Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – May 2015

Liatris spicata 'Floristan Weiss' (Gayfeather)

Liatris spicata ‘Floristan Weiss’ (Gayfeather)

Time again for Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD), hosted by Christina at Garden of the Hesperides.

This very hot, dry May has been a tough month for the garden. A sprinkling of rain on Thursday brought scarcely enough drops to acknowledge. Temperatures at least are cooler and the weekend is forecast to be sunny and beautiful.

Trying to make a positive comment as she walked along the borders the other day, one honest neighbor suggested, “I bet this was really beautiful last week.”  Indeed the garden is moving past is best for this year, but there are a few places where May foliage stands out. Any water droplets on the leaves are probably from nearly daily hand waterings.

I like the loose feathery texture of Liatris spicata ‘Floristan Weiss’ (Gayfeather).  Two of these planted in the northwest corner this year they are beginning form flower spikes.

Liatris spicata 'Floristan Weiss' (Gayfeather)

Liatris spicata ‘Floristan Weiss’ (Gayfeather)

There is a mostly sunny garden, but I protect a few shade-loving plants by situating them under a large juniper in the southwest corner. Heuchera, Hellebore, Brunnera, Phlox divaricata. Tansy, with its ferny foliage, prefers full sun, but underground rhizomes keep it spreading into this area anyway. Similarly, it seems Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue,’ which can take sun or part shade, is spreading in close around the silver-leaved Brunnera.

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose), Brunnera macrophylla ‘Silver Heart’ (False Forget-Me-Not)

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose), Brunnera macrophylla ‘Silver Heart’ (False Forget-Me-Not)

Heuchera villosa 'Big Top Bronze' (Coral Bells)

Heuchera villosa ‘Big Top Bronze’ (Coral Bells)

Also in this area is a pass-along Sarcococca ruscifolia (Fragrant Sweet Box), which after several years now is still very tiny. I look forward to its fragrance when it decides the time has come to bloom.

Sarcococca ruscifolia (Fragrant Sweet Box)

Sarcococca ruscifolia (Fragrant Sweet Box)

Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’ (Gold Dust Aucuba) was added in spring and has adapted well. It may soon get too large for its location but I purchased it because its foliage is nice for flower arrangements, not actually because I had the appropriate space.

Aucuba japonica 'Variegata' (Gold Dust Aucuba)

Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’ (Gold Dust Aucuba)

Moving down into the southern border Daylilies and Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ make a nice paring. Rudbeckia fulgida (Orange Coneflower) nestled under the artemisia by its own desire.

Daylily, Artemisia 'Powis Castle' (Wormwood), Rudbeckia fulgida (Orange Coneflower)

Daylily, Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood), Rudbeckia fulgida (Orange Coneflower)

Artemisia 'Powis Castle' (Wormwood)

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)

A spring addition to the garden Camellia x ‘Koto-no-kaori’ shows some yellowing of foliage, but seems to be settling in well along the back fence of the western border.

Camellia x 'Koto-no-kaori'

Camellia x ‘Koto-no-kaori’

Nearby, Gardenia jasminoides ‘Frost Proof’ looks happy also and seems poised to bloom.

Gardenia jasminoides 'Frost Proof' (Gardenia 'Frost Proof')

Gardenia jasminoides ‘Frost Proof’ (Gardenia ‘Frost Proof’)

Dusty Miller makes a nice ground cover that spreads itself around easily, but is easy to pull out.

Dusty Miller

Dusty Miller

The exact name of this passalong is a source of curiosity. I have not been able to identify it definitely. Christina once suggested it could be simply a fine-leaved artemisia. Someone else suggested Jacobaea maritima (Silver Ragwort) formerly Senecio cineraria. That one looks more like one that is commonly sold as an annual around here. Whatever the name, at this time of year it looks its best,  whether forming a large patch of silver or photobombing a new-this-spring Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow.’

Dusty Miller

Dusty Miller

Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow'  (Ascot Rainbow Spurge) and Dusty Miller

Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’ (Ascot Rainbow Spurge) and Dusty Miller

Maybe hundreds of Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower) volunteers are vying for a spot in the garden.

Volunteers of Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Volunteers of Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Anemone coronaria provided a huge boost of color in early spring. I have not quite known what to do with them now so have just been letting them die back. One of two flowers still pop up, but mostly the seed heads are are providing the interest.

Anemone coronaria seedheads

Anemone coronaria seedheads

Anemone coronaria seedheads

Anemone coronaria seedheads

Two large specimens of Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ are zipping upward and outward. This one is against the fence in the western border. Another one fills a corner at the southern side path entrance.

Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Visit Christina at Garden of the Hesperides for a look around her Italian garden and find links to foliage perspectives from many parts of the world.

In A Vase On Monday – Pink Parfait

In A Vase On Monday - Paeonia 'Pink Parfait' (Pink Parfait Peony)

In A Vase On Monday – Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ (Pink Parfait Peony)

In a pink frenzy I am joining Cathy for In A Vase On Monday, a weekly challenge to fill a vase using materials gathered from one’s garden. I am not a huge fan of pink and last week’s vase featured a pink peony, but I risk being unimaginative so I can share this delicious Pink Parfait.

