Sunday, May 21, 2017

The May Garden

'Veilchenblau' and rugosas in the vegetable garden

Swamp rose and 'Veilchenblau'


Small beardtongue, Carolina Bush Pea and pink primrose

Small beardtongue

Smooth beardtongue and foxglove


Swamp roses

Monday, May 8, 2017

Happy spring!

Nearly 2 weeks ago we got a whole lot of rain. We needed some rain and we were forecast to receive 3-5" of rainfall. We got 7" and Raleigh got 10'. I moved the tractor, weed whacker and chainsaw out of the shelter by the pastures the next morning when I saw the gauge upstream had surpassed 12 feet, and by late afternoons the pastures and old house site was under water. I had left the horses in the paddock behind the house where they spend the night so they were fine.

I saw a turkey hen fly up into a pine tree at the edge of the old house site that evening. She saw me looking at her and flew off again, looking a little stressed out. She was probably the hen who had a nest in one of the fields near the creek. Gene has seen her several times and it seemed she was still laying and not incubating yet. Last year a hen had a nest down there and had 12 chicks. hopefully she'll have time to start again.

While I was cleaning the stalls the next night I kept hearing a tom gobble. Knowing that the water was still up I took my camera down and saw two blue herons fishing from a long narrow spit of higher ground in the neighbor's pasture. Then the tom appeared and walked the entire length of the strip looking for food until vanishing into the woods.

A couple of days ago we took a walk around 7 in the evening and saw 4 turkey (2 toms and 2 hens), a pair of mallards, a pair of wood ducks, and several Canada geese all together in the neighbor's field near the creek. The ducks were feeding in a big puddle left over from the recent flooding. The wood ducks spotted us and took off and we got a really good look at them as they flew past us to the creek.

In other news: spring is here!

Blue baptisia next to the neighbor's pasture. You can see the flooded pasture in the background.


Atamasco lilies

Lyreleaf sage grows wild all over the place in the floodways and the back of one of the pastures. In recent years I have transplanted some of it around the house and have been surprised by how showy it is. It has textured green and burgundy leaves and the airy lavender flowers really draw the eye. The flower stalks are bigger than you might think based on these pictures.

We bought a couple of 'Sunshine Blue' blueberries at Plant Delights a few years ago. 'Sunshine Blue' is a variety of Southern highbush, which is a hybrid of highbush and other species native to the Southeast. These flowers were zapped by a freeze just as they were last year. Meanwhile our wild Southern black and highbush blueberries are loaded this year, although some years they get zapped too. I'd like to get some rabbiteye blueberries in the fall since they are supposed to bloom later than 'Sunshine Blue'.

The beautiful new rose-tinted foliage

Carpenter bee and toothwort

Woodland phlox and toothwort

Fernleaf scorpionweed

Coast azalea that I got a few years ago from Sunlight Gardens. The catalog stated that it was propagated from an azalea at the Biltmore Estate. It's very nice, with larger and more numerous flowers than my other coast azaleas and a delicious spicy cotton candy fragrance.

One of the few columbine that are left after the voles ate their fill.

Columbine and bluestar. I'm guessing that the bluestar is Amsonia
and it was transplanted from one of the fields near the creek.

Phlox 'Minnie Pearl'

Lots of rabbits around. Thankfully they mostly eat grass and clover and usually leave the garden alone.

Baby rabbits too. They are so cute when they're small. A couple of weeks ago while weeding in the garden I found at least one baby rabbit in a shallow burrow under the vitex tree in the front yard.

Hemerocallis dumortieri are fragrant and very early,
blooming a good 6-8 weeks before any of my other daylilies.

On the other hand Viola palmata, common name early blue violet, isn't actually that early,

blooming weeks after the blue violets and these marsh
violets which are especially plentiful down by the creek.

Baptisia australis

Baptisia australis with columbine and Baptisia alba

Seedling baptisia

Piedmont azalea

More Piedmont azaleas

Wild crabapple

Clematis 'HF Young'

Money plant

A Florida azalea that I planted at the edge of the woods several years ago when I couldn't think of anywhere else to put it. I happened to put it right next to a small spring and now it's twice as big as any other of my Florida azaleas.

Hummingbird moth



Rugosa seedling

Peony 'Festiva Maxima' and spiderwort 'Zwanenburg Blue'

'Pink Pillar' with rugosas in the background

Delia's purple, a nicknamed unknown likely China/Gallica hybrid

Happy spring!

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