Tag Archives: clematis jackmanii

In A Vase On Monday – Purple Smoke

In A Vase On Monday – Purple Smoke

In A Vase On Monday – Purple Smoke

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share a vase highlighting what is growing in our gardens.

Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’

Purple Smoke baptisia was the starting point for today’s vase.  It grows outside of the main fenced garden and its flowers usually have been stripped away by now, presumably by deer.

Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’

‘Purple Smoke’ (B. australis x B. alba) is a shrubby perennial which typically grows 3-4.5′ tall. It was discovered as a chance seedling in a trial bed at the North Carolina Botanical Garden in the early 1990s. Features smoky violet, lupine-like flowers (from B. australis) and gray-green, clover-like foliage on charcoal stems (from B. alba).  [ “Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke.'” Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed May 3, 2020.]

Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’

Purple Smoke was discovered by Rob Gardener, late curator of the North Carolina Botanical Gardens here in Chapel Hill and was introduced by Niche Gardens, also of Chapel Hill.  (Sadly  Niche Gardens closed in October 2019.) Kim Hawks, former owner and  founder of Niche Gardens, is known for other introductions, including ‘Kim’s Knee High’ echinacea and Phlox paniculata ‘Robert Poore.’

Last fall’s snapdragons are mostly white or salmon, but one yellow opened up this week. I thought it would be a good foil to the baptisia.

Antirrhinum majus ‘Rocket Mix’ (Snapdragon)

Several of you were surprised to see Clematis ‘Niobe’ in last week’s arrangement.  I am happy to report the clematis lasted all week.  I have had other clematis cuttings fade quickly in arrangements, so I don’t know why that one did so well.  Hope Jackmanii will also make it for a few days.

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

The irises are having a good year, but I have lost a number of my passalongs from the late 70s.

In A Vase On Monday – Purple Smoke

Iris (Passalong)

Some heavy rains came just as Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’ began to peak, leaving many of the flowers bent to the ground.  There are a few more buds and I just stashed 4 in the refrigerator to bring out in a few weeks.

Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’

I hesitated to introduce pink into this vase but Paeonia ‘Madame Emile Debatene’ is looking fine this week.  It has very few flowers for some reason, perhaps from being a bit close and overshadowed by Festiva Maxima.

Paeonia ‘Madame Emile Debatene’

Materials
Flowers
Antirrhinum majus ‘Rocket Mix’ (Snapdragon)
Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’
Clematis ‘Jackmanii’
Iris germanica (Tall bearded iris)
Iris hybrid
Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’
Paeonia ‘Madame Emile Debatene’
Foliage
Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’
Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)
Vase
Black Matte Dish With Red Interior

In A Vase On Monday – Purple Smoke

In A Vase On Monday – Purple Smoke

In A Vase On Monday – Purple Smoke

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting and giving us an opportunity to share flower-filled vases across the world. Visit her to discover what she and others found to place in a vase this week. Good health and peace to you.

In A Vase On Monday—Coral Charm

In A Vase On Monday—Coral Charm. Photographed Sunday morning.

Each Monday Cathy from Rambling In The Garden invites us to share a vase assembled from materials collected in our gardens.

I cut two newly opened Coral Charm peonies on Thursday and the rest of these peonies Friday before an expected rain and conditioned them overnight.  I arranged them Saturday morning and have enjoyed watching them open from almost bud stage. Here they are just after being placed into a vase Saturday.

In A Vase On Monday—Coral Charm.  Photographed Saturday morning.

The color is softening as the flowers mature, shifting from pink coral into yellow apricot by Sunday morning, especially noticeable in the ones cut earlier in the week.

In A Vase On Monday—Coral Charm. Photographed Sunday morning.

By Sunday night the peonies were even more magnificent. I did not think they could get any fuller but they have.

Expansive blooms by Sunday evening

 

A glimpse from the side of the arrangement, Sunday evening.

Materials

Flowers
Allium Aflatunense ‘Purple Sensation’
Paeonia lactiflora ‘Coral Charm’ (Coral Charm Peony)
Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’
Rosa (old-fashioned family passalong rose)
Foliage
Container
Dark blue matte ceramic jar

I could show you dozens and dozens of photos of these Coral Charms, but none of them do justice to the real thing.

Many thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting and giving us an opportunity to share flower designs across the world. Visit her to discover what she and others found to place In A Vase On Monday.

In A Vase On Monday—April’s Allure

In A Vase On Monday – April’s Allure

Each Monday Cathy from Rambling In The Garden invites us to share a vase assembled from materials collected in our gardens.

After another busy week of non-gardening duties, I stole a few minutes here and there and now at day’s end, Monday’s vase(s) finally are ready.

The colors of the late April garden are rich and deep; the flowers offer plenty of fragrance. My irises are not blooming as well as they should, but I love each new one that opens.

In A Vase On Monday – April’s Allure

The purple anemones that survived the fall planting and winter rains are seriously beautiful, but there should be many more. None of the white ‘Bride’ seem to have taken hold.

In A Vase On Monday – April’s Allure

This is anemone is an oddity.

This Anemone De Caen ‘Mr Fokker’ has a crown of stamens on both sides.

Here are a few close-ups.

The yellow Iris germanica (Tall bearded iris) is a passalong from 1977

Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris)

Dianthus Ideal Select Mix

Anemone De Caen ‘Mr Fokker’ and Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Anemone De Caen ‘Mr Fokker’

 

Materials

Flowers
Anemone De Caen ‘Mr Fokker’ – planted fall 2018
Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ – one of first purchases for this garden, 2001
Dianthus Ideal Select Mix – planted this time last year, overwintered well
Iris germanica (Tall bearded iris) – yellow pass-along from neighbor Henrietta in 1977
Iris germanica ‘Immortality’) – white rebloomer
Iris germanica ‘Orinoco Flow’) – passalong from down-the-street neighbor Gary
Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris) – passalong from a historic old Chapel Hill neighborhood
Foliage
Clematis ‘Jackmanii’
Container
Porcelain Ikebana vase, Georgetown Pottery, Maine. Triangle Blue Wave (6.5 W x 6.5 L x 2H)
Portmerion Botanic vase, made in England.

