Posts Tagged ‘plants’

it has begun

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

I’m weak. I started ordering plants for Spring last night. That is all.

5 vines i must have

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

The plant stalking for spring continues. This time up: vines. The more crazy and exotic it looks, the more I long for it.


Mina lobata “Exotic Love Vine”   an old fave. must revisit.

mina lobata “exotic love vine or spanish flag” |















Clematis viticella ‘Alba Luxurians’   so unusual. love.

clematis viticella ‘alba luxurians’ |














Vitis coignetiae (Crimson Glory Vine)   brilliant 10-12″ leaves!

vitis coignetiae (crimson glory vine) |




















Apios americana (Groundnut)  native. looks like a wonky wisteria.

apios americana (groundnut) |













Passiflora caerulea (Passionflower)   somehow mine got dug up.

passiflora caerulea (passionflower) |















Where will I put them all? Um… hmmmm. (Btw, I added a few others to Pinterest.)

plants + math = wow

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Have you seen these videos yet? Mind-boggling!




Pretty cool, right? I’ll post the third when it makes its premiere.


plants i’m digging for spring

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Thought I’d do this post for those of you who haven’t found me on Pinterest yet. Have been flipping through spring catalogs as they arrive and dog-earing things that catch my eye. This is what I’m drawn to so far…



Stachys lavandulifolia Pink Cotton Lambs Ear

stachys lavandulifolia Pink Cotton Lambs Ear |












Rosmarinis officinalis ‘Alcalde Cold Hardy’   COLD HARDY!

Rosmarinis officinalis ‘Alcalde Cold Hardy’ |












Lavendula stoechas ‘Purple Ribbon’  (Spanish Lavender)

Lavandula stoechas 'Purple Ribbon' |












or maybe this one?

Lavendula stoechas ‘Madrid Blue’ (also Spanish)

Lavandula stoechas 'Madrid Blue'  |












Monardella macrantha ‘Marian Sampson’   Freaky!

Monardella macrantha 'Marian Sampson' |












Bouteloua gracilis ‘Blond Ambition’ (Blue Grama Grass)

Bouteloua gracilis ‘Blond Ambition’ (Blue Grama Grass) |












Salvia greggii ‘Wild Thing’  Love the one I got last year so much I must have more.

Salvia greggii 'Wild Thing' |











Euphorbia ‘Blue Haze’

Euphorbia 'Blue Haze' |












Hesperaloe parviflora Perpa ‘Brakelights’   A red yucca!!

Hesperaloe parviflora Perpa ‘Brakelights’ |












Pterocephalus depressus (Carpeting Pincushion Flower)

Pterocephalus depressus (Carpeting Pincushion Flower) |













Monarda ‘Lambada’   whoa. that’s a bee balm?!

Monarda ‘Lambada’ |













Euphorbia polychroma ‘Bonfire’  the machines killed most of mine.

Euphorbia polychroma ‘Bonfire’ |














Tricyrtis ‘Blue Wonder’ Toad Lily  love. need a few more of these.

Tricyrtis ‘Blue Wonder’ (Japanese Toad Lily) |















Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Fascination’ (Veronica)

Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Fascination’ (Veronica) |














As catalogs roll in, you can expect more updates. I’ll cover vines in another post. Don’t want to wear out my welcome, ya know.


FYI: have been thrilled with many a plant purchased online from the companies above and I’ll buy that way again, fo shizzle.

last gasps

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Mid-December in the garden. You can tell we’ve been spared an early winter because the strawberry plants are just now turning color…





















The lavender and rosemary are still happy, but the rosemary’s unlikely to make it through January…





















Somehow, the Nicotiana (Flowering Tobacco) is still making flowers…





















Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ is psyched about the cooler temperatures, as is Dryopteris erythrosora ‘Brilliance’ (Autumn Fern)…





















All three of the Cynara cardunculus (Cardoons) are growing like mad…





















The Ratibida columnifera (Mexican Hat or prairie coneflowers) recently bloomed again…





















