Tag Archives: almanac

Summer And Summer Phlox

Phlox paniculata 'Robert Poore' (Summer Phlox)

Phlox paniculata ‘Robert Poore’ (Summer Phlox)

Sunday, June 21, 2015 at 12:39 pm—Summer Solstice ( June Solstice) is today.  The temperature currently is 89 °F (31.7 °C) at 11:00 am, quickly heading toward a high of 99 °F (37 °C).

June 2015 (source: weather underground.com)

June 2015 (source: weatherunderground.com)

The weather continues to be quite a distraction and hindrance to gardening, yet somehow certain plants persevere even when the gardener falls behind. Summer phlox began blooming this week in the western border.

Phlox paniculata 'Robert Poore' (Summer Phlox)

Phlox paniculata ‘Robert Poore’ (Summer Phlox)

Phlox paniculata 'Robert Poore' (Summer Phlox)

Phlox paniculata ‘Robert Poore’ (Summer Phlox)

Happy Summer!

Morning Moments In The June Garden

Hemerocallis (Daylily) possibly 'Michael Arnholt'

Hemerocallis (Daylily) possibly ‘Michael Arnholt’

We had another nearly 100-degree day yesterday and yet, a fresh daylily greeted me in the garden first thing this morning. A thunderstorm during the night brought welcome rain and it is cooler today, a mere 91°F. Starting tomorrow temperatures will climb again into mid-90sF for another week. When summer starts officially on Sunday what surprise can it bring?

Hemerocallis (Daylily) possibly 'Michael Arnholt'

Hemerocallis (Daylily) possibly ‘Michael Arnholt’

Part of the Monarda border fell victim to the storm’s strong wind and rain, actually a small price to pay in exchange for not needing to water this morning.

Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)

Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)

I planted some new purple gladioli for cutting this year, but the first to flower is a salmon one from many years ago.

Gladiolus

Gladiolus

Several weeks ago I pulled up last fall’s snapdragons from the meditation circle, but as an experiment I left one along the front edge of the northern border. Surprisingly it continues to bloom despite the heat, its rich blossom, still drenched from last night’s rain, seems impossibly smooth and glossy red.

Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon)

Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon)

I added several new Liatris spicata (Gayfeather) to the border this spring. Rather than opening, some of the flower tips just turned brown from the heat, but this one is off to a good start.

Liatris spicata (Gayfeather)

Liatris spicata (Gayfeather)

With the appearance of its first multicolored flowers open today, Lantana camara is making a comeback in the southern border. It had died back to the ground during this year’s cold winter.

Lantana camara (Common lantana)

Lantana camara (Common lantana)

Just on the other side of the fence from the lantana, one of my favorite vignettes from this morning’s garden walk is a large patch of self-seeded Cleome at the southern entrance to the garden. While the gate and much of the garden was still in shade, the flowers were bathed in the sun’s early light.

Sunny Patch of Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Sunny Patch of Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

A nectaring bee found the cleome enticing.

Bee Nectaring on Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Bee Nectaring on Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Red Hot At Mid-June

Hummingbird Moth on Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)

Hummingbird Moth on Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)

A Hummingbird Moth was attracted to the scarlet flowers of Monarda didyma yesterday morning. I did not notice there actually were two moths until I saw the photograph below.

Hummingbird Moth on Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)

Hummingbird Moth on Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)

The garden at mid-June is hanging on by a thread, or rather hanging on by a hose. If not for early-morning watering many plants would be crispy and brown, the way the grass is becoming. Fortunately a few things, like Monarda, are tolerant and seem to manage fine.

Rain would help, but with none in sight, heat is the main story this week. Today it is already 95°F/35°C at mid-afternoon. Expected highs on Monday and Tuesday are 98°F/36.6°C and 99°F/37.2°C—unusually severe for this early in the summer.

Alliums are generally short-lived in my garden but this group of Allium Atropurpureum has managed to return for the past couple of years.

Allium Atropurpureum

Allium Atropurpureum

Last night I made an unexpected discovery on the back side of a border, a rabbit nest I think. Never identified much with Mr. McGregor and I will not be running around with a hoe, but I am definitely keeping the little blue velvet jacket if Peter snags it on the fence.

Rabbit Nest

Rabbit Nest

Rabbit Nest

Rabbit Nest

Rabbit Nest

Rabbit Nest

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – December 2014

Seed pods of Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

Seed pods of Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

Today is the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. Arrival time in pbmGarden is 6:03 PM EST.

Tomorrow is Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD), hosted by Christina at Garden of the Hesperides. In anticipation I walked around the garden with the camera in late morning, when the air was quite chilly and the sky, quite gray and dull. Later the sun peeked out.

The Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle) lost its leaves long ago but the seed pods still provide a bit of interest and an interesting coloration on the bark of the Crape Myrtle’s trunk set my imagination to wandering.

