Garden Photo of the Day

Splashes of Spring in Pennsylvania

By Kim Charles

Spring highlights from John and Rhonda's Southeast Pennsylvania garden.

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The first photo before the big beech is leafed out. The second as the tulips were finished, and the third of my new coral bark maple.

Look closely and you'll see my failure- the one legged aucuba!

'The President' clematis among euphorbia.

While waiting for climbing roses, I planted clematis. 

This is for Tim-berry something heuchera!

'Tangerine beauty' trumpet vine on the left and 'major wheeler' lonicera on the right. 

My favorite peony.

Clematis 'niobe'? Not sure.

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  1. NCYarden 06/07/2017

    Good morning John and Rhonda, Wonderful start to my day seeing your beautiful garden with such plant favorites. Japanese maples and clematis...someone is inside my head it seems. That peony is gorgeous too. And I wouldn't quite call that Acuba a failure - maybe just a very refined lietrati styling. I don't know what makes some these do this sometime - I have one that seems "stuck" as well, and I can't bring myself to yank it just yet. Thanks for sharing.

    1. user-4691082 06/07/2017

      Thanks! I've never heard of lietrari styling. I will memorize that term! Yes, the only thing I can think of is it may be a little too damp where it I don't feel guilty for not tearing it out!

      1. NCYarden 06/07/2017

        Haha, big typo (still makes no spell-check sense though). I meant Literati, a style used in Bonsai

        1. user-4691082 06/07/2017

          Ohhhhh! Yes, I'll call it in bonsai training!!!!

  2. user-7007960 06/07/2017

    Lovely gardens and that creek bed! Clematis colors are outstanding and so lush! Love the coral bark maple too. You must relish the time working and dwelling in your slice of heaven.

    1. user-4691082 06/07/2017

      I really do!

  3. user-7007960 06/07/2017

    Oh, and the "acuba" , I had these in Moorestown, NJ, and they thrived! Easy to do cuttings also. Yours will be up and about in no time!, I love your comment on peg leg Aruba.. thx for sharing.

    1. user-4691082 06/07/2017

      Carol, it's been that way for years. A little new growth emerges and then, nothing.

      1. user-7007498 06/07/2017

        I have a rule- a plant has 3 seasons to 'Wow' me. If not, it becomes compost. Way to hang in there on that one, but it sounds like a new home is needed(new garden location or compost pile). :)

  4. user-7007960 06/07/2017

    ACUBA, iPad. Has a mind of it's own...

  5. frankgreenhalgh 06/07/2017

    Hello Rhonda and John - You guys have a magnificent garden. The water course is really special (yes an absolute ripper, Rhonda) and I love the small water falls. It must be very relaxing and peaceful hearing the sound of the water making its way down the course bordered by those lovely rocks. I would love something similar in our garden, but the leaves/twigs/bark etc. falling from the gum trees prevent that from being a practical proposition. How large is your garden? Cheers from Oz

    1. user-4691082 06/07/2017

      We have an acre, Frank. The leaves and twigs just wash down to the bottom! I had a garden snake come swimming down the stream a few weeks ago when it was really hot. He just turned around, swam up to near the top, crawled over the rocks, and disappeared. Now I'm afraid to weed over there! Lol! Thanks for your kind words!

      1. frankgreenhalgh 06/07/2017

        Gee a 'snake in the grass' must keep you on your toes, Rhonda. I seem to recall that you are not a big fan of snakes.
        My biggest surprise with snakes was when I found 10 baby (18 inches long) red bellied black snakes in good old spent mushroom compost as I shovelled the compost out of a trailer into a wheel barrow (the trailer was loaded with a front end loader at the nursery). Another good reason not to use mushroom compost in the garden, hey, Rhonda!!!!!!!!!!!

        1. user-4691082 06/07/2017

          Yeah, they love the warmth of the compost. When my hubby brings it home, it's been thoroughly checked out!!!

      2. schatzi 06/07/2017

        Hi Rhonda. Your garden is gorgeous! The stream and waterfall are just superb! As for garter snakes, I have finally come to terms with them. They eat my enemies (slugs and mice), and the "run" away faster than I can. So now when I disturb one sunning, I apologize! Anything bigger, all bets are off. Enjoy your paradise.

        1. user-4691082 06/07/2017

          Thanks Shirley, I'll try to adjust...its from when I was a child....! I know it's an irrational fear...

          1. schatzi 06/07/2017

            I know where you are coming from - been there - it's taken me almost 70 yrs to get over it...relax - you will get there.

  6. pattieswinfordclifford 06/07/2017

    Lovely. Thank you for taking us on a stroll through your garden!

    1. user-4691082 06/07/2017

      Thanks Pattie! It's fun isn't it?

  7. user-7007498 06/07/2017

    Good morning, neighbor. Great to see your garden again. I just had time for a quick look. Will be back later for a better comment. Better watch that heron, looks like he is eyeing those fish.

    1. user-4691082 06/07/2017

      Can't wait for you and Kathy to come in the fall! How are those wedding plans coming ?

