Friday, May 21, 2010

Late May Flowers

Lupine and Tsuga canadensis 'Moon Frost'

Close-up of the Lupine. The tallest are Russell Hybrids from Bluestone ordered last spring. I'm shocked first that they came back and second how beautifully they are doing. They get morning sun and afternoon shade in well-draining slightly acidic soil, but no special care. If I don't get seedlings next year, they will definitely be going on the Bluestone list.

Lupines and Baptisia

Closeup of Baptisia

Spring colors. Usually I don't go for staying on one side of the color wheel. I'm more of a contrast-y sorta lady, but this works for me. I think the prettiness of the silver Artemesia "Silver Brocade" and maroon "Husker Red" Penstemon foliage together would be lost if the flowers in this area were strong yellows, reds, and purples. I need to remember and go back and take just a picture of the white daisy in front of the penstemon's dark leaves. I bet that would be a nice close-up.

Spirea "Snow Mound" Don't worry. I'll post the whole bush when it is in full bloom. It definitely is a favorite. But just a few blooms in anticipation seemed appropriate today.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Second Try Tulip Success

I got this combo right on the second try. Daphne x burkwoodii 'Carol Mackie' has always been a favorite plant, but one of those shrubs that can go unnoticed in a busy spring garden, so as with the Fothergilla, I thought I'd plant some tulips around it to bring attention to it. My first try was "Pink Impression" which was a total miss. They bloomed too early, too tall, and too bright. The delicate variegation of daphne looked washed-out in comparison. So I moved them across the garden, by the neon-yellow forsythia to create a bright contrast that welcomes spring loudly. In their stead I planted "Angelique", a softer peony tulip which seemed a better match for the small pale pink blooms.

And I'm very happy with the combination. Time to add them again to next year's Scheepers order.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Fothergilla and Mom's Catmint

From April 30, 2010

Three years ago, when I planted this Fothergilla 'Mt. Airy' from Katsura Gardens it had a very understated presence in the garden. I have always loved the blooms; their color and structure are very unique, especially in a spring garden. But I felt like it didn't draw attention to itself. Most visitors missed it unless I pointed it out. I planted some dark tulips which created a nice contrast, but I was still looking for a companion which would really play it up. I noticed that the low catmint imported from my Mom's garden seemed to bloom at the same time, so I transferred all I could find to surround the Fothergilla, and now, I absolutely love the effect. Both plants are very tactile. I just want to give the grouping a big hug! I think I will try the tulips again next year, just have to decide what the right color would be.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tulips in April

Color in April is a wonderful thing. Today I am going still thinking about what I like about my bulbs and what to add next year. Most of the color coming up makes me very happy, so I took lots of pictures! Here is an over all view of the mailbox garden, where I focused the bulbs this year. I currently have 5 species of tulips blooming or about to bloom, plus a smattering of other things.
From April 11, 2010 Garden

Below the crabapple are Greigii tulips called "Professor de Monsseri" which mix well with the small daffodils.
From April 11, 2010 Garden

And a close up with Juniperus horizontalis 'Mother Lode' in the background.
From April 11, 2010 Garden

Closer to the mailbox, a Single Early tulip named "Flair" is really showing off.
From April 11, 2010 Garden

I love the look of paint brush strokes on each petal.
From April 11, 2010 Garden

I like that they are close to the street, so they can be enjoyed by walkers in the neighborhood.
From April 11, 2010 Garden

The Hyacinth, Grape Hyacinth and Creeping Phlox in the background are all very blue.
From April 11, 2010 Garden

and are ready for their close-up.
From April 11, 2010 Garden

I don't think it's possible to have too much phlox in a spring garden.
From April 11, 2010 Garden

Most of the Single Early "Beauty Queen" near the Purple-leaf Sandcherry are not open yet, but this one was early and makes me think I did well on the color match. Hopefully I'll have a good picture for bloom day from this group.
From April 11, 2010 Garden

Moving away from bulbs, the conifers are looking positively perky.
Cryptomeria japonica 'Black Dragon' with lots of new growth.
From April 11, 2010 Garden

And a happy Pinus parviflora 'Hagoromo '
From April 11, 2010 Garden

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Where in the heck did I plant that...

