Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Early Spring

It's 5:00 somewhere! Time for cocktails on the veranda!! Don't you love spring? :)

This is such a busy but exciting season. There is much to do in the garden: cutting back deadwood, dividing crowded perennials, mulching beds, fertilizing plants and trees, etc. Please don't forget your street trees. Everywhere I look, plants including weeds are popping up like crazy. I'm just grateful to see any sign of life after that lonnnnnng winter. So, weeds: you are safe for now. Though I'll get you soon.....after I enjoy my margarita.
Pansies are one of my favorite early spring annuals - they are cheerful, hardy and easy to grow. This year, I've planted small white pansy flowers in the footed urns. These small flowers, just a little bigger than Johnny-Jump Up Violas, suit the scale of the urns.
The 16 European hornbeams, planted in groups of 4, are starting to leaf out. Even without foliage, they are striking with their graphic, twiggy form. But it's a relief to see that they've made it through another winter.
BELOW: A few days later, the other 8 Hornbeams on the north side are filling in nicely.
The boxwood balls are also flushing out. Soon they will be covered in chartreuse-green like the hornbeams.  
Speaking of green, the lawn is looking very lush. I love the stripes after it is freshly mown. Tom gets all the credit here! To keep the grass from meandering into the walkways and beds, he installed metal edgers.
 A closer look at a 4" high metal edging strip - about 3" is buried in the ground.
I don't think I've ever shown the street side of our Nellie Stevens holly hedge. Each April, hundreds of white Narcissus Thalias bloom in these terraced beds. After the flowers have finished their show, the foliage gets hidden by liriope plants.
With star-shaped flowers in pristine white, Thalia is an heirloom Narcissus that has enchanted gardeners since 1916.
Behind the cedar gate is the courtyard garden. The row of crape myrtles is still bare. Notice they are pollarded - pruned at the same height each year for size control. Pollarding or topping off crape myrtles is quite controversial - some refer to it as "crape murder."
Step inside for a pop of sunshine courtesy of mini Tete-a-Tete daffies. These early bloomers are the perfect way to welcome spring. Panda, our regal 16-year-old Tibetan Terrier, thinks so!
 Here are 2 photos of this same courtyard taken in previous Aprils - note the crape myrtles were not pruned.
Lastly, we have mischievous Mocha, another TT, frolicking in a bed of perwinkles :) Can you believe she is almost 15?
Cheers to another garden season!
Loi, Tom, Panda and Mocha

89 comments:

  1. What a beautiful courtyard garden! Thalia has graceful pure white flowers that are sweetly fragrant.I have these in a bed of myrtle under an old tree with deep shade which is very dry. They make a nice, elegant contrast against the dark green. They look so good after 10 years, I am expanding the area with more.

    Thank you Loi Thai, I got lots of ideas here..

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    1. Thank you, Dewi! Daffodils are so easy and carefree, right? They come back each spring. Thalia is a lovely heirloom - not as showy, but very graceful.

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  2. oh, loi, i'm in awe of the beauty of your early spring. what splendor! how gratifying it must feel to see the fruits of your labor grow and blossom. panda is 16!?! that makes 13 year old bella luna a SPRING chicken! you'll have to pass along any tips to keep our bella as healthy and beautiful as panda (she is going blind, and it's tough on me to witness the decline). peace to you and tom and your Eden, right where you are.

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    1. Thank you, Michele! I think Panda and Mocha eat better than we do, haha. Tom cooks lean chicken with veggies for them. I'm sorry about Bella losing her sight. Must be so tough. Actually, Panda has lost his hearing :(

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  3. Beautiful! It is time to be planting bulbs here, so I might see if I can find some white Narcissus

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    1. Yes, it is autumn in Australia :) Thanks, Vicki!!

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  4. Beautiful! (And what you are doing is not crape murder. That's when you just start sawing off in the middle of the branches. We had a neighbor in Chevy Chase who used to sent a man to do it every summer, while her tree was in full bloom. Still makes me nuts.) Take care, Cindy

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    1. Thanks, Cindy! Hope you have a chance to visit home.....DC is beautiful in the spring!

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  5. What a beautiful garden Loi! Thanks for sharing!
    Hugs,
    Vesna

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  6. Your tete a tete daffies are stunning Loi and all your outdoor area looks divine! Enjoy your afternoons coctails there!
    Olympia

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  7. i forgot was i was going to say- distracted by panda's cuteness!!!!! :)
    your yard is just amazing- i could get lost in it.

