Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Visiting Eleanore's Garden

Last week on a beautiful sunny day, we had an opportunity to visit the fiber studio and flower garden of a special Etsy friend, Eleanore Brown. Eleanore gardens with the help and guidance of her Uncle Dick, a longtime gardener whose father ran a huge nursery in the New York area.
Charming primroses are one of the brightly colored spring flowers in bloom in this garden right now. They are not easy to grow in Illinois, as many gardeners can attest. But there are a number of beautiful plants thriving here.
These little charmers come in a wide range of colors and are often two-tone, with a cheerful contrasting center.
The blue ones are especially intense in color.

Another specialty in Eleanore and Dick's garden right now is the dwarf bearded iris.

The flowers and foliage are very much like those of their taller "cousins," the tall bearded German iris, but the plants are only eight to ten inches tall. The overall effect is more delicate.

The color combinations on these irises are wonderful, including blues, pinks, yellows, and many have flowers with two-color markings.

Years ago, in an earlier garden of my own, I had a long line of tall bearded iris on both sides of the walk. They were quite a sight in late spring! In my present garden, I don't have enough sun space for the big guys, but I do have a few of these dwarf (Iris pumila) sweeties in my raised beds.

It was a pleasure to see so many varieties in such a range of color in Eleanore and Dick's garden.

See the fuzzy part coming out from the center of each flower? That's the "beard."

These plants grown from a rhizome, which is a potato-looking tuberous thing that is not the same as a bulb (for example, a tulip bulb). They are planted fairly shallowly in sun in soil that is rich but drains well.

The garden here at Eleanore's is extensive and there are all kinds of wonderful shrubs and perennials. Dick is growing a lot of annuals from seed every year as well, and they are waiting in their seedling pots for the start of the season.

In addition to the dwarf bearded iris, there are bluebells and bleeding heart in bloom in this garden.

Lots of tulips are in bloom as well.
I especially like these two-tone tulips. What a great color combination!

Here's a lovely yellow allysum.

Speaking of yellow, here's a shrub I recognized right away because I have one in my yard as well -- the double Japanese kerria. Unfortunately, mine isn't blooming so well this year because of too much shade.

I have a number of weigela shrubs as well, pink, pink and white, and red ones. I had never seen a yellow one before, so that was a real treat too!

I wasn't able to photograph everything that was in bloom in this garden, of course, but I couldn't resist these fantastic showstoppers, the LILACS!

The fragrance is wonderful! In addition to this lovely lilac blooming in the portion of the garden in the area at the side and back of the house, the front walk is lined with lilacs just bursting with bloom.

There are several kinds of lilacs along the two sides of the front walk, including the rosy pink Persian lilac, the traditional lilac, and the two-tone sensation lilac.

This has really been a phenomenal spring here in east central Illinois. I think that just about every flowering tree or shrub that I've seen has flowered more heavily than usual. It's quite something to stand close to the lilac blooms and feel enveloped in them.

The lilacs were a great way to start our garden visit and a lovely last look as we were leaving.

Of course, we did visit Eleanore's fascinating craft studio as well on this trip, including the fabulous "great wall of fiber and fabric." You might want to stop by her Etsy shop, Ebrown2503, to see her amazing fiber beads. Check out her new line of card organizers in beautiful prints as well.

1 comment:

  1. Susan, this is a lovely article and a wonderful tribute to Dick's gardening. I am going to have Dick sit down and see your garden photos from the previous articles!
    Thanks for such a wonderful and fun day.