Monthly Archives: July 2015

When Irish Gardens are Smiling

2015-7-31 Ireland garden with house behind

 

 

Ireland – what a country! An island with moderating temperatures, long daylight in the summer and plentiful rain.

 

 

2015-7-31 Ireland garden with urns

 

 

Colors are sharper and greens are greener. Having just spent two weeks on a garden tour on the southern coast of this small island (170 miles x 300 miles), I saw amazing combinations of flowers, stone, hedges and a backdrop of fields, sheep and water.

2015-7-31 Ireland moss and stone

Enjoy these photos, and travel there. ~ christie

 

 

2015-7-31 Ireland formal pond flowers on sides

 

 

 

 

 

2015-7-31 Ireland statue in library  2015-7-31 Ireland white lounge chairs 2015-7-31 Ireland landscape through trees2015-7-31 Ireland castle with pond in front

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015-7-31 Ireland blue flowers 2015-7-31 Ireland pink foxgloves

Flea Market Finds … One person’s junk is another person’s garden treasure!

2015-7-16 Blue Torpedo croppedContributed by Brian McGinn

One Sunday every spring and one every fall brings a large outdoor Antique Flea Market to my local fairground. It boasts a very diverse group of vendors with a very diverse collection of antiques but more realistically they are selling junk. I am defining junk as:

Something you do not need. Something covered in rust. Something missing pieces or just pieces of something. Something broken/no longer in working condition. Something of no practical use.

See the picture of a seven foot tall blue WWII torpedo? By definition it is the epitome of junk…but to me it is beautiful and curious and sculptural. It is elegant and odd.

2015-7-16 Flea Market Finds moxie smallerWhen it comes to decorating the garden, the question of “usefulness” is the loophole. Does something have to be useful to have aesthetic value? Can the history, wear and patina of an object add interest without function? For me the answer is a celebratory yes! In the way that stone and plants add texture and depth to the garden, collected objects can do the same. The layers in the garden are what give the garden uniqueness and story. What is that? Why is it placed there? What does it mean? To me these are great questions to hear. It says that you have struck a chord, piqued interest and generated thinking. It also gives new life to a castoff. It brings a bit of humor or drama to the space. In some cases it can also bring the spirit of the object’s previous owner into your garden.

Building a garden is about discovery. Making connections to the past and re-use are great creative ways to express you!

P.S. The torpedo was being sold for $400…sadly I had to leave it behind…but it would have looked great with the Blue Spruce in my garden…

The ornamental grass isn’t always greener …

2015-7-8 Strictus grass

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Strictus’ – Porcupine grass

Contributed by Allan Robinson

What color is your grass?  Many idolize the rich emerald green of a lawn. I must confess that after I’ve planted a small patch of lawn in my reconfigured backyard, I have green lawn envy too.

But what about ornamental grasses that come in a wide range of colors, shapes, textures and sizes? The category of “ornamental grasses” encompass a larger range of species, including Bamboo, which is technically a grass, and Carex, which is a sedge and not a true grass. We tend to lump all plants that appear to grow like our beloved Lawn grass, regardless of its actual genus, into the ornamental grass family. Grasses provide a foil for the flowering lovelies of the season but also give seasonal variation including texture, showy flowers, fall color and winter structure and interest.

2015-7-8 hakonechloa 2

Hakonechloa macra

When it comes to ornamental grasses and color, do you have a color preference?  There are the cool blues which can vary from silver-blue to blue-green.  Think about those cute little tufted mounds of blue fescue or blue oat grass – I’ll admit it, I’ve seen it used well and not so well.  Also yellow, green and variegated are worth considering too.  Two of my favorites, which both thrive in partial sun to shady conditions are Hakonechloa macra (Japanese forest grass) available in green and yellow with bright green variegation, mounds beautifully on a slope or the edge of a path; and Carex morrowii ‘Ice Dance’  which has green leaves edged in creamy white.  This Carex stands up to winter  – just give it a serious haircut in spring before the new growth to keep it looking great for the rest of the year.  For sunny locations consider Miscanthus sinensis ‘Strictus’ also known as Porcupine grass because of its yellow horizontal banding and stiff upright appearance.  It’s a real conversation piece.

2015-7-8 Miscanthus purpurescens

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Purpurescens’

2015-7-8 Panicum virg Ruby Ribbons

Panicum virgatum ‘Ruby Ribbons’

To introduce red, there is Miscanthus ‘Purpurescens’ with its green foliage developing a red color in autumn as well as Panicum virgatum ‘Ruby Ribbons’ with hues of deep red and red seed heads in mid-to-late summer.  Purple can be found in the tinged blades of Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’ that deepen in color during the season.

 

So you see, the grass isn’t always greener, sometimes it’s the color of the rainbow.

Let us help you find your color.