Monday, March 26, 2007


When I lived in the east we would often enjoy the Rhododendrons which populated many of the wooded areas around which we would hike. They were large and somewhat lumbering specimens which seemed to thrive in the coolness of those sites.

The northwest introduced us to the term ‘Rhodie’, one to which I have finally become accustomed, and in our garden we have several of the evergreen varieties, one of which is Rhododendron 'PJM'. About 4' high, easy to grow and compact in structure, it requires little maintenance.

The mahogany colored fall leaves of this lovely hybrid have now been replaced by this year’s dark green foliage. Now in full bloom, the brilliant lavender-pink flowers flourish .

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Spiraea 'Bridalwreath'

Among the 80-some species of Spiraea is Spiraea prunifolia 'Bridalwreath'.

In general the Spiraea is an easy care plant and will tolerate many kinds of soil conditions. It needs lots of light for blooming, with the exception of the yellow foliage varieties which do better with some shade.

Similar to lilacs, prune after blooming for next years blossoms.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Ireland (Eire)

Erin Go Braugh!

Having researched my paternal and maternal genealogy, the conclusive evidence is basically, ‘I am  Irish’. And, there is a part of my heart and soul which speaks to Ireland.

As I think of this island my thoughts are of a landscape rich with fields of green to sandy beaches and rugged coastlines with craggy cliffs; a climate of winds yet gentle rains; shamrocks and the land of the Leprechaun; a proper pint of Guinness and Irish pubs; corned beef and cabbage and Irish stew; the literature of Jonathan Swift, William Butler Yeats, James Joyce; Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw; Gaelic song and dance and the fiddle; and who does not love Van Morrison(?); a country and its spirited people steeped in beauty and tradition and culture.

There are many Irish songs and poems which always seem to be offered in the spirit of love, fun, and a wish for well being. So just to "whet" your appetite, here are a few we enjoy:

Makes me chuckle:

Drinking is the only way to find out whether or not your neck leaks!

Perhaps one of the most familiar old Irish Blessings:

May the roads rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
And the rain fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand

... another blessing:

May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!

... and this beautiful Old Irish Wish

May the raindrops fall lightly on your brow
May the soft winds freshen your spirit
May the sunshine brighten your heart
May the burdens of the day rest lightly upon you
And may God enfold you in the mantle of His love.

To a blog friend "Rocky', who is Irish, and to you and yours, we wish you a happy St. Patty's Day!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Carrie, Magnolia, and Plum

Here is another version of the photo from Sunday, March 11:

Carrie, Magnolia, and Plum at Dawn.

(click on photo to enlarge)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Specimen Trees for Enjoyment

It was supposed to rain the past two days in the northwest; instead yesterday was a beautiful day for work in the garden, ranging from 50 to the low 60’s, perfect for trimming, weeding, and deciding where a few shrubs and additional ornamental grasses would be placed.

Currently it is 76 degrees! and as I wilt in the heat, the decision was to come inside to share the blossoms of the day with you. In the distance Prunus cerasifera ‘Thundercloud’ grows 20-30 feet high and wide and the dainty blush pink blossoms are now present until the deep purple foliage appears on this plum tree. A great shade tree, it loves the sun and the leaf color remains true throughout the season.

The Magnolia stellata 'Star' literally burst open today. White fragrant blossoms now adorn this 15-20’ high deciduous beauty and serves as a stunning backdrop to Carrie, one of our ladies in the garden. Should we get another cold spell accompanied by winds, which is likely, the blossoms will be short lived. Therefore, we try to participate in the delicate scent on a daily basis.

Close your eyes and try to imagine the wonderful fragance of this beautiful tree.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Spring Is Here

Corylus avellana 'Contorta

Filberts are grown for their nut production, but this species generally does not produce any.

One of our favorite deciduous trees, the contorted filbert, curiously named Harry’s Walking Stick, can be either a shrub or grafted as a tree.

Conspicuously planted at the edge of the garage and in full view from our kitchen window, the yellow-lime catkins dangle from the twisted branching pattern. The beauty is in the distorted nature of the species throughout each season. Not only are the branches unusual, but the leaves in summer are curled and wrinkled, and throughout the winter months the twisted stems offer much delight only to be followed by the current spring blossoms.

One other thing, the dried cuttings look great in an indoor arrangement as well as in the landscaping.


…a member of the Iris family, native to central and southern Europe and Asia, is one of the first signs of spring in our garden. Purple and in full bloom, the yellow stamen attracts a visitor. (click on the photo)