pixie perennials

gardening with perennials


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Purple Passion

One of my favorite fall shrubs is Callicarpa americana, commonly called beautyberry -a spectacular purple color in the fall garden. A wonderful shrub for full sun or part shade, the birds will use the fruit from the Callicarpa for food as the weather gets colder. When the berries are fully colored, I cut 12-18″ branches from the bush, strip the leaves, and place them in a vase to brighten up the kitchen. They provide color for a month.

Happy in loamy soil,this zone 6 shrub is pest free. Considering planting one of these delightful shrubs, that I have enjoyed in my garden over the past 20 years.

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Hardy Hibiscus

A statement plant for the garden. The hardy hibiscus provides fabulous fall color, is long blooming and beautiful! What more could you ask of a plant?

Hardy Hibiscus @pixieperennials.com

Hardy Hibiscus @pixieperennials.com

The Garden Conservancy Open Days is this Sunday, September 18, 2016
 


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A Peak at Pixie Perennials

A quick preview of what is about to bloom in the garden.

pixieperennials@gmail.com

pixieperennials@gmail.com


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The Greenwich Daffodil Society Show 2016

Last year was the first time I attended the Greenwich Daffodil Society Show and I was delighted with the event. I encourage everyone to attend, you won’t be disappointed.

Areas of interest: flower arranging, photography, and youth entries. Anyone can enter. Go to greenwichdaffodilsociety@gmail.com for details.
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Fantastic Fall Wreath

 

Year three and I’m still using the original artemisia base for my fall wreath. Freshly cut silver wormwood is wired to the form, adding fullness and brightening the dried artemisia.

Last fall I used hydrangeas as the decorative plant material. This year Heptacodium miconioides calyces, commonly called Seven Sons, is the focal point on the wreath, selected for its contrasting pink coloring.  All floral material is from my garden, naturally!

 


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Summer

A few photos of the summer garden.

I’m out in the garden deadheading plants and staking the delphiniums that were pummeled by the heavy rains yesterday. Great time to weed too while the ground is soft.


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Garden Conservancy – June 13, 2015

The Garden Conservancy has selected our garden among several in Fairfield County to be viewed on June 13, 2015. We are located at 200 Nod Hill Road, Wilton, CT.

Artisans will be selling their one of a kind creations at the pop-up boutique located in the barn.


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Plant Sale and Gift Boutique

Pixie May #2


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Virginia bluebells

One of the sweetest spring ephemerals you can have in your garden.

What draws me to Mertensia virginica is the rounded grey-green leaves.  Chameleon-like, the buds are pink, yet open to a beautiful shade of blue.

Mertensia virginica in bud - pixieperennials.com

Mertensia virginica in bud – pixieperennials.com

Native to eastern North America, Virginia bluebells love a shady spot with well-drained soil.  They do not like to be moved; this stresses the Mertensia virginica;  think carefully where to locate them  before planting.  After flowering, the plant goes dormant until next year.  Mark the location for future reference.

Also known as Virginia cowslip, lungwort oyster leaf, and Roanoke bells.


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Pixie Perennials Plant Sale and Gift Boutique

The first Pixie Perennials Plant Sale and Gift Boutique of 2015!

Friday, May 15th – Sunday, May 17th  
200 Nod Hill Road, Wilton, CT.
9:00am – 5:00pm
Pixie Sale 5:2015

Barn Boutique:

  • Honestly You – 100% handmade organic soap, lip balm and bath bomb
  • Little Red Hen Redux – Prosperity hens,  handcrafted soft sculpture elephants, beaded flowers, clothespin mermaids and soft stuffed “paper dolls”
  • Hook & Ladder Hand Knits
  • Nod Hill Designs – Elegant & fun embellished gardening & kitchen aprons
  • Arbonne – Botanical based skin care & nutritiion
  • Ellen Hoverkamp – Photographic Note Cards, Prints, Scarves & Book.  Winner of the 2013 GWA Gold Medal Photography Award for her collaboration with Ken Druse on “Natural Companions, The Garden Lover’s Guide to Plant Combinations.”  Samples from “Pixie Perennials” are featured in Natural Companions.
  • Lemonade and homemade cookies


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The Daffodil Show – April 22 & April 23

Nothing quite signifies the start of spring like the sight of hundreds of daffodils in bloom.

Today and tomorrow at the Christ Church Parish Hall 245 East Putnam Avenue, Greenwich, CT there will be the most exquisite daffodils on display. This free event is not to be missed! Mark your calendar and stop by The Daffodil Show hosted by the Daffodil Society of Greenwich, CT.

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An additional treat at the show is artist Ellen Hoverkamp’s scanner photography. 23 pieces of her floral scanner photography is exhibited in the hallway next to the community room and available for purchase through the church bookstore.


