Wednesday, June 27, 2012

End of June

Today was cool and windy, with a very refreshing breeze and sunshine.

We've had rain and thunderstorms and cloudy skies for a couple days, so this was nice.

I got out and did the hard work of cleaning up the edging all around the Birch Garden and each of the birch trees.  I edged, cut the encroaching grass, weeded, and then put several big bags of mulch down around the edges.  More to do.

Crocosmia is starting to bloom.

With all the rain, the meadow is looking good.

Milkweed is everywhere and blooming.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Day After

Everything looks good the day after a soaking rain.  Cooler today, but still humid.  We got 3/4 of an inch Friday and another quarter of an inch of rain overnight last night.  An inch of rain makes the gardens and lawn look so refreshed.

I took the rosy garlic and allium moly out of the front garden today.  The allium moly bulbs all came up and I have removed all of them.  But the rosy garlic bulbs had hundreds of tiny pearls of bulbs all around the main bulbs.  Hundreds!  And they were tiny.  So I may still have a ton of rosy garlic next spring, even though I tried to remove everything.

The buckeyes look so big this season, and are getting ready to bloom.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Hot Hot Hot

Yikes, 100 in the sun, 90s in the shade and the whole garden is suffering.  I watered well, and the sprinklers run each night.  Cooler weather is coming next week.

As I rethink spaces that aren't working now, here are some things I know I will need to do this fall.

1. Take out the onions along the front walk.  There is too much little bitty stuff going on there and it's busy.  And although they are cute for a brief time when blooming, the decayed foliage isn't.
2. Meadow's Edge needs editing.  A few big bold shrubs or forms is what's needed.  No more fountainy day lilies (get the rest out of there), and no more small perennial flowers.  It shouldn't be a flowery mixed garden.

The groundcover epimediums and persicaria can stay.  The camassias?  I do like them in spring, but the flopped foliage after blooming is not so hot.  But they will probably stay.  And the Ogon spirea and winterberries should stay.

What about the stands of physostegia, lobelia and turtlehead?  They are big enough and massed enough now that they may work as single large elements.  But the little pink sage, and the over-shaded butterfly weed, and the heleniums and sanguisorbas all need to come out.

For the moment I actually like this combo of sedum and Chocolate Joe Pye Weed.

3. The Karl Foerster grasses are the main thing that needs to be edited out of Meadow's Edge Garden.  They don't fit.  For that strip in the middle between the low persicaria and the bigger stuff in back, how about a line of Japanese painted ferns?  They are not big and bold foliage, which is what I think I need, but they are bright and can be massed to be a big element.  They won't be too tall like the grasses are.

4. Where to use the Karl Foerster grasses?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Almost 100 degrees today, and humid.  A hot dry breeze has wilted everything and all the plants are suffering.  Tomorrow will be just as bad, but I hope it will be short lived.

It has been so cool all June, now this.  I invited Margaret over to see the garden and of course she came after work, at 5 p.m.  The heat was horrendous.  And nothing looked that great.

But it did a few days ago!

The plumbago planted in the twig towers is growing, but is still only a foot tall.  I had expected it to be winding around the supports and blooming blue billows.  Need to be patient.

And the sweetpeas are growing, but no blooms, either in the pot or the ones planted by the metal trellis near the Crimson Queen Japanese maple.  No blooms yet, and I thought they were early spring flowers that liked the cool weather.

The gravel garden has looked so pleasant before the heat hit.  I'm pleased with it, even though there is so little shade.  The smokebush looks great.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Overcast and humid, quite gloomy looking all day today, but cool, in the 70s.

I saw a large doe in the yard yesterday, right out in the open.  And of course when I checked today, the sunflowers were chomped.

I had taken the cages off a few days ago, as the stalks were overtopping them, and had gotten woody enough not to be so tasty, I thought.  Even though the flowers were above the cages, they had not been touched.  Since removal of the cages, all but two have flower heads and top leaves eaten.

They also got all the blooms on the phlox planted by the gravel garden.  I'm not crazy about phlox, but they were big and bushy and would have added some deep purple color there.

I sprayed everything today.  Eeew.  Stinky, and I don't even know if it really works.

Something is curling and twisting all the new growth on the black gum in front. I don't see aphids, but the new leaves are deformed and curled.  Same thing with the new growth on the buckeyes.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Gearing Up for Summer

We got a good soaking inch of rain three days ago, and now several days of beautiful sunny, dry weather.  Sunshine is predicted for the next week too.  Gorgeous early summer weather, although we'll want some rain by later in the week.

I love the way the new Forest Pansy redbud pops in the distance.

And the tiarellas just keep blooming!  It's been since mid May, weeks and weeks of foamy flowers.

The little dwarf goatsbeard, Aruncus aesthifolia, never did anything for years.  It bloomed in tawny little spikes, but the plants stayed little lumps of green in the garden. This year, finally, they have really bulked up and are blooming profusely.

I put the largest of the goatsbeards into a clay pot on the porch, and it is big and leafy, but just starting to bloom now.

I moved the allium bulbs today, and put them in the middle of the Drive By Garden.  I'm still planting more and more of the Rhus aromatica there --- so much real estate to fill and for them to spread into.  I've lost track of how many I've planted now!

