Sunday, September 30, 2007

Horseback Riding

This is crazy, but Chip and I are thinking about taking horseback riding lessons. I saw an article in the local paper about an equestrian program at Mississippi College, and it named a horse farm just a few miles from our house. As soon as I saw their website I wanted to take some lessons. We rode by the farm today, and omg it is beautiful! If we decide to do this, I may document our experience on the blog even though it doesn't have much to do with gardening.

I've always wanted to learn how to ride. Blame it on reading those Cormac McCarthy books. I'm really excited about this!

Another weekend post

I posted yesterday about my front porch bed and how I was thinking about replacing those azaleas with Knock Out roses. I've been reading more about knock out roses here. I first got the idea of putting those in my front porch bed when I saw a flower bed at church planted with knock out roses, salvia, and lantana. The combination was just gorgeous. I already have the lantana and the salvia, and I really think a hot pink flower would compliment my yard nicely. I still haven't made up my mind 100%, but I am really leaning toward this plant.

I've been sick this week with a seasonal cold. It started on Monday with sneezing and then by Wednesday I had a slight fever. Today I felt tons better and I really wanted to get out there and do some work. I did some light pruning and weeding, and twenty minutes into it I was wheezing and coughing my head off. It was just too much too soon. The high today was about 87F. Just too hot to be gardening with a chest cold.

There are a million to-do items on my list for fall, but with temperatures still up near 90F this week, I can't start on them. Some of the things on my list:
  • Shrubs (mostly azaleas) to move.
  • Perennials to purchase and plant.
  • An entire bed to clean out... I inherited a bed of irises planted in full shade. They never bloom. I plan to move them to the back of the house where the rest of the irises happily bloom every spring. In the full shade I plan to put in cast iron plant. I bought a bunch of it to put under one of my oak trees, but they get way too much sun there.
The thing is, I can't do any of that until the temps cool down a bit. None of these plants will take to their new spot too happily when it is close to 90F outside.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Bad and Ugly, Part 3

I love most parts of my front porch bed. It has taken a lot of time and money to get it to this point and I mostly like it. I've had some trouble with my azaleas recently, and I need some help!

Azalea Girard Renee Michelle. I loved these azaleas at first. On the left is a photo of them from April. They bloomed at the same time the Indian Hawthorne bloomed and it looked gorgeous. Then summer came and the three azaleas on the right side of my porch died. The three on the left side of the porch are just not attractive. Here are some recent photos of them:
These are alive and looking washed out.

These have given up and are dead, dead, dead.

I think they just get too much sun. The variety is Girard Renee Michelle. When I bought them, the plant information on the pot said Full Sun, but I just don't think that's true. The thing is, I bought these for their bloom color and because they are evergreen. Had they worked out they would have been perfect. I want something hot pink that will add some depth to my front porch bed. I'd also love it if I could find something evergreen so my front yard won't look so bland in the winter. I've been researching to find something to replace these with. So far I've come up with Knock Out Roses. From what I understand the Knock Out Roses are not evergreen down here in the deep south, but they probably would look great 8 months out of the year (March - October).

This is where I need your help! Does any one out there grow Knock Out Roses in the deep south? How long do they stay green? Also, if you have suggestions for the back of my bed (other than knockouts or azaleas), please please let me know!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

We're Baa-aack!

We are back from our way too short vacation. It was wonderful! We went to London for 3 days, Paris for 2, then London for 3 more.

I visited the gardens at Regents Park and Hyde Park. We didn't make it out to Hampstead Heath or Kew Gardens. I definitely want to make it to those two the next time we go back. Next time? Yes, of course there will be a next time! Here are some of my favorite garden photos:

In the wealthy neighborhoods there are these private parks every few blocks or so. We took a walk around Sloane Square one morning and I peeked at one through the fence. All the gardens are very well kept.

Interestingly enough I saw yuccas all over Regents Park. London rarely freezes in winter, but with the high rainfall I was suprised to see these. Yuccas are native to hot, dry landscapes.

My husband, Chip, in one of the gardens at Regents Park. Some special flowers at Regents Park:

Purple aster and yarrow

Pink dahlias

Yellow roses: Phab Gold and Poetry in Motion. The blooms on Poetry in Motion were out of this world! Bigger than my fist, I think.

The pond in the Inner Circle at Regents Park.

Me, posing for a photo on the brige to the pond's island garden.

This was the outdoor courtyard at our first hotel in London: B+B Belgravia. That lime green tree in the top part of the frame was absolutely gorgeous. I wish I'd have gotten a better photo of it.

Lancaster Gate in Hyde Park. Our second hotel in London was just on the other side of that gate. What a bright color combination on this flower bed! What do you think of it?

The Rose Garden in Hyde Park near Hyde Park Corner.

Another bold color combination.

A bench in the Rose Garden.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Leaving for London

Today we get on a plane to London. Chip and I are super excited about getting out of town. We have been way overdue for a vacation, but with Chip's work as crazy as it is, it has been hard to get away.

We'll be away for nine days. The weather in Mississippi shows isolated thunderstorms or afternoon showers in the 10-day forecast, so helpfully our plants (and lawn) won't die while we are away. And if they do? Well, I'm going to London and I'll deal with it when I get back. I'm just not going to sweat it.

The forecast in London is gorgeous. This week it is warm (72F - 76F) with 10% chance of rain. Next week the chance of rain is higher and the temps a little cooler (65F). In Paris, the forecast looks perfect as well. Sunny with highs in the low 70s.

I can't wait to post photos! I plan to visit some gardens. At least Queen Mary's rose garden at Regents Park and possibly Kew Gardens or Hampstead Heath. I'd love to visit the David Austin nurseries one day, but I don't think that is in the cards for this trip. Maybe in 20 or so years Chip and I will be tired of the city and will do English countryside tours. In Paris we probably won't have much time for gardens since we are only there for 2 days. I'll take lots of photos... See you in a few days!