Tag Archives: spring garden

Spring Cleanup

Last Thursday’s delivery included 7 cubic yards of double-shredded hardwood mulch and 4 cubic yards of compost blended with topsoil (50-50 blend). I should have ordered plain compost. The compost blend was a mistake and I ended up giving away much of it to a neighbor.

Mulch and Compost

With trepidation I hired assistance this year to help me weed and distribute the mulch. Although I know there were a few victims, such as the Solomon’s Seal I had just recently spotted popping up, but mostly I am pleased and relieved to have this job done.

Post-cleanup Garden View

Post-cleanup Garden View

Post-cleanup Garden View

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.

 

 

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.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – March 2016

The 22nd of each month is Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD) hosted by  Christina at Garden of the Hesperides.

Spring arrived officially this week and today’s photos, taken March 19, reveal the season is well underway. I thought Brunnera macrophylla ‘Silver Heart’ was lost after last summer’s extreme heat so was happy to see these brightly-patterned leaves.

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

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

What a pleasure to discover the fresh leaves of emerging plants or watch the evergreen ones recover from the harsh conditions of winter. Here are a few glimpses of the late March foliage.

Thanks to Christina at Garden of the Hesperides for hosting. (She may be away this month.)

End Of Month View – April 2015

At the end of April the garden is a mix of maturity and possibility, old friends and new.

Garden View

Garden View

Garden View

Garden View

Allium Nigrum

Allium Nigrum

Iris germanica ‘Batik’ (Bearded iris)

Iris germanica ‘Batik’ (Bearded iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Phlox divaricata (Eastern Blue Phlox), Heuchera sanguinea ‘Coral Forest’ (Coral Bells), Heuchera villosa 'Big Top Bronze' (Coral Bells)

Phlox divaricata (Eastern Blue Phlox), Heuchera sanguinea ‘Coral Forest’ (Coral Bells), Heuchera villosa ‘Big Top Bronze’ (Coral Bells)

 

Sunday Morning Promenade — Part 2

This Sunday morning’s stroll around the garden with the camera yielded many nice surprises. I wanted to document the views in walking order. I began the tour with Sunday Morning Promenade — Part 1. Picking up the wander at the northwest corner, here are more glimpses.

This Anemone coronaria is one of those surprises. I expected this to be ‘Admiral’ which I planted last fall. It appears to be  ‘Governor’ from a spring planting the previous spring.

Anemone coronaria ‘Governor’

Anemone coronaria ‘Governor’

Walking up toward the house along the Northern border, in front there is ‘May Night’ which came into bloom this week, and Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox) and Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint) which seem very close to opening.

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’ With Dianthus barbatus ‘Barbarini  Mix’ (Dwarf Sweet William)

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’ With Dianthus barbatus ‘Barbarini Mix’ (Dwarf Sweet William)

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’ With Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox)

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’ With Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox)

Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox)

Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox)

Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox)

Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox)

Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox)

Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox)

This Northern border is where the bulk of the irises are.

Northern Border Looking West

Northern Border Looking West

In the area toward the northeastern corner of the garden (just out of view in the photo above) many irises are quickly are filling out and showing color. ‘Raspberry Blush’ is usually an early bloomer and is one of the few irises I actually bought. Most are pass-alongs.  After dividing these irises last summer I was concerned I’d lost track of Iris ‘Batik’ but it showed up in its original location. Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ (Peony) has more buds than ever before.

Iris germanica 'Raspberry Blush'

Iris germanica ‘Raspberry Blush’

Iris germanica 'Raspberry Blush'

Iris germanica ‘Raspberry Blush’

Iris germanica 'Raspberry Blush'

Iris germanica ‘Raspberry Blush’

Iris germanica 'Raspberry Blush'

Iris germanica ‘Raspberry Blush’

Iris germanica 'Raspberry Blush'

Iris germanica ‘Raspberry Blush’

Iris germanica 'Raspberry Blush'

Iris germanica ‘Raspberry Blush’

Iris germanica 'Immortality'

Iris germanica ‘Immortality’

Iris germanica ‘Batik’ (Bearded iris)

Iris germanica ‘Batik’ (Bearded iris)

Paeonia 'Pink Parfait' (Peony)

Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ (Peony)

Paeonia 'Pink Parfait' (Peony)

Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ (Peony)

Before leaving the Northern border I stood at the peony and turned around to look back across the meditation circle towards the southwest corner. The garden was calm and pleasing this morning.

Meditation Circle

Meditation Circle

Turning back around to face the Northern border and continuing eastward I noticed ground covers at Northeastern corner are filling in between the entrance stones at gate.

Sedum and Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper) at North Gate

Sedum and Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper) at North Gate

The Eastern border is that area along the foundation of the house. There is a large swath which I recently showed filled with Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) and Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm).