As we continue to deal with medical issues there is very little time for the garden or keeping up with blogging friends, but I sneak a peek at your posts when I can. We are finally back at home which makes us happy.

In A Vase On Monday – April’s Allure

Many thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting and giving us an opportunity to share flower designs across the world. Visit her to discover what she and others found to place In A Vase On Monday.

In A Vase On Monday – Anniversary Five

In A Vase On Monday – Anniversary Five

On January 14, 2014 I began creating weekly vases and participating in a popular ritual called “in A Vase On Monday.” Hosted by Cathy at Rambling In The Garden, “In A Vase On Monday” has intrigued and enticed people across the globe to share some flowers, foliage, berries and branches plucked mostly from their gardens.

But before I was in the know about it, Cathy had already been building a community of floral enthusiasts for months. This week Cathy is celebrating the Five-Year Anniversary of her first Monday vase posting. I cannot thank her enough for providing this unique coming-together of garden bloggers. Mondays are made better seen through her eyes, with Cathy-style plants, props and commentary. So thank you Cathy and Happy IAVOM Anniversary!

In A Vase On Monday – Anniversary Five

To mark her fifth anniversary Cathy challenged contributors to create a (Not) In a Vase on Monday this week. Every idea I came up with for presenting my flowers seemed to still need a container. So I am sneaking in a vase while declaring it is I who cannot be contained. I cannot contain my enthusiasm for this last collection from the garden, picked before our first dip below freezing. Though I gathered some sasanquas just in case, there were plenty of other colorful choices to use instead today.

A few pristine Shasta daisies seem to defy the season. I plucked them first.

Dahlia and Shasta Daisy

Next are pale yellow button chrysanthemums just coming into bloom, passalongs from my mother’s first cousin, Virgie. She shared many, many of her plants with me and I have had them now for a good part of my life.

Chrysanthemum and Shasta Daisy

Button Chrysanthemum With Shasta, Purple Coneflower and Begonia

My uncontainable enthusiasm though mainly is reserved for the Jackmanii clematis, whose large purple blooms always bring a smile to my face—especially so in November. I envisioned them cascading beyond the vase and they more or less achieved my vision. Arum leaves dance in proximity on the right side of the design.

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ and Arum Italicum Add Drama

Purple Blooms of Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Materials
Flowers
Begonia
Button Chrysanthemum (Hardy Chrysanthemum passalong from Virgie)
Dahlia ‘Fireworks’
Clematis ‘Jackmanii’
Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)
Lavandula x intermedia ‘Dutch’ (Dutch Lavender)
Leucanthemum superbum ‘Becky’ (Shasta Daisy)
Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’
Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)
Foliage
Arum italicum
Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)
Container
Ceramic Urn Stamped “Vintage 4”

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

In A Vase On Monday – Anniversary Five

Again, happy anniversary and thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting and giving us an opportunity to share flower designs across the world. Visit her to discover what she and the other wonderful contributors have found to place In A Vase On Monday.

For even more flowers see all my Monday vases: 2018   2017   2016   2015   2014

In A Vase On Monday – Variations

In A Vase On Monday – Variations

Note:  After some upgrades and ad blocker installations I’m having difficulty leaving comments on websites other than WordPress. Will continue to try to resolve the issue, but meanwhile please know I’m enjoying your posts.

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share an arrangement using materials collected from our gardens.

Spiraea branches caught my attention last week and I decided to play with them again.

Spiraea prunifolia (bridal wreath spiraea)

From the window overlooking the garden the aging leaves look deep orange, up close they range from golden to rust. For some reason the sections I cut are more uniform in color.

Spiraea prunifolia (bridal wreath spiraea)

This variation of today’s design is closest to my original concept of featuring a nearly bare branch to explore rhythm and curves.

In A Vase On Monday – Variations

It seemed to need more. In adding Wintergreen boxwood I fumbled the lichen-covered branch and never got it back into good position. Securing the materials in place would have saved extra work, but I opted to keep moving, taking the opportunity to experiment. In the end today’s designs are about process more than result.

In A Vase On Monday – Variations

I do like this orange and purple pairing, marigold and lavender.

In A Vase On Monday – Variations

In A Vase On Monday – Variations

The fragrance of lavender adds another layer to the pleasure of creating with flowers.

In A Vase On Monday – Variations

The lichen branch here is moved toward toward the back of the dish where it no longer works to counterbalance the rightmost stem of spirea. I decided that piece of spirea could be removed altogether.

In A Vase On Monday – Variations

Also here an echinacea seedhead moved from front and center to the tip of the lichen branch. Offering interesting texture and color close-up, it did not have much impact to the overall design.

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

The lichen branch had lost its purpose and effectiveness, so I removed it and the other lichen bits entirely.

In the next iteration a still green cutting of Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ sweeps out gracefully in this version. The originally favored bare branch of spiraea has been removed, simplifying the line. The spare quality here interests me and this is the stage I kept to display in the foyer.

In A Vase On Monday – Variations

Originally I had planned to use a small companion arrangement, formed simply from a young Husker Red penstemon tucked into a small black holder. It did not add much until I came back to the mostly bare branch of spiraea.  Adding the tall stem changed the dynamics and energy once again.

In A Vase On Monday – Variations

By moving the point of view slightly the composition shifts significantly.

