Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Ponder This: Changes to the Bog

Well, shoot, I can't find any pictures of the pond from earlier this year to show how overgrown the gravel bog filterhad become with Colocasia, Louisiana iris and Blue Rush. (The Head Gardener says it might help if I'd tag the pictures when I uploaded them to the computer.) I asked my handy dandy pond guy, Justin Bristol of Pond Pros of Houston, to stop by and clean it out a bit ... the plants were large and well-rooted enough that I didn't want to risk injuring my back trying to get them out. A couple of days later, though, I decided I still wasn't happy with the way it looked, threw caution to the wind, and pulled up what was left. Then I went shopping!

A visit with the one and only Cramer at Nelson's Water Gardens in Katy provided the inspiration and encouragement needed to be more adventurous in my choices of plants for the bog. Cramer showed me a planting he'd done in a gravel bog at the nursery, using a variety of bedding plants and perennials, including torenia, scaevola and gomphrena. Incredible as it sounds, he also has an agave that's been growing in that bog for about 3 years. So I wandered the nursery in search of plants that I thought might be able to take the conditions ... when I was done, I had a purple-leafed coleus, a QIS Carmine gomphrena, a  White Swan Echinacea, and a scaevola. I also added one true bog plant, Dwarf Acorus.

I'm mostly happy with the results, although I do need something in
front of that pipe on the right. I added some smaller Louisiana irises
from my personal plant inventory and left some of the water

purslane already growing in the bog.

Here's a closer look.  The other thing I'd like to camouflage
is the black pond liner.  I wonder if adding some larger river rocks
at the back would interfere with the bog's filtering abilities?
And because it's so very lovely, here's a closeup of the 'Colorado' water lily, 
a gift from Jackie of Southern Post Journal.  Who's that pollinator hanging 
out on one petal?  
I'll do a follow-up post in a few weeks on how the planting does. Here's hoping it will be a positive report!

Monday, May 28, 2012

A Mello Fellow's Garden in West Asheville

Call it Shovelhenge ...

Or call it Dump Truck Park as the children in artist and gardener Christopher Mello's West Asheville community do ... the one thing you CAN'T call it is dull!  

This sign was all I needed to see to know that Christopher's was my kind of garden. 

He clearly shares my affinity for rusty stuff.   This waterfall was the coolest, most creative use of rusty metal that I've ever seen.  

He also shares my affinity for succulents ... combine succulents with rusty stuff, as he did in this planting, and it's enough to make me swoon.

The plantings in his garden, such as the classic cottage combination above, were a serene  counterpoint to the riotous garden art.

What really made Christopher's garden sing to me was the daring, the exuberance and the creativity displayed at every turn.  

I'm still thinking about it and pondering how I can bring more of that to my own gardens.  I did contribute something to his garden before I left, after seeing that a certain Tennessee gardener had left her mark! 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Where We've Been ... And Where We're Going ...

The Head Gardener and I have had precious little time and/or energy for blogging this past month.  Mother Nature hit the fast forward button and spring has rapidly morphed into summer.  We've seen 90+ temperatures almost every day this past week.  We live in fear of a repeat of last summer's hellatious heat.  

The HG and I have been in something of a plant buying frenzy, which is followed by even more frenzied efforts to get plants into the ground and settled before summer truly arrives. We could spend all day every day outside and still not be done.  It's hot enough that we usually call it quits between 1 and 2 pm.  

We're feeling not only the time constraints imposed by Mother Nature but those imposed by our upcoming absence.  A week from today we'll be in the mountains of North Carolina for the 2012 Garden Bloggers' Fling!  

Have we arranged for someone to water while we're gone?  Nope.  We're still cogitating on how best to handle that.  I think we're both hoping for a few timely rain showers.  Once there, we'll be too busy enjoying other gardens to worry overmuch about our own!

We know we'll come home to find a few casualties but plants are replaceable ... the friendships and experiences we'll share with fellow garden bloggers are anything but!