My Totier Gardens

My Totier Gardens

I missed sharing early spring garden photos so will try and catch you up with some photos from around my gardens. During my down time in the early spring when it was still cool, I spent a lot of enjoyable time outdoors raking the endless crop of oak leaves from last fall and winter. It was difficult to get them earlier because of the snow coverings that came and went from a challenging winter in these parts. It was very cold, and I had a lot of damage in the gardens. I was not alone, as many throughout the country reported damage and loss of perennials and shrubs. Particularly  hard hit here were hydrangeas, camellias, azaleas, and perennial flowers. It wasn’t that we had tons of snow-they can survive that, it was the up and down temps, especially in the early spring when a late spring cold snap and snow conveyed the final blow after everything was past the protected bud stage. That said, gardening is about hope, so you prune back, or dig em up and replant. I did a lot of both. Annuals got put in the ground much later because of the weather, and then the sustained heat came quickly and pretty much stayed, so many have struggled where they would normally thrive. And yet was a surprise that some things thrived! Oriental lilies, that look so fragile were nothing short of magnificent this year, as are the day lilies, blooming now. Some hostas died as a result of the very late freeze the weather, but the later bloomers are doing well.

 

Here is the new addition to the family!

Here is the new addition to the family! I didn’t move the lawn or the big diesel tractor from the horse farm when I moved from NC, and it was a big mistake. Finally, after years of hiking around acres of garden space, and lugging who knows what, it was decided that I needed one again. I always named my tractors. They were Walter and Walter, Jr back home in NC. Sounds crazy, but when you name them, you take better care of them. So this orange fella is referred to as Ready Freddie. KBJ is testing him out right after delivery. We got a terrific deal on it, which included a free tow behind cart which has been immeasurably helpful….hardly use the wheelbarrow at all, and my knees are thankful. Mowing gets done in less than 20 minutes compared to a couple of hours. I tried out a lot of mowers, and KBJ did all the consumer report checking, and in the end this was a clear winner, especially when it came to comfort. You can see the trees have started to leaf out. At this point I hadn’t started much of anything in the gardens.


The first task for me in the spring is to prune and trim. I usually trim the boxwoods in front of the house early April, but the weather didn't allow it until the end of the month. Here is the front of the house all neat and tidy, sans mulch. I will tidy them up again late August so they will have enough time to harden off before the first hard frost.

The first task for me in the spring is to prune and trim. I usually trim the boxwoods in front of the house early April, but the weather didn’t allow it until the end of the month. Here is the right half front of the house in early May, all neat and tidy, sans mulch. I will tidy them up again late August so they will have enough time to harden off before the first hard frost. See all that ivy to the right? I am ripping most of  it out.

 


 

My Rhodendrons were especially hard hit. This one had enough decent greenery that I chose to prune it into a tree rather than prune it to the ground. It took me a while, but everything at the middle and bottom was killed and it look horrible. After I pruned it, when it bloomed it looked rather nice. There was another one to the far left, that I pruned to the ground as it wasn't sprouting any new growth. I pruned it down to green wood not really expecting it would come back, but it is looking mighty fine at the moment.

My Rhododendron were especially hard hit. This one had enough decent greenery that I chose to prune it into a tree rather than prune it to the ground. It took me a while, but everything at the middle and bottom was killed and it look horrible. After I pruned it, when it bloomed it looked rather nice. There was another one to the far left, that I pruned to the ground as it wasn’t sprouting any new growth. I pruned it down to green wood not really expecting it would come back, but it is looking mighty fine at the moment. After it finished blooming, I pinched of the spent blooms, and it will double and triple the density of the new growth.

 


02_DSC02248_WHG

A bloom from my Rhododendron.


 

Here you can see the spent flower, and the new leaf branches forming to each side.

Here you can see the spent flower, and the new leaf branches, in lighter green, forming to each side. You can see where the spent bloom has been snapped off at the base. This is where additional leafing will soon occur, and therefore more flowers next year. This has to be done right after blooming. Rhodies bloom on old wood, so if you do it too late, you will prevent flowering the next spring. You can use this technique to keep them compact if space or form is a consideration. This year I went all around the gardens and did just this because all had suffered some degree of damage.


 

DSC02314

Here is the Rhodie I had to prune severely. You can already see new growth at the base and if you look closely along the thicker limb where I pruned away the dead smaller branches from it, there are new leaves sprouting.

 


I lost about a dozen azaleas, pruned hard after blooming another dozen, and left well enough alone the rest that were later bloomers, in a more protected garden, and suffered little damage except to their flowers.

