Entries in plants for woodland garden (5)

Sunday
May142017

My Beautiful May Garden

What makes a beautiful garden?Color, certainly. Healthy plants. Proportion and balance. Variety. Movement and flow, repetition. Fragrance. All those things, but much more. A beautiful garden can be humble or grand. It is highly personal. For me: a peaceful atmosphere, comfort, birdsong, memories, a little whimsy.

May is a beautiful month! I want to be outside every day, tending my garden. I love Confederate jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides), which is in full bloom on the arch by the patio. The intoxicating fragrance is a delight whenever I walk under it. I can also catch a whiff of rosemary. Nearby, pink 'Anthony Waterer' Spirea is blooming.

Coral drift roses line one edge of the patio, along with bacopa and a silvery artemesia:

On the patio table is a ceramic green rabbit, a souvenir I brought home from Hills and Dales Estate in LaGrange, Georgia, a very grand and gorgeous garden!

Here are more images of some of the flowers in my May garden:1st row: 'Penelope' rose; 'Anthony Waterer' spirea; Lichnis coronaria, commonly called rose campion. 2nd row: Yarrow; Calibrachoa; 'Snowflake' Hydrangea. 3rd row: Rosa palustris, also called swamp rose; Coral honeysuckle; Gardenia Jasminoides 'Kleims Hardy', a dwarf gardenia bush.

As much as I love flowers, I am also drawn toward colorful foliage. I purchased a variegated geranium without even knowing what color the blooms were; the leaves are spectacular! It has started blooming now, and the orange blooms complement its foliage perfectly. Near the steps leading from the patio to the arbor garden are two 'Francis Williams' Hostas, Japanese painted fern, and an interesting plant with variegated arrow-shaped leaves, 'Red Dragon' Persicaria. I have placed an unlikely companion next to one of the the hostas: a red poinsettia, left over from Christmas and still looking good! 

Clockwise from top left: 'Francis Williams' Hosta with poinsettia in background and a neighboring branch belonging to Edgeworthia chrysantha; A variegated geranium; 'Red Dragon' Persicaria and 'Francis Williams' hosta; 'Red Dragon' Persicaria and Japanese painted fern.

I have featured 'Tropicana' Canna lily a number of times over the years. Its bold colors hold up well to the hot sun that bathes the front of our house in summer:

The stone steps leading down to the much shadier woodland garden are located across from the front parking area. One of my favorite views of the woodland garden (shown many times on this blog!) is seen from the bottom of the steps. Moss paths tie different parts of the woodland garden together and give it a peaceful, quiet atmosphere:

The white birdhouse in this photo was home to a family of bluebirds, recently fledged:

I put this little woodland sitting area in last year. It is near an area featuring ferns and native azaleas. Moss and ground covers will soon carpet the ground around the chairs. That is an old iron magazine rack holding small potted begonias. The blue flowers are Tourenia fournier, also called wishbone flower. It is my newly discovered favorite annual for shade. Tourenia comes in various colors. The cobalt blue blooms of this one are fabulous. I also planted lime green Scotch Moss (Sagina subulata), Creeping Jenny, and wild violets in this area. :

More plants in the woodland garden:1st row: Japanese felt fern; 'Whitewater' weeping redbud; Hardy begonia. 2nd row: Athyrium filix-femina 'Lady in Red'; bench next to fern glade; Polystichum acrostichoides, a native fern also known as Christmas fern. 3rd row: Hellebore whose red blooms have faded to green; wild violets; Woodland rabbit with Colocasia.

This beautiful Bird's Nest fern (Asplenium nidus) stays in the woodland garden until cold weather arrives. It spends the winter inside, but it flourishes outside when the weather warms:

What about you? What makes you pause in a garden? How do you define beauty? The wonder is that I have seen many beautiful gardens, and they are all different!

You may also enjoy my previous post, Seven Elements of a Beautiful Garden.

Sunday
Apr032016

Changes to the Woodland Garden: A New Sitting Area!

I have been busy in the woodland garden the last few weeks, work that involved a lot of muscle and a bobcat. I have long wanted to add a sitting area adjacent to the fern glade, and now it is done! It is not a large area, just big enough for two small chairs. The metal chairs are quite heavy and surprisingly comfortable, and the new area creates some badly needed structure in the space.

First, here is a before photo of the area.

This is what one now sees from the same spot. The sitting area is tucked to the right side of a large rock, which marks the entry to the sitting area and the path overlooking the fern glade. There is only a hint of the new space from this angle.

A trail leads from the main woodland path toward the fern glade and the new sitting area.

Here it is!

Did you notice the frog?

Plantings around the sitting area include native Phlox divaricata, Hosta Aureomarginata, Gumbo Azalea, Heucherella 'Yellowstone Falls', and some colorful Coleus. There is an old magazine rack, put to use holding potted New Guinea Impatiens.

I turned this rock on its end to create a more defined entry to the round space. Lou thinks it looks like a tombstone!

My fern glade has, at last count, 87 ferns, added over the past few years. Many are deciduous and are just now emerging from dormancy, so they are not very visible in these images. The concrete bench overlooks the glade. The fern glade is a large semicircular area, and I still need to add more ferns. I will have to publish another post on the fern glade when all of them are up and growing. 

At the opposite end of the fern glade from the sitting area is a group of evergreen Autumn Fern:

There is a small 'Butterfly' Japanese maple in the pot, and there are also several fragrant native azaleas in the area.

From the sitting area one also has a view of the new woodland path that started it all, back in 2010. Since I published that post, I have eliminated most of the mahonia and nandina in the woodland garden. Both proved to be horribly invasive, and I still pull seedlings every year.This project is a good illustration of the snowball effect! You may also enjoy reading my post Planting a Fern Glade, published in 2012, to get a perspective on progress in this part of the woodland garden, as well as My Decision, in which I write about eliminating the mahonia and nandina. I enjoyed going back and reading these old posts, then looking at what my woodland garden has become.