In A Vase On Monday – Variations

Ultimately I returned to a simplified version, replacing the quilted runner underneath with a white linen towel.

In A Vase On Monday – Variations

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Materials

Flowers
Lavender
Marigold

Foliage
Buxus microphylla var koreana ‘Wintergreen’ (Wintergreen boxwood)
Clematis ‘Jackmanii’
Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower), Seedhead
Lichen covered branch
Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)
Spiraea prunifolia (bridal wreath spiraea)

Container and Mechanics
Small black plastic Solo bowl – vase insert
3-inch florist’s frog (floral pin holder)
2-inch round holder with integrated florist’s frog
Black, green stones
Black glazed square
Quilted runner (made by my sister)

Spiraea prunifolia (bridal wreath spiraea)

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting and encouraging us to express our flower arranging passion. Visit her to discover what she and others found this week in their gardens to place In A Vase On Monday.

In A Vase On Monday – Purple Confection

In A Vase On Monday – Purple Confection

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share an arrangement using materials collected from our gardens.

For weeks flowers from Hyacinth Sunrise Mix, newly planted this year, have been delightful. Last week I tried to use several hyacinths in an arrangement but the stems shredded apart. Determined to try again, I placed three quickly and firmly into a floral pin. With no rearranging and fussing this time the hyacinths stood fine, a lilac-colored one and two soft pale yellows.

Phlox divaricata ‘Blue Moon’ was the first flower collected for today’s vase but there was not enough to feature. Just mere wisps in the vase, its presence is enough to highlight the color of the lilac hyacinth.

In A Vase On Monday – Purple Confection

The first flowers of Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ opened this past week. Placed low and off-center it makes a perfect focal flower to accompany the hyacinths.

Anemone coronaria ‘Mr. Fokker’ and newly opened Salvia nemorosa ‘May Night’ reiterate the purple hue of the clematis, and are placed to add height and width to the design.

Freshly emerging, new leaves of Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy) are tucked around the base of the container and Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft) add a bright pop of white.

In A Vase On Monday – Purple Confection

This arrangement was designed to be viewed from the front but even from the back the appealing textures and colors of the April garden shine through.

Purple Confection – Back View

 

Materials

Flowers
Anemone coronaria ‘Mr. Fokker’
Clematis ‘Jackmanii’
Hyacinth Sunrise Mix
Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft)
Phlox divaricata ‘Blue Moon’ (Woodland phlox)
Salvia nemorosa ‘May Night’ (Hardy Sage, Meadow sage)
Foliage
Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy)
Mechanics
Blue ceramic vase
3-inch florist’s frog

Here is one more look from the front.

Purple Confection – Back View

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting and giving us a chance to express our flower arranging passion. Visit her to discover what she and others found this week in their gardens to place In A Vase On Monday.

In A Vase On Monday—A Touch Of All Seasons

In A Vase On Monday - A Touch Of All Seasons

In A Vase On Monday – A Touch Of All Seasons

At a later hour than usual I join Cathy for the first time in 2017 with In A Vase On Monday. This is an opportunity to share an arrangement using materials collected from the garden.

It rained all day on the first of January and today it rained harder. Finally around lunchtime the showers stopped but skies remained gray and oppressive.

In A Vase On Monday - A Touch Of All Seasons

In A Vase On Monday – A Touch Of All Seasons

I have been saving dried stems and seedheads of a Jackmanii clematis for a time when the garden might not offer any fresh blooms. This seemed like a good time to bring it out and highlight the curves, angles and twists of the vine and the soft, pinwheels formed after the flowering.

In A Vase On Monday - A Touch Of All Seasons

In A Vase On Monday – A Touch Of All Seasons

I imagined the clematis placed simply and starkly, nearly in silhouette. Then I decided to add to the design a dried hydrangea flower in a separate container. This worked ok but I felt a bit of fresh greenery would brighten the overall effect.

While outdoors selecting a  bit of fresh gardenia and lavender foliage I decided it would not hurt to take a quick garden inventory in case the anemone coronaria were blooming here as they were in Italy today. Unfortunately no, but a new flush of Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’ flowers were there for the picking. Although I have used these often in the past two months, my enthusiasm for them reignited when greeted by their fragrance.

In A Vase On Monday - A Touch Of All Seasons

In A Vase On Monday – A Touch Of All Seasons

Very little of what I collected outside was needed for this arrangement so now there are vases of greenery and camellias scattered all over. More elaborate than initially imaged this design still is rather restrained. It brings together a touch of all seasons as we begin a new year of sharing vases.

In A Vase On Monday - A Touch Of All Seasons

In A Vase On Monday – A Touch Of All Seasons

In A Vase On Monday - A Touch Of All Seasons

In A Vase On Monday – A Touch Of All Seasons

Materials

Flowers
Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’ – late fall and winter
Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ – spring and fall
Hydrangea macrophylla – summer
Foliage
Gardenia jasminoides – year-round
Lavandula x intermedia ‘Dutch’ (Dutch Lavender) – year-round
Mechanics
Glazed ceramic square dish
Black stones
Ikebana floral holders

In A Vase On Monday - A Touch Of All Seasons

In A Vase On Monday – A Touch Of All Seasons

In A Vase On Monday - A Touch Of All Seasons

In A Vase On Monday – A Touch Of All Seasons

In A Vase On Monday - A Touch Of All Seasons

In A Vase On Monday – A Touch Of All Seasons

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting and giving us a chance to express our flower arranging passion. Visit her to discover what she and others found this week in their winter gardens to place In A Vase On Monday.

 

 

Post-Truth Gardening

[Because of the way I was brought up, I have to precede the next sentence with, “Not to brag, but…”] Not to brag, but after re-reading old entries and exploring photographs from the past year, I must say the 2016 garden was just beautiful.

