Tag Archives: berries

Tour of the Garden – 9/6/17

Front walkway

It takes this deep into the season for the front bed to truly shine as the grasses emerge, fall foliage color subtly appears and late summer blooms arrive.


A step back from the same scene …


… and another step back.



Physostegia (Obedient Plant) ‘Vivid’

This mass started as only 7 small plants over a year ago. It has filled in at an insane level. I like.





I love me all different shades of green. I find this section of the garden soothing. Who’s with me?



Paralysis by analysis

I have stared at this scene for weeks now. I like it but I don’t. While it’s full and a good mix of flowers, foliage, texture, etc, something is amiss. I’m close to figuring it out but would appreciate your input.



Secret weapon

This section of the garden is going to be the best in a few years. You can’t see it now but trust me, there is a lot going on here and it’s all awesome. I can’t wait to share it when it explodes in awesomeness.



Seed heads

The seed heads on the Baptisia transformed to dark black this week. I like.




Leave it alone

This combo hasn’t been touched for three years now. That must be a record for me.



Delicious foliage color

Panicum and Amsonia. But you knew that already because I talk about it every week.




Turkey foot

Here is why Andropogon (Big Bluestem) is also known as turkeyfoot. You’re welcome.



Viburnum berries

The berries on the Viburnum ‘Emerald Lustre’ continue to explode. More than I’ve had in ten years of its existence. I like.





Fine, I’ll admit it. I don’t know what this white blooming plant is. I just know that I never planted it. It has fleshy stems that multiple like mad from year to year. Help a gardener out won’t you?




What the hell is that?

There are a bunch of Northern Sea Oats growing underneath this Itea ‘Henry’s Garnet’. It has created this bizarre mash-up that looks even stranger as the Itea develops its fall color.




The Chelone lyonii (Turtlehead) ‘Hot Lips’ typically look like crap by now. All of the flowers turn black and become an eye sore. Not this year so far. I like.




Do as I say …

For those of you who bought my book, I specifically pointed out that Lady’s Mantle requires some extra attention once the blooms stop and the weather turns hot and dry in summer. I should probably follow my own advice next year.



Viburnum berries

I love me some Viburnums
That is what consumed me on my ride into work this morning. And here’s why:  
They give you:
  • Stupendous flowers 
  • Phenomenal scents 
  • Gloriously lustrous foliage
  • Pleasant fall color
  • Mutha f’n eye popping berries (if you are so lucky)

For today, I would like to wax poetic on bullet #5 above. Berries. Can I get a “hell yeah”?

If you gave me the choice of berries or flowers on a particular plant, berries win about 78.9% of the time. Of course, getting said berries to even exist isn’t as easy as it seems. I am by no means smart enough to fully understand the science behind how they are produced (the male/female thing is a bit familiar though). 
To date, I’ve only once attempted to grow two different cultivars of a plant in order to produce berries and that failed miserably when both of the hollies I planted died in year one. 
With my Viburnums, I decided they kicked enough buttocks without berries so I didn’t even bother worrying about how to produce them. In the ground they went and that was it. 
Those beautifully colored orbs were nowhere to be found the first few years so I never gave them a second thought … until last year … when two of the cultivars produced berries like mad. Hot damn!!                  
From what I could gather from my research, Viburnums typically need overlapping bloom periods between two different cultivars of the same species and they need to be in relative proximity to each other in order to produce berries. 
*Disclaimer – I have no idea if that previous sentence made any sense. Please don’t judge. Also, I like run-on sentences. Deal with it.
And we’re back. 
Coming into this year, I didn’t want to screw up my fruit production on the Viburnums so I changed nothing. That strategy paid off, as I’ll show you below.
Here is Viburnum plicatum ‘Shoshoni’ at the end of April:    
And then in the middle of June: 

I can confirm there were no other Viburnums blooming at this time, and as far as I know, not another plicatum in the same zip code. So, not sure how this happened. But I will take it.  

Next, is Viburnum bracteatum ‘Emerald Lustre’ in early June:

And then in the middle of August:

Again, there doesn’t appear to be any sort of cross pollination going on here so not sure what suddenly  changed after years of no berries. I did read one comment somewhere that this cultivar may actually self pollinate (is that even possible, self-pollination?). Hmmmmm … little help here please?  

Finally, we have Viburnum carlesii ‘Aurora’ which typically blooms for me in the middle of April:

To date, this shrub has not produced a single berry. Maybe the waiting game will work for this one too.

So faithful readers, what have you experienced with Viburnum berries? Any words of wisdom? Just keep it simple so this dolt can understand it.

Thank you in advance.


