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Late Summer Show of Color

It may be August  –  the month that brings thoughts of intense heat and humidity for many – but at Maymont, the late summer garden is still full of color and charm. Look for late summer annuals including Japanese Anemones, Anemone japonica, and Asters like Syphyotrichum novae-angliae ‘Purple Dome,’ both found in the Carriage House Garden.

Other beauties include Boltonia asteroids, which opens its small daisy-like flowers to soften any border, and Helenium autumnale, unfortunately named Sneezeweed, that blooms alongside other pollinator plants in Marie’s Butterfly Trail. You also can find daylilies like Hemerocallis ‘Autumn Minaret’ with its small flowers on tall flowerscapes, laughing at the 90 degree days.  We grew this cultivar at Maymont for years, and I highly recommend it.

The late summer garden isn’t fading here. In fact, it is a rainbow of color, so choose a cool morning or late afternoon to enjoy nature’s vibrant show at Maymont.

-Peggy Singlemann, Maymont Director of HorticultureJapanese Anemone Carriage House Garden 001 Boltonia asteroids 006 Asters 027 Hemorocallis Minaret 021


August 12, 2015 at 1:03 pm Leave a comment

Maymont is Clothed in Blossoms for Spring

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Spring is here, and Maymont is clothed in blossoms. The Yoshino cherry trees that welcome guests near the Hampton Street Gate are in bloom complimenting hundreds of flowering plants from magnolias to daffodils.

Maymont’s Japanese Garden is beautiful as plants emerge from winter dormancy.  Buds are breaking on the Japanese maples, and Iris are growing with clean green new leaves. The koi fish are active and children enjoy pointing out the large colored fish as they travel the stepping stones.

The horticulture staff has been busy replacing tired azaleas on the island with Nandina ‘Pink Blush’ and Distylium ‘Vintage Jade’. Three mature Japanese maples were moved into the garden, and each tree was carefully placed to complement its growth habit.

I encourage you to come watch spring unfold in Maymont’s gardens. It is a sight to behold!  While here take a tour of Maymont Mansion and enjoy the Haviland china in the exhibit “A Passion for Nature.”  I personally took the tour and enjoyed seeing the Dooley’s own passion for nature through their collection of decorative arts.

I look forward to seeing you soon!


April 6, 2015 at 3:12 pm Leave a comment

Take Time to Prune the Roses

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The winter weather has made this year’s rose pruning at Maymont quite challenging, but with the warmer temperatures this week, we finally have started the process. Here are a few tips to consider before you prune your own roses.

Before grabbing the clippers and heading to the garden, first take the time to clean your pruners and sharpen them. Sharp pruners make clean pruning cuts, and clean clippers prevent the spread of disease. At Maymont, we disinfect our clippers with 91% isopropyl rubbing alcohol between each bush.

Another important step before starting to prune is to identify your rose bush as a climber, a hybrid tea, a floribunda or a bush rose. Is it an old garden rose or a modern rose (a cultivar introduced after 1860)?

Different groups of roses are pruned differently. Old garden roses are pruned after they bloom. For climbing roses, just remove the deadwood along with any canes that are rubbing one another. Bush roses, representing the polyantha roses, knock-out roses and drift roses, are pruned by removing two thirds of the plant at this time of year. The hybrid tea and floribunda roses are pruned to one third the size to a bud facing away from the center of the bush; this will open the plants in the center to allow better air circulation.

The purposes of pruning a rose bush are 1) to eliminate dead and diseased rose canes and 2) to increase flowering. Roses flower on new growth with the exception of the climbers. As mentioned above, climbing roses are pruned differently since they bloom on canes more than one year old.

Now, start pruning your bush roses, and a bounty of beautiful rosebuds will be here before you know it!

March 10, 2015 at 8:29 pm Leave a comment

Irises in October?

