Terrible Trauma in FairyLand at Storybook Cottage

Tranquil Storybook Cottage, Bismarck, North Dakota – before the storm
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Here in calm Bismarck, North Dakota, the heavens opened up last Friday evening with a loud roar and snarl, sending thousands of mature trees into spasms, their limbs flying to an fro. The clouds, noise, disturbance and resulting damage has been ranked as one of Bismarck’s most devastating storms ever. Ten thousand homes were without power, and our phone and internet connection was not restored until last night.  Thankfully, our home and garden only suffered what could be categorized as “minor” damage in relation to much of the serious damage caused by huge trees falling onto homes. 

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The heavy wooden rocker was tossed into the flower bed, and a heavy cast iron table rests on its side, sent aloft by the fierce winds. 20150621-IMG_0358 - Copy

The streets are lined with chunks of trees, and an astonishing water line marks it path on the roadway. 20150619-IMG_0267 - Copy

This was the scene right between the house and garage. It has all been dragged to the curb.20150621-IMG_0341 - Copy

I checked in secret hiding places, and our tiny moss forest friends shared this terrible night with us.  Their chairs, tables, and bird baths are strewn about with the winds careless abandon.20150621-IMG_0337 - Copy

Looking further, I found another little homestead also looking a bit disheveled.20150621-IMG_0330 - Copy

20150612-IMG_0183With a little tending, the world is looking upright and stable once again. 20150619-IMG_0214 - Copy20150605-IMG_0092 - Copy

Our little friends can once again sleep peacefully in wee beds, as the sunshine of summer returns.  

20150619-IMG_0224-2 - CopyWishes for a speedy recovery from the storm for those of you who have suffered storm damage in North Dakota.  We, and the little sprites, are holding you in the light.

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Garden wonders – add these to your garden!

May 30 was an awesome Saturday afternoon.  We sold 200 potted daylilies that will bloom this season in many gardens around Bismarck / Mandan.  Thank you buyers who shopped and then enjoyed our garden. We will be providing a percentage of he profits to our local daylily club – Central North Dakota Daylily Society.  We loved seeing you smile and relax.

There are some potted daylilies left for those many of you who have told us you were not able to make it to the sale. These are from our garden, very hardy and healthy, and extremely well rooted. Here is the list and images.  We will be around Saturday afternoon, June 6 after 1:00 pm.  Drop by and see the selection.

    • Brown Witch (1)
    • Caribbean Whipped Cream (1)
    • Dreamlight (2)
    • Eenie Weenie
    • Happy Returns
    • Karen’s Curls (2)
    • Little Boy Bob (4)
    • Peas and Thank you (5)
    • Ribbon Candy (1)
    • Roswitha (1)
    • Stella’s Ruffled Fingers
    • Sunshine and Lollipops
    • Tiki Touch (8)
    • Wee Folk
    • little boy bob

      little boy bob

      Karen's Curls

      Karen’s Curls

      Eenie Weenie

      Eenie Weenie

      eenie weenie small yellow daylily

      eenie weenie small yellow daylily

      Dreamlight

      84″ L Light yellow self. DOR. Diploid. Historic.

      brown witch daylily

      brown witch daylily

       Caribbean Whipped Cream

      Caribbean Whipped Cream

      Happy Returns

      Happy Returns

Cute as can be – miniature Hosta win the day

Miniature hosta are not well known in the gardening world, especially here in Bismarck, North Dakota. I have grown these adorable plants for over 10 years. They are dependable, easy to care for, and are perfect for fairy or small planter gardens. Saturday, May 30, from 3-7 pm I will have a FEW  of two different miniature hosta available for sale – Blue Mouse Ears, and Cracker Crumbs. Here are some details.The other images are to show what you can do with these lovely plants.

Blue Mouse Ears Miniature Hosta

Blue Mouse Ears Mini Hosta

Blue Mouse Ears Mini Hosta. soft blue-green color with hints of gold at base. The leaves curl gently, are rounded in shape, and the tiny blossoms in a soft lavender. The leaves are thicker than most, and prove difficult, though not impossible, for slugs to take a nibble. This plants is about 7 years old, and the leaves only reach 6″ high. This little gem tolerates full to partial shade and is very hardy to zone 3.

cracker crumbs mini hosta

cracker crumbs mini hosta

blue mouse ears mini hosta

blue mouse ears mini hosta

Cat and Mouse Mini Hosta (2)

Cat and Mouse Mini Hosta

yellow vase with mini hosta

yellow vase with mini hosta

mini hosta

mini hosta. I grow my miniature hosta surrounded by gravel.  I find it makes it difficult for slugs to traverse, and it makes spring clean up very easy.

mini hosta in white pot

mini hosta in white pot

hosta bed

hosta bed. Notice all the different colors of hosta. Here the spring addition of new gravel covers the hoses.

