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


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



Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, May 15, 2010

It’s Bloom Day and I’ve ceremoniously taken pictures of today’s participants.

Pana rhododendrons and Cat

The Pana Rhododendrons are doing very well.  I put acid around them last summer and that has made them very happy.  My soil is quite alkaline.

Spirea Japonica (Bridal Veil)

The old spirea is still going strong, and the Francis Williams hostas are holding their own despite the fact that they are surrounded by trailing arches of white.

I was surprised to see one of the catmint (Nepeta subsessilis–Cool Cat) had a couple of small blooms.  These usually appear on longer stalks, but I’ll take this little guy because he is the promise of many more blue blooms later.


Also in bloom are the Michael McFarland lilacs.  I worried about these last year.  I got them at the end of the 2008 season at bargain basement prices at a garden center, then transplanted several of them last summer.  I was worried they would just get tired of the shock, but it turns out they are joyously blooming.

Michael McFarland Lilac

I wish my other lilacs bloomed this much this soon after finding their home in my garden.  Alas, I have to wait a few more seasons.  In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the Michaels and their sweet fragrance.

Near the lilacs is the big old dogwood.  It’s blooms look like those of a red twig. It may be as old as the house, which means it got its start in the 1920’s.  The old girl makes a perfect backdrop for the Garden Lady statue.  In the distance behind the Lady are the Cheddar Pinks that have been planted and transplanted several times.

Old dogwood in the secret garden

The Lady and the dogwood

One delightful surprise is the amsonia x Blue Ice.  I bought five of them at the end of the season last summer, for a dollar each.  They are charming and I’m sure will put on more of a show in about a week.  But a bloom is a bloom!

Amsonia x Blue Ice

The Bleeding Heart (dicentra) are starting to fade, but one tendril of blooms trailed over the hat of this little statue that was a gift when I retired from public school teaching.  I bought the plant at Meijer Gardens two years ago.

Bleeding Heart (Dicentra)

Behind this little girl is a “wall” of Virginia Creeper.  I have begun the almost daily battle to keep it at bay.  At one time it completely covered the old fence that used to separate my yard from the park.  Now it only grows on the chain link fence that separates my yard from my neighbor’s.  I chop it.  I dig it up.   The only thing I can’t do is ignore it.

The first of the Heuchera are blooming.  This one is actually not a true Heuchera, but a cross between Heuchera and Tiarella–Foamy Bells.  I like the contrast on the leaves, and it sits well with the Heurcheras that I planted between the boxwoods and the brink entrance way.

Heurcherella, Foamy Bells

And in the secret garden, the columbine (Winky Blue) are still blooming.  They were another end of the season buy.  I love those!

Winky Blue Columbine

The Hansa roses are just getting starting and sending up their first fragrant bloom. Below are Wildberry Breeze and Wild Spice.

I want to thank May Dreams Garden for creating Bloom Day.  A friend told me about it just last week, I think, and went home and began a Google search.  It didn’t take long to bring up May and Blotanical.  I’ve been happily looking at garden blogs ever since.

If you’ve gotten this far, then scroll down just a bit more to see the Hansa roses.  I love these guys!!  They are impervious to pests, with, perhaps, the exception of Japanese Beetles.  But they never get black spot, something that dogs the other roses in the medalion.  And they smell so good!

Hansa Wildberry Breeze

Wild Spice