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Sunday, June 24, 2018

Looking Homeward

 
There are a couple more interesting things from Dow Gardens, but I think it's time to return home for a while. First of all, let's have a show of hands from all those who thought I could refrain from playing with plants at home entirely. Yeah, I don't see any.

It's like this. The garden stores have now marked bedding plants down to 50%. So I came home with all these for only $6. I'll keep you posted on how it looks in a few weeks. This makes me smile every time I walk out the door.

planter with petunias and begonia

Yesterday on my walk I watched some redtail hawks circling. They soar with wings flat, but this one was actively flying. Just luck I caught this picture.

redtail hawk

Today, I drove to take a hike on the North Country Trail. Did six miles. The red pine plantation is always a magical place of light.

red pine plantation

Looking down, there was a forest of moss sporangia just as dense as the pines on a smaller scale.

moss sporangia

A male Ebony Jewelwing damselfly was playing hide and seek.

damselfly

Of course, I see this huge burl every time I walk this section, but today I took its picture.

large burl

It seemed as if it might rain, so I hurried back. No rain, but the humidity was high and I was soaked with sweat, so hopped in the shower. The sky has now cleared and lovely cumulus clouds are building across my back yard.

cumulus clouds

The mulberry tree is really loaded this year. Even though most aren't ripe yet, the birds are already going nuts! I'm going to try to capture some for myself. Maybe tomorrow. Certainly this week.

mulberry fruits

In other news: I wrote a chapter in The Bigg Boss. I lamented over the fact that I accidentally overwrote all the edits I did the other day. I walked six miles on the North Country Trail (Hike 100 Challenge is at 34 miles). That doesn't seem like much, but it took all the time.

North Country Trail, north from Timber Creek to 8th Street and back- 6 miles total

See Adventures on the Way Home
See Ebony Jewelwing
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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Dow Gardens - Patterns

 
Plants will just surprise you over and over. There are so many variations! These are all leaves, or the coniferous variation called needles. I love how you can just study the patterns and designs.

This one was completely new to me. It's Korean fir, Abies koreana, variety 'Horstman's Silberlocke.' The needles recurve so you can see the white underside. It was stunning. I looked it up and read that it also has large blue-purple erect cones in season. I don't know how you can go wrong if you want an ornamental conifer.

Korean Fir Horstman's Silberlocke Dow Gardens

Next up is a Caladium of some variety. That's often called Elephant Ear. This was in the conservatory. It may be the variety 'Black Magic.'

black Caladium Dow Gardens

I gravitate toward dark plants. This is another version of coleus. I think the varieties are endless. They had a whole bed of this one with a white flowering plant around the edges.

dark veined coleus Dow Gardens

Finally, here's a spotted angel wing Begonia, Begonia carollina, possibly the variety 'Cecile.' My mother used to have one of these that got huge!

spotted angel wing begonia Dow Gardens

In other news: I did laundry, wrote a chapter, took a walk and tried roasted cauliflower. Let me just say that it was good, but I won't feel the need to do it again. An oily bowl, followed by an oily oven pan, and a lot of chopping. I'm happy enough to just eat the cauliflower raw.

See Dow Gardens - Texture
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Friday, June 22, 2018

Dow Gardens - Texture

 
You know I love textures! Here are four from the Dow Gardens. First is an ornamental, columnar white cedar (also called arborvitae). They are all Thuja occidentalis, but there are a number of varieties. I think this one with the "dancing" sprays of needles may be 'Hetz Wintergreen.'

ornamental cedar trees Dow Gardens

This is a Japanese Forest Grass, Hakonechloa macra, variety 'All Gold.' I'll bet in a slight breeze this just flows like water.

Japanese Forest Grass Dow Gardens

Begonias always catch my eye. There are SO many varieties and colors and leaf shapes. I have no idea what this one is. It was in their small conservatory. Almost nothing in there was labeled. It was more like just a storage space for plants that aren't hardy. But the texture of this one is fantastic.

begonia Dow Gardens

Finally, this is not anything rare at all, except it was in bloom. It's a foxtail asparagus fern, Asparagus densiflorus 'Myersii'. These began showing up in city planters a few years ago, and they are definitely a worthy addition to streetscapes.

foxtail asparagus fern Dow Gardens

I'm beginning to find some other things I might want to put in the blog, but there is still so much good stuff from Dow Gardens. I guess you'll have to come back to see what I pick next.

In other news: I spent the morning editing The Bigg Boss (15 chapters done), and then went out to distribute flyers and posters for our author event in the afternoon. Not my favorite activity by a long shot, but I got it done.

See Yellow Begonia
See Dow Gardens - Color
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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Dow Gardens - Color

 
There are so many beautiful individual plants I could show you! Dow Gardens is like a big flower show... the good stuff just keeps coming.

But I can't move away from it just yet. Today I'll show you some of my favorite pictures that exemplify COLOR. It's no surprise that several of them are coleus (now broken into two genera, so I didn't capitalize it). We probably all know coleus... it's that great planter specimen that features beautifully variegated leaves. They are a relative of mint, but without the minty smell. They are great for showy gardens because if you pinch off the blossoms, the gorgeous leaves just keep their beauty all season long.

Here are two varieties side by side in a planter. Everything from bright and splotchy to dark and geometric

coleus

How about the 'stripe-me-pink' oyster plant? This is a variety of my Moses-in-a-boat with colored leaves. Technically Rhoeo discolor or Tradescantia discolor (names are changing faster than one can keep up).

striped oyster plant

Back to coleus for an interesting salmon color variety.

salmon coleus

I debated whether to show you this one under "color" or hold it for "design," but you get it today. This is some variety of Clematis.

magenta clematis

Finally, we're back to another display of coleus. This one is in the colors I was trying to pair in my own flower garden, maroon and yellow. So I particularly like this.

coleus

In other news: My writing workshop ended today. Great stuff! I'll be doing a post about it on the other blog.

See Philadelphia Flower Show 2011 Coleus
See Oyster Plant
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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Dow Gardens- Naturalistic Landscapes

 
One of the things that amazed me most at Dow Gardens is the emphasis on trees. Designing with trees means being able to see at least 50 years into the future and imagine what those shapes and textures and tones are going to look like. I suppose there is software now that would allow you to do this. But when Dow Gardens was created, the designer had to see it in his mind. Maybe he would sketch his vision.

Today, I want to show you some naturalistic landscapes. I'm not calling them natural because they are all planted and manipulated. I'm not even sure the waterways are natural. Certainly the smaller ones on the property were created artificially.

landscape at Dow Gardens

Some, like the one above include manicured lawns. Others, like the one below just beckon you to come find a trail through the woods.

landscape at Dow Gardens

Hard to believe this is all designed and created for the effect, isn't it?

landscape at Dow Gardens

Here's another that looks completely "wild."

landscape at Dow Gardens

The textures alone make this one yummy!

landscape at Dow Gardens

I'm working hard and having a blast at the writer workshop. Tomorrow is the last day.

See Dow Gardens- Branches
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