Wednesday, April 15, 2015

April Bloom Day Arrives Kicking and Screaming

Wow, what a winter!  Persistent cold, snow, ice right through March and into early April.  Did I say cold?  I was beginning to think I'd never get out in the garden.  Then this past week, that familiar whiff of spring started wafting across my patio.  Early mornings are noticeably more mild.  The bite of the wind seems to be missing a few teeth.  It's time to get excited about the garden again.  But this year I may struggle.

Yesterday, exactly one month shy of his fifteenth birthday, my long time buddy and garden helper Nick was diagnosed with canine diabetes.  Now instead perennial varieties, I am researching insulin varieties and familiarizing myself with terms like glucose curves.  To be honest, I would prefer not to have to know about these things.  I'm feeling apprehensive and overwhelmed but I am committed to doing whatever it takes to provide him the highest possible quality of life for whatever life he has left.

Time in the garden will be my escape.  In the past, Bloom Day has been important in the sense that it forces me to get out poke around and fawn over the fruits of my labor.  Last year I skipped most Bloom Days.  Come winter I regretted it when I had so few pictures to look back on for both planning and enjoyment.  In 2015 I vow to do better!

That being said, the pickens are slim.  Even the Hellebores have been reluctant to show their faces.

Usually Iris reticulata blooms in Mid March here and is done by now unlike Miss Survivor who appears to be here to stay.

Good old 'Arnold Promise' Witch hazel has been blooming since mid March, within a day of last year.  Too bad I can't seem to capture the effect with a camera.  At certain times of the day it glows.  You'll have to trust me on that I guess.

Chionadoxa has been a reliable bloomer on my front lawn and has also spread to the beds.

For those in milder climates this must look bleak.  Let's face it, it is bleak.  Fortunately it explodes relatively quick.  Within a week or two I'll be running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to stay ahead of the curve.  And with any luck I'll be ahead of the glucose curve as well.

With the addition of the two feral cats I trapped and spayed last fall, I'm now up to three cats.  Another two feral wanna bes have recently taken up residence in the shed window box, and the mother of all of them is ready to deliver her spring litter.  Time to borrow the have a heart traps again.  Through it all though, I think you'll agree that my Twerpster has remained the king and perfect garden accent.

Happy Bloom Day!  If you have a minute, head over to Carol's May Dreams Gardens and see what is blooming in gardens all over the world.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

October Bloom Day-Sorta Kinda

Happy Belated October Bloom Day!  Despite my best efforts, I can't seem to put a coherent blog post together these days.  What can I say?  Life is busy.  In June I co-hosted the 11th annual Idyllunion which was a rousing success.  Up to that point I worked like a dog in the garden, planting, mulching, designing and maintaining containers.  Come July I slid into maintenance mode and never slid out.  Summer temperatures were moderate this year with very few days in the 90s.  Rain was scarce though and I'm not the best at watering so parts of the garden got a little crispy towards the end.  All in all I'm happy with the way the season turned out.

One of the things, in fact probably the only thing I hate about fall is the noticeably shorter days.  All of these pictures were taken after work on the 15th.  The day was cloudy but by six o'clock, the light was so low I had to give up on the picture taking.  Despite the limitations, here's what I was able to get:

Although we have had some cold nights, Jack Frost has yet to pay a visit so the containers still look decent.  The red Abutilon in the above picture is Voodoo, one I successfully overwintered under lights in the house. 

 The no-name yellow Abutilon above has survived two winters in my house.  I think I'll go for three.

 I think this is Anemone 'Charlotte' but don't quote me.

 Hydrangea 'Limelight' with a side of Itea 'Henry's Garnet'.

One of the downsides to a cool spring and summer was my Colocasias never grew to the usual mammoth proportions.  I won't hold it against them.

 As you'll see in other pictures, variegated New Guinea impatiens have become anchors in my gardens.

This dramatic Amaranthus has been a rampant re seeder in my garden for years.  I've learned to thin most of it out, leaving just a few strategically located specimens.

OK, so when the original plant in the blue foot pot pooped out, I bought one fall annual.

Yes, there is a container under there somewhere.  I'm going to miss that Strobilanthes.

 Oh the bounty (and jumbled mess) of fall!

 The white Brugmansia may be done for the season but the variegated Alyssum 'Frosty Night' is still going strong.

 A fleabag in his element.

After moving this Coreopsis a couple of time over the past couple of years, I finally found the right spot.  What a workhorse!  Wish I could remember the cultivar.  It's tall and requires support in my always less than full sun garden but worth the effort. 

Variegated Sunpatiens.  Need I say more.  If you see them next spring, buy them.  Buy them in flats if you can and tuck them all over your garden.  You can't go wrong.

 Summer meets fall.

'White Bomb' mums thrive in the dry dastardly conditions of my front curb garden.

More Sunpatiens struttin' their stuff with my favorite Hydrangea 'Lemon Wave'.

Dahlias are far from hardy in my CT zone 6 garden.  So back in the spring when I saw what I thought was a teeny dahlia seedling I almost weeded it out.  That itty bitty seedling grew into this tall, sturdy stemmed beauty.

Definitely a candidate to dig and store.

Cleome is another rampantly reseeding plant here.  Over the years I've learned that less is more and just aggressively attack the seedlings in the spring.

Part of the backyard border that seems to be holding up well.  You can't tell from the picture but the Heptacodium is coloring out well this year.

Even though the impatiens are still going strong, garden season 2014 will soon come to a screeching halt.  As much as I enjoy the bounty, I look forward to a few months to focus on other interests.

Hosta 'Red October' is non nondescript most of the season but how can you not like these October flowers?

Oh look-more variegated Sunpatiens mingling with the foliage of Hydrangea quercifolia 'Little Honey'.

And playing nicely with the flowers of late blooming Allium 'Ozowa'.

 Last but not least, one of my favorite perennials Phlox 'Norah Leigh'.

So there you have it-my 2014 garden season in a nutshell.  Due to my tardy ways, I will not be adding myself to the Bloom Day roster but if you haven't done so already, head over and visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens and check out the October happenings at gardens all over the globe.

Happy Gardening!