Garden Photo of the Day

Nancy’s garden makeover in Maryland

Today's photos are from Nancy Bellaire (HellofromMD) down in Maryland (previous posts HERE). She says, "Last year I decided to do a makeover of my perennials in my mixed border of rhododendrons, double red Knockout roses, 'Invincibelle' hydrangea, and stars of Persia alliums. The old perennials spilled out over the lawn, killing the grass, and then the geraniums needed a haircut, leaving a brown area that I got sick of seeing. I removed the plants, spread leafgro and flowertone, then dug it in by hand. The plants filled in beyond my expectations and the edging plants gave me a nice line with no more dead grass. I had fun trying out a lot of new plants: Eucomis 'Sparkling Burgundy', Allium 'Millenium', Crocosomia 'Alborado’, Aster ‘Bluebird’, Chrysanthemum ‘Samba’, and Coreopsis ‘Red Satin’. The edging is the non-flowering lamb’s ears and ‘Brigadoon’ St. John’s wort. I moved my 'Custard Candy' daylilies here and added the dwarf lilies 'Tiny Dancer' and 'Tiny Spider'. I got these from Hallson’s, famous for their hostas but a great source of lilies. too. Hang in there everyone. Hope today is the last day of snow!" Beautiful, Nancy! Those are some happy plants.

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  1. Nurserynotnordstroms 03/03/2015

    Nancy your flower beds are beautiful and stuffed full of so many great plants with texture and lovely colors. Lots of time and attention to details in this garden,smart too to change out those floppy plants that ruined your lawn and made a messy edge,it all looks so lovely. I also looked back at your other postings and you have so much room to garden I must say I wish I had more room for expansive flower beds like yours,very impressive.

  2. fromvirginia 03/03/2015

    Nancy: lovely to see these beds that look like they have something blooming for an extended period. Congratulations on your Invincibelle...I gave up on mine after four years when it continued to be straggly with puny pink blooms. What is the yellow flower in the last photo? Is it a day lily? It's gorgeous and striking. Hope your garden survived the snow and ice from yesterday. My brave little emerging snowdrops are frozen solid. If I wasn't scared of breaking my neck on the ice I would have gotten a picture:)

    1. User avater
      HelloFromMD 03/08/2015

      Hi From Virginia,

      Are you at all near Frederick Maryland? We could meet at Surreybroke Farm and include Becky, another GPODer from Maryland. I also try to get to Green Springs Gardens in Alexandria VA once a year, they have so much great stuff and in spring a cool plant sale. I told Becky to leave me a phone number or email at 410-489-5450 Larriland Farms.

      1. fromvirginia 03/09/2015

        I'm about an 1.25-1.5 hours depending on traffic but only 20 minutes from Green Springs, which I love. And yes, their plant sale is great. If you do end up on this side, let me know and please do stop by. There are a couple of fantastic nurseries (Merrifield for one) and cool public gardens in the vicinity. I'll text you my email and number. Yvonne

        1. User avater
          HelloFromMD 03/10/2015

          Sound like a great day to me. Love to go to nurseries and go to a new public garden, The only one I know in that area is Green Springs. I posted the Larriland summer market number. For this time of year call 410-489-7034. I just gave Diane in the office, my cell number so you can text me.

          1. fromvirginia 03/11/2015

            My favorites are: Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna and then close-in DC the Bishop's Garden at the National Cathedral, Dumbarton Oaks (beautiful formal garden with George Washington links), Hillwood House (Marjorie Merriweather Post's former home), Tudor House and, of course, the National Arboretum. Oh and April 18-25 is Historic Garden Week in Virginia.

  3. wGardens 03/03/2015

    Another COLD morning here at MINUS 10. Ooh, I long for GREEN and pops of color like your photos this morning. Love those dwarf lilies! The lamb's ears work nice as an edging plant. The Crocosomia is a beauty! Thanks for sharing!

  4. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 03/03/2015

    Nancy, I really love your garden. It's a special treat today for those of us still stuck in winter; freezing rain today, a low later this week that rival's Margaret's weather today! This bed has filled in so beautifully. Have you grown Eucomis before? I haven't tried it, but love it: not hardy here or, at best, marginal. That's a great crocosmia and I think the hypericum looks smashing with the dark coreopsis. Looked back at you previous posts, too, when I should be off to work: delightful!

