes from soil with a higher pH; blue comes from more acidic soil. 4th row: Mariesii Variegated; Oakleaf hydrangea 'Snowflake'.

And, finally, a quick peek into the Woodland Garden, where the combination of Heuchera 'Tiramisu' and Japanese maple 'Waterfall' caught my eye:May you be blessed with good health, good friends, and flowers for the soul. Happy Gardening!  Deborah 

You may also enjoy Snowflakes in July.

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Reader Comments (22)

Deb, I enjoy seeing so many of the other gardens I've discovered through blogging, but yours practically makes me swoon. It's such a lovely combination of woodland and garden--the best of both, beautifully integrated.

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStacy

What a lovely post! Your garden is so wonderful and peaceful. You have a lot of hydrangeas, they look great. I have to say that I am still not crazy about them, although I do love my PG hydrangea for its wonderful fragrance, and the climbing hydrangea is an interesting plant. Are your hydrangeas naturally blue or pink? Here the soils and water are so alkaline getting them blue is hopeless :).

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMasha

I am always amazed by your yard. jim

May 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjim groble

Oh, your garden looks so lush and lovely! I'm a sucker for blue Hydrangea - they don't grow in my alkaline soil (try as I might! :)

As your photos show so beautifully, this time of year is rich with blessings - your post is a reminder to look up from the weeding and digging and give thanks!

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCyndy

Deb, I too used to feel that hydrangea mopheads as they were too showy, but explored the many varieties. I do use them quite a bit and have seven in my small backyard alone. The hydrangea walk is lovely and at one client's, I have a wooded hydrangea and cypress walk. May show it sometime. It is really pretty with the varying textures. You have a nice selection of varieties I use often. Your woodland area is gorgeous in shades of green and contrasting texture. I would love to take a stroll. Oops, already did this morning, thanks.

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

You do have many blessings Deb and bountiful beautiful blooms. I feel blessed visiting you and look forward to scrolling through your garden again one day soon. Happy Gardening to you and may your blessings continue to multiply in all aspects of your life. Thank you for all your kind words of support. Carol

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarol

Blessings indeed.

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Like many others there are plants I'm not fond of, but when you see them planted in the 'right' situation they are all beautiful. I am always surprised that Hydrangea are the one plant most Italians will have in their gardens or on their baconies, even though it is not all that suitable here. In your woodland they look lovely......maybe I can find a shady area where they'd thrive. Thanks for sharing you beautiful woodland, I left cooler after reading your post - most welcome. Christina

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Thank you for the beautiful tour ... splendid!

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjoey

What a beautiful walk through your woodland, it looks so peaceful and calming.You have a super variety of Hydrangeas, obviously all your tree roots don't take too much moisture out of the soil as they all look very content!

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPauline Mulligan

Another wonderful post!

It is funny how our plant preferences change over time. When I help my friends plan their gardens, often they start out disliking a plant, only to be totally won over by it later, like you have been with Hydrangea. A very collection btw!

Enjoy the last days of May... hard to believe it is here & gone.

Hi Deb,

Lovely photos, very jealous of your Salvia, I have such bad luck with them... They don't come back, or seedlings I plant get eaten by slugs/snails and I attempted to buy some recently from a garden centre that I bought a few from last year and they didn't have any! :(
Looks like I'll miss out on the Salvia this year, so will have to enjoy your photos instead.

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

You really do have the perfect woodland garden. I was never a fan of hydrangeas, I think I'd seen too many planted in hospital and nursing home gardens growing up. However, they're such a perfectly suited woodland garden plant that even I ventured into planting many of them in our first garden. They would bloom reliably in partial shade, and bring such a soothing splash of color among the green foliage, without being gaudy or overdone. I think my favorite was the oakleaf hydrangea because it did so well for me, but I love the variegated leaves the one you've shown. Mr. Curbstone keeps asking if I'm going to plant any here...but I'll have to consult with the deer first, as I think they rather relish them ;)

The cold spell has not slowed down your garden blooms Deb. Everything looks so beautiful. I am in hydrangea envy with you right now though. LOL! I love them and mine are just starting to grow out. I love the lacecaps you have. Have a wonderful weekend!

May 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLona

What beautiful soft pastel mosaics you have created with your contrasts, Deb. The soft beauty of your woodland garden is thrilling to see and since it is International Biodiversity Day today, have given your blog a shout.

May 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaura @ PatioPatch

Deb your photos took my breath away....so beautiful...Happy Gardening to you too!!

May 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

I think seeing a mix of colors among the mopheads is key to conversion! I was converted after seeing a beautiful deep purple one on the drive to Smithfield. I still just have Oak-leaved Hydrangeas though.

Your garden looks very lovely.

May 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSweetbay

Hi Deb! This spring has just got me enjoying the outside. Everything is so beautiful, I love all the hydrangeas. I'm so happy I have the oakleaf. Will get more over time. Thanks for the lovey views!

May 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEve

If I had your garden, I might wander outside and never come back in!! Absolutely gorgeous!!!

May 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCasa Mariposa

I went through the exact same progression in my relationship with hydrangeas. I love oakleaf and have just moved on to 'Annabelle' and 'Limelight'. Part of the problem was that deer eat them. Now I have a deer fence.

Just lovely...I am giving a happy sigh just *thinking* about how pretty a hydrangea walk would be. Thank you for sharing!

May 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHanni
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