Hosta Bed

Hosta Bed

Hosta Bed with companion plants

Hosta Bed with companion plants. This is very early in the season, and I have not covered the soaker hoses with fresh pea gravel yet. Companion plants such as lilies, sambucus (a lovely soft gray elderberry), heuchera and potted plants help highlight the little hosta.

Hosta Bed

Hosta Bed

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Larger Hosta

Larger Hosta

Daylilies and miniature Hosta Available May 30, 3-7.

May 30th, 2015

May 30th, 2015

Here is the (almost) final list of daylilies that will be available for purchase this Saturday, May 30. Further details on size, special characteristics, and color will be posted before Saturday at 3.00. There are only a handful of each daylily, so do not delay! See earlier postings for images and further details.

  • A Green Desire
    Bold One
    Brookwood Red Royal
    Bridgetown Fireworks
    Brown Witch
    Caribbean Whipped Cream
    Dreamlight
    Eenie Weenie
    Emilies Red Leather
    Gloucester Calling
    Glowing Gypsy Jewel
    Happy Returns
    Ivory Edges
    Karen’s Curls
    Little Boy Bob
    Little Grapette
    Ode to Faith
    Painted Pink
    Pandora’s Box
    Peas and Thank you
    Penny Earned
    Penny’s Worth
    Phyllis Cantani
    Purple Rabbits
    Rainbow Candy
    Ribbon Candy
    Roswitha
    Stella’s ruffled fingers
    Sunshine and Lollipops
    Susan Berger
    Tiki Torch
    Two to Tango
    Wee Folk

Miniature Heuchera – ‘Little Cuties’ to brighten your garden

I remain passionate about miniature plants.  I tuck them in many places in my garden, and use miniature heuchera to add color, texture and early spring flowers to my miniature hosta bed.  There is a new line of tiny heuchera (foam flowers) coming out in 2013 from one of my favorite hybridizers, Dan Heim’s of Terra Nova Nurseries, Oregon. Terra Nova is wholesale only, but do ask your neighborhood garden center to obtain these plants for you.

A new series called “Little Cuties”, features miniature heuchera in a rainbow of colors. They prefer mostly shade, but can tolerate some sun.They are everblooming –  in other words – they do not just bloom in the spring as most heuchera do, these little ones keep on sending up blooms most of the season! They are perfect for fairy, container or rock gardens, and most remarkably of all, they can work as house plants!

These new friends for our gardens are called ‘Peppermint’, ‘Coca’, ‘Frost’, ‘Ginger Snap’, ‘Sweet Tart’, and ‘Sugar Berry’.  I think someone was hungry when the created these little gems!  Lets have a look.

Photo(s) courtesy of Terra Nova® Nurseries, Inc.
www.terranovanurseries.com

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Heuchera Sweet Tart

Heuchera Sweet Tart

Sweet Tart has very unusual bicolored cerise and hot pink flowers against lime leaves. Stunning!

Heuchera Sugar Berry

Heuchera Sugar Berry

Sugar Berry is 6″ inches tall, and 9″ wide. It features berry-violet leaves with darker veins, and the flowers are soft pink.  Ohhh!

Heuchera Sugar Berry

Heuchera Sugar Berry

Look how the color of the leaves changes throughout the season, and how it is berry delicious against the green/white surrounding leaves.

Heuchera Sugar Berry

Heuchera Sugar Berry

Heuchera Peppermint

Heuchera Peppermint

Peppermint glows green, softened by a shadow of silver white. And this one has pink flowers. Oh joy.

Heuchera Peppermint

Heuchera Peppermint

Heuchera Ginger Snap

Heuchera Ginger Snap

Ginger Snap will provide a rosy gleam to lighten dark corners, and it turns tan later in the season, topped by pink flowers.

Heuchera Ginger Snap

Heuchera Ginger Snap

Heuchera Frost

Heuchera Frost

Frost merges from dark burgundy to violet, and features pink flowers.

Heuchera Frost

Heuchera Frost

I am sure these miniature heuchera will delight you in your garden.  Give them a chance in 2013.  Ask your local garden center to order them from Terra Nova Nursery (wholesale only). See you in the garden, where my Little Cuties will be greeting their first spring.

