Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Before The Snow Flies

As I looked at my outdoor container plantings I thought I had better get those photos taken before we are knee deep in snow.  There was one year that I never saw my containers until March!

It is too bad that pansies and parsley are not Christmas plants because we really would have blooms and greenery into December.

The concrete planters by the garage are a combination of incense cedar, huckleberry, some faux berries and red twig dogwood branches.  The Limelight hydrangeas have been spray painted in an outdoor enamel.

Geranium Magnificum could be a Christmas plant but it's not, just turning color before going to sleep.

I used some different greens this year like the Huckleberry and Port Orford Cedar and the Seeded Eucalyptus, faux melons that I sprayed with poly.  The Hydrangeas are my dried Limelights sprayed.

The hayracks on the shed are pretty casual, balsam, cedar, huckleberry and red twig dogwood, some faux apples and garland.

Max Frei Geranium is also putting on its holiday colors.

Magnolia, Port Orford Cedar, Eucalyptus Pods, Hydrangea Unique sprayed green, Green Apples and Willow.  Some are faux, some are real!

Pomegranates and Boxwood.
I sprayed the pomegranates this year with a clear poly to see if they will withstand the winter weather.

Plumbago is this great ground cover that blooms with blue flowers in the fall and then turns this great purple color.

Panicum Northwind is not a Christmas color but it sure does perk up my spirits as I drive into my garage every day.

I am not so thrilled with the resin planter this year, but it is more natural with the allium Purple Sensation.

This is one of two cast iron planters in the front, lots of cedar, white pine, a tree topper, pepper berry, dried seed pods and some faux berries.

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Vintage Christmas Decor

I have been working in just about every area of holiday decor, inside, outside all around the house.

The tree is done, narrow because of the area it must fill, lots of memories on this tree from my children and students through the years.

The mantle in the family room is filled with vintage and faux decor.

The mirror is vintage and the candles are celluloid (from the 1930's) lit from underneath.

The sconces are from the 1920's, a hotel in Chicago, and the candle holders are amber glass with etching from the 1930's.

I made the stockings many years ago for the whole family, even the dog.  I have since given my children their stockings to use in their home.

Ralph Lauren fabric with applique from several years ago.  I wrap them carefully and bring them out every holiday.

A small tree by the fireplace

A basket on the other side of the fireplace with faux greenery and ornaments

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Indoor Gardening

I have just about put the garden to bed, bulbs planted, some perennials moved, north side grasses cut down and yard ornaments put away for the winter.

It is not over, indoor gardening is just beginning!

I love this glass and wire container from West Elm.  I put pond rocks in the bottom for the Paperwhites.  This tall container should hold those floppy leaves.

I have packed five Ziva Paperwhites inside this container and will not add water until about three weeks before Christmas.  They bloom quickly in the heat of the house and can be held over in an above freezing garage (to delay blooming) or cool sunroom.

I have planted Red Lion Amaryllis in soil eight weeks before Christmas.  This variety takes longer to bloom than Christmas Amaryllis and will probably need some decorative staking and a little moss to cover the soil.  The Dracena in the middle I brought in from the patio, such nice pink colors in the leaves, just couldn't leave it outside to die.

Red Lion Amaryllis
I hope mine will look this good, bought them at Home Depot in mesh bags, not a kit, and they looked like very healthy bulbs.

These are Christmas Amaryllis "Candy Floss," which bloom in about four weeks.  I have started them in decorative glass marbles with about two cups of water added.  One is so much bigger already that I wonder if the other one is still viable.

Candy Floss Amaryllis

The Christmas Cactus is blooming in the upstairs bathroom, more than one type of Christmas Cactus and some bloom at different times of the year.

I think the orchids may rebloom, both are sending up new stalks - one can only hope!

I bought some hyacinths this year that have been treated for forcing so I am going to try to carry this indoor gardening thing right into spring.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Greening Up For The Holidays 2011

I attended the annual container workshop at a local nursery and I thought to myself what could be new and different about putting a container together one year later!  Well, I should know by now there is always something new in the gardening world.

Glitz is all the rage this holiday season, spray painted birch branches in white, gold and silver.  Birch is preferred because the branches are more delicate than the red and yellow dogwoods.

I don't want to repeat information that is the same as last year so I will refer you to my 2010 post of the same title.  It is to the right of my blog under "POPULAR POSTS."