Paeonia 'Pink Parfait' (Pink Parfait Peony)

Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ (Pink Parfait Peony)

Paeonia 'Pink Parfait' (Pink Parfait Peony)

Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ (Pink Parfait Peony)

Paeonia x ‘Pink Parfait’ is a double peony with pink petals interspersed with occasional hints of cream. The flowers are quite fragrant and large. The larger one in this arrangement is 7 inches in diameter, the smaller one is 5 inches.

Paeonia 'Pink Parfait' (Pink Parfait Peony)

Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ (Pink Parfait Peony)

My grandmother’s pair of scalloped glass vases were just the right height for today’s duo. The smaller bloom was slightly too narrow to fit width-wise, so I used an acrylic floating ring in the water to lift the it above the surface.

Grandmother's Vases

Grandmother’s Vases

The flowers stand capably on their own integrity, but for a bit of contrast I included variegated leaves of Lemon Lime Warneckii. Warneckii is sold as a low-light house plant, but in flower design the leaves are useful for their color, pattern and ability to be manipulated.

Dracaena deremensis warneckii ‘Lemon Lime’

Dracaena deremensis warneckii ‘Lemon Lime’

Materials

Paeonia x ‘Pink Parfait’ (Pink Parfait Double Peony)
Dracaena deremensis warneckii ‘Lemon Lime’ (Lemon Lime Warneckii)
Acrylic floating ring
Clear scalloped glass vases

In A Vase On Monday - Paeonia 'Pink Parfait' (Pink Parfait Peony)

In A Vase On Monday – Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ (Pink Parfait Peony)

From either direction I am partial to the way this arrangement looks when viewed from above.

In A Vase On Monday - Paeonia 'Pink Parfait' (Pink Parfait Peony)

In A Vase On Monday – Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ (Pink Parfait Peony)

In A Vase On Monday - Paeonia 'Pink Parfait' (Pink Parfait Peony)

In A Vase On Monday – Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ (Pink Parfait Peony)

Many thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting. Please visit her to see what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday.

Vibrant Blooms At Mid-May

Paeonia 'Festiva Maxima'

Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’

At mid-May there is a profusion of flowers as the garden launches a noticeable shift toward summer. Several very hot days last week signaled it was time, and although the temperatures quickly moderated, the transition was underway.

The days are dry, clear and sunshiny. After the luxury of ample rains throughout winter and early spring, I am having to water some of the new shrubs and other recent purchases.

I am fairly new to the world of peonies and I wonder what took me so long to understand their allure. Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’ was at its best this past week. Meanwhile Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ is just getting started with its display.

Paeonia 'Festiva Maxima'

Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’

Paeonia 'Festiva Maxima'

Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’

Paeonia 'Pink Parfait' (Peony)

Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ (Peony)

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ has been reliable for years while other clematis have come and gone. I added two new ones this spring. It has been blooming for a full month and continues to add new flowers.

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

I love having white plants in the garden and have long admired white clematis. This new Clematis ‘Henryi’ is tucked into a corner against the house where the fence begins.

Clematis 'Henryi'

Clematis ‘Henryi’

Also new this spring, Clematis ‘Niobe’ is promised as one that will bloom all summer and I hope eventually it will add interest along the stark white fence at the northern boundary.

Clematis 'Niobe'

Clematis ‘Niobe’

A pass-along yarrow opened up this week in the southern border. Echinacea is opening in the southern side path as well in many parts of the main garden.

Achillea filipendulina (Fern-leaf Yarrow)

Achillea filipendulina (Fern-leaf Yarrow)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

After a beautiful season many of the bearded irises are looking tired, just as the Siberian iris are gaining strength. These Siberians were, guess what, pass-alongs! A Chapel Hill friend rescued for me from her neighbor’s divisions one year.

Iris sibirica (Siberian Iris)

Iris sibirica (Siberian Iris)

I pulled out the blue pansies on one side of the meditation circle last weekend and added white angelonia. Already the tamer color scheme appeals to me.

Angelonia ’Serena White’

Angelonia ’Serena White’

Even without the meditation circle remains vivid this week as the red snapdragons continue to thrive, making it a difficult choice to remove them. I have more of the angelonia waiting to replace the snapdragons though so I must be disciplined and discard them soon. Adding to the energy in this area are two dozen Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue). I like the rich foliage topped with delicate white flowers.

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue)-2

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)-2

The original planting in the labyrinth started with about 3 Husker Reds and many Penstemon mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple.’ Only one Pike’s Peak Purple remains but Husker Red has been increasing. I have been encouraging every visitor to the garden to take some home. It is valuable for it evergreen foliage.

