Garden Time 2018

Common Witch Hazel


Rosa Rugosa, sp. These roses are pretty hardy around these parts, but this particular variety is quite fragrant - this one bloom (also inset) spreads a sweet aroma many feet away from the plant.


Clematis augustifolia


Mock Orange


Border with Walker's Low Catmint, Phenomenal lavender, Japanese Iris, Red Knock Out Roses


Perennial Blanket Flowers in front row. You may be able to see lavender plants and Russian sages in two rows behind them.


Hosta Sum and Substance, Phenomenal Lavender, Daylillies, Husker's Red Penstemon, Forget-Me-Nots


Hedge Row of Carefree Delight Roses, Mock Orange, Rosa Rugosa and other plantings.


? Tulip and oregano


Five Spot. Good self-seeder.


Purple Phlox


Knock Out Yellow Rose. Extremely fragrant!

Many of the plants in the front yard of the rectory are now three years old. They were started from young seedlings, cuttings or seed plugs so they have taken a while to get growing. Add a few unsual storms the usual crop of bunnies and deer and you've got the usual recipe for some plants succeeding and others failing. A few clematis vines which met up with the weed wacker last year are back and look like they're happy. So perhaps this summer will be a good year for flowering and more mature plants.

The show of daffodils was delightful and they were only planted last fall. The varieties I selected were quite fragrant and the trumpets were bold and yellow. 

I try to select perennials for their hardiness and the annuals for their capacity to self-sow. Gardens are, after all, partly for us to enjoy and partly for future generations too.

May we all have good luck with our gardens and have at least some of our efforts rewarded! 

Not The Best Weather For New Plantings, but They're Still Beautiful


The evergreens will eventually completely hide the playground fence. The boxwoods near the entrance stairs were not doing well and have been removed. They will be replaced with a more hardy variety. 

We'll take care to be sure these plants are watered thoroughly every day until established. Happily, the sprinklers are functioning well and should provide backup.


Holy Cross Gardens

I missed the first Springtime blooms, but here are some early summer blooms which are still going strong. It is good to see many of the perennials planted in the new areas around the church take root and get going. 

Oak Leaf and Big Leaf Hydrangeas by the Carriage House


Heather at the foot of the cross survived the winter and is growing


Monarda, Lavender, Liriope, Boxwood and shades of green


Nearly florescent daylillies. Ours don't even last a day because we have solitary nighttime deer which visits for dessert.


The clematis vines at the foot of the pergola have finally begun to climb!


"Five Spots" from the Rectory Garden.


Some Russian sage


Monarda and Phenomal Lavender around the fountain


Autumn sedum and lavender in interesting analogous colors.
Oregano flower


Oregano and Lavender


Marigolds and Lavender in complementary colors. VanGogh would be proud!

Suddenly Spring

 2,000 blog post - a nice round number. Here are some blooms around the rectory garden. The prayer garden is a little immature, but the plants there are growing!


Background to foreground: akebia vine, nepeta, bearded iris, sky pencil boxwood, New Dawn climbing rose, white rugosa rose, creeping thyme, shasta daisies, Russian sage, various heirloom roses, Husker's red penstemon
Background to foreground: akebia vine, nepeta, bearded iris, sky pencil boxwood, New Dawn climbing rose, white rugosa rose, creeping thyme, shasta daisies, Russian sage, various heirloom roses, Husker's red penstemon.


Walker's Low nepeta has thrived everywhere I've planted it. This is a three year old specimen.


Lupine from seed.


Fourth of July Climbing Rose


Yarrow, yellow and red


Hops. For a couple of years, this plant puttered along. I think this year it's making it's move!


Three year old Julia Child rose. Extremely fragrant. Deep rich yellow flowers and dark green leaves.


John Paul II rose. He and Julia have been good neighbors.


Prayer Garden Pavers

With the coming of good weather and on the threshold of the month of May, the memorial prayer pavers for our Marian garden will be installed this week. 

Pavers are still available, of course. To save on shipping costs, we generally wait until we can place the order for at least ten.


The Exciting Easter Season

Wow, last weekend was a powerhouse of the Holy Spirit at Holy Cross. Six baptisms, a marriage convalidation, the final Religious Education session for this year's confirmandi and of course, our weekend masses. We eagerly  look forward to our First Eucharists and Confirmation.


