Thursday, April 02, 2009

Recreating and Improving

My garden at my old house in Cary IL, in full June bloom. Purple clematis are climbing the arbors, which we couldn’t take out of the yard, darn. We have never found anything close to these sturdy supports since. Our Palmer house came with a bunch of clematis already established, much to my delight. A big Jackmanii and two more (variety?) which will no doubt bloom this year, since I am taking care to feed, water and weed them. And then I bought three more last summer and they are already budding. One has 7 future flowers, which for a teeny plant is pretty enthusiastic.

And yesterday I got a small Sweet Autumn Clematis to recreate this abundance. It doesn’t take long to achieve this mass of white blossoms. Only about three years. Once it blooms and goes to seed, upstarts appear in the strangest places and one has clematis enough to give away.

IMG_9293 In the old garden I had boxes (raised beds) and put in things I knew nothing about, such as hardy geraniums. I liked the leaf and even when it bloomed I liked the leaf best, which seem to stay green or red all winter. In later years I discovered the Johnson’s Blue variety and I was hooked. We bought a flat of 32 last year and planted them on a hillside which got little rain or sun and most of them were overcome by neglect. Still five survived and I plan on moving them to a better place and nurturing them until they look like these beauties.



I loved the poppies in my old garden and had to have some for our new beds. Again I planted them in the wrong spot and I am pretty sure they are dead. However, I had one leftover which I put in the front and it is up and looking healthy, so as we know, if they are happy they will multiply.

Although I have tried to bring in familiar things to make the garden feel like ‘ours’, so many more things grow well here that I am thrilled to have the opportunity to have them. I will try and be smart about where they are planted, but in all things, we live and learn.


  1. I remember well your old garden. About the fall clematis... did you cut it back? I have the huge one in the front that is magnificent each fall. We handle it differently each year. Just curious what works best.

  2. Wow, those photographs are really something! I'm sure it will all be amazing in a month or two!
    PS, I just spent a bundle at Dharma, I'm so EXCITED! I bought colors, muslin and SILK! Happy Camper!

  3. What a paradise! I'm sure you will turn your new garden into another paradise soon. Good luck and no unwanted guests for lunch!

  4. Hi Melody. We have a very vigorous clematis covering our fence -- it is an evergreen variety which is nice because even when there aren't flowers on it, there are nice green leaves all year round. I think it was called "Virgin's Bower" -- but here's a link for you to read. Might not apply to your neck of the woods, but there seemed to be some good tips about what a clematis likes in the way of sunshine etc

  5. Jane - thanks for the link!
    Melody - thanks for the pretty garden photos; I feel galvanized to get my backyard in shape this summer. :)

  6. Hello!

    Your backyard is beautiful! The flowers are gorgeous! Thanks for sharing.

    Happy Quilting!

  7. I'll have to look into the clematis. The white one is gorgeous.

    I, too, love the true "wood" geranium. I got my first one growing wild in the woods. Unfortunately, the deer love my geraniums too. I live in the city near The Ohio State University-- Newark branch. This morning, there were 12 deer in my neighbor's small front yard. Eeeeek! You have to be able to adapt when you live in a wooded area.

  8. Since you are new to Tennessee, I wonder if you've been to the nurseries in McMinnville? They are wonderful and the prices are great. Makes for a fun day trip.

  9. Jane,
    I have spent hours and hours and countless dollars at Mary's Greenhouse in McMinnville, and got the majority of my named species there. LOVE LOVE LOVE the place.

  10. what lovely flowers


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