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Relentless Raccoons

We have been feeding an adorable black and white stray cat, which runs and hides the minute it sees you, even though this daily routine has been going on for a year. With the temperature often below zero here in Connecticut this past winter, we wanted to make sure there was ample food outside for the cat. During the coldest snap the cat would eat more than five times a day.

Early one morning after a snowstorm, I followed the paw prints to see if I could discover where the cat was living — no such luck! The tracks ended at the bottom of our driveway, the remaining clues wiped clean by the town plow.

As spring came I noticed the food bowl was moved from the platform to the patio. Hm, did the cat knock it down and it just happened to land flat without spilling the food? This happened again the next evening, leading me to wonder what was eating the cat food.

The following night I thought the cat was lurking under the bird feeders, hung in the swamp maple, because I saw eyes glistening. I  grabbed my flashlight leveling it near the ground to see if the cat was visiting. Instead of the cat, there were five raccoons, snacking happily on the bird seed, a veritable smorgSEEDbord for them. It was suddenly clear: the raccoons with their opposable thumbs had carefully taken the food bowl from the platform and placed it on the ground to make their dining more comfortable.  I shooed them away many times but … the lure of free food kept them coming back time after time, in relentless pursuit of an easy meal.

As the flowers begin to push through the ground, the bird feeders  have been stored for the summer, the relentless raccoons will have to go elsewhere to dine!


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Boston Flower Show Highlights 2015 – “Season of Enchantment”

As promised, it is snowing today, the first day of Spring!  I was hoping the forecast would be wrong.  Will this be the last time we have to shovel for the season?  Given the weather outside, it seemed only fitting to post photos that speak of spring. Check out a few of the incredible designs from the Boston Flower Show 2015.

Magical!


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Snowdrops in the forecast?

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At 6:20am today I awoke to the sound of birds chirping outside our bedroom window. Delightful! My view of the sunrise from our bed was nothing less than spectacular: oranges, pinks, and grays. I rolled out of bed and grabbed my camera, wanting to capture this moment in time. Reaching the window, and raising the camera to my eye to frame the shot, I notice the driveway no longer shows any sign of the blacktop that had been there when I went to sleep. The entire yard is white with snow. Shaking my head, I take another look. The snow is still there. How could this be? Spring starts in two days. The weather channel never mentioned any chance of precipitation, let alone snow in their forecast last evening! However, snow is predicted for Friday, the first day of spring. Winter doesn’t want to retire.

Normally at this time of year, snowdrops greet me each time I walk in or out of the front door. Not this year. I am waiting, not so patiently at this point for the snowdrops to peek their heads out of the ground, or for any sign of my spring bulbs. Most are buried under the biggest snow piles in our yard.


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Planting Fields Arboretum

Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park is an arboretum and state park covering over 400 acres, located at 1395 Planting Fields Rd. in the Village of Upper Brookville in the town of Oyster Bay, New York 11771.


This year’s Annual Camellia House Weekend was last Saturday, February 21st and Sunday, February 22nd 11:00am – 4:00pm. It featured live music, walking tours of the Camellia House and activities for children. Coe Hall was open for self-guided visits. All activities inside the Camellia House were free.

The gorgeous camellias offer a respite from the harsh snowy winter, promising that spring is on the way. In a word, incredible!

Mark it on your calendar for next year -rain or shine. Check their website  for events throughout the year.

Cheers,

Sandi


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Happy Holidays from our home to yours!

“The most noteworthy thing about gardeners is that they are always optimistic, always enterprising, and never satisfied. They always look forward to doing something better than they have ever done before.”  Vita Sackville-West

Wishing you inspiration throughout the 2015 gardening season.

Cheers, Sandi

Painted in Waterlogue


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Fall festive wreath with hydrangeas and artemisia

Don’t know what to do with your Artemisia ludoviciana, (Silver wormwood)?  Cut it down and make a wreath.  Use green floral wire to wrap three to four stems of artemisia together. Place them on top off each other, slightly offset from the previous grouping in order to form a circle. Once you have the circle size you desire, begin to tuck additional single stems into the wreath form. This will soften the appearance, add fulness and look more natural.  If you have hydrangeas in your yard, stick them into your wreath. Add a bow and you are ready to hang your creation. Berries, astilbe, and rose hips can also be used, it just depends on the look you are going for.  I leave the wreath on the barn until it is time for winter decorations to be put up.

The base of this year’s wreath is the one I made last year and stored in our garage. Newly cut plants are wired to the existing wreath. Most of the labor occurs the first year, when making the original frame.

Be creative with your garden cuttings by reusing the plant material to keep the season going longer. When putting your garden to bed for the winter, think whether or not the perennials you are clipping can be used in your wreath. If not, add them to your compost pile.


