Thursday, July 16, 2015

I See Improvements

Today was a lovely day -- dry and sunny and cool. Perfection.

I was pleased on my tour of the garden this morning to see some improvements in plants that had disappointed me in the past.

Like the 'Bluebird' hydrangea serrata that has never bloomed well. In past years the buds were either frost nipped or deer nibbled, reducing the flowers to one or two hidden deep inside the shrub. What did bloom was pinkish purpley. This year I am seeing pretty lace caps of clear blue.

There still aren't very many, and they are peeking out from under leaves, but it's a big improvement. Some day I hope my plant will bloom like the 'Bluebird' hydrangea we saw at Chanticleer two years ago, with flowers above the leaves, carpeting the whole shrub in deepest blue.

The 'Henryi' clematis that got clematis wilt last year has come back. That's an improvement. It has climbed the little metal structure and there are several big white blooms at the top. It is nowhere near as full and robust as it should be by now, and there are only just those few flowers, but it did come back.

Like the 'Bluebird' hydrangea, this plant should be carpeted in flowers and perhaps it will be some day. In its year of recovery from wilt, though, it looks promising.

Crocosmia 'Lucifer' has disappointed me for years. It has a hard time surviving winters, and no matter how many corms I plant, only a few come back. But I was pleased to see what did show up this year. Two clumps came in and they look nice next to the lamp post.

The shocking red is so intense that it actually looks better with only these few stalks arching next to the white post rather than the big stand I had intended.

I was surprised to see that the 'Becky' Shasta daisies were still so fresh looking. They are never a disappointment, but they do start to brown in mid July and don't rebloom reliably as they are advertised to do. They only look good for one show, but happily the show is still going on this year.

Garden phlox 'Nicky' is mildew free. That's an improvement over some years. The color, though, is a shade of magenta that does not rest easy on my eyes. I try to like it but I can't. But it brightens the middle of the Birch Garden in summer.

Every year I lose daylily flowers to the deer. The buds form and the deer eat them. This year is a big improvement with all the different colored daylilies open now and blooming in several spots around the garden. The deer left them alone this summer!

In addition there are reliable standbys that never fail -- sweet pink roses are still opening, and the perfumed white nicotiana is still in flower. A starry yellow dahlia with red stripes is happy looking.

As of mid July we've had hot days and humidity but no lasting heat wave. There has been enough rain, although we could use a little more soon. Plants that have struggled for me in other years look better now, and the garden looks great.

So far summer has been gentle.

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