Monday, June 26, 2017

The evolution of my garden

Seventeen years ago we bought our current home situated on a heavily wooded lot with natural areas in front and back and on both sides. At that time, I didn't know much about gardening at all. My main goal was to grow hydrangeas and camellias for flower arrangements for myself and to share with others.
 So, I began planting.  It didn't take me long to  realize that maintaining our natural area would not be an easy job. My husband's main objective was privacy, so planting shrubs along the fence on the back of the lot, was my first priority. After researching shrubs that would grow in the shade,  I chose a variety of viburnum.
   At that time, we didn't have a great camera, I didn't take many pictures and  had not started blogging.  As a result, all I have are some xerox paper copies of pictures and the quality is not good, but maybe you can get an idea what the area looked like when my garden began. The old saying, I wish I had known then what I know now comes to mind when I think back and realize all the mistakes I made. I had no plan at all just started planting things I liked. Of course, I did know enough to know I had a yard that was primarily shade so my love of hydrangeas and camellias fit in nicely. 

This is what my garden looks like now. It is still a work in progress and I constantly dream and think of ways to change it.
Of course, the weather is a constant factor in how well a garden performs. Plants and shrubs outgrow their spots and may need to be moved. Pruning each year is a major job for me as well as mulch in the beds and weeding. I enjoy the work but it is time consuming and life happens. Perfection does not happen!
This is the first picture I could find after moving in our house and beginning my garden.   My benches were painted black and I soon learned that black does not show up well in shaded areas, so I re-painted them white. You can see the viburnum shrubs planted along the fence in this pic and notice how much the camellias have grown!

My cute niece in our back yard basically before anything was planted except the viburnums along the back fence. She has two children now!!

 Fast forward and everything is growing and the hydrangeas and camellias are rewarding me with blooms. I fertilize the camellias with 9-4-8 right after they finish blooming and before new growth begins. The last of March I fertilize the hydrangeas with 10-10-10.

The camellias are blooming in this picture and have grown quite well.  Stone wall has not been stacked...just a few stone outlining beds. The viburnums in the back have grown also and it's beginning to look like a shade garden.

 On the left side of the picture are three large pine trees. They eventually die from pine beetles and had to be removed which changed the garden dynamic.  View the tree cutting process here and the arbor I lost. 
I loved the pretty long leaf pine needles they provided and enjoyed the back drop they made for my statuary. The white benches beside the fountain were in the back of the garden and were not used much so I moved them to the front.
Close up of the pine trees I lost and the statuary I mentioned in the previous picture.  Post about my garden statuary may be viewed here.
The variegated hydrangeas shown here were also lost because they were moved to protect them from the falling trees and did not survive. Variegated hydrangeas are hard to find and I love their light color. I hope to add some more of these when I find this variety again.
This is further down the border. I had just acquired this old iron fence and the new arbor. Wow, that was a long time ago.
Here you can see what a few years can do. The same iron fence and  the arbor thickly covered with confederate jasmine. Woodland phlox grew by the fence for a number of years but the blooms only lasted a short time.   Look how the camellias have grown. I forgot to mention irrigation was added to this area in 2001 or the garden would not have grown as quickly.

At this point my husband was seeing that losing a few trees would give  the garden more light  and things would grow better. I finally convinced him it would look better if the crooked tree and a few others could be cut down. The dogwoods made me happy blooming but they too would fall to disease. A garden is always evolving due to the elements and nature.

This large oak tree shaded our grass and was dangerously close to the house. I have my husband's mother to thank for this tree being cut. We were sitting outside and she looked up at the tree and asked weren't we afraid this tree would fall on the house! When my husband said to call a tree cutter I did not hesitate and it has made a huge difference in the grass growing as well as much less maintenance because it dropped a lot of leaves and hickory nuts.

Cutting the tree opened up this area and now I can have a few blooming things in this sunny spot. The old wooden blue birdhouse in the back of this picture has been moved and updated to a white  birdhouse with a copper roof.

In 2011, the wall was built and has made the greatest difference. "Bones" in the garden are the most expensive items but add  structure needed. The concrete bench pictured here has been moved to  another spot and the pair of white wooden benches are by the fountain now. The white color illuminates in the late evening and early morning. Using white plants throughout my garden lights up the shady areas  and by repeating the same color unifies the various garden rooms.

 Along with adding white flowers of varying textures I like to add concrete statuary throughout my garden. Hardscape items draw the eye from one point to another and invite you to continue around the path from one area to another. They also add interest and variety.

Adding a touch of blue adds a touch of whimsey and the unexpected.

This is a terrible picture of me but I'm in my element! Happy Gardening!!!

Monday, June 12, 2017

A Fabulous Garden

You are invited to view a wonderful garden at Lake Martin in central Alabama today. I toured this garden in, 2012, and still receive inquiries about how to visit this garden. I am on a family vacation and wanted to link up to Pam's new Gardens Galore party@Everyday Living. Please click here to view the garden.  I could not get the repost to work. I apologize it is taking a longer time for the pictures to load from the link.
  I know you will enjoy the tour of Jim Scott's garden at Lake Martin and the new gardening link up party at Everyday Living. I am looking forward to it. Have a wonderful week.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

A "90th" Birthday Party

You are invited to a 90th birthday party today. Turning 90 is a special milestone and the special birthday lady being celebrated today seems much younger than her years. She is very active, in fact, I can't keep up with her. Her sweet daughter, my friend Charlotte, gave her mother a delightful luncheon in her beautiful home that included a host of friends.
Happy 90th ~ Frances!
Let's start the party with seeing the pretty tables before the guests arrive. 
It gets hectic as guests arrive, so I slipped in early to photograph the tables. This is the dining room and you will see another picture later with guests seated here. The china is Lenox Windsong pattern. Isn't the tablecloth exquisite?
Tables were set up in all of the main rooms. This is a card table in the living room. All the flowers came from Charlotte's garden and a few from mine. 
Two tables in the den seated ten people.
The china used here belonged to Frances' mother. It is a Noritake pattern made in Occupied Japan.
Several varieties and colors of hydrangeas and dusty miller look stunning in this arrangement and compliments the china.

The breakfast room has a wonderful view of Charlotte's garden.
Appetizers were served on the terrace overlooking the garden.
Isn't it beautiful?
The guests are starting to arrive. Here's Charlotte at the front door.
The family arrived first. Both granddaughter's and daughter in law.

I think you can guess the noise level increased with all the conversations.
Everyone enjoyed celebrating Frances' birthday.

 All these ladies have been close to Frances for years and it warmed my heart to see their enjoyment of the celebration, hear their laughter and see the love they share for one another.
 Chicken salad, strawberry congealed salad, marinated vegetables, and tiny cornbread muffins followed by birthday cake was delicious and enjoyed by all.
 Each guest was given a party favor to take home to remember the occasion.
Happy Happy Birthday to a dear sweet lady!
The last photo was made of the family after the guests left. Charlotte was so busy before there wasn't time. It was a labor of love for Charlotte to honor her mother on her special milestone birthday.