  5. greengenes 03/03/2015

    What a beautiful setting of gardens you have, Nancy. I also looked back at previous photos. Your hydrangea is big and gorgeous. I have been growing one of those kind for 3 years and iam throwing it out! It never blooms or amounts to anything. Your dark coreopsis is a nice splash of color and the aster is sweet! The rabbits here love the asters. So much so, maybe more than me but I resolved to have them by putting a wire cage around them. Too bad about the voles. Nasty little buggers to say the least. Your gardens are a happy place! Thanks for sharing all the color this morning with us!

  6. User avater
    meander_michaele 03/03/2015

    Nancy, I had the best darned time not only looking at your pictures... but also opening up additional tabs to type in the names of some of your new purchases and reading about them. You really made some great selections of what seems to be newer variations of some tried and the crocosmia 'Alborado' and the coreopsis 'Red Satin'. Everything filled in so great during their first growing season...I'll bet you can't wait for this coming year to see them all come back even bigger and better!

  7. User avater
    HelloFromMD 03/03/2015

    The last photo is the new dwarf Crocosomia. I have a large area of the 'Lucifer' which is a bear to stake so I thought I would try some of the shorter Crocosomias. According to the Plant Delights web page, Eucomis Sparkling Burgundy is hardy to zone 6B. That is my hardiness zone, but I don't believe Tony Avent, a master of Horticulture, on that so I dug up the bulbs and have them hanging in a mesh bag in my basement. If the bulbs have babies then I will try leaving some in the ground this coming winter. From everyone's comments we are all having one intense winter. Last year and this year have been very cold in Maryland. I wouldn't be surprised to not have any Hydrangea mop head blooms again this year. My shrubs pretty much lost all of the top growth last year, but the roots survived and new stems emerged.

    1. beckysspring 03/04/2015

      I am in Maryland also and many plants that have been in the ground for years died to the roots.... Everything came back nicely but I dread that we will have the same look this spring! I am in Carroll County.. Expecting some more snow Thursday! Ugh!

      1. User avater
        HelloFromMD 03/05/2015

        Hi Becky, my crepe myrtle survived without dieback. I am afraid I won't get my mop head hydrangeas again this year. I was a Carroll County master gardener for 10 years or so as I am right on the edge of Carroll County in Woodbine just on the Howard County side. Do you ever visit Larriland Farm to pick fruit? If so let's get together I live right on the corner of my family's farm.

        1. beckysspring 03/06/2015

          We are very close! My sister lives in Woodbine and also a cousin! I grew up in Eldersburg. I had to take my large crape back by about a third. The smaller ones down to the ground... They all came back but either didn't bloom or very little. I have a Oakleaf Hydrangea that has been in the ground for about 4 years... Has not bloomed yetat all. I had to cut it back to about a third also... I would love to meet & pick or hit a few garden centers sometime. Who is your favorite? I love Sun Nurseries and worked for Snell's (The original) when I was a teenager.

          1. User avater
            HelloFromMD 03/07/2015

            Hi Becky, I too shop at Snell's, Sun Nursery, and for annuals the Condon's on Woodbine Rd. just down from Woodbine Post Office She sells annuals out of 4 greenhouses so I go there a lot in spring. Sometimes I'll travel down to Behnke's and my favorite is Groff's Plant Farm in Penn. I will go there to fill up my trunk with plants and then head over to Longwood Gardens for a great Saturday. I wanted to try out some other nurseries in Penn. Stauffers', Ashcomb and there is an Amish Market nearby too that I have heard is great for lunch. Please leave me a message with a way to contact you at Larriland Farm's office number 410-489-5455. Thanks, Nancy

          2. beckysspring 03/09/2015

            Nancy, Do you own Larriland?

          3. User avater
            HelloFromMD 03/10/2015

            Becky, sorry I gave you the summer market number. For this time of year call 410-489-7034. I just gave Diane my cell number so you can text me.

          4. beckysspring 04/28/2015

            Hi Nancy, Sorry I haven't been on here in a while. My cell number is 443.536.1160
            You mentioned going to Virginia at some point for a plant sale. When and where is that?

  8. NCYarden 03/03/2015

    Good morning, Nancy. You have such a lovely garden, and I love the makeover. I know it's some work, but one that pays back with big rewards. Plus there's something about continuously getting your hands dirty and trying something new - the garden is never done. You're going to love the Eucomis 'Sparkling Burgundy" if you haven't already. Don't be discouraged if you don't see blooms immediately. It took a couple of seasons before I ever saw a bloom. I certainly don't know if this is an inherent trait, but I was close to removing them (not that the purplish red strappy leaves weren't beautiful themselves), but glad I didn't, as it is quite a bloom, and long-lasting. Enjoy. Thanks for sharing.