03_DSC02158_WHG

I have added two sets of wrought iron gates into the island garden. I have had these gates since before I moved here. I convinced my cousin to buy a pair as well since they were a terrific bargain from Furniture Market. They are very tall, a bit over 8 feet, so they had no way to get them home at the time, so they stayed with me, and stayed and stayed so they became mine as they didn’t have any use for them even now. So finally I decided instead of saving them for another project, to put them in the island. They are very heavy, have a copper patina, and are working fine for what I did with them. I will share that project later, but here you get a glimpse. This photo was taken the first week of May.

These lovely white Iris

These lovely white Iris were a gift from a friend of ours. She gave them to me last summer and I put them in the ground not thinking that they would settle in as good as they did. Almost every plant bloomed and they had already multiplied from last summer. Behind and to the left in a Kimberely Fern. The red pot to the right was planted with purple scaevola about a week later. You can see the red barberry starting to get its color back.


 

06_DSC02180_WHG

Another view, looking down from the house.

 


07_DSC02181_WHG

I wish I knew the name of this Iris. I will have to do some research. It is very hardy, stands very upright on short sturdy stems.  Here you can see the host coming up now.


 

08_DSC02182_WHG

Closeup of the flower. Lovely, isn’t it? Thank you again Barbara.


10_DSC02185_WHG

I thought the light was pretty in this shot. Lots of shadows from the late spring sun.


11_DSC02186_WHG

I planted some of the white Iris on the far side of the house next to a bird bath. It gets much more shade there, yet they bloomed beautifully.


13_DSC02191_WHG

One of the Columbines in front of the garden house in full bloom. One of my favorite flowers, it was gifted to me by KBJ’s client, Dr. G. Thank you also!


14_DSC02193_WHG

Kimberely Fern , Geraniums and pansies. I use Fern a lot, since I have so much shade.


15_DSC02194_WHG

More Iris. View from front steps looking across drive to garden house and my most favorite lion planter. Variegated liriope and variegated vinca are just beginning to really come alive inside the pot after the late snow almost did them in.


16_DSC02195_WHG

This rubber tree started out just about 20-24 inches a few years ago, but it LOVES coming outside for the summer and thrives. I have pruned back one branch a year, so it is really filling out. It is special to kbj as it belonged to his late father. I have repotted it two times.


 

17_DSC02197_WHG

View from the drive, and away from the house to the fairy and Maple garden. Fairy I say? Well, that will be in another post. This was taken in May, and I will also post newer photos , as it is full of color from daises , vinca, roses and more. Only the iris is blooming here.


30_DSC02215_WHG

Last year these hydrangeas were almost 3 feet tall. but this winter killed them back to inches. I waited until new growth appeared at the base and it was obvious that the branches were dead down to about 4 inches. You can see where I pruned in the photo.They had made it through the winter until we had a very late freeze and snow, and the emerging buds were too open to handle it. Broke my heart, but by next year they should be ok. They are coming along very well now, but unfortunately this variety blooms on old wood, so no blooms this summer.

 


31_DSC02217_WHG

Closeup of another iris variety in bloom.

 


33_DSC02455_WHG

Garden area along the path to the back acreage.

 


 

35_DSC02251_WHG

Plants that were waiting to be placed in pots.


34_DSC02422_WHG

Ready Freddie hauling new hydrangea plants to plant in a new pocket garden. There are five plants in the cart, and before Freddie, I would have had to make at least three trips, not including the compost bags you see sitting in the drive. Love ya Freddie!


32_DSC02564_WHG

So in between gardening adventures, I have this partial view to look out thru the window and wood blinds next to my desk. The daylillies in containers beginning to bloom, the hummingbirds all around, and I think to myself I am so lucky to witness renewal every day.



 

Well, there you have it. The gardens are blooming like crazy now, and I look forward to sharing photos so you can see what a difference a few week makes. Happy Sunday, and thanks for reading.  Laters, charisse

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Such a lovely early morning stroll through your gardening palette! Congratulations on your new addition to the family, Ready Freddie. He certainly looks like he will earn his keep. :)
    Thanks for sharing more helpful tips.
    Your yard is beautiful! So sorry that some of your floral friends did not weather well. Miraculously, all of our dwarf gardenias came back except one.
    None of our Lily friends bloomed. Looking forward to more photos! I love your yard!!!!! Have fun with little red RF .
    Happy Sunday to you too!

    • Thanks. It is so hot I am surprised anything continues to bloom here. The lilies are the one flower that is steadfast and I continue to enjoy them. Sunflowers are also thriving. Thanks for writing.

Leave a Reply