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  8. Loi...it looks so beautiful and so perfect!! Congrats on a magnificent job, your hard work and commitment has certainly paid off! And Panda is the cutest adornment yet:) 16 years old? Whats the secret to longevity, that is so wonderful!
    Cheers to spring!

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    1. We spoil Panda and Mocha :) They get lots of love, walks and healthy food. They eat better than we do :)

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  9. Hello Loi, It is always a treat to see your garden. It is so trim and neat, and everywhere something interesting to see, without the total effect being overcrowded or overwhelming. I love all the brick work, and the green-glazed terracotta gardenware, echoed in the green tiled roof. Perhaps my favorite shot here is of the front walk, which promises to visitors or passers-by that something spectacular is waiting inside.
    --Jim

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  10. Oh I'm with you-"patio season" as it's called here means carte Blanche to enjoy a cocktail whenever the weather's nice enough to do so on a patio. The gardens look absolutely beautiful! They have such well proportioned structure. And I am a fan of crape murder. A few years ago I decided to forego growing zones and plant one here. It made it one year through a mild winter but never came back from two weeks of -10. "My" (vacation rental) house in South Carolina has a row of them and I love to be there while they're blooming and cut them for inside!
    P and M look beautiful for any age but especially being 15 and 16! Love the portrait in the little violet blue blooms!

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  11. What beautiful landscaping! I love your sweet dogs.

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  12. Wow, everything is so ... Um, perfect.

    Those Hornbeams are spectacularly pruned ... And the plantings are genius.

    I always prefer everything pruned .. Love your Crepe Murder note ... Never heard that.

    In Portland, I had an ugly walnut tree in my sidewalk strip that the city wouldn't let me take out. I had the tree surgeon trim it into a perfect umbrella shape ... I got so many positive comments. Don't you just love the overall feeling of organization is a well shaped garden?

    Loved all the shots. Thanks, Loi

    Karen in VA

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    1. Thanks, Karen! With a city plot, I think neatness is important. Small gardens are not as forgiving as expansive country gardens.

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  13. Your yard is so pretty, but your dog stole the show! What a cute face...

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  14. I love seeing your gardens. They are out of this world. I hope you can show us the crape myrtles after they bloom.
    Tom is so clever with the metal edging.....great idea!
    But.....Panda and Mocha are the true stars!
    xo
    Patty

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  15. Loi, Loi, Loi, Loi, Loi!....As I sit here at my computer and look out my window and the April chores before me today...once I tear myself away from work...I am so inspired by your beautiful images of your beautiful garden....it's just breathtaking even in the early months of spring. I am going to get out of the www and put on my gloves and hoe some weeds and divide some bachelor buttons! And when the sun goes down, I might have myself a basil cocktail of some sort!

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    1. Cheers, Gina! After all the spring garden chores, we should all sit back and enjoy :)

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  16. Loi I love, love seeing your gorgeous garden and grounds! It is so serene and sculptural!
    I Adore everything you do of course!!

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena
    Artist Brad Oliphant





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  17. Love Panda and Mocha <3 Things look amazing this Spring - Wish spring would start here in Chicago ......so slow....

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    1. Sending you our sunshine! Well, it's a bit cool and cloudy at the moment.

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  18. Your property is nothing short of magnificent...takes my breath away....I am taking note for our future home....want a yard/garden with lots of hardscape and you have done this so exquisitely!....Love the hornbeam trees...will have to see if they grow in NC....How simply wonderful it must be to have your cocktail on the veranda and see the beauty that lies in front of you!!!

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  19. Loi,
    It's hard to believe the yard was covered in white not that long ago! I love spring. It never disappoints. Your grass is golf course worthy. I busy bracing my garden for another predicted drought laden summer. The work in a California garden never gets a holiday.
    Love seeing Mocha and Panda, they have the sweetest faces.
    xo,
    Karen

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    1. Thanks so much, Karen. I hope California gets the rain. Our produce depends on it.

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  20. Beautiful as usual, my friend!! Let's just talk about the dogs... They look so young and gorgeous!! I must have the number of their plastic surgeon because I need to look so regal and sprite!! Love you! Xo, K

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    1. You are so funny! Actually Mocha has the most beautiful coat....I want her hair!!!

