An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

June 26, 2010

Sterrett Gardens

This week I was on Virginia's beautiful Eastern Shore, and Thursday my parents and I went to Sterrett Gardens for one of their open house days. The Sterrett family grows and sells Daylilies, lots of them, over 1300 varieties. In a part of the state more famous for its rows of corn, soybeans and sweet potatoes - they grow rows of Daylilies. In spite of our first day in triple digit temperatures, the Daylilies were at their photogenic best. As per usual for this blogger, I did not bother noting most of the cultivar names, I was not shopping, but just enjoyed the color. For those of you that do need names, you can visit Sterrett's in person or check out the galleries on their thorough web site.

Sterrett Gardens (7)

Sterrett Gardens (4)

Sterrett Gardens (12)

Sterrett Gardens (6)

Sterrett Gardens (9)

Sterrett Gardens (8)

Sterrett Gardens (19)

I remember the name of this one, 'Baby Blue Eyes'.

Sterrett Gardens (18)

Sterrett Gardens (21)

There were a few other people there on Thursday. This lady had her list in hand, walking the rows marking which ones she wanted.

Sterrett Gardens (16)

They also have some nice display gardens around the house that certainly have Daylilies in them, but other things were planted as well including this Canna x 'Bengal Tiger'.

Sterrett Gardens (24)

Perhaps my father was the sensible one in Thursday's 100 degree weather. He is the dark shadow camping out under this Golden Rain Tree until my mom and I had our fill.

Sterrett Gardens (11)

If you have not seen enough, you can see the full set here.

June 18, 2010

Along the Boardwalk

After a morning spent getting my latest root canal, I compensated myself by going to the Boardwalk Art Show in Virginia Beach. The weather was perfect: low 80's, low humidity, light breezes and very clear skies - the kind of day you want to bottle and pull out later in July or save until January. There were over 300 artists showing their work and I was really surprised by much of what I saw. Among all the usual seascapes, flower-filled watercolors and more marketable works were enough edgier artists to keep the show interesting. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get too many pictures of the art.

King Neptune (3)

Glass Monkey

Foliage Art

Glass Art

The last time I was here, landscaping along the boardwalk consisted of an occasional patch of Pampas Grass mixed with Rugosa Roses. The plant palette has definitely expanded.

Hotel Landscaping (7)

Hotel Landscaping (3)


Hotel Landscaping (11)

Hotel Landscaping (8)

Hotel Landscaping

Hotel Landscaping (6)

Although this is not my favorite color combination, I really liked what this hotel had done. The beds mimic the cafe awnings ...

Hotel Landscaping (4)

... and the next door Dairy Queen.

Hotel Landscaping (5)

The Oleander (Nerium oleander) was also in full bloom. I learned to love this plant when I lived in Charleston and fortunately this area is its northern limit.

Oleander 2

Oleander and Daylilies

(The full picture set is here)

June 15, 2010

Bloom Day - Time of Plenty

This month's Bloom Day finds my garden in full bounty. We have been getting fairly regular rains, mostly in the form of storms, but welcome just the same. The temperatures have been climbing and buds have been opening, and even with the long winter we had, things are still a little ahead of schedule. This spring I have added more to the garden, gaining ground from pulling some things out that out grew their space or that had died. Most of what I added have been annuals along with a few perennials and one or two shrubs. One of the perks of my job is coming across free samples from growers, and I can tell you that wholesale nurseries are bending over backwards to get garden centers to buy their plants. Many of them are slashing prices, composting unsold material and looking twice at what they grow. There are also quite a few who are no longer in business.

Let's move on to cheerier things and head down the garden path where there has been no lack of Bloom Day subject matter.

Garden Path

Phlox paniculata 'Coral Creme Drop'

Phlox paniculata 'Coral Creme Drop'

Echinacea purpurea

Echinacea purpurea (2)

Cosmos bipinnatus

Cosmos bipinnatus

I am rich with Daylilies right now, but can not tell you which is which, except for the last one which is 'Smoky Mountain Autumn'.

Daylily 1.2

Daylily 11

Daylily 2.2

Daylily 'Smoky Mountain Autumn'

I am also rich with Hydrangeas. This one is Hydrangea macrophylla 'Sun Goddess'.

