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I took these photos about a week ago. I walked the gardens just now and they are all still blooming!! Ain’t gardening great? Some are looking a bit tired and ragged, but blooms are blooms and it IS November 17th for cripes sake!!

Here in the front garden right off the kitchen steps we will begin our tour……

Lamium maculatum. Pink in front and a new white one in back. these are seedlings from an original 'Orchid Frost' I brought home five years ago.

Lamium maculatum. Pink in front and a new white one in back. These are seedlings from an original ‘Orchid Frost’ I brought home five years ago. I dig the plants up and use them in my mixed containers.

Viola cornuta. this is a sweet violet that I dug up from the floor of the greenhouse at work last spring! It has been blooming all summer!

Viola cornuta. This is a sweet violet that I dug up from the floor of the greenhouse at work last spring! It has been blooming all summer!

 

Gentiana x macaulyi 'Kingfisher' this showed up in a previous post, but it's still blooming with at least 6 flowers on it today!

Gentiana x macaulyi ‘Kingfisher’ this showed up in a previous post, but it’s still blooming with at least 6 flowers on it today!

A very ratty Primula vulgaris pink rose form that has been in bloom all fall. I grew this from seed I recieved throught the APS seed-exchange a couple years ago.

A very ratty Primula vulgaris pink rose form that has been in bloom all fall. I grew this from seed I recieved through the APS seed-exchange a couple years ago.

And now on to the small rock garden and sunny streamside garden.

Sedum sieboldii. A really great sedum that blooms so late and doesn't spread rampantly like a few others I had to remove from this garden.

Sedum sieboldii. A really great sedum that blooms so late and doesn’t spread rampantly like a few others I had to remove from this garden.

Orostachys iwarenge. One of the coolest succulents I know. It's also called Duncecaps for the long and pointy flower heads it grows. Earlier in it's bloom it is covered in bees.

Orostachys iwarenge. One of the coolest succulents I know. It’s also called Duncecaps for the long and pointy flower heads it grows. Earlier in it’s bloom it is covered with bees.

And in the streamside garden which I have cut back since taking this photo is a total surprise in the Nicotiana still looking good after a few frosts and a hard freeze!

Nicotiana langsdorfii which has seeded all over this bed is still amazingly looking very good! It's in front of a Magnolia macrophylla that I bought from Ellen Hornig of Seneca Hill Fame. It is enlarging very slowly and I'm pretty sure it will never bloom here but I don't mind, with those leaves who cares?

Nicotiana langsdorfii which has seeded all over this bed is still amazingly looking very good! It’s in front of a Magnolia macrophylla that I bought from Ellen Hornig of Seneca Hill fame many years ago….before I moved to Vermont. It is enlarging very slowly and I’m pretty sure it will never bloom here but I don’t mind, with those leaves who cares?

Allium thunbergii 'Ozawa' the latest blooming Allium you can buy...I think. I also have the white form but it was hidden when I took these photos by a Filipendula aurea. I have divided this plant many times and now have clumps of it all up and down this sunny border as well as potted for sale.

Allium thunbergii ‘Ozawa’ the latest blooming Allium you can buy…I think. I also have the white form but it was hidden when I took these photos by a Filipendula aurea. I have divided this plant many times and now have clumps of it all up and down this sunny border as well as potted for sale.

And now onto the shadier woodland gardens on the far side of the house and down the stream where the giant Hemlocks dominate.

Spiranthes cernua or Nodding Ladies Tresses. a hardy terrestrial orchid that is native to the Northeast. I bought this from a wonderful grower at the New York Flower Show this spring. Her nursery Wild things Rescue Nursery is full of natives hardy for the colder climates.

Spiranthes cernua or Nodding Ladies Tresses. a hardy terrestrial orchid that is native to the Northeast. I bought this from a wonderful grower at the New York Flower Show this spring. Her nursery Wild Things Rescue Nursery is full of natives hardy for the colder climates.

Cyclamen hederifolium deep pink from John Lonsdale in PA.

Cyclamen hederifolium deep pink from John Lonsdale in PA. This one was also in a previous post and here it is weeks later still in bloom! The cyclamens planted here are doing really well. they get a good dry, dormant period here for the summer.

