front yard, makeover, overhaul, arbor

Just a quick write up this week, but I think you’ll love the photos- I found this front yard update over at a blog called Farmhouse Life. The homeowners wanted to get rid of the overgrown cherry tree which was becoming a maintenance issue and also find a way to create a screen the view between their porch and driveway. Here is what they came up with… Read the full post

It feels great to be home. For the past week and a half, I was on the road between Maine and Pennsylvania, Boston and Denver. Now, I am back. Feeling jetlagged but it is great to be home with my family in this wonderful Maine summer. This morning, I walked around the garden making a list of things to do and take care of for the gardens here at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. While I was away for a week and a half, many of the plants in the garden took off with the summer warmth. I always have a bit of skepticism when trying a new plant in the gardens, especially en masse. One plant that we used quite a bit of this summer was cape fuchsia or Phygelius rectus. Cape fuchsia is native to South Africa so of course I was skeptical that it would thrive in a cool, moist, Maine summer. But we have grown these plants before and since this is our year of focusing on pollinators as an overarching theme, I thought that these hummingbird attractors would make a nice addition.

Phygelius

When I left Maine almost a week and a half ago, the Phygelius were starting to flower. When I saw them today, they were starting to look spectacular. They may be somewhat small in stature (18-24″ in height) but the bright red flowers are just what the garden needs. The 2″ nodding, tubular flowers are borne on terminal spikes. Even though they have a common name of “fuchsia,” they are more closely related to foxgloves. The cultivar that we are using en masse is “Devil’s Tears.” This is reportedly the truest red of all cultivars. The best thing about these flowers is that they should continue to flower until frost. For us, that is over 5 months of flowering time!

Grow cape fuchsia in a warm, well-drained spot in full to part-sun. In a mild winter, Phygelius can come back from a winter dormancy here in our USDA zone 6a gardens. This past winter, our climates dipped to -7 degrees Fahrenheit and none of the Phygelius survived. After two wicked winters, we are certainly due for a pleasant, mild winter. I have high hopes that this will be true so that in 2015, our gardens will be covered with huge clumps of this gorgeous plant.

Phygelius x rectus 'African Queen' Ornamental Border 0613

Are you growing cape fuchsia in your garden? If so, which cultivar(s) and are you in awe of it as much as I am this year?

Rodney

Images: plantify.co.uk, Bradner Gardens Park

Did I mention I am in Brugge, Belgium?  Yes, I am here with my family on a much needed vacation.  But PITH + VIGOR’s indiegogo campaign doesn’t rest, so I am checking in regularly; working on all the behind the scenes networking that goes along with making this campaign successful, every morning before my people wake up and we head out across the low countries on our bikes.

(And I am taking lots of garden pics to share later)

But here is the big news:  WE ARE MORE THAN 25% OF THE WAY THERE!  Which is very exciting, but as great as that is….we still have 75% left to go.  Can you help out?

Of course if you haven’t already subscribed yourself – please do.  This is an exciting project that I truly believe will benefit every gardener in some way or another.  A strong community-building publication will be enjoyable to everyone with a copy, and it will help small businesses and local establishements thrive, and it will make the resources for all gardeners more accessible and successful.  Everyone wins!
Subscribe to Pith + VIgor Newspaper and Digital Magazine

If you are able to help out even more though, we have some additional incentives:

If you can refer more than $400 worth of contributors from your own network we will send you a signed copy of my upcoming book.  

or

If you are a business (or a blogger, or a Non-profit, or whatever…) and can refer $400 worth of contributions then we will give you a free directory advertisement in the first issue. (and if you can double that, certainly a much bigger ad is in order!….we will discuss)

Please help us spread the word - a community newspaper like this is best when it grows from grassroots support.

Share it on your social networks, send it in an email, blog about it – if you need help with ideas, images or content, let us know – we will send you whatever you need!

Here is how the referral works:  

First – Make sure you are logged into your indiegogo account.  When you are logged in, use the share buttons or if you prefer, you can copy and paste the web address of the campaign (so long as you are logged in when you copy) and either will allow us to track the contributions that come from your contacts in the indiegogo campaign monitor.  

Can you help us over the top?  

I appreciate everything you can do! – Rochelle

jerry galanti, backyard, design, makeover, before & after, dry landscape, hardscape, no grass, pavers

Hey everyone! I hope all your landscapes are thriving with color and curiosity during this first week of summer! It’s been a beautiful June here in Wisconsin– lots of rain, but nothing a good rain jacket won’t take care of. The flowers are loving it and it’s been nice to just let the garden do its thing. Anyway, let’s get onto the featured post! You may remember seeing Jerry Galanti’s work on the blog from time to time in the past. This week’s Before & After features a makeover out of Los Angeles, California. Jerry sent a few photos along with a quick write up about the project, stating that the homeowners had slightly different desires for the space. The wife wanted a clean and minimal look, but the husband wanted to keep his prized roses and vegetable gardens…2 very different ideas if you ask me! Click ahead to see what Jerry came up with!

