Friday, April 29, 2011
Welcome all to the "Open Garden Today" this weekend April 30th and May 1st from 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. here at the M.H. Merchant Stone House in Cornwallville.
The gardens are all cleaned up, and all the weeding and mulching has begun. Some of the beds have been hit by a herd of deer and I have been battling a chipmunk who has been eating my pansies and beloved Muscari. But all the Daffodils and minor bulbs, which are critter resistant are starting to bloom and are putting on a sweet show.
I hope to see you all this weekend and talk about spring bulbs and gardening!
The Cornwallville Gardens
M.H. Merchant Stone House
459 Strong Road
Cornwallville, New York
Monday, April 25, 2011
What can I say about Pushkinia. I have never seen this early blooming bulb planted anywhere before. But when I saw a few of them at a big box store (of all places) called Lebanon Squill which actually is an heirloom from 1805. I snatched them up and sunk them into the ground last fall. I only planted about 15, but was I disappointed when they bloomed. I should have planted 150!
They are the most amazing sky blue with a delicate periwinkle stripe that goes down each tiny petal. They look like fluffy muscari that blooms much earlier when the crocus do. Even these photos don't do them justice, you will just have to plant them yourself and see. This summer I will be planting many more as they seem to be critter resistant to boot.
Pushkinia scilloides 'libanotica'
Sun to Shade
Well drained rocky soil
4" to 6" tall
Sunday, April 10, 2011
A simple spring arrangement of violas in one of my new moss pots I have been making like crazy. I love the smaller flowers of violas as they are so delicate and sweet. I also revel in the fact that they tend to reseed around where they are planted, so I am not so tedious about dead-heading them as I am with there fellow larger cousin the pansy.
Just look at that face, I can see there little eyes and picture them singing a jolly spring tune.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
A simple spring green for the month of March. This little vignette is sitting in our parlour on the stone coffee table. It contains two cloches that house two salaginella. They absolutely love the humidity they provide and just thrive there in the bright light.
This is such a great idea for someone who has cats that tend to eat their houseplants. They are protected and just look lovely with the condensation collecting on the inside. Unlike ferns that might need a breath of fresh air, I leave these fern like plants covered only lifting occasionally for the cleaning of the actual cloche.
I added some green covered books, one of my bird sculptures I made, and a tiny hummingbird nest I found to complete the scene. I hope you enjoy this and spring is coming, don't forget!
Friday, March 25, 2011
It is that time of year when the Daffodils are beginning to peek through the earth. I have been diligently planting Daffodils or Narcissus here at the M.H. Merchant Stone House now for 3 years and have planted thousands of them. Not only Daffodils but other bulbs such as Muscari, Allium, Scillia, and others.
So the "Garden Open Today" events will be a series of open garden days in which one can personally explore the gardens here and get a little tour.
Daffodil Days will be held on two weekends in April and early May from 1 p.m. till 6 p.m.
April 9th and 10th. Which will feature early Daffodil varieties and minor bulbs.
April 30th and May 1st. Which will feature late blooming varieties and other flowering perennials and shrubs.
Please make note that these dates are firm and depending on the weather you will see many different plants or perhaps none at all. Please feel free to contact me closer to the dates so I can inform you to what is happening in the gardens.
This is an organic experiment I am trying out and would truly love for all of you to make it out here and see the gardens in person as well as shake my hand, say hi, and have a garden chat.
I am also planning a mid-summer and late summer/early fall "Garden Open Today" program. Mid-summer will focus on my Hemerocallis collection as well as other great summer perennials. The late summer session will be geared towards the large gigantic perennials I covet as well as my "on-growing" collection of unusual tropicals. Dates will be announced soon.
I hope to see you all at some point at one of these "Open Garden Today" events.
Monday, March 21, 2011
It's not the only the first day of spring in Cornwallville, but the first day of spring everywhere, and boy it was a great one. After missing last weekend up at the house and gardens due to some personal commitments I was greeted by the first blooms to lay my eyes on after a long and snowy winter.
The Crocus were popping up, and the ones I planted a few years back in the kitchen landing were blooming like crazy. This variety which is actually a mix called 'Hocus Crocus' never disappoints. I have I.D.'d one of the Crocus with the pale white petals and purple streaks as Crocus 'Pickwick'. I will do a posting on the Crocus here in the near future as there is another variety or two still waiting to bloom. Stay tuned.
I spent the whole day cleaning out beds. Raking, cutting back perennials and planting early spring annuals were the tasks of the day and it was glorious!
To be out again in the gardens felt invigorating and humble at the same time. By 7 p.m. I was still outside working, tired and aching I crawled into the house and fell asleep to awaken to a disappointing spring snow.
Damn! I said to myself. Come-On! I could not believe it. I quickly calmed myself down and took in the situation. I knew that tomorrow would be 45 degrees and the dusting of snow would be long gone. There was so much more to be done but it would just have to wait for another day. The Crocus were still beautiful folded up from the lack of sun and the pansies planted in similar matching tones were perking up through the snow.
Spring is officially here and the time has come for winter to pass as much as Mother Nature sometimes wants to hold onto her seasons. They will always change, season by season, day by day.
Monday, February 21, 2011
There is not much going on here in the gardens at this point. Dreaming of Daffodils and Crocus is all one can do as well as going through garden books and seed catalogs. But there is one plant who one might think is associated with the holidays is in full glory at the moment.
Yes, an Amaryllis is the plant I am talking about. I plant these "holiday bulbs" every November, though I have learned over time that with the house being much cooler than most what might bloom in late December now blooms in February. So it is in this trial and error we now grow either white varieties or now this new favorite Amaryllis 'Moonlight' a soft warm white flower with a deep green throat.
Perfect for the onset of spring these white colored big beauties light up our home.
If you can find 'Moonlight' I suggest you try this variety. I can vision this plant in many decors and styles. I am definitely going to try to keep this one over for next season. It's a keeper!
Sunday, January 30, 2011
It's January and I can't help but think of spring. The decorations are away and the earliest of branches are being forced to bloom. I think the little bird above I created that states at his base Vernal, sums it up.
Above and below are some porcelain vessels that I made at my studio and forced some Forsythia in. Forsythia although, not loved by most professional gardeners is a bloom you can count on. I love that you can force it in December and continue all through the winter months to give you that cheery yellow as bright as a spring day.
The other winter show stopper here is Salix chaenomeloides or the giant Japanese Pussy Willow. These few small stems were picked from the mother plant in the shrub border out front and forced in one of my vessels with a flower frog attached.
This is just a taste of things to come folks. Old Man Winter, your days are numbered!
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
It was one of those snowfalls that you dream about. You drift to sleep on a calm winter night to wake up to the most magnificent fluffy snow that has blanketed the earth.
It stuck to everything in the garden from seed-heads to grasses and evergreens. This is the importance in my opinion in leaving plant skeletons for the winter.
There are two schools of thought on this. Some gardeners like a cleaned-up fresh look for the cold months, relying on evergreens for structure. While others like myself love the winter interest not only from evergreens but from all the bones that are left in the gardens. You can make your own decision for which side of the fence you sit on.
But then you would miss out on snow clinging to Panicum seed-heads above and perched on Echinacea below.
Although, there is no denying the winter power of evergreens. The Norway Spruce above was planted as a seedling by the former owner of the house. Now it stands as a major focal point in our winter landscape.
Below are a trio of Gold Cone Junipers I planted this fall in the main perennial bed. Though covered in snow they still stand out as winter figures.
So this coming fall when you are cutting back plants and getting ready for the next winter just remember by leaving some key plants standing in your beds you are gaining a ton of interest in a fairly bare landscape.