Moving along to the garage garden on my in-laws property where I grow a number of Primula auricula given to me by my good friend Susan. She had to stop growing them because she became sensitive to the primulin in the leaves and stems. It’s a substance that some people develop a sensitivity to and causes severe dermatitis. Susan is a wonderful grower of Primula auricula and I can only hope to be half as good as she is.

Primula auricula with a surprise late flower stem. I hope it will still have blooms in the spring. the flowers are very large on this one.

Primula auricula with a surprise late flower stem. I hope it will still have blooms in the spring. the flowers are very large on this one.

Now we are around to the lake side of the cottage and here is that Aconitum arendsii hanging on to its last few flowers.

Aconitum arendsii overlooking the lake.

Aconitum arendsii overlooking the lake. You can see our dock at the waterfront.

And lastly in my little nursery is a couple of potted Dendranthema ‘Sheffield’ that had been given to me by another good friend. I planted it into the sunny border where it proceeded to take over the world! This summer I spent long hours eradicating it from said bed and potted up a bunch of it to sell at the fall sale at Tower Hill. The two pots that are left I will split in the spring. The color of this one is so soothing and blends well with everything.

Dendranthema 'Sheffield' a very late blooming shasta-type daisy. Great for cut flowers and if you have a large area to fill in. On the far side of the stream is a huge area of the so-called Ditch-Lily. That 'wild' Hemerocallis that seems to be everywhere along the roadsides. I want to take it out and wonder if D. 'Sheffield' will be up to the task.

Dendranthema ‘Sheffield’ a very late blooming shasta-type daisy. Great for cut flowers and if you have a large area to fill in. On the far side of the stream is a huge area of the so-called Ditch-Lily. That ‘wild’ Hemerocallis that seems to be everywhere along the roadsides. I want to take it out and wonder if D. ‘Sheffield’ will be up to the task.

 

Well there you have it. This late in the season and still a bit of color out in the borders! What will this mean for flowers in the spring? More or less or none at all on these plants that don’t usually flower this late.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking Back, Part 1

Not much happening here in the gardens except putting the borders to bed, getting the tender plants inside and into the basement. So I thought this might be a good time to reminisce about the past year in multiple parts. Come along with me as we revisit some of the places I’ve been and things I’ve done this past year.

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I’m going to start with one of the most recent….the Montreal Botanical Gardens and the Mosaicultures Exhibit. This is an international competition started in 1998. “Its mission is to promote gardening and horticulture as both an expression of new millennium values and a vital component of the urban landscape”. It’s held in a different venue every 3 years.

Steve & I planned a short anniversary trip in September up to see this fantastic exhibit that I had been hearing & reading about all summer. A hotel was booked right nearby and the route was planned.

The day we got there had to be the hottest of the year, up into the 90’s! We started out first thing in the morning and decided to see the hothouses first before it got too hot & crowded….good decision! The following are a few photos from the conservatories.

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After our pretty private tour of the greenhouses out we went to discover what this Mosaiculture thing was all about. And WOW were we in awe and wonder!! Just take a look!

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And this is just a select few! There were many others that we didn’t see and loads more that I didn’t get good photos of. The most amazing one..in my opinion..was the ‘Bird Tree’. Unfortunately the crew was working on it so we couldn’t get a pristine view of it…but stupendous all the same. All of the sculptures are formed from a mesh that small rooted plugs of mostly brightly colored foliage is then inserted following a precise pattern to create each block of color.

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We then wandered about the gardens. I really wanted to see the famed Alpine Garden, while it was huge and impressive, it will be much better to see it in the spring when the early blooming plants & bulbs are in their glory.

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We also toured the Chinese gardens which were beautiful with a Koi pond and pavilions.

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See the slanted building in the background? That’s part of the Olympic Park right across the street!

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We also strolled through the woodland gardens which had a really beautiful Monkshood in full bloom and some huge Hosta specimens. This garden would also be best seen in the spring.

So plans will be made to get back to Montreal next spring to see this great botanic garden again and perhaps tour the old city.

Am I Blue?

