Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day: May 15, 2015

Yea!!!!  It’s my first GBBD of the season!  As always, a shout must go out to May Dreams Gardens for creating this opportunity for people all over the world to share their gardens on the 15th of each month.

So, here is what is happening in my garden today.

Here's another view of the clump of columbine.
Here’s another view of the clump of columbine.
For years i tried to get rid of this columbine, a remnant from a previous owner, but couldn't.  Now I'm glad I let it be.  It greets me every day during its bloom season as my back door.
For years i tried to get rid of this columbine, a remnant from a previous owner, but couldn’t. Now I’m glad I let it be. It greets me every day during its bloom season at my back door.
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The hosta bed under the old magnolia tree. Love that combination of coral bells and hostas.
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There are more coral bells on the “inside” curve of the boxwood hedge. The only thing blooming at the moment is the Heurcherella.
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This little columbine, Blue Winky, lives in the Secret Garden.
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Also in the Secret Garden is this Jack Frost brunnera.
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I didn’t not expect a lot from the lilacs this year because I gave them a hard prune last summer. But these few blooms are kicking out a lot of sweet perfume.
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The ammonia are about to bloom in the Secret Garden.
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Alchemilia or Lady’s Mantle in the Secret Garden. No blooms yet, but the beads of water, like cabochon gems carry their own beauty.
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The little nook outside the kitchen door provides a great place for this Bleeding Heart to thrive.
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The Walker’s Low catmint is just about ready to bloom.
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The variegated brunnera in the Secret Garden looks pretty amongst the rising hostas.
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Another Bleeding Heart doing it’s wonderful thing in the Secret Garden.
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I gave this bridle veil spirea a hard prune last summer and knew there would not be very many blooms this year. But a few is enough. And next year it will be back to its old self.
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The euphorbia in this bed is so striking! This is my “lewd” hosta bed. I plan to put Striptease and Hanky Panky in there. That is Seducer that you see. I also plan to put in a Praying Hands, just for balance, donchaknow…

Spring Chores and All’s Right with the Garden

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A division of Elegans takes up residence farther back in a small hosta bed under the old cherry tree.

It was a good idea to hire Richard, a gardener and all around handy guy, to tend to spring garden chores.  I wish I had his energy!

The raggedy heather has been removed and that spot is ready for something new (and better behaved?).
The raggedy heather has been removed and that spot is ready for something new (and better behaved?).

The unsightly heather has been banished to the yard waste bin, Elegans has been divided (again!), and one crown has been moved to the back of its hosta bed, and the dead hydrangea canes have been trimmed and shoved into garden waste bags.  I ordered shredded bark a couple days ago.

It’s rather nice to give orders and see the fruits of someone else’s labor in MY gardens. Richard will return next week to tackle more chores.

I have a false indigo that either needs a new home in my gardens or needs to be adopted by someone else who has space for it.  It was part of a fun idea that never really took off–a “false” garden filled with false forgetmenots, false dagrons beard, false spirea…You get the idea.

This little side garden needs help.  That's the giant false indigo in the lower right.  When it reaches its full power during the summer, it blocks the path.  I wonder what brilliant gardening mind thought that wouldn't happen????
This little side garden needs help. That’s the giant false indigo in the lower right. When it reaches its full power during the summer, it blocks the path. I wonder what brilliant gardening mind thought that wouldn’t happen????

It’s been cool and rainy today which isn’t particularly conducive to enthusiastic gardening. But I did take a picture of  the pretty little columbine that grows outside my kitchen door. I didn’t plant this and even tried to get rid of it.  But I now respect its persistence.

And old columbine drinking in today's rain.
And old columbine drinking in today’s rain.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, Sept. 15, 2014

September is always such a bitter sweet month.  I love the cooler temps.  But, I have already begun the long slow mourn into winter.  That feeling actually begins when the daylilies bloom.  Perhaps it is the ephemeral nature of daylilies, their single day of glory and the daily deadheading.  Even that word, deadheading, brings with it a certain gloom.  And when I see that there is only one more bud on a cane, I go deeper into mourning stage.

I know, I know.  September brings turning leaves and winter squash and migrating birds and the sweet smell of bonfires.  But the gardens are definitely fading, and no amount of strategically place mum pots can tune that fade into anything but what it is.  A signal that the garden is going into a long sleep.

But today there are still a few things blooming.

