Garden Bloggers Foliage Day -Aug.2014

For nearly three years Christina of Creating my own garden of the Hesperides has been hosting the meme which focuses on foliage in the garden.  I believe her intention was to explore the important role which foliage plays in the garden, and remind everyone that although flowers often steal the stage, foliage remains to carry the show.  Going out this week with the intention of focusing on foliage surprised me in two ways.  First of all I always assumed I was one of those “immature” gardeners who always falls for the flash of flowers and doesn’t have much foliage interest.  That was wrong….  apparently nearly all flowers come with some kind of foliage (who knew!) and even the most flower blinded gardener will have foliage.  Secondly I learned another important revelation…. my garden looks much, much better in close-ups!

Powis castle Artemisia, snow on the mountain, nicotina, and Echinacea

I’ve grown Artemisia “Powis Castle” before, but never here in Pennsylvania. It was planted this spring and I love the gray foliage mixed with all the other stuff that seeded in with the compost. (fennel, nicotina, Echinacea, snow on the mountain)

 

 

Starting with A and Artemisia is as good place as any, and while we’re here I guess we’ll just keep going along the front street border.  Soil improvement this spring and moving things around brought in plenty of seed-laced compost, and “Hopi Red Dye” amaranthus is easy to spot with its dark red leaves.

amaranthus hopi red dye

Amaranthus “Hopi Red Dye”, as easy to grow as its more weedy relatives.

I like purple leaves, but I don’t think I can resist a plant with yellow foliage, and this “Golden Sunshine” willow was an impulse buy last year.  Rabbits mowed it down last winter but willows don’t sulk and this one bounced right back.  Actually I think cutting this one back to the ground each spring would probably be the best way to keep the bright new foliage coming.

golden sunshine willow

Salix “Golden Sunshine”… or at least I think that’s what this willow goes by.  I really need to have a better recording system for my plant IDs.

If pushed I might even admit to having too much yellow foliage around the yard.

arundo donax variegata in perennial border

Arundo donax “variegata” in the front perennial border. An explosion of color with “Black Knight” buddleia, pink agastache, and yellow fennel blossoms. Btw, the arundo is probably 8 feet tall and the butterfly bush 6. Also it’s unusual for the grass to have this much color so late in the summer. Usually the heat makes it go all green.

Here’s a little blue in the blue spruce I moved last spring…. and more yellow.

sumac tiger eyes with blue spruce

Have I ever mentioned my love for the foliage of “Tiger Eyes” sumac? It suckers around a bit, but in my mess of a garden that’s no big deal. I haven’t yet decided if this is a formal enough planting for the front of the house though.

A foliage post without mentioning a cyclamen is just crazy, so here’s my little c. purpurascens plant (probably two or three plants since I see at least two leaf forms).

cyclamen purpurascens foliage

Good things come in little packages, this cyclamen purpurascens is a baby at only maybe 5 inches across but it might be my favorite cyclamen right now…. I’m sure that will change as others appear 🙂

I took a lot of pictures so this may be all over the place, but I’ll try to finish up the front yard first.  Sometimes people think of hosta when they hear the word foliage, and I’ve seen them in a few gardens here and there (just a few!).  Here’s “August Moon” a favorite old variety which lightens to nearly white when in full sun.

hosta august moon

Hosta “August Moon” in one of my few shady areas.

Moving into the back near the (another yellow) sunflowers is the new heuchera patch.  Someday you’ll suffer through an all out heuchera post, but until they grow in a bit I’ll let you off with just one.

heuchera circus clown

One of several new heuchera plants, heuchera “Circus Clown” is off to a good start with a nice mulch and some much needed rain. It’s amazing how the colors on these plants change throughout the year.

The reason the heuchera can survive here is from the shade of a Seven Sons shrub/tree (heptacodium miconioides).  My plant gets cankers and loses trunks every now and then but I hope it someday gets past that.  Right now I’m enjoying the rich green of the curled stiff leaves.  Kind of a coarse look, but for a guy with so many cannas and dahlias refinement isn’t one of my strong points.

heptacodium miconioides leaves

Heptacodium miconioides leaves against a perfectly clear blue sky.