And the bottlebrush flowers on the Sanguisorba tenuifolia ‘Alba’ (Great Burnet) are still hanging in there. Believe it or not, I spotted a few local die-hard honeybees on it just last week…





















As usual, Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’ is going gangbusters. Temperature doesn’t seem to affect it much. Although it hasn’t taken on its typical fall coloring yet…





















New growth on the Acanthus molls (Bear’s Breeches) is about 3′ across now…





















My poppies are suddenly popping up again. And the Conradina verticulata (White Cumberland Rosemary), Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’ (Blue Fescue), Origanum libanoticum (Cascading Ornamental Oregano) and Euphorbia myrsinites (Donkeytail Spurge) are still green (click to biggify)…



Even though it hails from the Mediterranean, the Marrubium rotundifolium (Silver-Edged Horehound) still looks good — though it’s missing its namesake silver margins. At its fee, the Thymus Pseudolanuginosus (Wooly Thyme) is still thriving…





















Turns out that if I wanted to, I could make holiday mojitos. The mint is still happy…





















After I shot this, I ate the last two (wimpy-looking) raspberries…





















Nom nom nom. That’s pretty much it for the season.

bamBOO! happy halloween

Monday, October 31st, 2011

I apologize for that. And yet I’m not changing it. Oh well. So out front sits a fresh mound of loam — 6 yards of it…

fresh loam












It doesn’t look like much until you start shoveling it. Then you realize it’s never-ending. So why the soil? I finally got around to planting the Phyllostachys nigra ‘Hale’ black bamboo that’s been waiting for its permanent spot. Quite a project. The hole is somewhere between 2 and 3′ deep, so it required a LOT of soil to fill it…

bamboo planting 1




















This is the 80 mil bamboo barrier that should (hopefully) keep the roots from escaping…

bamboo planting 2




















Try dragging that 70 lb thing down the hill and tossing it into the pit. No, really. Go ahead…

bamboo planting 3












I dug a trench for the barrier a little deeper than the hole. Then David and I ran the sheet around the oval…

bamboo planting 4












Stainless steel clamps run up both sides of the overlapping barrier to ensure that the bamboo roots don’t sneak out…

bamboo planting 5




















Yes, there were nuts and bolts and power tools involved…

bamboo planting 6




















And now the Hale is happily in its new home below the retaining wall, where it should be safe from strong winter winds…

bamboo planting 7












Luckily, I got it in the ground right before the temperatures dropped below freezing this weekend. Nothing like the last minute. Now I’d better get outside and move the remaining 4 yards of dirt. Oy.

giganteus! oh my

Monday, October 17th, 2011

I’ve been known to stalk plants. This year, Miscanthus ‘Giganteus’ (Giant Chinese Silver Grass) has been my prey. I came across it last summer when I was stuffing my yard with other grasses — unfortunately, I only came across it online…

miscanthus giganteus photo by marcia sofonoff

miscanthus giganteus photo by marcia sofonoff















Wowza. Giganteus! More info here. You may have come across it while ogling Margaret Roach’s garden via A Way to Garden

miscanthus-giganteus-fall via

miscanthus-giganteus-fall via (best garden blog ever)


Gorgeous. But try to find it at a nursery. Impossible! Actually, that’s not exactly true. In July, I finally stumbled across it at Farmer’s Daughter in South Kingstown, RI, far toward the back in their display garden…

miscanthus giganteus at farmers daughter



















To look at, not to buy. But get a load of that stature! And I’m very impressed at how it stands up to the wind…

miscanthus giganteus vs. the wind












So after a little more research I found that you can easily pick it up on eBay (in season). That’s where I got mine this summer — cheapcheapcheap. Little known fact: apparently it’s been grown in Europe as a source of biofuel since the ’80s and it’s finally making its way stateside for the same purpose.

I really wanted to see this monster at work in a real-life garden — in person and not just online. So when I saw that Duncan Brine was opening his Hudson Valley garden to the public for the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days schedule, I was psyched. We were sooooort of headed in that direction anyway last weekend for a visit to NYC. It was worth a jog to the north to see what he’s done with six acres.

