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.

Surveying the Hostas

I’m procrastinating.  Or maybe I’m percolating.  At any rate, I’ve decided to survey the hostas.

Dream Weaver, June, Krossa Royal, Francee, Great Expectations
In the Secret Garden:  Far right is Dream Weaver.  In front of it is June, then Stained Glass, Krossa Royal (next to the garage),  then Francee, and Great Expectations sits to the back of this photo.  There are, of course, astilbe and heuchera mixed in, not to mention hydrangeas and a big old bleeding heart.
The large hosta in the rear is a division of Elegans.  In front of it to the left is Francis Williams.  Left of Francis is another Elegans (I keep dividing this monster!).  The left front hosta is Orange Marmalade.  Center front is Lakeside Beach Captain. On the far right is Wheaton Blue.
The large hosta in the rear is a division of Elegans. In front of it to the left is Francis Williams. Left of Francis is another Elegans (I keep dividing this monster!). The left front hosta is Orange Marmalade. Center front is Lakeside Beach Captain. On the far right is Wheaton Blue.
Another shot of Elegans.  To the right of it is Stained Glass.  And on the far right is Abiqua Drinking Gourd.  Peeking out behind Stained Glass is another Dream Weaver.
Lower Garden: Another shot of Elegans. To the right of it is Stained Glass. And on the far right is Abiqua Drinking Gourd. Peeking out behind Stained Glass is another Dream Weaver.
On the far right, just in view, is Elegans.  To the left is Hanky Panky.  The bright green hosta next to it is a mystery to me.
Lower Garden: On the far right, just in view, is Elegans. To the left is Hanky Panky. The bright green hosta next to it is a mystery to me, but might be Maui Buttercup. (sorry for the blurriness!)
Strip Tease and a mystery hosta that a friend gave me.
Lower Garden: Strip Tease and a mystery hosta that a friend gave me. That’s a Francis Williams to the left of the mystery hosta.  I think the hosta behind Strip Tease is Ryan’s Big One.
Moorheim
Secret Garden: Moerheim
Deep Blue Sea, Orange Crush
Secret Garden: Deep Blue Sea, Orange Crush
Halcyon in foreground,
Lower Garden: Halcyon in foreground, Elegans on the right under the cherry tree, Hanky Panky (though it’s hard to see in this shot), and Regal Splendor to the left of the cherry tree.
On the left is Francis Williams.  Next to it is Lakeside Beach Captain.  On its right is Elegans.  And tucked away next to Elegans is Pineapple Upsidedown Cake.
Front Garden: On the left is Francis Williams. Next to it is Lakeside Beach Captain. On its right is Elegans. And tucked away next to Elegans is Pineapple Upsidedown Cake.
Allegan Fog, Silver Threads and Golden Needles, Stitich in Time, Ghost Spirit
Secret Garden: Allegan Fog, Silver Threads and Golden Needles, Stitich in Time, Ghost Spirit.  Behind these is Dream Weaver.
Lucy Vitols
Lower Garden: Lucy Vitols in the center.  That’s Rhino Hide in the pot to the left.  I’ve almost lost it twice, but it comes coming back from the brink.  There is a Kaleidechrome almost hidden by the pot of argula.  There’s a bit of Thai basil peeking out of the pot on the right.

As Winter Recedes

It’s been a tough winter, the toughest in a couple of decades.  More than 100 inches of snow fell on the garden this year.  And temps hovered around zero degrees Fahrenheit for too many weeks.  Snow can protect perennials and I’m confident that most of the plants in the gardens survived the winter.  But the bitter cold has taken a toll.  One of the dwarf alberta spruces in the entrance garden is showing winter burn damage.  It’s too soon to tell whether the bush will fill in a bit.  This will be an issue of disguising damage rather than any hope of regrowth.  Dwarf albertas do not “repair” burn damage.  The boxwoods got burned, too, but I am less concerned about that.  I’ll trim the burnt ends and the hedge will be none the worse.

Burned boxwoods and Dwarf Alberta Spruce
Burned boxwoods and Dwarf Alberta Spruce
Close-up of Dwarf Alberta Spruce damage
Close-up of Dwarf Alberta Spruce damage
Hellebore buds!
Hellebore buds!

Also damaged were a couple of holly bushes.  These I am even less concerned about.  There never thrived where they were planted, and, truth to tell, if they had thrived, they would be a problem.  So, I might just use this as an excuse to pull them out.  My guess is that I have a friend who will give them a good home. But it isn’t all sad news for the garden.  Lots of things are starting to poke their heads above ground.  And I even spotted a wayward crocus blooming.  This is a volunteer or, perhaps, a remnant from long gone days before my gardens went in.  And the day lilies are coming up.  So, in a few weeks, everything will have filled in.  And, I’ll be able to finish the pathways.  How I have been looking forward to that!