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue)-2

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue)-2

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

Penstemon  mexicali 'Pike's Peak Purple' (Beardtongue)

Penstemon mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’ (Beardtongue)

I added several new Penstemon x mexicali ‘Red Rocks’ to the garden this year, though not in the meditation circle. Having either purple or red in the name of a plant does not always mean red.

Penstemon x mexicali (Red Rocks Penstemon)

Penstemon x mexicali (Red Rocks Penstemon)

The view from the garden bench is filled with blooms. Soft breezes stir the chimes. Towhees, robins, cardinals and an especially persistent Carolina Wren add to the pleasure.

Meditation Circle

Meditation Circle

In A Vase On Monday – Pink Triumvirate

Peony, Phlox and Roses-6

Once again I am joining Cathy for In A Vase On Monday, a weekly challenge to fill a vase using materials gathered from one’s garden. Three pinks come together for this week’s arrangement.

Peony, Phlox and Roses

Peony, Phlox and Roses

 

My pass-along pink rose came into full bloom this past week. It is one I have grown almost since dinosaurs roamed, given to me by my garden mentor Virgie (my mother’s first cousin). This fragrant rose is one my mother and my maternal grandmother also grew and I keep it for its sentimental attachment.

Old-fashioned passalong rose

Old-fashioned passalong rose

 

I am very fond of the pink Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox) that also opened last week. It is yet another of VIrgie’s pass-alongs.

Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox)

Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox)

I ordered two peonies from an apparently very unreliable source a couple of years ago.  Last year one of them, Paeonia lactiflora Duchess de Nemours, bloomed and turned out to be more likely Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’. This week the second peony bloomed for the first time. It was supposed to be Paeonia lactiflora ‘Black Beauty’ (Nightlife Peony) with a dark burgundy colored flower, according to the picture in the catalog. Accompanying text proclaimed, “nearly black bloom.”  Instead, lovely but pink.

Peony

Peony

Materials

Paeonia
Rose
Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox)

Peony, Phlox and Roses

Peony, Phlox and Roses

Many thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting. Please visit her to see what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday.

Warning

Garden View

Garden View

When I am an old garden I shall wear purple

With a red plant that doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me.

–With apologies to Jenny Joseph (read full poem “Warning“).

In my dream garden there are blues of every sort, purples and greens. A few genteel spots of soft yellow, refined and restrained, break up the space. Accents of sophisticated whites highlight the borders.

Iris germanica 'Immortality'

Iris germanica ‘Immortality’

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Baptisia 'Purple Smoke'

Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’

Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper)

Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper)

Iris In Southern Side Path

Iris In Southern Side Path

Iris germanica

Iris germanica

Japanese Iris

Japanese Iris

Salvia nemorosa 'May Night' (Hardy Sage)

Salvia nemorosa ‘May Night’ (Hardy Sage)

But this spring I am loving the over-the-top combinations brought on by a happenstance purchase of dark red snapdragons late last autumn. (A single pink stow-away found its way here too). I grew up believing pink and red did not go together any more than purple and red.

Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon)

Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon)

Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon)

Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon)

My mantra for this garden always has been based on peace, calm and contemplation. But every morning when I peek out I smile at the riot of color. It is over-the-top. When I am working outdoors the word gaudy bubbles into my thoughts, but I cannot stop smiling.

Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon) in Meditation Circle

Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon) in Meditation Circle

When my husband and I take breakfast, lunch and supper on the screened porch overlooking the garden, we sigh in amazement and smile. A garden that makes us smile—what more?

Northern Border

Northern Border

Salvia nemorosa 'May Night' (Hardy Sage) and Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox)

Salvia nemorosa ‘May Night’ (Hardy Sage) and Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox)

Salvia nemorosa 'May Night' (Hardy Sage), Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox), and Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon) and Iris

Salvia nemorosa ‘May Night’ (Hardy Sage), Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox), and Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon) and Iris

Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox) and Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon)

Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox) and Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon)

Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox) and Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon)

Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox) and Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon)

Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox) and Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon)

Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox) and Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon)

So what of this outrageous color? The garden will be 14 years old at the end of May. It is a teenager, not grown old at all, just finding itself.

Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ear) In Southern Side Path

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) In Southern Side Path

Meditation Circle

Meditation Circle

Coral Charm

Paeonia lactiflora 'Coral Charm' (Coral Charm Peony)

Paeonia lactiflora ‘Coral Charm’ (Coral Charm Peony)

I planted a new peony yesterday in the western border, Paeonia lactiflora ‘Coral Charm’ (Coral Charm Peony).

It had one open flower on it which I removed and brought indoors to enjoy. By today the blossom had opened wide and the color had softened.

Paeonia lactiflora 'Coral Charm' (Coral Charm Peony)

Paeonia lactiflora ‘Coral Charm’ (Coral Charm Peony)

Paeonia lactiflora 'Coral Charm' (Coral Charm Peony)

Paeonia lactiflora ‘Coral Charm’ (Coral Charm Peony)

Paeonia lactiflora 'Coral Charm' (Coral Charm Peony)

Paeonia lactiflora ‘Coral Charm’ (Coral Charm Peony)