Friday, June 24, 2011

Dig In- Tips from Nettie at Uncanoonuc

Early Blue Clematis

Clematis ( klem’-a-tis ) is  an enormous, diverse  and often glorious group of plants. They are classified as either large-flowered hybrids or species. There are shrubby and herbaceous clematis, but most are woody vines.  Species clematis tend to have smaller flowers of various shapes, some with handsome foliage, others with decorative seedheads. The large-flowered hybrid clematis are the most familiar, prized for their stunning floral displays. Most clematis prefer a sunny exposure.  Plant in an area that receives at least four to six hours of direct sun a day. Some varieties have pastel colored blossoms that tend to bleach. Filtered light during the hottest part of the day would be appropriate for them. Clematis prefer a rich, moist, well-drained soil. Dig a hole at least  18” deep and 18” wide. Enriching your soil with a generous  amount of organic matter such as compost, well-rotted manure or peatmoss is highly recommended. Add lime if your soil is acidic. Plan to fertilize every spring with a balanced granular fertilizer such as 5-10-5.  Deep planting is important. Set the top of the rootball 2-3” lower than it was growing in the pot. Clematis prefer their roots cool. A mulch or under planting of a shallow-rooted plant will accomplish this.  Some gardeners position their clematis in such a way that the roots are shaded by a nearby shrub or rock.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

English Gardens- Snowshill Manor

I suppose that because, from time to time, I have been accused of being one myself, I seem to have a particular affinity for eccentrics.  And if an eccentric also gardens, so much the better. Therefore it only seems proper that I should begin the series on recently visited English gardens with one that was created by a true English eccentric.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Philadelphus Coronarius, Scent, and The Screwing Around with Botanical Nomenclature

We have a 10-foot Philadelphus (mock orange) growing at the edge of our drive which flops over a stone wall and has to be the most overgrown, straggly looking plant in the entire garden.  Yet, at this time of the year, I wouldn't trade it for any other because, with even the slightest breeze, its wonderful fragrance drifts over the entire property.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Guest Blogger- Maude Odgers

Although the summer garden is usually associated with pleasure and fun, there are certain dangers that all gardeners should be aware of.  In this post, my good gardening friend Maude Odgers cautions all of us who spend time outdoors to pay special attention to ticks and the associated threat of Lyme disease. Unfortunately, Maude has first-hand experience with Lyme and has spent the past several years both fighting and researching the disease.  She has made it her mission to raise public awareness with the hope of preventing the further spread of what can potentially be a very debilitating illness.

Maude's first encounters with gardening came in early childhood, when her mother gave her a small patch of earth to care for.  As a result of that experience she has carried a passion for nurturing the earth into adulthood and has been gardening seriously for the past 30 years. She holds a Master Gardener's certificate from UNH and, for over 12 years, has served as a dedicated volunteer with the Peterborough, NH Town Gardens, assisting with both design and maintenance. With the eyes of an artist, and a commitment to create beautiful spaces, she also runs her own garden design business, The Artful Gardener, in Peterborough, New Hampshire.

You can visit Maude's website at and, as a real treat, also visit her beautiful gardens when they are open through The Garden Conservancy's Open Days Program on August 7th.  Click here for more info on that event.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Plants That Endure

1903 photo of The Great Vine courtesy of English Heritage National Monuments Record

When I buy a new plant from the nursery, I always wonder what might be in store for it in the future; will I do something stupid that shortens its lifespan or, perhaps, will it be enveloped and displaced by native plants once this garden is given back to Mother Nature?  Plants that endure through the ages are rare and when they last for centuries, they are celebrated.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Something Borrowed

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 

During the gardening season, I try to visit as many gardens as time allows; there is no better way to learn about plantsmanship and garden design. And, if I see a particular plant or good design idea that strikes my fancy, I am not ashamed to say that I will often "borrow" it directly or translate it somehow to fit our own gardens. If there was such a thing as "garden plagiarism" then, I admit, I could possibly find myself in a little trouble. On the other hand, it was the English author Charles Caleb Colton (1780-1832) who first said "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" and since at one point in his lifetime Colton was the vicar of Kew (the location of the Royal Botanic Gardens), I'm assuming he knew a little something about gardening and thus also had the realm of horticulture in mind when he came up with that little ditty. That kind of reasoning probably wouldn't hold up in a court of law, defending against a suit of garden plagiarism, but it's good enough for a gardening blog.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Lilacs- Extending The Season

Syringa 'tinkerbell'

We love lilacs so much that we make every attempt to extend their bloom season as long as possible.  By using a variety of cultivars that bloom successively we can extend the beauty of their flowers, and accompanying wonderful fragrance, well into the month of June.
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