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A few pink petunias, Honorine Joubert anemonie, Endless Summer hydrangea in the Secret Garden
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Echinacea. I wish I could remember what the orange ones were. Cherokee Sunrise, perhaps?
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Hybiscus–over six feet tall!!!!
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Forever and Ever hydrangea in the Lower Garden
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I think this is Honeybells. The flowers are wonderfully fragrant!
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Another very fragrant flower, Stained Glass, in the Secret Garden
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Rudbeckia partnered with Walker’s Low Catmint in the Entrance Garden
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Morning Glories on the archway into the Secret Garden
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Hostas with Endless Summer hydrangeas in the Lower Garden
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Annual geraniums pop in the Lower Garden
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White Phlox in the Secret Garden
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Knock Out Rose in the Secret Garden, planted this past spring
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White Clematis on the arch into the Secret Garden
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Limelight hydrangea in the Lower Garden
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Annabelle hydrangea behind Walker’s Low Catmint. Those are red begonias to the left.
Lisianthus, the old white rose, sweet william, and hidcote lavender
Tardiva hydrangea in the Secret Garden

Welcoming the Late Bloomers

New fence!
New fence!

So, I completely missed Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day last week.  I was too caught up in cookies and end-of-summer grades. It was the grades that really bogged me down.  But there is always a little bit of time to spend in the garden.  The day lilies are gone and I’m in the process of cleaning out the dead canes and cutting back the foliage.

Male Tiger Swallowtail on Fragrant Angel Echinacea in the Secret Garden
Male Tiger Swallowtail on Fragrant Angel Echinacea in the Secret Garden
Pipevine Swallowtale on the phlox in the Secret Garden.
Pipevine Swallowtale on the phlox in the Secret Garden.

The big garden news is that I put a new cedar fence up.  During that process I discovered there is a large clump of Japanese Knotweed growing along the neighbor’s fence line.

Japanese Knotweed along the neighbor's fence line.
Japanese Knotweed along the neighbor’s fence line.

It  is incredibly invasive and difficult to eradicate, so I called several city agencies to see if someone could start the process.  I am determined not to let it take hold in my gardens.  Wish me luck with that.  It sends out runners and I’m sure they are already trespassing on my property.

Classes start next week and I find myself less eager than I have been in the past.  Perhaps that’s because I have a lot of work to do this weekend in order to get ready.  And, I don’t feel like I got a break at all between the summer semester and the impending fall semester.  I’m going to have to do things differently next year.

Late bloomers include the blackberry lily that a friend gave me years ago.  Actually, he gave me seeds.  I’ve been coaxing the seedlings each year and the plants are now mature enough to bloom.  Also putting on a good show are the various echinaceas.  The ones picture here are companions with the Casa Blanca lilies that I planted this spring.

Purple Cone Flowers with Casa Blanca lily.
Purple Cone Flowers with Casa Blanca lily.
Blackberry Lily (Belamcanda Chinensis)
Blackberry Lily (Belamcanda Chinensis)

Hard Pruning and Great Textures

I couldn’t decide whether I should write about the fallen cherry tree limb and the fact that the lilacs are getting a really hard prune, or whether I should gush over the deep textures of some of my favorite hostas.  So, I’ve decided to write about both. First the hard prune.  I knew that sooner or later a long limb on the cherry tree would break under the weight of the cherries, and a week ago it finally came down.  I’m glad it happened after I had about 50 people at the house.  There was a storm that night and that’s when the limb came down.  But it didn’t break clean, so the fruit has continued to ripen.  That’s going to make for easy pickin’s in about three or four more days.

A long limb on the cherry tree that I had been propping up for a number of years came down two nights ago during a storm.  I knew it was going to happen sooner or later.  I'm hoping that because it didn't snap completely free that the cherries will continue to ripen.  So far so good.
A long limb on the cherry tree that I had been propping up for a number of years came down two nights ago during a storm. I knew it was going to happen sooner or later. I’m hoping that because it didn’t snap completely free that the cherries will continue to ripen. So far so good.

The lilacs, though, got attacked, not by a storm but by me.  And I was not delicate.  I hacked away at a James McFarlane and a Mde. LeMoine this evening.  It was harder than I thought it would be, mostly because the dutchman’s pipe vines were so densely entangled amongst the branches of the bushes.  There is now very little foliage on one of the bushes, but my guess is that it’s going to come back strong and beautiful throughout the summer.  And my hope is that there will be lots of blooms next spring.  I ended up buying a really good loper for the job, something I should have gotten a couple years ago.  It’s so much easier to garden when you have good tools…

Hacking away at the lilacs and the dutchman's pipe.
Hacking away at the lilacs and the dutchman’s pipe.