Enough with the babbling.  Look but don’t touch.

Ptilostemon diacantha

Ptilostemon diacantha with verbena bonariensis blossoms. Of course this is where all the missed baseballs end up rolling.

Almost good enough to eat, plants in the vegetable garden (or potager when I’m feeling fancy) also can put on a good show.

red cabbage and fig leaves

Red cabbage and fig leaves, the fig would be happier in Christina’s Mediterranean garden but it hangs on here and the perfectly cut leaves make up for not getting any actual figs 🙂

Not all the foliage news is good.  Miscanthus giganteus was off to a good start but our dry spell threw it for a loop and killed off all the lower leaves.

miscanthus giganteus

Miscanthus giganteus wants the steady moisture which I’m too frugal to supply. It might be easier to get something else for this spot.

Back by the house is a panicum “Cloud Nine” which is much more comfortable with drought.  I hate this bed and constantly neglect it, but nature did its own thing and filled the gaps with rudbeckia, phlox, and patrina scabiosifolia seedlings.  Sure beats the boring mulch I had there before.

panicum cloud nine with patrina

The stepchild bed with Patrina, panicum, rudbeckia, and phlox.

So much for anything that even approaches subtlety.  My tropicals come next, and first off are the geraniums (pelargoniums) which in my delusion and denial I have added to the overwinter and collect list.

zonal geranium

I have to dig up the name for this one, it’s in its second or third year with me and keeps looking better.

A scented leaved geranium (pelargonium actually) with cut leaves, variegation and scent.  Too much or something for everyone?

scented leaf geranium

This scented geranium is another plant who’s ID is lost in the pot-full-o-tags database. I should probably work on that.

Another one to overwinter in the garage, my first aeonium is looking well.  Hopefully it can handle the high-water location I planted it in -a pot with a variegated hebe and cape fuschia (phygelia).

aeonium with variegated hebe

This one’s label must still be near the top of the tag bucket since it’s a new purchase. A good gardener would go out there, find it and label it…. but all I’ve got for you is it’s not “Schwarzkopf”.

Now to wrap things up (so I can finally get to work on the stupid basement tiling job I started) here are my foliage stars.

canna tropicana

Canna “Tropicana” might be the most obscene show of gaudy color in my garden. I love it with the dahlias and rudbeckia.   Good thing there’s some green nearby to calm things down.

Morning light on the sunflower patch.

canna in the garden

My ‘Polish cannas’ were a gift which traces it’s history back to a friend’s old Polish neighbor. It’s probably really canna indica “purpurea” or “Russian red”.

And same cannas at noon.  A sculptural plant I think.

canna with perennials

The small blooms aren’t much for a flower lover, but they have a graceful look and the hummingbirds appreciate them.

So that’s my foliage, thanks for sticking it out.  I did manage to keep all the coleus out (but of course there’s still all of September for that) and I hope that gave a little relief, but I was really surprised by how much color and interest I get from foliage.  Maybe I am growing up and my tastes are maturing…. but I hope not.  I like my messes of color too much!

Thanks Christina for hosting and thanks for opening my eyes to all that foliage does in the garden.

Some Daffs

The first step towards solving a problem is admitting you have a problem.  I don’t have a problem, I have daffodils, and compared to people who count their plantings in tens of thousands I’m not even on the radar, so let me take this opportunity to just say too many daffodils is not a problem.  The long cool spring (also not a problem) is making the spring blooms last, and with a little sunshine and a little time to take some pictures…..

narcissus "stepchild"

Narcissus “stepchild”, one of many favorites, but just a little more favorite than most 😉

I’m sure you know daffodils are easy to grow.  A good vegetable patch will grow excellent daffodils, but the tried and true varieties can handle shade and roots and less than perfect growing conditions.  Just make sure they get good drainage.  A spot where water sits in winter or summer will likely cause the bulbs to rot.  Most of mine are in separate beds where I can keep better track of them.  I let pumpkins and sunflowers take over the space when the daffodil foliage dies down.

narcissus "bright angel"

This time of year the small cup, mostly white, poeticus type narcissus are taking over. This is narcissus “bright angel”.

