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.

April 10, 2011

All Work and No Play

I am only in the second week of my annual spring work schedule with another six weeks to go, but it is already wearisome.  With only one day off, I have not had much time for my own garden or for keeping up with the blogging world.  It's a common complaint of mine this time of year, but at least I am fortunate that my vocation and my avocation are the same. So in that spirit, here are a few things I saw at work today.

This is a nice pairing of Chocolate Chip Ajuga (Ajuga reptans 'Chocolate Chip'), which is in full bloom now, planted next to a mixed bed of Golden Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea') and Angelina Sedum (Sedum rupestre 'Angelina').

Ajuga reptans 'Chocolate Chip'

My last blog post was about Stauntonia hexaphylla, and I had to use a Wikipedia Commons picture to show the flowers.  If I had been more patient, I could have used the vine planted at work as an example.

Stauntonia hexaphylla

The rest of the photos are of Tulips, a plant the begs to be photographed.  Here in the South they are generally considered annuals, as we normally only get one good year out of them.  But we have found that some varieties are better at returning than others, especially if they are planted 10" deep, no matter what the package says.  Despite their reputation, the variety in the first picture has bloomed for the past 6 to 8 years.

Tulips (2)

Ripe peaches anyone?

Tulips (6)

How about this accidental pairing with Loropetalum?

Tulips (7)

The Pansy is Ultima Morpho and the Tulip is Monte Cristo.

Tulips (8)

We are in the process of redoing one of the gardens at work in memory of our friend JoEllen who died in January.  We are doing some serious editing and will add things as spring progresses.  It most likely will not be complete until Daylily season in June, and I am sure I will do a post on it then.  In the meanwhile cerise Tulips planted several years ago look good and will remain.



  1. Beautiful photos. That is a nice thing to have a garden in memory of a friend. Art

  2. I far too well know the drill. I have at least a month to do this screened porch project and 4 customers on my heels to get to them. Our garden gets a little work when I can.

    The tulips are very lovely great combinations.

  3. I know you are busy, after the winter we all crave new plants.
    Which gardens are getting redone? The one toward the back of the nursery? It will be nice to have a spot to honor her memory.
    Nice pairings with the tulips. 10 inches? Now you tell me!

  4. This is the busiest time for me too and it is also when the garden needs me the most. It is very frustrating. The tulips are so beautiful. I have found one variety, "Maureen" that has survived over 10 years in our garden. This year there were only a few so I need to replant more.

  5. I hope I remember the 10 inches next fall. I would love to have tulips - although my loropetalum is doing great this year!

  6. Art,
    She loved to garden and share that with other people, so it is a perfect tribute.

    I guess we should both be happy we have such work.

    Since JoEllen loved Daylilies, we picked the island bed in the middle of the Daylily section of the nursery.

    Frustrating is the exact word. On my one day off last week, I was taken down by a cold, so the garden suffered more.

    Yes all the local Loropetalums are looking good right now.


  7. Sorry for the loss of your friend. Her garden is beautiful. I will look forward to the daylily post.

  8. Les, Such really lovely photos! Crisp, clear colors and images...It would a treat to see your nursery and the new garden you're creating. gail

  9. I've always told myself I don't like tulips. I do like then in a vase on a table, but haven't been convinced of their usefulness in the garden (I know this is heresy). Thanks for helping me rethink that. They won't grow in the swamp, but maybe on the higher ground near the house.

  10. I feel your pain Les, I have recently started to enlist my 2 teenage sons for help in the yard a few late afternoons a week for an hour here, an hour does help though! ( I burnt my husband out with the gardening angle, years ago with our first house/yard...but he is in charge of our water garden, irrigation and complaints!) Gorgeous photos as always, by the way!

  11. Some lovely tulips there. Until this year I only ever grew them in pots, believing they wouldn't re-flower, but I think you are right, the secret is picking the ones which will almost certainly rebloom and planting them really deep. The clumps that are a little too shallow are coming up blind, the others are blazing away in the border. Love that you can build a garden to remember your friend. Hope you get some time off soon!

  12. Planting tulips 10" deep has worked to make them perennial for me but only if I use Darwin Hyrbids. I find them to be the most reliable.

  13. I've never had any luck with tulips returning, but my neighbor has some that have returned for 5 years now. I guess that 10" deep is the trick. Beautiful photos & combinations Les. Thanks for sharing. :)

  14. those white blossoms are lovely... is that a bulb?

  15. I'm glad to know about planting tulips extra deep. I'll have to try that. Then again, deer just ate all my species tulips to the ground, so maybe I should forget about them altogether! They are such a temptation with that gorgeous shape and color.

  16. How lucky you to have work and play intermingling! Everything is looking so pretty and I am sure you missed friend is enjoying her gardens...

  17. Love the pairings. Especially the tulip and loropetalum.

  18. Gorgeous photos as usual. Now that is some blues. I love blue in the garden and there is some electrifying color. I would love to see your nursery and gardens. I plant tulips deep also, for the squirrels of course, but also they do seem to return well. In fact, with freeze/thaw, you never seem to know where they might pop back up.

  19. Just to walk through Smithfield Gardens is restorative. I come away with a trunk load of wonderful things and a head full of inspiration and fresh garden ideas. Your hard work shows!

  20. The tulips in your photographs jumped off my screen!

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