Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Pinks

Just a lovely day.  Dry, sunny, cool.  It was a little hot working in the garden, but after dinner the air is cool, the windows are open.  This morning was clear and dew spangled and I had my coffee sitting on the front steps inhaling the sweet fragrance of the pink Knockout roses.

I moved the little sassafras out to the back hill to replace the one that didn't take this spring.  It is now limp and unhappy, but I moved it before, and it recovered.  We'll see.

I also moved a white pine out from the depths of the treeline along the back hill and put it out in the meadow.

I got more rhus aromatica at Warner's to continue filling in the Drive By Garden.  The hot pink penstemons that I moved from the Birch Garden are blooming. They are a very hard color to coordinate with anything else, but I am actually liking them with the dusty blue green Rosa glauca. 

Hard to photograph, but this might be a nice combo when they mature.

The Beverly Sills iris is another pink bloomer right now.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sticky Hot

Very humid today and yesterday.  And on Sunday when we visited Tom & Joanna in Brooklyn (at the Botanic Garden) it was uncomfortably humid as well.

I wanted to get out and pinch all the mums back, and cut the flowering stems off the Angelina sedum, but I waited until 10 a.m. and it really was too miserable to be out there.  I need to get out after supper maybe, and get some minor chores done.  The stem cutting of turtlehead and Frosty Morn sedums need to be planted.

And I want to move the sassafras that is on the berm out to the back hill.  It really does not belong so close to the spruces, and it will cause problems in the future.  And one of the little saplings I got this spring and put on the back hill has died.  I'll put the healthy one from the berm out there, poor thing --- it has been moved three times already.

Thunderstorms are predicted, though.  We need the rain and the cooling.

But really, all looks good.  Very good.  I am loving the Birch Garden this year with the addition of the white Immortality and peachy Beverly Sills irises on the right side.  Both are blooming now and can be seen from the house.

I put a tiny red dwarf rose on the left side and plunked the Angelonias there and they are colorful blooming together along with a few surviving bright yellow allium moly in what had been an empty spot. (I took the tricolor sage out, too blah and it didn't come back well this spring.)  For the first time it all looks so colorful and full.  Wait till the Carolina Moonlight baptisia fills in on the left side in a few years!

Twilite Prairieblues baptisia is blooming.  I did a much better job this year of staking it early so it is very full and upright.  The blooms are pretty when I look out the bedroom window in the early morning, but in the full noonday sun they are such a weird rusty color.

The roses in front of it are not groundcover roses at all, but they are small, and a pretty red.  The tiarellas are now getting shaded and overtopped by all the foliage around them, but are still blooming!

Even the geums are still blooming a happy orange, but sparser now.

Blueberries abound on three of the bushes I moved.  One has far fewer.

I had two strawberries for breakfast today. Sweet, ripe, not overly strawberry-flavorful though.

The sweetbay magnolia is blooming, and if I get right in the flowers and disturb them a little I do smell a nice fragrance, not quite lemony though.  This year the tree held its leaves (the warm snowless winter), and the dessicated icky leaves are still hanging on while it blooms and starts to fill in again.  Not a great look.

For fragrance, though, the Blushing Pink Knockout rose by the front door is great.  Very fragrant and a gentle, nice smell.  I did not like the cherry red Knockouts, and took them out, but the pink one is a delightful complex color, and so sweet.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

I Got a New Tree

Just when I thought I needed no more large trees, I bought a small sweetgum from Kevin Wilcox's new nursery in Bloomfield.  It is Liquidambar styraciflua Silver King.

Look at the variegated leaves.

It is a regular sweetgum and will get large and will produce gumballs.  After all my dithering about a yard tree, and my rejection of sweetgums because of the mess and the size, I went and got this one and put it right by the driveway, where the gumballs will be a problem.  I planted it at the end of the Drive By garden, where the hydrangea serrata is.

I have long wanted shade on that side, and this tree will shade the open pavers by the garage.  The cornus mas will stay smaller behind it, the hydrangea will remain under it (that's the pile of twigs in the photos, ack), and I can keep it limbed up to walk under.  The gumballs - - - hmmm.  I will have to keep them cleaned up.

It adds a light look at that end of the long garden.  After seeing Cheryl Fox's mature garden Thursday night at book group, I just felt like what I had was tentative and I could use more of everything.  More shade, more trees, more mass, deeper borders, more repetition.  Sigh.

It was very hot and humid today, in the 80s, but I got it planted before it got too miserable.  The rest of the day was oppressive and it feels like a storm may come up.  I hope.

I also planted another salix yezoalpina that I got from Kevin's nursery.  The whole patch on the east side is spreading out beautifully.  What a neat groundcover.

The climbing hydrangea is blooming at the top (I pruned all the blooms off the lower branches when I shaped it this spring.)  The doublefile viburnum is gone by finally.  Amsonias are blooming including the transplanted Blue Ice dwarf ones.

The Korean spirea Pink Parasols is blooming.

The kiwi vine seems to be recovering from something that had tinged the leaves brown.

The male has the distinct pink markings.

So much is happening now. Something new every day.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Misty May Weather

It has been rainy, but today was damp and misty, without any real rainfall.  But I got soaked, just working in the yard.

The tiny little Henryi clematis has a bloom.  So clear and white.

The front walk looks good, with the allium moly blooming now, and the rosy garlic just gone by.  Sedum kamschaticum is blooming.

The Birch Garden looks great.  This year in addition to the appearance of 'Black Barlow' columbines that had been missing for years, the red dianthus has spread quite a bit.  A clump of wild fleabane (Erigeron philadelphicus) has popped up next to the red dianthus and actually looks very nice.