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Sun Goddess'

Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle'

Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle'

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Ayesha'

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Ayesha' 1 (2)

Pontederia cordata - Pickerel Rush

Pontederia cordata

Gardenia jasminoides 'August Beauty'

Gardenia jasminoides 'August Beauty'

If you would like to see what is blooming in other blogger's gardens, visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens who hosts Garden Bloggers Bloom Day on the 15th of every month. Thank you Carol!

June 13, 2010

A Great Opportunity

On Friday of last week I had the great opportunity to visit the garden of noted plantswoman and author, Pamela Harper. I have wanted to visit her garden ever since I first heard her speak and purchased one of her books, Time-Tested Plants: Thirty Years in a Four-Season Garden. I have met Mrs. Harper before as she occasionally shops at the garden center, but it took another customer, now a friend, to make my visit happen.

Her home and garden sit on a long waterfront lot, not far from where the York River runs into the Chesapeake. A beautiful setting for sure, but not without its perils. Hurricane Isabel and last November's nor'easter took their toll on both her house and garden. As you might expect, the garden is full of great plants and great plant combinations. Many of the things I saw on Friday, I saw for the first time. Not only did I enjoy seeing all that was planted, I also enjoyed Mrs. Harper's vast knowledge of horticulture and the story of her garden.

Unfortunately I did not take my best photos; I was busy trying to pay attention to Mrs. Harper and enjoy the day in front of the lens, not behind it. It was also a spectacularly clear and sunny day, great for being in the garden, not great for photography. After the tour we had a delightful lunch provided by my friend Donna Hackman (a noted garden designer and plantswoman in her own right) who arranged all this. Getting lost in conversation and gardening nearly made me late picking my son up from school.

Variegated Dogwood, Japanese Maple and Hydrangea Combination

Red White and Blue

Impatiens omeiana - Hardy to zone 7, maybe lower

Impatiens omeiana

Clematis texensis

Clematis texensis

Aristolochia fimbriata - White Veined Dutchman's Pipe

Aristolochia fimbriata

Lavender with a cool stool

Stool with Lavender

Cornus kousa var. angustata

Cornus kousa var. angustata (2)

Argemone mexicana - Prickly Poppy

Argemone mexicana

Natchez Crape Myrtle with Hydrangea

Lagerstroemia x 'Natchez' with Hydrangea

Kalimeris pinnatifida - Japanese Aster

Kalimeris pinnatifida

The day was enjoyable, though I hope I will have the opportunity to see this garden and visit Mrs. Harper again, maybe earlier in spring, on a day with a little photography-friendly cloud cover.

(full set here)

June 10, 2010

An Audience With The Queen

Today I took a trip across the water to see Janet, The Queen of Seaford. We had a tour of her home and garden, plus I had a chance to meet her pack of dogs (two's company, three's a pack). By the way, if you are in the market for a waterfront home on the Virginia Peninsula, you may want to consider Janet's. Besides being lovely, it has a royal pedigree which can't help but increase re-sale value. The real highlight of the day was being able to see the York Co. Learning Garden. This project is the result of hard work on the part of many dedicated volunteers from the York Co. Master Gardeners and the Virginia Cooperative Extension. The well-labeled garden gives home owners, school children and the gardening public a chance to see what will grow in this part of Virginia at the warmer end of zone 7. If you would like to visit, do it on Thursdays when the volunteers are busy in the garden, that way you can ask questions and meet some dedicated gardeners. I don't know how they will survive after The Queen has moved on to her new realm in Carolina. Perhaps she has appointed a regent of some sort.

Silene virginica (Fire Pink)

Silene virginica

Cephalanthus occidentalis (Button Bush)

Cephalanthus occidentalis

Acanthus mollis (Bear's Breeches)

Acanthus mollis

Gaillardia (Blanket Flower)

Gaillardia aristata

Humulus lupulus (Hops)

Humulus lupulus

Acer palmatum (Japanese Maple) and Chamaecyparis obtusa (Hinoki Cypress)

Acer palmatum and Chamaecyparis obtusa

Magnolia soulangiana (Saucer Magnolia, and a very late one at that)

Magnolia soulangiana

Thank you again Janet, and best wishes at your new home (and garden)!