Tag Archives: iberis sempervirens

Early April Charms

The temperature is 79°F (26°C) at 7:00pm but it will cool down for the weekend about ten degrees. It has been sunny and warm this week and somehow I even managed to get a few things accomplished in the garden. There are quite a lot of weeds I still need to tackle, but I can see progress in the area of maintenance. Meanwhile plants are responding to the nice weather, putting on new growth, sending up shoots and displaying glorious blossoms.

Phlox subulata (Moss Phlox) is just beginning to open. It is planted in several locations around the garden and I just made an application with our architectural review board to put some in the “hell strip” near the street where grass struggles to grow.

I prefer the bluer hues and currently am growing Phlox subulata ‘Emerald Blue’ and the darker Phlox subulata ‘Purple Beauty’.

On the left is Phlox subulata 'Emerald Cushion Blue' and on the right, 'Purple Beauty'.

On the left is Phlox subulata ‘Emerald Cushion Blue’ and on the right, ‘Purple Beauty’.

Phlox subulata

Phlox subulata

This native Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) is at about the same stage as last year and should bloom in a few days. This particular one is hovering above a thick mass of Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm), also a native plant.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Despite being crowded out by evergreens in the back corner of the garden, a struggling Cercis canadensis L. (Eastern Redbud) is valiantly signaling another spring. This tree also is native to this part of North Carolina. The clusters of magenta flowers often grow out of the tree trunk itself.

Cercis canadensis L. (Eastern Redbud)

Cercis canadensis L. (Eastern Redbud)

Cercis canadensis L. (Eastern Redbud)

Cercis canadensis L. (Eastern Redbud)

Cercis canadensis L. (Eastern Redbud)

Cercis canadensis L. (Eastern Redbud)

 

I pruned the Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ back to 7-8 inches in late winter and it is leafing out and forming a lot of healthy buds.

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

 

Spiraea is in full bloom this week in the western border.

Spiraea

Spiraea

Spiraea

Spiraea

Spiraea

Spiraea

Another white flower in bloom now in my garden is Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft). This can be long-lived but I have lost many plants in the last few years due in part to voracious voles and perhaps also due to wet soil. Some have survived here at least ten years so there may be a difference in the variety also. At any rate, things are moving along. So nice to see the garden awakening.

Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft)

Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft)

Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft)

Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft)

 

Spring Again

March 20, 2014.  In the tiny speck of Northern Hemisphere that I call home the vernal equinox occurs today at 12:57 P.M. EDT.

Hyacinthus orientalis (common hyacinth)

Hyacinthus orientalis (common hyacinth)

Blue sky, sunshine and warm temperatures arrived on schedule to welcome the change of the season, although winter threatens to return next with a chance of snow.

After this week’s ice storm most of the daffodils remain bent over, some have broken stems, but at least one is reaching toward the sun this morning.

This Narcissus 'King Alfred' weathered the recent ice storm

This Narcissus ‘King Alfred’ weathered the recent ice storm

A couple of weeks ago a friend brought me some moss from her yard to add to the existing small bits of moss that have sprung up along one edge of the meditation circle. The new transplants appear to be doing fine, enjoying all the recent moisture.

Moss Edging Along Meditation Path

Moss Edging Along Meditation Path

One of my favorite evergreen plants, Iberis sempervirens, is finally starting to bloom. This has almost completely died out in the mediation circle but there are a few patches elsewhere that have thrived for many years.

Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft)

Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft)

Happy Spring!

Mid-September Monday

This cheerful Iceberg Rose did better than usual this year due to adequate rains throughout spring and summer. It has begun another round of blossoming recently.

Rosa 'Iceberg'

Rosa ‘Iceberg’

I would like to know what kind of little yellow spider this is hanging out on the Purple Coneflower. The front legs are positioned so it looks like it is trying to hide its face.

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

The Autumn Joy Sedum attracted this insect today (a wasp of some kind?) and a few bumble bees as well.