I was having a sort of blue day earlier when my camera battery died and I couldn’t find the charger or my other camera…..I think Steve has borrowed it. Very frustrating. So I walked around the gardens anyway looking at what was in bloom, and don’t you know it was mainly blue flowers! My garden & I were in sync. Although there weren’t many of them they were so very welcome indeed!

This fantastic plant is lighting up the front border!

This fantastic plant is lighting up the front border!

Gentiana x macaulayi ‘Kingfisher’ purchased a few years ago at Cady’s Falls Nursery in Morrisville, VT. There are more flowers on than ever and it has been in bloom for a few weeks already. This extended fall has been so great! Cady’s Falls is the nursery that all of us at Rocky Dale Gardens look forward to visiting every year. They grow most their plants on site from seed, cuttings, grafting, etc. And the selection can’t be beat!

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Primula ‘Belarina Cobalt’ has sent up a surprise…and it is most welcome indeed! I am hoping it will be full of buds in the spring so I can dig it up for the spring primrose show at Tower Hill Botanical Gardens! I sent for this last spring from Sequim Rare Plants in Sequim, WA. I also ordered a few Primula auricula from them and they sent the biggest most beautiful plants. I highly recommend them.

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Here we have another Gentian in the very small rock garden on the west side of the cabin. It bloomed in July and was the most glorious ever. I have moved this plant around so many times trying to find just the right spot for it and now I think I have. It has got a long tongue-twisting name…Gentiana septemfida var. lagodechiana…try saying that three time fast!IMG_3073

And lastly here is my lovely Aconitum x cammarum ‘Bicolor’. This photo doesn’t do it justice. It was huge and full of flowers while draping itself over an Azalea along the stream garden. this one also has never had so many flowers. I think the spring & early summer rains were so beneficial to the gardens along with the cooler temps all summer.

So after the garden stroll and a new knitting project getting cast on I’m feeling much less blue and quite a bit more jazzed about how well the gardens did this year. Time to start planning where to add a few more blue beauties.

It’s fall, and that means many Cyclamen start blooming or sending up their beautifully patterned leaves! I have become somewhat obsessed with growing Cyclamen either from seed or purchasing them from a few good growers. In the past few weeks they are all showing some sort of new leafy growth or popping up their delicate looking flowers. I have read many times that most ‘hardy’ Cyclamen won’t grow here, but I can tell you they grow just fine here in zone 4-5 Vermont!

The following have all been grown outside in my gardens for at least one year. Some are from seed I obtained through the seed-ex of the North American Rock Garden Society, the American Primrose Society or from John Lonsdale and Plant Delights Nursery.

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Give them a well drained soil with a little bit of sun and they are happy! Plant the corms about 1″ deep and cover with a gritty soil mix so the corm stays dry over winter. They are glorious almost all year sending up fabulous new leaves late summer & fall. C. hederifolium bloom now, while the C. coum blooms in early spring. The all silvered leaf plant above is C. purpurescens which blooms in mid-summer.

Most will self sow when happy and you can see in the second to last photo that C. coum is very happy! I have seedlings coming up all over that bed!

There are also a few non-hardy types for the sunny windowsill. While the common C. persicum can be found almost everywhere now you should give a few of the rarer ones a try. Most need to be started from seed which can be found on many of the specialist plant society seed exchanges or purchased from a few specialty growers such as Arrowhead Alpines you can see they even use a cyclamen leaf in the title of the nursery!

Here are a few of the plants I have started from seed or bought in already potted. The first is C. graecum a lovely thing I got from John Lonsdale with fantastic leaves. The second is the same but one I grew from seed. The third is C. rohfsianum that I picked up at a chapter meeting of NARGS a couple of years ago grown by a friend who says his has over 75 flowers on it this year! Mine hasn’t flowered for the past two years!! Don’t know what I’m doing wrong here but the leaves are lovely to look at anyway. The last is a C. pseudibericum also from John. It has the one flower on it this year and will be sending up beautifully marked leaves very soon. I have them all in a sunny east facing window. During the summer they are pretty much in a dormant state outside with no watering except what nature gives them. I repot them every 2 years or so and topdress them with a pretty gravel mix.

