Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Bloom Day in this Crazy Month of May

And I mean crazy. The weather has just been nuts here for months. It's either freezing or 90 (mostly freezing). Most of April was cold and nasty with an unusual amount of snow and below normal temperatures. May has been better but cold and rainy at least one day a weekend. Today it was a tornado watch, torrential rain, damaging winds and strong thunderstorms. Although we dodged the bullet at my house, tonight my Facebook and Instagram feeds are peppered with pictures of property destruction throughout Connecticut.

As you might expect I'm not where I'd like to be in the garden. Granted I'm working off a very ambitious list but that's what I do. After the patio was completed last September, we still had modifications to make to the house, much garden prep, lawn installation and some unplanned site work. Much of it got tabled into 2018. Losing pretty much the whole month of April killed me.

Anyway, here we are. Fortunately I had the presence of mind to take the pictures last night. Rivers of rain earlier tonight guaranteed no retakes. Due to never ending time constraints, I'm going to have to make this short and sweet. I apologize for being such a bad blogger. However, I'm fairly active on Instagram. If you're not already there, c'mom over!

One of my two inherited lilacs. The other is in too much shade to bloom and despite a bit of TLC this one struggles.

Corydalis sempervirens is a cute little wildflower that seeds around the ledge gardens in my front yard.

Only a few daffodils remain after a three day stretch a 90 degree weather a couple of weeks ago.

Epimedium youngianum 'Niviem'

I believe this is Epimedium 'Lilafee'

An old standby Epimedium x versicolor 'Sulphureum'

Last spring I found myself fascinated by photos of Camassia. I had never grown it before so added some bulbs to my fall order. Cool, huh?

Not much screams "Spring!" to me as loud as Dicentra spectabilis 'Gold Heart'. I know they're calling it Lamprocapnos now but I don't care. I like Dicentra better and it's easier to remember.

Brunnera macrophylla 'Alexander's Great'.

OK I am seriously in love with this fairly new Amsonia 'Storm Cloud'. Must. Plant. More.

I lost quite a few plants this winter to both weather and voles so I was excited to see the return of these two Euphorbia epithymoides 'Bonfire'. The shrub is an oddball cultivar of Forsythia 'Citrus Swizzle'.

Cool foliage or what?

One of the surprises of starting a new garden is getting reacquainted with fairly common plants that you previously took for granted like this Euphorbia polychroma.

Fothergilla x intermedia 'Blue Shadow is just a perfect little shrub.

I mean just look at those flowers!

I planted this Dicentra spectabilis 'Valentine' last year and although it returned and is blooming it doesn't appear to be all that vigorous. But the flowers are unique so I'm willing to wait and see what next year brings.

A vignette of an unknown Primula, an unknown Heuchera, and what I think is Brunnera macrophylla 'Variegata'

I'm pleased with this Muscari mix I scattered all over the garden last fall.

Dave bought me this Cercis 'Ruby Falls' for my birthday last year. It's blooming and alive but suffered lots of dieback. Redbuds struggle here. Fingers crossed.

I see Rhododendrons growing in crappy full sun sites all the time yet they wither in my care. Over the weekend I moved this 'Miyama Gold Prinz' to what I hope will be a better site with more afternoon shade. I bought it in full bloom last year because the flowers were so unique but only one bud survived to bloom this spring.

"Gray skies are gonna clear up, put on a happy face..."

At some point I hope to have more long shots to share. Much of my plant budget has been allocated to shrubs and trees which makes for a lot of mulched bare spots. Once I get some annuals growing and my pots planted things should improve but it's going to be a few years before gardens start truly taking shape here.

In the meantime, head on over to Carol at May Dreams Gardens to see what gardeners are growing today all around the world.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

July Bloom Day? Aready?

In my neck of New England, July is notorious for hot, humid, sticky weather. Rain becomes non existent and days begin to soar into the 90s. The garden (and the gardener) can quickly become parched.

Not this year. At least not this year so far. Rain has been plentiful and beneficial. Yesterday the high temperature was in the low 60s, more than twenty degrees below normal. Last night I took some of the pictures for this post in drizzly weather wearing a light down jacket. In July. But I'm not complaining and neither are my plants.

