Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Girls' Weekend Out

While some blogging friends spent a long weekend in Buffalo, New York viewing some fantastic gardens and renewing old friendships, Beckie and I had our own mini garden bloggers gathering--a conference of two--here in central Illinois.  Taking advantage of a rare weekend where neither of us had other commitments, we attended my small town's Garden Walk on Sunday.  After missing the big Garden Walk sponsored by the county Master Gardeners a few weeks ago, I was determined not to miss this one, in spite of the hot afternoon.  While none of the gardens were as large or as impressive as the ones on the MG walk, as Beckie said, they were more "attainable" gardens. This berm planted with bright annuals and perennials, for example, is something I could see myself accomplishing in my own garden . . . although I probably wouldn't be able to keep it perfectly weed-free as every garden space at this home was:)

Another inspiring  planting at the same home was this "White Garden."  Definitely not on the same scale as Sissinghurst, but again a very do-able project for any gardener.  I wish I had written down all the plants used here, but you can see two of the main whites--phlox and Coconut Lime Echinacea. 

This garden walk was also enjoyable because I knew all but one of the gardeners whose gardens we visited.  This sea holly Echinops or globe thistle (thanks, Susan!) with its winged visitor was in one of the garden areas at the home of fellow Tai Chi enthusiast June.  After discussing gardening with June every time we met, it was a treat to finally see her lovely garden.

We were the first visitors at MG classmate Tracy's garden, so she gave us the full tour herself, including her collections of grasses and butterfly bushes.  As if demonstrating the appeal of her garden, a Monarch landed just as we were visiting this area, giving me the opportunity to get my first Monarch photo of the season.  Tracy also had an unusual yellow butterfly bush which really appealed to both Beckie and me.  Of course, I didn't think to get a photo. In fact, I realized by the end of the walk that I had actually taken very few pictures, probably because I spent more time talking to the garden owners as well as many of the other visitors I knew than getting out my camera.

Near the end of the Walk, Beckie and I commented that we hadn't seen much garden art or whimsy in any of the gardens, but that changed when we arrived at Jolene's.  Clever pieces and unexpected uses of ordinary objects appeared frequently in her back yard garden, like this wreath made of small flower pots attached to a wire frame.

My favorite "piece," though, was more than just a wire sculpture or accent; it was something much more substantial--this garden shed.  Besides the inviting exterior, just look at the detailing.  If you can enlarge the photo, you might be able to see the gingerbread trim in the shape of oak leaves.

And look at these clever door handles!  Jolene had transformed her whole back yard into a garden area with not a spot of grass,  including the area behind the shed which serves as a "nursery," a holding spot for new plants.  But I was most impressed when I learned that Jolene had built this shed herself.  Although she had some help with the roof trusses, she completed everything else on her own.  I have a new-found respect for her--a gardener and a woman handy with hammer and nails!

Although I didn't take many pictures on the Garden Walk, I did have my camera ready for photo ops the day before as Beckie and I visited a favorite spot, 5 Acre Daylily Farm, on Saturday. This was the place where I purchased all the new daylilies last year that I featured in my last post.  We picked the right time to visit as most of the lilies were in full bloom.

It was another hot, hot day as you can tell from these sun-washed photos, so we arrived in mid-morning to allow us plenty of time to enjoy the farm before we wilted from the heat.  Visiting a farm like this is not a quick shopping excursion; it's a destination.  Fields and fields of all kinds of lilies in varying shades had to be inspected.

Beckie and I carried around a pad of paper to mark down our choices, not an easy task.  Although our paper was filled with names of lilies that caught our eyes, we both had vowed before we came that we weren't going to buy many this time, and we were pretty self-disciplined this time--Beckie bought two, and I bought only three.  Each of us bought an unnamed hybrid, as we did last year.  These are lilies that the owners have hybridized, but for one reason or another, have decided not to propagate.  The large clumps are sold for $15 each, which actually is quite a bargain, because you get several fans that can be easily divided, rather than the single fans commonly sold elsewhere. 

Not 'Stella'

Another advantage to buying directly from a daylily farm is that you get expert advice from the growers.  Steve not only gave us tips on planting, but during our conversation gave us information on the common Stella which he said is a great plant, but unfortunately one that most people don't know how to care for.  According to him, Stella d'Oro's need to be fertilized every three weeks in order to maintain their blooms throughout the season because "they are literally bred to bloom themselves to death" otherwise.  Who knew?  I haven't fertilized my Stellas in years because I thought they were vigorous enough without it, but that explains why they no longer bloom so well in August as they once did.