One of the problems that comes from being a gardener that relies on serendipity is that in general, there is no plan. And when there is no plan, sometimes important pieces of information get lost. I stumbled across an instance of this tonight.

The story actually does start out with a plan. It is spring, my bulbs are up, and this actually is the best time to start planning for next years spring display, because I can take notes on what worked (I love the hyacinth and blue chionodoxa together, more please!) and what didn't (none of my daffodils are early enough and the bulbs near the fothergilla need to be replaced). While researching the names of last year's bulbs, I notice some plants that I purchased at the same time, probably trying to fill up the order to get to a discount. Apparently I bought a Filipendula 'Kahome' and a Campanula portenschlagiana "Resholt Variety". Well, darned if I know where I planted them. For all I know, they have vanished, forever out of sight and mind. Or perhaps one of those small green things nubbing out of the ground is my mystery plant, biding its time, waiting for enough sun and rain to flourish in the perfect place I happened to pick for it last fall. If that is the case, then it will definitely belong in my serendipitous garden.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Lovely Spring

The weather just could not be better. Warm, sunny, dry. It is just a joy to be outside, and the flowers seem to feel that way too. Just a few shots to show off some early color. First up, my precocious tulips which, oddly, were up and out before my daffodils. I thought it was supposed to be the other way around.Anyway, these are Kaufmanniana Hybrid Tulips "The First," and they certainly lived up to their name. From the Scheeper's website "Also known as Water Lily Tulips, Kaufmannianas are colorful, low-growing tulips perfect for rock gardens and border plantings."

Chionodoxa Forbesii have small pink, blue, or white blooms the come in early spring. Having been planted just last year, they seem a bit sparse, but they do look vigorous. I'm hoping they are happy and spread to cover this area.

Here is a closeup of one planted a bit to close to an emerging hyacinth.

Ever wonder what a Shai'Hulud kindergarden looked like?

Don't tell me I'm the only one who looks at the emerging shoots of Baptisia and thinks sandworms from Dune.

Another Chionodoxa forbesii, this time "Pink Giant."

These daffodils were a gift in a spring basket years ago. After the blooms faded, I planted them, and they have spread and bloomed very nicely ever since.

I also have been really enjoying my Abies concolor with a forsythia background. I think the colors are very complimentary.

And a close-up.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

March 15th Bloom Day

Technically, these pictures weren't taken on the 15th, but considering the Nor-easter that passed through here yesterday, these will have to do. I also have to apologize for the quality of the pictures. The battery died on my real camera, so I am using my phone to record my blooms. The pictures aren't as crisp, but I am grateful to have them.

Only three blooms today:

Hamamellis 'Arnold Promise'
From Drop Box

Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) and Crocus
From Drop Box

March blooms in New England can be tricky, but there a lot of families I'm excited to explore, maybe for next year. A lovely gardening blog from Cape Cod (not too far from where I garden) has me excited about the possibility of Helleborus. Blooming in her garden today are three different cultivars: niger, foetidus, and oriental. She also has Dawn Viburnum, Heath, Jasmine, and Aconite blooming. Obviously I have a long way to go to get my fill of March blooms.

Lots of garden chores today. Spreading compost, trimming back the Buddleias, and getting the vegetable pots ready on the back porch are top on the list. All the while, counting the tulip tops and watching the buds swell. What an exciting month this is!

Sunday, February 28, 2010


9 short weeks to go from this...

From Drop Box

to this...

From Garden May 9 2009

Yesterday I finished cutting down most of the old stalks and grasses left over from last year. Today I cleaned out the mats of oak leaves that have been collecting all winter. The discovery I am most excited about is my Lupine. I actually have some returning from last year. I ordered a mixed bag from Bluestone Perennials to plant in the spring, knowing they are often one-year wonders, but under the leaf mat today, that distinct leaf was definitely emerging. Also starting to peak out were daffodils, Kaufmanniana and species tulips, crocus, and snowdrops. It certainly isn't warm, but 40 is reasonable enough to extend my walk out to the school bus by a few minutes each day to find the exciting spring developments. What fun!