Thursday, August 25, 2016

In the Limelight

Hello! Welcome back!

Where did summer go? There is still another month left, but with the bombardment of fall catalogs and the start of school (which is earlier each year) it sure seems like summer is being pushed aside.

Well, I'm not ready for fall yet (except, maybe, for the arrival of white pumpkins!). Neither are my LIMELIGHT hydrangeas in Maine. The twenty or so shrubs, planted three years ago, have finally filled into a showstopping hedge.

The Limelights are incredibly hardy. They are in full sun and don't mind, unlike other varieties including Annabelles which droop pitifully unless constantly watered. Plus, each one has made it through Maine's harsh winters only to bloom beautifully and abundantly.

Now 5' - 6' tall, our entire L-shaped hedge is covered in blooms of summery chartreuse that brighten to soft white. And when the temps start cooling, those flowers will turn pink signaling the true arrival of fall.

So catalogs, let's not push the fall merchandise just yet - summer is too short to rush!
When I was designing this garden, I knew the area needed boundary delineation, not so much for privacy but for structure. Instead of a fence, the space called for something living, friendly and soft. Because it would be prominently located and quite long, whatever was planted had to be pretty. I decided against a dark green hedge which would have been a little stiff, formal and monochromatic. After researching low maintenance shrubs that bloom reliably during July and August (when we are at our summer home), Limelight hydrangeas seemed a great choice.

Three years later, the L-shaped hedge, which runs along the back of our home and wraps around the side, has matured beautifully. Tom and I receive numerous compliments on our summer showstopper, which, by the way, is also lovely in the fall when the flowers turn rosy pink. And, we're told the hedge looks sculptural coated in the pristine Maine snow.   
From our breakfast and family rooms, we look out to this stunning view of stately historic houses, ancient Elm trees, and the Limelights. 
In Maine, the flowers open a lime green in late July (above) and soon turn white in August (below).
The hedge ends just before the kitchen located in the addition. Other than the ornamental cherry tree, this garden outside the kitchen, screened porch, and barn was recently planted.

When Tom and I acquired our historic home, there were diseased Maples, planted too close to the house, along with spindly Firs plus endless weeds of every kind. (See the before photos at the end.) We immediately had the big trees removed. After lots of weeding, we had the five Spruces planted for vertical structure and year round greenery. We then gathered the native ferns on our property and transplanted them around the trees. 

The latest additions are the three dwarf Limelights to the left of the barn doors. Planted in May, this is their first season. So far, so good.  
From the gravel drive to the house is a short pathway of granite blocks with moss growing between. There are also Astilbes (rescued from other garden beds on our property) and annual Salvias here.
What to do with all the flowers? Enjoy them inside, too! I filled the antique iron urn in our dining room with loads of Limelights for dinner parties and cocktail events. The above flowers were cut in early August, while the ones below in mid August. Note the different colors. 
Two more arrangements: one on the family room coffee table with ferns, and the other with Gooseneck Loosestrife in a pink Hungarian pottery jug.
Speaking of Gooseneck Loosestrife, they have taken over the front garden beds. Here they are blooming along with Phlox and Astilbes - I took the photo on a foggy morning.

Gooseneck Loosestrife is attractive but invasive. We inherited them, and do remove a few here and there. But since this is a second home, I try not to fuss too much about the garden. Whatever will grow happily with minimal watering AND still look good, I tend to leave alone.

Now let's check out some before photos.
In addition to the new landscaping, we replaced the roof as well as lots of rotted wood. All the clapboard and trim were scraped, cleaned and painted.

I love sharing a dramatic transformation :)
xo
Loi
PS - See more on my INSTAGRAM.   

46 comments:

  1. Clean and prestine; your garden is delightful and the total transformation is breath-taking! Well done, gentlemen!

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  2. Your limelights are gorgeous. I'd love to see them in person. And wow, what a difference you have made in your home! It is gorgeous, too. Well done!