For example, clematis ‘Jackmanii’ bloomed magnificently in spring and repeated in fall.

Clematis 'Jackmanii'-4

Irises trailed colorfully throughout the borders.

Iris germanica (Tall bearded iris)

Iris germanica (Tall bearded iris)

Japanese Iris

Japanese Iris

Hydrangeas stood strong, camellias bloomed their hearts out.

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Ruby Slippers'

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’

Camellia x 'Coral Delight'

Camellia x ‘Coral Delight’

Yet that my garden was successful had not been my perception this morning when I first started to reflect on the past gardening year. No, instead my mind leapt melodramatically to unfinished projects, battles with weeds, trees that died, despair at heat and drought or freezes and wet. I began to gear up to lament and apologize.  Why, I wonder, such a negative, emotional response?

I am struck by how my initial impression of having suffered through another twelve months unsuccessfully growing anything of interest clashes so distinctly with reality.

What changed my mind was taking time to browse the actual record set down in this blog, pbmGarden. I uncovered the truth about 2016 with its many wonderful gardening moments.

Narcissus 'Thalia’ (Thalia Daffodil)

Narcissus ‘Thalia’ (Thalia Daffodil)

In a post-truth* gardening sort of way, too often I allow seeds that fail to germinate or vermin that eat away at roots of plants to become the news, to become the defining stories of any gardening year. In my case these examples are legitimate and real issues, not made-up ones: yes, the grass turned brown during the hottest part of summer, echinaceas flowers underwhelmed, again this autumn Lycoris radiata produced foliage only and no flowers.

But in balance these topics do not deserve to distort the record against success. Why is it frequently whenever anyone asked I mentioned in reply the negative influences affecting the garden. Was the underlying reason false modesty, not wanting to appear to be bragging about a rich, lush features. Perhaps it was trying to manage expectations so when finally viewed in person it would look better than it sounded. For whatever reason, through repetition of telling, by the end of the year I had internalized  that the entire garden had failed.

I am glad I looked back today.

Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow' (Ascot Rainbow Spurge) and Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’ (Ascot Rainbow Spurge) and Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Though it may never be a showcase of great design, this little garden definitely has its moments. It suits my needs as an opportunity for dreams as well as for rational, reasonable and down-to-earth experimentation with plants. Modest as it is, I love it for its peaceful sensibility and for being a haven where songbirds thrive and gardenias scent the air, where sonorous notes resonate from chimes in the meditation circle.

Meditation Path

Meditation Path

Not each one of these nice things is noticeable every single day but the potential is always there for beauty, knowledge and amazement. I must keep that wisdom throughout the year, enjoying the garden as a place where hope continues to exist while the world passes through its inevitable and sometime ominous cycles.

In rejecting a post-truth reality I plan to dig deeper for authenticity, truth and honesty in the coming year.

*In a year marked by surreal outcomes in the US presidential election and the Brexit referendum, Oxford Dictionaries named “post-truth” 2016 word of the year. In a post-truth world reality is created and framed through the lens of emotional appeal rather than through intellectual discourse and honesty. The art of repeating talking points while ignoring contradictory evidence takes on more importance than truth and facts.


Originally I had planned to do a different type of garden review than this and perhaps I will write it in the upcoming week.  Meanwhile, thank you for being part of my gardening world. Good wishes for a Happy New Year!

2016 Carolina Inn Lunch

In A Vase On Monday—Tiny Pleasures

In A Vase On Monday - Tiny Pleasures

In A Vase On Monday – Tiny Pleasures

As the week begins it is fun to share an arrangement using materials gathered from the garden as part of Cathy’s In A Vase On Monday feature.

Unassuming, small bits of color gathered from here and there are the mainstay of this week’s garden offerings.

Phlox paniculata ‘Nicky’ was the first flower chosen for today and its short stem dictated creating a design composed of other tiny ones. The Jackmanii clematis ventured a couple of blooms after Hurricane Hermine brought much needed rain.  I fit the red Nicky phlox and a clematis into a clear espresso cup, filling in with several stems of Verbena bonariensis (which shed heavily) and a sprig of Perennial Sweet Pea.

Phlox paniculata 'Nicky' and Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Overhead View. Phlox paniculata ‘Nicky’ and Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

The rain this week also helped revive the zinnias and marigolds which had been suffering under the late August sun, reason enough to fill a second cup. A small sprig of lavender and several stems of asclepias made agreeable companions.

Asclepias Overhead View - Asclepias tuberosa, Zinnia, Marigold, Zinnia, Marigold

Asclepias Overhead View – Asclepias tuberosa, Zinnia, Marigold, Zinnia, Marigold

In A Vase On Monday - Tiny Pleasures

In A Vase On Monday – Tiny Pleasures

Materials
Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)
Clematis ‘Jackmanii’
Lathyrus latifolius (Perennial Sweet Pea)
Lavandula x intermedia ‘Dutch’ (Dutch Lavender)
Marigold
Phlox paniculata ‘Nicky’ (tall garden phlox)
Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)
Zinnia ‘Cut and Come Again Mix’ (Burpee, popular cutting variety, 24” H)
Zinnia ‘Burpeeana Giants Mix’ (Burpee, colorful huge 6’ Blooms, 24” H)
Zinnia elegans ‘Cactus Flower Blend’ (Botanical Interests, 4-6” wide, 2-3’H. Heirloom Twist and shout. Double and semi-double)
Riedel Espresso Crystal Cups/Saucers

In A Vase On Monday - Tiny Pleasures

In A Vase On Monday – Tiny Pleasures

Thanks to Cathy for hosting and giving us a chance to express our flower arranging passion. Visit her at Rambling In The Garden to discover what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday.

