Archives for the month of: August, 2013

Inside this secluded backyard the nearby activity of village life seems remote, the picket fence surrounds trees and shrubs that muffle the noise. The vine growing over the fence is the Pipevine (Aristolochia macrophylla) a plant that is native to New York and host to the Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly.


This magnificent mature Japanese Maple provides just the right amount of light shade, having a light and airy canopy, it does not overwhelm the space. I think it’s the perfect place to shelter from the sun and relax.


A rustic, hand-made chair in the Adirondack style. (The Adirondack Region is an area in North Eastern Upstate New York, famous for mountains and natural beauty).


Beside the beautiful red brick chimney, shasta daisies and variegated perennial grass look good well into late summer.


Subdued colors in this garden contribute to a calm atmosphere, the pink flowers of this hydrangea are a similar color to the paint used on the outside of the house. I enjoy the limited color scheme which creates cohesion and harmony.


I wish my back door area looked as pretty as this (no clutter!) And what a great idea to have a cart by the back door for those odds and ends.


Don’t you just love the sentiment on the sign above the door?  “Peace, Love, Joy to All Who Enter”

Interested in growing a Pipevine? Click on these links for nurseries which have it in stock .

Arrowhead Alpines      Garden Vines     Sunlight Gardens

I have written about the front yard of this house here.  If you enjoyed this post, click on the ‘Like’ button!

In Victorian times, the fast growing Pipevine was trained to grow up the side of stoops (porches) in order to provide a shady privacy screen. Today, this elegant Victorian family home built in 1872, has a white painted wooden fence overgrown with Pipevine and the large (6″ long) heart-shaped leaves provide plenty of privacy for the backyard beyond.


The sidewalk and front steps consist of bluestone pavers, a product of the local bluestone quarries that also supplied NYC with stone for construction.


The classic style of rocking chairs and hanging ferns are frequently seen in the area.


A project is in progress, a tray of Portulaca ‘Pazazz Tangerine’ (available from Adams) will be planted in the urns at either side of the steps.


The front bed has always caught my eye when walking past this house, the purple Barberry is a foundation shrub that looks just right against the pale green lattice at the base of the stoop. The yellow flowers of Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ are a time trusted favorite that indicates summer is almost over, what a contrast with the ‘Knock Out Rose ‘Radrazz’ and the bright pink phlox.



Take a peek at the back yard (behind the Pipevine) here. If you enjoyed this post, share it with your friends!

Being a fine art painter my friend Hazel has a creative mind and can see old things in a new way. She takes repurposing a step further when using found objects as garden decor.


At the foot of the steps to the deck is a collection of vintage watering cans and containers, most of which came with the house. The bucket is from some dog kennels on a friend’s farm. It was painted many years ago with green boat paint, the original owner was a barge worker and the green boat paint was used on pretty much everything. The oil can was salvaged from a dump at the back of the  property and was found with a metal detector.

For Hazel, container gardening enables her to bypass the limited sun, funky soil, slugs and voles. Velvety leaved coleus are used as a focal point to draw the eye along a path to a shady spot where a pot adds a drop of color too.


“The colors I like, blues, reds, yellows, white can all be put in a pot. The pots add a second level of height 15″or higher, you have a much more layered look to the garden.”


Salvaged from old screen doors, Hazel painted these aluminum panels and placed them in the flower garden.

“If I want purple there, I’ll put purple”


Several panels are combined inside a hand built wooden screen to frame a shady corner (below)


A scrap of periwinkle blue fence is under-planted with hostas to give it some visual weight (below). In the spring the flowers of the Double Flowering Japanese Kerria shrub are dots of yellow against the soft blue.


Recommended by Hazel –  Northern Dutchess Botanical Gardens for reasonable prices and awesome selection, especially Coleus.

For more on container gardening check out Container Gardening Tips with Bob Hyland at

Our hummingbirds are attracted to anything red, so much so that I observed one fly toward our trash can, hover over the red label on the lid and inspect it thoroughly before buzzing away. Why red?

Could the hummingbird be in constant search of the scarlet flowers of the Red Trumpet Vine (Campsis Radicans)? A vine that grows 30′ with large tubular 3″ flowers must be a coveted nectar source for the hummingbird whose beak and long tongue are adapted for feeding on the trumpet-shaped flowers.

Red Trumpet Vine flowers and buds. Source:

Red Trumpet Vine flowers.

“Showy” is how the horticulturists describe the flowers which are about 3″ long. This is something of an understatement! The vine has an outrageously tropical appearance, which is unexpected in upstate New York, an area famous for Maple trees, apples and sweet corn.

Red Trumpet vine covering a fence. Source:

A vigorous plant which quickly covers a fence.

Although it resembles an escapee from a green house, it’s native to north eastern US.

Red Trumpet vine seedpods. Source:

Seed pods provide additional interest.

The red trumpet vine is sometimes planted around front yard mailboxes, very decorative but imagine a 35′ vine growing up a 3′ post – you’d have to keep on top of the pruning or your mailbox would be engulfed pretty quickly. This is a beautiful vine but it needs plenty of space and a strong support structure such as a pergola.

Red Trumpet vine growing over a trellis in a garden. Source:

Requires a substantial trellis.

Red Trumpet vine growing by a mailbox. Source:

Get the hedge clippers out!

Sometimes called ‘Hummingbird vine’, this plant is an important nectar source for hummingbirds and other pollinating insects including butterflies and moths.  Because it is native to eastern US it provides habitat for native wildlife species and contributes to a healthy ecosystem.

Red Trumpet vine flowers. On

Red Trumpet vine flowers – hummingbirds find it irresistible

If you don’t have the space for the trumpet vine, how about planting a native honeysuckle such the ‘Coral Honeysuckle’ (Lonicera sempervivens)? It is a woody vine with large bright red tubular flowers and has all the advantages of the hummingbird vine. It  can reach up to 30′ but is easily pruned to a smaller size and considered a non-aggressive grower.

If you have a suggestion for a smaller native vine that would provide habit/food for wildlife, share your knowledge and add a comment. Thanks!

For more about this vine and other native species, check out this site Flourish of Trumpets!

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