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.
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 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.
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.
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
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
It’s been quite the spring and summer for my hostas.
Hostas in the Lower 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.
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.