Early May Flowers 2016

Iris germanica (Bearded iris) (bearded German Iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris) (bearded German Iris)

In bud this pass-along iris from my friend Cathy is a rich black. It opens to a deep purple.

The week has been stormy, with heavy rains at times, and though sunshine prevailed today, Thursday’s forecast calls for more storms. The garden is in full bloom so I have been taking photographs of sodden and drenched flowers.

Long ago at my former home, a neighbor, Henrietta, shared many Tall Bearded Iris with me. This is one I like very much. The coloration on top of the falls where the markings are, displays a  chocolate cast before blending into a lovely purple.

Iris germanica (Bearded iris) (bearded German Iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris) (bearded German Iris)

The red flowers in the previous image actually grow on my Iceberg Rose.  Did I prune it back too far at some point or is this a sport? For quite a few years there have been some red flowers, but this year I have not seen any white flowers on the bush.

 

I created a Mesh gallery to share more garden views at this point in May. If you have time for a tour, click to start. You can make the images full-screen using the 4-corners icon.

 

This little bunny has been eating pansies from the meditation circle and no telling what else the past two weeks. Here it is hiding among aquilegia and gladioli.

LIttle Rabbit Foo-Foo

Little bunny in hiding.

What is captivating you in your early May garden?

In A Vase On Monday—Festiva Maxima

In A Vase On Monday—Festiva Maxima

In A Vase On Monday—Festiva Maxima

Each Monday brings the chance to join Cathy’s In A Vase On Monday to share an arrangement using materials gathered from the garden.

 

In the southern border fragrant Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’ blooms this week. Its large double, white flowers are flecked with a slight accent of red. I selected two for this week’s vase.

In A Vase On Monday—Festiva Maxima

In A Vase On Monday—Festiva Maxima

The larger peony measures over 7 inches across. Secured in place by a kenzan or floral pin frog, the majestic giant hovers gracefully just above the top of a black, glazed ceramic dish.

In A Vase On Monday—Festiva Maxima

In A Vase On Monday—Festiva Maxima

The juxtaposition of the circular form against the square container is repeated in the second part of the arrangement with a round posy in a glass cube.

In A Vase On Monday—Festiva Maxima

In A Vase On Monday—Festiva Maxima

In A Vase On Monday—Festiva Maxima

In A Vase On Monday—Festiva Maxima

Along with the second Festiva Maxima peony, the posy consists of a Siberian iris, two Anemones and a couple of sprigs of pink Phlox divaricata.

In A Vase On Monday—Festiva Maxima

In A Vase On Monday—Festiva Maxima

In A Vase On Monday—Festiva Maxima

In A Vase On Monday—Festiva Maxima

Materials
Anemone coronaria ‘Mr. Fokker’
Iris sibirica (Siberian Iris)
Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’
Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox)
Foliage:  Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)
Containers: black glazed ceramic square saucer and clear glass cube vase

In A Vase On Monday—Festiva Maxima

In A Vase On Monday—Festiva Maxima

Thanks to Cathy for hosting this weekly flower arranging addiction. Visit her at Rambling In The Garden to discover what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday. Feel free to join in.

April Highlights 2016

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’

April has been a gorgeous and floriferous month. I want to invite you along as I make note of some particular enjoyments from my little spring garden.

When featuring white Dutch Iris in a Monday vase on March 28 I mentioned I thought I had planted blues ones this year but could not remember where. Happy to report they are found and blooming this week, not all blue, but rather a mixed collection that is delightful.

Dutch Iris mix (Planted Fall 2015)

Dutch Iris mix (Planted Fall 2015)

To add further to the confusion, I displayed these leaves as part of April’s foliage day. At the time I thought they were alliums. The mystery now is where did I place the alliums.

 

Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’ has given a rewarding show this spring and often I feel the columbine in its midst makes a charming companion.

Unfortunately, this native Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) is becoming unmanageable, drifting to all corners of the garden. I will cut it all back this week but seedlings are everywhere.

Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow' (Ascot Rainbow Spurge) and Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’ (Ascot Rainbow Spurge) and Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

With this year’s nice gentle spring, Coreopsis has bloomed well. Although I often see it recommended for summer, it generally stops blooming here when it gets too hot or maybe it is too dry. Then it resumes briefly in autumn.

Coreopsis

Coreopsis

Coreopsis

Coreopsis

Nearby, Verbena bonariensis is shooting upwards next to Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft), one of my favorite white flowered plants.

Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena), Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft) and Coreopsis

Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena), Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft) and Coreopsis

Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena), Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft) and Coreopsis

Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena), Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft) and Coreopsis

Peonies are ever so close to blooming, 3 in one border and 1 in another. A third border hosts a peony purchased last year that already was in flower. Its foliage looks healthy but does not promise blooms this year.

