Construction Zone

Yesterday…

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Today!

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Last week, while the deck was still in place, the double window on the top floor was replaced to allow room for a hipped roof over the soon-to-be built porch.

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Notice, too, the board nailed across the doors that will open onto the new addition.

Unfortunately, I left yesterday morning just as the crew was arriving and didn’t return home until after dark, so I missed the excitement of seeing the deck removed.  The construction time is estimated at 10 weeks, but some of the materials were not ordered until we (finally) had the building permit in hand, so there could be a delay.

But, oh, sweet progress!  Next up…bulldozer removal of the 1952 patio!

 

 

Going Out of My Way

When I have a driving trip ahead of me, I’m usually in a hurry.  My plan is to leave early, stop as little as possible, and get the trip behind me.  There’s only one exception.  If I’m going to Virginia and have the flexibility to add an hour to my trip, I detour from my usual route north on I-85, swing through Raleigh, and then continue east to take I-95 to my destination.

Plant shed at the Raleigh Farmers Market.

Plant shed at the Raleigh Farmers Market.

Why?  Because the best Farmers Market on the Eastern Seaboard is in Raleigh at 1201 Agriculture Street, and one of my favorite plant vendors, Urban Oasis, always makes me glad I went out of my way.

In addition to the volume buyer’s areas, the market offers more than 15,000 square feet of enclosed shops (wine, cheese, soap, etc.), 2 acres of market imports (trellises, fountains, etc.), three restaurants, and, most importantly, more than 30,000 square feet of open sheds for produce and plants.

Heaven on earth...inside the plant shed at the Raleigh Farmers Market.

Heaven on earth…inside the plant shed at the Raleigh Farmers Market.

Last Friday, I was barely able to squeeze in a visit, so I made a beeline to the plant shed.  It took just a few minutes to locate Urban Oasis and proprietor Bill DeMent, who makes the search easy by hanging a stuffed parrot above his booth.

"Plant a piece of paradise" is Bill's motto...note parrot tail feathers!

“Plant a piece of paradise” is Bill’s motto…note parrot tail feathers!

Shopping with Bill is quick and fun, especially for me, as I only take a glance at the sun-loving plants before scouring the shade area for anything I don’t already have.  Here’s my latest haul…

Shade plants from Urban Oasis, Raleigh Farmers Market.

Shade plants from Urban Oasis, Raleigh Farmers Market.

Front row (L to R):  Seemannia x hybrida (Hardy Gloxinia), Ledebouria copperi (Jessop), Asarum ‘Ling Ling’

Middle row (L to R):  Speirantha convallarioides (evergreen Lily of the Valley), Ardisia ‘Hakaukan’ (Marlberry), Disporopsis jinfushaneasis (dwarf evergreen Solomon’s Seal)

Back row (L to R):  Lepisorus bicolor (Ribbon Fern), Ceratostigma plumbaginoides (Leadwort), and Disporum cantoniese (Fariy Bells)

The plants are always high quailty and the price is good too.  Only $88 for this collection!

 

 

Wordy Wednesday

I’m a bit forlorn I’m not in London this week for the Chelsea Flower Show, but after a month of back-to-back trips, I’m relishing a couple of weeks at home.  Recently, I was able to squeeze in a pleasant morning at the Joyful Garden Tour sponsored by Christ Church Episcopal, where I captured the enticing image below.

A Charleston-style garden featured on the Joyful Garden Tour.

A Charleston-style garden featured on the Joyful Garden Tour.

Although not at Chelsea, I’ve found a pretty good substitute—four episodes of a recent British television show, now on YouTube, called The Great Chelsea Garden Challenge.  This link is to the first show, a cottage garden design challenge.  If you watch this one, the other episodes should pop up in a “suggested” box.

I never tire of garden tours, which is a good thing, as I’ll soon be in Toronto for the 2015 Garden Bloggers Fling, quickly followed by this year’s first visit to England (outlined here).  If interested, the September tour to England, which includes a visit to the private gardens of HRH the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at Highgrove, still has a couple of openings, as does the August tour to Boston & the Berkshires.

Wherever your upcoming travels take you, I hope they’re filled with flowers and fun…

Terry Gentry's salmon-colored Louisiana iris.

Terry Gentry’s salmon-colored Louisiana iris.

 

 

The Weekend Gardener

After a month of nearly non-stop travel, it’s wonderful to be home this weekend for some much-needed relaxation and a bit of gardening.  Early Saturday, I began the day by changing out the containers on the front stoop.  In my previous garden, these reddish-brown glazed pots were sprinkled throughout the landscape, but here they make a nice accent clustered together and they’re much easier to water.