Fruit is big this year in outdoor displays, protect it with a quick spray of clear poly suitable for outdoors and you will have these for many years.

Melon Balls


Small pomegrantes
I did not spray these last year and had to throw them out at the end of the season.

Large Pomegrante

The Noble Fir is still the base for most container designs as this green is strong enough to hold up the rest of the less stable greens.  Remember, triangle formation for interest.  A couple of new greens for this year is the large leaved boxwood and Port Orford Cedar.

Large Leaved Boxwood

Insence Cedar
This is one of my favorites for its flexibility and pop as far as seeing the seeds from afar.

Port Orford Cedar
Very flexible and adds a softness to the arrangement

Seeded Naked Red Eucalyptus
I will spray this with the poly to keep the color.

Silver Dollar Eucalyptus
Just beautiful, no Wilt Pruf Spray no poly because of staining.  However, I used this last year and it did not retain its color, turned light brown. 

Winter Protea Repens

Many types of potted evergreens this year are for container displays.  In the colder areas the hole you are going to transfer it to must be dug now or the ground will be frozen.  These potted evergreens are not meant to be thrown away but to be repurposed in your garden.

Oasis is recommended for indoor containers like the one above (note the Noble Fir as a beginning for the greens).  Outdoors it is preferred to sink angle cut greens into soil, water well and spray Wilt Pruf to retain the moisture throughout the winter season.

This is one of the pre-made containers with many different types of greens.  It has Winterberry which is quite expensive and does not hold up for the winter season.  You cannot spray it with Wilt Pruf and I found after several hard frosts it turns black.  Use Pepperberry or faux is you can find one that will hold up outside.

This is a large containe with a tree topper used in the center with the same triangle effect of greens used around the perimeter.

I have my sprays ready to go, lots to do, will keep you all in the loop for Christmas Garden Decorating!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


I don't know what to say, feeling so upset about what's going on outside my house.  There are huge piles of dirt dug up with just as many huge holes in the ground, something about converting to high pressure gas lines.

One of the things I read about high pressure gas lines is to run if you smell gas!  This is encouraging, live with my eighty year old lines underground or worry about the whole block blowing up.  However, this is the future, lots of yellow plastic pipe laying all over the neighborhood ready to be shoved into the ground some day soon.

The pipes are ready across the street to shoot through the ground taking the place of the eighty plus year old pipes that are there now.

I am in and out on a daily basis and leave with trepidation wondering what I am going to come home to, front lawn dug up, stone walkways disturbed, shrubbery and plantings thrown to the side.  They did tell me the gas will be shut off for two to three hours at some point but they will let me know.  I am considering training my dog how to go upstairs and get under the covers.

There are big holes and little holes all the way up and down the block with giant holes at the corners.  We haven't heard a thing from the village about this process!

This is the hole in front of my house, pipe visible and the roots of the same tree that was dug up on the opposite side last spring.  We can only hope this tree will survive.

Fall continues on oblivious to all of this digging and disruption of the earth, leaves continue to change color and the last blooms of fall put on a spectacular show.

I forget each year how beautiful the Star Magnolia is behind the gold and brown of the Panicum Northwind.

The Itea Little Henry has finally begun to change color.  It was as least a month ago that I saw it completely changed at the Morton Arboretum.

I found out that this beautiful PJM Rodie is of the Elite variety whose leaves turn red and then back to green.  I knew the last one I had left after replacing two just didn't look like the new ones even though all were PJM's.  Oh well, the flowers are pretty much the same color!  So be careful if buying PJM's they are not all the same.

I lost my previous Viburnum Carlesi Compactum and replaced it last spring with a new one.  My old one never had this wonderful coloring so I wonder if it wasn't quite right from the beginning.

I am into borders and color again trying to make it year round to the fullest extent in a zone five area.

Azalea Karen will keep its leaves all winter.

Azalea Karen

I am trying to get more grasses in the borders also that can be left up over the winter to add interest.

This is the border facing south with grasses and evergreens to add winter interest.

This is Molina Moorexe in its first year, known as a see through grass and about three feet tall.

The cabbages are fantastic and this one is in the concrete planters in the back by the garage.

These are the cabbages I bought very small at an inexpensive price still among the surviving fibrous begonias even after a frost last night.

Last, but not least and I can't help but showing this rose even after a frost - Rainbow Knockout!