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Please gives these beauties a try. They are so rewarding!

Thanks for stopping by…..please leave me a comment and let me know about your adventures with the fabulous Cyclamen!

The fall plant sale at Tower Hill was a success. I didn’t expect to sell loads of plants as there wasn’t anything in bloom at the time! but I did have photos of each plant in bloom and so many visitors to my booth exclaimed at how helpful they were and that they added alot to my offerings. I also got lots of compliments on how healthy my plants were so that made me feel pretty dang good!

Following are just a few photos I took of my booth and it looks very much like my spring sales booth…..

I was representing the New England Primula Society again

I was representing the New England Primula Society again

I brought a small selection of Primula with me, non were in bloom at this time of course, but I did sell a few and talked up our spring Primula show on the first weekend in May at the gardens.

I had a few large Arisaema fargesii that caught people's attention and a few very tropical looking Sauromattum venosum.

I had a few large Arisaema fargesii that caught people’s attention and a few very tropical looking Sauromattum venosum.

Those large tropical looking leaves are from the Sauromattum venosum or Voodoo Lily. they are very easy to grow and increase quickly. I think they are hardy to zone 6 so I overwinter them in the pot in our basement with no water all winter.

I also had a few smaller plants of Arisaema fargesii & sikokianum which sold quickly. I have lots of seed pots of many Arisaema species growing as they are very easy from seed.

I brought my knitted accessories with me, and even though I didn't sell any there was lots of interest.

I brought my knitted accessories with me, and even though I didn’t sell any there was lots of interest.

I bought a hanging clothes dryer as a more portable displayer for the knits. It worked ok but I would like to find one made of wood and possibly vintage, but for now this one will do. the larger wood display stand my good friend made for me will go to The Blossom Basket in Middlebury where I work part time in the winter.  I did get a special order for a scarf from a nice lady that I am now working on!

My next upcoming sale will be at the Berkshire Botanical Gardens on saturday September 21st. The New England Primula Society will be holding their fall meeting that day with plans to work in the Primula garden and discuss the spring show. Please come if you can as I’ll be bringing a selection of Primula and their woodland companions.

Thanks for visiting and come back soon!

Leave a comment, I love reading what you have to say and I will always respond to answer any questions you might have

Next Tower Hill Sale

I just wanted to let everyone know (well, the few people who read this) that I’ll be vending plants and knitwear at the Tower Hill Fall Sale this coming saturday. It will be a great opportunity to pick up some rare and unusual treasures for your gardens from specialty growers like Garden Vision Epimediums, horticultural societies such as the New England Primula Society, a chapter of the American Primrose Society, that I will be representing with a selection of Primula plants, seed and a poster board that shows just how many different primroses can be grown in the gardens of New England. There will be a few area nurseries offering their plants as well.

Here are a few photos of my plant tables from the spring plant sale in June this year….

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I had the only red canopy….so it was easy to find me!

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The chapter has a few educational photo boards that show many plants from member gardens all over New England. It’s very impressive when you see how many species are perfectly hardy here. I also bring lots of of my books on Primula for reference.

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One of the Primulas sieboldii plants I brought that was still in bloom and not wilting from the 90*+ heat. So many of my plants were wilting from the heat, made worse because all spring we had so many cloudy and rainy days they were not accustomed to the sudden heat. 

And following are a few photos I took today of the trays of plants I’ll be bringing on saturday……

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From front to back….Primula japonica, Helleborus x hybridus, Corydalis cheilanthifolia, Huge Arisaema fargesii, Salvia koyamae and Dendranthema ‘Sheffield Pink’ all budded up.

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Again, front to back…. Saruma henryi, Primula polyanthus, Polygonatum humile, Iris tectorum, Polemonium caeruleum, Adiantum venustum. Pretty sweet assortment eh?

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Hopefully one lucky shopper will buy this lovely Arisaema fargesii with the ripening cluster of seeds! If not I will let them fully ripen, harvest them, clean them and sow them!

For more on collecting, cleaning, sowing and growing your own seeds stay tuned as that will be my next post.