Intriguing mark on trunk of Crape Myrtle.

Intriguing mark on trunk of Crape Myrtle.

The screening hedge of five Juniperus chinensis ‘Blue Point’ has grown considerably this year. I like the height, but not the shape of these trees and how to prune them properly is a mystery to me.

Juniperus chinensis 'Blue Point' (Blue Point Juniper)

Juniperus chinensis ‘Blue Point’ (Blue Point Juniper)

Last December the junipers were decorated for the holiday season, but not yet this year. This picture is from last year’s GBFD post.

Juniperus chinensis 'Blue Point' (Blue Point Juniper)

Juniperus chinensis ‘Blue Point’ (Blue Point Juniper).  Lavender is in left foreground.

The small Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ in the Western border continues holding on to its rich fall color.

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Ruby Slippers'  (Lil' Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Some of the gardenia hedge is not doing well along the Western border where many bushes never recovered from the deep cold last winter. A couple are looking fairly green, but others look miserable. I read it is possible to cut them to the ground to rejuvenate them and may give it a try for those worst affected.

Gardenia jasminoides 'Chuck Hayes'

This Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’ is doing well.

Gardenia jasminoides 'Chuck Hayes'

This Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’ needs rejuvenation.

In the meditation circle many Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue) have volunteered. I keep moving them around into different areas of the garden. The foliage stays colorful and healthy through most of the winter.

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue)

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

When we moved here the front foundation shrubs were underplanted with a row of Liriope spicata (creeping lilyturf). This spreads by runners and is a difficult plant to remove or even contain but it does have attractive fruit this year.

Liriope spicata (creeping lilyturf)

Liriope spicata (creeping lilyturf)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) is nearing the end of its usefulness for 2014. I really like its early green florets and enjoy watching it move from pink to dark red. I have left its browned flowers alongs with many other plants for birds.

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude)

This sedum maintains a brighter, more colorful presence in the garden. It is Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’ (Angelina Stonecrop). Most of it is yellow, but some tips are bright pink.

Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’ (Angelina Stonecrop)

Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’ (Angelina Stonecrop)

On the north side of the house this camellia hybrid is full of buds. An unusually cold winter kept this from blooming last year so I hope 2015 will be kinder to it. Its green leathery leaves are glossy and attractive year-round.

Camellia x 'Coral Delight'

Camellia x ‘Coral Delight’

Thanks to Christina for hosting the GBFD review. Visit her to see what foliage she and others are featuring this month.

A Garden Review of 2014: Summer

Cathy at Words and Herbs began a project last week to review her 2014 garden in three segments: Spring, Summer, and Late Summer/Autumn—one each week running up to Christmas—and she encouraged others to join in. This is part two of my 2014 review, a look back at Summer.

June

In Early June the sight of a gardenia flower opening was especially appreciated. There were very few blooms this year as the bushes had been severely damaged by last winter’s cold.

A Passalong Gardenia jasminoides

A Passalong Gardenia jasminoides- June 5, 2014

Several small evergreen trees in the mixed border hedge had to be removed, leaving some broad gaps in the overall structure (that still need to be filled), but many parts of the garden were doing well. The iris flowers were being replaced by those of nepeta, echinacea and monarda.

Facing West, Overlooking the Northern Border and Meditation Circle

Facing West, Overlooking the Northern Border and Meditation Circle

Nepeta 'Walker's Low' (Catmint)

Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)

Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)

There were several refreshing rains. For the next few days there were a lot of flowers opening. Monitoring them made early morning garden walks delightful. On June 11 Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ added its beautiful salmon hue to the Northern Border.

Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ (Hybrid Coneflower) in northern border

Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ (Hybrid Coneflower) in northern border

On June 12, I noticed the first daylily had opened in the Southern Border—a full week earlier than last year. By this time of the summer American Goldfinches could be seen gathering around stalks of Verbena bonariensis, while bees were feasting on lavender and on Monarda didyma and Tradescantia, both native plants. I was happy to see the rich color of Drumstick allium return to the landscape.

Hemerocallis (Daylily)

Hemerocallis (Daylily)

Allium sphaerocephalon (Dumstick allium) [ I had misidentified as Allium Atropurpureum]

Allium sphaerocephalon (Dumstick allium) [ I had misidentified as Allium Atropurpureum]

Feeling very ambitious, I suppose, on June 19 I took a complete inventory of the plantings in my narrow side garden along the Southern Path.

Southern Side Path

Southern Side Path

July

By this month I was pretty much done gardening for the summer and wrote a long excuse about it the third week in July. But thank goodness during this time I continued to photograph the garden, to search out flowers for Monday vases and to write occasional posts. I can see this is where having a better structural foundation for the garden would help carry it through the summer. As it was, long views were not always pleasing during July, but up close there definitely were a few hotspots of color.

