FRIDAY FLOWERS: PURPLE IN THE GARDEN

It’s that glorious color in the garden: a mix of purple and deep blue!

These are Columbine. They were here when we arrived, although I swear they were a lighter blue! But over the last five years they have multiplied and self-sown in many spots in several of my terrace gardens. I love love love them. I’ve moved most of the plants toward the rear of each garden, just against the white fence.

 

And then we have the Clematis.
I’ve actually not had great luck with this plant: up North I tried maybe three times and all died eventually without really much growth. So, I thought I would try again down here in warmer climate. This one is doing fine…but not really flourishing the way I see some around the village. hmmm. I’ve tried putting more manure around the base this year. It’s fine….but probably the same height for the last two years. The flowers are definitely more profuse and larger, so that’s good! And, with the white fence it’s wonderful to see flowers both inside and out.

 

I listened to a podcast this morning (the only way to do cardio at the gym, as I do not want to watch news on TV!) all about clematis. Do you know Margaret Roach? She does, among many things,  weekly podcasts on Robin Hood Radio and features and interviews someone each week. A few weeks ago she had  Dan Long on Clematis. Just what I needed, and yes, I learned SO  much this morning in those 24 minutes.
Here is the link.
Stay with it for the entire episode as I think some of the best information comes in toward the end.

 

Next we have the bearded iris! I have no idea what these are….I think they are all from the pots I hand carried down here six years ago from the Hudson Valley.  And those just might have come, partly, from my Mother’s house in Villanova. Wow. I love the way these things can go on for generations: that is truly one of the delights of gardening.

This year they are particularly stunning.  It may be that this is the third year in the same spot for many of these and that is often the best year. Oh dear, almost time to dig up and divide to keep them at their best….

 

And finally, we have Spanish Lavender.

It is very different from what you may think of lavender: short vertical flowers with the small pinkish petals at the end. But it has the same requirements for good growth: full sun, dry and sandy soil, cut back to produce more flowers the next year. But it doesn’t tend to flop open in the middle of the plant as with Grosso or Hidcote. Mine is overflowing a low stone wall at the edge of the blacktop driveway and is flourishing!

I’ll be back next week with more on the garden.
Hint: oh those snapdragons!! Best year ever for a much loved annual.

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THE TULIPS: ALL IS WELL!!

My tulip panic was for naught!

Yes, they came up very early and in a new, strange way due to the early warm weather here followed by a normal cooler cycle but in the end, they have been just fine. It IS difficult to put together three varieties and have them all bloom within a few days of each other. White is always problematic I have found: they invariably flower later than other colors.

Above and below are Cathernia (white), Caravelle (deep purple) and Menton (pink) all  from
John Scheepers.

 

It’s hard to tell the difference, but the pink above and below here is Tulip Lambada and Mystic Van Eijk from Longfield.

 

And now, for the biggest surprise (for me!) These orange streaked tulips that I didn’t think I had ordered when I showed them to you two weeks ago….well, yes indeed I DID order them.
These are Blushing Apeldoorn and the fringed are Tulip Lambada.
I LOVE THEM
They are my new favorite tulip: bright, cheerful, nice form and just plain gorgeous. I think next year I may plant one entire garden with just these. What a sight, no? Or maybe mix in some deep red?

 

 

Aren’t they magnificent? I am in love!
Too bad they won’t still be around when I am hosting a garden tour on May 9.  But of course something equally (I hope..) gorgeous will be blooming by then.

Happy gardening weekend wherever you are….

 

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TRAVEL TO BEAUFORT, SOUTH CAROLINA

After Charleston we were on our way to Beaufort, South Carolina. This town was new to us and one we had wanted to visit for a long time…and, thanks to several friends, we had some excellent recommendations!

Where did we stay?

The City Loft Hotel

This is one cool, retro-remodeled motel now hotel in the very heart of Beaufort. No need for a car after checking in here.

All the rooms (except for two suites) are the same. Comfortable king bed.The storage was exceptional: lots of drawers (even under the bed) and surface area. The bathroom was huge and again lots of surface area which is SO rare in any hotel bathroom. And there were real GLASS glasses in bathroom and bar area in the room. Two, count ‘em two, fluffy bathmats! Enormous shower, again with lots of surface area for all the bottles. And on and on. I highly recommend this place.

The azaleas all over were just spectacular. White, pink, red, magenta…they were in full bloom! In both Charleston and Beaufort, these shrubs are really magical.

I have to include a quote here from my friend Marian of
Hortitopia blog:
“If you’re a gardener, two days in Charleston, South Carolina, in March is about as good as it gets.”

I have thought about this quote so many times in the last few days and just love it. So true, so true…..

Let’s move on to restaurants. For a town of its size, Beaufort has an unexpected abundance of really good restaurants. For a five day stay we ate in a different restaurant every night and had very fine meals each and every time. Some of  the places I recommend are:

Wren Bistro
Saltus River Grill
Breakwater Restaurant

Just looking at the list of restaurants now makes me want to go back! Saltus is right on the riverfront, you can sit outside on a lovely terrace (it was too chilly when we were there) and has a lively bar and many seating options. Our dinner was superb: once again I had a small plate, “Sea Island Shrimp and Creamy Stone Ground Grits.” Is your mouth watering?

View from the pier at Hunting Island.

We took a short ride to Hunting Island State Park hoping to walk the
marsh boardwalk and on the beach and spend some time by the water. The website we went to neglected to say that most of the Park has been closed for months due to Hurricane Matthew last October. They had tremendous beach erosion and the boardwalk trails have been closed since then. Such a shame… but it IS due to open this June so if you go, check ahead. We were only able to go out onto one of the main piers but the wind was so strong we couldn’t stay long!

On the way back up from Hunting Island we drove through St. Helena Island and stopped at The Shrimp Shack for lunch.

I know, I took a picture of the food from the wrong angle!!! But the fried shrimp were probably the BEST we have ever had. No exaggeration. The best. The Shrimp Shack had been recommended by several people who all said it is not to be missed!

A few miles north of that is the Red Piano Too Art Gallery, another “not-to-be-missed” attraction. Colorful, local fun art of all kinds.

And yet another fun expedition:
Cypress Wetlands in Port Royal

It’s a short walk right in the center of Port Royal: boardwalks through the wetlands and paths through the woods. As you look down into the muck aka water, there are lots and lots of turtles. All were covered in some level of green slime and some piled on top of each other! Quite a sight. Then there were a few alligators but the two we saw were small at about 3 feet long. Egrets were in the trees; herons resting. Again, a short but recommended trip.

Here’s a very short video I took of one of the turtles:

 

The Hotel also has bikes you are free to use. I took short rides every day, and mostly through the adjacent historic area.

The Live Oak trees are wonderful, aren’t they? And oh, that Spanish Moss

One last shot:

Does anyone know what this is? I’ve asked on Instagram but no answers. It was a “wild” vine in the yard/driveway of one of the houses. About 10-12 high and seemed very healthy. If you have an idea, please chime in!

In the fall, which is a gorgeous time (and cooler!) to visit this area, there is the
Fall Festival of Houses & Gardens
sponsored by the Historic Beaufort Foundation

The website doesn’t have complete information yet, but bookmark it if you are interested in attending.  There is also a Facebook page.

I hope you have enjoyed your armchair travel!

I have a BIG trip coming up in June but I will keep you in suspense for now. Hint: it involves gardens..

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