It is with mixed emotion that we have made the difficult decision that we can no longer open our gardens to the public.   We had hoped to do it for one more year but as Spring approached we realized, for a whole host of reasons, that we just couldn’t do it this year either.  We were very glad that for the past 14 years so many visitors were able to experience the beauty and enjoyment of the rhodys here at Gleaner Gardens, and we appreciate the much-needed encouragement everyone gave us.  Restoring and maintaining these gardens has been challenging and fulfilling, but the best part was meeting all of the visitors every Memorial Day Weekend.   We will truly miss our visitors, especially those who came year after year. Thanks  you for your patronage over the years, and a special thanks for the Rhode Island Wild Plant Society, without who’s help we wouldn’t have been able to open the gardens these past 10 years.

Cindy and Chuck


Gleaner Gardens


We are looking forward to welcoming visitors this Memorial Day weekend!  301

And this year we have a special treat – our Lady Slipper, which we planted 2 years ago, has bloomed!

The Rhodies should be spectacular this weekend as well, if “Brown Eyes” is any indication.






We hope you can join us this weekend and celebrate Spring at Gleaner Gardens again!

We are open Saturday, Sunday and Monday,  from 10am to 4pm each day.

Thanks to our friend Jackie Marro, we now have a video about our gardens.  Learn of the history and the founder, George Howarth, as well as some great information on the care of rhododendrons. Here is the link – hope you enjoy!!!    http://vimeo.com/57589212

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn August of 2012, with great sadness, we said good-bye to a faithful friend, Nikki. Nikki was with us from the day we moved into Gleaner Gardens as a rambunctious puppy and became the ultimate watch-dog, always letting us know when something or someone was in the yard, that is, until she lost her hearing. Her favorite pastime was hunting rabbits and voles, and an occasional woodchuck, which she was very good at. Just short of her 14th birthday, we laid her to rest in the pet cemetery under the pine trees, surrounded by rhododendrons. She will be forever in our hearts and forever missed.

We are welcoming everyone to our 13th annual open gardens event this weekend and hope you can come by to say Hi and enjoy the gardens.  A lot of rhodies are already passed, but there is always something good to look at here.  You can click this link to see some guidelines for visitors:


Hope to see you!

I know, I know, it is almost Memorial Day Weekend, and I am still posting blogs for April.  It is just one of those years…Cindy and I have had a lot of other things going on, and blogging has had to take a back seat.  Sorry for that! Anyways, back to an epic April, just wanted to put some more photos up.  First, some before and after photos.  This is a photo of a dogwood bloom.  Contrary to what many people may think, it is not a four-petaled flower.  The white “petals” are actually modified leaves.  The compound flowers are actually in the center of the “bloom” and are not yet open in this photo.

That photo was taken in early April.  Two weeks later, the flowers in the center are starting to open:

OK, another before and after series:  Many of our Yakushimanum hybrid rhodies are favorites of ours because of the different colors we get between the new buds and the open flowers.  Typically, the emerging flowers are dark pink, as in this photo:

One the flowers open, they generally turn a lighter pink, sometimes almost becoming white.  This particular bloom belongs to a Yakushimanum Rhododendron FCC.

OK, two more rhododendrons, and then I’m moving onto some other flowers that came into bloom in the latter half of April.  Next to the Malta is an early-blooming nearly-white rhododendron that we have not been able to identify.  It is possibly a Girard’s White:

And finally, one of our favorites due to its extraordinary color, is the “Purple Gem”, a very small-flowered, small-leaved rhody…although this picture is deceptive:

Ok, moving on to some more flowers, we had a number of native wildflowers and other blooming plants in blossom this April, such as the native Dicentra “bleeding hearts”:

We also have several patches of the native hardy geraniums, in several colors. These are true, perrenial Geraniums, not to be confused with the more commonly known Geraniums that have to be brought inside in the winter, which are actually in the genus Pelargonium.  Here is a single bloom from one of ours:

Cranesbill Geranium

My final entry on the wildflower front is our white trillium, also known as a white wake-robin (Trillium grandiflorum), a real nice addition to our gardens:

And last but not least, in the flowering-tree category, we planted a Carolina silverbell (Halesia carolina) a few years ago.  Last year, it had a few flowers.  This year, it was absolutely full of flowers! The tree branches look like they are lined with hanging bells, which is nice, but I think they look even neater from below, such as here:

So, in summary, it had been an amazing April.  It has also been an incredible May as well, but unfortunately we have been remiss in getting new photos out. And our peak bloom, which usually occurs a couple days either side of Memorial Day Weekend, was probably 4 or 5 days ago, so things are already starting to fade out, rhododendron-wise.  But there is always something in bloom here, and we hope to put a few more photos up here and there.  And don’t forget to stop by this coming Memorial Day Weekend for our 13th Annual open garden event! Hope to see you!

This April has been one for the record books!  Although temperatures have been more seasonal this month than they were in March, we have had our share of warm days and, with a little bit of rain, the yard has really started to explode.  We have never seen this much in bloom already as we get ready to start the month of May.  We usually don’t see things this advanced until maybe the third week in May!

Honey bee on Mary Fleming

So this will be mostly a photoblog entry, with pictures of some of the plants that have been blooming this month.  Early in the month, Malta and Mary Fleming were in bloom.  And we had honeybees in them too! It is unusual to see anything but bumble bees this early in the year.

Malta, with the Eastern Redbud in the background.

Cercis canadensis flowers

Also blooming earlier than usual was our Eastern Redbud tree (Cercis canadensis).  The buds started swelling in late March, and by the second week in April, they started popping open.

Prunus japonica blooms

At another corner of the house, bursting into bloom before we even noticed it was getting started, was our Flowering Almond (Prunus japonica), also known as a Korean Cherry or an Oriental Bush Cherry.

Many of our PJM Rhododendrons popped open in March, but we have a couple varieties that

PJM “Checkmate”

do open later.  Usually, our row of  PJM “Olga” opens up in late April, as does our PJM “Checkmate”, but this year both were open by the second week.

“Olga’s” on the corner

Last year was the first year that our Fothergilla, also known as witch hobble, bloomed, and this year it has twice as many blooms on it! I imagine that in about ten years or so, thanks to its position near the road, it will stop traffic.  It is not a very common shrub around here.

There are two other groups of shrubs near the Fothergilla that also have white flowers on them  One of them is a plant that visitors ask often about, since it is an unusual four-petaled flower.  This thin shrub with a parabolic growth habit is known as Jet Bead, named after jet-black berries that it produces after it blooms. Its botanical name is Rhodotypos scandens.

No one ever asks us about the other shrub, which is a shame.  Despite the fact that its flowers are much smaller and rarely noticed, Red chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia) is prettier when viewed close up.

Moving along the stone wall, near the street, and adding a bit of color, is another new plant of ours.  We’ve added a couple patches of creeping phlox (Phlox stolonifera), a native herbaceous perrenial.

Back in the yard, the first of our azaleas came out in bloom quite early as well.  This variety, known as “Willard”, is one that we have a lot of on the property.

That pretty much sums up what was in bloom by the middle of April. It is quite a lot, and April was only halfway over by then!  In our next entry we will continue with more pics of what turned out to be an April quite like no other we have ever seen.  Until then, here is a teaser.