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.

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.

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