    1. User avater
      HelloFromMD 03/03/2015

      Hi NC Yarden, I'm new to Eucomis. Do you dig up yours and store overwinter or leave in the ground? I did not get any blooms this past season. Is NC North Carolina? What is your hardiness zone? I would love to get blooms. Will see what happens this year.

      1. NCYarden 03/03/2015

        Hi Nancy. No I do not dig the bulbs up, and they have overwintered quite well here in NC (my zone is 7B). They have also survived what has been a couple of years now of fairly wet weather as well, which I feared might lead to bulb rot, but so far so good. Additionally I also have them in 2 different areas, which I can say one is much more fertile and mulched than the other, and both areas now give me beautiful blooms. Again though it was 3 seasons I think before I finally got blooms, but now they bloom it seems without fail. Worth the wait.

  9. pegmccann 03/03/2015

    So nice to see clover in a lawn! And a few violets, too! Guess I'm not the only gardener who likes a diverse lawn. Also, I learned a few things, I didn't know there were St. John’s worts that were so short, I'm going to check it out. Like green leaves + maroon flowers. Thank you.

    1. User avater
      HelloFromMD 03/03/2015

      Hi Peg, We don't put down herbicides in the lawn for when the kids were little and of course for birds etc. I love clover dating back to making bracelets of it as a child. It grows better than grass for me. Grass with the shade is a problem. Too many of my garden photos are ruined by the lawn. That Brigadoon St. John's wort would be golden in the sun, for me more chartreuse, but a good grower.

      1. pegmccann 03/03/2015

        Yes, about the only reason for a plain lawn is that it frames the gardens better. Well, some weedy grasses get into the garden so they are worth keeping out of the lawn even by weeding or judicious herbicide. And I try to keep the clover and violets away from where my lawn is close to the neighbor's. I, too, grew up with clovered lawns, made bracelets, and my family didn't fertilize the lawn, why make it grow faster?

    2. Cenepk10 03/05/2015

      My yard is wild onion & false dandelions hah ! Diverse lawn, indeed !

  10. GrannyMay 03/03/2015

    Nancy, just the thought of doing a major makeover gives me sympathetic back pain! Yet, as your photos demonstrate, the results are worth all the work. Lovely! I hope the extra cold winter has done no damage to your plants and that you will have more photos to share in the spring and summer. I really would like to hear how well the dwarf Crocosmias survive. Did you find a way to get rid of the voles?

    1. User avater
      HelloFromMD 03/03/2015

      Hi GrannyMay, I got a lot of great tips about stopping vole damage. Probably the best was planting in wire baskets. I was not able to find a good local source for wire baskets. And I must admit the thought of digging up my hostas was quite daunting. I could see the voles were coming in from the woods, making their roofless tunnels through the hellebores and into the hostas. The hellebores really trap leaves. My defense this year was to remove every single fallen leaf from my shade garden. I removed the 'cozy' factor. And all winter the ground has been frozen so there are no tunnels. Hopefully all the perennials are hardy enough to do without any cover.

      1. GrannyMay 03/03/2015

        Nancy you deserve to have no vole damage! Hope it worked.

  11. Cenepk10 03/03/2015

    Would someone tell me how to get rid of voles ? My cat never misses a day killing at least one. Virtual city over here. Nancy: You border is yummy. Makes me more impatient for spring. :)

    1. User avater
      HelloFromMD 03/03/2015

      I think their rate of reproduction ensures they will be around forever. I have a cat too but she is getting old. All future cats will be indoors due to faster traffic on the road. I dread to think what will happen when Peppy is no longer on the prowl.

    2. NCYarden 03/03/2015

      I have yet to find a solid solution. My cat does some of the work, but alas he too, like Nancy's, is showing his age. I think the repro cycle is every 12 days. I have found perma-till to be slightly helpful. My newest approach for plants I know voles love, like hostas, is too plant them in draining black pots with the bottoms filled with permatill, set into the hole also filled with some perma-till, and then a little more scattered on the top when I back fill. It is showing some promise. Stayed tuned. In other cases I plant cheap daffodil bulbs around, even knowing they may only grow the foliage (don't even care about the flower here) just because the bulb is poisonous to voles. Not perfect, but a bit of a deterrent. I am losing less plants over the last couple of seasons.

