Sunday, June 28, 2009

Homage to the Noble Roadside Day Lily

Right now on Long Island, the beautiful but very common roadside Day Lily, Hemerocallis fulva "Europa", is at its peak. The Day Lily was introduced by settlers from Europe. Due to its hardiness and naturalizing ability they quickly spread throughout the Northeast. With their long bending stems and their deep orange color, Day Lilies are making the drive along roadways more pleasant,softening the sight of every road marker,their long blade like leaves draped over stone embankments,wooden railroad ties,concrete retaining walls, and making every curve in the road beautiful.They are tall, multiply easily into clumps, forgiving of most soil conditions, able to grow in the shade,
or full sunlight, and are often used for erosion control.They are the companions to the Hosta boarders at the Jarvis House.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Visiting Clark Botanic Garden

It has rained on and off for three weeks here on Long Island. Finding things to do of interest is challenging at best. A short drive into Nassau County can bring you to the Clark Botanic Garden, (click for more info) in Albertson. One can stroll along the formal gardens or trip along woodland trails into deep shaded plantings.Within the 12 acres is a wonderfully designed living museum containing this Japanese rock waterfall and stream, which empties into three brook-fed ponds.Bamboo soars above a wooden bridge, which is surrounded by wetlands plants of Arrow Leaf, Duck Weed, Yellow Flag Iris, and wildflowers of every color.Climbing Hydrangea drapes over the doorway to the Garden's gift shop.
A turn onto another track reveals a huge clump of Hydrangeas just beginning to show color.Delicate woodland plants thrive in the high shade of the large oak, beech, and tulip trees. The variations of plant size are amazing. Lady's Mantle luxuriates in this garden,as does the Golden Hakone Grass,and the Abyssinian Mustard.Foam Flowers catch sunlight in a break in the canopy of the overhead trees.The immense trees that provide the high shade are an entity that Long Islanders may take for granted. Clark Botanic Gardens has many mature specimen trees and large examples of specialty trees such as this Weeping Hemlock,Umbrella Magnolia, China Fir,and the Korean Stewartia with its Python patterned bark and twining limbs.This is a picture of a variety of the Jack-in-the-pulpit, which was new to me. It was growing alongside on of the ponds. A trip to Clark Botanic Gardens is inspiring even in the rain. Click for their photo gallery.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Using whites in the Jarvis House Garden

When I first moved into the Jarvis House over 35 years ago, my neighbor, Vivian Wartel, pointed out that one must use white in the garden. Some whites are very showy like this Viburnum,
while others like the blossoms of the Bloodroot wildflower are almost modest in their display, tucked here amongst the Packysandra. The white of the Kousa Dogwood, contrasts well with the purple common Rhododendron. At the nursery, you might forget to include a stunning white azalea when tempted by all of the other colors.A row of Spirea shrubs makes a graceful sheltering boarder.Or you can go with a Mock Orange. This one's a transplant from my Mom's garden.The delicate and diminutive Lily of the Valley, finds a place under the Boxwood.This vignette happened by accident. The ribbon grass was intended, but the very white flowering weed seeded itself.A Mountain Laurel blooms on the side driveway garden.The blooms of the Star of Bethlehem came with the lawn out back.A Pyrocanthia leaning against a large tree stump will eventually produce orange berries in the Fall.A variety of Bleeding Heart comes in white and is easily separated to make many plants over the years.Variegated Euonymus grows on the rock wall near the big barn.A staple are the many varieties of Hosta that have strokes of white, at their centers, and on their edges. There are countless other white flowering plants and trees that may be used. These are just some that have been showing for the past few weeks.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Peonies at the Jarvis House Garden

A bouquet of deep pink Peonies.The largest mop head light pink Peonies in their glory.
A smaller pink variety with a fringe of butter yellow at the center. These are wonderful because they do not flop over as easily as the large pinks.This peony root like the larger pink roots came from my mother's garden and is over 60 years old. It has flecks of maroon and butter yellow at its center.The peony plants push up in early spring with deep bronze sprouts. If they will become light pink the foliage is usually green, and the deep pinks usually keep their dark red foliage. Wire cages are placed around the shoots to keep them from flopping over when they are fully grown.The wire supports heavy blooms. A large row of Peony plants stand behind the Private hedges. Others are scattered amongst other flowering shrubs. June thunderstorms can really shorten the Peony season, but when they are in full bloom Peonies are spectacular and graceful with very long stems and beautiful shiny leaves.Garden ants like to crawl all over the peony buds, but as far as I can tell they do no harm to the plants. They disappear when the flowers are blooming, but you might give them a shake if you cut stalks of flowers for displays indoors. In the fall, believe it or not I run the lawn mover over the dying leaves and stems and cut them down to the ground! I have been doing this for ever and they keep coming back stronger each spring. If you want to share the Peony roots with a friend, do it in the fall and replant them not more than one and one half inch below the surface of the soil. Sprinkle a bit of triple sulphate in the hole to stimulate root growth. Otherwise do not disturb the plants and they will thrive for generations in full sun. I have seen peony plants come up in gardens where the house has been bulldozed or burned down, years before. They are truly heritage plants and continue to amaze us each spring.