News from On Walnut Hill

Welcome to the blog by Penney and Kathy. On it we will write about events around the book and in the Hubbard garden. We’ll pass on some advice and share stories of interesting gardens and garden people as well as the good, bad and ugly in the plant world.

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Party Girl Hibiscus

Party Girl Hibiscus

Party Girl Hibiscus The Hibiscus ‘Anne Arundel’ is blooming here on Walnut Hill.  It’s a knockout (no pun intended) on the sunny hillside that also features Knock Out® roses, Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian sage), and Lagerstroemia ‘Natchez’ (Natchez crape myrtle) right now. Perennial hibiscus (or rose mallow) is a conversation starter, because of its eye-catching, huge […]

Remembering The Lily Lady

Yearly summer trips to New Hampshire and a woman the Hubbards called “The Lily Lady” resulted in vast collections of Hemerocallis. Today, more than 40 years later, some still bloom. That’s the thing about daylilies: they’re hardy. They come in a wide variety of colors. They’re not too picky about the type of soil for […]

Liquid Gold

Liquid Gold

Most days this May in Maryland have included rain. Some days have had rain on and off throughout the day and night. Others have had only occasional showers. For many days temperatures have been in the fifties. While rain seems gloomy to some, the gardens are enjoying it. They are lush, with emerald grass and […]

Charleston, We Miss You

Charleston, We Miss You

We’re back in Baltimore, where spring is coming into full glory, but Charleston, we miss you. We miss your cosmopolitan charm. We miss your commitment to architectural preservation and historic restoration, your strict guidelines for new construction. We envy the care you take not to clutter your beautiful city with signage, out-of-scale streetlights, and highway-like […]

To Dig or Not

To Dig or Not

Up on Walnut Hill our garden is deep under the snow from the record-breaking blizzard of 2016. Winds whipped the hillside and our conifers. Fortunately, no major limbs fell, and our electricity stayed on. Snowfall here measures anywhere from 26 inches to what looks like 40-inch drifts. Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall airport reported 29.2 inches. […]

Happy 2016 to All

Happy 2016 to all. The rain in Maryland has finally stopped. The sun is out. Temperatures are cooler than they were tropical Christmas week, when plants suddenly started showing some spring color. We now have the premature yellow blooms on our Jasminum nudiflorum that romps down the hill and on the statuesque Mahonia aquifolium by […]

Shifting Gears

Here we go into winter. The temperature dropped at the end of Thanksgiving weekend. The pumpkin by the door collapsed, and our wreaths don’t go up quite yet. A walk through the garden on a drizzly, cold morning helps us shift gears. Even better in the company of two enthusiastic gardeners who’ve dropped in for […]

Fall Blooms

Fall Blooms After the hoopla of the book launch weekend at Cylburn and the “Garden Rant” shout-out, stepping into the garden brings instant calm. It also brings the surprise of many blooms. We forget how many flowers fill the fall garden until we walk the paths. At every turn a profuse stand of perennials greets us: asters, […]


Rain. Lately, it seems that we have either too little or too much. At the moment, it’s too much. After very little for the past two months, we had almost three inches on Tuesday night. Now Hurricane Joaquin is en route for the weekend. Kurt Bluemel’s terracing of our hillside 30 years ago has really […]

Midsummer Visitors

Midsummer excitement came to Walnut Hill in the form of giant pink platters on Kurt Bluemel’s signature perennial hibiscus (‘Anne Arundel’) and in the arrival of two buses of visitors from the Perennial Plant Association symposium in downtown Baltimore. After April’s civil unrest, we were happy to show Baltimore in another light and as a city taking […]