Friday, May 22, 2009

TGIF - Inspiration

It’s Spring and I have found a little inspiration from two of my favorite Landscape Architects Wolfgang Oehme and James VanSweden. This house is on Long Island Sound and they say it was once owned by Charles Lindberg. The job involved a new design for the grounds, a motor court, sensitive seaside planting and shoreline refurbishment. As you can tell from these photographs, they design using broad strokes and a native plant palette.


These gentlemen have written a book entitled Gardening With Nature. To me, all of their work is so natural and harmonious to its existing environment that it is hard to tell where they begin and the natural setting ends.


It is so harmonious, it reads as one with its setting. The grasses and perennials placed in the yard mimic and link to the native marsh grasses beyond.


Wouldn’t you just love to spend your Memorial Day weekend in a place like this?

To learn more about Oehme and VanSweden and their work visit their firm website Here. To see what others are hooked on this Memorial Day Weekend, visit Hooked on House's "Hooked on Fridays" or Fifi Flowers' Fashionable Fridays. I wish you all a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend where ever you may be!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Bloom time, Boom time

At long last, Spring is here in full force.  Take a peak at what’s been blooming in my yard this past month or so. 

It all started with my Prunus mume  or flowering apricot that did NOT bloom in February.  Rather, it waited until April.  This year, it has reverted back to it’s graft plant, a wild cherry.



Shortly thereafter, my Narcissus ‘Ice Follies’ appear from nowhere amidst the Liriope muscari ‘Evergreen Giant’.  These daffodils do very well in the south!


These Narcissus sp. ‘Sir Winston Churchill’ bloom later in the month and are extremely fragrant!  They also have double flowers.


Here is an Acer palmatum ‘Emperor’ that has just leafed out with Lychnis coronaria or Rose campeon.


The maple leaf. 


And the Rose campeon flower.   This plant is extremely drought tolerant and produces seeds each year.  The magenta flower is a brilliant contrast to the pale grey/green leaf and stem.



Here is an Acer palmatum dissectum or Laceleaf Japanese maple.


Crinum ‘Ellen Bosanquet’ will produce blooms in my garden from late Spring through mid-Summer.   I love Crinum lilies!  They have big beautiful flowers and glossy green strap-like foliage.  These are what I call a ‘Pass-along’ Plant as they are easily divided. 


Chionanthus retusus or Chinese Fringe Tree ranks high on my list of all time favorite flowering Ornamental trees!  See the sidebar entitled “May Plant of the Month.”


Here is the close up of its flower.



Azalea indica ‘George Tabor’ grows so well in the south!  This is a plant for the mid-ground or back-ground.  It’s not a plant you want to put front and center because in the off-season they are rather unattractive evergreens.  However, when they are in full bloom, NOTHING can beat their showy habit!


I love the orchard-like blossoms of the George Tabor azalea.


In the middle of my Spring gardening, I came across this little creature.  It is called a Southeastern Crown Snake


It really wasn’t much bigger than a large earth worm!


Here is one of my favorite irises - Iris germanica ‘Blue Stellata’.


And the Rosa sp. ‘Knock Out’ Redrazz variety always puts on a show this time of year.


Here is my Loropetalum chinensis ‘Ruby’ hedge.  This plant makes a wonderful architectural hedge and blooms twice a year.  First, in early summer and later in late summer. 


And it’s flowers.


A close up.  There is nothing like a tight dense hedge!


Prunus yedoensis or Yoshino Cherry blooms after the Okame Cherrys.  These trees have made Washington, DC king of the Cherry Blossoms!  They do very well in the south too.


… and a close up of its flower.


Trachelospermum jasminoides or Confederate jasmine is in full bloom now and fills my outdoor room with sweet fragrance that makes me want to stop and just breathe it all in.


Camellia japonica blooms from February through April here in the south!  Aren’t we lucky?


And finally, my Rosa sp. ‘Zepherine Drouhin’  or Zepherine Drouhin rose is very fragrant and thornless.  This is a climber and is very hardy in the south! 


Roses should always be bought bare root.  I get mine from Jackson & Perkins.

There you have it.  We are quickly approaching prime-time in the Zone 8  garden!  And I’m just now noticing how my garden overflows with pinks and burgandys in Spring!  Whatever colors are up in your garden now, enjoy!  Happy Spring!  To see what’s blooming in other gardener’s gardens, visit May Dreams Gardens Bloom Day.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Future is Now

Take a tour of this new home with me. Hip and trendy exterior with rural setting. Check!

Modern kitchen complete with view. Check!

Stylish Living area with connection to Outdoors. Check!

Master Bedroom with Connection to Outdoors, a nice view and plenty of storage. Check!

Second Bedroom, Office Lounge, or Away room. Check!

And upper and lower outside living/deck areas. Check!

This is the Clayton I-House. It is actually a pre-fabricated “green home.” At 992-square feet, it is planned to enter the market at just $100,000!

Yes, you heard it right! Clayton Homes, one of the largest manufacturers of mobile homes and pre-fabricated homes has designed the I-House with green in mind. It is powered for a dollar a day, thanks to Low-E windows, solar augmentation, high-efficiency appliances and superior insulation. The solar panels on the roof don't supply all the home's needs, but they do cut electricity consumption in half. A tankless water heater and cistern collect rainwater from the roof for use in gardening, car washing or other outdoor uses. Floors are made of fast-growing bamboo, and paint and insulation are low- or zero-emission.

To see an on-line tour of this home, go Here. And to read more about it, visit Popular Mechanics’ Prefab Green Homes Get Affordable.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wisteria Lane

It’s time for Wisteria to bloom!  Wisteria sinensis or Chinese wisteria is a beauty!   This vigorous twining vine is native to Asia.  It is especially prized for its beautiful pendulous  blossoms each spring. 


Widely seen across the east, Wisteria is extremely hardy and long-lived.  It has the ability to climb high and will climb anything that it can, including native trees, eventually overtaking them.  If left on its own, Wisteria has the ability to become invasive. 

In the garden, it must be supported with sturdy architecture and managed.  It’s flowers are pea-like and range from white to pink to violet blue and purple.  The flower clusters can grow from six inches to 20 inches in length and are extremely fragrant!

wisteria%20alba Wisteria sinensis ‘Alba’ is extremely fragrant.

This plant is now found from Maine to Florida and west to Arkansas.  It prefers full sun and well-drained soils.

Walk with me down Wisteria Lane.


Friday, May 1, 2009

A Meadow for Georgetown

Wolfgang Oehme and James Van Sweden have long been my heroes.  They have influenced at least a generation of landscape architects!  Here is a design they have completed in Washington, DC.  3303 Water Street is located in Georgetown.  The design is a sustainable one and features a large meadow overlooking the Potomac River.  It is typical of  Oehme and Van Sweden’s style.  They have the ability to design in large swaths, almost with a painterly touch.  Here is the view looking out toward the Potomac River.


Now, here are some other angles of the same meadow …


Look closely …


This is a sustainable Green Roof design in Georgetown! 


Can’t wait to see it the next time I’m in town!