July 1, 2014
I’ve been on vacation for the last three weeks (hello to my new followers!), mainly in the south of France, and I’ve been taking plenty of pictures.  Some of which I’ll post here as I catch up to things.  Though gardening wasn’t my trip’s focus by any means, I couldn’t help but notice how incredibly lovely and thoughtfully designed every single arable city plot and planter was, throughout the climates, from the Mediterranean to the mountains.  Watching the municipal gardeners in these places work was a marvel, with a level of diligence and care that simply does not exist here in our public spaces.  Quite simply, they give a shit, and it shows.
Further, they are more responsible with their entire ecology.  Here’s a sign from a particularly beautiful park at the top of Nice.  ”You are in a natural space”, the sign reads, and “out of respect for the environment, we are reestablishing biological equilibrium and not applying chemical treatments.”  They “encourage you to do the same in your garden.”  Wow!  I cannot applaud them enough.  This is taking the high road.
I take this in contrast to the signs I saw recently at my local park warning about applications of herbicides for controlling rhizomatic weeds that will just come back anyway, the mystery dust the lawn services spread on neighbor’s lawns, and the repulsive, acrid smell of toxic chemicals that putrefy every gardening aisle in every hardware store in America.  Obviously, France has problems of its own that I’m sure I don’t know about as an outsider, but in general I find evidence of a greater appreciation for the big picture.  And in gardening, there’s nothing more important.

I’ve been on vacation for the last three weeks (hello to my new followers!), mainly in the south of France, and I’ve been taking plenty of pictures.  Some of which I’ll post here as I catch up to things.  Though gardening wasn’t my trip’s focus by any means, I couldn’t help but notice how incredibly lovely and thoughtfully designed every single arable city plot and planter was, throughout the climates, from the Mediterranean to the mountains.  Watching the municipal gardeners in these places work was a marvel, with a level of diligence and care that simply does not exist here in our public spaces.  Quite simply, they give a shit, and it shows.

Further, they are more responsible with their entire ecology.  Here’s a sign from a particularly beautiful park at the top of Nice.  ”You are in a natural space”, the sign reads, and “out of respect for the environment, we are reestablishing biological equilibrium and not applying chemical treatments.”  They “encourage you to do the same in your garden.”  Wow!  I cannot applaud them enough.  This is taking the high road.

I take this in contrast to the signs I saw recently at my local park warning about applications of herbicides for controlling rhizomatic weeds that will just come back anyway, the mystery dust the lawn services spread on neighbor’s lawns, and the repulsive, acrid smell of toxic chemicals that putrefy every gardening aisle in every hardware store in America.  Obviously, France has problems of its own that I’m sure I don’t know about as an outsider, but in general I find evidence of a greater appreciation for the big picture.  And in gardening, there’s nothing more important.

June 24, 2014
In which I try to get my clematis to climb the bark of my spruce tree.

In which I try to get my clematis to climb the bark of my spruce tree.

June 23, 2014
"Buddah’s Hand" is blooming super heavy this year.  Funny that they already look like what they’re going to turn into (in, oh, ten months or so).

"Buddah’s Hand" is blooming super heavy this year.  Funny that they already look like what they’re going to turn into (in, oh, ten months or so).

June 22, 2014
Maidenhair ferns (adiantum spp.) are something I would never believe to be hardy; so delicate.  And yet!  Here’s mine with 'Acer palmatum “Hupp's Dwarf”' and a random oxalis.

Maidenhair ferns (adiantum spp.) are something I would never believe to be hardy; so delicate.  And yet!  Here’s mine with 'Acer palmatum “Hupp's Dwarf”' and a random oxalis.

June 21, 2014
Cannas are getting harder to come by.  My usual catalog source now only sells a fraction of what they used to, as virus has become a serious problem for the species.  On top of that, I thought I had lost all of mine during the long and cold winter, as they’re really only marginally hardy here (especially in a pot, even protected).  Lo and behold, the lone survivor (canna ‘Stugart’)!

Cannas are getting harder to come by.  My usual catalog source now only sells a fraction of what they used to, as virus has become a serious problem for the species.  On top of that, I thought I had lost all of mine during the long and cold winter, as they’re really only marginally hardy here (especially in a pot, even protected).  Lo and behold, the lone survivor (canna ‘Stugart’)!

June 20, 2014
So, I’ve been trying to establish a creeping thyme “lawn” for a bit now, and this year is that closest I’ve gotten so far!  As you can see, it’s not quite weed-proof, but it is totally walkable.  Indeed, when you do so, the whole yard smells like thyme!  I may cut it later in the season to even out the height (I have two different varieties here; not really by choice, but more due to availability of starts and seed), but other than that, it really takes care of itself, never needs to be watered, and seems to be spreading nicely.  More on this, to come!

So, I’ve been trying to establish a creeping thyme “lawn” for a bit now, and this year is that closest I’ve gotten so far!  As you can see, it’s not quite weed-proof, but it is totally walkable.  Indeed, when you do so, the whole yard smells like thyme!  I may cut it later in the season to even out the height (I have two different varieties here; not really by choice, but more due to availability of starts and seed), but other than that, it really takes care of itself, never needs to be watered, and seems to be spreading nicely.  More on this, to come!

June 19, 2014
Eremurus is always neat (this is a ‘Spring Valley Hybrid’) as they’re huge, long lasting and bloom when little else does.  But in naturalistic plantings, they seem like they’re from outer space (in the best way possible).  Bonus: in part sun, they also become extremely twisty, which only makes them cooler IMHO.

Eremurus is always neat (this is a ‘Spring Valley Hybrid’) as they’re huge, long lasting and bloom when little else does.  But in naturalistic plantings, they seem like they’re from outer space (in the best way possible).  Bonus: in part sun, they also become extremely twisty, which only makes them cooler IMHO.

11:01am  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/ZF9otu1J8XmBY
  
Filed under: eremurus bulb flower summer 
June 18, 2014
Rhododendron ’Purple Passion’

Rhododendron ’Purple Passion’

June 17, 2014
Peony 2014, pt. 2.

Peony 2014, pt. 2.

June 16, 2014
Hosta ‘Praying Hands’

Hosta ‘Praying Hands’

June 15, 2014
Peony 2014, pt. 1.

Peony 2014, pt. 1.

June 14, 2014
Vinca minor and Athyrium Niponicum pictum (Japanese painted ferm) “Burgundy Lace”.

Vinca minor and Athyrium Niponicum pictum (Japanese painted ferm) “Burgundy Lace”.

June 13, 2014
Rhododendron ‘Purple Passion’ bloomed incredibly late this year.

Rhododendron ‘Purple Passion’ bloomed incredibly late this year.

June 12, 2014
A new heirloom (1884!) iris in my garden: 'Gracchus'. It is perhaps only a foot tall, but it draws attention like a spotlight.  It is also fragrant, though not strongly so.  But, if you put your nose to it, you would swear it was a tarte au citron or something similarly lemony sweet.  Didn’t know that was possible!

A new heirloom (1884!) iris in my garden: 'Gracchus'. It is perhaps only a foot tall, but it draws attention like a spotlight.  It is also fragrant, though not strongly so.  But, if you put your nose to it, you would swear it was a tarte au citron or something similarly lemony sweet.  Didn’t know that was possible!

June 11, 2014

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