The only difference between the terms daffodil and narcissus is that daffodil is the common name for many types and narcissus the species name for all the types.  I’ll let you decide which to use.  Here are “Bushmills” and “Pipit”, both are usually referred to as narcissus because of their non-trumpet or smaller blooms.

narcissus bushmills and pipit

The white on the left is narcissus “bushmills”, the yellow and white bicolor on the right is good old “pipit”.

There are going to be too many daffodil pictures in this post, so I’ll try and break it up a bit.  Tulips also seem to like these daffodil beds, and when I first planted this section there were a few stray bulbs that have now multiplied into decent clumps.  Me thinks they make a nice contrast.

mixed plantings of daffodils and tulips

Tulips growing as “weeds” in the daffodil bed. Please ignore the tumble down compost pile in the background, the kids did some “mining” and it did not go well for the walls.

Each season my fickle tastes latch on to a new favorite.  This year I like white, either in a shape resembling the poet’s narcissus….

narcissus "Dress Circle" and "Molten Lava"

Narcissus “Dress Circle” with “Molten Lava” peeking in on the right.

Or ones resembling the multiflowering paperwhites……

narcissus "geranium"

Narcissus “Geranium” can also be had in a double version (Sir Winston Churchill). This one has a strong fragrance, a trait which many of the smaller, multibloomed daffodils share.

Or a smaller, looser flowering, “wilder” look…..

narcissus "firebird"

Narcissus “Firebird” should be placed in a bit of shade to help the blooms last. Full sun tends to burn out the orange centers on this one.

Not every daffodil is a favorite.  Here’s “Rugged Realism”, which in my garden never bothers to bring its blooms up to where I can see them.

narcissus "Rugged Realism"

The dumpy narcissus “Rugged Realism”. Fortunately “Firebird” is sneaking in from the right and adds a little grace to this shot.

New favorites are always on the way, and this spring is no exception.  Newly planted daffodils are always late to come up in their first season, but these goodies from Brent and Becky’s hold much promise and could have me gushing praise come 2015.

narcissus "Sabatini"

Narcissus “Sabatini”, large, strong, blossoms with a bright sunshine yellow color and a white halo around the trumpet.

Also new, and reminding me slightly of those fat, overbred, hybrid daylilies…..

narcissus "York Minster"

Narcissus “York Minster” with thick petal substance and a strong color….. it’s not a flower for the “less is more” crowd.

The bold bright blooms scream spring to me, but there’s always room for the smaller and daintier.

narcissus "tiny Bubbles"

Just opening and also new this year is narcissus “Tiny Bubbles”.

But gardening is just as much about the no-name, tried and true favorites.  I have plenty of them, either bought or traded or gifted, and if you want to find your own I suggest visiting the American Daffodil Society website and finding a local chapter to investigate.  The flower shows are great, but the autumn bulb sales and swap meets are even better.  Most of my clumps found their way here via a friend’s visits to ADS meetings (I live in the plant society boondocks, closest meeting is a 2 hour drive both ways!), and she was kind enough to send a few bulbs my way.

narcissus "tahiti"

Tried and true, award winning narcissus “Tahiti”. A double daff for people who aren’t crazy about doubles.

Things are finally easing up here work wise (still waiting for some huge lottery winning to come my way), so as long as I don’t spend all my spare time sitting around enjoying spring (who would want that!?), I should be able to attack a few of those springtime tasks that are beginning to build up.  Weeding comes to mind.

violet as a weed

Just a few of the more attractive weeds which are showing up everywhere. I really need to spread some more mulch around before a green tsunami of unwelcome volunteers wipes me out.

