Entries in variegated daphne (2)

Sunday
Feb072016

The Passionate Gardener

Lou and I spent the last couple of days pruning shrubs and trimming trees.I do not commit crape murder! I prune this crape myrtle so that it is allowed to grow into its naturally beautiful tree form. Unfortunately, I still see crape myrtles that have been chopped back to large stubs, a practice that promotes ugly knots and lots of weak sprouts.I felt a rush of satisfaction as  I removed dead branches, shaped and cut wayward shoots from crape myrtles and apple trees. They look great now and are ready for a new season of growth. There is much to do as spring approaches, and as I worked I was happily making a list of projects. The world is wakening! Leaf and flower buds are beginning to appear and bulbs are pushing up out of the earth.Hepatica blooms

Variegated Winter Daphne is loaded with buds that are not quite open.

Flowering quince

The young man we hired to help us yesterday was a kindred spirit. He glowed when he talked of his plans to study horticulture and his love of plants and nature. Is this sort of thing genetic? Are we born gardeners? Lou once worked with a man who was a successful businessman, who also happened to be a body-builder. But this tough guy's real love was growing roses. Then there are a couple of former head football coaches, Pat Dye of Auburn and Vince Dooley of the University of Georgia, who have both become passionate gardeners in their retirement years. Last year I had the pleasure of visiting Pat Dye's marvelous garden. He talked to our group and said, while football was the job he was known for, gardening was who he was. Hellebores are now blooming.

Another lovely hellebore

What makes us love gardening so much? What pulls us to the soil, no matter what other responsibilities and professions we may have? Is it the joy of creativity and watching things grow, the exercise, the fresh air, or the challenge of conquering difficult climate and soil conditions? Forsythia is one of the earliest spring bloomers.

Camellia 'Red Candles'What draws you to gardening?

You may also enjoy these posts:

Confessions of a Perfectionist

About Garden Chores

Five Rules To Prune By

Pruning is fun and other basics you need to know

Happy Gardening!   Deb

Wednesday
Jun122013

Summer Views From the Patio

Fallen rose petals lie at the feet of an old rusty rabbit near the patio. Summer is here. Today the official heat index was 98 and felt hotter than that. I don't like summer. Voles have been snacking in my garden again. Today I lost two mature Nandina 'Firepower' shrubs to them. Mildew has found my dogwoods and crepe myrtles. Every year I try to persuade myself to love summer, but the best I can do is to tolerate it. 

Despite my perennial complaints, the garden doesn't look bad. We have had enough rain, and the plants are lush. The landscape is layered with deep greens and jewel tones. Even in the mornings it is too steamy to venture outside for long, but here is a report of what is happening on and near the patio:

Okay, I love summer, after all. Look at my red banana plant!

Above: Pink 'Anthony Waterer' spirea, blue flowering 'Lady in Red' hydrangeas, and common day lilies, which have grown here for over a half century, provide some nice color in the garden adjacent to the patio.

Hydrangeas are blooming now. 'Endless Summer' has striking blue color, proof of our acid soil! The variegated plant in the pot is daphne.

Some more hydrangeas — 'Waterfall' is an unusual one growing at the base of a dogwood tree:Annuals on the patio will provide color through the season, as long as I remember to water and fertilize them.The Talavera lizard above is a nod to the real anole lizards who inhabit the patio every summer. I took the first photo of the lantern below before I realized there was a lizard lookout perched atop the pole. Lou tells me he is there every day.

Something of an oddity, a white poinsettia, left over from the Christmas season, is spending the summer on the patio. It still has its bracts and is now putting on new growth:

One more thing from the patio: I have a little iron bowl ornament, and I have had a hard time finding the perfect place for it. Then one day recently I set it on my penny table, and now it has a home. It looks great with the pennies, and it allows plenty of room for a book and a very cold drink when I am sitting in the adjacent lounge chair.

 Be cool!