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

The Sedum’s flowers are deepening from light pink to a darker shade as they age.

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Meadow Sage has rebloomed now that night temperatures are cooler.

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’

The annual, Angelonia Purple, was a good investment this spring. Last year I used it in the meditation circle for color and interest, but it grew too wide. I frequently had to cut it back to maintain clear passage through the labyrinth. This year I placed Angelonia as filler in a few portions of the border where it had plenty of room. It has bloomed and bloomed and bloomed all summer and will last until frost.

Angelonia 'Purple'

Angelonia ‘Purple’

Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft) died back during the hot summer but is returning with a fresh flush of new growth.

Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft)

Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft)

I am excited about a new purchase this week, a grayish-blue glazed ceramic urn to replace the periwinkle jar I had kept in the southern border since spring. The periwinkle pot will be returned to its indoor setting to keep it safe from the elements.  The new urn required two strong men to carry to its current location so I did not get a chance to try it out in a lot of places before setting it down. For now I plan to leave it empty but may add an evergreen form to it later.

New Garden Urn

New Garden Urn

New Garden Urn

New Garden Urn

There have been numerous Eastern Tiger Swallowtails gracing the garden this summer, but few have been of this dark female form. Enjoying Lantana, this is the same butterfly in all the pictures, with color variations standing out depending on the aspect of the view.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)-5

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Sometime during Sunday night or early morning raindrops hit the window and I was awake enough to be grateful, knowing the garden had become very dry. The previous rain was on September 1 and since then, despite cooler temperatures at night, there have been some very hot days. Grass in the front yard has turned crispy brown and the River Birch has given up many leaves. The grass in the back yard where the garden is also has begun dying back in places.

By early afternoon when I had a chance to explore the garden there were no visible signs the rain had passed through, but perhaps the plants had already soaked up the nourishment by then.

Garden View From Southeast to Northwest

Garden View From Southeast to Northwest

Spring Arrives!

Though the sun later broke through, the early morning was cloudy and cold when I walked through the garden looking for blooms. Forecasts warn of lows near freezing tonight and temperatures will dip into the twenties later this week. But here it is, March 20, 2013, and today is the first day of spring. The vernal equinox occurred at 7:02 a.m. EDT.

The early blooms of Helleborus have been a highlight since the first week of January.

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

The garden is waking up but shows no sign of hurry. Among the several patches of Phlox subulata a lone flower is open.

Phlox subulata 'Emerald Cushion Blue'

Phlox subulata ‘Emerald Cushion Blue’

A few little Muscari flowers began blooming this week. These were planted over a decade ago and barely bloomed at all last year, so it is nice to see them again.

Muscari (Grape Hyacinth)

Muscari (Grape Hyacinth)

Diminutive white flowers are beginning to fill the branches of a Spiraea I brought from my previous garden.

Spiraea

Spiraea

Iberis Sempervirens filled the meditation circle last year but most of what was planted there has died out. I blamed moles but also realize the site may not drain well enough for this plant. Fortunately it is tucked around the garden in other spots, a cheery little plant.

Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft)

Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft)

Last fall I finally remembered to add a few more daffodils to the garden. Just opened today is the first flower of the miniature Narcissus ‘Tete-a-Tete.’ The garden was so overgrown when it was time to plant these bulbs, it was hard to find a good place for them. They were relegated to an old terra cotta pot, which worked out just fine.

Narcissus 'Tete-a-Tete' (Tete-a-Tete Daffodil)

Narcissus ‘Tete-a-Tete’ (Tete-a-Tete Daffodil)

Camellia x ‘Coral Delight’ has been blooming beautifully for a few weeks. I love the milky white streak that marks these blossoms.

Camellia x 'Coral Delight'

Camellia x ‘Coral Delight’

Camellia x 'Coral Delight'

Camellia x ‘Coral Delight’

Happy Spring!

January Signals

The garden is waking up. Lenten roses opened mid-month and today, the first Daffodils. A nice clump of Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft) brightens a spot near a walkway.

