Fred Wiman, from Lewisburg, West Virginia enjoys the rewards of his landscape and gardening efforts.
"After I retired five years ago we moved to a new home on one acre of old pasture land in beautiful West Virginia. In the first year, we planted over 100 young trees, but we left a space for a flower garden. Now, five years later, we have a wonderful grove of trees, and I have a convenient place to indulge my passion for flower photography. We also have a pleasant place for old folks to sit and enjoy the buzz of insects and the gurgling of water."
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G'day Fred - You have obviously been very busy in retirement transforming pasture into your colourful and relaxing garden retreat. Congratulations on a fine effort. Love that white picket gate and fence, and all your garden art. Cheers from Australia
Thanks, Frank! The white gate is part of an arbor entrance. It is arched on top and was covered with Morning Glories this year. Next year I plan to try something less exuberant. Any suggestions?
Fred, I'm not any help to you because my gardening thinking is based on a climate without harsh winters. For example, here is a native plant I use for arbours. It is called Hardenbergia (in the pea family) and it flowers in our winter.
Sorry image upload failed.
I have decreased the size of the pics., Fred - resolution is not great but it will give you an idea of what the plant looks like. Don't know why pics. have been turned around.
Oh, MANN!!! It comes in White TOO???!!!!
Yep - both purple and white forms. I'm very surprised you guys know about this plant - but then again you cannot put anything past an olde Oki lad. Cheers mate
You give me FAR too much credit!! I'm still very much on the learning curve. But, MERCY am I havin' fun learnin'!!!!!!
Those are really lovely, Frank. West Virginia's long, bleak winter may not be ideal for a winter bloomer, but it will give me time to find a solution by spring time.
I LOVE Hardinbergia!! But, I've never seen it so exuberant as in your realm, Frank!! I believe it's hardy (mostly) as far north as the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex on this continent (Zone 8) as I've seen it blooming on a metal fence at the Cotton Bowl Fair grounds in early March so I know it overwintered there. (It's not hardy here in the northern edge of Zone 7....sigh...)
Perhaps a distant relative would work tho? How do you feel about Purple Hyacinth Bean? (Dolichos lablab) Finding the seeds locally would be a frustrating treasure hunt, but they are easily scored on the www.
These are not NEARLY as vigourous as my Morning Glories and they present a totally different architecture. These are Bumble Bee magnets, too!
Another option but related to Morning Glories, but not quite as blanketing, would be one of the Cypress Vines. (Ipomoea quamoclit)
(My pictures of this plant are buried...sorry.) Offered in Red, Pink, White, or mixed, I wouldn't call it aggressive, but it isn't shy, either. The fern-like foliage keeps it lighter to view. This one reseeded itself, as did my morning glories.
We're growing a hybrid this season for the first time, who has the above mentioned vine as one of the parents: Cardinal Climber, or Ipomoea sloteri. Another Hummer magnet and again, not quite the bully Morning Glories can be. Personally, I think I prefer the former, now that I've grown both, as I prefer the more delicate foliage.
If you wish to colour way outside the box: you might try Malabar Spinach.
(Basella rubra) Seeds will be found online. Not a true spinach, but it is edible and it loves the heat!
This tropical grows fast, but is easily controlled for size, and you can eat the trimmin's!! I wish I had a picture of my vines from today. Virtually all of the flower buds are "ripe" and they're jet black. Quite striking against the bright green leaves and red stems!! Fun to grow even if'n you don't graze 'em!!
Probably other options, too, like Scarlet Runner Beans, etc, etc!!
Hope this helps!! (Like you, I'm already planning NEXT years views!!)
Jesse, 'olde son' - We've missed your informative and valuable comments. Hope you can pop in a bit more often with your pearls of wisdom. Cheers mate
Thanx, Frank. I've got to look into that "Working smarter" school as the "Working harder" route is wearing this ole boy OUT!! But, Novemberrrrr is coming and things will actually slow down just a bit, regardless of my evil plans....
Until then, tho, it's Pedal to the Metal!!
Good morning, Fred. Very colorful transformation. I enjoyed the combo of lupines and baptisia. I can never seem to get lupines to grow in my soil. Would have loved to see a photo of the trees that you planted. Thanks for sharing, and keep us updated as your garden evolves.
Hi Kevin, Your garden is so lush and beautiful that your soil may be too rich for lupines which like acidic soil that isn't very rich or well fed. They fix their own nitrogen and may not bloom well if there is already lots of nitrogen in the soil. They also have long taproots which makes them fussy about transplanting, so it's best to start seed where you want them to grow. The seeds have a hard cover, so they benefit from soaking overnight or even a little filing to weaken the cover to allow the seed to germinate. You could try mixing some sand in your planting holes to make your soil more lean and give them good drainage as they are susceptible to disease if they stay too wet. You grow everything else so well and with such good care; lupines just like a little benign neglect.
