Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day: July 15, 2014

Cool temps and plenty of rain.  That’s the kind of summer we have been having so far as we enter the middle of July.   That means the gardens are green and full of blooms.  Here is what is blooming today on Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day: July, 2014.

Day lilies, white clematis, Jean Davis lavender greeting everyone at the entrance to the Secret Garden.
Day lilies, white clematis, Jean Davis lavender greeting everyone at the entrance to the Secret Garden.
Looking east in the Secret Garden. Great Expectations is blooming.
Looking east in the Secret Garden. Great Expectations is blooming.
White Dome hydrangea, Rosie Returns day lily, Cool Cat catmint, various cone flowers.
White Dome hydrangea, Rosie Returns day lily, Cool Cat catmint, various cone flowers.
Rosie Returns day lily on the left, First Knight is the yellow lily across the path, crocosmia near the garden lady.
Rosie Returns day lily on the left, First Knight is the yellow lily across the path, crocosmia near the garden lady.
A visitor in the Secret Garden.  She is welcome anytime.
A visitor in the Secret Garden. She is welcome anytime.
First Knight
First Knight
The hosta bed in the front garden under the magnolia tree.
The hosta bed in the front garden under the magnolia tree.
My favorite un-named day lily.
My favorite un-named day lily.
Plum Pudding catching an extra petal (and a katydid nymph)
Plum Pudding catching an extra petal (and a katydid nymph)
Rosie Returns also wants to go the extra mile and add an extra petal and sepal.
Rosie Returns also wants to go the extra mile and add an extra petal and sepal.
The hydrangeas are doing far better than I expected since the park removed a maple tree that gave them so much shade.
The hydrangeas are doing far better than I expected since the park removed a maple tree that gave them so much shade.
In the Lower Garden, the Zagreb Coreopsis is blooming.  I cut back the geranium but it still has some lovely blue flowers on it. That's Strawberry Candy under the Rose of Sharon.
In the Lower Garden, the Zagreb Coreopsis is blooming. I cut back the geranium but it still has some lovely blue flowers on it. That’s Strawberry Candy under the Rose of Sharon.
Prince of Midnight day lily.
Prince of Midnight day lily.
Crocosmia in the Secret Garden
Crocosmia in the Secret Garden

June 15: Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day

East Friesland Sage in the Secret Garden
East Friesland Sage in the Secret Garden. There is a family of wrens in the bird house.

Ah, June.  It’s a happy month in the garden.  The temps this year have been mild and we’ve had enough rain.  I’m getting ready for my big shindig next Saturday which means I’d better hurry up and get the last of the annuals planted.  I have a flat of purple petunias to put in and a few red impatiens.  And there is a dwarf sweet spire that I need to find a place for.  I’ve ordered two more chairs for the sitting area in the Secret Garden.  And, I’m in the process of getting estimates for a new fence that separates my yard from the park.  And, of course, I am enjoying my new brick pathways.  What a lucky gardener I am…

Many thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day.

Alchemilla and Blue Ice Amsonia in the Secret Garden
Alchemilla and Blue Ice Amsonia in the Secret Garden
Entrance garden.  That is Walker's Low Nepeta in the foreground.
Entrance garden. That is Walker’s Low Nepeta in the foreground.
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Daddy Long Legs on Wild Berry Hansa Rose
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Looking east in the Secret Garden. The Kousa dogwood is in bloom. The huechera in in bloom under the dogwood.
Heuchera in the Secret Garden
Heuchera in the Secret Garden
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Looking into the Secret Garden. Those are red begonias at the entrance.
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White poppies are almost finished blooming
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Berry White Nemesia in the corner nook.
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Purple Smoke Baptisia in the False Garden
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Rose Campion
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Walker’s Low Nepeta with a friend
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Persian Star Allium. I didn’t plant this but found it in a well established day lily bed.
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Bleeding Heart
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Old white climbing rose in the corner nook
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Looking through the Kousa dogwood in the Secret Garden
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Lisanthus in the corner nook
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The northwest corner of the Secret Garden
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Tradescantia in the corner nook



Wild Spice Hansa Rose in the Lower Garden
Wild Spice Hansa Rose in the Lower Garden

 

Cranesbill geranium with  annual geraniums in the Lower Garden
Cranesbill geranium with annual geraniums in the Lower Garden


Corner nook, old white climber and bleeding heart.
Corner nook, old white climber and bleeding heart.

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.

 

May 15, 2014: Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day

This is my first bloom day of the season!  A shout out to May Dreams Gardens for starting this wonderful tradition of reporting out what is blooming in our gardens on the 15th of each month.  I love going to her website and following the links to gardens all over the world.

Lots of life is happening in the garden.

Who doesn't get a little melty over bleeding heart.  This one is celebrating life in a sheltered corner with a zillion and a half maple seedlings.
Who doesn’t get a little melty over bleeding heart. This one is celebrating life in a sheltered corner with a zillion and a half maple seedlings.