Now, about those hostas. I planted Deep Blue Sea last summer and I’m very pleased with not only the texture but the color.  And it’s growing so fast!  I bought Orange Crush and My Friend Nancy at the same time and they are both toddlers compared to Deep Blue Sea.  I tried to find more information about this hosta and finally came up with this website.

The deep corregated leaves of Deep Blue Sea
The deep corregated leaves of Deep Blue Sea

Another hosta with lots of interesting texture is a common one, Francis Williams.  This was the first hosta I planted in Garden337, and though it is a common one, it remains one of my favorites.  It belongs in the “Seboldiana” group and was discovered by Francis Williams in the 1930’s.  I love that some of the leaves on my plants are sporting solid green.  I know a lot of hosta growers would remove those crowns, but I find the  deviation rather charming.

Christmas Tree
Christmas Tree, another Seboldiana, with wonderfully crinkled leaves.
Stitch in Time
Stitch in Time.

Another favorite is Stitch in Time.  This little hosta has been difficult to grow.  Slugs like it, for one thing.  And,  it seems to be a slow grower.  But I love the puckery texture and it’s bright green leaves.

Christmas Tree lives under the cherry tree and is a fairly new addition to the gardens.  It is one of the Seboldianas and it has that same wonderful crinkle as Elegans.

Footsteps Into Spring

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Hellebore

It was a lovely weekend with temps in the upper 60’s and lots of sunshine, perfect weather for coaxing early bloomers.

The Muscari below will soon be yanked out in perhaps a vain attempt to discourage it and the Bethlehem Stars that always seem to find their ways into every garden. But the hellebores are a welcomed presence and they are looking very healthy.

The new brick pathways in the Secret Garden held up well during the winter.  I need to add more paving sand and bring in more edging rocks, but as soon as the soil warms up, I will start to put some edging plants in along its borders.

The old magnolia in the front is starting to show a little color.  I was in New York last week and all the magnolias in Central Park were blooming.  Lovely!

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Stray Muscari next to the driveway
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Looking east in the Secret Garden

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Hellebore

As the Year Winds Down

The solstice has passed and dark days will begin their gradual winnow toward spring.  It’s beautiful in the gardens, something I do not like to admit, at least in early November when everything is brown and the only garden tasks are those that involve clearing dead debris.  It’s easy then to forget that snow brings a different sort of bloom.

The house is full of savory smells–stuffed mushrooms baking, pineapple wrapped in bacon, caramel covered grapes dipped in chopped peanuts.  And I even made two-layered jello shots with Framboise in one layer and vodka sour in the other.  They taste alarmingly good.

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Bluejays take advantage of well-stocked feeders
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Cardinals always add a flash of welcomed color.
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The garden light.
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The Rose of Sharon seed pods filled with ice and snow.
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The side garden.
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The entrance garden.
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Ewok or panda????
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Snowing street.

Just before Christmas we experienced three days of freezing rain.  The last day piled too much ice onto trees and wires and more than 500 thousand households lost their power, mine included.  But the ice was beautiful.

Frozen Holly
Frozen Holly

Last Day of June

What a lovely early summer we are having.  There’s been plenty of rain and sun.  The old cherry tree has so many cherries that a limb fell.  That’s not unusual, but I was surprise nonetheless.  I’ve been propping up one long limb for years, and, of course, that’s not the one that fell.

Nameless perennial geranium
Nameless perennial geranium
The first of the daylilies in the Secret Garden
The first of the daylilies in the Secret Garden
Ripe cherries
Ripe cherries
Nameless perennial geranium
Nameless perennial geranium

Scarlet Tanager

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Male Scarlet Tanager sitting in the rose of sharon in the lower garden

How wonderful that a male scarlet tanager decided to visit the lower garden this morning!

Usually a brilliant flash of red means a male cardinal is visiting.  But this morning the flash was brighter and smaller.   Tanagers are often hard to spot because they live in tall canopies.  But today the rose of sharon and the water fountain lured this male into the garden.  He can stop by anytime.

Male Scarlet Tanager sitting at the fountain in the lower garden
Male Scarlet Tanager sitting at the fountain in the lower garden

March 15, Bloom Day

Well, it’s not exactly a bloom day since nothing at all is blooming.  But there are little signs that the earth will warm and the plants will bloom.  Over the winter I enjoyed seeing birds come to the feeders.  For some reason lots of cardinals decided to dine with me on a regular basis.  And, that intense red became my winter blooms.

 

 

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