I must do something about the curve of the garden in front of the patio wall.  This looks goofy.

Containers are giving me fits, but I have moved stuff around, took out the lettuce and pansies in the big bowl and put the struggling Bonfire begonia in it.  All my containers are struggling, although the Pretty Much Picasso petunias have filled in.  The basil in a pot is wimpy and stunted, and nothing else looks very good in any of my attempts at container plantings.

Although I have to say the purple Jackmanii clematis in the big pot is nice. And the Alba Luxurians clematis is very nice and full.  The flowers this year are not as pretty as the first year.  They are limp, but not like delicate handkerchiefs, just kind of droopy, small and blah.  But the plant is full and lush.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

New Redbud

I replaced the lost redbud, the Forest Pansy sapling that was decapitated in last October's snowstorm.

We found a large specimen at Twin Nursery in Canton.

The leaves will fade during summer's heat, but right now it is bright wine colored.

I also got a honeysuckle, Lonicera 'John Clayton' with yellow blooms and I put that by the tuteurs in front of the meters.  It says it will take full sun as well as deep shade, and I did not realize how dark it can be behind the Alberta spruces there.

The house shades the area until afternoon, and it is a very deep shade.   Then, after noontime, the western sun hits it.

Friday, June 8, 2012


I sat outside this morning and did not feel compelled to weed, or think about what to move, or mull over the changes I want to make.

It was all perfect.  The air was refreshing, the sun mild, the breeze tickled.  I finally have dappled shade to sit in under the birch trees that surround the Birch Garden.  The plants in all the gardens have filled in and look so nice.

The nepeta and sundrops and dianthus and what is left of the salvia were quivering with bees, hundreds of them. 

Butterflies flitted everywhere.  The whole garden was just alive with feeding, flying, zipping critters.  Birds called and swooped all over the yard.

I went from garden space to space, sat a little, tweaked a branch, and just enjoyed it all, for hours this morning.  The Drive By garden needs work, but I was okay with just ignoring that for now.  I spent the whole morning wandering and thinking how restful it looks.

It's a real garden now.  Changes are needed, but it is no longer so raw and unfinished.  It's perfect just the way it is.  The hummingbird visits every few minutes.  The clematis is abloom.  The smokebush foliage is iridescent.  The Red Drift rose is a ball of red.

Even the hodgepodge of plants under the maple in Meadow's Edge are more cohesive now.  The creekbed bridge just fits.  The meadow hasn't overwhelmed yet.

Then we went out this afternoon and I bought a large Forest Pansy redbud to replace the little one that was lost.  And a John Clayton honeysuckle for the tuteurs by the meters where the sweetpeas are doing nothing so far.

Changes after all.  New plants.  And it was all so perfect this morning!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

White in the Birch Garden

Still gloomy and overcast, rain off and on.  And very cool, in the 50s only getting up into the low 60s at points.

The Birch Garden really is glorious this year.  Without the crowding Elfin Pink penstemons in front of them, the row of Husker's Red looks lovely, very pinky white.

The Baptisia pendula is arching and stretching.  The white spires are hard to capture.

And the white blooming itea is so full and cascading right now.

There is color at the edges, with pink evening primrose, the nice wine colored heucheras, and the little red rose on the other side.

Sundrops and coreopsis are coming out.  And the Orange Dream Japanese maple continues to be a bright, colorful beacon.

But the middle of the Birch garden is dressed in whites.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Cool, cloudy, rainy.  June Gloom.

The Jackmanii clematis is blooming and the viticella Alba Luxurians is just getting ready to open her hankies.

The Jackmanii is a rich, deep magenta, but the foliage is sparse and I am hoping it develops more bulk and more presence soon.  I expected a blue - purple flower. This is RED!

I can't get enough of the Knockout Blushing Pink rose by the front steps.  So delicate, sugary and fragrant. Mmmm.

I'm pretty sure there will be blueberries this year, despite moving all four plants this spring.  One has no leaves and a ton of fruit, another has a ton of leaves and little fruit.  The other two are in between.

I love that dense little red rose in the front of the Birch Garden. 

And the nepeta is beautiful now.

And the pink evening primrose is so pretty.

The colors on the front porch are nice.  Pretty Much Picasso petunias and a mixed container from Lowe's.

Baptisia Twilite Prairieblues is such a weird color, but it's a healthy, full plant and the blooms are a smoky kind of color.  Sort of.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Heavy Drenching

Over an inch and a half of heavy rain on Saturday and it was cold, in the 50s.  The West Hartford garden tour was wet but we still went, under umbrellas, and saw five interesting gardens.

Of course everything is soggy in the garden today, and worst of all I left one of the plastic storage bins open, with the top off.  It filled up with water, soaking the sponges, pruners, and gloves that I store in there to keep them out of the weather on the potting bench!  Sheesh.

Here's an idea I like:
Instead of keeping a mailbox out in the garden, I could put a couple on the potting bench and use them instead of the plastic bins.  I like the look, and I could even mount one on the side of the bench, just nail it in.

Or mount it on a short post next to the water faucet in that empty corner by the wall.

I might do this.  Cheap and easy, and they do make great storage bins.