 

I'm a little worried about the Sweet Autumn clematis. I'm not seeing signs of life yet.  The arbor fell over during a wind storm a couple weeks ago.  And, of course, we had a killer winter.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
I’m a little worried about the Sweet Autumn clematis. I’m not seeing signs of life yet. The arbor fell over during a wind storm a couple weeks ago. And, of course, we had a killer winter. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
The pink heather has been blooming for several weeks.  This bed always looks a bit scraggly until the bark goes in and the later blooming plants fill in.
The pink heather has been blooming for several weeks. This bed always looks a bit scraggly until the bark goes in and the later blooming plants fill in.
Lilacs along the north wall of the Secret Garden.
Lilacs along the north wall of the Secret Garden.
Jack Frost Brunnera blooming all by itself in the Secret Garden.
Jack Frost Brunnera blooming all by itself in the Secret Garden.
Hellebore near the back door.
Hellebore near the back door.
Lovely deep pink hellebore that a friend gave me.
Lovely deep pink hellebore that a friend gave me.
I've actually yanked out one large holly bush, and two more will be going to a good home, perhaps this weekend.  But I'm keeping this guy.
I’ve actually yanked out one large holly bush, and two more will be going to a good home, perhaps this weekend. But I’m keeping this guy.
Another shot of the holly that will be staying.  Next to it is another Sweet Autumn clematis that I'm hoping is just sleeping.
Another shot of the holly that will be staying. Next to it is another Sweet Autumn clematis that I’m hoping is just sleeping.
The Foamy Bells have won the heuchera race.  Actually, Foamy Bells are Heucherella, a cross between heuchera and tiarella.
The Foamy Bells have won the heuchera race. Actually, Foamy Bells are Heucherella, a cross between heuchera and tiarella. And, yes, those little bits of green are more maple saplings.
Walker's Low catmint isn't blooming yet, but it really, really wants to.  I'm so in love with this catmint that I think I'm going to plant more of it in the Secret Garden.
Walker’s Low catmint isn’t blooming yet, but it really, really wants to. I’m so in love with this catmint that I think I’m going to plant more of it in the Secret Garden.
The old cherry tree in the lower garden is starting to let it's petals fall.  Each spring I try and stand underneath it so that a few petals will fall on me.
The old cherry tree in the lower garden is starting to let its petals fall. Each spring I try and stand underneath it so that a few petals will fall on me.
The old magnolia in the front garden is just about finished with its blooms.  Our rain has knocked a lot of the flowers to the ground, but this tree is beautiful in all seasons.
The old magnolia in the front garden is just about finished with its blooms. Our rain has knocked a lot of the flowers to the ground, but this tree is beautiful in all seasons.
Sensational lilac along the north wall of the Secret Garden.  LOVE this lilac, but I need to give it hard prune as soon as it stops blooming.
Sensational lilac along the north wall of the Secret Garden. LOVE this lilac, but I need to give it hard prune as soon as it stops blooming.
Madame Lemoine lilac along the north wall of the Secret Garden.
Madame Lemoine lilac along the north wall of the Secret Garden.
Belle de Nancy lilac in the Secret Garden.
Belle de Nancy lilac in the Secret Garden.

Moving Through June

Waiting for the marigolds to take hold.
Looking west in the lower garden. The perennial geranium looks great against the white dome hydrangeas.
Looking east in the Secret Garden. I’m loving the Red Dragon laceleaf maple.
The northwest part of the Secret Garden.
Another view of the eastern path in the Secret Garden, this time showing the little rose campion that a neighbor gave me years ago.
Behind the garage in the Secret Garden. You’d never know I thinned those hostas.
Looking north in the lower garden. This is more of the rose campion that a neighbor gave me. The pigmy barberries have been moved a number of times, but they have thrived here for several years. The color adds a nice contrast.

Like so many others, I’m seeing so many earlier-than-usual blooms.  The hydrangeas are at least two weeks ahead of schedule.  And, the day lilies are budding.  They usually don’t come on until July.  I’m wondering what August is going to be like if everything is ahead of schedule.  I’m glad I’ve planted a lot of marigolds.

My annual garden party and recital is coming up on the 16th and the gardens should be in good shape.  The guys came and spread the shredded bark, and that always makes the gardens pop.  I removed six caryopteris bushes and that has helped de-clutter three beds.  I love caryopteris, but they love my soil and were just too big.  They’ve been given new homes. I also removed three David Austin roses, and Rhapsody in Blue.  They already had black spot and looked scraggly.  It was time to admit they just weren’t ever going to thrive.

But gardening is a lot like writing.  There are endless opportunities to revise.

Today was the 5th week I’ve set up at the Fulton Street Farmers Market.  The weather was wonderful, I sold out of most of the cookies, and I even sold a hosta.

Lilies in Heat

They say the heat dome that gave us temps in the 90’s has moved on, but it’s still hot and humid here in west Michigan.  But the day lilies know it is their time to shine, and shine they do!  It’s also time for the crocosmia and this is its best year.  I love that bright red.

Day Lilies and Crocosmia

But also blooming is the old rose of sharon.  The bees and the hummingbirds love it.

The Old Rose of Sharon in the Lower Garden
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A "Nameless" Day Lily

So, today, this is what the Secret Garden looks like.

Thinking Ahead And Thinking Back

I stumbled on this picture when I was searching through images on an old computer.  It’s a wonder the thing will still boot up!  I think I took it during the second summer I lived here at 337.  I’d just planned out most of what I call The Lower Garden, the section of the back yard that is closest to the house.  I had cleared the “brush” from the “Upper Garden,” and didn’t know yet what I was going to do with it.  I was wishing for brick pathways but knew I couldn’t afford that.  Good friend and voice teacher Dale came to the rescue and suggested crushed limestone paths and added the magic words “I’ll help you.”  But this is what that space looked like before the paths went in.  I see a couple of lime stones that at one time formed a patio.  I pried those up and used them to line the beds in the Lower Garden, but this picture shows that I still had a couple of stones to place.  Actually, from time to time I discover another flat limestone piece when I’m digging deep.  That “upper garden” become the Secret Garden, by the way.

Secret Garden "Before"