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Fall Garden

From the kitchen I have a view of the back garden, it is planted with drifts and individual perennials. The garden is quite a distance from the house and needs strong colors to be noticed. In late summer, it blooms for weeks on end because Perovskia atriplicifolia is one of the main perennials that carries the garden through until frost. Asters, Sanguisorba and many others lend their support.

Cheers!

Backyard garden - September 2014

Backyard garden – September 2014

Aster - pixieperennials.com

Aster – pixieperennials.com

Aster - pixieperennials.com

Aster – pixieperennials.com


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Autumnal decorations painted with Waterlogue app

Images of “Fall Decorations – From you garden” (previous post) painted with Waterlogue app.  Enjoy!


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Anemone japonica – Friendly fall bloomer

Who wouldn’t like to be greeted by a garden ambassador, the japanese anemone!? The flowers sway in the wind, high atop the foliage. It looks as if they are waving hello to me each time I peruse my garden. They never fail to bring a smile to my face.

This is a long blooming perennial for sun to part shade. A must for the fall garden. My white Anemone japonica is still blooming today.


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Wilton Flower Show – Timeless Gatherings

Interested in seeing plants that will still be blooming in October? If yes,  stop by the Wilton Garden Club Flower show  “Timeless Gatherings” at the Wilton Historical Society, Wilton, CT.   (224 Danbury Road).  October 9-10, 2014.

An amazing collection of dahlias, evergreens, vegetables, herbs, perennials, tabletop,  floral designs, miniatures, and photography is on display.

This is a wonderful opportunity to tour the Historical Society building.  The show is displayed throughout.  It is interesting to see the beehive oven inside the fireplace used for cooking by the early colonists.


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The September Painted Garden

If you haven’t tried the Waterlogue app yet, try it, you will love it. I am turning my garden photos into watercolors. Hope you enjoy my September garden. First photo grouping created from photos taken of the back and side garden.

Below our terraced garden rendered in Waterlogue.


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Hard to believe summer has ended and fall is here. The garden is still going strong. We have beautiful asters that will bloom almost until frost arrives here in New England. Below are a few of my favorites, and the bees love them too!


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Every spring I look forward to our magnolia blooming. A former owner strategically planted it to be viewed from the kitchen sink window, perhaps to cheer you as you wash dishes. An early flowering variety, the buds often get claimed by frost. Two years ago, the beautiful white with pink blossoms were opening when the temperature dipped below freezing. You guessed it, next morning the entire tree looked like someone had blown his nose into tissues and left them hanging on the tree. What promised to be a splendid showing of flowers, turned into a tan slimy eyesore that we had to look at for weeks. Almost as sad looking as a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. Fortunately, this year we were able to enjoy the flowers for several weeks.

Recently, I toured Hollister House, owned by George Schoellkoph, with the Redding Garden Club. This wonderful garden is located in Washington, CT, in Litchfield County. I fell in love with his magnolia, a gorgeous pale yellow color. It blooms mid to late May. No frozen flowers, what could be better. Given that we live further south, it should be perfect for our yard. My understanding is he purchased the magnolia from Broken Arrow Nursery in Hamden, CT. A road trip to Broken Arrow Nursery is a must. If you are looking for rare or unusual plants and shrubs, check them out; they have more choices then you probably have areas to plant. I haven’t been there in years, but am looking forward to visiting soon.

http://www.hollisterhousegarden.org

http://www.brokenarrownursery.com


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Waterlogue – iPhone app

My son found the Waterlogue  iPhone app, which lets you feel like an artist. You don’t need to be able to paint to create a  beautiful watercolor in several different styles.  I  enjoy using  Natural, but other options include: Blotted, Luminous, “It’s Technical”, Travelogue, Rainy, Illustration, Soaked, Fashionable, Color Bloom, Shallow and Bold.  In the gallery, I put two photos of the lower terrace, each “painted” in a separate style . One image is in  Natural, and the other  in Bold.  The backyard garden is shown in Natural and Technical.  What a difference?  It is fun and easy to use.  Only wish I could claim the watercolor pictures as mine, but they are my flowers.  One drawback, however,  is how it renders people, they do not turn out well. Stick to inanimate objects or scenes for the best results,  but you be the judge.  Everyone has different tastes.  Hope you try the app, it’s free.  Let your inner Monet out.

Fabulous Fritillaria

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Fritillaria meleagris: a bulb that prefers dappled to full sun, and needs consistent moisture throughout the growing season. However, it will not thrive in soggy soil. This lily has a faint checkerboard pattern. Allow the leaves to die back before removing, they are needed for photosynthesis. By mid summer the plant goes dormant. You can pull or clip the browning leaves at this time without any worries. Fritillaria makes a wonderful cut flower.

Fritillaria meleagris - pixieperennials.com

Fritillaria meleagris – pixieperennials.com


 

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Bulbs

For an early show in your garden plant hyacinth, crocus, puschkinia and chionodoxa bulbs.


