Purple Clematis

I planted this Clematis to wrap around the iron fence in our front yard when we were living in Brooklyn. This week it is my Weekly Photo Challenge entry.

Roses and Clematis Intertwined

For me there is always a joy in watching a garden evolve over time, whether it’s my own garden, the garden of a friend or of a client.

On the LinkedIn site of the National Association of Professional Women in Landscape, Karen Chapman, owner of Le Jardinet talks about a garden she designed for friends/clients that involved intertwining Roses and Clematis along a pergola over the home’s garage. She discusses how rewarding it is to design a garden for a client who will let you visit year after year to follow its evolution. The post is titled Friends and can be found on her blog

Click here for more information about Karen, her company and her new book.

Artichoke and Euphorbia Leaves

This is my entry for this week’s photo challenge. It means summer to me because I love mixing edibles in with my flower beds and I find that artichokes look particularly good in a perennial bed. I love the way their leaves are structured. And I love artichokes!

Racking My Brain

May 20, 2012

Clematis from my former front yard.

I’ve been racking my brain all week trying to come up with a topic for The Once A Week Page and here it is, the end of the week, and I have nothing. So what am I going to do? I’m going to cheat.

Instead of giving you a helpful suggestion for something you can do to live a more sustainable life I’m going to post photos I’ve taken. Some are of my work, some from my own garden, and some from a recent trip. Since these are all photos I’ve taken myself I ask that you let me know if you use them for more than just personal use. Thank you.

Containers for a condo building in Brooklyn

This is a blow hole along the coast in Kauai. Amazing to witness.

Client backyard. I did the design and my crew and I installed new plants, the stonework and pergola. I trained two neglected grape vines to grow up the pergola .   As part of the second stage an alternative turf lawn of Herniaria glabra will be installed where the mulch currently is.

This is simply a close up of the patio highlighting the natural colors of the stone and the pattern I designed.

Close up of a Brooklyn front yard I designed and installed where I mixed ornamentals and edibles. In with the Marigolds, Salvias, Alyssum and Lillies are Sage, Thyme, Summer Savory and, earlier in the year some colorful greens. Out of view is a tangle of Clematis jackmanii and Scarlett Runner Beans.

I took this at the Na’ Aina Kai Botanical Gardens in Kauai, Hawaii. I love the texture of the leaf and the way the leaf comes together in the middle.

Many people plant the large bulb Fritillaria imperialis but there is another group of Fritillaria, the dwarf group. This is a photo of Fritillaria michailovsky ‘Multiflora’ from my own garden. It is not the best photograph but I wanted to include it just to let people know these bulbs exist. There Brent and Becky’s is a good source for them and others of the small Fritillaria category.

Euphorbia and Artichoke planted together. Just one more way to try to include edibles in my flower beds.

This is a drystack stone wall we did for a client using only bluestone we found buried in the backyard.

So as to not bore you I am going to limit my posting of photos. But I did have fun sharing my photo adventures so perhaps I’ll do this again in the future.

Recently I was nominated by Shannon at dirt n kids for not one but two blog awards. So, first of all thank you to Shannon. If you haven’t yet visited her blog, you should. The first award is the Kreative Blogger. And the second is the Versatile Blogger.

The rules for both awards ask that you nominate seven other bloggers for the award and share seven fun or interesting facts about your self. Since I got nominated for two awards I am going to do 14. You may fall asleep.

Here we go… 14 fun filled facts about me.

1. I can spend about four or five days completely by myself before I get lonely.

2. I purposely keep my nails short so they are easy to clean after gardening.

3. I am a Sherlock Holmes junkie.

4. I have seen every episode of Bones at least three times.

5. My favorite poem is A Man Said To The Universe by Stephen Crane.

A man said to the universe:

“Sir I exist!”

“However,” replied the universe,

“That fact has not created in me

A sense of obligation.”

6. In high school I was on the Junior National Ski Team and was offered a spot on the U.S. Development Ski Team (which I declined).

7. I spent a semester abroad in Nepal and have traveled to India, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Guatemala, Montserrat, Kauai, Canada, Russia, Scotland, and England.

8. My family lived in England for a year when I was a baby.

9. I was recently asked to be the chair of the Austin Chapter of the National Association of Professional Women in Landscape and, yes, this is a blatant promotion of the group whose web site is napwl.org.

10. Before I became a landscape designer I did lighting for feature films.

11. After marrying into a family of cooks I have finally started trying to cook and found I don’t hate it. In fact, I kind of like it.

12. I once had a client in Brooklyn whose wife, while planting pansies in the back yard, found a gun buried there.

13. I can weld.

14. I have two cats I found as stray kittens living in the basement of the Trump Tower. I named them Osiris and Tamuz

Okay, on to the other bloggers for nomination. Here we go…

1. Sublime Palate

2. The Boxcar Grocer

3. Urban Roots

4. 222 Million Tons

5. Plant Select

6. Rantings of an Amateur Chef

7. Transplanted North’s Blog

8. The Garden Zealot

9. arignagardener

10. The Incredible Lightness of Seeing

11. The Soulsby Farm

12. wasteisblank


14. Vickster’s Vine

If you made it this far thank you for sticking with it. If you have a chance I highly urge you to take a look at at least a few of these blogs. Of course not everyone will like all of them but I bet all of you will like at least one enough to start following it.

Clematis integrifolia Photo Courtesy of Plant Select

Plant Select® is a great organization located in Fort Collins, Colorado that works in cooperation with the Denver Botanic Gardens, Colorado State University, horticulturists and nurseries throughout the Rocky Mountain region and beyond to seek out the best plants for landscapes and gardens for the Intermountain region and the high plains.

Most people think of Clematis as vines that grow to 20 feet or more and climb over everything. But there is a group of Clematis that only grow to between 2-4 feet. Clematis integrifolia Mongolian Bells is in this group.

A man named Harlan Hamernik, the founder of Bluebird Nursery in Nebraska, found the seed for this amazing Clematis on a trip to Inner Mongolia back in the 1990’s. In an article about the plant written by Panayoti Kelaidis of the Denver Botanical Gardens, Panayoti describes the plant as a “…compact, almost ground-covering race of Clematis integrifolia [that] blooms from spring to fall, with nodding, leathery four-parted flowers in blue, lavender, pink and pure white. It appears to have greater drought tolerance than typical clematis.”

I myself planted this in a landscape I installed in Idaho and it did quite well. Once established it needed little care and looked very pleasing creeping through a bed of perennials. Because of its long bloom season it is a good plant to add to a perennial bed of plants with shorter bloom seasons as the Mongolian Bells will carry the bed through times when not much else is flowering.

March 20, 2012

I saw this post about Wicking Gardens at The Nesting Spot and thought what a fantastic idea.

The Nesting Spot

I was driving down the road yesterday on my way to the park since the weather has been so wonderful lately and I heard a really great story on NPR about wicking garden beds.  I can’t believe I have learned about two great gardening options this year for our Texas heat that I had never heard of before.  You can read about keyhole gardening here.

I was really intrigued by the wicking garden so I looked up the site online.  It is called Food is Free  and is a project that is happening right in Austin.  The group is trying to help people to grow their own food in their front yards to help feed the neighborhood for very little money.  It is great for bring the community together and also getting people to eat better.  The materials they use are all either free or cheap and seem very simple to…

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