Daylily Therapy

Katydid nymphs in a daylily bloom.
Katydid nymphs in a daylily bloom.

The perfect antidote for dealing with mean-spirited and illogical people is a dose of  daylilies.  Mine are beginning to bloom.  True to form, First Knight was the first to bloom, followed soon after by Sea Urchin.  Prairie Blue Eyes is now flowering, and so is Barbara Mitchell and Lavender Stardust.

I found a few visitors in the daylily bed last night and had to quickly look them up to see if they were going to cause any problems.  They appeared to be green grasshopper-ish things with a plaid stripe down their backs. It turns out they are Katydid nymphs and they do not eat much.  So, I’m going to let them do what ever it is they came here to do, undisturbed.

See the "plaid" stripe down its back?
See the “plaid” stripe down its back?

July is the month when I have to be particularly vigilant for dutchman’s pipe runners.  It seems that every time my back is turned another runner, um, runs and pops up in the middle of an echinacea or the day lilies or the lavender.  The runners even travel under the brick pathways and pop up 20 feet from the parent plants.  After being in the gardens for seven years, the parents are great grand parents.  Sometimes I regret the decision to put pipevine in the Secret Garden, but I cannot deny that they have formed the green walls that I wanted.

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

The hostas, too, are beginning to bloom. I don’t usually get excited about hosta flowers.  They look messy and I find myself more often than not loping the flowers off and enjoying the lovely foliage.  But this year I might play a bit with cross breeding two varieties.  Though, in order to do that in a systematic way, I’m probably going to have to be way more scientific than my nature allows.  We’ll see.

Stitch in Time
Stitch in Time

But working in the garden is therapeutic.  After a week with dealing with two of the most unpleasant people I’ve encountered in a very long time, I can soothe my discouragement by pulling up pipevine runners, cutting back the cranesbill geranium that has become overly rambunctious, and pulling weeds.

Sea Urchin
Sea Urchin

Making the garden tidy helps me restore order to my little universe, at least.  Of course, I could achieve a similar sense of order if I cleaned my closet, but, really, that seems a bit extreme

Prairie Blue Eyes Daylily
Crystal Pinot
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Sea Urchin
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Barbara Mitchell

 

First Knight
First Knight

 

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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.

Chilly End of July

Datura bud waiting to unfurl.
Datura bud waiting to unfurl.

Though the temps are only in the high 50’s, it is still summer in the garden and today’s rain was welcomed.  I’ve taken advantage of the cooler temps and moved a few things.  I wilt less in cooler weather.  And, of course, the plants don’t mind a cool move and a nice rain.  The Ruby Stellas under the Rose of Sharon have never done well and so I pulled one clump out.  I’ll probably remove the other two clumps, too.  And, since the Francis Williams hostas under the kitchen window were looking really bedraggled, I moved them to a spot under the Rose of Sharon.  They might like the shade there better.

This Deep Blue Sea hosta was planted a year ago and it's doing very well.  So is its neighbor My Friend Nancy.  Of COURSE I had to get THAT hosta!
This Deep Blue Sea hosta was planted a year ago and it’s doing very well. So is its neighbor My Friend Nancy. Of COURSE I had to get THAT hosta!
The old Rose of Sharon is in full bloom.  Notice the Citronelle heuchera and the Francis Williams hostas.
The old Rose of Sharon is in full bloom. Notice the Citronelle heuchera and the Francis Williams hostas.

 

It’s sale season at garden centers and so I went to one yesterday that tends to be more expensive.  Their perennials were half off, so I picked up a couple of heucheras (Citronelle) and few other things.  I thought the bright yellow Citronelle would look nice under the Rose of Sharon with the Francis Williams.

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Datura bloom

I’m seriously considering taking the crushed limestone out of the Secret Garden and putting in brick pathways.  I asked a landscaper to come by last week and measure.  But a good friend from Maine has offered

Fragrant Angel echinacea and the Kim's Knee High
Fragrant Angel echinacea and the Kim’s Knee High

to do the work.  And I think I’m going to take her up on her offer.  I have another friend who can get me lots of bricks for free, so this might work out quite well.

One of my favorite spots in the Secret Garden is a home to various heucheras and hostas under the Kousa Dogwood.
One of my favorite spots in the Secret Garden is a home to various heucheras and hostas under the Kousa Dogwood.
This sunny bed in the Secret Garden is crammed full of echinacea, White Dome hydrangea, Jean Davis lavender, liatris, Cool Cat Nepeta, and East Friesland salvia
This sunny bed in the Secret Garden is crammed full of echinacea, White Dome hydrangea, Jean Davis lavender, liatris, Cool Cat Nepeta, and East Friesland salvia