Sunday, May 22, 2016

A Few More Spring Treasures

Our cool spring continues to offer up its delights.  Plants are on my mind so much these days that I had a dream last night about using a rare draba as collateral on a loan.  Sick, I know.

Above is globularia velutina.

This is a slightly different form of silene uniflora than last week's.  It has the good taste to produce a light pink flower to go with its bluish foliage.

Campanula sp. (need to look this one up)

Seedlings of saponaria ocymoides that decided to bloom this year.  They self-seeded into this trough from a huge, now-deceased saponaria in the trough above.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Spring Just Keeps Getting Better

Erigeron leiomerus

Veronica rupestris purpurea

Matthiola trojana (yes, very weird-looking, I agree).  These are not faded, old flowers.  That's how they open.

Androsace sarmentosa

Phlox douglasii 'Lilac Cloud'

Silene caroliniana

Silene uniflora

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Spring Jewels II

The rain finally stopped today after what seemed like 7 days straight.  The plants loved it; this gardener...not so much.  Above is penstemon rupicola 'Pink Holly', a tiny evergreen shrub.

It seems to love its raised position in a full-sun, sharp drainage trough.

Genista sp 'Boz Dag', with its yellow pea flowers.  It's just a baby and should fill out more over the years.

Daphne x 'Leila Hanes' (front) and pusatilla pratensis 'Bohemica' (back).  The daphne is a showy sprawler while the pasqueflower is quite shy and downward facing.

Draba arabisans

Calycanthus floridus seems happy enough in a big hypertufa planter.  I'm sure it would be happier in the ground, where it could sucker and reach its true 12' x 10' potential, but I just don't have room for it.  I love smelling its pineapple scent as I come down the stairs.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Spring Jewels

A couple quick photos of some of my favorites this week.  
Above is daphne 'Lawrence Crocker'.

alyssum montanum 'Berggold'

anemonella thalictroides 'Cameo'

fritillaria uva vulpis

 arabis alp. caucasica 'Snowball'

potentilla porphryrantha

One of the many troughs.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Rock On

For the last couple years, I've wanted to do a dry stone wall workshop at The Stone Trust, a nonprofit group dedicated to preserving the craft of laying dry stone, in Dummerston, VT. This winter I checked their schedule and was pleased to see that they would be doing a workshop at the NY-NJ Trail Conference Headquarters in Mahwah, NJ, near the NY state line.  How could I resist a workshop so close to home?

Friday's workshop, which I missed due to work, was dedicated to the planning and prep work of the build.  When I showed up at the workshop on Saturday, the wooden frames and string lines were already in place, the stones were sorted and the gravel footing was laid.  We started laying the foundation stones almost immediately.  By Saturday afternoon we were a couple courses above ground level and started placing our through-stones (the long rectangular ones placed perpendicular to the wall in the photo above).  These long stones help tie the two faces of the wall together.

The instructors were patient with us novices, and the wall rose at a pretty good pace.  We each had out section that we worked on.  The above photo was taken this morning before we started work.

 The wall lies between the busy road and the trail conference headquarters, a beautifully restored 1891 schoolhouse building.

With about 25 people working for two days, we laid over 100' feet of wall.  Every stone is painstakingly mated with its brethren, with only gravity and friction holding them in place.

We capped the wall with some large, long stones to hold it all in place.  I capped my weekend with a couple IPAs and a hot shower.

May it stand for a century.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Draba Season

I like to think of the drabas as the daffodils of the alpine plants.  Their bright yellow is always a welcome sight in the raw weather of spring.  Above is draba novolympica growing on tufa in one of my troughs.

This one's draba lasiocarpa, growing near the edge of one of my troughs.

I'm cheating a bit to include these photos but I can't help it.  The next two are my neighbor Ray's, growing in a trough in his front yard.  Above is a draba sp.

In the same trough is this draba rigida.

Pulling back, here's the two together in the same photo.

Pulling farther back, you can see the Gothic-style hypertufa trough that Ray and I cast together a couple years ago.  It looks like it's been there forever.

In the same trough is aubrieta 'Royal Blue'.

In one of the four troughs on Ray's hellstrip is this cute arabis x arendsii 'Compinkie'.  I've killed it twice but am hoping for a piece of this clump to try again (I'm so lucky to live across from a better gardener than I am).  Hope the third time's a charm.

Lastly, here's saxifrage 'Petrushka' waving goodbye from one of the troughs in my driveway.