Welcome, Spring?

March 20th, 2018 § 2 comments § permalink

Camellia japonica ‘Imbricata Rubra Plena’ at Lyman Conservatory, Smith College Botanic Garden

The Vernal Equinox occurs at 12:15 p.m. Eastern Time today, but it sure doesn’t feel like spring. True, there may be signs here and there —increasing daylight, bird song, pussy willows— but the air is still chilly and a thick blanket of snow covers the ground. For a couple of weeks, I entertained the idea of jetting off for Spring in Paris, but it seems Winter has that on her itinerary as well. Ho well. Guess I’ll be hibernating in the kitchen with my citrus trees and humidifying my skin at Lyman Conservatory for a wee bit longer!

While Waiting for the Thaw: Tarty Lime Tart to Nibble & Blooming Books to Review

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Narcissus, Tulipa & Fragrant Hyacinth: Smith Botanic Garden’s 2018 Bulb Show

March 7th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Tulipa, Narcissus & Sweetly Fragrant Hyacinth at Lyman Conservatory

It’s 3:30 p.m. and snow is falling steadily here in Southern Vermont. The forecast is calling for 5-8  inches overnight. These late winter storms can really give a gardener the blues, but I knew this nor’easter was coming, so I prepared. Bread and milk? Oh, no, no, no. Tulipa, Narcissus and Hyacinthus, thank you very much. I skipped the grocery line and did my pre-storm prep at Smith College Botanic Garden’s 2018 Bulb Show at Lyman Conservatory . . .

Layers of Beauty: Narcissus & Tulipa Stepped Below a Regal Cycad in Lyman Conservatory

Gloriously Fragrant: Deep Violet Hyacinth with Osteospermum & Primula

Classically Arranged Tulips and Daffodils Surround Statuary, Backed by Columnar Thuja

Visiting the Smith Botanic Garden Bulb Show is great fun, of course. However, it can also provide wonderful design inspiration for your own springtime garden. I love seeing how the show is curated each year. With beautifully combined tropical plants and wild tangles of bare and blooming native branches, 2018’s Bulb Show is a strong thematic departure from last year’s Impressionist-inspired installation. The color combinations and fragrant selections were particularly stellar this year.

Bold Color & Texture to Inspire: Red Twig Dogwood & Pussy Willow Branches Combine with Hot Hued Tulips and Clivia at Lyman Conservatory

If you’ve popped a few daffodils in here and there, but never seriously considered planting bulbs en masse, visiting a spring bulb show or a large public garden in April or early May is quite likely all the convincing you’ll need. Looking critically will also provide evidence for why the creation of a well-considered design and planting plan is so important. Flower color, fragrance, form, texture, foliage and plant height are just a few of the obvious considerations when planting spring bulbs. Bloom time and length of flowering, moisture and sunlight requirements, drainage, foliage yellowing/die-back and perennial cover as well as nearby shrub or tree companions must all be taken into account. Bulb shows provide the perfect opportunity to spot flowers you like and combinations you prefer, in real-time. Take a notebook and use your camera to snap shots of plant tags as well as individual flowers and vignettes.

Stepping Up and Back on the Stairs to Observe the Drifts of Color in the Planting Scheme at the 2018 Smith Botanic Garden Bulb Show

Nothing compares to the joy of the first blossoms of springtime. If you happen to be in Northampton, Massachusetts between now and March 18th, 2018, I highly recommend a visit to the Spring Bulb Show in Lyman Conservatory at Smith College’s Botanic Garden. Visiting hours are 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM daily.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday extended hours 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM. The suggested donation is $5 per person. With so much fragrance and color, it’s like stepping out of a black and white film, on over the rainbow, and into the Land of Oz.

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Photography copyright Michaela Harlow at The Gardener’s Eden, all rights reserved. All content on this site, (with noted exceptions), is the property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used, reproduced or reposted elsewhere without written consent.

