Archive for new iPad

Landscape Problem Solved

Posted in How to, landscape design, native plants, Shade Shrubs with tags , , , , , on July 25, 2012 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

20120724-154006.jpg‘Invincibelle Spirit’ and ‘Incrediball’ smooth hydrangeas massed at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.

Three things came together recently to help me solve a landscaping problem that had bothered me for years. First, I was reading one of my favorite blogs called Conrad Art & Glass Gardens authored by Larry Conrad. In a recent post he talked about his favorite combinations including one achieved by massing white and pink smooth hydrangeas. I have been interested in smooth hydrangea, H. arborescens, because it is very shade tolerant. I also like it because it is a native plant found through out much of the eastern United States, including Pennsylvania. The well known cultivar ‘Annabelle’ with very large white mophead flowers was discovered in the wild in the 1960s. It grows well in Maine and has proven to be quite deer resistant on the island where my family vacations.

20120724-185734.jpgWhite and pink smooth hydrangeas massed in Larry Conrad’s Wisconsin garden.

The second thing that brought me to this post was a landscaping dilemma at my family’s house in Maine. There is a perennial garden planted by the previous owners next to the front door. However, no one who uses the house wants to garden there. The native landscape is so beautiful we don’t need any added ornamentals. I had been wondering where to try Larry’s beautiful combination, and this neglected garden seemed the perfect place. I bought three pink and two white smooth hydrangea with the intention of emptying the bed and letting them fill it in.

20120724-195423.jpgSmooth hydrangeas at the entrance to the children’s garden at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.

The third contributor to this post was a visit to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. Donna from Garden Walk Garden Talk came to visit me in Maine, and I had to show her this gorgeous garden (among other Maine delights). In the fall of 2010 I wrote about my first visit to CMBG, and I will write a longer post about my recent visit later but right now we are discussing hydrangeas. Imagine my delight when we approached the CMBG children’s garden and found the hydrangea combination I intended to use lining the entrance. My project now had a professional seal of approval, and I couldn’t wait to get home and start digging.

20120725-113605.jpgInvincibelle Spirit’ smooth hydrangea at CMBG

There was a choice of which smooth hydrangea cultivars to use. The biggest determining factor was which plants looked the healthiest at the nursery where I bought them. Although smooth hydrangeas are extremely tough, taking both dry and wet soils, clay, drought, heat, shade, rocky soil, and almost anything else you can throw at them, I have found them difficult to establish if you don’t start with vigorous specimens. There are two pink-flowered cultivars: ‘Bella Anna’ and ‘Invincibelle Spirit’, which has been on the market longer. I have been told that ‘Belle Anna’ is an improvement on ‘Invicibelle Spirtit’, but the plants looked weaker and I don’t think you can improve on the ‘Invincibelle Spirit’ specimens at CMBG in the photo above.

20120725-113851.jpg‘Incrediball’ smooth hydrangea at CMBG

For the white smooth hydrangeas, I had a choice of tried-and-true ‘Annabelle’ and an improved version called ‘Incrediball’, which has even larger, to 12″, globular flowers. Although I wasn’t after larger flowers, I chose ‘Incrediball’ because the flowers are whiter than ‘Annabelle’, which has some lime in it, and because ‘Incrediball’s’ stems have been selected for thickness to avoid flopping when it rains.

20120725-120518.jpg‘Invincibelle Spirit’ and ‘Incrediball’ at CMBG

All the smooth hydrangea cultivars grow to around 3 to 5′ wide and 3 to 5′ tall in zones 3 to 9. They flower from June to September, but the dried flowers heads are quite beautiful through fall. They perform best in part shade, but will grow in full sun with consistent moisture. The straight species grows in full shade. They bloom on new wood so pruning in late winter is recommended to encourage vigorous new stem growth.

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20120725-122305.jpgMy newly planted smooth hydrangeas

As you can see from the two photos above, my new hydrangeas have been planted. I anticipate that they will fill in the whole bed and crowd out weeds. I am still working on the wall but am quite happy with it so far. I hope the trench along the front will allow us to keep the nasty, tenacious grass out of the bed. If I get really ambitious, I am going to fill the trench with mussel shells from the beach.

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This post is my second experiment with publishing a post directly from my recently acquired “new” iPad. Although it was a little easier this time and I mastered bold captions and links, I still had to call Donna in Niagara Falls to help me. I also took the final two photos with the iPad, and I think they turned out quite well. I am very impressed with the camera function on the new iPad, but you can’t truly appreciate the incredible resolution unless you have a very good screen on your computer, which I don’t. I think I would recommend an iPad just for looking at photos, that is if you can afford it. We don’t have internet access at the house in Maine so portability was a big factor for me. But the major reason I got it, 3G/4G capability is a huge disappointment, which I will explain at a later date.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: The nursery is closed until the fall. Thanks for a great spring season!