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  3. Hello Loi, The hedge of hydrangeas was the perfect choice for your house. And I knew that you could be counted on not to choose the blue ones! The flowers are beautiful inside and out.
    --Jim

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  4. Wow, what a transformation. Love all of it. The hydrangeas are amazing.

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  5. Absolutely love the hydrangeas like that - it's the American dream!!

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  6. I love the natural look and flow of your garden. The hydrangeas are amazing!

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  7. that house has come a long way!! it looks amazing!!! and love those hydrangeas and that garage!!

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  8. Just amazing. Everything you do is impeccable!

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  9. Absolutely stunning!! I remember when limelights first came out i skeptically planted a few tiny ones, not believing they could live up to their promises. They certainly did. They are such wonderful shrubs. I love to arrange them with paniculata and faded green macrophylla hydrangeas. So much texture. If you want me to move there and be the caretaker, I will consider it. I have no skills and don't know how to shovel snow but will have cocktails ready. Enjoy the rest of your summer! This is my favorite part of summer...even though I'm already planning the holidays...

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  10. Dear Loi
    The before pictures tell the Story!!! All your work is rewarding and looks amazing
    Love to you and Tom
    Patty

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  11. Hello Loi, I just came here yesterday to check to see if you had any new post, it looks like I was a day early. So glad to see this post. I miss when you aren't around!! Beautiful gardens and the before and after is pretty dramatic. Love the limelights, they are gorgeous!!
    Happy Thursday,
    Kathysue

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  12. Your summer home is a showstopper. I love the limelights and the other plants as well. It truly is such a dramatic before and after! Thank you for sharing, I hope you are enjoying a relaxing summer.
    xo,
    Karen

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  13. Loi, you've totally sold me on Limelights! And what a brilliant transformation. You can see beauty even before it exists.

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  14. Beautiful, Loi! You have brought out the best in that house!

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  15. Hi Loi, I've been missing you and your posts. The garden is gorgeous. Can we see photos of when the white turns to pink? Sending love xoxo. Mary

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  16. Dear Loi,

    OMG. Just gorgeous. Can you please come over and do this to my house?

    Lisa

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  17. What a beautiful house you have Loi. Your limelight hydrangeas look spectacular. They suit the house!

    Madelief x

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  18. Gasping!!...Your limelights are breathtaking!!!....I would be out there very day clipping away.....It has been so hot down south that the hydrangeas are literally frying on the bush....Just dead headed 200 fried blooms...sad....I cannot imagine how gorgeous your flowers look in person....I do not think I could never leave!...well, maybe until it starts to snow!....have a wonderful week!!!

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  19. if being in the limelight is wrong, i don't wanna be right. gorgeous moments from your gem, loi. thanks for guiding us through the gentle transformation outdoors...which for me holds such timeless charm and romance. here's to watching the limelight turn rosy, lovely one. peace to you right where you are.

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  20. What a transformation, indeed! Some may have found it hard to see past the work that needed to be done but you clearly saved the house. And I love the look of the garage. Absolutely stunning, Loi - house and garden! xoxo

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  21. HELLO LOI!!!!!!!!!

    I have missed you, MR.! I love a transformation and yours is outstanding. And those limelights.....Do you know that I just got back from driving around my neighborhood to see who has these; I see many of them and also we have some that are PINK and white! So, I'm knocking on doors to see if I could gather some cuttings. NO ONE IS HOME! I can't get my hands on any of these and I fear I won't before they die. But aren't they gorgeous? Lovely home, Loi. Enjoy each single day that summer offers itself. Back to school for me on MOnday with the kids! Love, Anita

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  22. Wow! They certainly are breathtaking as a hedge. I have one Limelight ornamental tree and I love it! It puts on such a show and I adore bringing some of the blooms inside as well. I actually love leaving some of the blooms on the tree until they turn brown. They are gorgeous tucked into the branches of my Christmas tree.
    Jann

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  23. It's so cold here in SF that I AM ready for summer to end as it's warmer in the Fall (not as much fog). But I do know what you mean. How lucky that you have all those gorgeous flowers inside and out! You have done a magnificent job with your home.

