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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Purple Passion

Purple is one of my favorite flower colors.  I feel like it is almost a neutral.  It looks good with silvers, oranges, yellows and pinks.  It helps blend more conflicting colors as well.

The most brilliant purple flower blooming right now is from the Purple Tiers lacecap hydrangea (Hydrangea serrata 'Miyama-yae-Murasaki').  The purple almost glows in the dappled shade.  And it needs no soil amendments to keep this color from year to year.  As you can see from the pictures, the flowers range from blue purple to rose purple on the same plant.

Unlike the oakleaf hydrangea mentioned yesterday, there is no question to this plant's heritage.  It's a beautiful Japanese import that looks perfect against the native ostrich and royal ferns.  Its blooms last briefer than some hydrangeas, but it is a wonderful color addition in late June/early July.

I never find this sort of plant locally so I ordered it from  Have had good success with their plants and like their big selection.  It arrived about 24 inches high and is now about four feet high three years later.






American Beauties


Recently I learned, contrary to local belief, oakleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea quercifolia) are not native to the Northeast.  Interestingly, this shrub was listed in a favorite book: Native Plants of the Northeast by Donald J. Leopold.  The author does reveal in his introduction that he included a few plants, like the oakleaf hydrangea, that grow naturally just outside the Northeast but adapt well to our Northern range. Its natural range is actually the Southeast.  As you can tell, it's adapted well in my Hamptons garden.

'Snow Queen' with Ostrich ferns

I have planted several groupings of the fullsize varieties  ('Snow Queen' and 'Alice') plus the smaller 'Pee Wee' variety placed in tighter spaces.  The largest are pruned lightly and now stand about 8 feet tall.

 'Pee Wee' with ferns and astilbe

The Pee Wees are about 4 feet high.  I do prune these a bit every year or so to keep them within the allotted areas. However, they bloom on old wood so too much pruning will reduce the following year's bloom count.

'Pee Wee' flanking a birdbath

All varieties bloom better with some sun. Without sun, you'll get mostly leaves.

The fall color is beautiful as the leaves turn a purple/maroon color and the blooms turn pinkish.  The bare branches with their peeling bark adds architecture to the winter garden as well.

This all-American shrub deserves a place in your garden.


Nearly Wild


One of my best performing roses is 'Nearly Wild', a single flower rose that starts blooming in late May or early June. It blooms repeatedly into fall. I've even had roses on the shrubs at Halloween. I like the single petal flowers that give it a more natural, wild look. There is no real scent, but 'Nearly Wild' is a very hardy modern shrub rose with few problems so it's a keeper.