Tag: Gardens

Outdoor Living – August Gardens

We’re nearing the end of the summer season and making every effort to enjoy our outdoor living spaces while we can. The days are becoming a little cooler and dryer, and of course, growing
shorter. The early mornings and late evening sometimes require a sweater. The gardens flourished this year with very little damage from the deer. One of our Beech trees, however, took a beating from the yellow-bellied sapsucker.

My Beech tree.

My Beech tree.

We lost a couple of branches, which saddens me. This is the tree I see first thing upon wakening each morning. Interestingly, the tree leaves turn brown in the fall, but remain on the tree until spring. They continue to flutter and entertain, hold snow and bear up under some pretty harsh conditions. Our arborist is coming to wrap the trunk and limbs in wire to prevent further damage next spring. I hope it works.

Notice the rows where the saplings pecked for sap. Above you can see one of the two limbs we lost :-)

Notice the rows where the saplings pecked for sap. Above you can see one of the two limbs we lost 🙂

We’ve gone about 85% organic on the property recently. It’s an experiment at this point. Dennis from Bren Landscaping and Masonry is using a citrus oil (and I’m sure there’s clove oil in there, too, a very distinct aroma) to spot spray the weeds. It kills them within an hour. What we’re interested in finding out is if it goes all the way to the roots.

Weeds treated with the organic spray.

Weeds treated with the organic spray.

Lacy went nuts over the spray and rolled and rolled in it. The aroma is extremely intense. I think she regretted her decision, because as we walked the property discussing other issues, she started rolling in the green grass seemingly to rid herself of the smell. She got a bath as soon as we went in and she has never rolled in the spray again!

Lacy

Lacy rolling in the grass to rid herself of the citrus oil!

 

Lacy

Lacy

I’ve also consulted with Almstead Tree & Shrub Care about going organic. We had a good discussion and there a couple of areas that he can’t guarantee that serious damage won’t be done to our pines (deer spray) and our wild apple tree (some kind of bugs) without a traditional spray. These sprayings occur very early (crab apple tree) and very late in the season (deer spray – protecting about 40 pine trees). I worry less about the dog in the grass at this time of year because our outdoor time is less in the yard and more at the park for walks. Also the pool has been winterized.

 

Crabapple tree that requires a non-organic spray.

Crabapple tree that requires a non-organic spray.

I made the choice because the dog, our dear little Lacy, recently had a growth removed from her chest that was cancerous. Fortunately, they got clean margins and she’s okay. Also, when I swim, I get water in my eyes and mouth and it just seems a prudent thing to do.

We have a huge responsibility to keep the grounds healthy. We’ve spent lots of time and money to bring it to its current magnificent condition and I would be loathe to lose anything. We’re hoping that the plan works and can be tweaked to our advantage as needed.

Some of the 40 pines on the property in the background.

Pool pavilion with some of the 40+ pines we’ve had planted on the property.

Planter speakers for the pool sound system.

Planter speakers for the pool sound system.

Pool and upper gardens.

Pool and upper gardens.

 

Pool garden left side.

Pool garden left side.

 

Front garden under master bedroom.

Front garden under master bedroom.

 

Driveway and stairs to the front entrance.

Driveway and stairs to the front entrance.

 

Burgundy-colored hydrangea.

Burgundy-colored hydrangea.

 

Backyard Garden at the Master Bedroom

Backyard Garden at the Master Bedroom

Backyard Rock Garden to the Left

Backyard rock garden to the left.

 

Backyard rock garden to the right.

Backyard rock garden to the right.

Outdoor Living – July

Selfishly, I was glad the weather wasn’t so great while we were away. I didn’t feel I missed so much of our outdoor living time, which is so limited here in the Northeast. I guess I paid for my
selfishness, because the 4th was relatively cool and rainy, followed by heat and humidity that was just plain unpleasant and then yesterday I sat on the porch wrapped in a blanket!

Today is a glorious summer day; mid-80s, low humidity, sunny and gorgeous. I finally put the pillows out on the pool furniture. Last week Paivi and Julie came and planted the annuals in the pots around the pool house and along side the pool. They add so much to the ambience of the outdoor living space. Three of these Palermo woven planters from Frontgate, which have a tropical look to them, go along the right side of the pool.

Three Palermo woven planters with annuals run the length of the pool.

We have stereo system built into the pool house. In addition to the speakers in the “rafters,” these nifty speakers are also planters – the sound comes from the bottom. They not only sound great, but look great.

outdoor speakers/planters

Outdoor speakers for the pool/poolhouse.

We’re ready for swimming, sunbathing, lawn darts, croquet or bocci ball!

Pool area

And, lounging around with friends, or just hanging with my little buddy, Lacy (9-year old Min Pin), and soaking up the beauty around us!

Pool house

And, of course, dining al fresco!

Dining al fresco

All of the gardens are filling in and so far, the deer seem to be doing minimal damage. I was concerned because it was so cold and the snow lasted a long time, which usually means that the deer are starving by spring. So far so good….

Rock garden to the left.

Rock garden to the left.

Backyard garden

Rock garden to the right

The Hydrangeas are doing spectacularly well this year after last year’s fiasco – they never bloomed. I can’t believe the size of these white ones. I’m picking some later for the dinner table, which usually causes me some angst. I feel if I pick them the bush will look barren, but that can’t possibly be the case. They’re bountiful as well as magnificent!

IMG_4264

Look at the size of this blossom!

IMG_4265

My first clippings ever from the gardens!

My first clippings ever from the gardens!

This hydrangea bush is an enigma. I’ve never seen one bloom both blue and pink before. In previous years, it’s always been blue; and the pink seems unusually pink. I know that the acidity of the soil has something to do with the color, but I can’t imagine how this bush came to bloom in multicolor. But, I’m loving it!

Multicolored Hydragena

The entire weekend is supposed to be like today and I look forward to enjoying every moment and taking in the beautiful landscaping designed and maintained by Bren Landscaping and Masonry.

The Gardens

The gardens continue to blossom and delight the senses. Outdoor living can’t get any better when you’re surrounded by such beauty. There’s been a mini drought in our area and the recent rains were welcome.
I was late getting the sprinkler system open, but things are greening up nicely.

The tree experts were here to do an inspection the other day and we have two oaks that are stressed. They think the roots were disturbed by the retaining walls we built around the pool area. To remedy this they’ll remove the grass around the base of the trunk, which competes for water, and do a little digging around to give them more room. I hate the thought of losing such beautiful trees and hope this resolves the problem.

Stressed Oaks

Stressed Oaks

The rhododendrons are in full bloom.

Purple Rhododendrons

Purple Rhododendrons

And, the azaleas are bursting forth.

Baby Pink Azaleas

Baby Pink Azaleas

This little mugo pine has taken a beating over the last few years. We had an October snowfall that flattened it one year and again the next year with more heavy wet snow. I was sure we’d lost it, but this year it seems to have regained it fullness and has new growth!

Mugo Pine

Mugo Pine

The back rock gardens I think we should call it the boulder gardens is my view from the porch. The tall grasses fill in and give movement to the garden,

Back Garden with the grasses emerging

Back Garden with the grasses emerging

and the continuous colors are a joy to behold.

Back "boulder" garden

Back “boulder” garden