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  21. After perusing one of your blog post I always find myself taking a deep sigh. So relaxing and tranquil, just beautiful!! Thank you for always showing us so much beauty, inside and out,
    xo Kathysue

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  22. Your yard and garden is so inspiring! We recently built a house and planted hornbeams after we saw yours. We also have lots of boxwood but wonder what is the pruning trick to get them so uniform and tidy? Thanks for your gorgeous photos, of the garden and adorable, sweet doggies!

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    1. Thanks, Sandy! I hope your hornbeams are doing well. The boxwoods look better here than in person. We did get winter damage and some dieback.

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  23. clink clink!
    no, i cannot believe your TT's are so elderly......a picture of vim and vigor
    lovely lovely lovely, and much easier to see your gardens bones, enjoy
    debra

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  24. What a beautiful garden you have… I am working on overhauling mine and this provided good inspiration. Thanks!

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  25. A beautiful beautiful garden Loi.
    Funny about the crape murdering. Everyone has an opinion. Love Mocha and Panda - they are both getting to be older now! Hope they are both still active and having fun. Looks like it! Xo Terri

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  26. Such beauty Loi! I had a lobster roll for lunch the other day, and thought of you!

    Dean

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    1. YUM!!! I can't wait for my first lobster roll of the season :)

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  27. Hello Loi,
    Just getting to read your blog and what a lovely post in time for Earth Day. Please tell Tom I am so impressed by the splendid Green grass and his mowing skills - perfect lines, Loi guess what? We didn't lose any trees or English Boxwoods because of this past Winter. YAY! Love your sweet white pansies in your urns. I just always swoon when I see photos of your magnificent gardens, Stop by and checkout what we're up to.
    Hugs,
    Vera

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  28. Loi, I love seeing your garden in springtime, and especially love the photos of your pooches! Hello to Panda and Mocha! They are beautiful and look wonderful for their ages. Happy spring to you!
    Claudia

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  29. *SIGH*...lovely, indeed!!! franki

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  30. Your garden is gorgeous!! The urns, boxwood, perennials, and brickwork all work so well together. We just started planting boxwood last year and I love the look. I can't wait until ours start to mature. Happy Spring!
    Sally

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  31. So much beauty, Loi. I love all the early spring greens and blooms - but I think my favorite thing in your garden is Panda! What a sweetie. Thanks for the garden tour and hope that you are enjoying the spring splendor! XOXO

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  32. Dear Loi, Tom, Mocha & Panda

    What a beautiful and talented family you have. I enjoy seeing your garden and find I learn from you as you share your knowledge on he plants and flowers. Your garden gate has an image or has it weather to show a face?
    Spring is my favourite season.
    Helen xx

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    1. Thanks, Helen. That is actually a door knocker - a basket of flowers. Cheers

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  33. Your garden is a treasure. I would love to know where you bought the 4inch metal edging ,I have been looking for some thing similar but I have not been able to find it in metal form. Thank you.
    Paige

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    1. Paige - The edging came from Shemin Landscape Supply (wholesaler). But I've also seen at garden centers....like Merrifield in VA.

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  34. Thank you for this lovely diversion, Loi! (On day three of cold rain here.) Wonderful to see all the green coming out - looks like your garden survived the winter well!
    xo

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  35. stunning + your garden is beautiful. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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  36. Loi,

    It looks gorgeous already. I am so jealous of how organized and perfect it always looks! Happy Spring to you and your family!

    Best,
    Christina

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  37. Dear Loi,

    Your garden is gorgeous and shows a lot of love. I'll bet you've given a lot of people inspiration with the way you've planted those hornbeams. Are you sure you want to move?!

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    1. We are having second thoughts.....more to come!

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  38. Your garden Loi is so lush, with all the lovely flowers blooming. We don't have any blooms over here. It's quite late over here.

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  39. Loi, your garden and lawn look fabulous! Our lawn was overtaken by clover this past summer and the yard men are doing everything they can do do kill it off and restore our lawn.

    I am not familiar with a hornbeam, I have to do a little investigating as they look so interesting.

    I cannot wait to see what they garden looks like when it is in full bloom.

    Have a fabulous week Loi.

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  40. Hi loi, your garden is amazing, and how I wish I could have a private garden tour walking about your pathways. Your landscaping is just so inspiring and you street heart scraping measures to none other that I've seen, the beauty for its steps just invite a walk up them. The urns are lush and so euro chic, as for the trees there placement is nothing short of perfection.