I would like to see some photos of Fred's trees, too!
Thanks, Lorraine. The biggest struggle in this area is the wet winter, combined with clay soil. Almost all my plant losses are due to winter root rot. Next time I feel up for the Lupine challenge, I will take your advice.
Hey Kev. - Have you ever had your soil or dead plants tested for soil-borne pathogens e.g. Phytophthora spp.?
Hi, Frank. While I do periodic soil tests for nutrients and fertility (since I do not fertilize the beds, only use leaf compost), I have never tested the plants that die (which is only a few per year-and almost always over the winter). Usually the soil is very wet in those areas.
Yes, Kevin, you're right that the lupines wouldn't like clay soil. We have very wet winters here, but in the wild the lupines often grow on a slope where they get good drainage and there's often a lot of glacial till (rock and gravel) which increases drainage. I've grown the Russell hybrids from seed, but they don't seem to last very many years. Penstemon is the one that doesn't come back at all for me, but I'm thinking of trying it in my raised beds since the hummingbirds love it so.
That's interesting, because some Penstemon, like 'Husker Red' grows like a weed for me.
Good morning, Fred. Your past 5 years certainly seem to have been time well spent...and, I suspect that sitting and relaxing was not indulged in all that often. Your garden beds look chock full of wonderful beauties. What a glorious swath of crocosmia in picture #5...such a great backdrop for the handsome metal birds. I join in complimenting you on the lupine and yellow baptisia combo...a positively luscious pairing...makes me hungry for a decadent dessert.
Thanks! You are right.....I haven't really spent much time on the bench, but I keep thinking that maybe some day I will be able to.
You and me, both, Fred. I love to create welcoming seating areas but I'm not yet at the stage where I indulge in prolonged sitting.
Love that you planted a grove of trees. Nothing like having them in your landscape. Flowers are so very colorful & beautiful
Thanks, treasuresmom! At this point we can't see the flower garden from the back porch due to the trees.
Your garden is lovely!
It looks like you succeeded on both counts, Fred—your garden and photos are beautiful!
My goodness, did you do the digging for those 100 trees? I hope you had at least a little bit of help. Now that you have the sunny spot nicely taken care of will you progress into the newly shaded area and do some shade gardening? I love the statuary especially the last one---he looks a lot like Grumpy from Snow White although he might be smiling underneath his hand or just deciding what to plant next.
Our young trees were really small, mostly under a foot tall, so digging wasn't too bad. The trees arrived in late November when it was cold and wet, so my wife and I braved the WV elements to get them into the ground. As refugees from Florida, we spent two days scowling like the gargoyle, but the results have been worth it.
You are right about adding some shade plants now, I put some ferns in some of the garden's shady recesses this fall, and I will probably have to substitute shade tolerant plants in at least a third of the garden. Didn't grand master painters paint over their work when it didn't work out right?
Yes they did and still do.
Good morning Fred. You have created a wonderful oasis for yourself, friends, and family. I have never tried to grow lupines, now that I see yours, I may have to try. If I succeed, I’ll give Kevin a few pointers! ?
Thanks, Rhonda! Maybe the trick to growing lupines is to raise a few cows.
like a park, fantastic job!
What a great garden. That's an impressive clump of Kniphofia and I love the crane statues in front of the Crocosmia. You've really established a mature garden quickly.
Thanks, Tim! It's always a work in progress.
Gorgeous! You have a flair for dramatic staging Fred!
Beautiful! How fun to transform an area like you did. May i ask what kind of trees did you plant?
Jeanne, the first year we were here in WV we bought native bare root trees, most of them under a foot tall, from the state forest nursery. Some are now about 25 feet tall, and include white pines, red maple, red oak, and tulip poplar. We have added lots of diversity from other sources.....cherry, hawthorn, hazelnut, apple, spruce, dogwood, and a few more that old neurons can't recall.
Sounds so wonderful Mr. Wiman!
Good morning, Fred. I share your love of garden photography, so I know that you have a bench for sitting and appreciating but that you jump up to take photos more than you sit. Great combo with the baptisia and lupines, two plants that I share with you. I’d love to see what trees you chose to plant. Please keep sharing your beautiful photos.
Linda, as you must know, every day is a new experience in a photographer's garden. The bench is just for show, I guess.
Beautiful! I love the way the crocossmia echoes the shape of the cranes!
Does the gargoyle keep deer out of your stunning garden? : )
Beth, I'm not sue about deer since we have a fence for them, but our puppy was alarmed by the gargoyle until he realized it wouldn't attack, and then we had to get a fence to keep the dogs out of the garden.....a fenced garden inside a fenced yard.