In A Vase On Monday—Clematis Trio

In A Vase On Monday - Clematis Trio

In A Vase On Monday – Clematis Trio

Monday brings the chance to share cut flowers from the garden by joining in Cathy’s weekly challenge In A Vase On Monday.

At the garden center last week two glazed ceramic planter saucers caught my attention. For some time I had been looking for a square black dish to use for floral arrangements. This style came in several other tempting colors, but I settled on black and white.

The new containers lend themselves to Ikebana-style designs, as do Clematis which are happily in flower this week.

In A Vase On Monday - Clematis Trio

In A Vase On Monday – Clematis Trio

Today’s design turned out quite differently from my original plan to use a red Clematis ‘Niobe’ on the white dish and white Clematis ‘Henryi’ on the black. The effect was underwhelming in this case, but I am tucking the idea away for the future.

Fortunately I had gathered additional material, Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ and several kinds of iris, most of which soon found their way into the arrangement.

Clematis Trio – C. ‘Jackmanii’, C. ‘Niobe’ and C. ‘Henryi’

Iris leaves were added for height along with Iris germanica ‘Orinoco Flow’ and Iris tectorum. A small amount of red-purple-greenish foliage of Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ was also incorporated behind C. ‘Jackmanii’.

In A Vase On Monday - Clematis TrioIn A Vase On Monday – Clematis Trio

Materials
Flowers
Clematis ‘Henryi’
Clematis ‘Jackmanii’
Clematis ‘Niobe’
Iris germanica ‘Orinoco Flow’ (Bearded iris)
Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris)

Foliage
Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)
Iris germanica ‘Orinoco Flow’ (Bearded iris)

Clematis ‘Henryi’

Clematis ‘Henryi’

Clematis ‘Niobe’ With Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris)

Clematis ‘Niobe’ With Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris)

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Thanks to Cathy for hosting this weekly flower addiction. Visit her at Rambling In The Garden to discover what she and other gardeners are placing In A Vase On Monday.

April Clematis

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Of the many undone garden chores this year, pruning clematis, appears not to have been too critical, this one time at least. Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ began blooming April 10. It is much fuller at the base than usual. This was my first clematis and it has been reliable every year to provide a pop a color in the side garden. Usually I prune it in early February.

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Last April I added Clematis ‘Henryi’ and Clematis ‘Niobe’ and watched them suffer through a dreadful, hot summer with no idea they would survive.

Sunday, April 17, buds were starting to break open on C. ‘Niobe’  and and the first flower appeared Tuesday, April 19. The early color is deeply red and brightens as the flower ages.

Clematis 'Niobe'

Clematis ‘Niobe’

Clematis 'Niobe' and Iris germanica 'Immortality'

Clematis ‘Niobe’ and Iris germanica ‘Immortality’

Clematis ‘Niobe’ is planted along the fence in the northern border. My goal is that it should add some color and interest and counter the bright whiteness of the vinyl fence.

Clematis 'Niobe'

Clematis ‘Niobe’

C. ‘Henryi’ is in a more sheltered location than the other vines. Buds were visible  by March 30 but its first flower opened today, April 22. I was excited enough to scamper out in a drizzle to get pictures.

Clematis 'Henryi'

Clematis ‘Henryi’

Clematis 'Henryi'

Clematis ‘Henryi’

Clematis 'Henryi'

Clematis ‘Henryi’

A few more rainy photographs…

The white iris keeping company with Clematis ‘Niobe’ also bloomed recently, just yesterday in fact. Iris germanica ‘Immortality’ is a frilly white rebloomer with yellow beards. The buds appear lavender.

Iris germanica 'Immortality'

Iris germanica ‘Immortality’

Iris tectorum is a short iris that spreads prolifically and grows everywhere, even in shade. This is an iris visitors to the garden remark on most frequently. It is also known as Japanese Roof Iris. The Chapel Hill Garden Club’s spring tour takes place in another week. I have noticed in some of the preview publicity that several of the gardens also have this iris.

 

Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris)

Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris)

Finally, nodding peony buds hold great promise.

Paeonia 'Pink Parfait' (Peony)

Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ (Peony)

Our last precipitation was a couple of weeks ago, so I was glad for the rain today.

 

In A Vase On Monday—Inky Array

In A Vase On Monday - Inky Array

In A Vase On Monday – Inky Array

Monday brings the chance to share cut flowers from the garden by joining in Cathy’s weekly challenge In A Vase On Monday.

Yesterday before heading out for the last day of Art In Bloom at the NC Museum of Art in Raleigh I quickly assembled an arrangement for today. The flowers had been gathered from my garden on Saturday evening and left to condition overnight. Certainly these blossoms are less opulent, less exotic than what I have been experiencing this week, but they are beautiful and interesting in their own right.

Dark inky purples are among my favorite flowers and when the flowers in question are iris and clematis, I am content. Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ opened this week, along with an unknown bearded iris (reddish-purple) and another with falls marked with stitched edges. I believe the latter is Iris germanica ‘Orinoco Flow.’

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Iris germanica ‘Orinoco Flow’

Iris germanica ‘Orinoco Flow’

Coloring the edge of the northern garden border are spikes of Salvia nemorosa ‘May Night’ and they make a natural choice to be used as companions.

In A Vase On Monday - Inky Array

In A Vase On Monday – Inky Array

Several stems of Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft) and one sprig of fresh lavender finish off the arrangement.  A multi-stemmed container allows each bloom its independence and room to stand out.

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

Materials
Clematis ‘Jackmanii’
Iris germanica ‘Orinoco Flow’ (Bearded iris)
Iris germanica (Bearded iris)
Salvia nemorosa ‘May Night’ (Hardy Sage)
Multicolored, multi-stemmed ceramic vase

Underside of Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Underside of Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Iris germanica ‘Orinoco Flow’

Iris germanica ‘Orinoco Flow’

Thanks to Cathy for hosting this weekly flower addiction. Visit her at Rambling In The Garden to discover what she and other gardeners are placing In A Vase On Monday.

