Our wedding flower was the blue mophead hydrangea, fitting for our Massachusetts wedding.  We had planters and vases filled with them and it was simple and beautiful.  They are still a favorite but not necessarily for my garden.

Macrophylla Hydrangea

Macrophylla hydrangeas are a persnickety shrub.  If you prune them at the wrong time they will not flower.  If the winter is too hard, no blooms and then if you live in a deer-heavy area, those gorgeous, showy mopheads can disappear altogether overnight.

It was during the landscaping of our second house that I discovered Hydrangea Paniculata.  I started off with two ‘Tardiva’ trees and have since planted a number of hydrangeas in this family.  The blooms are conical and plentiful.  Hydrangeas in this family are hardier and far easier to prune, not to mention they bloom like crazy.

Hydrangea Paniculata ‘Limelight’

And just when I thought it couldn’t get better than Limelight, I discovered its cuter, dwarf version.

Hydrangea Paniculata ‘Little Lyme’

And, if you want a little more color later in the season and sturdier stems try Phantom out.

Hydrangea Paniculata ‘Phantom’

Another wonderful hydrangea that has fallen out of favor is the ‘Annabelle’.  This is a Hydrangea arborescens. The round flowers fade into a beautiful green and can be massive.  They can easily fall to the ground after a heavy rain and sometimes need support.  I planted them en masse two houses ago and they were able to support one another.

via The Graceful Gardener

The best part of all the above hydrangeas is that can do very well in full sun.  I have a yard filled with unrelenting hot sun and I know as long as these hydrangeas are watered carefully when first getting established, they will be healthy and hardy down the road.

The Fall Garden

A couple of my favorite bloomers show up just as the weather cools.

Sweet Autumn Clematis
Honoring Jobert Anemone
The ubiquitous mum!

The Limelight Hydrangeas melt into a pretty pink before they brown, another sign the cooler weather is well on its way.

Pretty soon I’ll have quite a bit of hardscape to soften and have been thinking about fall to winter pots.

via Canadian Gardening






via The Enchanted Home


via Container Gardening.com
via Martha Stewart Living













The Great Pot Quest 2015 will soon commence.  Concrete will likely be my first choice with wicker a close second.

I’ve been extremely fortunate to inherit a set of concrete pots each time we buy a house.  I inadvertently paid it forward and left a set at our most recent house.  Regretting that but it opens up an opportunity to choose a pair of my own.

And, a sneak peek at a kitchen I have been asked to consult on.  Cabinets are Benjamin Moore ‘Manchester Tan’.  Can’t wait to see it in person!


Pools, Patios and Pits

Our patio project is well underway.  A Friday ago a crew of 5 men rolled in with diggers, backhoes, cement mixers and trucks to begin what is likely a month-long project.

The first order of business was to take away all the old brick and level out the upper part of the yard.  This involved taking out many many trucks of dirt.  And, that is when the neighbors decided we must be putting in a pool.


No pool just a level yard and patio.

The second phase was to tier the back portion of the backyard.  Instead of a fairly steep decline, the yard will now consist of an upper and lower tier with a stone retaining wall.


And a few days later . . .


This is just a taste of the bigger project.  There is another wall being built, patio being constructed, lighting and 14-foot trees that will be planted this coming week.

In the meantime, we have planted a couple of trees ourselves.  Our road was sorely in need of street trees and we have a good opportunity to improve that being on the corner.  So, we planted two Yoshino Cherry Trees to line the street.  We also dropped in two Ninebark trees off the corners of the house. Pictured is the one on the driveway side or left side of the house.  The other is off the corner of the porch.

Here is the first of two Cherry Trees.

IMG_0884 IMG_0883


And, the Ninebark Tree . . .IMG_0850

We also planted a Blackgum Tree ‘Wildfire’ in front of the house.  It is supposed to be a showstopper in the fall.  Here is what it looks like all grown up.

Blackgum Tree ‘Wildfire’

As we start to think about the patio and how the space is best used, this beast continues to sneak into our discussions.  This is the old and obviously original boiler for the lab.  The thought is to sandblast it, paint it black and designate a corner on the patio for it to be used as a firepit.  I am still on the fence. Junk or cool repurposed piece? Still unsure!


Our Weekend Job

We have these beastly hills on our property that are riddled with thistle, ivy and burned out ferns.   I reached my breaking point with these eyesores about 30 seconds after closing on the house and threatened to rip them apart then, but it wasn’t until this weekend that my husband and I finally made good on our threats.

Here is a shot of the unsightly mess after spraying for months and before clearing.  We inherited over 600 square feet of hill horror.


These hills were tricky for me.  I wavered between clearing and planting ground cover and other hill-loving plants or just grassing these areas over.

While I was away last week, my husband tackled the first hill with sod.  That was the clincher.  Easy, green and simple.


So this weekend we cleared and laid a whole lot of sod.


The trick was to clear the hill but carefully so we didn’t cause a dirt or mudslide.  Though if you look at the driveway in these pictures you would think we had failed miserably on the dirtslide prevention side.


The stakes are there to prevent sod slippage.  We are watering religiously and with the warmer temperatures, we are hoping the sod roots quickly and stays green and full.  The bare spots received some seed and we already have some grass popping up.  It’s looking hopeful.