September 25, 2018

Grand Garden Show Container Plantings

We saw many beautiful container plantings while at the Grand Garden Show on Mackinac Island in August.  The photo above shows a group of pots on the front porch of the Grand Hotel.  Tall papyrus, coleus, begonias, calibrachoa and trailing sweet potato vine formed dramatic compositions.

Here is a closer view of one pot.  I love chartreuse and maroon leaves together. 

This large pot near one hotel entrance relied on foliage with few flowers, and it's stunning.  Many of the containers we saw depended heavily on foliage for form and color, with flowers getting an equal or secondary place. 

This is another grouping of pots on the hotel porch, which featured dozens of pots and window boxes bursting with color set among a long row of rocking chairs.  Ornamental grass, coleus, petunias, and lantana were featured.

I would not have thought to put a group of pots in the middle of a stairway, but these stairs were so wide that it worked nicely.  This was one of the homes on the garden tour.

Another garden on tour featured these cheerful window boxes with begonias and creeping sedum above smooth hydrangea and elderberry shrubs.

These pots flanked the front stairway at yet another garden tour home.  Young panicle hydrangeas provided height along with coleus and begonias.

The row of shops in 'town' also boasted many lovely container plantings, including this restful grouping with browallia, begonia, sweet potato vine and ivy. 

The nearby window boxes featured a similar color scheme with browallia, lobelia, corkscrew rush and heuchera.  I'm such a fan of violet and lavender in the garden, so I especially loved these last two containers. 

September 12, 2018

The Grand Garden Show on Mackinac Island

Last month my husband graciously attended The Grand Garden Show on Mackinac Island with me.  It was a lovely experience all around.  The historic hotel was beautiful, the food was excellent, the garden classes were fun and the garden tours were inspiring.  As we approached the hotel, we experienced this long flower bed that was covered with hundreds of Monarch butterflies.  Unfortunately I waited to take a photo until the last day when it was raining and the butterflies were absent, but when the sun was out it was magical to see so many butterflies all together.

Here is a shot of a dozen butterflies on a single plant in one of the gardens on tour.  In this post I'll share photos of some of the gardens we toured in the afternoons.

Several homes on the west bluff featured bright annual gardens in front.  At the rear of the photo the Grand Hotel is visible.

This little flower garden was adorable.  I love the lavender salvia, mixed petunias and peachy-orange dahlias together.  The warm-colored petunias at bottom are Honey Supertunias, which I grew in pots this year.  They were good performers and you can see they add a new color to the assortment of petunias.

This garden featured many bright plantings of annuals among the green groundcovers, trees and shrubs.

As fun as the colorful annual gardens were, I found myself preferring gardens with shrubs, perennials, and plenty of green for a backdrop.  This hillside was lovely with several types of hardy hydrangeas.  Though we saw many smooth, panicle and oak hydrangeas, I didn't see a single bigleaf hydrangea.  I guess they have hardiness problems on the island as I do in my garden.

Here are some smooth or Annabelle hydrangeas with hostas at the entrance of one home.  Welcoming and relaxing at once.

This was one of the 'cottages' on the tour.  I kept expecting a butler to show up.  The architecture of the old homes was as enjoyable to see as their gardens.

Many homes had fewer flowers and more green space like this.  This garden was very peaceful.

Isn't this an interesting garden?   We were told there used to be a fountain in the center, but to simplify maintenance and keep the grandchildren safe, the homeowners filled it in and planted a garden instead.

A newly landscaped area featured impressive stone walls and stairs.  During the tourist season, no cars or trucks are allowed on the island, so landscaping is accomplished with horse-drawn quarry wagons and manpower.  During the brief windows when tourists are gone for the winter and the weather allows, larger construction equipment can be used for big projects. 

The perennial and shrub combinations at this garden were especially pretty.

I'll post next with photos of the many fabulous container gardens we saw at the hotel and in town. 

August 24, 2018

August Blooms

After years of slowing making room among the June bloomers, I finally have a decent August display of flowers.  'Millenium' allium, above, has been a beautiful long bloomer this month and well deserves all the attention it has received as 2018 Perennial Plant of the Year.  The honeybees agree, as you see above. 

I've realized that my northwest garden bed has become predominantly purple while the northeast area around the swings is mostly golden.  In the photo above the purple blooms of 'Thomas Edison' dahlias blend perfectly with the 'Miss Molly' butterfly bush.  'Millenium' allium makes a great, easy edger down at the bottom of the bed.

I planted eight 'Thomas Edison' tubers this spring, and it has been my most successful dahlia so far this year.  The TE plants started blooming early and have produced many large blooms.  I've learned to look closely at the flowers before bringing them inside as earwigs love to hide in the long petals, ew!

I really should have captured photos of the Lillium rubrum while they were in full bloom, as you see they're winding down in the photo above.   These lily bulbs keep making more flowers each year, and their fragrance is lovely and different from the typical Oriental lily scent.  This photo captures the hazy look we've been experiencing in recent weeks as wildfire smoke drifts through Spokane.  Last Sunday the air quality rating was 382, or hazardous, and we were all supposed to stay inside. 

Purple Dara Ammi (Daucus carota) has been so pretty in the garden and in arrangements this year.  I'll definitely grow more of this annual from seed next year.  In the photo above it plays nicely with 'Rozanne' geranium and 'Blue Chip' butterfly bush.

Some of my dahlias are in full bloom while others are just starting to make buds.  'Cutie Patootie,' above, is prolific with nice long stems for cutting.

Over in the golden northeast area of the backyard, Hypericum 'Magical Desire' is making really cool peach berries that blend well with the 'Chantilly Peach' snapdragons behind. 

I'm such a sucker for mophead hydrangeas, even though I have trouble getting them to bloom during our short gardening season.  I recently planted several new mopheads from Monrovia's Seaside Serenade Series, including 'Cape Lookout' above.  I also planted a blue or pink (mine is lavender right now) 'Cape Cod' mophead from the series.  They're gorgeous right now, but the real test will be whether they bloom well next year.  Despite transplanting my 'Let's Dance Big Easy' mopheads to more protected spots and giving them plenty of water and high-phospate fertilizer this year, the six plants have only produced a couple of flowering stems.  And my 'Endless Summer' and 'Blushing Bride' mopheads were relegated to the green waste bin years ago.  Fingers crossed that breeders have finally created a mophead hydrangea that can stand up to my climate!