Mid-August Notables

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ with Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Lately I have spent very little time in my waning summer garden, but yesterday in the peace of the early morning I enjoyed some quiet moments watering and assessing the main borders.

Much of my garden is shutting down for the season. Cleome and phlox, which managed to carry the garden through the worst of the heat and drought, now have quit producing.

After spring, my favorite time to garden, all bets are off anyway, but I did make an effort this year to plan for more interest in the summer months. I also watered frequently when rains did not come, something I rarely am willing to do. Nevertheless, it has been a tough summer for gardening.

Even some old reliables, such as Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ felt the strain. Usually a star in the summer, this year ‘Irish Eyes’ struggled and gave up all too quickly. Just a few flowers remain.

Many new plants have been stressed too. Although I tried to keep them happy, three new gardenias and one of the two new camellias appear to be doomed.

For several years I have admired photos of Agastache (Mexican hyssop) from across the blogosphere. Finally this spring I brought Agastache ‘Kudos Ambrosia’ home from my local garden center, where it has languished.

Also, despite packaging promises of “flowers summer through fall,” neither a new red Clematis ‘Niobe’  nor some red and purple dahlias planted in spring have yet to make much impact. These plants at least look healthy though so I am optimistic in a few more weeks their performance will improve as the weather cools.

Even with these and other setbacks, there are a few bright spots in the garden, which were really my focus for today.

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ has rebloomed. This vine looked lovely in spring, then turned completely brown in time for Christina’s visit. I trimmed part of it back halfway but it seems to have all recovered, so I cannot give credit to the pruning.

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Zinnias continue to look colorful and healthy. These orange ones are my favorite each year.

Zinnia

Zinnia

Zinnia

Zinnia

I purchased a few red-orange Zinnia ‘Profusion Fire’ as plants for some instant color in late spring. The ones planted in containers did not make it, but in the ground they coped better. This one looked nice in the dewy morning, surrounded by fresh leaves of Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) and perennial Dusty Miller.

Zinnia 'Profusion Fire' Peeking Out From Under Aquilegia canadensis

Zinnia ‘Profusion Fire’ Peeking Out From Under Aquilegia canadensis

Zinnia 'Profusion Fire' and perennial Dusty Miller

Zinnia ‘Profusion Fire’ encompassed by perennial Dusty Miller

Rudbeckia hirta (black-eyed-susan) is not unusual at all, but I have had trouble keeping it established in my garden and am excited it has done well this year.

Rudbeckia hirta (black-eyed-susan)

Rudbeckia hirta (black-eyed-susan)

Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant) which opened about 10 days ago continues to look fresh in the northwest border. The cuttings I brought inside for Monday’s vase also are holding up well.

Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant)

Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant)

Cosmos planted from seed in early spring in the southern side border faced stiff competition from Cleome that reseeded vigorously.  Only a few cosmos plants survived the battle and none have bloomed so far even though the cleome has been removed. They look strong and healthy bathed in yesterday’s early sunlight. I expect them to rally this fall.

Cosmos

Cosmos

Cosmos

Cosmos

A dependable highlight for weeks and weeks each year, Autumn Joy (Stonecrop) is doing well. I really like it in this green stage.

Hylotelephium 'Herbstfreude' Autumn Joy (Stonecrop)

Hylotelephium ‘Herbstfreude’ Autumn Joy (Stonecrop)

A native, Callicarpa americana (American beauty berry) started flowering a few weeks ago. Berries are forming too, suggesting just a hint of the pink that will mature to a shocking shade of magenta.

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

So, at mid-August the garden is not as lush as last summer when there was ample rain to sustain it, but having chosen to water this year I have found myself more connected to its changing moods. Though sadly I could not save all the plants, I have had the pleasure of time spent among the flowers and the gift of being more aware of the bees, butterflies and other insects visiting my little backyard haven.

And then there is this: my husband spontaneously said tonight, “What a luxury the garden is.” I think he is on to something.

In A Vase On Monday – Iris and Clematis

 

In A Vase On Monday - Iris and Clematis

In A Vase On Monday – Iris and Clematis

Once again I am joining Cathy for In A Vase On Monday, a weekly challenge to fill a vase using materials gathered from one’s garden.

The garden is in the stage where one needs a pause button. It changes noticeably from day to day. Yesterday there was rain from early afternoon throughout the night. The flowers looked drenched this morning. I rescued several bearded irises that had fallen over.

In A Vase On Monday -Bearded Iris

In A Vase On Monday -Bearded Iris

 

My plan for this morning was to created an arrangement using Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ but in the end I was reluctant to cut more than one.  It proved tricky and uncooperative to work with, unhappy in 5 or 6 different vases I tried.

In A Vase On Monday - Clematis

In A Vase On Monday – Clematis

Clematis has potential as a cut flower and is reputed to last up to 2 weeks, but I will have to experiment more some other time.

In A Vase On Monday - Clematis 'Jackmanii'

In A Vase On Monday – Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

 

Materials

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’
Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

In A Vase On Monday - Iris and Clematis

In A Vase On Monday – Iris and Clematis

Many thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting. Please visit her to see what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday.

In A Vase On Monday - Iris and Clematis

In A Vase On Monday – Iris and Clematis

In A Vase On Monday—Four Seasons

 

In A Vase On Monday - Four Seasons

In A Vase On Monday – Four Seasons

Today’s “Four Seasons” refers to the annual cycle in the garden as this week marks the first year anniversary for Cathy’s weekly challenge called In A Vase On Monday. During the past year Cathy has inspired quite a few fellow garden bloggers to create fresh arrangements each Monday using materials found in our gardens.