If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net. Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

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Row Your Way to Color with Annuals

Posted in annuals, container gardening with tags , , , , , , , , on July 14, 2012 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

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When considering containers for colorful annuals, you have an ocean of choices. Sure elegantly glazed ceramic bowls or terra cotta pots straight from Crete are wonderful, but the palette available is much, much wider as the photo shows. Any vessel that will hold soil and provide adequate drainage is fair game. Although I am not fond of used bathroom fixtures, I have been known to grab other people’s trash off the side of the road. Two of my favorites for use at my family’s house in Maine are discarded granite ware clam steamers and old wooden lobster traps.

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I found this very creative planting in a dinghy at Handy Boat Marina in Falmouth Foreside, Maine. Everything about it shows careful thought by a skilled designer: the plant selection, the container, the plant arrangement, and the setting. The window color is carefully incorporated, and the wall color, oars, and gravel all add to the charm.

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One design trick that really makes this planting work is cramming a lot of annuals into the available space. The season for annuals in the northeast is short, especially in Maine. You don’t want to waste time looking at a half-filled container while the planting “fills in”. Spending the extra money on additional annuals to make the container ornamental from the start is worth it. Or better yet, grow your own from seed.

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The designer has also used the classic “spillers, fillers, and thrillers” method of filling containers. Spilling out the front are purple, chartreuse, and tricolor sweet potato vines and silvery licorice plant. Filling out the body of the boat are orange million bells, purple and white petunias, annual begonias, angelonia, and white daisies. In the back are purple fountain grass and papyrus.

You can get great ideas by keeping your eyes open for creative containers whenever you are out cruising around. You may not have a spare dinghy available, but I am sure there is something suitable in your attic.

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This post is another experiment with my recently acquired “new” iPad, this time attempting to post on my blog directly from the iPad. I discovered that you can’t upload photos to a post using the WordPress site like you would when using a computer. The only way to do it is to download the WordPress app and use it to post from the iPad. However, so far, I have found that this app is not very user friendly. Since there are supposedly six new blogs being started every five minutes, I suggest that WordPress and Apple get on the ball to make blogging easier from an iPad. In the meantime, I won’t know what this post will look like until I hit the publish button.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: The nursery is closed until the fall. Thanks for a great spring season!

If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net. Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Facebook: Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post. You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information. If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

You Asked for the Long View Part 2

Posted in landscape design, my garden, Shade Gardening with tags , , , , , on June 20, 2012 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

Looking down the hill through the gardens on the back side of the house.  The ‘Butterfly’ Japanese maple is like a torch.

This is the sequel to the post You Asked for the Long View Part 1 in which I showed you all the gardens along the front side of the house.  I wrote that post to satisfy all my readers who have been asking to see the big picture of my garden.  I took the photos for both posts using my recently purchased “new iPad”, which has a highly acclaimed camera function.  After experimenting with it, I have concluded that the iPad does take decent photos but a lot of the reason they look so good is because the screen resolution on the new iPad is amazing.  Once I downloaded the photos to my PC, they didn’t look so fabulous.  The new iPad will not be replacing my camera anytime soon.

The view from my dry shade garden across the lawn to my production beds.  The gardens on the right were planted in the last two years to hide the neighbor’s hideous chain link fence.

Before we begin the second half of the tour, I want to comment on the odd gardening season.  Because the ground never froze this winter and March was so warm, everything started blooming a month early.  I kept wondering when this was going to catch up with us, and the answer is now.  There is not much blooming in my garden because it all bloomed early and later-flowering plants have gone back to their regular schedule.  If you want to see what the gardens looked like when everything bloomed together, view the amazing photographs in Julie’s Carolyn’s Shade Gardens post on her blog Wife, Mother, Gardener.

The production beds at the bottom of the lawn where I grow plants to sell at my nursery, mostly primroses, pulmonarias, and hellebores.


The tour starts at my dry shade garden where we left off in the last post and continues down the hill to my production beds (see two photos above).  From there, we turn to the left and loop up behind the house.  One route branches off to the right to meander through the woodland garden and the other goes straight up the hill past our deck.  It is hard to explain how it all fits together, but I will do my best.

The production beds are behind us, to the left is the water garden, which stays moist most of the year, and ahead is the back side of the house and the deck.  The lower entrance to the woodland garden is hidden just ahead on the right.

A closer view walking towards the deck.

We headed off into the woods.  This is the upper half of the fully shaded woodland garden.  All the paths are covered in white pine needles.

