Garden hopping south of the Mason-Dixon
I'm back in Buffalo, NY where it hasn't rained since Monday so I've been
trying a new tactic of characterless gardening -- avoiding the weeding, which
Bill Smoot claims builds character. The weeds here are enormous and lush,
but tender. The soil is moist anf friable, and the birds love the bugs which
don't mind the insect repellant. But it has been a comfortable 70+ so I can
get all those plants set in that came from south of the Mason-Dixon line,
I set off on Thursday, last, in a thunderstorm, with clothes for muddiness --
long pants and sweater to stay warm, and drove directly south on Rt15.
Well, when I finally stopped, at Diane & Mike Nicholls just south of Frederick,
Md, it was HOT!!!!! Had to remove my socks!!
This garden is wonderful. Walk down the stone steps into what I'd call
a gully behind the house which has all sorts of perennials which will bloom
up here in mid July -- hollyhocks were tall and individually lovely and
stupendous in a clump. Through the arbors to see roses, and lilliums,
and goodness!! Everything in bloom and each one exciting. Wander around the
bit of lawn and spy the Japanese Iris in a distance. Make a beeline to them.
Wonderful displays. Diane's Mother emerged from her hosta project in the shade
to walk around. Some labels had been returned to wrong spots, but that's ok,
so many were in bloom and the gentle breeze kept them quivering and attracting
my attention. Forcing myself to complete the circuit through the garden
to see the hostas and ferns and return to the starting point to see that
planting against the house... just -ful-of-wonder!! Hardly an inch that doesn't
have something of pure amazement to see. Can this garden be topped for
On to my bro's in Fairfax Station. Saw the Olympic Torch being passed
at Mt. Vernon. Thrilling event!! Paid $5.00 for a penant, can't believe it.
But it has the official hologram seal!! The runner and then the bicyclist
were grinning hard!! An entourage of grey BMW cars with the Official Olympic
folks in them sped by us and I decided my next career will be to drive one of
those around .....
Daylilies on Friday --
Saturday went to Beltsville, MD to the Francis Scott Key Society
joint Japanese Show at Benke Nursery. Didn't get there till 2 PM (folks move
awfully slowly down there!!!) It was at least 95+ on the pavement-- that's
probably conservative. So, I went directly to the Show which was held in
an AIR CONDITIONED hall. What a great bunch of folks!! Happy greetings from
the people manning the tables -- found some folks from Attica, NY who are
moving back here after leaving VA in much better condition, and Bill Smoot who
ushered me around those fantastic showstalks. Missed seeing Carol Warner,
and Clarence Mahan a great big NUTS! on that move. But Bill swept me away on
his charger up through the byways of -- where are we now?? Distances are
quite different down there -- the two lane highways winding through fields
and tree lined lanes between white fences are quickly, and I mean quickly
being replaced by 6 to 8 fast lanes of unrusted cars speeding and weaving..
I shure hope the business being conducted is important!! I think they drive
so fast so they can have more time to sit and talk and ponder the meaning
of life, love and the nature of the universe.
Bruce Hornstein and Richard Huge's Garden is a university education.
Wonderful house especially designed to look out over the pond and to let in
sunlight to warm the house in "winter", porch surrounding on two sides.
Walked all around the pond watching the bullfrogs jump and looking for
Lousianas which might be still in bloom, nope. Up through the stand of pine
which absolutely must have a picnic table one of these days, and onto the
Japanese beds. But first, the best advise in Japanese Irisdom -- to pot up
JI and submerge the pots in water in children swimming pools until the root
system is well developed. Remove the pots from the water once a week or so
to dry out. Don't know how long this process might take, but perhaps a year!
In the North, I don't think I will keep them out of the soil over winter --
the freeze thaw in pots might do them in. When I separated my gift JI (Michio,
A. Miller) to give bro a piece, there were plenty of white, thick roots, but
the remaining piece is in an old dishpan up here in NY State -- looks like
the way to go!! Then, with all our rain and access to water, when it does
go into the bed, it will feel well cared for and just might bloom again next
year -- skipping a year of establishing itself in soil in a bed -- can't hurt!! Bruce has lined out just about everything in the Japanese iris world.
Even saw some of Buffalo's own Anna Rettig's siberians!! They look marvelous
and were at peak bloom. Colors and textures were amazing -- perfect time of
day to see them. And to have another judge and an apprentice and great grower!!
Whew!! Bruce also sets out many many many dahlias for cut flowers -- for those
among us who are dahlia dalliers!!
Bill had arranged to see Carol Warner's garden at 6:30 so we followed
the red volvo through the REAL roadways, into Hereford (funny way they
pronounce it down there!!) County -- that's OUT OF Hereford Co -- to Upperco
MD to Carol's totally wonderful place. Through the woods to be discovered
by the lead fox curled under the tree (Carol says the cat believes it's real,
so it probably keeps preditors away)
KathyGuest!! How about a lead fox to pounce on those mole/voles???
Works for Carol!!
and across the field to Mom's where Carol lines out her Japanese.
Her beds are prepared, and the Japs planted, watered with the water they've been
soaking in and left to their own strength to survive, and they do. She mulches
with fresh manure in the fall, which dries and decomposes by summer. I probablysaw my order waiting to be dug -- but I bit my tongue and didn't ask for one
of each!! Saw Dana Borglum from NYState's siberians lined out there.
And back to bros, carrying Michio, blue and white potatoes, datur
-- that's DATURA -- and plans to get to Benke's Nursery real soon. On another
The most amazing part about VA is that everything is in bloom all at
once. I appreciate that even though our season is short, but not as extremely
short as Zone4, our bloom is spread out -- we can expect blooms for severl
more weeks, on various perennials, of course. And moderate temps!!
So, when we sped first fast, then slower (yes, it is slower on the
highways up here) we drove into ever increasingly grey skies and guess what!
RAIN!! THUNDERSTORM!! wet, cold, mud boots, long pants, sweater. I can't
help but think I was on another PLANET!!
So that's the Iris portion of The Grand Tour -- Daylily trek was just as
grand, but with a small g--
Carolyn Schaffner in Buffalo, NY where if it doesn't rain, my porch will get