In the eastern border that sits against the foundation of the house, Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm) has grown tall, succeeding the Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) that bloomed here earlier. The red flowers should draw hummingbirds, as did the columbine.
In the western border of the main garden I have been monitoring the Chuck Hayes gardenias as they try to recover from the severe winter. One appears to be lost, but the others, despite showing the stress, will pull through
Meanwhile, a couple of passalong gardenias on the north side of the house recently came into bloom without me realizing it. Rooted from cuttings by my former neighbor, these went quickly from little 6-inch stems to 6 feet tall shrubs. Most of the blossoms have brown spots and do not look very attractive, but even with only a few fresh ones, they all smell luscious.
Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ (Spurge) grows in a pot on the patio. I cut it back severely in early spring, doubting it had survived the winter, but it looks healthy now.
Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint) has been blooming vigorously for weeks and is attracting bees.
In many spots around the garden clumps of Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) are primed with buds. Just a few have opened so far, mostly along the southern border. These are drought-tolerant plants but they do better in years with plentiful rain.
Also along the southern border Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ is just beginning to flower.
Shasta daisies form a wall of green in a border near the back steps. They have seemed ready to bloom for a while now but are biding their time.
At the edge of the shasta daisies is a nice combination of Salvia Dorada ‘Aurea’ (Golden Sage) and English Thyme.
This is the type of weather I used to wish for when I was a teenager visiting the beach: beautiful, bright and sunny—perfect for swimming and sunbathing, but not so wonderful for gardening.
For the last five weeks it has been terribly dry. Though some parts of this region had heavy precipitation, here in my garden during all of May there were only two rains, one so brief it seemed a tease. Again yesterday a thunderstorm formed overhead, then passed by without even dampening the ground or pavement. I have hand watered the garden a few times, but it desperately needs a good soaking that comes from some sustained, restorative rainfalls.
Happy Birthday Little Garden
This garden turned 13 on May 31.
I really have been letting the borders coast along this year. I have weeded and trimmed but have not done much planning or renewal. A few weeks ago I scattered packets of Bachelor’s buttons and zinnias to brighten several bare spots where several trees had to be removed. So far only a few seeds have responded to my benign neglect.
Anyway, whether it rains this week to encourage the zinnias or not, this garden is so much more. It has come a long way and it has brought me along. Together we have both grown. This quiet personal space I cultivate, cultivates and nurtures me as well. It is a peaceful retreat that brings a lot of satisfaction.
Your garden looks beautiful Susie. I can see why it gives you so much pleasure. I love the Monarda, does it suffer from mildew?
Thank you Chloris. Yes the Monarda will show signs of mildew later, but right now it looks ok. I didn’t set out to have so much and so close together, but it put itself there.
Wonderful words Susie, I completely understand when you say it has brought you along. I hope you get some rain soon.
Thank you Julie. I should have also mentioned how nurturing my fellow gardeners are also.
Yes, I get that too. 🙂
Your garden is really beautiful! Love Gardenias, they are my most favorite fragrance! 🙂
Thank you Michael. Most of my gardenias don’t look good this year, but I’m hoping they will hang on.
Gardenias and humming bird – your garden sounds heavenly. I wish I could share a drop of our rain with you.
Thanks! No rain in the forecast so I would love to be able to share some of your rain Julie!
Fabulous, and your circle certainly is a great feature. I like Euphorbia Blackbird – haven’t seen it anywhere here. Gardenias in the garden will remain a dream, I think.
Thanks Annette. Blackbird is the only euphorbia I’ve ever tried. I am wary of planting it in the garden proper as I’ve read euphorbias can spread a lot and I have plenty else that does that. It needs some new companions in the pot and I think it would be very happy. susie
I’m so envious of your gardenias, we can only grow them as conservatory plants. The view from upstairs is so beautiful and shows your plants as a lovely tapestry, I can imagine you in your meditation circle!
Thanks Pauline. I have enjoyed the meditation circle a lot in the past year. The penstemon is getting too large now and I think I’ll rework the plantings a bit soon. Gardenias are nice but the flowers don’t last particularly well. That rich scent makes them worth growing them, even indoors.
I remember the Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ from last year, a lovely plant. I share your feelings about how a garden nurtures our spirit and as you said above other gardeners and bloggers too. It is a while now since we had rain and it shows in the way my plants are just a little smaller than they were. I am perplexed by the Gardenias, your winter was much harder than ours and yet no-one things of growing them outside here. I think I should try to find the ones you mentioned and just try, they have such a wonderful perfume.
Yes, bloggers too–I do appreciate and learn so much from you and others who take time to exchange thoughts and gardening tips. Hope you’ll get some rain soon too. Gardenias do like a lot of water, but mine get by on whatever natures sends. I have lost three or four to drought-ridden summers though.
Happy Birthday to your garden! It’s looking so lovely now and your circle really is special. Where did the idea originate? I love the sage and thyme foliage together, and the Monarda will be glorious when they all open!
It’s hard to believe the garden is 13. The meditation circle came about because I wanted a place to do walking meditations. Even though I had only done sitting meditation at that point, the idea intrigued me. I was renovating my garden at the time too and knew it needed a focal point or some kind of feature. And, digging through all that clay in my backyard gave me plenty of time to think about some some things I needed to sort out–it became a meditation in itself.
I also find gardening a meditation itself, and I can lose myself for hours out there (if no other commitments interfere!). Your circle really is unique and a beautiful feature, especially now it has become so well-established.
Wish I could smell your gardenias! I have planted some of the Salvia ‘Black and Blue’ in my driveway border as an annual – I hope it blooms well – last year I tried it in containers and I was kind of disappointed. Your garden does look great, neglect or no.
The gardenia does smell wonderful. Scratch ‘n’ sniff websites may be all the rage one day and we will all be posting our gardenia, lavender and roses fragrances as just another media type. My Black and Blue returns every year, but it sort of goes in and out of bloom.
Happy belated Birthday! She’s a teenager, still has many years to prosper. I’m so happy to see your gardenias bloom after last winter.
Thank you Pris! I thought of you when I posted the gardenia picture. There are only a very few gardenias and none presentable for cutting. They have turned brown almost immediately (I assume from the very dry weather) but they still smell nice. The ginger lily made it through also.
Your plants look wonderful. Happy (Garden) Birthday!
Susie what a beautiful view for your garden’s anniversary. I see our gardens are catching each other in many ways…you are just a bit ahead now with blooms.
Thank you Donna. It feels like we’re racing through the blooms so quickly, doesn’t it?
Like a shining star. Garden and labyrinth. Roots, branches and leaves form a palace of 13 years’ memory. This is an extraordinary and beautiful accomplishment. Happy Anniversary! When we look at our work in the garden through the eyes of the child we always are, and across the spectrum of our experience, it is with wonder.
Thank you so very much. Adding the labyrinth made me feel better about the entire garden. They work in tandem.