In early July, I had some limited success with bachelor buttons grown from seed. I love that blue color. What I most enjoy is to have flowers that return reliably each year such as Shasta Daisy, tall garden phlox and Buddleja.

Centaurea cyanus ‘Blue Boy’  (Bachelor’s Button, Cornflower)

Centaurea cyanus ‘Blue Boy’ (Bachelor’s Button, Cornflower)

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Buddleja davidii ‘Adokeep’ (Adonis blue Butterfly Bush)

Buddleja davidii ‘Adokeep’ (Adonis blue Butterfly Bush)

Also in the first days of the July I was happy to see a few gladioli flowers. I had planted a new collection of colors (purple, lime green and white), but none of them bloomed well at all. This rich blue one was planted when the garden was first created, and is one of the last remaining gladioli bulbs from that time.

Gladiolus Among Echinacea

Gladiolus Among Echinacea July 2, 2014

Much later in July I welcomed the first Lantana flowers. This plant had died back hard during the cold winter and it took longer than usual to bloom. Once open it was covered in flowers until the first freeze. Similarly, Thyme covered the center of the meditation circle with blooms all summer.

Lantana camara (Common lantana) July 20, 2014

Lantana camara (Common lantana) July 20, 2014

Thymus serpyllum 'Pink Chintz' (Pink chintz thyme)

Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink Chintz’ (Pink chintz thyme)

Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ did well in a patio container and Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ burst outwhenever the rains tempered the heat, such as on July 23. Several patches of zinnia made a colorful impact.

Euphorbia 'Blackbird' (Spurge)

Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ (Spurge)

Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

Zinnia In Early Morning Sunshine

Zinnia In Early Morning Sunshine

August

Up to this point, while nearby areas were getting lots of precipitation this summer, we mostly just saw the clouds. More consistent and beneficial rains finally returned to this area in early August. Rudbeckia fulgida (Orange Coneflower) and Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red’ (Autumn Sage) responded immediately but neither put on much of a show.

Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red’ (Autumn Sage) August 6, 2014

Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red’ (Autumn Sage) August 6, 2014

Storms drenched the garden in midAugust, a welcome relief.

The garden after a storm August 12, 2014

The garden after a storm August 12, 2014

A quick mid-month bloom study showed how the plants appreciated the rain, including the White Swan Echinacea and a new dahlia. My passalong perennial sweet pea enjoyed a comeback that lasted until the first freeze.

Echinacea purpurea 'White Swan' (Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’ (Coneflower)

Dahlia

Dahlia

Perennial Everlasting Sweet Pea

Perennial Everlasting Sweet Pea

Later in August Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ began flowering. This is valuable plant for long-lasting effect.

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude)

 

For August Garden Bloggers Foliage Day the new-to-the-garden-this-year Brunnera macrophylla ‘Silver Heart’ continued to prove its worth.

Brunnera macrophylla ‘Silver Heart’ (False Forget-Me-Not)

Brunnera macrophylla ‘Silver Heart’ (False Forget-Me-Not)

Thank you to Cathy for hosting this 2014 garden review. It was good to look back and remember overall the summer garden was greener and stronger this summer than usual.

May 31, 2014 marked my 13th year in this garden. I feel fortunate to be able to tend this small, peaceful space, but honestly I rarely spend much time working in the summer garden. Nevertheless, during these hot months the garden had some very nice moments and by summer’s end, I discovered I was rejuvenated and more eager to partner with it once again. Taking a break was worth it.

A Garden Review of 2014: Spring

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood) April 13, 2014

Today Cathy at Words and Herbs published a special look back at her 2014 spring garden. I decided to join her on this journey to review the garden in three segments: Spring, Summer, and Late Summer/Autumn – one each week running up to Christmas.

I may do a more extensive review around the first of the year, but for now here are a few things that stood out this Spring.

March

The winter was very cold and wet. The morning of March 4 found the garden encrusted with a layer of sleet. Normally in early March temperatures would be nearing 60F/15.5C. By March 18 daffodils had opened but the garden lay under an icy glaze.

Garden Under Ice - March 4, 2014

Garden Under Ice – March 4, 2014

When the vernal equinox occurred here on March 20, 2014, a most welcome reprieve brought blue sky, sunshine and warm temperatures.

Hyacinthus orientalis (common hyacinth)

Hyacinthus orientalis (common hyacinth)

This Narcissus 'King Alfred' weathered the recent ice storm

This Narcissus ‘King Alfred’ weathered an ice storm

By the end of March I was way behind on garden chores. It was still raining, but the spiraea was blooming and the grass was turning green.

Garden View In Early Morning Rain-March 29, 2014

Garden View In Early Morning Rain-March 29, 2014

April

What a difference flipping over a calendar page makes. On April 4 the temperature was 79°F (26°C) at 7:00pm. The native redbud was blooming, spiraea was bursting with blossoms, and the soft green leaves of Eastern red columbine were unfurling.

