Everyone has been talking about the whirlwind spring and how late it arrived. I have found it extremely fecund when it finally did. But for me, the anticipation is usually as exciting, if not more, than the actual thing. So I couldn't be happier with its muchness and having to wait a little for it.
The peonies...so far...have been incroyable. Yes, a little French here necessary to really get the overwhelmingness of it all.
Let's face it... 50, well maybe 40, blooms on one Tree Peony are really a LOT of flowers
and I had SIX gnarled old-lookingTree Peonies blooming at the same time.
To begin with, the buds. They are the shapliest, the most comely - actually seductive - and they are BIG.
Never before so numerous, so fanciful or so fetching.
The individual colors are indescribably delicate
photo: Skye Marigold I love the way they nod before closing up for the evening. And burst toward the sun in the morn.
The tinges of color are just like little breaths...
there are those who might say... "Oh, what nice pink peonies"
But that would be missing the point, really, wouldn’t it?
Not to mention the hot magentas that the Japanese refer to as ‘blue peonies’
photo: Brian Craig
Another thing not to miss...
As I write – the LongHouse Benefit is only six weeks away. Just as the pictures on this screen cannot capture the breathiness of the peony colors, so, I cannot share with you in this digital manner the ethereal nature of the evening we are planning to honor Kiki Smith at our Benefit on July 18th.
If you would like a real invitation, one in which the very paper swishes and whispers making you want to fly away On Gossamer Wings, just send me your mailing address and you shall have one.
Come to LongHouse. The sixteen acres have never been more beautiful, there are refreshing new paths and gardens at every turn and the art has never been better and the Huffington Post included LHR on their list of places to visit on Long Island.
As life goes, along with the exhilarating highs there are the Garden BOO HOOs
The bigggest of which is the disappointment of disappearing favorites:
Last year it was my huge engaging Arisaema sikokianum that delighted everyone in its path for 4 or 5 years. Just when I had come to really think of it as my own - Gone.
It didn't just skip a year, it is really gone and to boot... where oh where is Calista Washburn’s gigantic leather-leafed prehistoric- looking Mayapple? Behold last year's...
Might not look like much in this picture, but that baby was 18" across and gleaming
Now nowhere to be seen (but she did dig a little baby one for me at The Garden Club Fair)
and so far...no sign of Lupine...not one and I had gone crazy and planted 8 or 10 big fat plants last summer.
Now empty spaces and no lupine
and...hardly a sign of Eucomis, until just yesterday when I spotted a few blood-curdlingly deep red new leaves
Fortunately, I was able to fill in a few of those empty Eucomis spaces with strapping new ones from LandCraft
Hot Plants --- always look for that enticing logo at your nursery. The stuff from LandCraft is really hot stuff ... and really cool.
But you know, planting anew never oozes the same thrill as nurturing your very own from season to season.
But enough boo-hooing about what didn’t happen –
What the spring did bring was breathtaking. This is how things looked on Garden Conservancy Open Day: The Big Picture:
photo: Ellen Watson
photo: Ellen Watson
and those of you who have tried in vain to get a Persian Fritillary to rebloom know that this was quite the show stopper
and for those of you who have not yet explored the exhilarating world of Fritillaria...this one is called Acmopetala
it is divine: on a two foot stem and it always sort-of looks wet Very exciting
That was May 10, and this is now:
The first of my V00doo Lilies have just emerged
look closely now
The fresh white leaves of a young Acer p. ‘Floating Cloud’ against the wall of white azalea and above Japanese fern ‘Ghost’
A few Farfugiums made it through the really rough winter, deserving high praise for their insistence... especially commendable is ever-faithful F. Leopard, although even Plant Delights suggests they are only good ground plants for Zone 7b and up
I beg to differ
A new cone on the Abies koreana ‘Silberlocke’ is cause for rejoicing
second branch from the top on the right...see it... stops the observant few dead in their tracks
AND...particularly of note here in Zone 7a... Lys’ fig tree ‘Brown Turkey’ is showing signs of life only because of her ever-tender wrapping
Variations on PURPLE
Allium ‘Akbulak’ (the very first to bloom) and Cammassia
Allium karavatienesse is purply-red and a really special one from Odyssey
This velvety german Iris purple with a big orange tongue is so out-there it looks fake
how about tie-dyed purple
or this really flash purple-fuschia honey
almost can’t-go-wrong Tulip combination
even better some times when singled out
and this tulip is called Blue Amiable, but it too is
And though it isn’t a bloom at all, as blooms go, look at the first exotic Jack-in-the-Pulpit of the season.
Its spathe serves the same sexy purpose as all other flowers, but it certainly has its own unique come-on . Even if you are not dying to know, it is Arisaema thunbergii subsp. urashima. Isn't it the muskiest, dustiest most divine purple of all?
To garden is to live...my motto. It is the gardening side of gardening that makes me feel that way, not so much the business side. You might have noticed that my Twelve Great Gardening Essentials have dwindled to about 6 or 7, as I make a slow dance out of this once-more-interesting commercial platform.
But if it is gloves or diggers or peeping sticks that you’re after...come to
There are still a few tool belts and diannebbest is still the conduit to the one-and-only hand-crafted monogrammed shovel made in Idaho by Farmer John.
Finnicky End-of-Spring Will Summer-Ever-Start Sale: 15 % Off on Everything
(but please, don’t just order one or two pair of Little Black Gloves – it’s just too much trouble to ship)
Oh yes, a Gardening Event of Interest begins this weekend and concludes in August... one of a kind. The Guild Hall Garden as Art Tour is the only tour that takes place at summer’s end, which means gardens have reached their lush fullness and of course edible gardens are at their frenzied peak.
This year's theme: Garden to Table has many events
Although quite pricey, The Co-Chair ticket buys a lot, (and after all, it is The Hamptons): two lunches in private places (one in the original Devon Colony, the other at the home of one of our coolest restaurateurs), one glamorous cocktail party at an East Hampton estate, a great symposium with five fabulous chefs and garden-style speakers, plus a knock-out garden tour.
Little Tip: Best way to water orchids, by far, is in the bathtub
how can I resist showing off Mother’s Day flowers in front of garden-picked tulips?
and sometimes I find the tiniest things irresistible... a brave little species tulip bursting through the fallen (and brown and mushy) magnolia petals after all the other tulips had said goodbye
and I continue to learn that if you have the patience to wait for the right things they will often happen... The striped-leaf lily-of-the-valley finally bloomed
AND – and this especially for all of you who trusted me enough to believe
in the impending bloom of the $50 Tree Peonies I imported from China five years ago (maybe 4) here is proof.
There were three flowers, all on the one plant that survived and no, not White with Burgundy Centers as I had promised, but they are GORGEOUSanyway
But I promise, I will never try to import plants of any nature from Asia, or anywhere, ever again...
One last blessing: This is our Church the evening of The Garden Club Fair, Memorial Day May 2015. The Fair was held next door on old Mulford Farm (which I must give Ralph Lauren credit for paying to have much of it restored).
This is a real picture. It is not fake or touched up. We live in Heaven.