Cultivating a Culture of Gardening™

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hot Tomato Soup in the Summer?

It's been in the upper 90s for weeks but I'm just loving this hot Tomato Soup

Echinacea 'Tomato Soup'
Want some?
Serve it with some purple Angelonia and a side of Duranta Gold.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sometimes It's Good to be Blue



Color My World

Momma raised me to be a southern lady. She made sure I always wore a slip, she taught me to say, "Yes sir or yes mam", sit with proper posture and always use good manners. She taught me to respect my elders, to never never speak about bawdy things but to speak and act gracefully, to not complain about things I can't change, to always wear lipstick, and to err on the side of being over-dressed in social settings but to never be flashy or bring attention to myself. Now this is where I might have just caused her some polite palpitations and even made her brow glisten with fret. I love color. I like bright, bold, frilly, screaming "Look at me!" color. Which may be why I became a gardener. You see, as proper as I was expected to be and appear, a southern woman could create a garden as brassy and colorful as Aunt Bernice (who we never spoke about around the menfolk.)
Now the only reason I even allow this much self-revelation, which I'm sure is making Momma quite mortified, is to explain why the Garden Walk in Buffalo, NY just made me giddy. There was color in the plants, color in the painted window boxes, bright bold painted houses, and very colorful personalities. So just scroll down and enjoy the riot of color and don't you even worry about blushin'.
I'm thinking this pink house might be demure enough for Momma.

My new friends Helen Yoest and Lisa Gustavson wearing their polite white, brown, and black so that the homes get all the attention.

Two of the colorful characters from the Buffalo trip were sisters Sarah and Helen who kept me entertained with their quick wit and clever dialog.
I spy Plectranthus, Calibrachoa, Coleus, Laurentia, Strobilanthes, Dahlia, Impatiens
These folks have Coleus and they're not afraid to use it!


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Chihuly at Cheekwood

Chihuly. When I first heard that there was going to be a Chihuly exhibit at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens, my first thought was, "Hmmm.... What is a Chihuly?" I make no excuses for being so artistically illiterate, so it took a little googling to discover the breathtaking blown glass artwork of Dale Chihuly. This proved once more to me that I have GOT TO GET OUT MORE! The exhibit at Cheekwood is ethereal- a juxaposition of the vibrant color and immobile lines of the glass with the fluid movement of nature. Go on a cloudy day or at night for whole different experience viewing the artwork. And don't forget to enjoy the flowers along the way.
Orange Chihuly in this bed of Setcresea while the Sphinx looked on gave a mythical air to this display.My co-worker, Yelena Petruk, and I enjoyed a few hours away from work to glean ideas for our Southern Land Company developments. Chihuly in Windstone?!

Pennisetum 'Caroline', Duranta Gold, and Zinnia Cherry flank the pathway to another Chihuly display.

Peeking around the corner of this Hibiscus planting I spied a pond that held this Christmas bulb like Chihuly floating on the surface.
In the Japanese garden the Chihuly takes on an other-worldly feel.I felt like I was spying on a Chihuly secret pow-wow.

This Chihuly called Blue Herons looked different from every angle.

Chihuly 'Sun'


Monday, July 12, 2010

Boys, Buffalo, and Beauty

So, I walk in the door returning from Buffalo, hug my teenage sons, and my eighteen year old says, "Did you see some cool plants, Mom?" Now, I know what you're thinking. "No eighteen year old who blanches at the thought of gardening would ask his mother about cool plants as she walks in the door." But my boys know from years of experience that sooner or later they will inadvertently say something that will trigger a passionate dispensation on how the late afternoon light enhanced that hibiscus flower I recently saw that must be the latest hybrid on the market. Therefore, they wisely chose to meet me at the pass, endure the tortuous details that I cannot help but expel, then blithely go on to tell me of their latest high school escapade.

All that to say, while my boys work hard at sounding interested in my plant passions, I save pulling out the photo album for those who know the difference between a petunia and a passionflower. These are some of my favorites plants that I saw during the tour of gardens last week in Buffalo.
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Rudbeckia Cappuccino

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Shasta Daisy Aglaya, Leucanthemum 'Aglaya'

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I don't think this Hydrangea could get any pinker! (At the home of Elizabeth)

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Monarda and Asiatic Lily

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Wish I knew which rose this was!

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We rarely see Delphenium as blue as this.

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This purple Astilbe was incredible flanked by blue hosta and shasta daisies.

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Loved these colors!

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Japanese Maple leaf and Hydrangea macrophylla normalis

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Echinops banaticus ‘Blue Glow’ turned Pink Glow under the tent at Brian and Gordon's home.

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Echinops as it should be.

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And this was just the first day!


Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Pot of Tea, A Garden Walk, A Plant Discovered With Friends to Talk

My new friend, Carol, from May Dreams Gardens was the one who I first heard refer to the Garden Blogger Meeting in Buffalo as "Summer Camp". Yep, we were quite the campers tromping through the rain to all our fun activities (looking at gardens) and walking the mile or so to the mess hall (the 2oth Century Club- every society gal's dream of a mess hall). And there will be lots of stories and pictures of the riot of color and garden passion that I was witness to. So here a few highlights of the event, which wonderfully was as much about the new friendships as it was about gardening and blogging.
One of the best kept secrets in the gardening blogger world are our moms, grandmoms, dads, etc, who have been the impetus for our gardening passion. Louise, who is mom to Kylee from Our Little Acre, came along with Kylee and delighted us with her rich gardening legacy. She also posed for me so you could see just how HUMONGOUS the hostas are up there. There's a theory that some top secret chemical lab is nearby and the neighbors are using this lab's garbage as compost...

Now, twitter folk get a lot of ribbing about "talking with folks that you don't even know" but every once in a while you hear about the way twitter has brought folks together. I have been able to witness the evolution of a fun new gardening blog/business venture as the friendship between twitter friends Kylee, Jan, and Lisa grew through shared twitter chats of gardening, Jane Austen novels, and lots of subsequent phone calls. They formed their venture, Soil Sisters, several months ago, but only met in person this last Thursday night, as captured in this photo.
Along the garden walks we sometimes got to meet the homeowners, which opened up a whole new window of information. I enjoyed talking to Mark who lives on North Pearl in Buffalo. He is a clever man whose taste for using the ordinary to make the extraordinary was a good example of creative recycling. He made his own rain barrel out of a trash can and an outdoor faucet that he bought at the hardware store. Rather than just collecting rain water, he collects the water that comes out of his indoor faucets when he's running the faucet to get hot water, then pours it in this barrel. He said he often gets as much as 6 gallons a day.

Speaking of rain barrels, one excuse I've heard from people who don't want to get one is that they are so ugly. Doesn't take much but a few artistic moments to take care of that problems...
Tea with Hosta experts Mike Shadrack and Kathy Guest Shadrack at their woodland retreat home bordered on being a Jane Austen-like tea party. Quiet creeks, rich scones, shady garden paths, and even barefoot garden gals cooling off in the creek made for a delightful few hours. The Soil Sisters ventured in for some toe dipping while Cobra Head princess, Anneliese, went wondering back up the creek- bringing back to me many childhood memories of creek explorations.
The gardens were fabulous, and as with most things that touch our hearts, the beauty was enriched because it was shared with friends.