Wish me luck on the weeding, with the warm sunshine, bright flowers, and singing birds there’s nothing I want to do more than sit around and enjoy it all!  I hope it’s the same in your part of the world 🙂

A little diversion

It’s spring.  I spend hours just looking around,  finding new spring discoveries, and just plain old enjoying the season.  It’s still early enough that one can imagine all the great things that will happen, and forget the drought and hail, insects and acts of God which will surely come along.  My work ethic borders on laziness this time of year (and actually most any time of year) but how can I motivate myself when my ugly little plastic chair has found a partner and all I want to do is “stop to smell the roses”?

spring garden

Someone scooped up the last orange chair and brought it home for me, and we’re still taunting the neighbors with plastic furniture in the front yard 🙂

The daffodils are out in full force, and the cool spring makes them last forever.  The cooler weather also seems to give the reds and pinks a brighter color, and many of them actually look like their catalog glamour shots.  Speaking of brighter colors, two blue chairs found their way into the backyard, and although I like the orange better, it’s nice to finally have an uncracked, uncrooked, safe seat to think about things in.

spring gardenOne of the things that needs thinking about is the neighboring industrial park.  The warehouse needs more room, so word is they’re expanding down to our end of the property.  The big boulder pile is in the process of being crushed to pebbles and in the near future our entire western view will be altered.

living next to construction

Construction has finally reached our end of the industrial park. The kids are upset their rock mountain is being crushed down, between that and the railroad tracks it’s the most popular hiking destination around here.

I’ll bore you with more daffodil and tulip pictures in the next post, right now spare time is in short supply and sneaking out for a few minutes here and there is about all I can manage until work and school calm down.  Hope spring is treating you well!

Making up for lost time

The first few weeks of spring all happened in four days, four gloriously warm and sunny days!  I prefer a drawn out cool season with no big shocks but I don’t think that will be the case this year.  Last Saturday went up to just over 80F (27C) and the drab gray garden exploded into color.

narcissus tete a tete

Narcissus “Tete a Tete” one of the best small, early daffodils for the garden and also for forcing in pots.

Just a few days ago we were freezing our kazooies off looking at snowdrops, now I’m rushing to admire the last spring snowflake (leucojum vernum) before the warm weather fries its delicate bloom.  It’s hanging on in a cold spot which only just thawed out last week.

leucojum vernum

Leucojum vernum the spring snowflake, that’s a flake, not a drop, even though snowdrops are a close relative.

Around front, the shelter of the house has things popping up even faster.  Corydalis “George Baker?” and the hellebores opened in two days, the hyacinth was a fat bud Sunday and then full bloom on Monday when I took this picture.

hellebores and corydalis

I have good luck with hyacinths.  In fact the blooms get so big and heavy they end up flopping when fully open.  This little piglet has been in the same spot for five years and has a bloom bigger than ever, plus two secondary stalks.  If only the yucca “colorguard” behind wasn’t so beat up by the winter….

how I like all my hyacinths to grow

The hard winter may have been good for something though.  This is the first spring I’ve ever seen corydalis seedlings, and Carolyn over at Carolyn’s Shade Garden said she notices an abundance of seedlings around her plants after a snowier winter.  Maybe the snow cover helps moderate the soil moisture or temperature and aids in germination or maybe after all the snow we’re just looking more desperately and notice every single green sprout!

corydalis solida seedlings

Corydalis seedlings, I first thought they were some odd one-leafed clover that needed weeding out!

Corydalis are one of my new favorites, and the most confusing thing about the seedlings is I never even noticed the seed pods forming… and trust me I was looking!  I have it in my head to nurture nice swaths of corydalis color similar to the showcase found in Carolyn’s garden.  The ones I have here (“George Baker and “Beth Evans”) were originally ordered from Brent and Becky’s and are exactly the bold colors I’m looking for.  I also added some straight species corydalis solida from Van Engelen’s,  but they’re just a little too pale and small and actually seem to be dying out.

corydalis and scilla "spring beauty"

Corydalis solida with blue scilla siberica “Spring Beauty” and Chiondoxas…. and finally some greening grass.

Corydalis really appreciate division and replanting, and this single bulb moved the year before last is already a nice little clump.  You just have to get to them quick though, they die down fast after blooming and it’s hard to remember where they were.

corydalis george baker

Corydalis “George Baker” with some hyacinths in need of division and replanting.