A closer view of the woodland garden: it peaks in early spring but Hosta ‘Sum and Substance’ is making a splash right now.

Still in the woodland but turning the corner to exit out the top entrance.

Standing outside the top entrance and looking back into the woodland.

Looking back from the patio towards the top entrance of the woodland with the yellow and gold garden on the left and the silver and blue garden on the right.

A slight detour to show you the patio.  You can see the yellow and gold garden behind the magnolia.

Looking from the patio towards the stone room where we make compost and store firewood.  Our garage was the carriage house for an estate, and the compost area was the manure pit for the stables .

We have backtracked to walk up the hill by the deck without detouring into the woodland.  The silver and blue garden is on the right and the deck/patio is on the left.

Passing the upper entrance to the woodland.

We call this hosta hill because we used hostas to colonize the eroded slope and get rid of the grass.

The upper half of hosta hill.

Passing the miniature hosta rock garden.

Looking down hosta hill from the top.

Turning towards the carriage house at the top of hosta hill.

Heading back out to the driveway where we started in the  first post.

I hope you have enjoyed the “big picture” tour of the gardens on the east side of the house.  Stay tuned for a series of posts on all the wonderful gardens I have visited in the last few months.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings:  The nursery is closed until the fall.  Thanks for a great spring season!

If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Facebook:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post.  You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information.  If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

You Asked for the Long View Part 1

Posted in landscape design, my garden, Shade Gardening with tags , , , , , on June 4, 2012 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

The entrance to the gardens from the nursery is down these stone stairs because a lot of the property is on the side of a south-facing hill.

I haven’t posted in a while due to technical difficulties.  I recently bought a “new iPad” and was very excited about using it to compose a post with long shots of my garden.  My current camera is great for macro shots but not very good for landscape photos.  The new iPad reportedly has a very good camera so I thought I would take a lot of long shots to satisfy all my readers who have been asking to see the big picture of my garden.  Unfortunately I have found the WordPress app that is supposed to coordinate the iPad with WordPress to be challenging—at least for this technologically unsavvy blogger.

A view of the bed along the steps from the nursery to the main terrace.

Giving up on the idea of actually posting from the iPad, I downloaded the iPad photos to my PC.  Another touted feature of the new iPad is even higher quality screen resolution.  That means, as I discovered, that the photos look fabulous on my iPad but pretty ordinary on my PC.  But having come this far, I am going ahead with the long view garden tour.  I hope you are all viewing it on an iPad and will think I am an incredible photographer.  For those of you on a “normal” computer, please don’t tell.

On the way down the stairs, we passed by the rock garden terrace and landed on the main terrace by the front door.  You are looking to the left towards the door.

Looking from the front door out towards the same beds.

Looking to the right towards the other end of the main terrace.

A wider view of the right end of the main terrace by the front door.

Looking from the main terrace back up the hill towards the rock garden terrace, which really shines in early spring but still looks nice now.

The view from the main terrace down to the bottom terrace and beyond.

The stairs from the main terrace to the bottom terrace.  Most of the flowers on this level are orange and purple.

The left side of the bottom terrace.

The right side of the bottom terrace.

Another view of the right side of the bottom terrace.

A closer view

The view from the bottom terrace down to the raised bed area where the birdhouse resides.

The stairs down to the next level.

The raised bed area was built as a vegetable garden but converted to hellebore beds when deer overran our property.  It is currently being reclaimed for fruit and vegetables now that we have a deer fence.

Below the raised beds is what we call the dry shade garden under an American hornbeam.  It is filled with roots and not much rain gets through the leaves.  Beyond this garden is lawn until you get to my production beds where I grow plants to sell at the nursery.

A close up of the dry shade garden.

Looking from the dry shade garden back up the hill.

That’s the tour of the gardens going down the hill on the west side of the house.  It is the sunniest area of my property—the real shade gardens are in the back.  You will have to wait for part two to see those.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings:  We will be at the Bryn Mawr Farmer’s Market this Saturday, June 9, from 9 am to 1 pm.  The following weekend we will have our final open hours at the nursery.  We close on June 17 until September.  Customers on my email list will receive an email with details.  If you are interested in receiving miniature hostas mail order, click here.

If you are within visiting distance and would like to receive catalogues and information about customer events, please send your full name and phone number to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net.  Subscribing to my blog does not sign you up to receive this information.

Facebook:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens has a Facebook page where I post single photos, garden tips, and other information that doesn’t fit into a blog post.  You can look at my Facebook page here or click the Like button on my right sidebar here.

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information.  If you want to return to my blog’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.) or to subscribe to my blog, just click here.

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