Facing the central back stairs leading down to the patio is a small planting of Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft) and Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue).

Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft) and Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue)

On the other side of the stairs, in the back are two Hydrangea macrophylla (not shown) with green leaves, but the buds appear to have been damaged once again, this year by a severe freeze earlier in the month. In front of the hydrangeas is a Gaura that needs to be moved. It starts out promising each spring but does not bloom well. Further down are the Shasta daisies from the start of the tour.

Gaura lindheimeri 'Passionate Blush' (Butterfly Gaura)

Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Blush’ (Butterfly Gaura)

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy), Yarrow and Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy), Yarrow and Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Finally, I stepped through the South gate into the Southern Side Garden. Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ is beginning to glow. The yellow bearded iris along the path is usually one of the first to bloom. It seems late this year. Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’ is sending up shoots. A pretty multi-stemmed white Narcissus is blooming. This may be from the home where I grew up or from a purchase last year. I wish I had not lost track of this one.

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft) and Viola

Planter of Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft) and Viola below the Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Iris germanica (bearded German Iris)

Iris germanica (bearded German Iris)

Baptisia 'Purple Smoke'

Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’

Narcissus (Daffodil)

Narcissus (Daffodil)

End of tour. Thanks for coming along.

Sunday Morning Promenade — Part 1

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)  (bearded German Iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris) (bearded German Iris)

The forecast which called for rain by afternoon proved accurate. Fortunately I was out very early this morning to check the garden’s progress. Besides there was some planting to do—2 Dahlia ‘Blue Boy’, 40 Gladiolus Blue Shades Mix and 3 Dahlia ‘Black Jack.’ Only about a third of the gladioli made it into the ground as I kept running into weeds that took a lot of time. I still have zinnia seeds to plant.

I also planted a pass-along from last fall I am excited about. It is a red dahlia from Libby at An Eye For Detail that her mother used to grow, so I feel extra responsibility to take care of this one. The tubers made it though the winter in my garage and even showed a bit of new growth.

Another new pass-along came from touring a garden club friend’s beautiful property last spring. She had potted up a variety of plants for us to take home and I selected Polygonatum biflorum (Solomon’s seal). I checked on this plant fairly recently and decided it must not have survived, but here it is after all.

Polygonatum biflorum(Solomon's seal)

Polygonatum biflorum(Solomon’s seal)

Before the work started I just enjoyed wandering around and around note-taking with my camera.

First views stepping out the back steps from the garage, looking due west with southern border on the left, panning north, and finally, looking down at Shasta daisies beside the garage steps.

Next I walked along the Southern border. There are three peonies here. The juniper hedge has grown tall. Aquilegia is everywhere. At the far end of the Southern border begins the shadiest corner in the garden.

Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ear) and Peony in Southern Border

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) and Peony in Southern Border

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

 

Chrysogonum virginianum (Green and Gold)

Chrysogonum virginianum (Green and Gold)

Brunnera macrophylla ‘Silver Heart’ (False Forget-Me-Not), Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose), Phlox divaricata ‘Blue Moon’ (Woodland phlox)

Brunnera macrophylla ‘Silver Heart’ (False Forget-Me-Not), Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose), Phlox divaricata ‘Blue Moon’ (Woodland phlox)

Turning the corner toward the Western border, here is the Oakleaf hydrangea. I move it to the front of the border in early spring and it seems to be doing much better.

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

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

There are two small islands near this corner, one of which is planted with iris and a hodgepodge of other things. The iris foliage looks very brown. I thought it might be cold damage but I need to check for disease or iris borers.

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)  (bearded German Iris)

Looking toward the southwest corner. Iris germanica (Bearded iris) (bearded German Iris)

From here I turned around to my right to inspect the snapdragons in the meditation circle, almost ready to bloom. This is looking toward the northern border.

 

Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon) in Meditation Circle

Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon) in Meditation Circle

Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon) in Meditation Circle

Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon) in Meditation Circle

Returning to the oak leaf hydrangea and moving on along the Western border.

Liriope muscari and Dusty Miller

Liriope muscari and Dusty Miller

Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow'  (Ascot Rainbow Spurge)

Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’ (Ascot Rainbow Spurge)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

I stepped into the Western border and looked back southward across the the columbine. Many plants have died out in this area and the columbine is taking advantage. I need to get it under control.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Turning back to continue the walk, this is the rest of the Western border as it curves around the meditation circle.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Fading Phlox subulata with Anemone coronaria ‘Mr. Fokker’ and 'Bride'

Fading Phlox subulata with Anemone coronaria ‘Mr. Fokker’ and ‘Bride’

 

Tradescantia (Spiderwort)

Tradescantia (Spiderwort)

Later I will share the rest of the garden views from my Sunday morning promenade.