Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Drizzles, Sprinkles and Chill

It got cold today. I sat in a pool of sunshine to have my coffee -- the one red chair on the right was in enough sun early in the morning to warm me.

The air was crisply fall-like, not even in the 60s, and someone in the area had a fire going so the air smelled deliciously smoky.

It never warmed up all day, and then this patient fairy sprite, waiting for water to fill her umbrella flower, was rewarded with sprinkles of light rain in the afternoon.

Before it drizzled, I puttered a bit. Pruned off dead branches, trimmed the kiwi vine at the entrance to the gravel garden, planted some alchemillas I picked up at Wade's, pulled up anemones everywhere.

I had planted thimbleweed, Anemone virginiana, years ago, and now I find them everywhere, especially in garden beds far from where the originals were. This is not the rampant hybrid or Japanese anemone. It's a native woodland wildflower, and quite pretty, and not known for migrating, but wander it has, all over.

The seedheads stand tall and sturdy after flowering, and I assume the birds love them, because they certainly have distributed thimbleweed plants far and wide. I'm leaving lots in Meadow's Edge garden, especially around the blue pyramid -- that's a nice look -- but pulling them out everywhere else.

I did some more pruning of the 'Orange Dream' Japanese maple. This time I took off lower branches and I am surprised at how that improved the bunchiness of the whole tree.

Beneath 'Orange Dream' there is a big goatsbeard, Aruncus dioecus, starting to bloom. When the flowers open more fully it resembles a giant astilbe and is often called that. But I love the name goatsbeard. The shaggy white flowers really do look like a billygoat's whiskers, don't they?

I weeded the Birch Garden a bit. When the early spring bulbs go by -- woodland hyacinths and allium moly -- the decaying foliage in front looks bad, but it's temporary. Iteas in the middle are flowering all droopy and the coreopsis in front came in much more orange than yellow.

There is a little bit of white something tucked in under the iteas to the left. It's a self seeded flowering tobacco, Nicotiana alata. There are lots of seeded Nicotianas there, and they are all still small clumps of foliage now, but this one plant has shot up and bloomed already, way ahead of its siblings.

It's too cold to have any scent now. But when the nights are warm, this white tobacco has a beautiful sweet perfume. I wonder why this one plant is so precocious?

I fertilized the brand new peony 'Bartzella', which is about to open any day now. I can't wait to see the yellow blooms. I can't decide if a peony stranded in the middle of the grass in a brick circle looks ridiculous, or if this stab at a formal design element looks classically elegant.

I'm going with classically elegant.

Sun and sprinkles alternated, gray skies and clear came and went, but the air never got above 60 degrees. Too cold for the patio, I'm afraid.


  1. What is that gorgeous tree near your house in pic 1?

    1. That's a paperbark maple, Acer griseum, planted in fall 2006. It was a 5 gallon plant, about a foot taller than me when I put it in. Here's what it looked like in the early years: