August 15: GBBD

Many thanks go to MayDreamsGardens for the opportunity to share what is blooming in our gardens each month.  Here is what is blooming in my gardens today.

The limelight hydrangea in the background is HUGE!! It got a hard prune last fall and that, plus our cool wet spring has urged it on.
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H. Halcyon always stays tidy and keeps its blue.
I'm always grateful for annuals.  Marigolds brighten up the little nook garden outside the sunroom.
I’m always grateful for annuals. Marigolds brighten up the little nook garden outside the sunroom.
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There’s always a love/hate relationship between the rose of sharon and me. It’s lovely when it blooms and it’s a pain when it so vigorously self-seeds.
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Perennial hibiscus in the Secret Garden.
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Love the wild abandon of echinaceas. The white are Fragrant Angel. That’s white phlox in the middle right.
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Tardiva is a wonderful draw for native pollinators.
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More marigolds.
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The very last daylily of the season–Kathy Perkins.
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H. June in the Secret Garden.
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Pink anemone, a gift from a friend years ago.
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That’s Limelight in the background. It got a hard prune last fall and it’s now taller and fuller than ever.
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Blackberry Lily in the entrance garden.
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More of the entrance garden. The Walker’s Low catmint got a big trim and it’s starting to send out new blooms. The rudbeckia gets to shine white the catmint catches its second wind.

July 15: Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day

What a frustrating day!  I should be in Minneapolis enjoying the camaraderie of fellow bloggers and some amazing gardens.  But, I’m stuck in Chicago because of travel problems.  I can’t blame the airlines, though.  I missed my flight, and tried to get to Minneapolis on standby via Chicago.  As it turns out, I just can’t get a break on flights out of Chicago.  So, I’m staying in my niece’s apartment in the loop and hoping my luggage gets to me.  Unlike me, my luggage is in Minneapolis.

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I planted a number of gazania in the Secret Garden and I’m enjoying the grey foliage and lovely pink and white blooms.

But the garden is in full bloom even though I’m a little bit wilted

This is Red Pinnacle and isn't she gorgeous.  This is another daylily I planted late last summer.
This is Red Pinnacle and isn’t she gorgeous. This is another daylily I planted late last summer.
Purple Coneflowers in the Secret Garden.  The white in the distance is Fragrant Angel.  I do not recall what the purple ones are.  That is Grosso Lavende behind the purple coneflowers.
Purple Coneflowers in the Secret Garden. The white in the distance is Fragrant Angel. I do not recall what the purple ones are. That is Grosso Lavende behind the purple coneflowers.
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I’m not sure what variety the purple coneflowers in the foreground are, but the white ones behind it are Fragrant Angel. That is Grosso lavender next to the purple.
And, then there is Bridget, here looking proud amongst the daylilies in the ecret Garden.  That is Crystal Pinot near her nose and Barbara Mitchell to the left.  Behind her is a purple coneflower that I thought did not survive.  But, there it is.
Bridget, my Standard Poodle, looking proud amongst the daylilies in the Secret Garden. That is Crystal Pinot near her nose and Barbara Mitchell to the left. Behind her is a purple coneflower that I thought did not survive. But, there it is.
The crocosmia is starting to bloom.  I seriously thinned this patch late last summer to give the day lilies breathing room.
The crocosmia is starting to bloom. I seriously thinned this patch late last summer to give the day lilies breathing room.
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In the little nook outside the dining room and sun porch this finicky variated lace cap hydrangea is enjoying a bumper crop of blooms. This is evidence that hydrangeas love cool, wet springs.
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The carpet rose is flourishing in the rosebed.
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Love this riot of daylily blooms. Zagreb and Moonbeam coreopsis are in the bottom right, followed by Rosey Returns daylily. That is supposed to be Crystal Pinot in the lower left, but it either reverted to a parent or self seeded into something else. Next to it is Sea Urchin. The yellow is First Knight. The peachy flower mid-right is Siloam, one of last summer’s additions.
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I’m loving this Euphorbia Perkinensis in the Secret Garden.
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Despite my liberal and multiple applications of acid, my Endless Summer hydrangea in the lower garden is only partially and lukewarm-edly blue.
Another one of last summer's purchases, drumstick allium. I can't wait for these to multiply and fill a space in the Secret Garden.
Another one of last summer’s purchases, drumstick allium. I can’t wait for these to multiply and fill a space in the Secret Garden.
Meet Strutters' Ball, a daylily I planted late last summer.
Meet Strutters’ Ball, a daylily I planted late last summer.

June to July

These are my favorite months in the garden.  So many things are in bloom.  Here are a few…

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This little clump of pink astilbe brightens up the hosta bed underneath the kousa dogwood in the Secret Garden.
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I thought this nameless clematis was finished blooming, but suddenly it decided to settle into a second bloom wind.

 

 

 

 

 

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The coneflowers are blooming!!
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The the giant allium finished blooming weeks and weeks ago, their seed pods make for an interesting display.
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Another shot of allium seed pods. They look like fireworks!
Alchemella or Lady's Mantle adds a wonderfully bright chartreuse.
Alchemilla or Lady’s Mantle adds a wonderfully bright chartreuse.

Bloom Day: June 15, 2016

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The Walker’s Low catmint is beginning to fade, but it the bees still swarm to it. Here is the bed in the entrance garden, complete with cat statue.
More of the entrance garden. I love how the pots of geraniums warm up the corner.
More of the entrance garden. I love how the pots of geraniums warm up the corner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love how the impatiens peak out amongst the hostas and heucheras under the magnolia tree.
I love how the impatiens peak out amongst the hostas and heucheras under the magnolia tree.

 

 

 

This White Dawn climber has struggled the past couple of years. It seems to be doing better this year, probably because our winter wasn't as hard as the two previous ones.
This White Dawn climber has struggled the past couple of years. It seems to be doing better this year, probably because our winter wasn’t as hard as the two previous ones.

 

 

 

 

The rose medallion is doing its thing. That's a red Knock Out rose on the right. Th white rose is an hansa rose that is very fragrant.
The rose medallion is doing its thing. That’s a red Knock Out rose on the left. The white rose is a hansa rose that is very fragrant.

 

 

 

The annuals really keep this little nook cheerful. That is an un-named white climbing rose in the corner, a gift from a neighbor. Like the White Dawn, it has struggled but seems a bit healthier this year.
The annuals really keep this little nook cheerful. That is an un-named white climbing rose in the corner, a gift from a neighbor. Like the White Dawn, it has struggled but seems a bit healthier this year.

 

 

 

I'm waiting for the annuals to grow into this space. I ripped out a row of white dome hydrangeas and decided to fill the space with tall zinnias in order to give myself some time to decide what to plant instead.
I’m waiting for the annuals to grow into this space. I ripped out a row of white dome hydrangeas and decided to fill the space with tall zinnias in order to give myself some time to decide what to plant instead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is another space that was altered last fall. I pulled out a bridal veil spirea and am enjoying the opening it left. The hellebores are still hanging onto their blooms which have dried and provide a nice effect.
Here is another space that was altered last fall. I pulled out a bridal veil spirea and am enjoying the opening it left. The hellebores are still hanging onto their blooms which have dried and provide a nice effect.

 

 

 

I love the hosta bed under the old cherry tree. Seboldiana Elegans is about to bloom.
I love the hosta bed under the old cherry tree. Seboldiana Elegans is about to bloom.

 

 

 

 

 

Here is another look at the kousa dogwood.
Here is another look at the kousa dogwood.
The kousa dogwood is in full bloom. What a gorgeous tree.
The kousa dogwood is in full bloom. What a gorgeous tree.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I've been diligently adding acid to my hydgrangeas hoping to get blue flowers. This nikko has never kicked out this many blooms, so perhaps the wet cool spring and the acid will work its magic.
I’ve been diligently adding acid to my hydgrangeas hoping to get blue flowers. This nikko has never kicked out this many blooms, so perhaps the wet cool spring and the acid will work its magic.
Lady's Mantle (alchemilla mollis) is in full bloom. I love to cut it for bouquets.
Lady’s Mantle (alchemilla mollis) is in full bloom. I love to cut it for bouquets. That is grosso lavender in the background, and a hansa rose to the left.

Winter Dreams and Summer Plans

DSC_0502All winter I dream of June and green foliage, garden centers, freshly unfurled hostas, and deep red poppies.  I dream of lilacs and budded hydrangeas, of marigold flats and petunia pots, of warm days and evening rains.

And, now I’m here.  In June.  The heat hasn’t yet squatted on the gardens.  The peonies are blooming, nodding now under the weight of heavy blooms and last night’s rains.  Winter’s toll has been tallied, mourned, and ultimately dismissed.  There will always be more plants.  The marigolds are in the ground and the petunia pots are nestled in their more attractive garden pots.  And all the bees have awakened.  It is late spring when the days are almost as long as they will be and house sparrows chitter in the bird house.

This mason bee was dining on catmint near the cherry tree.
This mason bee was dining on catmint near the cherry tree.

This June brings a few surprises.  One is the mock orange.  It’s never kicked out very many bloom, but that may have been because the McFarlane lilacs I planted with it bullied MO into a dark corner.  Last summer the lilacs got a good pruning.

 

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Mock Orange blossoms

And MO is now covered in blooms.  I planted it for its scent, but the lilacs still give off a headier perfume than MO.  Mock Orange (Philadephus) was brought to European gardens from the Ottoman Empire in the 1500’s.  It is often used in park plantings because it is such a reliable bloomer and some species are very fragrant.  Unfortunately, mine is a less fragrant variety.  I assumed all MO’s were heavily scented so I didn’t pay attention to the species I purchased.  And, I vaguely recall I bought it late in the season when everything was on sale, so the price was more intoxicating than the fragrance turned out to be.

