Tuesday, April 15, 2014

From the Ashes of Winter Comes April Bloom Day!

Welcome to Garden Season 2014 at Idyll Haven!  I know I've been remiss in my blog posting.  Truth be told, time and inspiration are in short supply around here in January and February.  Work is busy and I'm not a huge winter fan.  What little time I did have was spent hiking with a great group of people I met on Meetup.  Winter hiking is fun in small doses.  Given the choice I'll take spring, summer or fall.  In the name of balance I do plan to continue to hike with this bunch through garden season.  Stay tuned to see how that goes. 

Usually I can start getting out in the garden in March but not this year.  Winter went out kicking and screaming and took the month of March down with it.  Fortunately April has been somewhat kinder.  Temperatures are starting to moderate.  A few plants have started poking their heads out of the burrows but not many..

Out of morbid curiosity, I went back and took a peek at my 2013 April Bloom Day post.  The garden was most definitely further along but most notable was the abundance of heavily blooming Pieris.  For whatever reason that will not be happening this spring.  Maybe I forgot to toss Hollytone on them last year or they are just pouting over the late cold in March.  'Valley Valentine' appears to be the only bloomer and is sporting about half as many flowers as last year.

Every spring I vow to plant more bulbs come fall.  Every fall I get too busy with leaf and garden cleanup and never follow through.   Remind me in August to place an obscenely expensive bulb order.  That way the skinflint side of me will kick into gear and never allow them to go to waste even if I have to take a vacation day to plant them.  I will plant more bulbs this fall.  I will.  I will.  I will. 

Years ago I had this great idea to naturalize Chionodoxa in the front lawn.

It has since colonized in a few of the garden beds.

After they bloom I plan to scatter a few around the back gardens and hope for similar results.

Hellebores are reliable standbys in the early spring garden.

Pansies are not a garden staple here but who can resist their cheerful faces?

Big Blue Foot gets the prize for being the first planter out of the garage this season.

A lone daffodil tries to decide whether to take a chance. 

Forsythia 'Fiesta' is also slow to shine this year but the good news is now I can hack back what's left of my token roses.

My favorite and earliest grape hyacinths.

 A few shy Pulmonarias have seeded under a weeping Acer palmatum 'Viridis'.  In a few weeks they will no longer be visible.

Bare ground is still abundant leaving few opportunities for wide angle views.  Better luck next month.

Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting my most favorite blog meme.  If you get a chance, head on over and and check out what is blooming today in gardens all over the world.

Happy Spring!


Saturday, January 4, 2014

Rub a Dub Dub

I've seen my share of outdoor showers.  Usually they are utilitarian set ups located in the shadows on the back side of summer cottages, often adorned with a cobweb, a sliver of soap in the drain.  Despite my experience, Pinterest boards often portray them as over the top dream home or garden design elements.  But Pinterest is for dreaming.    

During my garden touring trip to Long Island, NY last June, my friends and I visited the private garden of Connie Cross in Cutchogue.  Connie is a well known garden designer and owner of Environmentals, a wholesale nursery. 

Residence of Connie Cross viewed from the pool area

Encompassing five acres, the mature garden includes many garden rooms, an elaborate chicken coop and a beautiful pool area.  The garden is frequently open to the public and has been featured on Martha Stewart's blog.

Poolside in Connie Cross's garden

We've all toured many fabulous gardens both in person and via some sort of media.  Our different styles and tastes dictate that some will sing to us louder than others.  Earlier in the day I had visited the personal garden of Dennis Schrader and Bill Smith (which you can read about HERE).  On my garden rating scale of 1 to 10, Dennis and Bill's garden was an 11.  Admittedly hard to top.

Although I enjoyed my tour of Connie's garden, for me it wasn't an 11.  But that doesn't mean it was any better or worse than Landcraft just not as much my style.  Given the opportunity I would definitely visit again and so should you.  Since I was looking for something in this garden to set it apart, what caught my eye at Connie's was this imaginative and cleverly designed outdoor shower.

An over the top outdoor shower worthy of a Pinterest pin.

Complete with lush plantings and vintage details all wrapped up with a touch of whimsy.

And fully operational.  I did ask and was told the shower does get used.

I'll admit to being skeptical though as this all appears to be for show.  But that's OK.

Because a little fantasy in the garden is never a bad thing.

As much as I delight in unexpected surprises and staged areas in a garden, I feel I've neglected to design any into my own.  Maybe I'm too practical or so familiar with my own garden that I just don't see them.  How about you?  Does every area of your garden need to be functional or is there room for a bit of fantasy?  Dreaming is what gets us gardeners through the next few months so let's dream!

Happy 2014!