February Fantasies – It’s Crispy Out There!

February is a great time, here in frozen, crispy North Dakota and elsewhere, to let your imagination run free as you contemplate your garden.  Reviewing photos of last years delights will help you evaluate which plants need to be moved, where you need more orange, sighting a big gap that needs filling, and then investigating possibilities in the numerous catalogs that are arriving daily.

Storybook Cottage snuggled in snow

Storybook Cottage snuggled in snow

It is so frozen out right now, it is hard to remember the lush green of summer.  When I back the car out of the garage, the tires are flat on one side, making mefeel like Mrs. Flintstone driving the car with carved stone wheels as I kerplumb,roll, kerplump, roll, kerplumb, roll down the tundra road with what appears to be terminally altered tires. As my fog breath inside the car subsides, I snuggle deeper into the goose down coat that reaches my calf, glad of the insulated hood where my head snuggles. As a native Californian, I still can not imagine that the plants can make it through this icy grip of dakota winters. But, together, we do survive, and remarkably, we thrive.

Remember the delightful sweet scent of alyssum toasting in the sun

Remember the delightful sweet scent of alyssum toasting in the sun

In 2013 the plants I want more of are Golden Carpet Juniper, lilies, heuchera and ferns.  I can divide some of the ones I already have, but will certainly check out what is new. And, I want more HEUCHERA, also known as foam flowers.

Photo(s) below of Heuchera courtesy of Terra Nova® Nurseries, Inc.
www.terranovanurseries.com

I am so excited about the new, small Heuchera from Terra Nova Nurseries, and share some information about them below.

Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.

Heuchera Apple Crisp

Heuchera Apple Crisp

Terra Nova Nursery is wholesale only, so you will not find these little lovelies that way.  Ask your favorite garden center to obtain them for you. This new “Crisp” Series features small scaled heuchera, hardy in zones 4-9.

Apple Crisp has lovely white flowers above a tight, mounded form, and because the Crisp series has a higher percentage of H. micrantha in its breeding, it is very hardy in the north. The edges of the leaves are wavy, creating a curled, tight edge.

Heuchera Apple Crisp in lower right with other Heuchera.

Heuchera Apple Crisp in lower right with other Heuchera.

Blackberry Crisp, below, changes from a deep burgundy spring color to deep purple then black as the season progresses. It features white flowers in the spring.

 

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My next post will be about more Heuchera – this time MINIATURES!

Stoned Love

Ah ha!  Caught you with that title, didn’t I!  Well, at our house, stoned love means my dearest partner has created yet another wonder – this 4th of July it is a stone creek bed meandering through the back garden, pulling rain water away from the house and taking it to the needy perennial plants, especially those under the huge, thirsty cottonwood tree.

Every fourth of July season, a major project takes place at our house.  Several years ago, in another life and locale, a lovely raised bed for miniature plants made its appearance.  Here is a little bit of what we created.

Setting the largest stones for the new rock bed

Setting the largest stones for the new rock bed

Stepping stones within the bed for access

Stepping stones within the bed for access

Watering down the first days planting

Watering down the first days planting

Happy Gardener

Happy Gardener

One year later and the Dickson's Gold Campanula blooms

One year later and the Dickson’s Gold Campanula blooms

The most current creation – in 2012 – involved 3 trailer loads of glacial erratics, river boulders, and 1.5 yards of small river rock, size 1 1/4-2″.  Here is the before image, followed by the creative conclusion of a lot of heavy lifting. As a trained archaeologist, husband has an uncanny knack for “seeing” the soil surface as it is, and as it can be.  What a skill.  Before he begins he sees the entire project, and as the son of a geologist/paleontologist he knows how much material it will take. He talks about how this rock will work perfectly here, buried just so, and I nod enthusiastically, eager only to see the finished placement.

Stone supply arrives

Stone supply arrives

Progress from above

Progress from above

Work continues

Work continues

Nice curve toward the cottonwood tree

Nice curve toward the cottonwood tree

Another view from above
Another view from above
Garden visitor - Swallowtail butterfly feeding on martagon lily

Garden visitor – Swallowtail butterfly feeding on martagon lily

Creekbed and garden path finished

Creek bed and garden path finished

I am overjoyed when in the midst of sculpting the soil for the traverse of water, the hauling of stone, the clouds of stone dust, and numerous glasses of iced lemon tea, locations are found and little beds are created for my beloved miniature plants.  Filled with a mix of potting soil, peat moss, manure/compost mix and perlite, these beds emerge simultaneously with the winding dry creek bed, providing the excitement of future plant placement.  One can not give a better gift to a plant “geek” than a new, virgin place to put plants.  Oh, what joy to contemplate what will go there, and how it will look in the months yet remaining of the ever so short North Dakota growing season.

