Showing posts from January, 2015

Goodbye Radiant Orchid (color of year 2014)

As you may know, the 2015 Pantone Color of the Year is Marsala, a toned down, wine-red color that is good in the background, useful for setting off other brighter hues.

Last year's color, Radiant Orchid, was another story. Described by Pantone as "a captivating harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones," it demands attention and is, in my opinion,  slightly jarring.
But I was getting used to it and was even accepting it in the garden. And now, we go back to the more staid colors....but here it is, one last time, in all its 'wowie-powie' glory:
I give you 'Radiant Orchid in the Garden.'

Goodbye Radiant we may calm down a bit.

Just a reminder....

So you're walking along, feeling blue when you look up to see a leaf.A comes in all forms.  Now you're feeling green, the color of love. (Red is passion,  green is love.)

'Sun King' Aralia - Bold and Stunning in Part Shade

A shrub for part shade, Aralia cordata ' Sun King', grows 3' - 5' tall and wide and is a great companion to Hosta. Many sources say it is deer resistant - so maybe it is....

Brought to the US and named by Barry Yinger, who found it in a Japanese department store nursery, Aralia 'Sun King' is one of the most amazing new perennial introductions in the last decade! 
The Golden Japanese Aralia grows in USDA zones 4a - 8b and emerges with bold, gold compound leaves. The foliage will remain gold all summer given a few hours of sun a day. In heavier shade, foliage will be lime green.

It has bright red stems and later in the season it features small white flowers that attract plenty of pollinators like honeybees. This is followed by masses of beautiful purple/black berries that birds (especially thrushes) love to snack on.
What a great backdrop of a partly shaded border!

 Aralias will spread if you do not weed out any seedlings you do not want.  'Sun King' grows vig…

10 Great Garden Photos of 2014 - Serenity in the Garden

What makes a great garden photo? Anything that delights you.
But if I had to put my finger on it - salient aspects would be the quality of the light and the richness of color.And composition figures prominently. 
That said, here are some memorable photographs that have been featured in this year's 'Serenity in the Garden' blog posts.
My criteria? Whatever grabbed my eye as I perused the photos..

Red Bridge in Snow - Garden Photo of the Day

Red bridge in snow - a garden's beauty in winter.

Trompe l’oeil for 21st Century Landscapes

One day in 2007 I was driving along a road in my area when I saw a long wall of falling water that wasn't there before. The water was gushing over the wall but I saw no evidence of any water beyond that . Hmmm.....

I had to stop the car and take a picture. Then I had to walk up there and see what was going on....

It was an art installation using photo-derived imagery of a waterfall. 

A digital print on vinyl  - trompe l’oeil for the 21st century! 

 The artist is the talented and inventive Michael Krondl.

The 200-foot long waterfall called 'Rising Water/Falling Water' was in front of the Katonah Museum of Art.
I was struck by this vinyl wall of water..I had to see how he attached it to the existing wall...ah yes, grommets!

The possibilities of this trompe l’oeil in a landscape or public setting are vast-

Walls of water on subway platforms, sides of buildings, billboards, gas stations...

why not? As they say, views of nature help us relax. Serenity in the Garden goes viral.…

Henri Matisse - Quote of the Day

"What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity..." -

To the end of his days, the French artist, Henri Matisse created visual art in any way he could....

His works continue to attract the admiration of many around the world.  Purity and serenity win out every time.

'Illumination Flame' Foxglove - Super Star

'Illumination Flame Foxglove - Digitalis (Digiplexis 'Illumination Flame')Grand Prize Winner of the 2014 American Garden Award.
This half hardy perennial (USDA zone 8- 10) is taking the hort. world by storm. 

Charles Valin crossed the common garden foxglove, Digitalis purpurea, with its Canary Island perennial cousin, Isoplexis canariensis to create this stunning, 2'-3' tall beauty. Digiplexis is its name.

It blooms continuously from Spring thru Fall and, even though sterile, attracts butterflies and bees. Magnificent, huge, non-stop, 3' tall bloom spikes hold large, rich pink and orange blooms with spotted golden throats. A great cut flower too.

Easy to grow, give it good loamy soil with compost added to see what it really can do! And it’s adaptable to full sun thru bright shade. A dark foliaged companion would be lovely next to it. 

With its endless blooming, it also makes a terrific choice for a large pot.

The Keys to Wellbeing - A Scientific Study

What factors influence wellbeing?

According to The Daily Life Study from New Zealand that tracked nearly 1500 young people  (average age, 19) thepursuit of happiness needs fruit, nature, sun,  sleep, selenium.

Fruit and vegies: Healthy amounts can elevate moods and raise curiosity and creativity.

Nature: The project found spending time in nature was good for the soul -  a walk through the botanic gardens improved emotions. So a daily walk in a park can improve emotional wellbeing.

Sleep and exercise: At least seven hours' sleep and a daily run improves wellness.

This Tent of Dripping Clouds - Ralph Waldo Emerson

The misery of man appears like childish petulance,  when we explore the steady and prodigal provision that has been made for his support and delight on this green ball which floats him through the heavens. 

What angels invented these splendid ornaments, these rich conveniences,  this ocean of air above, this ocean of water beneath, this firmament of earth between?  this zodiac of lights, this tent of dropping clouds, this striped coat of climates, this fourfold year? 

Beasts, fire, water, stones, and corn serve him.  The field is at once his floor, his work-yard,  his play-ground, his garden, and his bed.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Chapter II fromNature, published as part ofNature; Addresses and Lectures

Moon Gates

My blogoversary (a 'new word ') passed and I didn't notice... So in the spirit of belated celebration, I am reprinting one of the very first blog posts I wrote. 

Two evenings ago, driving along a road in open farm country, I watched as the January full moon rose over a snowy landscape. The large white disc shining brightly in a liquid gray sky was spectacular!

I now understand why animals howl at the moon - it must be a sympathetic show of appreciation and awe...

The grandeur of the full moon made me reflect on moon gates, the traditional Chinese circular entryways that lead into contained gardens and cities.

The rounded opening alludes to the full moon and the Chinese adage that says, 'Flowers are more beautiful when the moon is full.'

Stepping through a round portal is symbolic of many things. Like our entrance into this world, it is an enveloping opening that calls to us to see what is on the other side. This sort of entry speaks to us of mystery and delight.


Weeds are Flowers too - Garden Photo of the Day

Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them.’ – A.A. Milne