Sunday, February 24, 2013

East of the house

As I wrote in an earlier post, the east side of my house is my experimental laboratory for plants that need some shade and/or sharp drainage all year. Peonies dislike wet feet so my collection of 2 resides beside the house.

Peony 'Festiva Maxima'

Peony 'Raspberry Sundae'

Foxglove doesn't like being soggy in winter either.

Phlox pilosa doesn't need part shade or dryish winters, but I wanted another spring phlox next to the house to go along with Woodland Phlox and I figured it'd be happier than Marsh Phlox.

I know people grow Siberian Iris in ponds in some parts of the country, but here they seem to do best on the dry side. For a while I planted them in damp places (the edges of ditches and other low places) and they either stayed small or just died. Then I got a bluish-purple iris in a trade and on a whim stuck a piece of it next to the house, where it grew into a big clump. Here it is with Phlox 'Minnie Pearl' and Japanese Roof Iris.

I was on a quest to find a mid-size white phlox after seeing one that lined the driveway of a house that I drive by on the way to the feed store. May have just been a short 'David' but everything about it was smaller and it bloomed a good month earlier. I think I found the closest thing to it that I could find (if it isn't an exact match) at Plant Delights with 'Minnie Pearl'. It's thought to be a naturally occurring hybrid between Phlox maculata and possibly Phlox glaberrima. The mystery phlox could also be Phlox carolina 'Miss Lingard'.

Japanese Roof Iris likes living next to the house too, in this spot where it gets some sun until 3pm in summer. I am very fond of this iris with its rich lavender color and interesting purple spots and stripes.

The one damp place beside the house is under the faucet. I transplanted this Lyreleaf sage from the "road" between the floodway fields here. I actually prefer it to the cultivars with lots of burgundy on the leaves. These just have a tracing, but enough to be interesting and beautiful.

A Celandine Poppy has seeded itself under the faucet too, along with a columbine. Woodland Phlox and Gulf Coast Penstemon are on the left. I plug phlox divisions and penstemon seedlings in every available spot, since recent hot summers have made the bed beside the house very dry. Woodland phlox has struggled instead of spreading. In addition, Eastern Gray and Gulf Coast Penstemons seem to die off once they go to seed.

I've always liked the fairybell sort of quality of columbines and many seedlings reside next to the house.

The side side of the house is a place for my woodland treasures like Virginia Bluebells and native azaleas.

Coast Azalea

Coast azalea, left; Alabama azalea, right

I picked up this purple geranium from a lady in Selma who sells a lot of iris and peonies. It's very robust and I love the flowers.

The genus of Penstemons ranges in moisture preferences all over the spectrum, but many garden varieties prefer good drainage. I've had Penstemon 'Midnight' for 5 years now so it must like where it is.

I like the combination of P. 'Midnight' with the vanilla and strawberry blooms of Oakleaf Hydrangea 'Dayspring'. I have four oakleaf 'Pee Wee's in front of the house but this one tends to bloom and color earlier in the year and the blooms have a lot more pink in them.


  1. All beautiful -- but those peonies are the show stoppers. I couldn't stop looking at them. You have quite a laboratory going on that side of the house.

    (I've struggled with Siberian iris too. Maybe I'll try a drier spot.)

  2. I forget how nice the columbines are. The French refer to aquilegia as Les Ancolie.

  3. How wonderful! Your peonies are breathtaking! I am starting to feel spring fever...

  4. I am astounded at all the different beautiful flowers you grow there. I just loved all of these from the peonies to the last blooms in the post. You are an inspiration and I certainly love your gardening style and your color scheme grabs my heart.


  5. I just love, love, love your gardens. They are exactly what I want mine to look like. I think one of the reasons I like them so much is because we use the same plants. I don't have as much luck with some of mine (foxgloves for instance) but I keep trying. Do you pinch the tips of your phlox? My phlox never gets bushy, so I'm going to try pinching this year.

  6. Breathtaking beauty !!! Love all your gorgeous plants !!! Again and again and again ...

  7. You have assembled a dream collection of plants. Don't know how you keep the deer away from your phlox though. Lovely.

  8. Your gardens are so amazing! I haven't had much luck with foxgloves here and am so envious of the beautiful ones in your gardens.

  9. Dear Sweetbay, Your experiments are a great success! Your images are like an elixir of spring. Yummy!

  10. Beautiful photos for a February Day! Glad I popped over to see them. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Love the double columbines. Hoping my peonies really do well this year, there seem to be a good amount of buds .....would love it to be huge!

  12. As always, your garden has given me something to aspire to. Hardy geraniums actually looking good in hot humid NC? How did you swing that one? Re the irises - I've never tried Siberian but I'm a huge fan of Louisiana iris, esp. "Black Gamecock." Fantastic for soggy areas. It's so vigorous that I can't give it away fast enough.

  13. Wow, so many spectacular pictures, you've captured all the colours and textures beautifully. I want to dive into your first photo :)


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