As if to say “Thank You”, during the night yesterday we had a ‘million dollar’ rain, and the garden has never been more glorious.  The daylilies are bursting open, the lilies enticing aroma blend with the wafts of white alyssum, and the still, cool clear air has made for one of those incredible days of summer you remember all winter long.

H. American Chief

H. American Chief

Lilium 'Eric'

Lilium ‘Eric’

Cottage garden

Cottage garden

I have spent ten months researching for a book I am sculpting, and now the time has come to set the joyous task of research aside, and get growing.  Letting out my writing persona, I will create solid written form from the vast, inspiring data I have amassed, so I can share it all with you. It is a story so international in scope, endearing in personality, enlightening in relevance, rich in “take your breath away” artistic quality – a riveting story for all of us, especially every woman who endeavours to follow her own dream.

My writing helper 'Lily'

My writing helper ‘Lily’

I am longing to talk about this project with you, but a very wise publishing agent needs to contact me (or I them!) before I can. I think this calls for taking the laptop out to the garden, don’t you?  I imagine that is where you will find me, surrounded by the inspiring glories of stoned love.

 

Daylily Auction Season!

The Central North Dakota Daylily Society (CNDDS) will be holding their annual daylily auction (for members only – $5.00 to join) at the Bismarck Veterans Memorial Public Library, 515 N. Fifth Street, Bismarck, ND 58501 on Thursday, June 7, at 6:30 pm.

H. Waterdale Waltz

H. Waterdale Waltz photo copyright Susan Holland

There will be over 80 extraordinary daylilies available with prices ranging from a few dollars up to $100.00. This is a very fun event. I can see quilting patterns, handcrafts inspiration, and gardening delights in every one of these beauties

H. Bonnie Breenie by gary schaben photo copyright Susan Holland

H. Bonnie Breenie by gary schaben photo copyright Susan Holland

We show projected images of the daylilies, and a sheet of details about each daylily is handed out to each person attending. On this guide, everyone can learn the daylily name, date of registration with the American Hemerocallis Society, the hybridizers name, and specific details about each item to be auctioned.

H. Tiki Torch Dottie Warrell 2003 photo copyright Susan Holland

H. Tiki Torch Dottie Warrell 2003 photo copyright Susan Holland

These details describe the scape height, the bloom size, when in the season this particular daylily blooms, and a brief description of the appearance and special features such as fragrance, or awards.

RUBY SPIDER photo by Karen Schock

RUBY SPIDER photo by Karen Schock

Truly Angelic photo copyright Susan Holland

Truly Angelic photo copyright Susan Holland

Here is a link to the Society blog for further information.  http://www.centralnddaylilysociety.com/calendar.html

If you are in the Bismarck, North Dakota area, please join us on Thursday evening for our annual daylily auction.  If you missed it, watch the website for announcement of 2013 dates and events.

Digging into Blogging

Digging Into Blogging

Welcome friends, to a new Blog – Digging Dakota. This blog is a cheerful, chatty insight into my observations of life in North Dakota, colored by my experiences living and gardening in Tustin, California; Amity, Oregon; Fort Clark, North Dakota; St. Paul, Minnesota; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Williamsburg, Virginia; London, England; Watford, England; Edinburgh, Scotland; Williston, and now Bismarck, North Dakota.

China Doll Dahlia

I really am “Digging” Dakota, and am glad to return here after an absence of over 20 years. Not much has changed here over the decades, except for the monumental oil activity in the Williston Basin. Very dramatic indeed. More about that later.

I will be sharing my perspectives on current gardening activities world-wide, through my membership in the national Garden Writers Association which provides me and many other garden writers with access to the newest info, trends and successes of the green industry.  As a horticultural and architectural historian, I will also be featuring my insights of past gardening and landscaping trends, successes, and highlighting special characters who greatly influenced our gardening practices today.  I will do this through many avenues, including book reviews, interviews, and photography.

Overall, I plan to just have FUN, sharing with you my numerous years of  accumulated stories  and images, walking with you through the gardens of yesteryear and of tomorrow.  Thanks for joining me, and stay tuned!  Susan