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
DSC_1028
Sea Urchin
DSC_1030
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.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, July 15, 2013

Crocosmia adds such a wonderful pizazz to the day lily bed.  I love the way it drapes over the Garden Lady.
Crocosmia adds such a wonderful pizazz to the day lily bed. I love the way it drapes over the Garden Lady.

The temps rose yesterday to 90 degrees, but the heat isn’t unexpected.  And, we are not experiencing a drought like last year.  July blooms are on schedule and it seems like the whole garden is making up for last year.  The cherry tree is still full of gorgeous red tart cherries.  In fact, I picked 4 cups last night and made a cherry crisp.  Last year I didn’t even bother with picking.  The early warmth and subsequent freeze killed last years crop.

Blooming in the garden right now:

First Knight day lily, one of my favorites.
First Knight day lily, one of my favorites.
Zagreb Coreopsis and rose campion that a neighbor gave me years ago.
Zagreb Coreopsis and rose campion that a neighbor gave me years ago.
A few white clematis keep blooming.  I didn't get much of a show this year, but will take whatever I can get from this lovely vine.
A few white clematis keep blooming. I didn’t get much of a show this year, but will take whatever I can get from this lovely vine.
The Garden Lady is framed in day lilies and crocosmia.  The is the view from the entrance of the Secret Garden.
The Garden Lady is framed in day lilies and crocosmia. The is the view from the entrance of the Secret Garden.
Annabelle Hydrangea putting on a great show.  Last year Annabelle did not do much because of the heat.
Annabelle Hydrangea putting on a great show. Last year Annabelle did not do much because of the heat.
White Dome hydrangeas and Zagreb coreopsis in the lower garden.
White Dome hydrangeas and Zagreb coreopsis in the lower garden.
This is about as blue as this variegated lace cape hydrangea gets. Each year I ammend the soil with acid and it never seems to be enough.
This is about as blue as this variegated lace cape hydrangea gets. Each year I ammend the soil with acid and it never seems to be enough.
The Francis Williams hostas in the front garden are starting to bud.  Behind them are the White Dome hydrangeas that are in full lacy bloom.
The Francis Williams hostas in the front garden are starting to bud. Behind them are the White Dome hydrangeas that are in full lacy bloom.
I removed a lot of the Strawberry Candy day lilies in the front when I took out the Pana Rhododendrons.  This is one of the only clumps left.
I removed a lot of the Strawberry Candy day lilies in the front when I took out the Pana Rhododendrons. This is one of the only clumps left.
Newly planted just a month ago, the Walker's Low catmint is doing very well in the entrance garden.
Newly planted just a month ago, the Walker’s Low catmint is doing very well in the entrance garden.
Red Knockout rose in the rose medallion seems to not only avoid disease, but Japanese beetles. Yes, they've arrived for their yearly feast.
Red Knockout rose in the rose medallion seems to not only avoid disease, but Japanese beetles. Yes, they’ve arrived for their yearly feast.
Limelight Hydrangea is just starting to bloom.
Limelight Hydrangea is just starting to bloom.
Nameless dark lily doesn't seem to be quite so dark this year.
Nameless dark lily doesn’t seem to be quite so dark this year.
Looking west from the eastern part of the Secret Garden.  The Japanese Maple and various hostas seem happy.
Looking west from the eastern part of the Secret Garden. The Japanese Maple and various hostas seem happy.
Stitch in Time Hosta is starting to bloom.
Stitch in Time Hosta is starting to bloom.
Francee, Stained Glass, June, Great Expectations, and various heuchera.
Francee, Stained Glass, June, Great Expectations, and various heuchera.
Barbara Mitchell day lily in the Secret Garden.
Barbara Mitchell day lily in the Secret Garden.
Day lilies and crocosmia in a riot of bloom.
Day lilies and crocosmia in a riot of bloom.
My Sweet Rose day lily.
My Sweet Rose day lily.
Lavender Doll day lily, Cool Cat Nepetha, Jean Davis Lavender, purple cone flower from a friend, White Dome hydrangea.
Lavender Doll day lily, Cool Cat Nepetha, Jean Davis Lavender, purple cone flower from a friend, White Dome hydrangea.
Purple cone flower just starting to bloom.
Purple cone flower just starting to bloom.
Fragrant Angel echanacea with a friendly bumblebee.
Fragrant Angel echanacea with a friendly bumblebee.
Zagreb coreopsis and a purple coneflower that isn't sure what she is supposed to look like. But she's blooming in her own unique way.
Zagreb coreopsis and a purple coneflower that isn’t sure what she is supposed to look like. But she’s blooming in her own unique way.
Purple coneflower from a friend and Fragrant Angel echinacea.
Purple coneflower from a friend and Fragrant Angel echinacea.
Marigolds and purple petunias great me at the back door.
Marigolds and purple petunias greet me at the back door.

Hostas, Baby

It’s been quite the spring and summer for my hostas.

