The Cool House: plants
Showing posts with label plants. Show all posts
Showing posts with label plants. Show all posts

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Neutral Layers

Peeling bark

Hen of the Woods - the mother of all mushrooms

Tropical plants

All photographs taken on a beautiful Fall day at Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay, NY one of Long Island's famous Gold Coast Mansions, now a New York State Park.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Focusing on the positive

This is the side yard we cleared and re-planted a year ago. Everywhere the sprinklers reached survived not only the winter but the summer, too. The Crape Myrtle is enjoying the hot, humid but practically rain-free season we've had. The giant Sum and Substance hostas are amazing and the Kerria has bloomed again.

Unfortunately we have also have this... The sprinkler pipe burst again, leaving a giant hole under the flagstone. Another little job for the weekend.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

What a difference a year makes

April 29th 2010 - after a cold and snowy winter we've had a warm and rainy couple of months, which means the azaleas are blooming a couple of weeks eariler than last year, the hostas are up and Polly the dog is spending all day outside.

April 27th 2009 - although we had a warm weekend this time last year, the Spring was so cold only the cherry tree was in bloom. This is the same path but shot from the opposite direction, looks so sparse, doesn't it?

We did lose a couple of plants this year (although everything I planted last fall seems to have made it with the exception of the lavender - it still smells good, though!) so I bought a couple of big yellow double-flowered Kerria and this beautiful crimson rhododendron - Skookum.

The Kerria is reputed to be nigh on impossible to kill. I tried my darndest to test this theory by driving them home in the car with the top down in a brisk breeze. Despite the trail of yellow petals I left throughout the village and the confetti carpet in the car they seem to be thriving...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Wet & Wordless Spring Sunday

Sunday, November 01, 2009

From the bedroom windows

Quite a lot has been done outside over the past week or so and the best way to view it is from the second level/first storey.

Sealcoating: Through a screen, darkly. Nevertheless you can clearly see the just-asphalted rear drive. It's taking a good time to dry but it looks much better than the cracking, holey, moss-covered mess that was there before. It will need another coat next year - and we'll also do the front drive and put in a drain on the north side at the same time.

Planting: An additional 15 Holly, Cephalotaxus, Box, Pinus and Euonymus shrubs as well as more Hostas and Dianthus have joined the 26 bushes that were planted on the North side of the property. The Guy has been out and counted every plant we've put in since we started this section. He makes it 100 - I think he's exaggerating but I'm afraid to count. I'm just hoping they all make it through the winter.

You'll be able to see one thing that hasn't yet been taken care of - the fence, although I'm promised it will be done this week. Definitely. Here's hoping...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Well at least it's not snowing...

It's currently 42 F and raining, all the cats are huddled together and I'm having to consider seriously turning on the heating. It's not news, it's just Fall on Long Island and it wouldn't normally bother me except that it's 100 F and sunny in Palm Springs. Not fair! So to cheer myself up (and in lieu of some MCM house shots that I'm still processing) here are a few photos to remind me of the fabulous dry desert climate:




Thursday, September 24, 2009

Evergreen Inspiration

I have a plan in my head of how the final section of the yard should look but I'm having a hard time explaining it. So here (courtesy of the comprehensive Better Homes and Garden website) are some truly inspirational shots.

This is perhaps a little too close to how it used to look - except behind the-not so-lush junipers was 30 years of dumped debris and you couldn't walk down the path without getting scratched; I'm positive that is not the case here. Anyway, I love the boxwood edging under the rhododendron and the ground cover plants between the stones. If only money were no object...

This is probably the nearest to my ideal - a mix of evergreen and perennial, hard and soft textures, colour and structure

I love the autumn colors against the blues and greens of the conifers but I don't want to be raking any more leaves - and it kind of looks like the back yard at The Cool House right now

And finally... not evergreens but perennials. I couldn't resist this one full of perfect lush hostas. So far I've put in a whole lot of big, bi-coloured Frances Williams; I managed to score a few of the 6' wide Sum and Substance in my favourite shade of green - chartreuse; three cute, compact June hostas went in front of one hydrangea; another trio of medium-sized, speckled Revolution are under the black spruce and I bought as many Elegans as I could find. Now all I need them to do is spread out in well-formed clumps just like the photo...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Some shady characters

and some that prefer bright sunlight in the newly rescued part of the yard. This section goes from deep shade to full sun so it gives me lots of possibilities and I've taken full advantage of them at the 50% sale at the nursery.