Baptisms are joyful!


Some of the confirmandi and the retreat team teen leaders

IMG_2165Gathering for a blessing at the Marian Shrine

Construction Quiet, Garden Growing

GardenerEverywhere on the campus, our garden continues to grow.  Francisco has transplanted many, many of the flowers, shrubs and bulbs that were growing around the church to the front of the school and the perimeter of the playground. They are doing remarkable well. Take some time to enjoy them. The plantings along the school and around the gymatorium have also prospered this year. 

My own garden has its successes and failures. The hot, wet, cold weather has given all my tomato plants a bit of trouble, but they are keeping on and I've already enjoyed a small treat or two from the earliest ripening fruits. No wonder many gardeners advise to plant more than you think you will harvest.

I was able to photograph a black swallowtail caterpillar beginning to pupate today. I had planted fennel and dill in the garden to invite them and yesterday was delighted to see several of them on the plants. When I returned with camera today, I could find only one. With so many birds in and out of the yard, I'm sorry to think they became bird food.


In approximate order left to right, top to bottom:

Cherry tomatoes, a couple of beefsteak ripening, oregano plant, red runner bean blooms, corn stalk beginning, mullein, Meyer lemon, fennel with pupating swallowtail (find it!), indigo rose tomatoes, pulmonaria, onion crop, bedding plants along with Julia Child and John Paul II roses, pot watermelon, "fire" lettuce, cleome everywhere, New Dawn rose, pineapple sage, red poppies, three "Lazy Housewife" beans, Lemon marigolds and petunias, ? monarda, spaghetti squash vine, Shrimp plant, Elephant Ears, Love in a Mist, Hosta spikes, pupating Swallowtail, planter filled with three plants from the Holy Cross Plant Sale.


Fall Flowers

A Rosemary which survived transplanting and a good cutting back earlier this year

Zinnias escaped powdery mildew this year

John Paul II Rose Surprises With More Blooms
Walker's Low Nepeta has done well just about everywhere it is planted

Sky Pencil Boxwood finally showing its stuff after 6 years!

Nothing's worse than a Wisteria looking for something to latch onto. The new fence has so far eluded its grasp

This akebia was cut back to make room for the new fence, but has already started reaching for the sky. Do you spot the Holy Cross?

Perennial Asters are an aggressive spreader

Autumn Sedum is usually covered with bees.

Meantime Behind All Those Mounds of Earth

DSCN1275They say you always keep a spot in your heart for the music and the garden flowers you grew up with. Some of grandfather's favorites are here: marigolds and petunias. These particular marigolds were moved from in front of the church earlier this year. They had been hardy self-sowers for three successive years. The petunias are "Laura Bush," a self-sowing variety back for the third year as well. Balsam, Black-Eyed Susan and Nepeta are some of the plants in the background. Portulaca, a dependable leftover from the Youth Group Plant Sale prospers in the foreground.


A Homegrown New Jersey Tomato - Nothing Quite Like It !


New Jersey Tomato
A Tomato Parable
Finally! For a few years, I've been trying to grow tomatoes with varying degrees of success. In Howell, I had abundant tomatoes and flourishing basil, but also bunnies, groundhogs and deer, so I wasn't the one who got to enjoy most of the harvest!


My tomato plants in Rumson have not fared well from year to year despite following all kinds of recommendations and tips for preventing diseases which they seem quite susceptible to. Buy the right kind, water more, water less, water've heard all the well meaning advice. Every fall I decide they were too much trouble and too disappointing, only to be lured into trying again by all the tomato seedlings at the garden center and the beautiful pictures in catalogs. Add to that the tasteless condition of most of them available in the supermarket alongside the memories of what real tomatoes taste like and I guess it's no surprise that I'm suckered in every Spring.

This year for the first time it looks like I will have quite a few beefsteak (actually they are Mortgage Liters)  tomatoes worthy of the name! My first one was so delicious, juicy, sweet and red that I had to share a picture. And I was so excited when I cut into it that I didn't go outside to cut any basil, just good, fresh extra-virgin olive oil and a dash of salt.  Mmm.

More on the vine, but they're not yet quite ripe and I've learned the hard way to not count my tomatoes until they are cut up and in a salad!