Hostas in the Lower Garden

Lucy Vitols sits right next to my back steps. I love the deeply textured leaves.
Though hard to see, there are three Halcyon hostas at the top of this picture.  This H. tardiana cultivar maintains its rich blue color all summer. It’s leaves are quite sturdy. It sits outside my kitchen door near the Lucy Vitols. In front of it is a Francee that seems very happy in this location that receives a nice mixture of sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon.
The champ of the season, hosta seboldiana Elegans, is threatening to take over the universe. It’s been in this spot for five years and was even thinned last year.
The large hosta to the right is Abiqua Drinking Gourd. It’s large blue leaves form a cup that can actually hold water. In the middle are some pots that I take to the farmers market. But behind those pots is one of my favorites, Stained Glass. It is a sport of Guacamole and has shiny leaves and fragrant lavender flowers.  The hosta in the upper left is Singing in the Rain.
The large hosta on the right is Regal Splendor. It has this lovely vase shape is a nice contrast to the hostas around it that grow in a more circular shape. Next to it is Christmas Tree.
On the right is Striptease. I was looking for a hosta that had a bold white stripe down the center and though the stripes haven’t quite shown themselves in the three years that this hosta has been in place, I love the name. I bought it at the same time I bought Hanky Panky. Every garden should have a few lewd plants. The bright green hosta on the left is a mystery.
This blurry image features Krossa Regal and June Fever. I love June Fever’s glossy foliage
This little guy had to have been planted last summer, but the tag isn’t in my book and so it is just another mystery hosta until I find the tag.
Here is another Striptease. It sits next to a division that a friend gave me, but its name is another mystery. It might be Sum and Substance, though the leaves don’t seem quite oval enough. Behind on the right is another mystery that is probably Ryan’s Big One.
In the back behind the Francis Williams and the Endless Summer hydrangea is Sum and Substance, a division I got from a friend.

Front Garden

I like mixing huechera with hostas and the front bed under the magnolia tree is a good example of how these work together. On the right are Francis Williams. These are a sport of Seboldiana Elegans and they were the first hostas I planted. To the left is Guacamole. Tucked behind Guacamole is Golden Tiara. The blue hosta to the left of the huechera is another mystery. I want to say it is Wheaton Blue, but it seems a bit small.
The hosta with the narrow white stripe down the center is Lakeside Beach Captain. Next to it is a recent addition, but, again, I’ve put the tag somewhere and now can’t remember the name. On the far left is an Elegans division from the monster under the cherry tree in the lower garden.
The large hosta on the left is another Francis Williams. In the center is another Lakeside Beach Captain and to the right is another division of Elegans. To the far right is Pineapple Upsidedown Cake. I love its brightness against the blue of the Elegans.

Secret Garden

I think the Secret Garden hosta beds are my favorites, perhaps because I didn’t not initially think I would plant hostas there.  But the spot behind the garage is shady and it became the home for hostas that weren’t thriving in other beds like the Great Expectations and the Francees.  I gradually began adding more varieties, and sprinkled in huecheras for contrast. I decided to put more hostas under the Kousa Dogwood, just to carry the eye across the garden path.

In the foreground are the Great Expectations. I initially planted these in the front garden in full sun. That was a mistake. They much prefer the dabbled light at the far eastern edge of the Secret Garden. I’ve heard that Great Expectations can be tricky to grow, but obviously these are doing well. I don’t give them any extra attention. Next to the Great Expectations are the Francees. They, too, could not take the sun in the Lower Garden. I always think of the word “tailored” when I see these hostas. They are elegant and tidy.
Just west of the Francees is one of my favorites, Stained Glass. This hosta has a fragrant flower and lovely shiny leaves that add a nice contrast to the Krossa Regal behind it.
Meet June, the “parent” of June Fever which lives under the cherry tree in the Lower Garden.  It is a tissue sport of Halcyon.
Looking east in the Secret Garden. The hosta with the light stripe in center June. Behind it is Dream Weaver, a sport of Great Expectations.
Under the Kousa Dogwood is Ghost Spirit. I think I just liked the name. Next to it is Dream Weaver.
On the left is one of my favorites–Stitch in Time. It’s got these wonderful puckery leaves and a bold dark stripe down the center of bright green leaves. Next to it is Allegan Fog. Behind is one of several Dream Weavers. I think I went Dream Weaver crazy at the end of a season a couple years ago.  As I recall they were only $1.  How could I not get them??
These three hostas sit under the eastern edge of the old dogwood.  The two in front are Moerheims. I don’t know what the one behind is. I think I may have thought I was buying three Moerheims. It may be that the one in back doesn’t turn white around the edges because it gets less light.  But it might be Hanky Panky.  I bought it and Striptease together and I don’t see anything in the garden that resembles Hanky Panky.  I really do need to keep track of these things better.
Under the old dogwood on the west is another Dream Weaver and several Patriots that were not thriving in the full sun in the bed under the sun room and dining room. They seem to like the shade under the dogwood far better.

New Additions

K Gardens in Byron Center had an open house yesterday and I stopped by.  I picked up four new hostas and have planted them in the Secret Garden.

Silver Threads and Golden Stitches just seemed like a logical choice to put next to Stitch in Time. They aren’t related, and Silver Threads may be much smaller, but…
I planted, from top, Orange Crush, My Friend Nancy (how could I resist!), and Deep Blue Sea under the lilacs on the north side of the Secret Garden.
This might be a pipevine swallowtail caterpillar. It’s the second one I’ve seen in 24 hours. I know that a female swallowtail seemed to love the dutchman’s pipe this year. I wonder if this is one of her babies.