The collection of containers includes four pots plus a deep birdbath, which holds a couple of large stones for perching.  After pulling out winter pansies and violas from three of the containers, I potted up the remaining plants for transplanting, except for a variegated boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Variegata’), which was pruned into an upright oval.  New Jolly Gardener Premium Potting Mix replaced the old, which was set aside for use as a soil amendment in other parts of the garden.

Ready for replanting!

Ready for replanting!

The containers receive about 90 minutes of light as the sun crosses over the top of the house at the middle of the day, but like the rest of the garden, conditions are mostly shady.  It’s always difficult to choose plants that work well in low light and yet still provide an eye-catching display.  This season’s selection includes a white and pinkish-purple Torenia hybrid, white flowering New Guinea impatiens (I. hawkeri), and a mix of foliage plants for color and texture (listed below).

The tallest pot holds a cone-shaped yew, which creates a nice backdrop and adds some structure to the arrangement.  Two additional pots were stuffed with a mix of plants, while the final container needed only a ring of groundcover to accent a rusted metal agave sculpture.

Dividing a hanging basket of golden creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia).

Dividing a hanging basket of golden creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia).

I found two hanging baskets of golden creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia), which was easy to pull apart for planting along the edges of the container.  This is a much better option, I’ve discovered, than purchasing smaller plants in individual cups.  As a bonus, it’s also less expensive.

Here’s what the pots looked like today (Sunday):

Twenty-four hours later, when the plants have had a chance to perk up.

Twenty-four hours later, when the plants have had a chance to perk up.

Though it’s not the best time of year for woody propagation, after finishing the containers, I decided to see if some of the clippings from the boxwood would root.  I removed the hangers from the baskets and filled them with a measure of the recycled potting mix before trimming the cuttings into 6-inch pieces.  The bottom third of each cutting was stripped of its foliage and held for 5 seconds in liquid Dip ‘N Grow before being firmed into place.

Preparations for boxwood cuttings...

Preparations for boxwood cuttings…

and the end result.

and the end result.

In all, 15 cuttings were stuck.  The baskets were then moved to a shady location where I can keep an eye on them to maintain moisture.

Believe it or not, Tim and I were still able to get downtown for our favorite breakfast at Mary Beth’s, followed by a stroll through the Saturday Farmers’ Market and Artisphere, an annual performance and visual arts festival.

Synergy Violins at Artisphere 2015, on the plaza of the Peace Center, home to a 2100 seat concert hall, a 400 seat theater, and an outdoor amphitheater on the Reedy River.

Synergy Violins at Artisphere 2015, on the plaza of the Peace Center, home to a 2100 seat concert hall, a 400 seat theater, and an outdoor amphitheater on the Reedy River.

Sidewalk chalk and the Artisphere banner on the pedestrian bridge, with the Peace Center's amphitheater in the distance to the right.

Sidewalk chalk and the Artisphere banner on the pedestrian bridge, with the Peace Center’s amphitheater in the distance to the right.

Reedy River Falls, downtown Greenville.

Reedy River Falls, downtown Greenville.

If you live in the Upstate, you might like to know that many of the choice plants for the containers where purchased at Roots on Augusta.

Here’s the promised list:

Purple foliage plants:   Purple heart (Setcreasea purpurea), purple fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum), Heuchera ‘Plum Pudding’

Chartreuse foliage plants: Kong coleus, golden creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia), Everillo carex (C. oshimensis ‘Everillo’)

Variegated foliage plants:  Variegated box (Buxus sempervirens ‘Variegata’), Hosta ‘Risky Business’, variegated creeping myrtle (Vinca minor)

Foliage for texture:  Creeping wire vine (Muehlenbeckia complexa), and ferns

Thursday Doors

There are many memorable sites in Settignano, a frazoine (parish) overlooking the Arno valley and Florence, Italy.  This diminutive door along the road to Villa Gamberaia, home of one of Italy’s most perfect gardens, is one of them.  Measuring about 62 inches tall and 18 inches wide, even I would have to stoop under its lintel.

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Settiganano produced three sculptors of the Florentine Renaissance, Desiderio de Settignano and the Gamberini brothers, Bernardo Rossellino and Antonio Rossellino.  It was also an early home to a young Michelangelo.

For more doors, visit the host at Norm 2.0.