When I started filling up the newly created gardens this spring I knew that if Mother Nature turned off the spigot I could be screwed. City water doesn't exist here; we're on a well. Last summer our area was in drought mode. I spent hours hand watering pots of plants I had moved from my old garden and plants I had heeled in. Everything struggled but survived to bloom another day.

So what have I got to offer up for Bloom Day?

No late frosts and plenty of rain has made for a lot of happy Hydrangeas.

Oh how do I love you Hydrangea macrophylla 'Lemon Wave', let me count the ways.

'Bloomstruck' is an Endless Summer introduction. I had a love/hate relationship with Endless Summer in my old garden and chose to leave both plants there but I have high hopes for this one. It's been moved twice in two years but is "home" now.

Hydrangea serrata 'Tiny Tuff Stuff'. Given the choice between a macrophylla and a serrata, I'll take the serrata every time. Tiny Tuff Stuff is new to me but so far I'm impressed.

H. serrata 'Kiyosumi' is much happier here on the north side of my house than it was getting hot afternoon sun in my old garden. I love it for the burgundy tone on the new foliage and the white lacecap flowers edged in pink.

'Little Honey' is the only H. quercifolia I am currently growing but that won't last long.

H. serrata 'Blue Billow' is sulking in my dry shade street garden. I may have to move it (yet again) but I'll wait til fall to decide.

Hydrangea paniculata 'Bobo' seems to be blooming just fine on the north side of my house.

Unfortunately Hydrangea paniculata 'Dharuma' is still sitting in a holding bed. Soon, I'll find you a home. Soon. 

After dissing daylilies somewhat on Instagram this week, I now have to admit that I grow a few. Only two are currently blooming though. Now that I have more space, I *may* add one or two more but don't quote me.

You won't find any 'Stella D'Oro' in my garden but I do grow 'Happy Returns'. Does anybody else grow plants they aren't crazy about but can't shovel prune for whatever reason? I do and you're looking at it.

'Indian Giver' is a daylily that will always have a spot here.

An unknown daylily I found growing at the edge of the woods in the front yard.

The rest.

Corydalis lutea is welcome to self sow all over my garden.

I should have cut back or supported Heliopsis 'Lorraine Sunshine' before it bloomed. Prematurely declining blooms are one of the downsides to summer rain,

Phlox paniculata 'Blue Paradise' (pictured with Rudbekia hirta 'Prairie Sun') is an example of another plant with flowers also turning to mush in all the rain.

A seedling from Echinacea 'Sombrero Salsa Red'. Something is eating the petals off my Echinacea this year.

I'd like to add more Echinacea to the garden but going forward I'll likely stick with more simple flower varieties not these mop tops like 'Coconut Lime'.

I could grow Astilbe 'Amber Moon' for the foliage alone. Cotton candy like flowers are icing on the cake.

Between the Astibes I moved and some I inherited I lost track and have no ID on this one. It is growing in mostly sun though and doing well which is likely a result of plentiful water. In the inevitable fall reshuffle I will likely move it to a shadier spot.

A hodgepodge of rain weary Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Golden Arrow', Digiplexis 'Berry Canary' and Calamagrostis x acutifolia 'Overdam'.

My poppy experience is limited. I picked up a six pack of 'Lauren's Grape' this spring. Hope it reseeds for me!

Agastache foeniculum 'Golden Jubilee' can reseed annoyingly but the foliage is hard to resist.

Another new to me plant: the annual butterfly weed Asclepias curassavica. I do believe I'm quite smitten.

Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue' is a staple in my garden. It's a winner in the ground or in containers.

Clematis 'Etoile Violette'

Clematis 'Madame Julia Correvon' is starting to wind down

Spigelia marilandica is one tough plant. It's one of my go-to plants for dry shade.

Gooseneck loosestrife (Lysimachia clethroides) has a well deserved reputation for being a garden thug. The variegated variety does run but is less aggressive. 

Planting containers in the spring is what I do. Usually I have them in place before adding the plants but this year I planted them in anticipation of a patio that doesn't exist yet so I used my imagination. Maybe by August bloom day they will be in place.

OK this post has gone on long enough. I had hoped to get it published earlier but you all know how that goes. I want to thank Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting this monthly event. If it wasn't for her I'd never get off my patootie and put a blog post together.

Home sweet home!