    Love Toms touch with the metal steal grease edging, it's patina is rich and the rust is a great source of iron to the ground keeping the grasses at the edgings so healthy. That metal trim is so much more stately then the plastic trim edging.... So my vote goes to Tome and his brilliant idea to trim the edge of the grass with metal that takes on a desirable patina.


    See you soon Loo and all the beauty that surrounds you and your Tom.

    Xx
    Soon

    Dore

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  41. *Toms Grass Edging... Darn that spell check that changes words on you.... Of well you get it.

    Xx
    Dore

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    1. Thanks, Dore!! I'm passing your comments on to Tom :) He'll be so grateful and thrilled. No worries on spelling....happens to all of us!

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  42. LOI!!!!! I finally made it to your garden party. Are there any cocktails left for me, or should we talk breakfast on the veranda? HOOOOOOOO this is spectacular! First of all, your garden is my dream. Clipped and perfect with proper gravel! Our gravel is more of a gray trap that has to be changed out this year. Our neighbor's giant pine sloughs off its needles and we end up with a mess. Would you mind sharing one day how to clean up winter debris from your gravel?

    Your metal edging interests me; years ago while on a budget, my husband did a lovely job of landscaping but had to use that horrid rubber edging. Many Minnesota winters have gnarled away at the edging and I'm ready for something fresh and beautiful. Metal edging is it!

    This winter was not as snowy for us as last year, but just as brutally cold. My hardy green velvet boxwoods are troopers, but some of them suffered some damage but we are still not ready for gardening; we had snow on Tuesday!

    I wonder dearest Loi, how is the sale of this beautiful estate going?It would be hard to leave this place! It is a palace.

    Wishing you and Tom more spring fun!!!!! With love, Anita

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    1. Thank you, Anita. Tom uses his leaf blower to clear debris off the gravel walk - very handy. Thanks for asking about our house sale - we are having second thoughts......more to come very soon. Cheers

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  43. Hello Loi,

    Such a giddy season! As you say, so much to see and do after what has seemed like an eternal hibernation.

    But, how wonderful everything is looking. It is so good to have the great drifts of Narcissi to herald the Spring whilst other later flowering trees and shrubs start to put on their clothes. So much promise yet to come and all held together in that strong structure of evergreen. The perfect combination.

    And clearly your dogs are also enjoying the great outdoors with the first of the sunshine. However, whether they can be relied upon to help rather than hinder we doubt. No matter, may all of you revel in the joys of Spring!

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  44. Loving how manicured it all is, just fantastic!

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  45. Your garden is absolutely beautiful! The dogs look so good for their age, it is such a joy to have them around...
    As always, I really enjoy your blog!

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  46. Happy Spring Loi,
    Your garden is looking stunning. I love all the daffoldils. Your courtyard is one of my favorites. It looks so peaceful. It was great to see the front of your holly hedge. Those white daffs look fantastic. You're garden is a sight for sore winter eyes! It actually snowed here yesterday for a few minutes (thank goodness, it did not stick). I can't wait for the warmth of summer!
    Susan

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    1. Yes, the never ending winter of 2015!!! It's a bit chilly here, and I have the heat blasting today. Thanks, Susan.

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  47. Loi-
    You never fail to share something amazing! Your garden is stunning, to say the least!
    Teresa
    xoxo

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  48. Your yard is just beautiful. That is my dream to have my yard like that. Do you still plan to move ? I know you must enjoy designing, but
    it is so much work. Thank you for sharing your home with us.

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    1. Hi Maude - Thanks so much. I'm going to post an update on our house very soon. Thanks for reading :)

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  49. I kept wondering if it was my imagination ... spring came REALLY suddenly this year, with everything greening up practically overnight.

    Mocha and Panda are adorable!

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  50. Panda and Mocha, what beautiful dogs that look great for their age! You and Tom have given them a wonderful life. I love your portraits of them in the garden. As for the gardens, well I just love it all, beautifully planned hardscape and healthy well chosen plants. Thank you for sharing, Loi. Your posts are always a treat!

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  51. Always enjoy your garden posts especially when they feature your beloved pooches!! I cannot believe Mocha is going to be 15...cudos to the wonderful care....

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  52. I love spring and spring in your garden is especially inviting - precious puppies!!