My focus for the last few days has been getting the cleanup done so everything can sprout up all nice and fresh.  Some people are concerned that early cleanups leave the little sprouts exposed to late frosts, but I never have a problem.  Actually I feel that mulched areas warm up in the sun more quickly than damp exposed earth, but overall it’s the mid May freezes that kill my plants, not the cold blasts in March and April, so I clean up as soon as I can get out there.  It lets me see all the weeds such as this campanula that has taken over most of what was supposed to be an iris bed.

kids in the garden

Cleanup includes taking the seeds out from under the deck.  What was I thinking when I started all these!?  Even if I get rid of all the campanula plus some more lawn, there still might not be enough room for planting out all these seedlings.  A few pots already show sprouts btw.

seeds sown in winter

Seed pots sown throughout fall and winter and left to stratify (exposed to the elements) under the deck.

Daffodils will also need some attention this summer.  The first are opening and I’d like to divide several of these clumps after they die back.  Here’s the early yellow “Peeping Tom” and some unknown bicolor that I’d love to put a name to.

daffodil peeping tom

Some of the daffodil beds got a nice mulch of mowed up maple leaves last fall, but they only go so far.  As I clean out the flower beds everything from leaves to perennial stalks to shrub trimmings to ornamental grass tops, all gets run over by the mower and bagged up to either mulch beds or feed the compost.  The warm weather brought up this clump of narcissus “Rapture” so fast, I barely had time to get the mulch around it before the blooms opened.

narcissus rapture

Narcissus “Rapture” opening so fast in the warm weather the blooms barely had time to make it up out of the ground.

I really should use some of these early daffodils out in the front beds along with a few of these blue chiondoxas.  This clump was actually just a weed which hitchhiked in on some scilla mischtschenkoana bulbs which share this same spot.  Six days prior the scilla was in full bloom and there wasn’t a sign of the chiondoxa.  Now look at it!

chiondoxa forbesii

A clump of what might be chiondoxa forbesii… don’t know for sure since I never really planted it 🙂

There’s nothing subtle about spring in my garden.  Besides yard cleanup I planted these pansies out in pots by the front door, and although these are in a more subtle grayish pot, the rest were planted in a bright cobalt pot!  Planter choices aside,  I may be on to something with the pansy mix.  Christina over at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides used a similar color mix for an arrangement of Gerber daisies, and I’m going to be on the lookout for my own daisies in these colors too.

matrix daffodil mix pansies

‘daffodil mix’ Matrix pansies

So that brings us to the next flush of color.  The hellebores are also starting to open up in the exposed parts of the garden.  Here’s “HGC Silvermoon” still looking kind of greenish.  The foliage on this one is great and I’m jealous of gardeners who are able to get it through the winter with leaves worth looking at.

hgc silvermoon

Hellebore “HGC Silvermoon” just starting to open up. Too bad the nice foliage on this one was burnt up by the cold.

And one of the first Elizabethtown seedlings just starting to come up.

pink hellebore

A nice freckled hellebore from Elizabethtown seed.

So spring is finally here in full force, just in time for Easter.  There are still a few bumps in the road …..such as last night’s snowfall and low of 21F (-6C) but I think we’ll make it.  I just have to find the time to catch up on all the things that were on hold because of the weather.  It’s way too early to fall behind!

Tis the season for orange

The view from the back deck is changing.  As fall color moves down from the mountains into our valley, the woods and weedy edges of the yard are losing the tired green of a droughty fall and going gold.fall color from the deck

Dry soil and warm night temperatures don’t make for good fall color but there’s still plenty to go around, and inspired by this last hurrah I trudged out to my trusty favorite nursery, Perennial Point, and cracked open the wallet for a mum, ‘redbor’ kale and some pansies.  I’ve been trying to stick to a budget, and mums and pansies that may or may not survive the winter don’t fit well into the spending plan.  Still it’s always nice to bring home even a small patch of instant color.fall porch color

The budget is helped immensely by home-grown pumpkins and cornstalks, and a couple butternut squash fit in perfectly until I draft them for soup duty.  The pansies in orange and purple are not what I’d pick in spring, but seemed a perfect fall theme. autumn porch decorationsOrange is definitely the color of the season, and now that the front stoop has been re-decorated (by someone over the age of seven) I’m starting to notice orange all over the place.

