Tuesday, February 19, 2013


 I have to confess, there are times when I don't really like Camellias very much. Or maybe it's a matter of indifference. Could it be plant elitism ?  I know myself well enough to suspect the latter. Snobbery is so unbecoming ! Stroll around my neighborhood and you would be hard pressed to find a house that didn't have at least one -understandable since they possess many fine qualities. They are evergreen, they grow in shade, they bloom in winter and very early spring, some are fragrant, and an added bonus, they are in fact drought tolerant-mine receive zero irrigation in summer.I've never seen a pest of any kind bother them. They are the Sansiveria of the shrub world.  When I started my first Northern California garden in the mid- 80's I planted several, all of them pink with poofy peony-like flower forms.The rainy winters here soon taught me about Camellia petal blight;the ground beneath my plants was often festooned with slimy brown blobs that once were flowers. In bad years the brown blobs hang on the plant for awhile before they drop to become a pathway slip hazzard.

 Aforementioned  brown blobs. This Camellia was here when we moved to this house -it is small tree-size now , though I do a fair amount of chopping back after bloom. It booms for a very long time, but I dislike the color. This falls under the category of plants I tolerate because I would have to pay someone to dig it out.

 A couple of pretty pink numbers at the garden center last week.

Here is one that I actually like. In fact the last three I planted were white-I think I've decided it is my favorite Camellia color. I'm also partial to flowers with prominent yellow stamens.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Idylling in Maine

  Idyllunion 6 took place in 2008 , in southern coastal Maine. This was an exciting prospect to me; though I had traveled to Atlantic places a number of times, it was usually on business and featured mostly the inside of convention centers , meeting rooms and taxis. My childhood obsession with Rogers and Hammersteins'  'Carousel' bubbled to the surface as I envisioned lobsters, clambakes and sail boats.
 Our gathering began with a kick-off party in my friend Deannes garden , strategically located in New Hampshire to provide a good jumping off point for a journey to Maine.Viewing  photos of Deannes' driveway garden posted on Gardenweb was what led me to the Idylls in the first place, so an 'in person' visit was especially  meaningful . Readers in New England might wish to keep an eye on the Garden Conservancy web site, as this garden will be open this summer ; it is well worth a visit.

Our next stop was the Fuller Garden on the NH coast, which included for me the rarity of experiencing summer rain..

From here we mosey up the coast into Southern Maine where lobster joints are as plentiful as taco trucks in my town. Our gracious hostess welcomed us to her home and garden in Cape Neddick, and escorted us to some splendid gardens in the neighborhood.

 The high rent district...we gawk through the mist. I wish I had taken better photos at this garden, though the weather was a challenge. I was impressed at how well the garden preserved the integrity of it's seaside location..This homeowner clearly did not have many budgetary restraints.

Another private seaside garden at Braveboat Harbor.

One of the highlights of this trip for me was the visit to Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay. This garden was just over a year old at this point, yet it seemed quite mature. I am hoping for a return visit this summer..

 This beautifully designed vegetable garden at Stonewall Kitchen added considerable enjoyment to our lunch in their cafe.

   Seems like it took me forever to write this post, the weather here has been incredibly pleasant and spring is revealing herself in my garden. My computer workstation is only steps away from the back garden, and distractions have been numerous. Today as I continued 'fall cleanup'  I saw tulip leaves up, blooming Pulmonaria, and my roses (which I have not finished pruning) are pushing out foliage. The weeds are triumphant.