After narrowing down our choices, Beckie and I filled out our orders, then waited until Steve dug up all the plants.  That gave us some time to explore a little further while we waited.  His backyard pond area drew me in as I spotted this magnificent water lily from a distance.  I couldn't find a name, but this lily was at least three or four feet tall with a bloom that rivaled the prettiest of roses.

And we had time to chase around dragonflies with our cameras. 

By the time I placed my order, I was on sensory overload and had a hard time not getting carried away buying everything I wanted.  But I restrained myself and limited my choices to this lovely pale peach hybrid pictured above and my first spider lily, a large yellow called 'Spider Miracle.'  Of course, I had to have one more "literary lily," so I chose 'Romeo Is Bleeding,' a bright red lily with yellow edging and a yellow throat.  The hybrid needed a name, which wasn't difficult at all--what else but 'Juliet'?!  She's quite a bit taller than Romeo, but that's ok; I always thought Juliet was the stronger and braver of the two anyway.  Now all I have to do is find a place where these two star-crossed lovers can live out the rest of their lives side by side with no feuding relatives to spoil their happiness.

I hope you all had a great weekend, too, and are surviving this unrelenting heat!


  1. I love the white border, and Jolene's garden shed is wonderful! What a beautiful addition to a garden.

    The daylily farm looks like a daylily lover's paradise. The peach one you pictured is so lovely.

  2. Good morning Rose. That first garden with the berm planting and white garden is so nice. I like gardens like this. So many ideas! Too cool on the wreath too. Congrats on your daylilies. You can't have too many I think. I'm heading out to fertilize my Stellas now. That is something I don't normally do either but it sure makes sense.

  3. Enjoyed this walk with you! It must have been the weekend for Garden Walks! Husband and I went on one in NE Indiana, too.

  4. Hi Rose, good for you and Beckie on having your own little get-together! I love the wreath made out of clay pots, and that photo of the dragonfly, wings fluttering, looks like its walking on a tight wire--awesome! Are you two still up for meeting at Chi Bot, maybe in early Sept?

  5. 5 ACRES of day lilies??? I would be in 7th heaven! I'd probably still be camped out there. :) Such a fun get away. And, that garden shed... ooooh... I want it! Cheers to a fun, flowery weekend, Rose!

  6. My dear, I so missed you in Buffalo, but was glad to read about this Garden Walk with Beckie! Seeing all those daylilies would have set my heart aflutter and even tho I haven't the space for them, I might have had trouble resisting a large purchase. Interesting info about Stella...I'll begin feeding her today!


  7. What you called a sea holly is actually a globe thistle, or Echinops; not sure if it's banaticus or ritro. But I love sea hollies (Eryngiums), too! They are both thistley looking, so I can see how it would be easy to confuse them. Either way, they are fun to have in the garden for their shapes and blues.

  8. Hi Rose, what a fun post. I love garden walks. The white bed was certainly striking. I wish I had the discipline to try something like that but I know there would be now way to avoid sticking in some bright colored impulse buy.

    The daylily farm looks interesting. There is one locally, Ellisons, that I've never visited.

  9. We really did miss you and Becky in Buffalo. But I'm glad you got to tour some gardens closer to home. Really, you MUST plan to go with us next year!

    I'm heading to my local daylily farm tomorrow.

  10. This was a refreshing garden walk --- an alternative to all the posts from Buffalo, and as you point out, much more attainable for most gardeners. Love that white garden. Thanks for the tour!

  11. Oh Rose! What a fun weekend you and Beckie had! Glad to see Thelma and Louise in action once again! My mother went to a similar Garden Walk in the Quad Cities, and she said the gardens were beautiful, but the heat was sweltering. So glad it waited until I got home.

    I do love that white garden. I think it appeals to me because it seems so peaceful. I LOVE the wreath of pots! How did she attach them to the wreath? With more wire?

    I think you showed great restraint with your purchases. I do love the Spider Lilies...you have some nice additions to your growing collection.

  12. Brilliant post covering the whole court. Congratulations.

  13. Hi Rose, What fun you two had! Great gardens and - Wow! - what a daylily site! I should look this up! It would be a wonderful "field trip" if it isn't too far.

