Catching the Late Afternoon Sun

Wandered through the gardens yesterday, camera in hand.  Here’s how the light played.

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I know I’ve posted a number of pics of this columbine, but it’s so pretty…
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That’s H. Halcyon, a medium sized hosta. It hangs onto its “blueness” all summer. It is a layer or two of wax that gives hostas like Halcyon their blues. Some varieties lose their waxy coating in hot weather which makes them appear greener..
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Abuja Drinking Gourd was Hosta of the Year in 2014. Mine has occupied this space for five or six years and it continues to charm me. I love its deeply textured blue leaves and the way they cup.
This charming and solitary allium popped up just over the fence from my lower garden.
This charming and solitary allium popped up just over the fence from my lower garden.
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The Cheddar Pinks have been teasing me with lots of bud. No any more.
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The old dogwood in the Secret Garden is in full bloom and hosts oodles of buzzy insects. Later when its flowers have turned to clusters of dark blue berries, birds find a feast, too.
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The hosta bed behind the garage in the Secret Garden is filling in. That is Great Expectations near the fence. Francee is nestled next to it. Next to Francee is Stained Glass, one of my favorites. It has wonderfully scented flowers, lovely color, and lots of texture. In front of Stained Glass is June, another Hosta of the Year in 2001. It is a sport of Halcyon.
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No one told me that Great Expectations was a difficult hosta to grow. It must like gravely soil and the dappled sun it gets in the Secret Garden. I love deeply textured hostas, and the fact that I can get all that color, size, AND texture makes this one of my favorites.
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I planted On Stage late last summer. I was first drawn just to the name, but I also liked the streaky leaves.
I think house sparrows finally whittled the opening to this birdhouse so they could build a nest.  Usually wrens have nested here, but with the larger opening, I suspect they will find a more secure nesting spot.  There are babies inside.  I had hoped to catch the bright yellow mouths, but they didn't cooperate.
I think house sparrows finally whittled the opening to this birdhouse so they could build a nest. Usually wrens have nested here, but with the larger opening, I suspect they will find a more secure nesting spot. There are babies inside. I had hoped to catch the bright yellow mouths, but they didn’t cooperate.

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.

 

Late May and late afternoon

It is hot here in West Michigan.  The heat has forced lots of flowers into bloom and it’s safe to assume that no frost will nip them now.  I love the garden in late afternoon when the sun is low.   Clematis x White is blooming and it’s vines are twining nicely with the later blooming variety.  That was a good choice.  I’d like to vines to completely hide the ugly green arches that the previous own left behind.  I moved them to the entrance of the secret garden hoping to create a tunnel effect.  I think it’s working.

Clematis x White

I wish those saucer sized blooms continued all summer.  But these will fade and leave interesting, but less charming, swirls.  I will get a few blooms later in the summer, but nothing like the number I get in early summer.  Or, in this case, late spring.

The hostas are going crazy this spring.  I don’t know whether it’s the warm weather, the right amount of rain, or just that they are now mature enough to put on a leafy show.  But I won’t question it.

Great Expectations

This Great Expectations, one of four, has been transplanted a couple of times.  It and its buddies seem to be quite happy in the little nook behind the garage.

Hostas and heucheras

And, the hostas in the front garden are doing well, also.  I seem to be fond of pairing hostas with heucheras.  The old magnolia provides a wonderful canapy.  And to think there was a hug blue spruce dominating that old magnolia.

Under the magnolia tree

I struggle, though, to control the snow on the mountain that no amount of pulling, plucking, digging or swearing seems to discourage for long.  And, to my chagrin, I actually thought I was growing a nice mound of astilbe until I say a stalk of buds that did not look at all like an astilbe bud.  Out came the perennial spade and out went the dreaded snow on the mountain.  It is the non-variegated kind.  Hence my confusion.  It is now in the yard waste bin and will become compost.  Good but temporary riddance.   Every time I dig up snow on the mountain I think about postmodern theory and all those little under-the-surface connections.