Mosaics of Green and Brick

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Looking west through the japanese maple. The hostas are Silver Thread and Golden Needs, Stitch in Time, Allegan Fog, Ghost Dancer and Dream Weaver.
Looking east in the Secret Garden. The hosts are Great Expectations, Dream Weaver, June, Francee, and Krossa Royal.
Looking east in the Secret Garden. The hosts are Great Expectations, Dream Weaver, June, Francee, and Krossa Royal.
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Sweet little columbine by my back door.
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Another view looking west, this time at the Garden Lady. The tree in the foreground is a Kousa Dogwood.
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Blue Winky columbine.
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I know, too many cat pictures on this garden blog. But Callie is 14 and she loves gardening with me. Here she is trying out one of the new chairs in the little gathering area in the Secret Garden.
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Looking west. I love the braid down Garden Lady’s back.
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One of the baskets I bought at Motman’s this year.



Looking east in the Secret Garden.
Looking east in the Secret Garden.

Our warm weather has urged the garden into mosaics of green spires of day lily foliage, scalloped and beaded lady’s mantle capes, and hosta caves for Callie to doze the day away. And now the promise of winding brick paths against the backdrop of late spring is here.  I love the pathway that my friend Maja put in last fall.

I spent a lovely Memorial Day shopping for plants with a friend.  This has become a tradition.  In fact, long before I moved to Grand Rapids, she and I would drive to Motman’s in Allendale and fill my car with plants and baskets.  Now that I live closer to Allendale, she drives to my house and we then launch ourselves west to Countryside and Motman’s and any other place that draws us in.  It becomes a special day of catching up, comparing aches and pains, and marveling at how old we’ve gotten.  Neither one of us can quite understand how we could possibly be the senior citizens that we’ve become.

I haven’t planted everything I bought, but I will within the next few days.  In the meantime, everything is clumped together in a spot where the sprinkler system will keep it watered and in great shape until I can get everything in the ground.

The shredded bark went in this week and I love how it makes the beds pop.  The pathways that now wind past the barked beds provide a great boundary between the plants and the paths.  The crushed limestone did what it needed to for a long time, but they were getting tired and difficult to maintain.  The bricks make it look like the garden has always been part of the house. And, they make me look like a better gardener than I am.

 

Frostly Frizzles and Early Blooms

They say the area apple crop has suffered the worst spring in 70 years and the cherry orchards in the Traverse Bay area have been devastated.  Here at 337, I can definitely see where the frost has frizzled early foliage and blooms.  Some of the hostas got bitten.

Frost-damaged Francis Williams Hosta

And the hydrangeas all have some withered leaves.  The dutchman’s pipe vines (aristolochia)  suffered the most, but they cannot be completely discouraged and I’m confident they will bounce back quite quickly.  The little japanese maple got frizzled, too.  But each year it gets fuller, and I suspect it, too, will recover nicely.

Frost frizzled japanese maple leaves
Frost-withered dutchman’s pipe

 

But the early blooms are still welcome.  Of course, my livelihood doesn’t rest on the whims of Mother Nature.  Still, 30 years ago, the zone charts warned that tender plants could not go in the ground until June 1.  That no longer seems to be true, even here in West Michigan where our weather is so governed by Lake Michigan.

I have a few weeks reprieve from coursework. I finished my grades and happily uploaded them Monday around midnight.  And the journal I edit is going to the printers today or tomorrow.  So, I’m sliding into mid-spring and looking forward to puttering in the garden, riding my trike, and doing some writing.

In the garden, the columbine are blooming.  The aquilegia caerulea ‘Winky Blue & White’ are starting to open.  And the self-seeded pink and white columbine that were here when I bought the house (and tried to eradicate) stubbornly reappear each year.  And I confess I rather like them now.

Bridal veil spirea

The old bridal veil spirea that tries to take over the back doorway is now in full bloom.  I both love it and loathe it.  I once chopped it to the ground.  But it is indomitable and once again, as it does every year, needs pruning. So, as soon as its flowers fade, I’ll try and tame it.

Bridal veil spirea

And, the Pana rhododendrons  are starting to bloom.  What a wonderful deep fuchsia color they are.  I love wearing this color, by the way.

Panas and the cat sculpture in the entry garden
Euphorbia

Though i’m not sure they can be called flower, the euphorbia that I planted a year ago is quite lovely.

Last year at the Ottawa Hills Garden Tour, I saw that one gardener had place wrought iron decorative pieces into her garden pathways and I really liked the look.  I spotted one at a shop a few weeks ago and bought it, thinking I could place it where two crushed limestone paths meet.  I think I like it.

New decorative piece in the Secret Garden