Sunday, July 31, 2011

2011 Perennial of the Year

This year, the Perennial Plant Association has named Amsonia hubrichtii, more commonly known as Amsonia or Arkansas Blue Star, as the perennial of the year.  It truly is a plant for the seasons:

In Spring, it is covered with small blue star-shaped flowers:

amsonia close up

It’s foliage is very delicate, like a thread leaf.

amsonia spring

And, in Fall, this is what you can expect:



From Garden Rant

The amsonia plant grows to 3-feet tall x 3-feet wide in a soft billowy mound and is a native of Arkansas and Oklahoma.  It thrives in full sun to part shade in zones 4 through 9.  Although I live in zone 8, I have yet to see one growing here.  I must get one to see how it grows in my garden.

How does a plant get such an honor you ask?  Each year, the Perennial Plant Association “Perennial Plant of the Year” committee selects four plants to be voted on by members of the association.  Each plant must be suitable for a wide range of climate types; be low maintenance; be easily propagated; and must exhibit multiple seasonal interest. 

To see past Perennial Plant of the Year winners go Here.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Skateboarder’s Dream House

Imagine, a house built for grinding, carving and flying tomatoes?!  This home is a skateboarder’s dream.  Actually, the living area of this home was developed by Pierre-Andre Senizergues (PAS), founder of Sole Technology and a former pro skater.  It is a prototype for a single-family home to be used for indoor skateboarding.  Too fun not to share. 

Check out the back of that chair and the wall partition.  Is this home for you?  To read more about this prototype house, go to Inman News.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I’m published!

It’s the first time I’ve ever been PAID for it … 

Wrightsville Beach Magazine

I was asked by the magazine to identify some well-designed gardens and explain why.  Many of us know when we are in a pleasant space, but few of us can identify why.  Enjoy, darlings!

A few more pics with my own camera …

Garden Number 1.


Poetry in motion! 



Fell in love with this arbor with a rose on top.  The large candelabra was designed by the owner of the home. 



A proper way to end an axis.


m_IMG_3712 Curves!


Garden Number 2.



View of the home from the street.



The view from my car of the front entrance.  The formal parterre garden is obscured by a sea of maiden grass.


Inside the parterre garden at the entry courtyard. 



Loropetalum chinensis espalier.


The rill garden consisted of two round pools connected by a nine-inch runnel. 

The owner designed this so that water could flow in either direction. 



I love the granite block and the perennials on this terraced garden.



Curved walls terrace down to the natural wooded area beyond.



View from the other direction.  A symphony of herbaceous perennials!



Big leaf hydrangeas behind a Japanese boxwood hedge.



Such harmony! 

Note:  Did you see any green grass in these pics?  No – there is none.


Garden Number 3.



A restoration of an historic home in Wilmington, NC.


magnolia soulangiana

Magnolia soulangiana “Saucer Magnolia”





Lilies and ferns.



Focal Point.



Fountain and fenestration.



A year later.


Motor Court with red brick and crushed slate.



Garden Gates


Sunday, July 10, 2011

From Strawberry Pots to Tabletops

Suddenly, succulents are not just for strawberry pots anymore.  Remember when succulent plants looked like this?

Nowadays, in our waterwise world, they are looking more like this…
or this …

or this …
Yes, our beloved Hens and Chicks have found a new use or should I say many new uses.  They have become the plant of choice for living walls, green roofs and even tabletops! 

Sunset Magazine online can teach you how to make a tabletop garden such as this, step by step.

Janice Eaton Kilby wrote the book on beautiful tabletop gardens.
And J Peterson at Garden Design gave it a pretty good review.
Yes, succulents have come a long way.  With their good looks, low water requirements and low maintenance appeal, they have become the plant poster child for the green movement.