Monday, April 30, 2012


Recently, someone mentioned to me how they detested ferns and wanted them all pulled from their yard.  I shrieked inside knowing how much I love them.  Ah, the sweet little fern...they are either loved or ridiculed.

I've attempted to trace my fern adoration to the idea of magical woodlands and grandmotherly gardens (though I haven't experienced either).  Strange how I have no special memories of this plant, but have somehow grown attached to it.  Could it be it's strength and dependability as a shade plant, while still having a meek and delicate disposition?

Image on left source unknown and image on right courtesy of Letterology

Image courtesy of Robert Hasty Photography

Friday, April 27, 2012

Don't Forget the Trim

An essential part of the perennial border often not given the deserved attention is the front...the extreme front.  Often we jump into plants that are 18" to 24" tall in this location, but what makes this part of the border special is the beautiful trim of really short plants...those 12" or less.  I've been experimenting with this living trim for a few years and have discovered a few beauties.  One of them is Veronica x 'Waterperry Blue'. This plant only grows 4-6" tall and has an amazing blue flower in the spring.  The foliage also has a slight burgundy tinge making it extra nice throughout the growing season.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Garden Terms: Bosquet

A bosquet is a formal grove of trees...planted in a perfect grid.  These became popular during the French renaissance and provided nice shade for those enjoying the intricate parterres (formal garden beds) beyond.

Image via Wikipedia

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Geums are Jems

I discovered this flower only a couple of years ago and now cannot imagine living without it.  In early spring it pops out like orange polka-dots all over my zone 5 sunny perennial border.  The foliage is wide and round giving much needed coarse texture to the garden.  The flowers balance above about 12-18". There are many different cultivars, so I may be creating my own sweet little geum collection soon.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Green Roof Birdhouses

The Iowa State University Horticulture Club made these fabulous green roof birdhouses that they plan to sell this weekend (April 20 & 21) on campus.  They are so darn cute and will definitely keep your bird friends cool this summer.  

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Misty Memory

We have had a lot of foggy mornings lately.  This misty air takes me back to a beautiful garden trip I took to the east coast several years ago.  These amazing gardens, remarkably close to the Atlantic ocean, had this blurry, mystical appeal to them.  I felt part of another world, one that I wanted to permanently stay within.  Sometimes I think this blog is my way of recreating those memories...and hoping to fashion another world of enchanting landscapes.

Image courtesy of Lisa Russo Fine Art

Monday, April 2, 2012

Garden Thresholds: Gates

Have you ever thought about how one moves from one space to the next in the garden? The point at which you leave one garden room and step into another should be special...maybe even magnificent.  This transition point or threshold can include an arbor, columns, a break in a hedge or even a simple paving change.  Below are images of my favorite type of garden threshold...gates.

Image courtesy of Gary Heller Photography
Image courtesy of Baker Photography
Image courtesy of Gilding Lilies
Image courtesy of Chez Jolly
Image courtesy of Katie Lloyd Photography