    You picked some great daylilies . . . and you'll have fun taking care of Romeo and Juliet! :-)

  14. It was a wonderful weekend, Rose. And even more so because we got to spend it together doing 2 of the things we love-talking and looking at gardens. :)

    Great photos of both the lily farm and the garden walk. I loved that water lily and was so glad you captured one of the dragonflies. I didn't. :(

  15. Rose i love that photo walk as if i am with you. But my most loved photo is the lavender Echinops with an insect on it, beautifully captured and composed photo. thanks for visiting my site yesterday too.

  16. Hello Rose,

    I enjoyed these beautiful pictures so much. I really like the white flowering plants...I can imagine seeing them glow in the evening hours. I also love the flower pot wreath :-)

  17. Sweet Bay, I wish I were as handy as Jolene--I'd love to have that shed!

    Tina, I plan to fertilize my Stellas this week, too.

    Rebecca, Yes, I think it's that time of year. Thanks for dropping by!

    Monica, We haven't been able to get together for days like this in a long time, so it was a lot of fun. Anytime but early August sounds good to me!

    Kate, If it hadn't been so darned hot, I might still be there:)

    Gail, I did miss seeing everyone in Buffalo. Looks like another wonderful get-together. I'm actually running out of room for daylilies, too.

    Susan, Thanks so much for the corrected i.d. This was a plant I forgot to double-check before posting. Thanks for visiting!

    Marnie, A white garden never appealed to me before, but this one was so cool and inviting. Do visit your daylily farm!

    Carol, Thanks so much! I was there with you in spirit. Hoping next year will work out.

    Laurrie, Nothing on this garden walk was extraordinary, just lots of possible ideas. Thanks for dropping by!

    MG, This is my first spider lily, so I'm excited to have a little variety here. The pots seemed to be fastened to a wire wreath frame with more wire. I should have asked her how she made it.

    Antigonum, Thanks for dropping by!

    Shady, I see you've already found your own daylily farm; isn't it fun?

    Beckie, I had a great time this weekend in spite of the heat. Next spring we'll have to divide and share our spoils:)

    Andrea, I'm going to have to add some of these blue echinops to my own garden.

    Noelle, Wouldn't that white garden be pretty in the moonlight? I think this may be a plan here for next year.

  18. Rose...too much, just too much. I don't know what to comment on first. The gardens are so pretty, I love the white border (r u surprised?) There are some really dedicated and talented gardeners in your part of the world. Echinops is another of my favourite plants. I have several of the white, they seed around well, which suits me fine.

    The Monarch is beautiful.....it must be amazing to be so close.
    I am hoping I may see one someday!!

    I know you and Beckie love your daylillies.....what fun to walk amongst them. No doubt your border will look lovely with your new purchases.

    Really lovely post Rose....tku for sharing your special day.....

  19. Thanks for taking us along on your mini tour with Beckie. What a great way to spend a day with a friend. :) I love that shed, so cute & whimsical with the garden tool handles. And that white garden is completely gorgeous, the scale is perfect for the home garden.

  20. What a very enjoyable time you had...and I have enjoyed sharing your visits :)

    Of course I absolutely love the Monarch photo...I so wish we had them here!

    How restrained you were with the Day Lilies, when we got there I saw trouble ahead with an ultimately very overloaded Rose :) I'm so glad Romeo and Juliet will be able to live together in harmony in your lovely gardens!

    As for Jolene's shed, well!! With a shed like that who needs a house :) What a very clever lady she is, I love all the detail especially the handles.

    I also love the water lily, a real beauty!

  21. Rose,

    I want to live in that pretty shed. ;)
    All I need is a garden and a bed to make me happy.

    Glad you got to meet June. I love her name, by the way.
    Thanks for the garden tour...fantastic white garden.

  22. Dear Rose,
    What a fun day you had! I love seeing the Monarch, the dragonfly and your winged bug! I love the relationships of the blooms and bugs. Years ago I had an all white moon garden. It was beautiful. It is gone now....perhaps I will replant it.
    All your day lilies are lovely. Wonderful you and Becky were able to add a couple new plants to your collection this year. Too hot for me to be outside....I wish I could just fold up the gardens until Autumn, heat index was 110 degrees this afternoon. I melt.
    Stay cool.

  23. Lovely post, Rose. Happy to see Thelma & Louise 'on the road again' :)

  24. It sounds like you had a great weekend. Thanks for sharing it with us. I wonder if I could make a wreath like that with my little clay pots.

  25. It looks like it was a great weekend! I love that flowerpot wreath! And your new daylilies look lovely too.

  26. We missed you and Beckie in Buffalo but I'm so glad you had a mini-event of your own! Those gardens are lovely. Start planning for Seattle next year!


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