Three The Dark Lady roses (I was drawn by the fragrance as much as the crimson colour), a couple of Razzle Dazzle Crepe Myrtles, six Glowing Embers hydrangeas, and a sprinkling of Autumn Fire sedums will guarantee waves of pink toned flowers from Spring to Fall, while a baker's dozen blue fescues, lavenders and hostas by the boatload provide contrasting shades from grey-blue to bright yellow. For structure and something green to look at in the long New York winter, The Guy planted a boxwood to add to the existing yews and I plan to put at least one blue spruce in there in the Spring and a few Japanese hollies - I really like the slender Sky Pencil variety.

We just have to hope everything that has gone in so far survives the six months of ice, wind and snow we get annually. But I'm not going to think about that on an early fall day when the thermometer hit 80F and the lawn got its first gentle trim. I'm just going to look on the bright side... and go and smell the roses.

Friday, September 04, 2009

When angels come to the rescue... ::UPDATE::

UPDATE: the Angel drove me in his truck to get the Crepe Myrtle I had seen earlier this week. That's above and beyond!

We have a host of house angels who go the extra mile for us. This week's star is definitely the landscaper and his crew... Meanwhile, did you doubt that I wouldn't be able to control my plant procuring self until Spring? There were bargains to be had:

I scored three huge - well they will be eventually - red toned hydrangeas and three prolific mopheads, "Nikkon Blue", at the 50% off section of the nursery

but the biggest deal was this yew that cost $7! Fingers crossed they survive the winter.

Super Landscaper to the rescue while I was at the Goombas event, planted everything, fixed the break in the sprinkler line, put on a new head and changed the direction of the others so the whole area gets watered. I told you he reads the blog...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thinking positive

The upside of all the rain and humidity: moss on moss

Monday, June 08, 2009

If only it had rained today...

I wouldn't have popped out to the nursery to get a basil plant to replace the purple basil that disappeared over the weekend and been seduced by

the sign that read "20% off Hostas",

the smell of catmint in the air

and the florescent green Irish moss.
I came home with a summer planter full of annuals, 12 pots of moss, three hostas, I catmint, 3 liquorice plants, and a large pot of basil. It's official, I have absolutely no will power.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Weekend Achievements...

Monday AM edition:


pots of purple basil and oregano added to herb garden


Tomatoes, peppers, basil, lemon balm and cilantro in the jumbo container by the barbecue


Third attempt at setting the stone (if this doesn't work we'll be calling in the mason)!

Still to do this afternoon:


more weeding needed

and it's time for the annual carpenter bee hunt. Those guys will be going down. Spotted four so far, two dead (from the white powder I dusted in the holes last month) and two bent on making the siding into a holey mess.

Certain traditional Memorial Day activities will not be happening:


The pool is covered with a layer of pollen and only 73 degrees. Brr

Friday, May 22, 2009

Trending Pink

OK I'll be honest, I have a sort of pink obsession going on. Maybe I'm influenced by all the azaleas and rhododendrons flowering in the yard right now... but they've bloomed every Spring since we've lived here so there must be more to it than that.

For instance, I've never been tempted to put five shades of shocking pink in one planter before. I'm a minimalist and that would normally drive me crazy.

Maybe it's the really vibrant shades of pink Geberas and Impatiens that the local nursery had on display

Or maybe it was From the Right Bank to the Left Coast who blogged this Radiant Pink sink. A pop of fun pink in an otherwise white space that I'm seriously considering for our kitchen renovation. It would bring a rosy glow into my kitchen every time the sun shone and would do wonders for my skin tone. But I'm a fickle sort... What if I tired of the pink in a year or two?

Luckily there is be a way to get a fuchsia fix without permanent commitment. Danish design group Bodum are bringing colour to their kitchenware this summer - cafetieres and toasters in green, purple, red and pink! They're also introducing this ergonomic Gravity Spice Grinder $29.95. You can enter to win one from PointclickHome here.

Deep, Hot, Hollywood Pink - it's coming close to replacing Chartreuse as my current color of choice. But no matter how enthralled by pink I may become there's still one place I won't go.

There must be something in the air because Fifi Flowers is drinking Pink, while Hooked on houses is swinging on the porch.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Variations of Pink

Today's post is brought to you by the colour PINK.

Who knew (apart from artists, graphic designers and webmasters) that there were so many shades of pink? More hues or tones than I can name, each pinker than the last...

After a couple of days shooting the azaleas I was seeing pink.

Salmon pink?

 Ballerina slipper pink?


Hollywood Rose?

Then the rhododendrons began to open. Pale pink...

Lavender pink. Lavender rose?


And deep pink... Fuchsia, Magenta?

Or a combination of pinks - hot and cool

The flowering azalea hedge, a riotous display of... Tea Rose? Persian Rose? Maybe just Rose?

I love this time of year when the yard blooms with a hundred or more variations on the colour pink.