Soon the day lilies will be filling this spot!
Soon the day lilies will be filling this spot!
Winter-killed holly
Winter-killed holly
Crocus volunteer in the Secret Garden
Crocus volunteer in the Secret Garden

Also coming up are the dicentras.  In a few weeks those lovely branches full of pink hearts will arch gracefully.

Bleeding heart popping up in the corner garden.
Bleeding heart popping up in the corner garden.

April 15, Bloom Day

After our unseasonably warm early spring, we returned to some frosty days (and nights).  Some early risers got nipped.   The Dutchman’s Pipe lost some new foliage, but it will bounce back with a vengeance.  I’m not sure about the old cherry tree.  It’s too soon to tell whether the frost killed a lot of “cherry hope.”  But things are still ahead of schedule, so April’s Bloom Day is bountiful compared to last year’s.  A year ago, only the heather and a few brave violets were blooming.

The old cherry tree hanging onto some blossoms after several frosts

The heather still gets the early bloomer prize.  But the brunnera macrophylla are blooming, too.

Looking Glass Brunner (brunner macrophylla 'Looking Glass') and lots of maple seedlings

There are a few white daffodils, planted last fall, that are hanging on, but the early spring woke them up far sooner than I anticipated.

White Daffodill
Bleeding Heart (Dicentra)

Also  blooming are the Bleeding Heart.  They look like little Christmas ornaments.

Bleeding Heart

I’m not sure why I don’t have more Esther Staley French lilac blooms, but the three lilacs I planted in that area never seem to do as well as I would like them to.  The President Grevy French Lilac only got one bloom last summer.  It’s a later bloomer and I can’t tell yet whether it liked the pruning I gave it last summer.  The  Mme LeMoine French Lilic is doing ok, but I count only about 10 blooms.  The James McFarlane lilacs continue to do great, though.  And they are just starting to bud out.

The new trellis now stands at the entrance to the Secret Garden.  I’m hoping the clematis bounces back and covers it by the end of the summer.

New trellis entrance to the Secret Garden

Bloom Day, Sept. 15, 2011

The male yellow finches have begun to shed their brilliant yellow plumage in favor of their winter wear.  Temperatures this morning hovered around 40 F.  A few timid leaves have started to give up their green and the bald cypress in the front yard is trying to decide when it should turn bronze.  Fall is here, if not officially, then spiritually.

Below are today’s bloomin’ stars.

Julia Child Rose
New This Season, Sweet Autumn Clematis and Delphinium Against the West Fence in Lower Garden
Limelight Hydrangea Gets Ready for Winter Bouquets
Honorine Joubert Anemone
A Couple of Volunteer Sun Flowers Left By the Birds, And White Carpet Rose
Rose of Sharon Buds Catch the Morning Sun

 

Potted Mums and Geraniums in Entrance Garden
The Morning Sun Catches Sweet Autumn Clematis

Soldier Beetles and Hummingbirds

I’m always a little alarmed when I see a lot of the same bug on a plant.  Sawfly larvae, japanese beetles.  It’s like a marauding gang has landed.  So, when I saw dozens of mustard colored beetles on the Tardiva hydrangea, I had a sinking feeling that I once again had uninvited guests.

Soldier Beetle

Thanks to the internet, though, I identified my new visitors as Soldier Beetles.  And, it turns out they are very beneficial bugs.  Soldier Beetles are related to Fireflies (we call them Lightening Bugs). They eat aphids, other insect eggs, and larvae.  They are also excellent pollinators.  Apparently they come in a variety of colors.  In England, they are red and were named after the British army uniforms.

Soldier Beetle

 

 

 

 

Tardiva is in full bloom right now, and so is Limelight.  This is the bittersweet time in the garden.  The lilies have faded.  The echinacae are beginning to look tattered.  The liatris blooms have reached the tip of their long stalks.

But the hummingbirds are beginning to migrate south and this morning, three of them are feasting on the garden.  They perch on a powerline then flit about the garden, chasing each other, it seems.  I wonder if these are juveniles who hatched earlier this summer.  The only hummingbird native to Michigan is the Ruby Throated Hummingbird.  They have been known to eat insects, sometimes plucking them mid-air.  Forgive the very blurry picture.  This was the best I could get from my kitchen window.  These little guys just won’t stay still long enough for me to focus, adjust light settings, etc.

Ruby Throated Hummingbird