      1. user-7007498 06/07/2017

        Things are going well. Getting excited.

  8. deeinde 06/07/2017

    Your gardens are beautiful, John and Rhonda. I am also a clematis lover. I am the clematis in that last picture growing up or tumbling down ?
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. user-4691082 06/07/2017

      Tumbling down. That rock gets very hot but, as they say, if you keep the feet cool, the clematis will do fine. I've even started some from cuttings. I seem to have trouble with things that others claim are so easy! Thanks for your kind words!

      1. user-4691082 06/07/2017

        I just realized that the clematis was planted at the base of the rock. It took a couple of years to get going but then- boom! So it grew up and spilled over. Does that make sense?

  9. User avater
    meander_michaele 06/07/2017

    Good morning, Rhonda and John. I think you win the prize for sending me off on the quickest google search this spring. I wanted to read about the 'major wheeler' lonicera...according to the first site I landed on, it said it blooms all through the summer. Has that been your experience? It and the 'Tangerine Beauty' trumpet vine are such a tidal wave of orange. I would guess that the hummingbirds practically trip over themselves to get to that nectar fest! Your white peony is sooo gorgeous and Bing, Bam, Boom, the blue on 'Mr. President' is positively electric. I love everything!!

    1. user-4691082 06/07/2017

      Hi Michaele! The lonicera is like everything else that says it blooms all summer. It blooms lightly and sporadically. Same with the trumpet vine. That white peony was a gift from a friend when my mother died. It started out as a woody one, but has since converted back to herbaceous.? The hard thing about gardening is having all of your summer parties when stuff is in bloom. Thanks so much for your kind words!

  10. user-3565112 06/07/2017

    Rhonda, Your gardens in spring are awesome. The trumpet vine is fabulous. I remember your streambed with the ceramic fish & it looks even better with the plants in bloom. What is the trick with clematis ? I've never had any luck with those & yours seem to be thriving in all kinds of conditions.
    Good luck, Joe

    1. user-4691082 06/07/2017

      Dear Joe, thanks! The trick with clematis is to plant them where their feet are shaded by another plant and their heads are in the sun. They perform very well for me in hot sun as well as morning sun only. Keep them watered the first year and then- nothing! I don't cut them back at all. Good luck Joe!

      1. user-3565112 06/07/2017

        Thank you Rhonda, My daughter has 2 & I willl her know & also will give it another try myself.
        Good luck, Joe

    2. user-7007498 06/07/2017

      Joe, if you have struggled with clematis, then try clematis viticella. This group originates from Southern Italy and is very hardy, and much less susceptible to clematis wilt. The cultivars 'Polish Spirit' and 'Betty Corning' are usually easy to find and are great performers.

      1. user-3565112 06/08/2017

        Thank you Kevin. , I will look for one of those this weekend. It seems some plants just don't work out for me & Japanese Maples are another problem plant.
        Thank you & good luck , Joe

  11. Doxnmomx2 06/07/2017

    It's all been written below. Sorry about your one teeny tiny failure. Maybe you should quit gardening. JK. Love everything!

    1. user-4691082 06/07/2017

      Dear Peggy Jo, lol! Your sense of humor is just like mine! Thanks for looking!

  12. pam_clemmons 06/07/2017

    Oh it's just beautiful! You've a fabulous creation! It's obvious you love it!

    1. user-4691082 06/07/2017

      Hi Pam, I really do. It's not always attractive though. Nobody sends photos of weeds and out of control plants!!!! That's what is fun, though. Trial and error! Thanks for your kind words.

  13. hontell 06/07/2017

    Rhonda, I may love your stream even more than the flamingos. Everything is beautiful.

    1. user-4691082 06/07/2017

      Dear Howard, what flamingos? But thanks!

  14. User avater
    treasuresmom 06/07/2017

    My, my, my. Adore that maple!!

    1. user-4691082 06/07/2017

      You should see it in the winter! It reminds me of a red twig dogwood where it's bark fades in the summer and it gets beautiful in the winter. I can't wait till it grows! Thanks!

  15. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 06/07/2017

    The colors, the textures, the stream and the berrry-licious Heuchera! Wow, that's a great color. I'm bowled over by the honeysuckle and the trumpet vine blooming together. I was wondering how you keep the trumpet vine in check. I'm assuming that Bignonia is not as vigorous and aggressive as Campsis?
    The peony is beautiful, regardless of the fact that the herbaceous rootstock supplanted the original peony.
    Please tell me more about the very cool "wisteria". Is is something with which I am not familiar, or the American wisteria hard pruned? Love it.
    Thanks for sharing your spring!

    1. user-4691082 06/07/2017

      Thanks Tim, the heuchera is 'grape expectations'. I forgot that when I submitted the photos. The photo doesn't do it justice. It looks like grape jelly. I don't know which one the trumpet vine is. I just know the cultivar is 'tangerine beauty'. And yes, that is an 'amethyst falls' wisteria hard pruned! Thanks for your comments!