Ha!! My little old dog, Mac, (my "avatar" photo is from his youth) has been a little freaked out by all of the Halloween decor that has popped up in yards all over our neighborhood. He keeps a wary eye on things to ensure our safety while walking.
What a retreat! This is a garden I would like to retreat to. Thanks for sharing!
Fred, what an awesome amount of work you of done. 100 trees sounds daunting. Would love to see your grove since you have indicated some trees have grown from 1 foot bare root to be 25 foot trees. I loved the path thru the perennial beds leading to the bench (that you don't sit on) and the bronzed cranes/crocosmia combination (they look as if they are wading in a marsh at low tide). I'm on a five year plan myself and hope I can accomplish half of what you have. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks, Sonya! The most daunting part of the process has been convincing pasture land that is needs to be something different. Pasture land is inhabited by lots of fierce plant competitors, and they do not wish to be vanquished. Gardeners know them as weeds. And they keep showing up uninvited, despite what I do.
I hope you get as much enjoyment from your garden as I do from mine, despite the weeds.
You achieved a lot in just 5 years Fred! What is the name of the dark burgundy blooms in the back of the second photo? What a beautiful garden and photos. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks, Lilian! Those burgundy flowers are Hollyhocks. If I remember correctly, this is a variety called Nigra (Alcea rosea).
Beautiful garden photos Fred. I really love the first photo, the colors are stunning. Lovely subjects throughout your gardens. A lot of work that you obviously enjoy.
Fred, your lupines are so plump and happy looking! Your hollyhocks look very healthy, too. Do they get the dreaded rust which is so common on the "wet coast"? Masses of blue lupines grow wild along the highway median here in North Vancouver and on Vancouver Island where they bloom in May. Thanks for sharing your lovely photos!
Thanks, Lorraine! My hollyhocks seem to get a good head start before the rust and Japanese Beetles start to attack the leaves. We get ugly stalks and stems and leaves, but lovely flowers.
Loving your garden-so warm and cozy. Your well placed statuettes are so interesting and add another dimension to the flowers. Who wouldn't enjoy this setting?!
Thanks for the kind words!
"Take me Home, Country Roads..."
Mr. Wiman, you live in a truly wonderful place and I love what you've done with y'all's little parcel of "Almost Heaven!"
I used to live just up the highway and up in elevation from you in Hillsboro in a past life. While I've traded serious winters for serious summers, I believe I've left a part of me up there on the other side of Droop Mountain.
Don't know what your soils are like down there (!) (will you listen at me talking like I'm still "up there???") um, where was I??? Oh yeah: But, the soils of my garden on the other side of the Mountain were some of the best I've ever enjoyed. Loose, but not too loose, rich and fertile, easy to work. A blessing. Perhaps y'all's soils are similar?
Really enjoyed the tour of y'all's efforts. Like y'all, we started planting shade and windbreaks from OUR state forestry nursery (Oklahoma) as soon as we got the place and have been planting ever since....and will be for some time! LOVE the colour you've installed and nurtured. Your growing season may be a bit shorter than here, but the trade-off is the riot of hues which just trip over each other on the calendar in order to take advantage of the glorious season! I do a bit of colour here too, but your layout gives me some good ideas on how to proceed down here to give each spirit enough space to really shine!!
In the view of the fountain/bench, there's a small forked tree in the near-background. Just next to or slightly behind it is something throwing off a BUNCH of dark flower spikes well above the foliage, I believe? Pray tell, do you know who that lovely dark one is? I LOVE the drama and size of that beauty!! What ever it is, it's Happy!!
Just up the road from y'all on the way to Hillsboro is a tiny town called Renick. There's a Wonderful nursery there, Sunshine Nursery, run by Barry Glick, I think I 'membered all that correctly. Ever been? I chatted with him once on the phone, but never got the chance to stop by. Very pleasant guy, and his website has a beautiful photo tour of the display gardens he's planted about the place. He's a Helebore fanatic, but has a BUNCH of other unusual temptations he offers (heavy on natives) thru mail order and in person.
Better get off of here and sorry to talk yer ears off. Just got a leetle excited when I saw today's tour was from my (at one time) neck of the woods!! Thanx for the tour! Thanx for the ideas! And thanx for the memories!!!! Take care!
I love your post, Jesse! Pocahontas County is seriously beautiful, and Hwy. 219 is seriously winding. Our soil here is pretty heavy, with some clay streaks of pottery quality. When the clay is dry, weeding has to be done with a jackhammer.
Thanks for the tip about Sunshine Nursery. I will look it up.
I believe the flower spikes you are referring to are Hummingbird Mints (Agastache). The bees think I am a god for planting that one. The more brightly colored flowered spikes near them is Liatris.
Hope you are enjoying life as an Okie.
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