Peonies in Southern Border

Peonies in Southern Border

Peonies in Southern Border

Peonies in Southern Border

Foxglove have been difficult to establish in my garden, but I keep trying. I added 3 new plants in early spring, Digitalis Foxlight ‘Ruby Glow’ PPAF (Ruby Glow Foxglove).

Digitalis Foxlight 'Ruby Glow' PPAF (Ruby Glow Foxglove)

Digitalis Foxlight ‘Ruby Glow’ PPAF (Ruby Glow Foxglove)

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ was featured in this week’s vase. It grows outside the main enclosed garden at the top of the southern side path and deserves another look.

Clematis 'Jackmanii' underplanted with Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris)

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ underplanted with Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris)

This morning my attention soon drifted away from the clematis to the spires of Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’ across the path.

Baptisia 'Purple Smoke'

Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’

Yesterday I just saw two huge yellow Baptisia ‘Carolina Moonlight’ at the N. C. Botanical Garden in full bloom. My own baptisia seems minor by comparison and must really not be in a good spot. It is supposed to be very easy to grow. Nevertheless I enjoyed discovering these blossoms today.

 

Verbena bonariensis growing in the side path opened just this week.

Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

This yellow bearded iris is a pass-along from my long-ago neighbor Henrietta. Many of the irises in my current garden came from her.

Iris germanica (Bearded iris). A passalong from Henrietta circa 1977.

Iris germanica (Bearded iris). A passalong from Henrietta circa 1977.

Flowers on this white Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion) began opening last week.

Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion)

Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion)

A late-flowering Narcissus showed up this week, but I have not been able to find the tag. I would like to believe these are the one transplanted from my family home about three years ago, but I also bought some similar bulbs after those did not appear the first year.

Narcissus

Narcissus

Narcissus

Narcissus

Iris germanica ‘Immortality’ is beautiful this spring. Here it is growing near Clematis ‘Niobe’.

The grass needs cutting every few days, but that is not happening on schedule. Maybe today it will though before some predicted showers. The meditation circle is on the list for a good clipping and cleanup. Thyme has happily adapted to the center of the labyrinth and beyond, overtaking some of the pavers. The pansies took a while to bulk up after winter. They soon will be replaced with angelonia for summer.

Meditation Circle

Meditation Circle

Edging the border just before the labyrinth begins is a nice stand of saliva, Meadow Sage ‘May Night’. This is where the lady bug in the top image was hanging out.  (Tradescantia is popping up everywhere too).

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’

At the northeast gate the path is blue with blooms of Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper). There is a lot of sedum mixed with it.

Path at NE Gate - Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper)

Path at NE Gate – Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper)

Plenty of tasks await the gardener today but I have been taking time to enjoy the birds, chimes, fragrances and blossoms swaying on gentle breezes. Thanks for visiting.

 

 

In A Vase On Monday—Clematis Trio

In A Vase On Monday - Clematis Trio

In A Vase On Monday – Clematis Trio

Monday brings the chance to share cut flowers from the garden by joining in Cathy’s weekly challenge In A Vase On Monday.

At the garden center last week two glazed ceramic planter saucers caught my attention. For some time I had been looking for a square black dish to use for floral arrangements. This style came in several other tempting colors, but I settled on black and white.

The new containers lend themselves to Ikebana-style designs, as do Clematis which are happily in flower this week.

In A Vase On Monday - Clematis Trio

In A Vase On Monday – Clematis Trio

Today’s design turned out quite differently from my original plan to use a red Clematis ‘Niobe’ on the white dish and white Clematis ‘Henryi’ on the black. The effect was underwhelming in this case, but I am tucking the idea away for the future.

Fortunately I had gathered additional material, Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ and several kinds of iris, most of which soon found their way into the arrangement.

Clematis Trio – C. ‘Jackmanii’, C. ‘Niobe’ and C. ‘Henryi’

Iris leaves were added for height along with Iris germanica ‘Orinoco Flow’ and Iris tectorum. A small amount of red-purple-greenish foliage of Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ was also incorporated behind C. ‘Jackmanii’.

In A Vase On Monday - Clematis TrioIn A Vase On Monday – Clematis Trio

Materials
Flowers
Clematis ‘Henryi’
Clematis ‘Jackmanii’
Clematis ‘Niobe’
Iris germanica ‘Orinoco Flow’ (Bearded iris)
Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris)

Foliage
Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)
Iris germanica ‘Orinoco Flow’ (Bearded iris)

Clematis ‘Henryi’

Clematis ‘Henryi’

Clematis ‘Niobe’ With Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris)

Clematis ‘Niobe’ With Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris)

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Thanks to Cathy for hosting this weekly flower addiction. Visit her at Rambling In The Garden to discover what she and other gardeners are placing In A Vase On Monday.

April Clematis

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Of the many undone garden chores this year, pruning clematis, appears not to have been too critical, this one time at least. Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ began blooming April 10. It is much fuller at the base than usual. This was my first clematis and it has been reliable every year to provide a pop a color in the side garden. Usually I prune it in early February.

