'Climbing Old Blush' in bloom on April 15th. Unlike many Chinas, which have the rather counter-intuitive habit of darkening with age, Old Blush may start out raspberry pink before fading to a beautiful light pink.
DH is on vacation, so of course we worked like crazy this weekend! I got 15 yards of compost and 2 loads of screenings last week, and this weekend Gene rented a bobcat so that he could move it around. He used the screenings to raise the enrance to the stalls behind the house and even the footing in the round pen. I did a lot of aerobic weeding (I'll be pulling chickweed in my nightmares) and spread compost everywhere.
I am also in the process of re-working a place near Climbing Old Blush. The original plan was to have a combination of Baptistias, Carolina Bush Pea, Rugosa roses, Tall Bearded Iris, Woodland Phlox and Iris virginica in the spring, with Brazilian Blue Sage, Summer Phlox and Dahlias taking over later in the year. However... in the middle and on one side the iris have been shaded out, and the Woodland Phlox and Iris virginica are struggling in the dry shade of the Baptisias. Have I mentioned how very very dry conditions can be in the floodplain?
So currently the Baptisias stand alone looking like elegant stands of Asparagus among the freshly spread compost. I am frustrated and exasperated with this bed; plans that I had 3 years ago after the house was moved have not been carried out or been successful for various reasons. Too much other new garden to take care of, for one thing. However, I should be grateful that the Baptisias are alive at all. I didn't know if flimsy plastic pots would keep voles out, as mice will chew through anything, but lucky for me voles are not mice and so the Baptisia are thriving.
On to Plan B, which is to add more Baptisias and underplant with ephemerals. So in preparation I have sunk in plastic pots, mulched the top with gravel, and put in seeds, which I don't really expect to do anything. So I'll be sowing Baptisia in pots on the porch too, to set out in early fall. The ephemerals I want to add include:
Species tulips (which, like the Baptisia, will have to be protected)
Mid and late season daffs. So far I'm thinking Sweetness, Sweet Love, Pipit, and Petrel, but I've just started looking.
Cl. Old Blush on 4/18
Old Blush itself never disappoints. One of those fragrant roses that does not smell like a rose, maybe more like Juicy Fruit Gum.
Time to get the seeds started too. As it turns out, the Amsonia at the back bed isn't gone at all, but came up and is more beautiful than ever. So tonight I started all of the Amsonia seed I collected the last 2 years. This is the Amsonia that grows wild here in several places on the farm.
The back of the bed is difficult dry part-shade, due to 2 nearby Loblolly Pines. The ultimate plan is to have lots of Baptisias, Eastern Columbine, Amsonia, and Carolina Rose there.
The version of Eastern Columbine that I really like is the pastel version.
A 2-for-1 picture
There's some Money Plant from DH's grandmother's garden which is struggling some in the current dryness but still adds a lot of color.
Jacob's Ladder, Geranium maculatum, and Blue Violets are in there too, which are fine if it gets dry; they just go underground as the Amsonia did. The Baptisias will be fine once established, it's getting them established that has proven problematic. They're going to need some help the first year or 2 and more than I'm used to giving them. Usually once the planting prep work is done all I have to do is plant them and forget. They will be worth the trouble though. This is a Baptisia alba/ australis seedling that's about 4 years old now.
The charcoal stems that it inherited from its alba parent
For the last 3 years I have been reading and re-reading the Harry Potter books, and have been thinking that I could use a little magic other than the magic of spring. Accio Beardtongue! Not only would the beardtongue appear, but it would planted and watered in, just like that. I love the process of gardening, but sometimes the feeling of deja vue gets a little overwhelming.