Delightful home gardens near Philadelphia

What a treat it was to visit several gardens in the Philadelphia/Brandywine Valley area that were actually personal home gardens.  Thanks to Marian St. Clair and Hortitopia tours, we got to see three of them last week.  This is where the real advantage of taking a tour with a professional pays off.  These gardens are not generally open to the public. david culp David is a garden designer, speaker and garden writer.  His recent book, The Layered Garden, is award-winning.  David…

Philadelphia – the birthplace of the American garden

I just got back from the most amazing tour of gardens!  I went with Marian St. Clair's Hortotopia tours with 27 other women to tour several public and private Philadelphia Gardens for one week.  What a great time! Philadelphia is truly the birthplace of American gardening.  John Bartram (1699-1777) was regarded as "the greatest natural botanist in the world" during his time.  He was a Quaker who's family farm was located just outside of Philadelphia.  Though he only completed a…

Visit Butchart Gardens!

In July I was fortunate to visit Butchart Gardens near Seattle, WA while visiting my son.  Butchart (pronounced like "butch" with an ART on the end) Gardens is actually located in Victoria, BC, Canada.  Every gardener should make a pilgrimage there once in their life!  How beautiful! The garden Butchart Gardens were started by Mrs. Jennie Butchart, whose husband moved to the current garden location in the early 1900s.  They moved there to take advantage of a limestone deposit on…

Summer of 2017 – Epic Fail

Well, I guess not "Epic" fail.  But the summer of 2017 has been one of neglect for my garden.  Now, not everyone will identify with this post, but I'm hoping some of you may be able to garner some encouragement and sense of camaraderie from me.  If your garden still looks pristine, read no further. To be fair, since the first of May I have been to California twice for one week each time, to Florida, to Honduras, to Seattle,…

Visiting Bellevue

While in Seattle last month visiting my son, I dragged my family to yet another garden - the Bellevue Botanical Garden.  While the most famous Bellevue is in New York and houses mentally ill, this Bellevue is for people who are crazy about gardening and plants, which would be me. From their website: "The Bellevue Botanical Garden is an urban refuge, encompassing 53-acres of cultivated gardens, restored woodlands, and natural wetlands. The living collections showcase plants that thrive in the…

Love Japanese Gardens!

The Kubota Japanese Garden is amazing.  I just returned from visiting my son and his wife in Seattle, and together with my husband they tolerated garden after garden with me during my visit.  I had visited this garden last winter, but summer made it perfect. The first place we visited was Kubota Japanese Garden.  A (free) public park since 1987, it was started in 1927 by Fujitaro Kubota, a Japanese emigrant. Today, it is maintained as a public park by…

Abelia is summer’s champion!

It's not your grandmother's Abelia anymore.  I have seen the varieties of Abelia explode during the last six years, and what a great thing!  And what a summer star it is!  I have three varieties in my garden, there are lots more out there. Abelia used to be difficult to incorporate into a suburban garden because it just got too big.  It would grow to over ten feet tall and wide.  It's leaves were lack-luster.  But new varieties have changed…

Get Nature’s Free Plow – Worms!

Worms are nature's free plow and a free soil test.  If you don't have them, you absolutely need them in your soil.  They add moisture and air to the soil as well as nutrients from their "castings" (a nice way of saying poop).  Worms burrow which makes it easier for roots to grow; they break down leaf matter and other organic trash and turn it into soil.  Water filtration is improved and soil ph is normalized.  Worms are virtual miracles…

Daylilies are So Cool!

Daylilies (Hemerocallis) are great bangs for the buck.  There is no way any southern garden should be without them!  The genus is hemerocallis - and daylilies come in all sizes, shapes and colors.  You cannot beat them for easy growing.  They tolerate any type of soil, will sit all day in the full sun or not.  They'll grow in clay, sand, wet soil or dry soil.  Daylilies will survive and bloom even in the worst dry, rocky soil. USDA indcates…

Roses! Yes, they will grow here!

Doesn't everyone love roses?  They make spectacular cut flowers, smell heavenly, and come in all shapes and sizes.  Unfortunately, the south is not a hospitable place for most roses.  Tea Roses, the ones that bloom so well and make such great bouquets, require nearly constant spraying for molds, mildews and pests here in the south.  For me, this means finding an alternative so I don't feel cheated that I do not garden in California. Roses can be complex.  There are Old…