Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Thunder

Thunderstorms rolled through just after dawn this morning and we got about a third of an inch of rain.  After it cleared at noon, it was hot, sunny and humid.

I did almost nothing in the yard, and died of sweat doing it.  I just walked around with the torch weeder, zapping wet weeds.  I trimmed up the blackhaw viburnum in front of Meadow's Edge, and gave the Sheffield Pink mums their pinchings (sheared them with the shears).  Phew!

The amsonias are blooming, but the hubrichtii in front is white, not even close to being blue.  The flowers are fuzzy, kind of bottlebrush-like, not the starry spikes I had expected. 

Amsonia 'Blue Ice' are low growing and vivid blue.

I finally pruned the 'Okame' cherry that had such a lopsided form.  It is now limbed up and skinny but should fill out more evenly.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Peony 'Blaze'

Hot and humid and breezy, in the 80s.  Very summery.

The peonies!  So hard to photograph, so stunning in real life.

 And look how the red pops from afar:

As you can see, the purple 'May Night' salvias are in bloom and the deep rich purple is great with the red peony.  The doublefile viburnum is still blooming strong.  The camassias are gone by, and the cute geums are also gone.

All the little woodland hyacinths at the front of the Birch garden are just going by now.  The Zebrina mallow is opening.

The newest persicaria 'Dimity' have shot up fuzzy pink spikes, but the older plants haven't bloomed yet. Amsonias are blooming, but the pale soft blue is so hard to photograph.

Allium moly and the soft pink rosy garlic are flowering.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

New Dogwood and Viburnum

Yesterday was the first really nice day this whole spring.  70s, sunny and pleasant all day, not just for a part of it.  But the power washers were here, kind of trapping us indoors all day as they worked on ladders around the whole house.

After they were gone, in the evening after dinner, it was cool and nice and I planted the 15 gal. Dawn viburnum.  Thought it would be so hard, but it wasn't.  A little awkward, but manageable all on my own.   It's way too close to the house, but does stay very vertical and narrow I have read.

Then today was back to dreary and overcast.  It got really humid and up in the 80s. 

I decided not to replace the little beheaded cornus mas by the driveway. 

It has leafed out, it is shorter, but it's full and not terribly deformed looking after all, and I don't want to move it.  It will grow. 

So I put the expensive big new one out at the far corner of the yard by the birches, where Jim has wanted an anchor plant to "finish" the view.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Visit at the Asylum

Humid today, still wet and deary since we got back, but by late afternoon it cleared and was lovely.

I went over to Cyndy Cromwell's today (Gardening Asylum) and toured her garden in Glastonbury.  She has just under an acre of very shady, very dense and lush woodland gardens.  It was wonderful talking plants with her and seeing everything she has.

She dug up things as we went along, and I now have purple irises spilling over the bare edges of the dry creek bed, as well as more Carex 'Ice Dance'.  And she gave me a clump of chocolate Joe Pye weed, Eupatorium rugosum 'Chocolate'.  It has lovely dark foliage and is supposed to be compact and upright.  I put it in the Meadow's Edge garden on the left side.
Eupatorium rugosum 'Chocolate'
She also gave me some autumn crocus (it has huge strappy foliage that will disappear later... I thought autumn crocus was a small leaved little thing?)

And Queen of the Meadow -- Filipendula rubra.  Not sure about the pinkish fuzzy blooms.  I put it next to the doublefile viburnum, squashed in with clumps of daylilies.  It will get tall, but stays sturdy and upright.  It wants a lot of moisture.  If the foliage declines, cut it back.
Filipendula rubra

She cut two viburnum branches, one with roots (viburnum tomentosum 'Mariesii' which is similar to my 'Shasta').  The other is Viburnum x carlcephaleum I think, fragrant snowball.  Hers was in full bloom and delicately beautiful.  She cut a branch and we'll see if it roots in soil, but it's iffy.

After my visit with Cyndy, I went to Woodland Gardens and got the Cornus mas they ordered for me (very large!) to replaced the little beheaded one, and the Dawn viburnum, a tall 15 gallon plant!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Back Home

Returned from Missouri on Saturday.  In our absence, over 5 days we had 3.1 inches of much needed rain.  It's still cool (60s) and overcast.

The doublefile viburnum blossomed while we were gone:

The camassias are in full bloom, awfully pale, but massing nicely:

I love the new smokebush.  The leaves really are a deep color but translucent:

I am not at all sure about the 'My Monet' weigela.  The flowers are sparse, the colors are odd:

Lupines on the back hill have spread:

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Good Soak

A long soaking rain today, finally.  This will really make everything look good and leaf out.  Temperature is only in the high 50s, low 60s.  More rain is expected all week long while we are gone.

I set out tiny tiny zinnia seedlings that had just popped up in their peat pots a few days ago.  I hope they don't drown.  I put the whole little pot in the ground.  There weren't even any real leaves yet, just the first two cotyledons.

