Garden Wisdom

"The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature.."  -Alfred Austin

 

 

About Me

Jeff, Gardener in Chief

Contrary to popular opinion, some people in the Hamptons enjoy getting their hands dirty. I'm a self-taught gardener in East Hampton, NY that enjoys sharing my gardening experiences and inspiration with others. Hope you enjoy my blog and galleries.

Read more about me and my garden here.

 

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Saturday
Mar082014

Articulture at the 2014 Philly Flower Show

Back from the Philadelphia Flower Show.  As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the theme this year was Articulture, where art meets horticulture.  

The show was as crowded as ever.  Interest in gardening must be a common denominator.  Attendees ranged from the very young in strollers to the very old on walkers.  People from the wealthy 1% and the rest of us 99%.  There were master gardeners touting their gardening feats and novices proclaiming their latest kill.  I got to examine this melting pot as I waited in line to view of one of my favorite annual exhibitions- the window display contest.  

This years contestants were inspired by the arts and their displays were all quite inventive.  I thought I'd share these window arrangements today, but I'll be back soon with more highlights from the flower show.

 Never know who you'll run into at the art supply store.

 Mixed media?

 Living tributes at this art museum 

 

I wouldn't forget to water a plant that screamed at me.

 

Like a lot of modern art, this needs some explanation. Please.


Hair by Herbal Essences

 

An iconic farmer promotes seed sales.

Wednesday
Feb262014

Floral Fortuity

It's Watercolor Wednesday.  This photograph, transformed into a watercolor by the Waterlogue iPad App, is of a climbing clematis 'Jackmani Superba'.  This purple-blooming vine is growing on an arbor that serves as the back entrance to my Hamptons garden.  

I am so excited that this clematis has survived and thrived in my garden.  I haven't had much luck with most clematis varieties in the past.  In fact, before now, most have died in their first season.

When I first bought this clematis, I didn't know where to put it so I just placed the pot in shade next to the arbor. For the whole gardening season, it made itself at home pot-bound.  It was somewhat forgotten until all the the surrounding vegetation lost its leaves in late fall.  I never suspected it would last the winter above ground. However, when I saw new growth the following spring, I removed the plant from its nursery pot and popped it into the ground exactly where the pot had resided.  

I know that clematis like cool roots and warm sun on its leaves.  But it is coincidence that the roots of this one are shaded by native azalea shrubs and the stems achieve dappled sun near the top of the arbor.  But if you have been reading my blog regularly, you know some of my best plantings are unplanned.  I think my ego is strong enough to let my garden design itself on occasion.

 

Tuesday
Feb252014

Thriving On Neglect

I have a lot of houseplants.  The fresh green foliage and beautiful (and sometimes fragrant) blooms of indoor plants just seem to enliven any interior space, especially in winter.  But indoor gardening does require work.  It's not just the constant watering, but most of these little container captives need adequate light, proper humidity, regular fertilizer, pruning and occasional repotting.  

But here's a houseplant that seems to thrive on neglect. This Euphorbia 'Crown of Thorns' has been surviving in this small pot for years.  The soil in this container must be drained of most nutrients by now.  I don't regularly fertilize, just give the plant a weekly drink of water once the soil looks dry and the leaves start to weep.  It likes bright light, but actually starts blooming in the cooler months when the days are shorter.  As you can see here, the blooms are a beautiful cerise color. The thorns look daunting, but are not stiff or sharp.

Once it stops blooming, I usually stick it under a grow light in the basement during the summer months.  It appreciates a period of dormancy when I just give it water.  However, before it goes on summer vacation, I think I'll prune my plant and repot it in a slightly bigger pot, hoping for a larger, bushier specimen.  I found a video from Martha Stewart showing how to do this.  She also discusses how to start new plants from the cuttings. (Check out Martha's instructions here: "Pruning and Planting Crown of Thorns Plants".

If all goes well, next fall I'll have more of these self-sufficient bloomers to spread around the house.