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 06/07/2017

        I'll be adding that Heuchera to my list. I thought I was sort of done focusing on Heuchera, but I guess I was just distracted!
        Tangerine Beauty is a crossvine, Bignonia capreolata. Trumpet vines are Campsis radicans and extremely aggressive vines.
        Love that wisteria!! Thanks for the ID and info.

  16. VikkiVA 06/07/2017

    Rhonda, you have created a paradise on your acre. I will be looking for that 'grape expectations' to add to my Heuchera grouping. Your red clematis looks like the one I have which is 'niobe'. Love, love, love your water feature. Vikki in VA

    1. user-4691082 06/07/2017

      Oh Vikki, you will love grape expectations! It is so vibrant. Yes, I thought that was niobe. It blooms so long! Thanks for your kind words!

  17. user-6536305 06/07/2017

    Rhonda, I totally agree with VikkiB that you have created a paradise on your acre. I love your stream and the red salmons sculptures in it. So creative. Thanks for sharing your beauty and hard work.

  18. user-4691082 06/07/2017

    Thanks Lillian. Just one acre. Those fish are koi from Tyler Weiss in Maine. Check out his website "Fish in the garden". It's great! It's nice to hear that I've created a paradise. Lol! If you could see me out there today freezing my buns off tearing out cleome that threatens to take over my rose bed...

    1. user-6536305 06/07/2017

      I am a Canadian, love to think them as salmon return for spawning. Please allow me to think this way. Just checked the website. It is great. Are you the Rhonda that we saw pictured with Kevin Kelly at the flower show?

      1. user-4691082 06/07/2017

        Yes, Lillian that's a great way to think of the fish! I am the same Rhonda with Kevin.

        1. user-7007498 06/07/2017

          Wow, Rhonda. You are brave enough to admit the type of company you keep.

          1. user-4691082 06/07/2017

            Yeah, I thought long and hard before I typed it in...

  19. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 06/07/2017

    Hi Rhonda, good to see your garden this morning in all of it's glory. You definitely have better luck with clematis than we do here. Our 'President' is 3 yrs old and languishing but we're still hopeful ( there's a parody in there somewhere:) Ooh, your heuchera is a must have and that peony is a beauty. I'll bet that stream gives you hours of pleasure.
    Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. user-4691082 06/07/2017

      Thanks Linda! See note below about snake... but we do enjoy it!

      1. User avater
        LindaonWhidbey 06/07/2017

        What a great excuse to not weed. You should be thanking that little snake. I sort of love them but understand the fear and we also have no poisonous ones, which helps.

  20. hedygalow 06/07/2017

    Wow I have never seen such a weed-free garden----how do you do it? Your garden is beautiful and love the pond

    1. user-4691082 06/07/2017

      Thanks Hedy! I weed constantly especially since my husband wouldn't let me get any mulch this year! I'm going to work on him for late July. I am hosting a rehearsal dinner for a good friend.

  21. christianelena 06/07/2017

    Your garden looks son amazing.
    Congrats for this great job.

    1. user-4691082 06/07/2017

      Thanks Christiane! It's a lot of work( my sister constantly tells me my house isn't sellable)! But, us gardeners can't help it, right?

  22. user-7007498 06/07/2017

    Hi, Rhonda. I have had a little time to go over your photos. Your garden is coming along well. The stream looks great without all the creeping jenny. I love the clematis, especially using it like a ground cover, spilling over the rocks and intermingled with the euphorbia. Great job. The maple is stunning. I really like the photo as well, with the light streaming through it.

    1. user-4691082 06/07/2017

      Are you on your lunch hour Kev? Thanks for the encouragement!

      1. user-7007498 06/07/2017

        I was off. Now back to work.

  23. Meelianthus 06/07/2017

    Really beautiful Rhonda and nice to see you gardens again. You certainly have a knack with the clematis, they are stunning. I remembered your stream - and fish :) what a wonderful sound it must make. Does it attract a lot of birds - other than the cranes that is ? Have you been gardening on your acre for a long time? Thanks for sharing your bounty, very refreshing - and I know you do all your own work ;)

    1. user-4691082 06/07/2017

      Thanks so much! The birds and other critters drink from it. It's funny, I think I lost my 'Henrii' clematis this year. I've been gardening here for about 28 years. Yup, I started with no plan and bought stuff, stuck it in, tore stuff out, etc. Then six years ago, we had the patio, fireplace, and water feature installed. So with the professional plan ignored, I'm back to trial and error!

  24. Chris_N 06/07/2017

    Everything looks wonderful, Rhonda. Love your fish in the stream.

  25. gardencook 06/08/2017

    Lovely gardens!!!! A stream filled with fish adds to the sights and sounds!!!! Lovely clematis as well!!!

  26. MNGardenGirl 06/09/2017

    Wow, the cascading stream... We have the perfect spot for one. Look out, hubs. So lovely.

  27. user-2077552 06/09/2017

    Stunningly beautiful gardens, Rhonda. I'm a sucker for clematis, so love all of yours.

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