Note to self -- be sure to cut the abelia stems down to the ground at the end of winter.  I left them this year and as the abelia leafs out it looks raggedy.

The pink knockout rose is blooming by the front steps..

And I love this vignette along the front walk.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

May Sunshine

Another beautiful day, but more humid, and warmer.  In the high 70s.  Rain is on the way for tomorrow.

I planted the zinnia seedlings.

The blue eyed grass is blooming.  I divided two plants six ways earlier this spring, so they haven't filled in completely yet.

The red peony 'Blaze' is out --- such a sight.  Columbines are blooming, and the purple iris planted by the new bridge over the dry creekbed is open.

Jim got some great shots of the peony.  The salvia 'May Night' is in full rich purple bloom.

Iris 'Immortality' is opening, despite being moved all around multiple times.

And . . . I have had two ripe strawberries, despite all the plants being moved around this spring.  They were sweet, not overly flavorful yet.  More to come.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Glorious May Day

70s, cool, dry and sunny.  Everything in the garden looks perfect.

I've seen this all over Pinterest.  I thought it would involve digging and setting the pot in carefully, but I just plopped the pot on the ground and was done.  Kind of cute.

The alliums are big balls and the viburnum in the background has been blooming for weeks now.

The Birch Garden looks good, although at this early stage things are lumpen mounds.  A lot of purple.  The Carolina Moonlight baptisia I just added will give some yellow highlights.

Salvia May Night.  These seeded themselves, two side by side in front of the clear red peony which is about to open.

I love the wild lupines and daisies on the back hill.
I'm not sure the green director's chairs add anything, but it does put a little color in the gravel garden, and several people can sit there.

The Birch Garden from the other side.  Husker's Red penstemons look good and full and will be blooming shortly.

The Birch Garden from the right side.  The Orange Dream golden foliage really does pop from afar, mitigating some of the purples.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Yummy Salad

I had the best salad ever, with lettuce and a little bit of fresh basil from my pots on the deck.  Delicious.

It's not crispy lettuce like Romaine or Iceberg, but very flavorful and the basil added just the right spark.  I added chicken salad, some olives, peas, and lemon pepper seasoning.  Yum.

I could have added chives.  They are in bloom in a little pot among the rocks in the gravel.

The big alliums are in bloom.

This view reminds me how limp and awful the sweetbay magnolia looks in spring.  It keeps its leaves over winter, and the waxy evergreen foliage looks ok through the cold weather.  But then, just as everything else is perking up, it gets droopy and sparse looking.

I always think it is declining, and won't make it, but it is just shedding the old persistent leaves and getting ready to put out new ones.  It always looks wonderful and full later in spring, but in early May it looks terrible.

PS - isn't the light awful?  So many days of rain and gloom and overcast.  I adjusted these photos in Aperture, and still can't get the coloring to look decent.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Pink Knockout

Humid and warm today, in the 70s.  Rain on the way for the next few days.

The pink knockout rose is blooming.  This knockout is a very pretty, clear pink.

The hubrichtii amsonia is blooming now too.  The other amsonias are not quite open.

Right now the 'Crimson Queen' Japanese maple is a deep mahogany, but it will get browner with warmer weather.  The same thing with 'Bloodgood' in back.

I wandered around today and pruned things.  I controlled the redtwig dogwoods a little and limbed up the stewartia, the Dawn viburnum, and the Bloodgood maple.  Nothing very severe, just a little clean up of lower branches, but it improves things. 

I took branches off of the Crimson Queen maple after I took the picture above, just to thin it out.  When the leaves are down next winter I will need to go back and recut the branches that I chopped off, many were just cut at the midpoint since I could not see what I was doing.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

A very warm, summery day with humidity.  In the 80s.  But rain is coming in the early part of next week.

I planted the plumbagos inside the twig towers today.  And I put the climbing nasturtium Moonlight seeds in around the tuteurs by the meters.

Jim mowed and it all looks so good.  Alliums, including the rosy garlic along the front walk are out.

A very pretty Mother's Day.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Pretty Petals

Unsettled weather for days, more rain, clouds and wind.  Today started nice, then got very windy and cloudy.

I had one of those moments when you walk around the corner, lost in thought and suddenly see something so pretty it catches your breath.  The dogwood had dropped its petals.

The sprinkled pink petals were so artistically arranged, spread evenly and delicately all around.

It is a delight to see this vignette every time I go out to the driveway.

I took out the Forest Pansy redbud that was decapitated in the October snowstorm.  It had buds, but never leafed out.

I moved the Valley Valentine pieris to a spot on the east side right along the side of the house, next to the remaining Golden Peep forsythia.  It can get big and tall there and fill that empty space.  When I dug it up it had almost no root system.  Hmmm.

The inkberry hollies look terrible.  I thought they might be windburned or stressed from the dry weather in April.  Or freeze burned, particularly as the tips of the flowers are black.

After admiring how glossy and green and sparkly the foliage was all winter, I am distressed to see the leaves browning now. 

I think they have some bug.  Bartlett did treat them the other day.

Kiwis are blooming now (the females).  The leaves are browning at the tips, more than just frost burn from earlier weeks.  They have some kind of problem.

The male kiwi vines are showing some white tip splashes, and they are blooming too.

I planted the Moonlight climbing nasturtiums on the half round tuteurs by the meters today.  The sweet peas there are just coming up.

And I planted out the Lady in Red Salvia seedlings, by the patio.