Entries in hydrangea walk (5)


Glorious Autumn Light

I almost missed it. The day was old, and I was busy. I had not been out to walk in my garden or to take photos, as I like to do. I already had plenty of fall photographs. I wasn't planning to publish another post featuring autumn colors. So I was tempted to skip my afternoon stroll.

But I never know what I will see out there, and I like to take pictures for my own use. A good shot will often point out gaps and errors in the garden. My eye sees the big sweep of things and can miss details picked up by the camera. If I look at a photo and decide I can't use it on my blog because item X is spoiling the shot, I know I need to do something about item X. So I grabbed my camera and hurried out before the sun set. 

I was stunned. Overnight the fall foliage had intensified. Golden light was glittering over the leaves, and I was looking at a stained glass wonder of colors. Was this my garden?

I walked to the wooded area down from the patio. This year I added an arbor to the entrance of the Lady Garden, and I noticed that it was the perfect frame for the wondrous fall foliage:

I took these shots in and around the hydrangea walk, adjacent to the Lady Garden:

Some photos in the woodland garden:

More trees: The blue coloring of  Deodar cedar 'Feelin' Blue' is especially vivid this time of year. The brilliant yellow tree is a Japanese maple, which once upon a time was an unnamed seedling:

And a few closer shots:

Top: Heuchera leaf. 2nd row: Japanese maple. 3rd row: White pine; Japanese maple 'Waterfall'. 4th row: Hydrangea 'Lady in red'; Variegated Solomon's Seal.

The glory of the autumn light renewed my spirit and my energy. I am humbled to think I almost let the stress of a busy day steal this gift from me.

May each day offer blessings to you, and may you find time to receive them.     Deborah


Hydrangea 'Limelight': Midsummer's beauty

As the seasons turn, different plants take center stage in my garden. Midsummer can be tough here in the Deep South, but while many plants are retreating from the heat, Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight' becomes a garden stand out.

Limelight's cone shaped blooms open creamy white to chartreuse. A feature of my hydrangea walk, Limelight is also visible from the kitchen and from the patio.I love the blooms that glow in the golden sunshine of late afternoon. Six to twelve inches long, the flower heads are held upright on sturdy stems. The blooms will persist well into autumn, and as that season advances many of the blooms will take on multiple shades of pink, mingling beautifully with other blooms that still retain their green tints. The color, unlike many hydrangeas, is not dependent on soil pH.

Limelight is a large shrub. Mine is about four years old, and I prune it every year. The last two years it easily grew to eight feet tall and wide after pruning. I wonder just how large it would grow if I didn't cut it back! (A dwarf form, Little Lime, will grow up to five feet.) The blooms form on new wood, so pruning should be done in late fall through early spring. It isn't necessary to prune it every year, but pruning Limelight a third to a half will result in larger blooms.

Limelight likes good loamy soil, but it is adaptable. In spring I fertilize with an organic slow-release fertilizer. Then in midsummer I give it a shot of fish emulsion, one quarter cup per five gallons of water combined with epsom salts, one cup per five gallons of water, as a natural pick-me-up. 

Mine gets morning sun and filtered afternoon shade. I think in cooler climates it would do fine in full sun. Limelight tolerates hot, humid conditions, but it will wilt in intense heat and drought. Sometimes I do give it extra water, as I do all my hydrangeas; but generally, I consider this midsummer beauty an easy care shrub.