Sunday, April 22, 2012

Brookgreen Garden Tour

This weekend I went to another of the garden estates around the area.  Like its English forebearers great estates were established here in the 17th-19th centuries, and also similarly, they are now the sites of some of the wonderful gardens in this area. From the website:
This was a rice plantation, one of the largest crops grown in antebellum times.

"During the Seventeenth Century, English settlers first came to the Carolina territory from Barbados and other Caribbean islands.  A plantation economy was well established on the islands, and the planters were looking to expand their holdings.  From the beginning, they brought enslaved Africans to work the new lands. The planters at The Oaks, Brookgreen, Springfield and Laurel Hill plantations (the four former plantations that make up the present-day Brookgreen Gardens) established family dynasties and were leaders of the rice planting elite during the antebellum years.  However, the success of these great rice plantations rested on the backs of the enslaved Africans.  As early as the mid-eighteenth century, a majority of the population in the Lowcountry of South Carolina were enslaved Africans and during the late antebellum period they accounted for almost 90 percent of the population in the region. They provided physical labor, skill and technology required for rice cultivation and production and infused the environment with their customs, traditions, crafts, and language known today as Gullah-Geechee culture."

Obviously this was a time of great wealth and fortune for a few, at the cost of freedom and hardship of the many.  

Today, its a sculpture garden
I was very taken with this statue and pool

Ballerina Roses and Daisies

Not all of the sculptures were classical!

What are considered weeds here have their own place!
Quite a bit of woodlands too

In the Child's Garden

Slightly cooler than Charleston, the tall snapdragons are still alive!

A scenic view on the walk

Love this pool

....a lot

The White Border (with Griffon)
One of the few copper statues

Foxgloves are at their height of glory

more Foxgloves

More snapdragons, with a larkspur or two

I think this is a Monsieur Tiller

The Muses in Fountain form

Another shot, it was beautiful
I was particularly taken by this sculpture holding a sculpture


Snapdragons, foxglove
Its a formal garden but many portions have that slightly wild abandoned look that I love

I visited on a stormy day, in the 'in-between' season... after the spring magnificence but before the summer abundance... but still it was beautiful and informative.  You need about 2 hours to explore the formal gardens, and an additional 2 to walk the nature walks, plantation/rice fields area, see the butterflies and the zoo.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Bumper Crop in Pictures

I missed GBBD, per usual, but its a bumper year for the Showy Evening Primrose (is there ever a year when it isn't a bumper year for those?) and the Star Jasmine.

So lets start with the Jasmine.  Last summer I decided to let the jasmine climb the tree on the corner of the fence.  This is what happens when you do this:

This is one star jasmine plant.  It is probably 30+ feet wide by 15 feet high.  And remember how happy we all were last year that this same plant survived a fungus that made it drop all of its leaves?  And remember me saying that it was looking rather pitiful, even though you all thought it looked fine?  Well, it has recovered.  Actually it still has the fungal disease but is slowly beating it.  Only about 25% of the leaves fell off this year.  And just to jog your memory, here's a picture of the same vine in May of last year, before massive climbing of tree.

And that same corner today:

Back to good health.  And behind the statue has filled in nicely too!

I know, its absurd the size of this thing in one year, and you can probably imagine the intensity of the scent around my house currently.  Okay, moving on to a true invasive, Oenothera speciosa, Showy Evening Primrose or Mexican Primrose.  I pull out about 90% of this each year.  I'm seriously considering putting in edging around it like you do bamboo.  Its sort of like that really pretty girl with the black heart in high school.  Its horrible and attractive all at the same time.  It will wrap its roots around other plants roots.  So they don't get any water at all.  Like it is evil.  Don't be fooled by these pictures.  You really really don't want this plant. 

