Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Roses in mid-May

The roses are nearly finished now, but this is what they looked like in the middle of May.

Swamp rose and Veilchenblau next to the vegetable garden

The foxglove is thankfully seeding itself around by the sidewalk and in the
front yard-adjacent bed. They even look healthy in spite of a very wet winter.

There's a swamp rose at the edge of the front yard too.

On the way down to the big bed I pass a big hulking sweetbriar. The flowers are small
and fleeting but the fragrance of the foliage is delicious. Most people describe it as
smelling like apples, to me it smells like a mixture of apples and honey. The fragrance
drifts for many feet once the weather warms up and is especially noticeable after a rain.

There are several big swamp roses down there, as well as several small and medium-sized
(young) ones, most started from cuttings. The greenery in the foreground are baptisias
and the dead branch is that of a fig. Both of our fig trees took a big hit from the cold
as they did last year. I cut off all I could with loppers but some will have to be taken
down with a saw. I wouldn't be surprised if the fig shoot up and covers the dead wood
before I can get around to cutting it down. Several trees in our area died all the way
down to the ground. Those are probably 'Brown Turkey'. Judging from the leaves we
think our figs are 'Celeste', which is the most cold hardy common fig there is.

A swamp rose next to an area across from the bed that I still haven't cultivated yet.
I plan on eventually planting a couple of sugar maples there perhaps as I'd like to be
able to see beneath their canopies to the fields beyond. There's a volunteer snowbell
next to the rose. I wish the snowbell had volunteered before I planted the rose there.

Roses next to the neighbor's pasture

One of the roses next to the neighbor's pasture has sized up nicely, and several at the north
end of the big bed (furthest from the house) are getting big too. I had just decided to plant
a bunch of big roses there because over 10 years of planting perennials had not proven fruitful.
The native bamboo always did better than everything else.

Swamp roses at the north end of the bed

There's still some willowleaf aster 'Miss Bessie' and orange daylilies, but hopefully the roses will grow over the daylilies soon. The orange daylilies are blooming now with the last of the swamp roses and the combination is .... not good. I'm going to clip them. I love groupings of orange daylilies, especially in a bit of shade to highlight their color so that they look like goblets filled with burning orange. Not with pink roses. Orange is a difficult color to incorporate into my garden. The only thing that can make pink and orange get along is the addition of purple, and 'Hippolyte' is done before the daylilies bloom.

Swamp rose and 'Hippolyte'. 'Hippolyte' is 4-5 feet high and wide now and has never looked
better. The flowers are full and ruffly and several different rich shades of purple... and
fragrant. An old rose fragrance that is as beautiful as the flowers.

The one and only 'Hansa' that is left in my garden with a swamp rose in the background.
Not sure what happened to them... they just died. I like the flowers so much that I ordered
another couple of 'Hansa' from High Country Roses. The habit isn't all that great -- it's been
a bit angular and awkward in my garden -- but I love the color and velvety texture of the blooms.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

More daffodils, more of everything!

Inspired by the daffodil show this year, I have been dividing daffodils and planting them all over the big bed. Next to the front sidewalk too. It'll probably be a couple of years before those divisions size up enough to make the kind of display I want, but I didn't feel like waiting to order more bulbs in the fall. I've already been waiting *15 years* to fill the bed with daffodil bulbs. Perhaps the fall rush of garden and fall work makes me tired, but I almost never remember to order bulbs in time. Enough with the delays! Daffodils need to be everywhere.

I've been planting divisions Geranium maculatum from the farm too. There was a big clump
at the back of the big bed and suddenly I realized that I needed a lot more of this everywhere too.

I have been slow to clear the garden this year but I am still enjoying it. Problems with fibro have returned with a vengeance and I have missed a lot of days working outside. I am hoping that a return to a brand name of medication does the trick.

Speaking of bulbs, years ago I transplanted Atamasco lilies into the ditch in front of the big bed. I envisioned a swath of snowy white blooms, like I had seen next to the slough on our farm in past years (in openings created when trees were felled during storms) and next to the dirt roads that wind through Howell Woods. Instead I have ended up with exactly two flowers.

Two is better than zero but I had envisioned the ditch being paved with them
by now. The lilies by the old pond site are doing well though and have even
spread, so I divided a clump and added a couple of bulbs in front of the big bed.

I have thought of letting marsh marigold take over the ditch in front of the big bed. It's
taken over the bottom part of our neighbor's pasture (and part of our shelter paddock as well).

That would be OK if they'd play nice with the Amsonia, although they probably would overrun
the violets. I have GOT to get more groundcovers going though. The blue violets are doing a
good job east of the house and part of the big bed, but I'm not sure how they'd fare in a dry year.

The rugosas have started blooming. I have all but eliminated them in the big bed but have many many others. (Now that I have gardens all around the house I've wanted to replace the rugosas there with natives.) I love their fragrance.

The iris and baptisia are blooming. I look forward to this time all year.

Jesse's Song

'Purple Smoke'

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