Last Thursday my Daughter-in-Law Janet and I took my three Grandchildren, twins Bryce and Cutler and her daughter Kylee on a really neat outing in Akron, Ohio. We went to Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens to see the Barkitecture Display. Eleven oversized custom designed dog houses were designed and built by area builders and donated to Stan Hywet for the display. They are to be auctioned off in October. The houses are all as big as a child's playhouse and are displayed all over the property there.
Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens was the home of the Seiberlings and was built about 1910. A lot of the interior wood came from castles in England and the architecture and interior are very Tudorish. I have been on the home tour several times and always get a different tour with a different perspectus from its many volunteer guides.
I would like to share with you some of the dog houses on the tour. A pampered pooch would certainly find any one of these an ideal abode. Of course, a child would love having any one of these as a playhouse. All in the way you look at it I guess.
The pink house is called the American Gothic (the perfect canine get-away. The inside was decorated complete with a leopard print fur bedspread on the metal framed bed and matching window treatments.
Kylee is inside the Lincolndog House.
The kids had a blast playing on the Poochie Play Pavillion.
Janet and the kids at the Frank Lloyd "Bite" house. It has a vegetable garden roof, a living wall with trellis and straw insulation.
Looking inside the Oops...bottoms Up! house. This wacky residence is one that only a dog could love, complete with fire hydrant.
The FireDog House was really neat. Inside was a two story house with loft that the kids could climb up into. Dioramas on the inside walls of firefighters equipment and clothing, and what firehouse would be complete without a fire pole to slide down. Totally great fun for the kids!
Last, but not least, An American Dog in Paris resembling the Eiffel tower. What French poodle would not want to live in this little palace! Paris Hilton's dogs would be jealous!
We all had a great time and ended the day with an ice cream inside the carriage house before going home.
If you live in the Cleveland or Akron, Ohio area, this trip is well worth your time to treat your kids to a great summer outing. There are beautiful gardens surrounding the Hall and a Conservatory complete with a pond adventure for the kids.
Just to let you know that Garden Gate Designs has lots and lots of jewelry making supplies in its shop. I list almost everyday. You never know what you might find. Come take a look. Prices are very reasonable, too.
Just wanted to share with you my hummingbird feeder post. It is in my back shade garden off the back deck area. The post originally was a left over center beam post from when the house was built. My younger son decided to place it in my back garden and I had him put hooks on it for hanging planters, etc. This year, it is just a hummerbird feeder post. I bought the glass feeder that hangs from it this Spring. The other one is on a shepard hook in my garden. The hanging baskets I have along the deck rail are for the hummers. Flowers that attrack them. They also love my garden arc with the honeysuckle and clematis when it is in bloom.
Through the end of June, purchase a piece of jewelry in my shop (everything is already 50% off) and choose a second piece of same or lessor value at half the sales price. Paypal refund to be given. The above pictures are just an example. There are necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings on sale.
I am so thrilled with this little Red Dragon Japanese Maple Tree that I planted in my shade garden last Fall. I purchased it from a local discount retailer for $20.00. Normally, a Japanese Maple starts at around $150.00 and up. I have been wanting one of these forever in my side shade garden to give it some height. This little Japanese Maple can be contained at 4-6 feet. It is so slow growing, it would take years for it to become that tall. The picture at the left shows it this Spring after it leafed out. It survived our cruel winter up here in Northeastern Ohio.
Here is a picture of my iron garden bench after it was repainted and installed in the step up side area of my side shade garden. There are hostas planted in back and trellises with several kinds of clematis as a backdrop. I surrounded the hostas with my Mother's collection of smooth river rocks she collected years ago on a vacation to Arizona.
Just thought you might like to see a picture of my Solomon's Seal in my back shade garden. I started with a small pot of it from a local nursery several years back and it has grown and spread every year since. It always blooms in the early Spring with small white bell shaped flowers going up the underside of the plant. Expect it to grow slowly and get about 1 1/2 feet tall. It is really a "choice" plant for a shady garden. It prefers rich organic amended soil that is slightly moist all the time. Mine is surrounded by Lamium or Dead Nettle. I have several varieties of Lamium throughout my shade gardens. This year they are creeping everywhere and spreading really nice. This variety has pink blossoms. They usually bloom all season. It makes a nice contrast for the Solomon's Seal. If you don't have this plant in your shade garden, hope you will try it.