Observations out in the garden this fine evening

It was a clear and cool evening here in Jersey for the first time in a long time and I ventured out with camera in hand.
Here is what I observed:
This one almost slipped by without me noticing, but luckily she contrasted well with the purple leaves of the Ninebark. Good looking katydid, eh?:
Um, is autumn really that close? Apparently that is the message the Itea ‘Henry’s Garnet’ is sending:

Not many have managed to slip by the deer, but the dark purple berries on the Viburnum ‘Emerald Lustre’ are incredibly vivid this time of year:

One of my favorite Coleus but unfortunately, I do not know the cultivar name. Just one of these in a container on the deck makes such a bold statement:

The Zinnia ‘Queen Red Lime’ keep pumping out new flowers and I am forever indebted:

Even after the blooms are spent and the petals have fallen to the ground, these Clethra ‘Ruby Spice’ still look damn good:

Enjoy the upcoming week my friends.


Let’s take a walk my friend

Knowing we are due for some serious rainfall the next two days, I woke my arse up early this morning and set foot outside into the foggy, damp and spider web infested yard. There may not be many photo opps in the foreseeable future.  
Some times a blog post idea pops into my head and after some serious reflection and self-editing (maybe one day I’ll tell you the ideas I passed on) I’ll take the photos to support the post. This morning I wanted to grab the camera and let the photos tell the story. 
As I write this post in a quiet house and drink my all worldly black coffee (big shout out to Grounds for Change) I already know I’ll look back on this morning in the winter and wish I could have it back. As much as I bitch and moan some times, there is nothing like a simple walk out in the garden in the early morning. Good f’n times.
This vignette caught my eye this morning – it contains fall color, persistent flowers and a kick butt ornamental grass. I like it:          

As OCD as I can be, I really do dig it when there is a surprise that defies all logic – like this purple coneflower popping up in the middle of Weigela ‘Wine and Roses’:

I never expected Tradescantia (Spiderwort) ‘Sweet Kate’ to still be blooming into late September but she is still blooming her ass off … and I thank her deeply:

Call me crazy, but I have always loved fading coneflowers, not sure what that says about me and don’t really want to know:

How have the birds left these alone? I wanted to chow down on them, spider webs and all:

More spider art:

Speaking of spiders, it is absolute panic time every September/October as the spiders make their way into our house. I have become immune to the sudden gasps and screams when the family sees another spider of gargantuan proportions. Without batting an eye, I grab a paper towel, scoop up the arachnid and put them back outside. The family then looks at me with awe and respect as they know I am The Protector.

One last one, the oats on Northern Sea Oats look awesome but I am so determined to limit their re-seeding this year. They caught me off guard and got me bad and I may have spent the better part of a month pulling the seedlings. Not this time:        

Have a great weekend!


A little bit of everything out in the garden

Things have been quiet on the garden front over the past week or so. It almost feels like the “calm before the blooming storm” as many of the perennials (coneflowers, daylillies, russian sage, phlox) are about to put on their show but they’re not quite there yet.

Still, the garden is always developing and there are new surprises even if it they aren’t obvious to the naked eye. This includes all of the new visitors to and fro; some wanted and others … not so much. Here’s what’s been going down in my garden ‘hood of late:

One shrub I have virtually ignored since planting it about three years ago is Hydrangea ‘Lady in Red’. I’ve never witnessed the supposed red fall foliage and haven’t had more than 2 blooms total to date. In fact, it has been difficult to tell the difference between it and ‘Endless Summer’. Well, this year it has shown some serious promise with multiple blooms and a more interesting foliage color:

Every time I am outside with the camera, I snap off at least one photo of my Hypericum ‘Albury Purple’. I can’t get enough of the foliage color along with the small yellow flowers. It is now loaded with berries so it stands out like no other shrub in my front bed:

Speaking of berries, my Viburnum ‘Shoshoni’ is also loaded with berries and the birds swarm to them like mad. I’d love to say that I successfully planted another Viburnum cultivar nearby in order to get these berries, but truth is, I have no idea why they have formed now after having nothing the first few years:

A bird photographer I am not. But I don’t let that stop me. I stalk them whenever I can and then try to figure out what I am actually taking photos of. My wife bought me a new book on New Jersey birds so watch out, a new obsession is in it’s infant stage:

I f’n hate bunnies: 
But really dig bees, especially when they are practicing their gymnastic moves:
I tend to lean towards the OCD side when it comes to my garden. I would love to say I like things a bit wild but that would be a lie. Reseeding has rarely appealed to me as it brings up nightmares of pulling tiny seedlings out all spring and summer. I am happy to report, however, that my purple coneflowers have re-seeded like mad this year and they have filled in beautifully – “controlled chaos” works for me:  
I received this Coreopsis ‘Star Cluster’ in the mail earlier this spring from Skagit Gardens and the first blooms have emerged. What do you think? I’m digging it big time: 
Thanks for reading!
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