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  24. Loi, I agree with everyone. This is amazing and I am addicted to your aesthetic. Please do a coffee table book soon. You are very talented indeed.
    Can you tell us if the deer bother your landscaping? I live in Oregon and fear the deer would make salad of hydrangeas.
    Thank you, JJ

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  25. Well you know I love a good Limelight! Your hedge is looking fantastic. I can't believe you planted it just three years ago. Do tell, what color gray are the barn doors painted? I suppose you've mentioned it somewhere before. I'll have to do a little searching! Enjoy every bit of this summer. I'm with you ... there's no need to rush to autumn.

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  26. Hellllloooo Loi

    Lovely to see you post today. Wow what a transformation. It is all beautiful and I love your carefree attitude of not fussing about what naturally wants to grow in your garden. Continued joy as summer progresses.

    Helen xx

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  27. Amazing and beautiful transformation Loi. Your Limelight hydrangeas are gorgeous. You definitely made the right decision to cut down the tress and replace with the hydrangeas. Your place in Maine must be so beautiful in the Fall too.

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  28. So beautiful! Love your charming home and gardens. xo

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  29. I don't usually like seeing the "befores" in redo's, but yours is so dramatic that I'm inspired. Your Castine home is lovely inside and out and you had the vision to see what it could be. And, you also take great photos, Loi. Is there anything you do not do well??
    b

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  30. So much beauty! What a marvelous transformation. You are a gift to the neighborhood, and an inspiration I'm sure.

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  31. So much beauty! What a marvelous transformation. You are a gift to the neighborhood, and an inspiration I'm sure.

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  32. Loi your transformation is a true labor of love and respect. You respected the proud architectural beauty and made it pristine and enchanting again. Love the Limelights, you truly have a magical and very green thumb! Oh and I love your roof line on your enchanting home.
    xo,
    Vera

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  33. I could only wish to even SEE so many hydrangeas at once! Your home and taste is impeccable Loi....xo, janet

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  34. I missed your summer report.I have also limelight hydrangeas but not so much.Thank you for mentioning Hungarian pot. Love from the Great Hungarian Plain Hungary Central Europe Dorka from www.dorottyaudvar.co.hu

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  35. I missed your summer report.I have also limelight hydrangeas but not so much.Thank you for mentioning Hungarian pot. Love from the Great Hungarian Plain Hungary Central Europe Dorka from www.dorottyaudvar.co.hu

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  36. Just beyond stunning and fresh!! xo K
    PS I am Hungarian too and there are some amazing Turkish inspired art,pottery and textiles. I love that pink pot!

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  37. Loi I have enjoyed your beautiful blog for 4 years. I have especially loved watching the evolution of your Maine house since I also live in New England and have a white clapboard house. It is time to repaint my house and I wonder what color you have used on your garage doors?

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  38. YOur home is stunning and I so wish I could grow hydrangeas like yours!! My favorite flower and they are stunning!! xo

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  39. I first want to say that you have a gorgeous home! It looks so stunning. The hydrangeas that you chose are the perfect compliment for your beautiful home! I love that you decided to plant them in an "L" shape.

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  40. Hello, sorry to be one of those question-asking people, but I'm in the middle of picking a white paint for my exterior, which can be hard. Yours looks lovely here, can you tell me the paint color of the exterior of your white house?

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  41. Dramatic is an understatement Loi! I cannot wait to see your Maine home on a magazine!!! Love the hydrangeas so much, so very pretty and your whole house is just magnificent now!

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  42. Love, love, love everything! We are in the midst of an exterior re-do and are having a tough time with the roof choice. Could you share your type and color choice? Also would love to change our widows walk to look like yours! Perfect!

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  43. Nice blog and so beautiful picture thank you for sharing us.

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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