      1. User avater
        HelloFromMD 03/03/2015

        I like your idea of the draining pots. Does that mean you cut off the bottom of the pot? I used a lot of perm-til when planting my hostas and still lost many of them to the voles. It is interesting to note that it was all of my large mature hostas that the voles devoured. I think the roots had spread beyond the perm-till barrier. That coupled with the leaf litter was a recipe for disaster. My family vacations together in November and I was not home to get the final fall of leaves off the shade garden. Little did I know a whole lot of eating was going on under the leaves.

        1. NCYarden 03/04/2015

          I do not cut the bottoms out completely, but rather just use the pre-made holes on those typical nursery pots, and may cut out a few more if I think more drainage is needed. I fear the vole that wants to dig deep and attack from far below. After a couple of seasons, I lift the pot to make sure the plant hasn't outgrown it's pot. I either transfer to a larger pot, divide the plant, or root prune if possible. I haven't been doing this long, so I've only recently upsized a couple of fancy hostas, but at least I still had them to upsize. Like I said, it shows some promise. Hope this helps.

      2. Cenepk10 03/05/2015

        Thank you ! I will google permatill because I've never heard of it. Yes - hostas are their favorite- ( love the daffodil idea as poison) and oak leaf hydrangea, Japanese forest grass, wisteria- they are voracious & there are tunnels all over - who needs to aeriate ????

      3. User avater
        HelloFromMD 03/08/2015

        I'm glad you mentioned that NC Yarden because I need to move some daffodils this spring so I can use them as vole deterrents in addition to perm-til or chicken grit.

  12. sheila_schultz 03/03/2015

    Nancy, like GrannyMay, my back hurts just thinking about actually implementing a garden redo, but I fear one might be in my future, too. It will be worth the backbreaking labor if the results are as lovely as yours! I definitely think Crocosomia 'Alborado’ might be in my future, it's a beauty... thanks for the heads up ;)

    1. User avater
      HelloFromMD 03/03/2015

      Sheila, I turn over small areas at a time so it took awhile, but I did get into shape from it. Good thing too since I and my garden club buddies built a dry creek bed for erosion control in the public garden we maintain. We moved a ton of river rock in one day. I believe in advil.

      1. sheila_schultz 03/03/2015

        If only our gardening muscles would last from year to year... sigh.

  13. Cenepk10 03/03/2015

    Just saw you said to remove leaves. I did the exact same thing. Took every single leaf up. We will see.

    1. User avater
      HelloFromMD 03/03/2015

      Please let us know after the snow melts. I will weigh in too. I ordered hostas this spring to fill in my holes so this technique better work!

  14. Cenepk10 03/03/2015

    Between the herds ( literally herds of deer 30-40 ) of deer and the cities of voles- any wonder theres anything left.

  15. schatzi 03/03/2015

    Beautiful. Love all the flowers and texture contrasts. Never met a Crocosmia I didn't like. Lucifer is a pain to stake but it is gorgeous. Also have several yellow-orange-red combinations from Far Reaches Farm. Spring is here in the PNW, but we are still having rain interspersed with clear days and frosty nights, and will for a couple more months. Hope all your snow and ice go away soonest.

  16. Meelianthus 03/03/2015

    Nancy ~ Isn't it fun to try new plantings and make new beds. Yours are wonderfully colorific and look so healthy. I envy all of your spacious areas and you have done a lovely job of making them so interesting with your combinations. The Crocosmia are beautiful !

  17. User avater
    meander_michaele 03/03/2015

    Hi, again, Nancy, just wanted to thank you because your picture that included the crocosmia has sent me off looking to buy that variety. It brought me to some web sites that opened my eyes to some great new colors including 'Alborado'. I have a wonderful clump of 'Lucifer' but I am loving some of these more recent introductions.

    1. User avater
      HelloFromMD 03/04/2015

      Hi Meander1, I'm getting these new crocosomias from The Lily Garden. She ships them as corms in the spring. I just got another one 'Brillant Sunset' for this spring.

      1. User avater
        meander_michaele 03/04/2015

        Thanks so much for sharing the name of your source. As it happens, the Lily Garden website was where I spent the most time looking yesterday. Are you already growing any other of the varieties of crocosmia that they sell? I am so tickled at all the choices!

  18. user-7007327 03/03/2015

    Love all your colorful flowers. In picture #4 what are the tall little yellow flowers?

    1. User avater
      HelloFromMD 03/04/2015

      Hi Elizabeth,

      In picture 4 that is an older Coreopsis (probably Zagreb) that is edging the bed further down that was successful and not part of the makeover. The yellow flower behind the daylily in picture 3 is the hardy Alstromeria. I think the cultivar name is Sweet Laura. Its been a good performer for me.

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