Today I would like to share with you some of my specialty plants in my shade gardens. I have a small patch of Jack-in-the-Pulpits and Trilliums that I planted about five years ago. They multiply slowly. Some years the Jack-io-the-Pulpits are taller. Have no idea why that would be. These are choice plants that are hard to find at area nurseries. If you are lucky to discover them and you have shade, make the investment. The first picture is of my Jack-in-the-Pulpits and Trillium. The Jack-in-the-Pulpits are the plants with the purplish spotted stems and the pulpits that look like vases. They stay quite a while in my gardens probably until beginning of July, then, they get stems with bright red berries on them and the leaves and pulpits disappear. The Trilliums are in front with the small white flowers. Both plants are early Spring plants from April to July.
My Maiden Hair Fern is really special. It is in the first picture with the St. Francis of Asisi Statue It never grows beyond 2 feet fall. If you visit California as I did several years ago, you will see Maiden Hair Ferns that are tree like. That is because they can continue to grow all year around and not go dormant like here in Northeast Ohio. I have been very fortunate to have it come back every Spring. The third picture on the right is that fern in my garden.
The next picture (the middle picture) is of my palm fern rising out of the ground. I found this plant at the Hudson, Ohio Garden Club Tour Plant Sale a few years ago. It is very unusual as it has very different fronds than the usual fern does and, it is tall (about 2 - 2 1/2 feet tall).
Hope you will try some of these plants in your gardens if you have lots of shade. You will need moist, fertile soil with organic compost worked in.
Today, I would like to share with you a receipe I received from a friend at work. It is the most scrumptious snack mix I have ever made. Thought I would share it with my blog readers.
1 12 ounce Salted Peanuts, Spanish Peanuts or Cashews 1 12 ounce Bag of M & M's Plain 3 cups Miniature Pretzels 3 cups Rice Cheks Cereal Raisins (any amount to your liking) 2 12 ounce Bags White Chocolate Chips or 1 20 ounce Bag of White Chocolate Chips
Line a rimmed jelly roll baking pan with wax paper.
In a double boiler, melt the white chocolate chips.
Mix together first five ingredients and spread in the jelly roll pan. Pour melted white chocholate chips over the mixture.
My shade gardens are finally up and filling in. This morning I cultivated about 80 lbs. of composted manure into my back garden. The side garden just needs some new black mulch this year. I have a couple of new plants in my garden as of a week ago. One of them is a blue flowering corydallis. It is in the bleeding heart family or decentra. The other is a Decentra "Ivory Heart" which displays graceful ivory white hearts above delicate, ferny blue foliage. It flowers from May to September and appreciates part-sun to shade. It is cold tolerant to -40 degrees F and is fragrant, too! It grows 12" tall by 12" wide and is deer resistant. It is a border plant because of its size. I have a picture of it today.
Am posting a few pics of my side shade garden and how it is filling in. The bleeding hearts of which I have about 6 different varieties are in bloom now and are spectacular. Along with the blue blooming brunerra of which there are many of in my side garden, striped pink lilies of the valley that are spreading through the garden along with the common variety, epidemiums (yellow, violet and pink), ferns, hostas, and oh so many other plants too numerous to mention, the garden is looking at its best in Spring.
The third picture is of my St. Francis Garden Statue. He is the patron Saint of Birds and Animals. He makes me happy when I see him residing in my garden. My maidenhair fern is directly in front of him.
The last picture is an overview of my garden as seen from the arch leading into the garden.
I did have a suprise today at my hummingbird feeders in the back garden. I just purchased and installed a larger feeder which is glass. I hung it from the post that my dragonfly weathervane is attached to. The most beautiful finch like bird alit on the feeder and proceeded to sip the nector. I looked it up in my Audabon birding guide and found it to be an orchard oriole. He was about 7 inches long, orange with black markings. Just beautiful. I have never had one in my backyard before. What a treat!