006Bearded Iris (Iris germanica), native to central and southern Europe, have been growing in gardens for centuries, and they are among the most popular and recognizable flowers of spring. But did you know that some irises bloom in the fall too? Since 1884, there have been starts and stops in introducing Iris species with a fall re-blooming tendency. Over the years, Iris have been crossed with one another to capture flower form, longevity of bloom, stem height, bud count and color variations. As a result, breeders realized that those with a remontant tendency (blooming more than once in a season) have genetic connections with Iris cengialtii and Iris aphylla in their ancestry as well as a few other species. A local Iris breeder, Mike Lockatell has teamed with Tom Silvers, a diploid Iris breeding specialist from Maryland, to research the re-blooming tendency which, once identified, will help guide future Iris breeders. Lockatell has established Iris test beds in Maymont’s flowering border at the Carriage House, at a private garden in Midlothian, and at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College in Goochland. All involved are discovering the beauty of bearded iris in the fall and reporting their successes and failures. For Iris lovers, this means you can now enjoy some of your favorite flowers in the spring and then again in the fall!

October 7, 2014 at 8:24 pm Leave a comment

A Southern Summer in the Garden

DSCN1313Our first wave of serious summer weather just passed in sunny Richmond, VA.  The number of hours spent working in the full sun gardens were limited by heat indexes of 100+.  For my friends and family up north this is a measurement of what the air feels like when factoring in the relative humidity to the air temperature, aka humiture.  It is beastly uncomfortable as you sweat just standing still in the thick hot air.  Regardless, the summer chores fill the never ending list of things to do.  Last week’s rains spurred every weed seed to germinate and grow overnight. This week we spent a lot of time weeding, cutting back the spent blossoms of peonies and manually removing algae from the Japanese Garden pond.  We found sawflies enjoying the hibiscus, flea beetles on the eggplant and residual spruce mite damage on the junipers surrounding the Three Graces reflecting pool.  The confederate jasmine is still blooming and the annual bedding plants are finally coming into their own while a number of evergreen trees are showing signs of winter’s damage with brown needles or small sections spotting a tree.  The late spring filled with cool weather has delayed the gardening cycle about 10 days and so the typical Father’s Day peak of bloom for the daylily bed is still to come.  However, Marie’s Butterfly Trail is glorious and filled with every pollinator imaginable for this time of year.

Happy Digging!

Peggy Singlemann

June 23, 2014 at 8:02 pm Leave a comment

To Dig or Not to Dig…Tulips, that is!

With the falling of the flower petals and the foliage waning many gardeners wonder whether or not to dig their tulip bulbs from the garden.  At Maymont we treat tulips like annual flowering plants and remove them from the gardens.  We keep all other bulbs such as daffodils, crocus, camassia, puschkinia, anemones, scilla, alliums and hyacinths, to name a few, in the garden from year to year but, dig up the tulips.  Why?  Tulips originate in a part of the world where the summers are hot and very dry coupled with cold winters, the Himalayan Mountains and the steppes of Eastern Turkey. Central Virginia does not match that weather set.  Due to the warm summers, with high humidity and clay soils to boot, plus not so cold winters (sans this past one) many tulip bulbs decline rather than thrive. Within a year or two the flowers are smaller and on shorter stems or not present at all.  However, there are some anamolies who do thrive in the conditions of Central Virginia such as the botanical or species tulips and their cultivars.  In addition, Emporer Tulips, some Darwin Hybrid Tulips and some Triumph Tulips perennialize as well.  If you wish to focus your efforts on these perennializing tulips then do a bit of research by reading up on the different cultivars before visiting your favorite garden center.  As for Maymont, we will continue to renew the gardens annually creating new color combinations for all our guests to enjoy!  Happy Digging!

Peggy Singlemann

May 31, 2014 at 5:36 pm Leave a comment

Planting “summer” at Maymont

While the cool weather kept the tulips blooming longer than usual an old saying omes to mind…all good things must come to an end.  Last week we marked that end by removing the spent tulips and pansies from the Italian Garden and planted the summer annual bedding plants.  Each member of the horticulture staff designs different garden spaces rotating between one another the gardens from year to year.  This year the Italian Garden’s color palette is pink, blue, lavender and purple framed by Rosa ‘Ginger’ and R. ‘Spartan’.  The garden is going to be stunning with Eucalyptus, Scaveola, Callibrachoa, Lantana, Angelonia, Petchoa, Cartharanthus (vinca) and Impomoea ‘Tricolor’ providing color throughout the summer. Staff and volunteers planted the small bedding plants, then applied a slow release fertillizer and finally a layer of mulch.  Before planting we augmented the beds with a thin coat of our homegrown compost to enrich the soil.  Regular watering, via nature or a watering wand, will ensure the garden matures quickly for our guests to enjoy. Image

May 15, 2014 at 7:11 pm Leave a comment

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