Entries in spring (9)


The Spring Begins

For winter's rains and ruins are over,

And all the seas of snow and sins;

The days of dividing lover and lover,

The light that loses, the night that wins;

And time remembered is grief forgotten,

And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,

And in green underwood and cover

Blossom by blossom the spring begins.

Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909)

Perhaps the best part about spring is renewal, the hope, the joy of birth and new dreams. I was driving to work the other morning, and I was struck by the soft light washing over the landscape. Everything is so fresh! Overnight the trees are brushed with soft tints of new growth. My own garden is painted in pastel watercolors, ephemeral shades that will be replaced with deeper, bolder colors later in the season.

Here are some images taken around the front garden, March 2012:

May every day open to you fresh and filled with new expectations. Happy gardening!  Deborah


The Woodland Garden: Spring, 2011

Spring has come to the Woodland Garden. It is an ethereal garden where light plays around trees and spreads itself across layers of greenery. By mid March, beneath a canopy of native oaks, hickory, and pines, understory trees began to bloom, including redbuds, dogwoods, and a 'Jane' magnolia:

By the first week of April, the planting beds were bursting with new growth:

Beneath the trees are many shrubs, which offer a variety of textures, color and form:1st row: Pieris japonica; Variegated hydrangea. 2nd row: Fothergilla gardenii; Indian hawthorn. 3rd row: Nandina 'Firepower', a non fruiting, non-invasive variety; Spreading japanese plum yew. 4th row: Oakleaf hydrangea 'Snowflake'; ''Saybrook Gold'' spreading juniperr.

A garden in the woodlands is a shady place, and that means green, but green is not boring! Deep forest green, olive green, chartreuse, jade, and turquoise blend and contrast to create a colorful, but refreshing palette.Sunlight shines through the bright foliage of a 'Waterfall' Japanese maple.

Every woodland garden needs some sort of seat. The concrete bench on the far left was originally painted a darker blue-green but has faded to a soft gray-green.

The Deodar Cedar 'Feelin' Blue' is one of my favorite woodland trees.
When I was painting it, I thought the color of the bridge might be too much, but once I placed it in its woodland setting, it was perfect. I love the way it looks with the lime green moss path.

This spring I added some camellias to the Woodland Garden. They provide an occasional pop of color to the greenery:
Top row: Camellia 'Red Candles'; 'Something Beautiful'. 2nd row: 'Gunsmoke'. 3rd row: 'Taylor's Perfection'.

A path through the woodlands unites various spaces and adds form to the garden. A path should make sense, curving around interesting trees and providing views of plantings. A path can be bare or covered with mulch, gravel, flagstones, pavers, or just about anything that fits a gardener's fancy, as long as one can walk on it. The main path through my garden is covered in moss. The soft texture creates a hushed, peaceful atmosphere, and I think it is the one element that defines my particular woodland space. I began several years ago when I noticed moss growing naturally in the bare trail. I dug up additional moss from other places in the woods and transplanted it into the path. I kept the path weeded and raked fallen leaves away. Now the moss has almost completely filled in, and my weeding chores are far fewer.This is the moss path near the entrance to the Woodland Garden.Last year I added a side path when I found some trilliums growing near an old trail created by dogs and children. I cleaned up and widened the trail. I planted spring bulbs, hostas, heuchera, and ferns to add importance to this new path. Pine trees shower the path with a nice straw cover which is easy to walk on and has a delightful smell. There always should be some wilderness left in a woodland garden. I cleared underbrush and obnoxious weeds but left some muscadine vines and other wild elements.  

Many plants on the forest floor provide interest beside the paths of the Woodland Garden. Heucheras are wonderful for their foliage. Airy flowers that come later in the season will be a bonus:

Top: Heuchera 'Tiramisu'; 'Autumn Bride'. 2nd row: 'Blackout'; "Stormy Seas'. 3rd row: 'Snow Angel'; 'Green Spice'.

I also added some tiarellas to the garden. These plants are similar to heucheras:'Pirates Patch', on the left, and 'Dark star' Tiarella

The  Woodland Garden would not be complete without hostas, as snails and other munching critters would agree. These are a few hostas which are just beginning to emerge:Top: Hosta 'June'; 'Elegans'. 2nd row: 'Francis Williams'; 'Groundmaster'.Here are more plants along the woodland paths with great foliage and textures:Top: Holly fern; Autumn fern. 2nd row: Great Solomon Seal, variegated; Dwarf Solomon seal. 3rd row: Ginger; Pulmonaria. 4th row: Tricyrtis hirta 'Variegata'; Tricyrtis affinis 'Lunar Landing. These toad lilies will have beautiful blooms in early fall.

While foliage is the star of a woodland garden, there are plenty of flowers, often in white and soft shade of blue and pink. One has to stop and bend over to appreciate some of them. It is worth the effort!1st row: A late blooming, tazetta (bunch flowering) type daffodil which is nicely fragrant; Native trillium. 2nd row: Variegated phlox divaricata; wild violets. 3rd row: Pink and white bleeding heart; 4th row: A wildflower which blooms in the moss path; Tiarella 'Dark Star'.

A walk in the woodland garden should appeal to all the senses. Smell is important. I love the aroma of fresh earth and pine straw, but I also have planted some fragrant shrubs:

Top: Calycanthus floridus 'Athens' sweet shrub smells like ripe bananas; Bottlebrush flowers of Fothergilla major smell like honey. Bottom: Viburnum carlesii has a wonderful spicy fragrance which carries in the air; Viburnum trilobum, American highbush cranberry, has a smell which has been compared to wet dog but mine smells like cake batter!

No garden is complete without sound. A bubbling stream or fountain would be perfect, but I have neither — yet! I do have wind chimes. I have them all over the place, and Lou says our yard sounds like a fortune teller's with all the tinkling chimes. But I love them, and I enjoy the music they make in the Woodland Garden.

Even more beautiful than the chimes is the sound of wild life. My quiet woodlands can be a pretty noisy place! The plants provide shelter and nourishment to many species, including this fat robin who let me take his photo:

A friend gave the highest complement when she visited me recently. 

"The birds are so happy!" she said. 

That makes me very happy, too.