The last of the Tropicana cannas are managing to get in a couple more blooms before frost cuts them down (any day now)tropicana canna with ninebark

These seed grown marigolds (I believe Sophia mix… although they don’t look too mixed) did well in spite of neglect, soccer balls, and drought, and I’m almost a little nervous about saying I really like them.  Orange marigolds…. a color and plant frequently looked down upon by more refined gardeners…. perfect for my yard!  orange fall marigolds

Another looked-down-upon plant which I love is ‘Tiger Eyes” sumac.  The wild version of staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina) provides most of the color in the backyard but I try to keep those weeds back a ways.  Here in the front, the slightly more refined chartreuse foliage of ‘Tiger Eyes’ is almost acceptable.  I can easily ignore its suckering ways when it glows like this.sumac 'tiger eyes' fall color

Here’s another one poking up by the house.  Even I think it may be a little too wild for a foundation planting, but until something better comes along the sumac stays. It actually looks good right now with the blues of the spruce, catmint and fescue grass.  Between that and the rusty chrysanthemums and orange amaranthus it almost looks like I planned it this way.  If anyone asks I’ll say I did 😉  orange mums with blue foliage

The rust colored mums stick with todays orange theme but it’s the purple ones I like best.  There’s a little fading in the blooms to give some depth and even without pinching they keep to a low mound.  I’m really appreciating the chrysanthemums in general this year and spring may bring some new additions.  How can I not like a plant which never got a drop of watering or fertilizer and still puts on a perfect show?purple and orange mums

I’ll have to enjoy these last splashes of color as fall starts to fade.  We’re on borrowed time as long as the frost stays up in the mountains, but our days are numbered.  This weekend the smart gardener will bring his tender plants indoors.  The other gardener will remember his plants just before bedtime and regret his procrastination as he fumbles with muddy plants, a flashlight, and cold fingers in the dark.

 

Chanticleer (part 3 of 3)

Finally!  The last part of my Chanticleer visit.  I suspect I might have gone on a little too long over my visit, but I really did enjoy the trip and the gardens are just the type of plantings I like to see at this time of year.  Lush healthy tropical plants putting on their last big hurrah before the first frost cuts them down.  Plus I like to use this blog as a photo record of the year, and I’m sure these images will come in handy during the icy days of winter.

Here’s the last big stop of the tour, the terrace gardens surrounding the main Chanticleer house.  As usual it’s a dose of reality when I see plants from my own garden used to so much better effect.  The Japanese maple, variegated Pagoda dogwood “Golden Shadows”, blue ageratum and “limelight” four o’clock near the path…. all look a lot nicer here!chanticleer terrace gardenI’m sure a terrace of bluestone pathways and stone steps would help my garden design immensely, but even the bronze fennel, dahlias, and verbena bonariensis look dreamier and fresher here.  The blue of the spiky agave helps too…. hmmm I grow that as well.  It’s sitting under the deck in a broken clay pot, wishing it were at Chanticleer.chanticleer dahlias in bloom with japanese maple

The boxwood hedge which I’ve planted around my vegetable garden still needs several years before it reaches this immaculately trimmed state.  I like a nice boxwood edging, I think it’s worth the extra work of frequent trimming, and adds a nice touch of control to a bed that might otherwise look to be on the verge of messy.

chanticleer boxwood edged flower bed

chanticleer bed of nails solanumOnce my own boxwoods turn into a neat hedge I might start to refer to the vegetable garden as a ‘potager’.  Sounds so much more refined 🙂 .  But I might opt out on planting the prickly ‘bed of nails plant’ (solanum quitoense) in the potager.  Although it’s a near relative of eggplants, tomatoes, peppers and potatoes, the spiny leaves might be better suited for a focal spot out front (I love the poky plants!)