One of my favorite shade perennials is starting to bloom in my garden this past week. Brunnera macrophylla, or, Siberian Bugloss. Tiny little blue blooms on long stems bouncing in the breeze. They kind of look like forget-me-nots. My shade garden is just full of them as they spread like wildfire once they are established. I have a couple of varieties, like Jack Frost which has variegated leaves. The leaves are heart shaped. I am always digging them up in the Spring to donate to our garden club's plant sale.
This beautiful perennial grows in a low mound. As the plant grows, the leaves get larger, up to 4 inches. The plant will stay freshlike in your garden until frost.
It thrives in light shade and needs fairly good, organically amended soil and ordinary garden watering.
Try some in your shade gardens, you won't be disappointed. I hope they become a favorite of yours also.
What a beautiful Palm Sunday this turned out to be in Northeast Ohio. I came back from a couple of errands this afternoon and decided to plant my hayrack and matching wall planter with the pansies that I purchased from the garden shop last week. I always plant with pansies just before Easter. The pansies match my twin door wreaths of forsythia and lilac. The colors of the pansies blend in pretty well with them.
First my husband and I take the large hayrack off the porch and walk it around the back of the house and dump the old soil into a compost pile we have for debris. I always keep a coconut liner inside the rack. They usually last three years if I am careful with it. I then fill it with new Miracle Grow Soil and depot the pansies and lay them out in a pattern before I plant them. I sweep the porch and tidy up before I water the racks. That is so the soil that is on the porch does not turn to mud.
Just thought you might enjoy viewing a picture of the finished product. As the weeks go by, the planter will fill in and last until beginning of July. The pansies will bolt in the summer heat. Then, I simply purchase different plants for shade and refil the planter. I try something different each year. Hope you enjoy the picture. Hoping everyone has a great day with lots of sunshine!
Today I want to share with all of you my copper Dragonfly Weathervane. The picture above shows how he is flying high over my back shade garden. A couple of years ago, my children and their spouses got together and purchased a gift certificate from Yankee Weathervanes of Maine for my Christmas gift. I have always wanted a weather vane of some type for the top of my garden post in my back shade garden.
It was really difficult picking out just the right one, because there were so many great weathervanes in their catalogue. When I saw the dragonfly, I just knew it was perfect for my garden. Dragonflys are my favorite insect. I have quite a few in my gardens all summer long. They come up out of the stream at the base of our ravine and grace my gardens. Their gossemer wings and aireal stunts are amazing. I love watching them as I garden or just relax on my garden bench reading a book or magazine.
I can see the little guy from my kitchen or great room windows. As he weathers, he will have a verdigras patina.
The bark and moss bird house on the hook off the post is still awaiting a bird family. I am hoping it will be this Spring. It is a real working birdhouse with the bottom removable for cleaning. I will keep you updated as to a possible renter.
As late Spring arrives, I keep fushia and begonia baskets on the other hooks along the post for the hummingbirds that frequent my gardens all Summer long. I also have wrought iron hooks from which I can hang baskets off the rails on my decks. Every year I try to make them different. They really attract the hummingbirds.
I hope you enjoyed seeing my dragonfly weather vane. He is anxiously awaiting late Spring and Summer. It is his favorite time of year!
Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone. Weather is just warming up this week. Supposed to be 66 degrees today. I plan on tidying up my front garden today so that the crocus bulbs and hyacinths can bloom. Also plan on repotting and adding new soil to some of my indoor plants today.
As promised, I will post some more pictures of my shade gardens and ravine today. Hope you enjoy them.
The picture to the left shows my Oak Leaf Hydragena. The bark cracks and peels and adds winter interest to the garden. The small tree shrub starts with white conical blooms that turn shades of pink, then purple then brown. I usually let the blooms stay all winter for interest. I have had to cut the shrub back once in the seven years it has been in my garden. The next year it did not bloom. I have boxwoods in the form of hedges in front of the garage and in front of my front porch. Also have them flanking my garden arch. The Oak Leaf Hydragena gets full sun all day and really thrives. When you first plant them, they need water everyday for about a year to get established.
