Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My First Lily! (and other stuff)

The Lily above is Black Beauty. I ordered these from Old House Gardens, and so far, I'm delighted with how they've come up. They're eventually supposed to grow to between 5 and 7 feet tall! Though currently, they have only reached about 2 and 1/2 feet. Everyone says that Lilies are eaten by the Lily Leaf-eater Beetle (rather appropriately named), so I'll be on the look-out, but so far, so good.

My Double Red Knockout Rose continues to delight:

And here's my new favorite Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla 'Variegata'):

I was actually pretty shocked that this Hydrangea bloomed; most garden sites suggest that the buds freeze higher in zones higher than 7. I'm in 6b here in Swampscott, but the shrub is on the North side of the house, tucked up against a very warm PVC fence.

The Gaura have gone crazy this year. I actually cut them back earlier in June because they were starting to flop over:


P.S. The pic below is for Maria -- this is the Hardy Pampas Grass (aka Ravenna Grass) I'm thinking about tearing it out. It's a Monster!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Fells, Round Two

Got back from vacation on Sunday night, and after some failed attempts at the laundry pile, trips to the vet (my dog will be toothless one day), and more failed attempts at housekeeping, I'm posting again! My satellite internet connection in New Hampshire was too slow for uploading, and The Fells really needs more than one posting.

There were many beautiful flowery tableaus, but unfortunately, going through the film today, I noticed many of my shots didn't render well. We made our visit almost exactly at noon, which is, I'm learning, just about the worst time to photograph flowers. All the light just bounces off the flower, straight into my camera.

Here's an example from the rose terrace:

The pink rose didn't turn out bad, but the white daisies just looked kind of blurry. Oh well, even if the flower pictures weren't great, there was a ton of other things to see.

The pond/sculpture in the old garden:

There was even a little frog in the water:

The Fells frequently showcases art, and we were lucky enough to visit during a sculpture show, Animal Attractions. We could have this elephant on an ironing board for a cool $11,000!

Though the sculptures were amazing, I really enjoyed the weathered urns found on top of the stone walls throughout the estate:

And the shady passageways:

The views of the meadow from the house were pretty good too:

I can't wait to go back in the Fall!


Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Visit to the Fells

We're on vacation this week, near Mt. Sunapee, New Hampshire (the Live Free or Die state), and woke up to a chilly morning. Rather than wait for the weather to warm up and find ways to entertain my 4-year old that did not involve getting in a rather chilly lake, I dragged both husband and child to The Fells, a late 20th century estate, whose grounds and mansion are open to the public.

The estate has pretty much everything; a long border, rock garden, Japanese-style Lily pond, Rose Terrace, meadows, 1.5 mile nature walk with lake/mountain views, plant nursery, plus tours of the house. For the passionate gardener, it was a lovely trip, for the hubbie and kid, meh. I definitely want to return, sans child (and spouse).

View of Lake Sunapee from the Rose Terrace:

Part of the actual house and part of the long border:

The Climbing Hydrangea Vine covered wall and fountain:

Since my Internet connection is not so good from up here, I will be posting again, with more pics. And since there was just so much to see and enjoy, I can't do it justice with just one post.


P.S. Mt. Sunapee is an easy 2 hour drive from Boston!

Friday, July 10, 2009

A Quick Shout Out to Cleome

Cleome (Klee-o-mee) hassleriana, common name Spiderflower has finally started to bloom in my garden! I grew these beauties from seed this Winter, started under grow lights in my drafty basement. Out of the 12/16 pots, only 4 plants germinated. I babied them along and kept all four alive. Weirdly, I got all three colors, pink, purple, and white (pink is my favorite, hands down). I've tucked the four here and there in the sunny front garden, and they seem to be doing well.

They were definitely a bit of a pain to get going, but well, worth the effort (and if I had bought these, I probably be out 20 bucks, instead of the $3 or $4 for water/soil/pots). Seed-grown annuals are the best! I think Cleome will now be in the same category as Nasturium, Cosmos, Alyssum, and Sunflower -- required in my garden.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I Found My House!

I was looking for information about Nahant, having decided to drive around it, scouting out places to go on a bike ride with my son, and stumbled upon a collection of photos that were archived in the Swampscott Public Library collection of digital images (actually, really cool pictures, part of a larger collection of North Shore community digital archives). And actually found a picture of my house (well, half my house) circa 1932!

Our house is on the right side, corner, the one with the double wrap-around porches. The picture is fascinating for several reasons, not the least of which is that a picture of our house from 1932 actually exists. For one, the porches no longer wrap around our house, something I always wondered about, since the current design doesn't seem right.

Since we moved in, we knew we had to rebuild the front porch. The problem heated up last Fall when a storm blew a section of the top-most railing right off. The whole thing is a painful eye-sore which I try to camouflage with my garden, hoping no one looking at our house, ever looks up.

Finding the picture makes me a little heartsick; our house clearly has been put through the ringer, and though I love its location, I know we'll never be able to bring her back to her former glory.

Or maybe we will. Now that evidence exists with regard to how the house/porches used to look, it's going to be really hard not to just bite the bullet and try to bring it back to its original form -- obviously when I win the lottery.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Fun with a Camera

I have often complained on this blog about having difficulty taking closeups of flowers, but a few days ago, my Dad let me borrow his Canon Rebel XTi digital camera.

I love how the blades of grass below the Hydrangea are sharp, but look soft and cushy at the same time.

I'm not sure what is prettier, the foliage or the flower on this Nasturium.

Roses almsot always look best up close. I agree.

I've always loved this pink Hydrangea ('Alpenglow') just before it goes totally hot pink. I'm glad I caught it.

I know what will be on my Christmas/Birthday/Mother's Day Wish List this year. Either that, or sell my first-born.