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  53. Your garden is so evident of the love that you give it! It is so beautifully manicured. Really beautiful!

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  54. Loi, y'all have the prettiest gardens and your dog is too cute. We have so much work to do outside. It rained all last week and now more rain this weekend.

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  55. Oh my word! That lawn is siiiiiiiiiiick! Well, it all is! And weeds? I would think they'd be afraid to pop up in such perfection. Panda is a most distinguished model. I can tell that he's relieved that spring is finally here! xoxo

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  56. I am in LOVE Loi...with it all. So beautiful, I can breathe it in, all the way in Saigon. And how cute are your Panda and Mocha...I am smitten. I think Tika is already getting stirrings of jealousy. All the best to you all. Jeanne ;)

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  57. Hello Loi, Tom, Mocha and Panda!! Happy Spring! This is my favorite season by far. It is wonderful to see the dogs looking so healthy and happy! They are adorable. These posts of your gardens are my favorite of all your posts - everything looks so lush and healthy - and inviting! Not sure what to do with my daffodils now that they have bloomed - I hear if they are cut back too soon you lose the nutrients going to the bulbs for the following spring - need to read up on that!!

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    1. Hiya, Beth!! Please do not cut back the foliage! Unless you do not want flowers next year. I just leave it alone and let it yellow.....then cut back. That's why it is a good idea to plant daffies where their foliage can be partially hidden by other perennials, shrubs, etc.

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  58. Everything is looking SO GREAT! Love those hornbeams, by the way. I picked up two relatively inexpensive hornbeams (American, though) that I'm using as testers to see if the deer attack them. If they pass that test I'm hoping a pleached hornbeam hedge will be in my future (although it will take years to develop). Your dogs are so cute and my gosh, they don't look nearly as old as you claim them to be! What sweethearts. I'm officially envious of what's happening your yard.

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  59. Gorgeous Loi! Wish I was sitting out on your porch with you, sipping a cocktail and catching up! We never seem to fully get caught up- I could talk to you for hours!! Hugs to your precious pups. xo Nancy

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  60. Loi, did you use a garden design company or do this all yourself? We are in Chevy Chase and looking for some help designing our side yard - and your house is definitely an inspiration!!

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  61. Absolutely beautiful. Your garden is jewel box, Loi. I really like the way your restricted and carefully considered use of color enhances the architecture of your home. My husband and I were discussing green glazed roof tiles just the other day - so handsome! They seem to have been particularly popular before the world wars, and then disappeared. I wish they would make a comeback!
    Happy gardening! Suzanne

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  62. On the topic of Pol larding vs selective pruning vs crepe murder. It is not controversial, when someone cuts the Tree back to a stump- a stump and there are many examples of crepe myrtle stumps which are ugly ( on the internet) however -- your selective pruning and this polarding technique has left the height and elegant structure of limbs intact. Unlike some methods which create an eyesore your educated approach as pictured will no doubt allow for a tremendous blooming spectacle. If you dare to share images of the trees in bloom before polarding and after polarding it would do a great deal to educate those that cannot picture in their mind's eye such a thing.

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  63. Loi I just wanted to stop back by and invite you to enter a fabulous Giveaway, Tina is having at my site! I hope to see you!!

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena
    Giveaway from The Enchanted Home!

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  64. Just lovely Loi, I am in love with your garden no matter the season!

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  65. Dearest Loi - we just arrived home from the river cruise - Budapest to Amsterdam! I'm resting as I returned with a miserable cold/cough/laryngitis - the works! Trip was good but tiring - details forthcoming on the blog. The highlite was definitely our time with Jane and Lance Hattat in Budapest - oh my, what a fabulous, fun two days we had with them, again more details coming once I can get some time to organize so many pix and write stories!
    All looks spectacular there - you and Tom are the best, and Panda and Mocha the prettiest, ha ha!!!
    Love and hugs - Mary

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  66. Your restraint in both indoor and outdoor design is tasteful and calming. I enjoy your blog and your store.
    Thanks,
    Ann

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  67. Loi your gardens are stunning!! I kept scrolling up and down for another look! Your pups are adorable!!

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  68. Great juxtaposition of color and shape.

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  69. Could you please share a photo of your crepe myrtles in bloom? I've never seen this variety in person and I'm very curious.

    Thank you from Adelaide

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Many thanks for your visit! If you have a question, please leave a comment and I will do my best to answer. Loi