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Archive for February, 2013

Garden Design Workshop at Callaway Gardens and winter blooms

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Join me on Thursday, March 21 for a tour of two private gardens  and a design workshop

Garden Gate

On the tour, you’ll enjoy seeing the woodland garden of noted horticulturist Fred Galle in Pine Mountain, GA  which abounds in wildflowers at this time of year. The current owner has updated the design with meandering paths along a hillside and old mill race. We’ll also visit a cottage garden surrounding a turn-of-the-century farmhouse. Designed by an award-winning landscape architect, this garden not only reflects the owner’s plant palette but also the authenticity of the era. After the tour, you can shop to your heart’s content at the Plant Sale with me as your personal shopper.  The day ends with a Wine and Cheese Get-together.

On Friday, I’ll teach a garden design workshop, illustrating with examples from gardens across the US and England.  Last May I led a garden tour to England and I’ll share some of my favorite gardens and plant combinations  with you.  Bring your design and plant questions and take away ideas to apply to your own landscape.  For more information or to register call Callaway Gardens at

800-225-5292 option 5, option 2

Here’s what’s blooming in my own garden today, February 22, 2013

Euphorbia wulfenii

Helleborus foetidus

Helleborus seedlings


Veronica 'Georiga Blue'

February Flowers in my garden

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

I don’t usually think of myself as the jealous sort but when it comes to winter flowers like snowdrops, I confess that when I see photos where these jewels have naturalized in great masses and are thriving, the  single bloom in my woodland leaves me wanting more.

snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis in February

single snowdrop

Fortunately, I have success with other plants including hellebores, daffodils, daphne, euphorbia and even Edgeworthia chrysantha (having only one of these hardly seems like enough).   Supporting cast members at this time of year include poet’s laurel, Danae racemosa, Christmas ferns, hardy gingers and large evergreen azaleas I inherited when we moved to our property about six years ago.

daffodils in February

daffodils in February

It’s true that the weather here in Atlanta, like many other parts of the country, is predictably unpredictable, and yet, there are a surprising number of plants that brighten my garden in February.  According to the calendar, some are blooming ahead of schedule (whose schedule is the question) while others live up to the descriptions we read in books and on blogs.  Here are a few plants that please me this February.

Daphne odora 'Alba' in February

winter daphne in February

Helleborus x hybridus, hellebores come in all shades and are easy to grow.  Ideal for the shade, they also do surprisingly well in sun, just make sure to give them plenty of moisture.  Don’t be timid about cutting off tattered leaves, in my experience the plants recover quickly.  I enjoy the range of flower colors, white, pink, lavender, dark purple, green, maroon, and these are just seedlings.    There are numerous named selections too, some with high price tags, and while I’m certain many are garden worthy, my favorite is ‘Ivory Prince.’  I have grown it for four years and despite drought and heat, it thrives.  I plan to add more of them to my woodland.  I also like Helleborus foetidus with the unfortunate common name of stinking hellebore.  Don’t worry you have to get down on your hands and knees to sniff the flowers, but not to appreciate their lime-green blooms and interesting foliage.

Helleborus 'Ivory Prince'  in February

Helleborus 'Ivory Prince' in February

Helleborus x hybridus

seedling hellebore in February

Euphoriba wulfenii has been around for a long time and in my garden it moves around, a new clump appears and an older clump disappears.  Its texture, the color of the foliage and the chartreuse flowers all contribute to this perennial favorite.

Euphorbia wulfenii in February

Euphorbia wulfenii in February

Edgeworthia chrysantha , paperbush or Chinese rice paper plant, has survived in my garden for about 3 years, in spite of drought.  The unique fragrant blooms are a delight (blooming now )  and the spring and summer foliage are welcome in my shade garden.   I must admit that I am drawn to the cultivar ‘Rubra’ with its red tinted flowers and think it would be a welcome addition to my garden.

Edgewortia bloom in February

Edgeworthia bloom in February

Lecojum aestivum, called summer snowflake, is beginning to bloom in one part of my garden but elsewhere the foliage is just emerging.  Just reminds me that microclimate and source, (some of these I dug up from an old abandoned garden and others I ordered from Brent and Becky’s bulbs) play a role in when plants bloom.

Leucojum aestivum February

Lecojum aestivum blooming in February

Helleborus foetidus

Helleborus foetidus

Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ flower heads dried on the plant, appeal to me and offer a different perspective on the winter garden.

Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle'

Annabelle hydrangea in February

Bloedel Reserve-A garden for Four Seasons

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013
Reflections with pond and trees

reflections with pond and trees

As a horticulturist I feel especially fortunate that two of my best friends live in the Pacific NW, in particular Seattle.   Over the years (I usually visit at least once a year) we have hiked mountains and visited gardens of all types, in every season.   I should mention that while these friends don’t know much about plants (they like to make up names for plants we see when we’re hiking), they are both appreciative and most important, always willing to join me on a tour or plant adventure.

Mt. Catherine loop at Snoqualmie Pass

we enjoy the view, Mt. Catherine loop at Snoqualmie Pass

On my most recent visit in mid-January, 2013  we visited one of my favorite public gardens, Bloedel Reserve, located on Bainbridge Island, a short ferry ride from Seattle.   It had been years since my first visit which was in springtime and I was excited and delighted to see what the garden offered in winter.  “To provide refreshment and tranquility in the presence of natural beauty” to  quote the founder of Bloedel , Prentice Bloedel, when talking about the mission of the garden,  sums up how the garden made us feel as we strolled through the 150 acres which include a Japanese Garden, a moss garden, a reflection pool and the Bloedels’ former home.

Bloedel in January

Bloedel Reserve in January

Winter is a great time to appreciate the design of  a garden and  this northwest treasure shines in January.  The cold weather didn’t deter us although, a few more layers would have been a good idea (what did I expect in January in the NW?) and everywhere we looked there were beautiful scenes.  Rather than talk about why this is such an appealing garden I will show you some of my favorite images and hope they will inspire you to look at winter with a new or renewed appreciation.

Bloedel Moss Garden

Moss Garden with birch and hemlock

Bloedel Moss Garden in January

Moss Garden in January

Bloedel Reserve reflection pool

Reflection pool

Weeping Willow

Weeping Willow

Japanese Garden at Bloedel

Japanese Garden at Bloedel

path to Japanese garden

Path to Japanese Garden at Bloedel

Geranium foliage with frost at Bloedel

Geranium foliage with frost