‘Black Pearl’  ornamental peppers also look great right up against the hedge, and these could easily fit into my future potager.

chanticleer purple ornamental pepperIf you’re interested in reading a little more about these plants and some of the thoughts behind the plantings, check out this link at the Hardy Plant Society.  Jonathan Wright, the horticulturalist in charge of this part of the garden, wrote a great article on this area and some of the practices used to keep it looking at its peak from March into November.

Still in the terrace garden was something new that I liked.  An area formerly kept as a cut lawn had been turned over to a flowery meadow of fluffy little red amilias, red dahlias, and violet verbena boanariensis.  I wonder if this section will hold over to next year,  the grass was boring, but it did give a bit of a calm amidst all the overflowing beds.chanticleer red and violet meadow planting

The area around the house is absolutely crammed with treasures and accents.  These huge baskets have more in them than most average gardens.chanticleer hanging baskets

And of course there were plenty of seating areas surrounding the house.  A great place to stop for a needed break.chanticleer terrace seating

chanticleer chartreuse and yellow plantsWith reds and purples and bronzes dominating some of the other gardens, here the terrace garden leans towards yellows and yellow foliage.  I have a real weakness for this color lately and loved the mix.  Too bad I had no idea what half the plants were!  The best I can do is say the little vine here is probably canary creeper (Tropaeolum peregrinum) a relative of the nasturtiums.  It’s supposed to be easy from seed so maybe……

Back to red and purple.  The purplish upright dracaena is again one I have, and I will definitely copy this combo with the red leaved coleus.chanticleer red and purple plant combinations

chanticleer ae ae bananaI’m almost through my picture horde.

One more here for banana lovers.  I believe this is the infamous ‘Ae Ae’ variegated banana.  First found in Hawaii, it’s a little cranky to grow and therefore a little expensive to buy.  Established pups (offshoots of the mother plant) typically run $200-$300 and fraud runs rampant.  Don’t buy seeds and don’t buy from a shifty Georgia nursery is all I’ll say (not that I’ve ever considered it).  The leaves are really cool looking though and to have it flanking both sides of the main doorway…..

I’ll stick to my yellows and chartreuse.  Here’s a yellow leaved redbud, potted ‘mossy’ plants and a circle of raked gravel.  Very calming.chanticleer raked gravel entry

chanticleer blue seatsAnd so on to the exit.  No time to sit, but there was still ample color coordinated seating.  I bet someone has fun moving the seats about finding them the perfect spot, a good idea I think.  I should keep it in mind next time I’m moving stuff to bring the lawn mower through… not that my dead grass ever needs mowing.chanticleer seating

Out the front gate.  It’s a beautiful locale and I wouldn’t mind living closer, but I have to question whether our housing budget can handle the zipcode.  A quick real estate search of Wayne, Pa shows it to be a tad out of our budget.  Even with the sale of our current house, just the down payment  for properties running in the 1-5 million range would be an issue.  I guess we could lower our expectations, but I want the hayfield too. 🙂chanticleer neighborhood  Thanks for looking!

Chanticleer (pt 2 of 3)

It’s been longer than I planned, but here’s the continuation of my Chanticleer visit.  Part 2 of the visit picks up at the tennis courts, a part of the gardens who’s former function should be obvious!chanticleer tennis court gardens

The flat area that used to function as the court has been turned into a group of five beds filled with all sorts of interesting plants.  My favorite was this one which leans towards a yellow theme.  A redbud with yellowish foliage anchors the bed and a nice clump of the tall variegated arundo donax grass is peeking out from behind.  For a late season garden it still looks good.

chanticleer tennis court gardenThere was plenty going on around the garden with cleanup and cutting back,  I don’t know how it is on other weekdays but during my visit the place was buzzing with garden staff.  Here’s another view with a nice banana, some of the annual purple perillia, and a couple of those dead looking brown sedges.  Grasses and sedges seem well used around Chanticleer and they do add long season airiness and texture. chanticleer bananas and perillia

Beyond the courts is the cutting garden.  The Chanticleer interpretation is more like a wild ocean of frothy flowers, some of which top out at over 10 feet!  A cool garden to wander through since it comes in on you from all sides.  You can just make out the asparagus hedge that closes in the right side here.chanticleer cutting garden

A little structure in this garden is given by the archways.  I’m stealing this idea since it’s not tough to copy.  A rebar arch forms the basis while vines and branches are twisted around…. since I already have the rebar arch set up, no problem-o on twisting some twigs around!chanticleer garden arch

The tall orange sunflower-ish plants are the annual tithonia.  It’s supposed to be easy from seed but I’ve never had much luck.  It sure did well here though.