Read the full post

You win some you lose some.

I’ve been focussing too much lately on where I am losing (I beat the woodchuck in my veg garden, only to have a bunny from hell move in). I also had a solenoid in the sprinkler break and I realized too late to save some sun-singed plants in that section.  I’ve also been considering writing a ‘bring out your dead’ style post – this past winter was brutal and my list of lost plants is easily twice as many as any year in memory…I could go on with my laments….

But instead, today I’m choosing to focus on the positive and as I looked around the garden — I realize that many of my biggest success were entirely unexpected, accidental, or the result of a hurried and thoughtless decisions. Figures.

Garden by rochelle greayer www.studiogblog.com

My favorite part of the garden right now is what I call the finger bed (so-called because it is shaped like an obviously giant finger).  I love grasses of all sorts and set out to create a great mix of them in this bed.  My intention has not turned out so great — I have a lot of grasses that can often all look too similar to be interesting.  But my boring overuse of grasses has been saved with some of my haphazard thoughtless planting choices.   candy oh roses, miscanthus, and dappled willow by rochelle greayer www.studiogblog.com

Proven winners sent me a couple of Candy Oh! roses a few years ago to try out…and when they arrived this bed was brand new and empty. Lacking a plan and generally needing to fill space, I plopped them in.  I have to admit, I wasn’t enthusiastic about them at the time – back then I was still in my ‘I hate roses’ phase (from which I have mostly recovered).  I look at them now and I can’t imagine how dreadfully boring this garden would be without them.  Oh, and that Hakuro Nishiki Dappled willow was a plant I bought sight unseen through the local conservation plant sale – and I hated them (I had bought three!) when they arrived.  Garish and ugly were the thoughts in my head. Now I think bright and beautiful….just what is needed to break things up, offset the red flowers, and balance out all the dark brown and black buildings and tall pines around here.  What do I know? – I’m just a garden designer….

Candy Oh roses

I can however pat myself on the back for one thing (that worked way better than I expected).  Last year these roses were decimated by Japanese beetles.  They turned into ugly skeleton bushes in a matter of a week.  I also had a terrible infestation of grubs and moles.  These are all related of course (moles eat grubs, grubs kill grass and become beetles,  - if no grubs, then no beetles, and no moles).  I bought a huge box of milky spore powder early this spring and spread it accordingly.  It is clearly working.  The squishy mole ridden grass has gone away and you can see there isn’t a Japanese beetle in sight (look at those pretty healthy leaves!).  Score one for the gardener.

dianthus black adder and geranium rozanne by rochelle greayer www.studiogblog.com

I noticed another happy accident that I am going to have to help along.  Is it me or do Geranium ‘Rozanne’ look really great with dianthus black adder?  They aren’t really mixed at the moment….but I am really loving the light purple and inky near black so I am going to have to give those dianthus seed heads a good shake around the geranium.  I suspect some silver leaves might really make things sing….We will see how this looks next year….

How about you — got any unexpected or accidental winners?

images by rochelle greayer

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Proven Winners.  I am not an employee of Proven Winners and all opinions are my own. See the other posts in this series

 

 

I’m having a flash back.  Today feels just like a launch day from back when Susan and I were publishing Leaf Magazine.  We would work all weekend and maybe even days before that and feel tremendously tired and stressed to finally arrive at the moment where it was time to push that final ‘publish’ button.  That moment never came easyily (and I never expect it will) – With each release we put together something that was compelling and interesting and that we poured our hearts into; so releasing it to the world felt huge and it always came with at least a little hesitation.

After months and months of planning and refining an idea, I pushed the ‘publish’ button again today.  But this was a little different than an with an actual magazine.  This is for a crowdfunding campaign (but geez – getting it together was a lot of work!!).

The publication will come later if this is funding is successful. Would you like to see another publicaiton like Leaf? I would – and that is what I promise to deliver with PITH + VIGOR.  The actual first issue will release later this year (September 2014).
I could not be more excited about this project. I have so much to tell you about it, but since I spent the last few weeks making this video (to do just that), I’ll let it (me) do the talking.

In order to get a copy of PITH + VIGOR, you will have to subscribe (This time around it simply can’t be free – it must be sustainable). Right now, the only way to get your subscription is through the indiegogo campaign ($25 gets you a whole year’s worth – 4 issues). Will you subscribe? – or perhaps even consider supporting at a greater level?

For your support, I simply cannot express my gratitude enough. Warmly – Rochelle

Go to the Indiegogo Campaign to Subscribe to PITH + VIGOR

p.s. if you have any thoughts, or questions about PITH + VIGOR – fire away – I am happy to answer!

061914before

Every time Drea and her husband Alex peered out of the window of their South Florida home, they were  met with nothing but this unsightly backyard view. But after what I can only assume was a lot of planning and time, things began to come together and soon they were greeted by a welcome view of a brand new backyard. Read the full post