In And Out And All About

Temperatures are forecast to climb toward 90s F. this weekend. Rain? None still.

Peonies are fading away. They have been exceptional this year and I have stored away a few in the refrigerator to bring out for fun later.  It’s been glorious to have vases of them arranged through the house for the past several weeks. A side shoot from a stem of Paeonia ‘Madame Emile Debatene’ surprised me by opening into a tender pale pink version this week, and tiny—just two inches in diameter. It is so delicate compared to the usual expression, which I will show first for comparison.

Paeonia ‘Madame Emile Debatene’ (5-7 inches across)

Paeonia ‘Madame Emile Debatene’ (2 inches across and pale pink)

I have a couple of Phalaenopsis (grocery store impulses) that re-bloom reliably despite neglect. This one has been blooming for several months.

Phalaenopsis (Moth Orchid)

A Christmas gift from our lovely niece keeps on giving. This view is ten days ago looking from the back porch into the garden. The unopened bud seen here is now the only one remaining.

Hippeastrum (Amaryllis) May 22, 2021

The oakleaf hydrangea suffered quite a lot of damage from late cold snaps, but portions have recovered.

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

While planting zinnia seeds on Wednesday I heard the unmistakable flutter of a hummingbird and looked up just in time to see it pause mid-air, then disappear. There have been a few early butterfly sightings starting April 4 but getting good photographs has been challenging. Finally yesterday a cooperative Silver-spotted Skipper let me get close as it sipped on Verbena bonariensis.

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

An American Lady preferred our weedy front lawn but was too skittish to allow me near.

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

I’ve spotted Cabbage Whites (maybe the same one and very camera-shy) for several days. I can’t quite be sure from this picture but I think it is exploring the non-native weed in the foreground called Potentilla indica (Mock Strawberry).  The plant spreads along creeping stolens and is a constant problem.

Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)

Potentilla indica forms a small, bright red berry, non-poisonous but apparently not delicious.

Potentilla indica (Mock Strawberry)

Another problem in  my garden is a plant I actually love, but I have developed a skin rash to spiderwort. I have tried for years to get rid of it without success.  Within a couple minutes of touching spiderwort my skin turns red, swells, and itches. It does attract pollinators and it is photogenic. I once painted a white front porch column with it when I was a small child (and subsequently had to scrub the column).

Spiderwort

Another spreader, but one I don’t mind, is Lamb’ Ears. It was a passalong that I’ve had for many years. It wanders until I rein it back.

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)

The first echinacea opened a week ago, rising up through a clump of spiderwort. There are many more that return each year around the garden.

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Mostly the many Husker Red penstemons are calm and stately, but I snapped this boisterous shot of one towering above dianthus. The dianthus are colorful but I must come to their defense. I’m not sure why they appear so bubblegum pink.

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue) and Dianthus

Have a great weekend and thanks for reading!

24 thoughts on “In And Out And All About

  1. Pauline

    Your peonies are way ahead of mine, I’m still waiting for my buds to open up! Sorry to hear about your rash, gardening can be quite dangerous at times. I hope you soon get some much needed rain, ours will hopefully stop in a few days time and then the garden can beginn to dry out once more.

    Reply
  2. Eliza Waters

    Lovely happenings in your garden, Susie. I’m so looking forward to my peonies blooming. The recent temps in the upper 80s are speeding up the wait time, but of course, ending the long reign of daffodils that lingered in the below average temps for the first half of the month. I try to mindfully enjoy every moment in the garden, but I can’t help but want the fragrant flowers to last longer!

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Eliza. Hope the high temps don’t hurry along the peonies too quickly. It’s 90 here today with no rain essentially for a couple months.

      Reply
  3. krispeterson100

    Your garden looks beautiful, Susie, and I’m glad to hear that you’ve put some peony buds in cold storage for use later – ‘Madame Emile Debatene’ is gorgeous. I wish I had half your success in capturing images of butterflies. We’re due for another warm spell here next week but I hope our temperatures don’t climb into the 90s – summer becomes real at that point. I’m still hanging on to my late-blooming cool season flowers, even though I know I need to get my zinnias and sunfllower seeds sown and my dahlias moved from their temporary plastic pots to spread their roots.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Kris. It’s hard to let go of flowers at end of season to make room for summer ones. I have tried planting zinnias 3 times so far with little to show for it. Birds, rabbits?

      Reply
  4. Cathy

    If my peony buds do reach flowering stage I must try the fridge treatment, just for the sake of it, to see it in practice! At what point do you cut them? Curious sideshoot bloom on MED! We are beginning to have an issue with that potentilla too – not that I knew its name, and years ago used to think it was alpine srrawberry! What a shame about your reaction to the tradescantia – is it uncommon?

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Cathy, catch it before the flower opens–when the bud starts swelling to marshmallow stage, it will feel like a marshmallow between your fingers when you give it a gentle squeeze. It’s not an exact science–I’ve had good luck with them. Just don’t want it to be completely hard, it might not open then. I thought for years the potentilla was raspberry. Sorry you have it also. I’ve never know anyone else to complain of a reaction to tradescantia.

      Reply
  5. Chloris

    You are racing into summer, hydrangeas in May seems weird. Like you I am nutty about peonies, yours are beautiful. You have such fabulous butterflies

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      It feels like we had a nice long spring this year but it’s definitely summer outdoors here today. No rain forecast all week. I hope to see many more butterflies and share them this summer.

      Reply
  6. Cathy

    Lovely to see your garden in early summer Susie. So far ahead of us with peonies yet to open here! Also delightful to see some Verbena out already. Your peony with its side shoot is really pretty. Have never known that to happen. Hope you get lots of hummingbirds to watch this year. 😃

    Reply
  7. notesoflifeuk

    Wonderful photos! Here in Mid Wales, we seem to have had rain every day for the past two or three weeks… Maybe I should send some your way! I love the Echinacea, they always make for great photos. 🙂

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Oh, you must be wishing for a sunny day! Wish you could send “just enough” rain this way. It seems to be all or none, doesn’t it!

      Reply
  8. gardeninacity

    I am still waiting for our peonies to bloom, but they have never had so many buds. Hope you get some rain soon. We have had some hot weather (up to 88) but they are predicting highs in the fifties in a few days.

    Reply

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