Monday, April 30, 2012

Wildflower Monday

While the roses are throwing a party in the garden, the natives are just as beautiful. Iris virginica and mockorange make a lovely combination. I grew these iris from seed from Prairie Moon Nursery. The color ranges from a very pale pink-violet

to lavender.

Oak-leaved hydrangea truly is a plant for every season. The light green quilted leaves are as beautiful as the flowers.

Not sure whether this is truly Eastern gray beardtongue or a hybrid with Gulf Coast penstemon ~ to me it looks like it has traits of both, and is thriving in a place that is soaked after rains.

A willowleaf/Hubricht's Amsonia hybrid, also grown from seed. This one has a faint sweet fragrance. I have finally figured out that one of my three big Hubricht's amsonia is very sweetly fragrant (a lot like my mystery white iris) and will try to grow more of that from cuttings later on.

This coast azalea from Sunlight Gardens has been blooming such a long time, and what a delicious fragrance it has!

The wild Geranium maculatum from our farm. This is one of the toughest plants I have. It just goes underground for the year when the weather gets too hot and dry for it. Unfortunately I'm not sure if the one from the Botanical Garden is faring as well. I haven't seen it bloom this year.

Technically a native from the Southwest and not the Southeast, pink showy primrose dukes it out with lemon balm and garlic chives in the vegetable garden border and has taken over the sidewalk bed. Which is just as well because the voles, loving the loose sandy soil there, had eaten just about everything else.

Front sidewalk

Beside the vegetable garden

Ozark phlox (Phlox pilosa ssp. ozarkana) is blooming all over the garden east of the house after I moved divisions anywhere I could fit them last year.

With Clematis 'HF Young'

In the distance blooming with coast azalea.

These buttercups are likely a naturalized species from Europe but they are eye-catching growing in the corner of the neighbor's pasture.

The true stars of the garden are the false indigos, which are deserving of their own post.

Baptisia alba

Baptisia 'Purple Smoke'

Baptisia australis

As always thank you Gail for hosting Wildflower Wednesday.

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Lovely Spring

Cl. Old Blush never disappoints, and this year it surpassed my expectations. The canes didn't suffer any dieback last winter and this spring formed billowing curtains of fragrant pale pink and raspberry pink, leaving just enough room to squeeze through to enter the garden.

My completely unscientific observation is that the color stays more brilliant and even reintensifies in cooler weather. Last week's frosts didn't otherwise effect the roses at all.

The fig tree leaves didn't fare as well. New leaves will sprout but the overwintering figs were lost. However, this usually happens every spring.

The effect of the untamed canes makes the rose look it is being perpetually blown by a southerly gale. I thought about trying to restore order this past winter, but it would have been a two person job, G. was almost never home during daylight hours, even during weekends, so by default I decided not to do anything until after the first flush. The arrangement is not "neat" but I think the result is enchantingly dynamic.

The woodland phlox and Hillstar daffs have bloomed on and on this year. I've never seen a narcissus with as long a bloom time as Hillstar before. I have been super impressed with it.

'Hillstar' and 'Thalia'

I didn't get that many iris blooms this year, which has cemented my determination to move the bulk of the Brazilian Blue Sage and Four o'clocks out of this garden and in a bed by themselves closer to the house. That way the iris can be happy and the Sphinx moths and hummingbirds can be happy.

Mystery white iris. Casa Mariposa suggested it might be 'Barbara Walther' when she saw a picture of the beautiful white iris in Organic Gardening, but when I contacted a lady who works at Presby Gardens ~ a famous garden of historic irises ~ she didn't think my iris is 'Barbara Walther' after all. 'Barbara Walther' has a white beard and no fragrance that she could recall.

I was very impressed by how well the Baptisias came back from the freeze. The morning after they looked depressingly droopy.

But to my surprise they rallied and look as beautiful as ever:

Elsewhere in the garden, the new beds between the house and the original garden are filling in. To the right is a Rosa eglanteria seedling that was plunked there for convenience and which really needs a wall or trellis to grow up on. A project for this fall. And do you see the Snowbell tree (Styrax americana), to the left? It was almost taken out when the trees were cleared out during the house move, but it's regrowing now. The Snowbell and the Old Blush, especially when viewed together from the opposite side of the ditch, make a most charming combination.

The fragrance is divine.

View across the new beds

We have been planning to build a house for the well, but there are so many projects already. That's a job we need to hire out.

We just got a much appreciated soaking this weekend. We may get another frost this week (and a late one at that), but overall this has been a lovely spring.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

'Thalia' and plans

Once upon a time, I didn't care for white daffodils. That's before I met 'Thalia'. I planted 100 last fall and wish I'd planted 500. Thalia makes a great combination with 'Hillstar' and Woodland Phlox. I love the combination of yellow, white and blue, usually seen this time of year painted with a pallette of tulips and pansies. That would be not at practical here; I can just see the doe and last year's fawn that are frequenting our farm now: "Oh you planted these for us... how lovely, thank you."

I think I have the plans for the big bed more smoothed out now. More Campernelles for early bloom and fragrance, and more 'Thalia' for later bloom along with more divisions of Woodland Phlox and some Spanish Bluebells. There are other daffodils and ephemerals I'm thinking of adding too but it doesn't take long before my cheapometer kicks in. Mercilessly whack back the rugosa suckers so that the iris and young Baptisia can get more light. Move Four o'clocks and Brazilian Blue Sage to the new gardens around the house so they can more easily be watered. They do not take kindly to drought. Plus, they smother the baptisia and iris. Ultimately I just want ephemerals, woody plants and Baptisia in the big bed. The iris will probably have their own raised bed near the house, since as much as I love them in mixed plantings and will continue to try to use them that way, they do like their elbow room. Even the Bidens need to be elsewhere, around the gardens rather than in them, so that I can just mow down the stalks in March with the tractor.

I already have many young R. palustris scandens in the big bed and the bed next to the neighbor's pasture, and I can't wait until they size up like this one.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Every Year

Every year when the native azaleas bloom, I wonder why I don't have more.

Pink and white Piedmont Azaleas

with the repeating evergreen 'Autumn Amethyst' (looking very fuchsia pink in the sun) and woodland phlox.

Two or three years ago I tried to add more azaleas but they were too small and succumbed to heat and drought despite my efforts to save them. The big azaleas I have now were put in before the house move, when this bed was one of the closest to the house and well. After purchase I need to let them grow on the porch for a year or two and graduate up to 3 gallon size before setting them out in the fall. Who wouldn't want more? The native azaleas are so lovely -- graceful even -- and sweetly fragrant.

Far less refined, not native but even more fragrant, I am always thrilled when the wisteria blooms. About every other year frost catches it out. Was I dumb to have planted the sucker from DH's grandparents' farm 15 years ago? Possibly. Probably. Yes. It is a thug extraordinaire, now sending suckers underground several feet out from the base. But I do love the purple flowers and their sweet scent.

What would April be without the delicious scents of spring?

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