Allium Schubertii
Allium Schubertii

Another surprise wasn’t so much a surprise as it was a fruitful anticipation.  A year ago I attended the Garden Bloggers’ Fling in Toronto and saw so many gardens with tall allium growing.  Some of the gardens were formal and understated. Others were free flowing narratives of color and texture.  But most had tall allium.  I knew I wanted to see those beautiful globes of tiny flowers in my gardens, so I ordered a number of varieties online.  But the giant allium were the most spectacular.  I know I want more of them!

Giant allium, still lovely when the color goes.
Giant allium, still lovely when the color goes.

 

 

 

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day

Well, first, I got my dates muddled and thought the 15th was on a Monday.  What’s really annoying is the fact that I essentially loafed around the house yesterday and could have written this post.  My excuse is that I’m coming off a big concert and am still going through post concert recovery.  I know that sounds a bit weird, especially since I’m only on stage for about an hour.  But there’s something about that process, the warm up, the lining up, the standing up that leeches energy.  And, it’s worth it.  I do want to say that besides all the performance stuff, and I’m one of  130 singers, I bake cookies for each performance. Baking, boxing, carting, and setting up take time and energy.  That’s worth it, too.

This is a screen shot, but if you click on the image, you will land on the website and will be able to listen to the first movement in Carmina Burana.
This is a screen shot, but if you click on the image, you will land on the website and will be able to listen to the first movement in Carmina Burana.

But, it’s also my excuse for not posting.

Our cool wet spring continues.  In fact, a couple days ago we saw snow flurries and a frost advisory was posted.  I’ve checked the hostas and so far most of them look ok.  I have a couple in pots that may have gotten nipped.  I’ll know more about damage in a day or so.

The big bloom news is the tall allium that I planted last fall.  I’ve mentioned before that we saw a lot of allium in Toronto during the Garden Bloggers’ Fling.  I ordered a number of different varieties, but only the tall globe “Purple Sensation” are starting to bloom.  I think the cool temps have kept the flowers from fully unfurling, but it will be worth the wait.  And, there are more allium that will bloom throughout the summer.  I’m definitely planting more this coming fall.

I have fallen in love with allium!
I have fallen in love with allium!
Blue Winky columbine bask in the intermittent sun in the secret garden.
Blue Winky columbine bask in the intermittent sun in the secret garden.

The “Blue Winky” columbine are blooming, too, as are the two bleeding hearts.

I have a house guest!! A mason bee has set up housekeeping in my bee abode in the old cherry tree. Perhaps in the coming years there will be more tenants. This is yet another reason I am looking forward to this year's Garden Bloggers' Fling, this time in Minneapolis.
I have a house guest!! A mason bee has set up housekeeping in my bee abode in the old cherry tree. Perhaps in the coming years there will be more tenants. This is yet another reason I am looking forward to this year’s Garden Bloggers’ Fling, this time in Minneapolis. The arrow points to the plugged up tube.  A female has created chambers divided by mud and laid an egg in each chamber.
The bleeding heart light up the little nook outside the sunroom and dining room windows.
The bleeding heart light up the little nook outside the sunroom and dining room windows.

Early May and a Garden Grows

A mason bee gathering pollen from the cherry blossoms.
A mason bee gathering pollen from the cherry blossoms.

The older I get the more sensitive to cold I become.  That means our chilly spring has kept me out of the garden.  And, though the sun has been shining a bit today, it’s still cool, especially when the wind kicks up.  The old cherry tree is beginning to fade.

Unoccupied bee abode waiting for tenants.
Unoccupied bee abode waiting for tenants.still humming with bumble bees and mason bees.
Notice the pollen sacs on the hind legs of this mason bee. It is mason and other solitary bees that pollinate fruit trees. The next time you bite into an apple or pop a blueberry in your mouth, you can thank native bees. Honey bees are still snuggled in their hives. And, native bees are far better pollinators.
Notice the pollen sacs on the hind legs of this mason bee. It is mason and other solitary bees that pollinate fruit trees. The next time you bite into an apple or pop a blueberry in your mouth, you can thank native bees. Honey bees are still snuggled in their hives. But native bees are busy pollinating early bloomers, and, they are far more efficient.

The cherry tree is beginning to lose its blooms and there are small green cherries taking their places.  But there are enough pollen-filled flowers to attract native beens like the mason bee above. I bought a solitary bee house last June when I got back from the Garden Bloggers’ Fling in Toronto, and noticed this afternoon that one of the chambers is full.  To learn more about native bees click here.

We’ve had a lot of rain this spring and our latest deluge knocked most of magnolia blossoms to the ground. I did manage to get a shot before the day turned gloomy again.

A bit tattered, but still lovely.
A bit tattered, but still lovely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But when the sun was still shining, it caught June Fever with some lovely backlighting.

June Fever, one of my favorite hostas.
June Fever, one of my favorite hostas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wish I had planted more of these. In fact, I can't imagine why I didn't.
I wish I had planted more of these. In fact, I can’t imagine why I didn’t.