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Bodacious Blooms

Terraces at pixieperennials@gmail.com

Terraces at pixieperennials@gmail.com


Looking for the names of the perennials in the photographs? The botanical names are listed below this note in the section titled “tags”.


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The fall garden puts on quite the show, with late blooming perennials that keep the garden fresh until frost.



Please note: Click the “View full size” button on the bottom right under each image that appears once you have opened the gallery by clicking on one of the pictures.


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Late Summer Color

Anemone

Anemone japonica September 2013

A long blooming fall perennial whose flowers wave hello in the wind, the anemone japonica is a must have for the garden.  Unless you have a deer fence, you will need to spray with Bobbex to keep the marauders at bay, but  it is well worth the trouble.


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Pixie Sale Sept '13

There are many perennials that continue to enhance the garden from late summer into early fall. Your garden can still look great after July, if you choose the right plants when creating your design. The photos below illustrate color is possible in August and September.  As additional fall blooming perennials put on their show I will add photos to the gallery. Please  check back next week to see what else is flowering.  Enjoy the Labor Day weekend!

Click on the photo to view  it full size.


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Misty morning

Thick morning mist blanketing the garden.  Hot days, scorched plant leaves, and fried flowers in the garden, some had only opened the day before.   The fog providing some relief for the plants.   (A photo opportunity not to be missed).

Years ago at a garden symposium, a speaker was discussing  the proper watering technique for plants, stressing watering at the base of the plant is optimal.  He told this story which stuck with me.  Spraying plant leaves instead of watering the roots would be like  you wandering in the desert, dehydrated, looking for an oasis from which to get water. Finally a man on a camel approaches, takes out his canteen, and instead of handing it to you, proceeds to pour it over your head and rides off.  You are still dying of thirst.  Lesson:  Remember to deeply water plant roots, not the foliage and to always be on a camel when in the desert with a canteen in your backpack.

Hydrangeas

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Hydrangea -pixieperennials@gmail.com

The hydrangeas are absolutely stunning this year.  Incredible colors – the photos do not do them justice.

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A few favorites from the June garden.


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Win The Battle Against Ledge!

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Sandi Blaze with her father, Charlie Blaze, who built many of the stone walls in his daughter’s garden Photo Credit: Contributed

Article courtesy of Fenella Pearson – June 23,2010

Sooner or later, any gardener living in Connecticut, especially in our southwest corner of the state, has a day of reckoning with the ledge and boulders lying just beneath the surface of the soil.  Sandi Blaze, on Nod Hill Road in Wilton, has found a beautiful way of using the natural stone as a prominent feature in her spectacular garden.

Set on top of a hill, Sandi’s elegant home is faced with local stone, which gives a hint to the rocky nature of her property.  Instead of fighting the ledge and rocks, Sandi has worked these natural landscaping features into her garden design with staggered terraces, stone pathways and steps, many built by her father Charlie Blaze, as well as a large tract of exposed ledge covered with natural moss and lichen.

The hilly areas around Streets Pond, the reservoir between Nod Hill and Olmstead Hill, were once covered in apple trees.  Several beautiful old gnarled trees still grow down at the bottom of Sandi’s garden, below the terraced beds, together with newer peach trees and a hedge of blueberry bushes.

Massive trees create natural shade gardens up near the house, where Brunnera Polychroma, also known as Jack Frost, several varieties of fern, Hosta and Astilbe thrive in the low light.

Behind the house steep terraces, held up by old retaining walls now covered in climbing Hydrangea, lead to different vistas of the garden.  Flower beds line both sides of grass pathways on each terrace, and this is where you’ll find a riot of color, as perennials show off their colors and blossoms throughout the spring, summer and fall.  Sculptures, hidden seating arrangements and a sunken pool built, of course, from rocks, provide elements of surprise among Lupines and Lady’s Mantle.  One of Sandi’s favorite plants is Euphorbia polychroma, known more commonly as Cusion Spurge.  “It’s the first harbinger of spring and grows in a lovely round mound, covered in yellow flowers,” she told me, pointing out where she had planted it among the Dwarf GoatsBeard.  “Baptisia, or Blue Wild Indigo, is also dramatic at the back of a bed.”

Sandi Blaze’s garden is open once a year for viewing and anyone interested should write to pixieperennials@gmail.com


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Pixie Perennials garden featured in June 2010 Connecticut Cottage and Gardens

Our gardens were featured in Connecticut Cottage and Gardens June 2010 issue.  Hope you enjoy the article!

Please note: In order to read the article, you will need to click the “View full size” button on the bottom right of each image that appears once you have opened the gallery by clicking on one of the pictures. 

 

Gardens at Pixie Perennials

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For appointments please contact Sandi Blaze via mailto:pixieperennials@gmail.com

Home grown perennials and shrubs for sale.

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