Thanks for visiting and perhaps I will see you on saturday at Tower Hill!

I thought I would take you on a tour of the gardens to show you what is either blooming now or looking great and giving the gardens color at this time of the summer when it seems like the gardens are really winding down and not looking all that inspiring. Fruit & foliage can take on brighter colors and beter texture now as they mature so don’t forget those.ImageLycoris squamigera or Nekkid Ladies is a hardy bulb to zone 5. It pops up seemingly out of nowhere and overnight! The long strap-like leaves emerge in the spring and die back by mid-summer.

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Cyclamen hederifolium flowers are just popping up now. This one I brought back from my trip last year to Portland Oregon and the Seattle area. The flowers are pure white and the leaves will emerge soon with the prettiest silver markings and they will last through the winter! Hopefully I will get some seed to collect next year.

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In the foreground is Gentiana septemfida, a fabulous late blooming Gentian and this is the best it has ever looked! The rains of spring & summer have really helped bring on blooms to many plants this year. In the background is a Talinum calycinum and pretty succulent-like plant that seeds gently around and flowers for a long time.

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This is Campanula barbata that I grew from seed last year and it’s blooming for the third time this summer. Campanulas are so easy from seed and bloom very quickly after sowing…sometimes in the same year! The seed came from the NARGS annual seed exchange which I donate seed to every year and the selection on the list is fantastic! I look forward to ordering every year. I highly recommend all gardeners join the North American Rock Garden Society for the seed exchange alone…but go to local chapter meetings too where you’ll learn so much and not just about rock gardening. Find out more about it here…https://www.nargs.org/

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Another Cyclamen this time it’s C. purpurescens. A summer blooming specie that I bought from friend John Lonsdale a few years ago when he was a speaker at the Berkshire NARGS chapter in Stockbridge, MA. He’s an excellent grower with a fantastic web site full of the best photos. Check it out here http://www.edgewoodgardens.net/

ImageAnemonopsis macrophylla is one of the most beautiful late summer blooming perennials. The tall willowy stems hold blooms that are delicate looking but have lots of substance. They love good rich composty soil and I really should move them to a moister spot instead of under the large pine where the soil goes very dry. But they are doing well there and give me lots of seed every year.

ImageThe garden doesn’t just have to be about flowers! Here are the beautiful berries of the native wildflower Smilacina racemosa or False Solomon’s Seal. This great plant is all over the woods here and these were growing in this garden when I started gardening here so I left them in place and cleared all the other weeds, brambles & nettles out around them.

ImageHere is my favorite Astilbe! A. chinensis ‘Pumila’, a small groundcover type that blooms so late in the season, well after all other Astilbes have given up. It spreads slowly and blends with so many other plants in the garden that I’ve divided it many times and have it all over for that welcome color so late.

ImageMost Aconitums are in bloom now or will be soon. This Monkshood is A. X cammarum ‘Bicolor’. I moved it from a spot that was way too dry for it and now it’s doing so well! Aconitums are another perennial that is easy from seed. It just needs a bit of a winter chill for germination.

ImageWhat is redder than Cardinal Flower?? Lobelia cardinalis has got to be the reddest flower out there! I have this one planted next to the stream so it gets plenty of moisture all summer and winters a little on the drier side which it likes. I have two more plants waiting in the wings for a spot along the stream.

ImageNative shrub Clethra alnifolia ‘Ruby Spice’ is a fragrant late blooming addition to the woodland garden. If it got a little more sun it would probably flower more heavily, but I enjoy what flowers it gives me.

ImageWhile most ferns are taking a back seat at this time of year, this fern Dryopteris erythrosora ‘Brilliance’ is still front and center with the bright orangey fronds and the shinyness of the entire plant. It is a beauty and not very well known yet. All summer it keeps sending out new fronds with this coloration that fades to all green after a few weeks.

Well that’s what is still looking great in the gardens now. There are other things I haven’t shown like the Agastache foeniculum ‘Golden Jubilee’ that brightens up my small sunny border, or the many Hostas that dot the gardens and are in bloom now. But I hope this selection gives some ideas to what is still possible for the shady woodland garden to keep it colorful and pretty.

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