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Beautiful, North American Native Plants: A Springtime Garden, Gone Wild . . .

May 3rd, 2013 § Comments Off on Beautiful, North American Native Plants: A Springtime Garden, Gone Wild . . . § permalink

Lindera_benzoin_North_American_Native_Spicebush_michaela_medina_harlow_thegardenerseden.comGolden droplets of wild wonder: Lindera benzoin. Read about the sunny Spicebush here.

Although my garden contains a wide variety of plants from many different parts of the world, come springtime, native plants usually steal the spotlight. The earliest blooming shrubs and trees, as well as many of the flowering ground covers and springtime ephemerals, are North Americans. I believe that it’s important to create gardens in the spirit of place. This point of view is particularly relevant when gardening in rural locations; where the use of native plants not only helps to establish design context, but also helps to protect the native habitat by avoiding the inclusion of aggressive foreign, and potentially invasive species. When it comes to designing gardens, I think it’s lovely to go a little wild . . .

Viola-labradorica-ⓒ-michaela-thegardenerseden Lovely in flower and leaf, the Labrador Violet (Viola labradorica), is one of my favorite, native ground covers. Read more about this beauty here.

With so many gorgeous, North American plants to choose from, it’s possible to create a dynamic, four season design without using any foreign plants at all. However, a gardener needn’t be a purist to both protect and enjoy native plants and wild habitat. I like to combine both native and non-native (but of course non-invasive and non-aggressive), species in my garden designs. Pictured in this post are three of my favorite, early spring bloomers; all garden-worthy, North American natives: Spicebush (Lindera benzoin), Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) and Labrador Violet  (Viola labradorica). I’ve profiled the lovely, Labrador Violet, as well as the season-spanning Spicebush, our beautiful, North American Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), and other, native, spring-bloomers before. Click back to my previous post on ephemeral, woodland wildflowers (here), for more wild favorites and some great resources for planning a native garden of your own . . .

Sanguinaria_canadensis_North_American_Bloodroot_michaela_medina_harlow_thegardenerseden.com White stars adrift on the garden floor: Sanguinaria canadensis. Beautiful Bloodroot. Click here for more information.

Photography & Text ⓒ Michaela Medina Harlow/The Gardener’s Eden. All images, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you! 

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First Hints of a Changing Season . . .

March 30th, 2013 § 3 comments § permalink

Viburnum bodnantense 'Dawn' ⓒ 2013 michaela medina harlow - thegardenersedenApril’s Promise: Beloved Blossoms on My Bodnant Viburnum (Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’). Read More About this Beauty in My Previous Post Here

The first hints of a changing season: warm breezes from the south and silvery pussy willow catkins, soft against the skin, flirty pink buds on my favorite viburnum and the taste of sweet new maple syrup in a springtime cocktail.

Finally, as the snowbanks reluctantly recede, Spring has decided to make her fashionably late arrival. Of course we all smile in eager anticipation —watching her seductively saunter up the garden path— even if she always makes us a bit impatient in our wait. Hello gorgeous, we sure have missed you . . .

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Arnold's Promise' Blossoms in Snow ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina Harlow - thegardenerseden Sweetness to Melt the Snow: The Golden Blossoms of Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold’s Promise’ Sparkle Like Drops of Honey, Begin to Open in the Late Afternoon Sunlight (Read More About this Lovely Witch Hazel Here)

Pussy Willow Bundles ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina Harlow - thegardenerseden.comjpg Harvesting Pussy Willow (Salix discolor), Branches by the Armful. (Read More About this Delightful Native Here)

Shall we make a toast to Spring and all of her irresistible charms. Here’s looking at you, kid . . .

Sugar-Moon-ⓒ-michaela-thegardenerseden  My Annual, Frost-Melting Treat: Sugar Moon Cocktail (Click Here for Recipe)

Photography and Text ⓒ Michaela Medina/The Gardener’s Eden. All images, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you! 

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