In this next picture it is joined by a few of the plants I don't have cultivar names for.  That purple salvia is super cool...the stems are actually the exact same purple as the flower.  And those slightly peachy flowers are those of the "lowes nameless" miniature rose I bought last year.   The roses in the background for the most part are late bloomers and are about 2 weeks from full flush, and the foxgloves are out, and still standing this year, thanks to lack of wind and hail storms this spring.   The gaura is also a week or so from full flush, and of course, the hydrangeas who I loved dearly, kill me this time of year because they are so late to leaf compared to everything else.  Oh except for the echinacea, hands down the slowest thing out of the ground each year.  I swear its dead every year, but it never is.

But back to the point here: what I do love about it (the Oenothera), is that it sprawls so prettily... so few plants do this with any grace.

A few other shots from around the garden to round out the lot.  First the 'classic' (haw haw) red knockout rose with my cat, deet can and sluggo looking on:

And the remains of the first flush of the MAC rose.  This rose definitely suffered from both thrips and iron deficiency earlier in the year so isn't the prettiest its been, but still I'm not complaining.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Garden Missteps: "When Good Yards Go Bad" in my own backyard!

You'd think I'd have run the gamut of mistakes after these past few years, but I have outdone myself with a first time mistake that I'm surprised I lasted as long as I did without committing.

It has to do with color combinations.  Generally, I stick to the pink, light pink, light purple, blue, and white areas.  I have one potted Bush Daisy that throws in a shot of yellow but otherwise there has been no variance from this scheme. Ever.

Angelonia in the background doing what its supposed to be doing, last year.
Most of my garden is perennials and shrubs so you would think it would be hard to mess up and already 'set in dirt' color scheme that was working just fine, but I did.  You see, every year I plant one major flat of annuals: angelonia.  It grows and blooms all year no matter how sunny and hot it gets, and I have to say, it is the ONLY one so far I have found that fits that bill.  I buy an entire flat of it, and infill around the perennials that are slow to poke up.  I love it because it looks lovely all push over as those same perennials fill in, or upright it has a nice shape of its own.

Anyhow, this year I went out to get my flat and WOAH!  I saw this midnight reddish dark purple flat, and fell in love.  It was in the purple family, though redder than most of the bluish purples that I have, and I thought, this is WAY better than the white and very pale pink angelonia I have been planting every year.  So I snapped up the flat and headed home, quickly plopping the small squares all over my garden.

Nicely matched angelonia and pink veronica, yeah...last year

And now, my garden is a painted trollop.  I also purchased some pineapple sage earlier this year (which is already blooming thanks to summertime weather), and the extra bush daisy (europs) I buy for my Mom each spring, between the two it looks like my mac n cheese when to mardi gras.
And imagine...this stuff will get 4x larger. 

So the purple has to go.  Not sure what I'm going to do with it.  Right now I've lined up a few in some dirt meant to be used for something not reddish purple.  It doesn't match ANYTHING!!!  What was I thinking?  The pineapple sage is going too and those pots on the patio pavers...all to my Mom in one week.  She's got 5 acres of gardens, she can hide this stuff somewhere. Whew.  This garden is not me. Heaven forbid when those roses bloom.  I'm not sure I even like the pink anymore!

And onto another mistake I just did a few minutes ago.... pruning a rose that mixes in nicely with the star jasmine, snip snip snip, and I realize, I just cut the jasmine.  In the middle somewhere.  I guess I'll have to wait until tomorrow to see which part of the vine is no longer attached  sigh. Nothing like a dead bunch of jasmine climbing in with the rest.

Okay, here's a few pictures in the garden of things that look good.
Iceberg blooming by the front drive

Madame Alfred Carriere Rose by the back door

MAC a little closer
Million bells in a pot, that one purpley bloom is taunting me

By the ugly brown wall with new ugly 5" pipe
Star Jasmine perfuming every breath, everywhere
Oenethera, I hate this plant, but its pretty, and not garish. Just mega invasive evil.
I have some work to do.  Have you ever done this?  "Improved" your way into something that was better left as is?