This path leads to a small fenced in vegetable garden, a nice little spot to take a breather on one of the vegetable themed benches.  For as wild and bloomy as the cutting garden is, there were still a ton of late bloomers left to come, so I bet this garden comes to a peak in about another month…. in case you’re still considering a visit!chanticleer arch and vegetable garden

A relaxer next.  A woodland section called Bell’s Woods is a streamside collection of North American plantings.  Even though it probably peaks in the spring there were still plenty of cardinal flowers (lobelia cardinalis) in bloom.  It’s a nice soft stroll since the “wood path”  is actually a soft rubber mat that looks like wood chips…. or at least that’s what I read… even after being told, I still thought they looked like shredded bark!chanticleer cardinal flower (lobelia)

Throughout the gardens are bits of functional art such as chairs, railings, and this metal “hollow log” bridge.chanticleer log bridge

Even though Chanticleer is a relatively small garden and heavily planted, there are still plenty of restful areas, many of which have a nice seat and an excuse to linger.chanticleer reflecting pond

And nearly all are somehow color coordinated!chanticleer red seat

Around the red chair you can see some clumps of prairie dropseed.  It’s a native grass used as a kind of lawn replacement for many of the open areas beyond Bell’s Wood.  It’s also probably my least favorite of the plantings here since I just can’t get past what Wikipedia refers to as a “vague scent of popcorn, cilantro, or sunflower seeds”.  I just call it stink, and forgive me if we skip this and the ruins garden and head straight to the gravel garden.chanticleer gravel garden

The gravel garden is a very un-Pennsylvania bit of sloped, well-draining garden that is filled with plants better suited to a more Mediterranean type environment.  It’s a bit of surprise to see hardy cacti, yuccas, and agaves this far north, but apparently they like the winter drainage.

The gravel garden tumbles down to the antithesis of good drainage, the pond garden.chanticleer waterlily pond I love a nice pond (unlike my pathetic leaky pre-formed) and this one is just surrounded with a nearly wild planting of moisture loving growth.  Well fed Koi are always fun too.chanticleer koi

chanticleer pink waterlilyI loved the pond gardens.  If I had more room a big waterlily pond would be near the top of the want list.  Waterlilies are just so saturated with color, so waxy and lush, that they just draw you in.  This one was nice and close to the pond edge.

My want list also got a new plant added.  This yellow hollyhock looking plant is abelmoschus manihot, an annual that I eliminated from a seed order last winter and now wish I hadn’t.  It’s sometimes referred to as sunset hibiscus, but it’s actually a close okra relative… that means nothing to a Yankee like myself, but southerners may weigh in on that!chanticleer abelmoschus manihot

I think I’m about to overdo the pictures here, but there was so much to see.  The bottom pond was given over nearly entirely to sacred lotus.  Lotus is so cool in the way the leaves stand up above the water, the oversize leaves and blooms, the water beading leaf surface, the shower head seed pods….  You know if I had the room I’d grow this one too!chanticleer lotus pond

Asian woods next.  Restful and green…. too many pictures already so I’ll move on!chanticleer asian woods

chanticleer art waterfountainI was a little thirsty and just had to stop at this.  Every little bit of this garden is thought out and then re-thought out and it shows up in all the little flourishes and details.

My last stop on the Chanticleer tour was a stroll around the terraces of the main house.  If you thought this post was picture overkill there’s still more to come.  The terraces contain all the stuff I really go for like bold colors, overplanted beds, fat container plantings, and tons of tropicals.  Hang in there, it’s the last Chanticleer post! chanticleer terrace