This stand of giganteus greets you on the way in (click to biggify)…

brine garden giganteus hedge












So what secrets lie on the other side of that 12′ hedge?

brine garden giganteus on the other side












Twisting gravel paths and naturalistic plantings. I love the way the giant miscanthus contains this garden.

And how about a zinc bench ringed by giganteus? Cozy…

brine garden bench in giganteus












I can so make this work, even in our urban garden. My eBay plants are still mere spindly stalks at around 6′ or 7′. They’re eager to get into the ground before winter…

my giganteus




















Can’t say as I blame them. Maybe this week?

Thanks to the Brine Garden and its lovely host, Duncan, for encouraging my obsession. And for not making fun of me for my stalkerish tendencies.

urban jungle

Friday, October 7th, 2011

So I drove to New England Bamboo in Rockport, MA on Labor Day Weekend to pick up my newest garden addition: Phyllostachys nigra ‘Hale’ black bamboo. Three hours of driving. I was home by 9 am. That’s how much I had to have it.

Over the last few weeks I’ve debated a few different spots around the yard but have decided to put it here…

hale black bamboo... testing how it looks












Once it fills in, it should help screen the patio from the street. In the shot above (click to biggify if ya like), they’re still in the pot. But when the crew was here last, I had them dig a good-sized bamboo pit about 2+ feet deep for me…

the bamboo pit from above



















My bamboo barrier just arrived. It weighs more than 70 lbs. Between that and the yards of loam I’ll have to shovel, it sounds like I’ll be getting a workout soon.

followup: how’s that hillside?

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

This is for you, Shiva, my dear!

MARCH 30, 2010

hillside: march 30, 2010 a disaster after historically heavy rains












APRIL 3, 2010

hillside: april 3, 2010 reshaped with new soil













APRIL 5, 2010

hillside: april 3, 2010 biodegradable erosion control added











APRIL 6, 2010

hillside: april 6, 2010 brand new planties












OCTOBER 4, 2011

hillside: october 4, 2011 first view












hillside: october 4, 2011 second view












hillside: october 4, 2011 third view/closeup of sweetfern




















Not completely filled in but looking fabulous. No more erosion issues. Yippee!

If you’re interested in the plant choices, check this out. FYI, we ended up putting the Cornus canadensis (creeping dogwood/bunchberry) at the top of the slope in the shade instead of on the slope in the sun.

harvest time

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

We plant 10 to 12 heirloom tomatoes every year. When they ripen, there’s no way we can eat them all before they go bad, so I save them for winter and spring when grocery store tomatoes are pale and mealy. Do I can them? Naw. I found an easier way.

First, I pick a few giant bowlfuls of deliciousness…





















I chunk up the biggest tomatoes but usually leave the cherry tomatoes whole, I seed and cut my peppers, then throw them onto a big cookie sheet (with sides) with a whole chopped onion. A drizzle of good olive oil over top. Salt and pepper. ..




















I roast a pan (or two) at 450°F for 30 to 35 mins until it looks like this and smells insanely good…




















After they cool, I pour it all into a pot and use a stick blender to make it smooth…




















If you feel strongly about removing tomato seeds, this is the point at which you’d want to push the sauce through a sieve with a big spoon. If you’re lazy like me, you leave them in. I usually chuck in basil or tarragon from my garden, maybe a few cloves of fresh garlic, and blend that in, too…





















So there it is, all blended and ready to divvy up into freezer-safe bags for the season…





















I label them so I know to finish the oldest bags first. Our freezer is already full and there’s about another month of harvesting left. Uh oh..




















Come January, I’ll have fresh-tasting soup, pizza sauce, pasta sauce and a good base for chili. Yum.


Before you ask, here’s our heirloom tomato list this year:

  • Green Zebra (2)
  • Brandywine (2)
  • Mr. Stripey
  • Sungold Cherry
  • Black Cherry
  • Garden Peach
  • Peacevine Cherry

I could not locate Orange Oxheart plants this year. Sadface. They make the absolute best tomato soup ever. Will have to grow some from seed in the spring.