Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Beach Week 2013-It's All About the Sunsets

For the past five years I've been spending a week in August at a rented cottage on the ocean in Stonington, Connecticut.  For one week of the year I do absolutely nothing.  And I mean nothing.  Nothing except read mindless fiction novels, work on my tan, eat fried seafood and watch the sun set.  Since I'm only a little over an hour from home, I usually get a steady stream of company.  I enjoy sharing the the experience with friends but try to maintain a good balance so I get the time I need to recharge.

Every year the week flies by and this year was no exception.  Two weeks would be nice but between work, pets and garden care it would be difficult for me logistically.  And why overdo a good thing?

Loctaed in a small cove, the cottage faces west.  Every night I set my beach chair out on a small spit of sand just steps from the door and watch the sun set.  Weather obviously plays a huge factor.  Some years are better than others.  On a scale of one to ten, 2013 was a ten.

Saturday night

Sunday night

Monday night

Tuesday night

Wednesday night

Thursday night

Friday night

Normally on vacation I'm not up at the crack of dawn but one morning I woke up and noticed the moon was setting outside my bedroom window in the southwest.  So I grabbed a robe and went out in the dark.  Not the best pictures but not bad for a handheld camera on the slowest setting.

Early mornings weren't bad either.  Some were overcast.

Some were brisk.

Some were calm.

And one was foggy.  I love foggy.

All in all it was a great week!  Now it's back to reality.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

August Bloom Day and Foliage Follow Up-Better Late Than Never

I missed August Bloom Day.  Trust me I tried but between work and personal commitments this week I just couldn't pull it off.  When the camera battery died as I was dashing around the garden early yesterday morning trying to pull something together for Foliage Follow Up, I almost gave up.  But so much is going on in the garden right now I just had persevere.  I'm glad I did. 

Today I leave for my annual week at the beach.  Every year I look forward to a week of just watching the sun rise and set and the tide going in and out but this year I am more than ready to get away.  Since I'm pressed for time this morning, my comments will be brief.  Let the pictures tell the story.

Things have gotten somewhat out of control along the side walkway.  I let the too many of the reseeded Amaranthus and Cleomes survive and now I have a grove.  Heleniums are just ecstatic this year with all the rain we've had.  And next spring it will be time to coppice the Cotinus 'Golden Spirit'.

Not sure which Helenium cultivar grows here.  It's either 'Mardi Gras' or 'Coppelia'.  The foliage is Baptisia minor, a nice tidy choice for small gardens.

Yes, we have Crepe Myrtles in Connecticut.  With the exception of the winter voles ran amok in this garden, 'Dynamite' has been a reliable performer for me.

Foliage of Amsonia hubrichtii and Cotinus 'Golden Spirit mingles with fading flowers of Hydrangea paniculata 'Dharuma'.

Nothing beats an Ensete maurelii for tropical foliage drama.  De Big BA-NA-NA!

Another container combo that has really taken off this year.

Can somebody yell me why they call these Four O'clocks?  They bloom whenever they feel like it.  This picture was taken in the early morning.

Another view from the side walkway garden.  Pennisetum 'Rubrum', Coleus 'Sedona' and Heliotrope planted in the ground behind some Allium senenscens 'Glaucum', a great Allium that I have begun dividing and moving around the garden.

Hibiscus 'Kopper King' and Phlox 'Norah Leigh'.  Hibiscus sawfly has been brutal this year.  Despite fairly regular spraying, all my perennial Hibiscus leaves look like crap.

Here is a wider view of one of the patio gardens.  Oddly enough, Musa basjoo has not grown as well as usual although it is still 5-6 feet tall.

Some patio containers.  Variegated Sunpatiens are the bomb.  Too bad they are so difficult to find around here.

Colocasia 'Thai Giant' in a pot with some miscellaneous potted Coleus and more reseeded Amaranthus.

More patio containers.  Fortunately I have a very good friend who takes care of the garden and house for me when I'm away.

More great foliage-Symphytum 'Axminster Gold' and Rex Begonia 'Escargot'

Canna 'Intrigue' and Callicarpa 'Duet' seem to be playing well together.

As the shadows lengthen with the passing season (boo hoo!),  I have to shuffle many of the patio containers around.  The Twerpster is on an inspection tour.

Colocasia 'Illustis' in the ground with Hydrangea quercifolia 'Little Honey'.  In the back ground is Hibiscis syriacus 'Sugar Tip' and Dahlia 'Mystic Illusion'.

Down by the shed, Panicum 'Northwind' glows in the early evening sun.

And Helenim 'Red Jewel' is a perfect companion plant.

Usually I plant Pennisetum 'Vertigo' in the ground but this year I'm also growing one in a pot.  So far, so good.

In case you haven't already figured it out, I love big, bold foliage.  Colocasia 'Diamond Head' certainly fits the bill.

Here is a sneak peak at the Tetrapanax I planted in early spring.  Come fall I will be protecting this in hopes of getting it to survive the winter.  Stay tuned for that experiment.

Phlox 'Blue Paradise' was a new addition this year.  So far it's lived up to it's billing.  I planted it with Sedum 'Autumn Charm' (the best variegated Sedum I've come across BTW).

Albizia 'Summer Chocolate' how do I love you, let me count the ways.  You look great with everything.  Here we also have Eupatorium 'Baby Joe' and Hibiscus syriacus 'Little Kim'.

And here we have Colocasia 'Thai Giant'.  Be still my heart!

Another fabulous variegated Phlox 'Shockwave'.

Another exuberant container backed by a solitary Calamagrostis 'Karl Forester'.

Meanwhile in the east garden...the fine foliage of Indigofera amblyantha contrasts nicely with a large Castor Bean and a variety of other foliage plants.  In the lower right is Sedum 'Xenox'.  Finally a deep purple sedum that actually thrives.

This pass along white Brugmansia has been a trooper in the garden for many years.  In the winter it goes dormant in a closet in my basement.

Sometimes it all comes together like this combo of Ligularia 'Britt Marie Crawford', Aralia 'Sun King' and variegated Lysimachia clethroides.

I was going to move this Eleutherococcus 'Variegata' but Eupatorium not so 'Little Joe' looks too good growing up through.

Hydrangea paniculata 'Quickfire' is still throwing huge new flowers.

Looking back down the path through the screen porch garden.

Just a few miscellaneous shots then I have to wrap this up so I can move on to other things like packing.

Some containers around the hot tub.

One of the last containers I planted with some miscellaneous sale plants.  Love the way Dichondra cascades and covers the ground.

Such a beautiful flower on this double purple Datura.  It looks like porcelain.

Angelica gigas.

One of my favorite foliage plants-Plectranthus 'Troy's Gold'.

Even though there is so much more, that's it for now.  I'm not linking my post this month to either but as most of you know, you can enjoy Bloom Day from around the world at Carol's May Dreams Gardens and Foliage Follow Up at Pam's Digging.