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Last April I added Clematis ‘Henryi’ and Clematis ‘Niobe’ and watched them suffer through a dreadful, hot summer with no idea they would survive.

Sunday, April 17, buds were starting to break open on C. ‘Niobe’  and and the first flower appeared Tuesday, April 19. The early color is deeply red and brightens as the flower ages.

Clematis 'Niobe'

Clematis ‘Niobe’

Clematis 'Niobe' and Iris germanica 'Immortality'

Clematis ‘Niobe’ and Iris germanica ‘Immortality’

Clematis ‘Niobe’ is planted along the fence in the northern border. My goal is that it should add some color and interest and counter the bright whiteness of the vinyl fence.

Clematis 'Niobe'

Clematis ‘Niobe’

C. ‘Henryi’ is in a more sheltered location than the other vines. Buds were visible  by March 30 but its first flower opened today, April 22. I was excited enough to scamper out in a drizzle to get pictures.

Clematis 'Henryi'

Clematis ‘Henryi’

Clematis 'Henryi'

Clematis ‘Henryi’

Clematis 'Henryi'

Clematis ‘Henryi’

A few more rainy photographs…

The white iris keeping company with Clematis ‘Niobe’ also bloomed recently, just yesterday in fact. Iris germanica ‘Immortality’ is a frilly white rebloomer with yellow beards. The buds appear lavender.

Iris germanica 'Immortality'

Iris germanica ‘Immortality’

Iris tectorum is a short iris that spreads prolifically and grows everywhere, even in shade. This is an iris visitors to the garden remark on most frequently. It is also known as Japanese Roof Iris. The Chapel Hill Garden Club’s spring tour takes place in another week. I have noticed in some of the preview publicity that several of the gardens also have this iris.

 

Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris)

Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris)

Finally, nodding peony buds hold great promise.

Paeonia 'Pink Parfait' (Peony)

Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ (Peony)

Our last precipitation was a couple of weeks ago, so I was glad for the rain today.

 

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – April 2016

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

The dogwood for now is green. There were only a handful of flowers this spring—the most disappointing dogwood display ever. I keep threatening to remove the poor performer but inertia keeps it safe for now.

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Below, this this early morning scene highlights the fresh green iris foliage which is very strong and healthy this year. Beside them, in the foreground on the right, green-gray catmint is filling out and up. Looking beyond irises, just beyond the meditation circle, a large circle of daffodil foliage is dying back slowly. Narcissus are wonderful in early spring, but I pay the price of planting them in the middle of the lawn by having to watch the leaves yellow and wilt.

Further back are five evergreens, Juniperus chinensis ‘Blue Point’ (Blue Point Juniper). They were planted to add some height and privacy to the garden. Because I worked around some existing plants, they are not necessarily situated in the most effective way, but they do help with privacy.

At left behind the fence the neighbors’ red maple is gorgeous this year. Back inside the fence the tall trees in the right back corner are Cupressus arizonica ‘Carolina Sapphire’ (Arizona Cypress) awash in the early morning sun that has yet to reach the rest of the garden. And the large shrub on the right is Spiraea prunifolia (bridal wreath spiraea). It is sending out suckers everywhere and needs a severe pruning, my intended task for this morning.

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Lots of plants are bringing great promise. Not all, but many, of these early plants have lovely silvery foliage, such as Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion) and, in the background, overly abundant Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear). Echinacea are maturing, with a few already forming flowers.

Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion)

Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion)

Last fall the garden was overgrown when I was trying to plant allium. I just cleared a spot and stuck all the bulbs together. That pretty much sums up my gardening style. I have been reading this spring about suggestions for underplanting alliums to hide their foliage, so lesson learned.

Allium ‘Gladiator’ (Giant Allium) (3 bulbs) Allium ‘Persian Blue’ (Giant Allium) (3 bulbs) Allium azureum (Blue Allium) (10 bulbs)

Allium ‘Gladiator’ (Giant Allium) (3 bulbs)
Allium ‘Persian Blue’ (Giant Allium) (3 bulbs)
Allium azureum (Blue Allium) (10 bulbs)

Here are a few more images to wrap up this April foliage highlight.

Side Path-Iris, Lavender and Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ear)

Side Path-Iris, Lavender and Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) and Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) and Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

Narcissus, Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant) and Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower)

Narcissus, Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant) and Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower)

Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm) and Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm) and Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Iris, Lavender and Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ear)

Iris, Lavender and Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)

Hemerocallis (Daylily) and Artemisia 'Powis Castle' (Wormwood)

Hemerocallis (Daylily) and Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)

Chrysanthemum and Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ear)

Chrysanthemum and Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)

Thanks to Christina at Garden of the Hesperides for hosting. Read her foliage update and see more links to foliage perspectives from many parts of the world.