[Note: I learned yesterday Helleborus x hybridus is the acceptable way to refer to Lenten Rose, instead of the previously accepted term, Helleborus orientalis, which I have been using.]

Early January Notes

During my frosty morning walk the sun had just begun to peek into the meditation garden, illuminating the burgundy and green hued leaves of this Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue).

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue)

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

A very few orange gardenia hips have recently appeared on the ‘Chuck Hayes.’

A patch of Lobularia hybrid ‘Snow Princess’ (Sweet Alyssum) from summer surprisingly has withstood the cold nights. This delicate-looking annual is reputed to be cold hardy (and heat tolerant), but probably Its location near the foundation of the house is giving it some extra protection.

Lobularia hybrid 'Snow Princess' (Sweet Alyssum)

Lobularia hybrid ‘Snow Princess’ (Sweet Alyssum)

Hellebores are not as early in blooming as last year, though I did find a few fattening buds. Camellias continue to bloom and provide sweet fragrance. Several Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft) flowers are visible but nothing to compare with last year’s early and prolonged display. Weeds are cropping up around the beds, especially the rather invasive Cardamine hirsuta (Hairy Bittercress). The garden is overdue for a few heavy maintenance days.

Finally, one plant I noticed and photographed during a recent arboretum visit was Abutilon megapotamicum ‘Little Imp’ (flowering maple). Native to Brazil this shrubby mounding plant begins blooming in spring and still carried a quite a few of its little lanterns on the last day of December. The red calyx (or group of sepals) surrounds the yellow flowers to form its little lanterns.

Early October Garden

Days of cool rain marked the year’s transition from September to October. The harvest moon remained hidden behind deep clouds.

Yesterday, temperatures and humidity rose dramatically. This afternoon the sun broke through the clouds lifting the temperature to 86F, quite a change from highs in the mid-sixties at the weekend.

Certain signs of autumn belie today’s warm weather. Berries now adorn the Flowering Dogwood, whose leaves had already browned in July’s extended dry spell.

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

A windblown spire of Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage) rests against of Hylotelephium ‘Herbstfreude’ Autumn Joy (Stonecrop). The Salvia’s pink calyx reflects the ruddy, rusty hue of the flowering Stonecrop.

Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage) and Hylotelephium ‘Herbstfreude’ Autumn Joy (Stonecrop)

A multicolored flower petal of ‘Blue Sky’ Salvia sits suspended in a spider’s complex world.

‘Blue Sky’ Flower In Spider’s Web

The burgundy Chrysanthemum in the background has bloomed most of the summer and now complements the rose-colored wisps of fall-blooming Muhlenbergia capillaris (Pink Muhly Grass). In the foreground stands a spent stalk of Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage).

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage), Chrysanthemum, Muhlenbergia capillaris (Pink Muhly Grass)

Blue-violet Ageratum brightens a dark corner of the garden.

Ageratum

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower), became very aggressive and was theoretically removed from the garden a few years ago. Unaware of its banished status, it displays brilliant yellow blossoms annually.

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower)

The annual, Angelonia angustifolia ‘Angelface Blue’ (Summer Snapdragon), has bloomed throughout the summer among the stepping stones of the meditation circle.

Angelonia angustifolia ‘Angelface Blue’ (Summer Snapdragon)

The meditation circle itself is soggy this week and needs attention.

Pine-bark mulch now sits in drifts, having been swept across the stone paths during the recent heavy rainfalls.

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue) still performs satisfactorily, while generous green mounds of Thyme surpass expectations.

Unfortunately other evergreen perennials that were chosen specifically for their drought-tolerance, Iberis sempervirens ‘Purity’ (Candytuft) and ‘Pikes Peak Purple’ Penstemon (Beardtongue), are brown and may not recover. ‘Purity’ was beautiful all winter and spring and ‘Pikes Peak Purple’ was lovely in spring, but both choices will need to be reevaluated for long-term performance.