The picture above the first one is my "Forest Primeval Tree" Most of the tree is dead, really large in diameter (4 feet around), has all these dead cords from other plantlife running up the trunk and when the ravine greens up in the late Spring, this tree really is neat. It sits down in the ravine in front of my side compost pile. We have a Pilated Woodpecker (Woody the Woodpecker variety) that runs up and down the tree all year looking for insects. This bird is the largest woodpecker of its species. It has a large red head and black and white body. It is really loud and the neatest thing to observe. I have only seen one of these in the area where I live. Always wonder where its mate is. Later on this Spring, I will post another pic of the tree surrounded in green. Then you will understand why I named it my "Forest Primeval Tree".
The topmost picture is my back yard (or what there is of it) showing the stream with the sandstone base running through it. All the water from our section of Sagamore Hills drains into that stream and runs down to the Cuyahoga River. When we have a storm or hard rain, or when the winter snow melts, this stream can get up to 6-8 feet wide, 5-6 feet deep and it just rushes. The sound from inside our home is like you live beside a rushing river. It is awesome to see. A few years ago we had flooding and the main road into our street was washed out where the water rushes into our stream bed. We had an extremely large snapping turtle (2 feet long) wash up into our yard. With the help of my husband, a large bucket and a very large stick, we managed to put her back into the ravine. There are several small waterfalls all along the streambed, and with every major storm, the streambed kind of shifts and remakes itself. I feel blessed to have this as part of our property (all four acres of it).
Hoping you enjoyed my pics for today. See you all soon.
Spring is in the air, I can tell because the birds are all out there singing, the Robins are singing, green buds forming on the trees and shrubs. At last!
Today, I would like to begin to share with you pictures of my yard and shade gardens and the structural elements that go into making it a beautiful garden. Right now it looks kind of barren as you can see from the first picture. This is my larger shade garden at the side of the ravine. I have wrap around decks starting on that side that go half way around the house with another small one off my patio garden room. You can see my Nikko Blue Macrophylia Hydrangeas with their winter interest still intact. I have six of these plants in my garden. I am wondering how they will bloom this year after such a hard winter that we have had in Northern Ohio. I will take new pictures of this garden as the season progresses. It is truly amazing at the transformation as soon as warmer weather arrives. There will be plenty of old fashioned bleeding hearts, white bleeding hearts, chartruese leaf pink bleeding hearts (hybrid variety), brunnaria, ferns, azalias, hydrangeas, foam plants, epidemiums, hostas, Japanese Maple Tree, and lots of other plants to numerous to mention.
The next picture is of an Apple Blossom Heliobore (Lentin Rose). It is just going to bloom. I got this one from my Garden Club Raffle about five years ago. This is the first year it did not bloom under the snow covering, because the snow was never ending and too deep. Aweful winter we had.
The next picture is of my Arbor, just waiting to be covered in clematis and honeysuckle. The entire arbor will be filled by the end of May and blooming away. I cut everything down in November and pull out the dead leaves, etc. to tidy it up for next year. I have a sandstone pathway through this garden to the surround decks. Also, there is a semi-circular bump out to the right of the arbor that will hold my black iron decorative bench. I need to wire brush it down this year and give it a good coat of black matte Rustoleum. The picture above is the bench in my garage waiting for a repainting and a pic of where it will go in the garden, in front of three treallises awaiting various clematis vines to start up again. I also have about seven or eight large yellow leafed hostas surrounding the bench and a collection of my Mother's stone collection from New Mexico surrounding the front of the hostas for soil retention and to remember her by. This is a great place to read a book or relax while your gardening. The ravine is in front of the gardens and the wildlife is amazing.
Hope you enjoyed my garden pics today. I will be blogging a couple of times more this week with other pics from my ravine and back garden.