The zinnias I sowed indoors in March got too lanky and leggy and did not thrive, so this is a do-over.  Since we will be gone for a week, I hope the rain keeps them moist enough to start growing.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Timing is everything.

Blogger was down for several days, my updates and garden chores got ahead of me, and now we are off to St. Louis.

This spring has been so slow and dry (no appreciable rain for weeks, just under an inch in 29 days).

So everything is tardy.  And now as we get ready to leave for a week, everything is ready to pop while we are gone: the camassias are opening but not quite there yet (I hope they'll still be in full bloom when we get back):
not quite open yet
The red peony 'Blaze' has such a short bloom time, and it is ready to burst open, but will be gone in a week.

The slender deutzias have pearls of buds and will open in a few days.  

The aronia blooms, which look like little apple blossoms, are ready to open, but not quite there yet.
aronias getting ready
The doublefile viburnum is ready to bloom, all the flowers are opening but are still greenish.  Will they be there when we get back?
Doublefile starting to bloom

Doublefile viburnum flowers
Same thing with the redtwig dogwoods, although they are not as showy as the viburnum.  But the shrubs are covered right now.
Redtwig dogwoods beginning to flower
Redtwig dogwood blossom

Thank goodness for the cute geums, still blooming away, and some potted dianthus, and the tiarellas, now in full bloom.

In the time since my last blog post a week ago, we have been to the Berkshire Botanical Garden to see the tree houses (disappointing, but the garden is a delight in all seasons), and to the Glastonbury plant sale.  I've planted more things (annuals, some Blue Eyed Grass, tall plumbagos on bamboo teepees, some low boxwoods called Tide Hill) in the new border of the Secret Garden.

I got a smokebush Cotinus 'Grace' at Farmington Valley Nursery and put it in at the corner of the garden above the driveway.  I want to keep it as a cut back shrub for its foliage, but the plant already has flowers forming!

I've put down 20 bags of mulch... it doesn't go far!  That's 1.5 cubic yards so far.

I also did surgery on the Stewartia monadelpha, which had winter damage on the top half, not leafing out above the middle.
I chopped off the dead branches and leader, but left enough of the dead stump to tie a living side branch to in an upright orientation --- hopefully the tied branch will become the new leader.
How I hated to lose the graceful tall form of this little tree. 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

New Pagoda Dogwood

Low 70s today, a little cloudy but pleasant.

I planted the new pagoda dogwood today in place of the Silver Cloud redbd that didn't make it from last year.

I also planted the Cotinus 'Grace' by the Knockout roses at the top of the driveway.

Can't wait to see both fill in.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Still Cold

A cold, overcast, windy day, in the 50s.

The Knockout roses are leafing out:

The fothergillas are blooming, but the one on the right looks sparse. 

The one at the left edge of the walk has way more flowers:

The new gardens are planted:

This is the first year I have noticed any blooms on the redbud out in the meadow.  They are sparse and only on the top branches:

The Silver Cloud redbud looks deader than dead.  Only a bud or two on the trunk, nothing in the canopy.  Branches are stiff and crack easily.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Downstate Shopping

Cold rainy and wet, barely into the low 50s.  We went nursery shopping today in the pouring rain.

First: Broken Arrow.  A gorgeous 7 gallon Pagoda dogwood.  A tiny persimmon.  Another Deutzia gracilis 'Nikko' to add to the east side.

Next: Ballek's.  Lady in Red salvias.  Pretty Much Picasso petunia.  A little dianthus for the tufa pot.

Next: Natureworks.  Four big tiarellas 'Candy Striper' to add to my mini drift in Northern Exposure, and a dill plant.

We're soaking wet and cold, but I got to visit Ballek's and Natureworks for the first time, and Broken Arrow is always a treat. 

The Pagoda dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) will not be planted as a focal point in the new Secret Garden border, but I'll find another spot for it.  In front of the dry creek bed to replace the (dead?) Silver Cloud redbud?  It's the species, by the way, not the more delicate variegated or golden leaved dogwood.

Monday, May 2, 2011

What's Blooming

In the 60s today, cool and overcast.

We used up all the dirt!  The full 6 cubic yards is completely gone.  We cut an extension to the small garden in front of Meadow's Edge and then filled in low spots in all the existing gardens, and now it is all gone, the pavers in the driveway are cleaned up, and we are back to normal.

What looks good on May 2?  Take a look:
Lynwood forsythias are still blooming and the Bloodgood maple is leafing out
Epimediums are in bloom.  This is Rubrum, under the maple in Meadow's Edge
And Frohnleiten under the dogwood.  It's really filled out finally
Ogon spirea in Meadow's Edge really pops
cute little Geums
Forget Me Nots (Mysotis) under the Silver Cloud redbud are spreading
Magnolia Elizabeth
Kinnikinnik is blooming
Kinnikinnik up close: so pretty
Orange Dream Japanese maple leafing out; Huskers Red penstemon below

In the woods the wild cherry trees are in bloom.