Cercis canadensis L. (Eastern Redbud)

Cercis canadensis L. (Eastern Redbud)

Spiraea

Spiraea

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

By mid-April it was still raining.  The garden seemed to be lifting itself upward, turning green, and filling out.

Garden View On Rainy Mid-April Morning

Garden View On Rainy Mid-April Morning

In time for Garden Bloggers Foliage Day there was plenty of fresh new growth.

Northern Border View Facing West

Northern Border View Facing West, April 23, 2014

It pleased me to no end to see an Anemone coronaria in my garden this spring. I had planted 40 bulbs, but rather late, and only one came up. Was it too late? Did the voles eat them? I do not really know, but yesterday I planted a new set of bulbs, so I hope to see many more next spring.

Anemone coronaria 'Governor' (Governor Double Poppy Anemone)

Anemone coronaria ‘Governor’ (Governor Double Poppy Anemone), April 23, 2014

By the time April ended the irises were lighting up the borders.

Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris)

Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)-2

Iris germanica (Bearded iris) April 28, 2014

Iris germanica 'Raspberry Blush'

Iris germanica ‘Raspberry Blush’

Iris germanica ‘Batik’

Iris germanica ‘Batik’

May

In early May there were many more wonderful irises to enjoy. This part of the year is when my garden is most enjoyable.

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)  (bearded German Iris)-3

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Iris germanica 'Immortality'

Iris germanica ‘Immortality’

By May 10 there were still more irises and I was enjoying their rich blues and violets.

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris) In Northern Border

Iris germanica (Bearded iris) In Northern Border

Other colors than blues do show up in the garden though. Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) and Tradescantia (Spiderwort) were spilling over in the western border a few days later, May 14. The aquilegia had been blooming 5 weeks by then.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) and Tradescantia (Spiderwort)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) and Tradescantia (Spiderwort)

May brought more happiness as irises in the (southward facing) North Border were joined by lush peonies, phlox, nepeta, foxglove and Sweet William. Here are some views from May 21. If only the garden could stay like this.

Paeonia 'Pink Parfait' (Peony)

Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ (Peony)

Paeonia 'Pink Parfait' (Peony)

Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ (Peony)

Nepeta 'Walker's Low' (Catmint), Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox)

Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint), Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox)

Digitalis purpurea 'Pam's Choice' (Pam's Choice Foxglove)

Digitalis purpurea ‘Pam’s Choice’ (Pam’s Choice Foxglove)

Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William)

Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William)

A big thanks to Cathy for inspiring me to prepare this garden review. As I am trying to consider changes for this coming year, it was instructive to reflect on my 2014 spring garden.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – September 2014

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

The first day of autumn coincides with Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD).  The countryside and the garden remain fairly green—very little autumnal leaf color so far. As one sign of the season, stems of the native Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) are covered in purply ripened berries.

In the Northern Hemisphere the fall season arrives today with the occurrence of the autumnal equinox, September 22 at 10:29 p.m. EDT. It was almost 90°F yesterday, but now at 5:00 p.m. it is a pleasant 71°F. The rest of the week should remain in the seventies during the day, dropping into the 50s at night.

There was a surprise shower overnight, not enough to fill the bird baths but any amount is needed and welcome. A few drops remained on this Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine), decorated with bits of red as it transitions toward fall.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Strange as it seems, last week I could detect the fragrance of Winter Daphne. Three of these lovely shrubs serve as hedge at the front of our house.

Daphne odora 'Aureomarginata' (Winter daphne)

Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ (Winter daphne)

Along the northern side yard camellias, gardenias and hellebores add green interest. The camellias are gaining fat buds that will open in another month to six weeks.  The gardenias in this position look healthy, more so than others in the back garden. Stationed nearby Hellebores are full of strong, deep green leaves.

Gardenia and Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

Gardenia and Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

For several years I have been monitoring the progress of a small passalong Sarcococca ruscifolia (Fragrant Sweet Box). It requires full shade which is hard to find in my garden. I planted it underneath one of the corner ‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypress specimens, where it receives scant early morning sunlight. The plant remains very small but the foliage look great this year.

Sarcococca ruscifolia (Fragrant Sweet Box)

Sarcococca ruscifolia (Fragrant Sweet Box)

Sarcococca ruscifolia (Fragrant Sweet Box)

Sarcococca ruscifolia (Fragrant Sweet Box)

The only featured grass in my garden is Muhlenbergia capillaris (Pink Muhly Grass). Despite it  not being very well situated, this year it looks very nice.

Muhlenbergia capillaris (Pink Muhly Grass)

Muhlenbergia capillaris (Pink Muhly Grass)

A big thank you to Christina at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides for hosting GBFD on the 22nd of each month.