I first joined Cathy’s Monday vase project on January 27, 2014, and since then I have been looking forward to seeing everyone’s creations each week. The vases have been delightful and the resulting sense of sharing and community has been gratifying. Thanks to Cathy for hosting and congratulations.

Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle) and Daphne odora 'Aureomarginata' (Winter daphne) Foliage

Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle) and Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ (Winter daphne) Foliage

Winter:  Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ (Winter daphne) was featured last winter in my first Monday vase. Today I used some of the green foliage for concealer leaves.

Spring:  Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ is a spring favorite and has rebloomed for the past month.

Summer:  Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) and Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower) are mainstays of my summer garden.

Fall:  Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle) has compelling orange fall foliage color.

Flowers and foliage representing four seasons of gardening

Materials

Flowers
Achillea filipendulina (Fern-leaf Yarrow)
Clematis ‘Jackmanii’
Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)
Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)
Lavender
Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage)
Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

Foliage
Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ (Winter daphne)
Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

Mechanics
3 Round Ikebana Kenzan Flower (Frog) Pin Holders
Large round black plastic dish

 

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Thanks again to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting. Discover what delightful things she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday. Perhaps you will be inspired to share your own vase.

Surprises Along The Southern Side Path

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

I have not shown the garden along the southern side of the house in a long time. The Southern Side Path is a narrow border with a winding stone walkway, that provides access from the driveway down to the main garden in the back yard. If you walk down the path, turn around and look back up toward the street, this is the view you will see.

Clematis 'Jackmanii' In Southern Side Garden

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ In Southern Side Garden

(Be careful not to turn your head to the right or you’ll see the neighbors’ house looming large.)

Standing in the distance near the street and not really part of the border, a Betula nigra (River Birch) is visible. This tree began losing lots of its leaves several weeks ago, but after some heavy rains came it decided to hold on to the rest of its foliage a while longer.

In the foreground, Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ usually has a few flowers this time of year, but the weather has been especially encouraging to it this autumn. Behind and underneath the clematis is Muhlenbergia capillaris (Pink Muhly Grass). In front (not visible) are planted Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris).

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

In between the clematis and the river birch are a host of odds and ends. A few are:

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)
Lavender
Iris germanica (Bearded iris)
Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’
Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)
Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)
Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion)
Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)
Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)
Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)
Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Amazingly, these and other plants that grow here are all ignored by the deer which make their way between the two houses quite often.

Sitting along the path just in front of the dark green Wintergreen boxwood shrub, (Buxus microphylla var koreana ‘Wintergreen’), is the current star of the Southern Side Garden. It is the fragrant Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily) .

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Last winter was exceedingly cold so when spring arrived I was concerned whether the Ginger lily had even survived. Fortunately by mid-May a few stalks had emerged. Through summer it never grew as full nor tall as it had during the previous two years, but finally today a flower opened.

I had been eagerly watching this tender perennial for quite a few weeks, hoping it would bloom before a frost could wilt it back to the ground. I was curious when it bloomed last year. In checking my photo records I noticed the set of dates when I took pictures of the flowering ginger lily. An unscientific but interesting observation is that for the previous two years the ginger lily had flowered much earlier than usual and for an extended period of time.

Dates Of Photographing Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily) Blooms In My Garden
October 18, 2008
September 24, 2009 – October 25, 2009
2010 – ?
October 13, 2011
September 2 – November 2, 2012
August 10 – November 7, 2013
October 17, 2014

Leaving the Southern Side Path, turn around and come inside the main garden. Here yesterday, I again attempted to capture the elusive monarchs. This time a couple of the butterflies were nectaring on the Zinnias, which made it easier for me to get close and get a picture from the back with the wings open.

Monarch Nectaring On Zinnia

Monarch Nectaring On Zinnia

I particularly liked this image which not only captured the eyes clearly, but recorded pink reflections cast from the flower onto the underside of the wing and thorax of the butterfly.

Pink Reflections On Monarch Wings

Pink Reflections On Monarch Wings

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – April 2014

Northern Border View Facing West

Northern Border View Facing West

Yesterday was Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD), hosted by Christina at Garden of the Hesperides. Though it will be a day late I want to join in the monthly focus on foliage as early spring is a time of year when I especially enjoy the foliage in my garden.

Spring marks a joyful point in an incredible cycle of nature, one I experience with new wonder each year. Fresh growth and tender green hues rejuvenate my gardener’s spirit as the perennials emerge and the borders transform from mostly soil to mostly plants.

The northern border has filled in seemingly overnight after some nice warm days. Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint), trimmed heavily a few weeks ago to remove last year’s growth, makes a nice low plant for the front edge of the border. This border is filled with Iris germanica (Bearded iris), Iris sibirica (Siberian Iris) and Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris).

Nepeta 'Walker's Low' (Catmint) and Iris in Northern Border

Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint) and Iris in Northern Border (looking toward west)

Below and to the right of the catmint is a path with a patch of mixed sedum. The sedum overwinters well and I will soon be relocating much of it to the devil’s strip between the sidewalk and street in front of our house where grass does not like to grow. (Architectural Review Board application was approved.)

Mixed Sedum

Mixed Sedum

In my garden there are lots of silvery leaved plants. I enjoy the color and texture of these Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) and Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) and especially in early spring the Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood) is beautiful.

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) and Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ear)

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) and Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)

Artemisia 'Powis Castle' (Wormwood)

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)

Creeping Lemon Thyme overwintered in this pot along the southern side path. Stems of Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm) is aggressively exploring this bed.

Creeping Lemon Thyme and Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)

Creeping Lemon Thyme and Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)

Planted last spring Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William) promises to perform better this year. It is looking vigorous, unlike last year.

Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William)

Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William)

A generous patch of woody-stemmed Chrysanthemum is a welcome sight, a pass-along plant from my garden mentor many years ago.

Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ will reach 6 feet tall but for now it makes a large clump of green near the gate of the southern entrance. I need to find time to divide this.

Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

To the right of the rudbeckia, just as the path turns the corner toward the gate to the main garden, sits a Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ loaded with buds after a heavy pruning in late winter.

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Visit Christina at Garden of the Hesperides to see what foliage she is highlighting this month and find links to other participants.

Flowers And Other November Ephemera

Today there was a very early morning light rain, followed by fog—a mostly gray, dreary but mild day. The clouds lifted a short time before sunset and the sky colored a bright clear blue, before mixing with apricot, red and orange hues.

A few minutes earlier I went out to inspect the Irises–the ones that have been reblooming for several weeks. As welcome as they are I do find it unsettling to see Irises (and many neighbors’ Azaleas) flowering at this time of year.  This is an unknown cultivar passed-along by a friend. The bud is lavender but opens to white. [Note: November 9, 2013. Thanks to P&B at Petals and Wings for identifying this Iris in her comment below as ‘Immortality’ –the only reblooming white Iris.]

Reblooming Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Reblooming Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)--the bud is lavender color

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)–the bud is lavender color

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

In September I had expected the Jackmanii Clematis to flower again but it did not. Today I found one perfect flower under the shelter of neighboring Muhlenbergia capillaris (Pink Muhly Grass).  This Clematis has interesting seed heads also.

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Clematis 'Jackmanii' seed head

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ seed head

Surprisingly the Ginger Lily still has several blooms even after the October frost. The leaves and stalks are turning brown.

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

A nice surprise during this garden wander was finding that rich orange hips have formed on Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’ along the western border.

Gardenia Hips -Gardenia jasminoides 'Chuck Hayes'

Gardenia Hips -Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’

Gardenia Hips -Gardenia jasminoides 'Chuck Hayes'

Gardenia Hips -Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’

Gardenia Hips -Gardenia jasminoides 'Chuck Hayes'

Gardenia Hips -Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’

Gardenia Hips -Gardenia jasminoides 'Chuck Hayes'

Gardenia Hips -Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’

The sasanquas this year are as pretty as they have ever been. The red one is Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’ but the name of the delicate pink and white one is unknown. They have grown up into each other over the years. The pink one was supposed to bloom in autumn and the Yuletide was to wait until winter, but obviously there can be a lot of variation. [Note: November 21, 2013-Thanks to Christina H. in Raleigh who identified the pink and white Camellia as ‘Hana-Jiman.’]

Camellia sasanqua

Camellia sasanqua

Camellia sasanqua

Camellia sasanqua

Camellia sasanqua

Camellia sasanqua

Camellia sasanqua

Camellia sasanqua

One last image for today is that of the Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ I planted in April. This is a dwarf variety and maybe has managed to reach about 12 inches. It was touted as having nice fall foliage and it is beginning to display red stems and burgundy tinges on the leaves.

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Ruby Slippers'

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’

Down The Southern Side Path

Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion)-8

Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion) Along The Southern Path May 21, 2013

A small blue slate path hugs the left side of my house, guiding visitors as they walk toward the main garden in back. Irregularly-shaped stones are laid to create a gently curving meander. By necessity, the path slopes downward slightly before turning right and leading through a white picket gate.

I like to think the spacing, curving and sloping of the narrow pathway give reason not only to watch one’s step, but also to slow one’s pace and to look around. In this way garden guests are invited to make a calming transition from public space to private sanctuary.

Plantings Near The Southern Side

Plantings Near The Southern Side

Marking the spot just before the path begins are a few shrubs (winterberry holly, juniper and sky pencil holly) that are interplanted with creeping moss phlox, daffodil bulbs and muscari, echinacea and canna.

The path exists in the narrow strip between my house and another, with the neighbors’ air conditioning units and utility boxes all plainly visible.

These unwanted borrowed views crop up frustratingly often when I photograph plants along the path, but they are less obtrusive than one might think when actually using the path. That is because one’s eyes tend to gaze downward and be held just a few steps ahead. Traveling down the path one is invited to explore and and enjoy the plants on either side.

As visitors step from the grass onto the first blue stone they may notice ginger lily on the left, lavender on the right.

Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Continuing down the path they may pause briefly before stepping around the plants spilling out into the path. Some years the walkway is dominated by Lamb’s Ears. In other years cleome or zinnia are featured. Usually the plants themselves choose.

Cleome has self-seeded and is growing along the path and in-between stones. but for now this is the year of Rose Campion, both white and red.

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Midway down on the right is a large clump of yellow iris that bloomed magnificently early this spring.

On the same side further down the path beebalm, Russian sage, black and blue salvia and a rather cramped pink muhly grass are all growing. On the left is artemisia, flax and baptisia. Follow the path down.

At the end on the right just before the path turns to go into the garden a Jackmanii clematis stands as sentinel. This view was taken a few weeks ago and now Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ has grown to fill the corner behind the clematis.

Southern Side Path

Jackmanii Clematis

The garden is open…

A Few Flowers In Early May

More irises are slowly beginning to open after another week of overcast skies and cool temperatures. This white ruffled one was shared with me three or four years ago by a friend and former neighbor.

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Another iris came from a neighbor in my former neighborhood back in the late seventies, passed along by her mother’s friend, who grew them to supply a florist.

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Most pass-alongs come to me without names but this lavender iris finally has one. Touring some other gardens today with some knowledgeable gardeners helped me finally identify it as Roof Iris. It tolerates part shade. The leaves have always looked unhealthy, whether in sun or shade, and I am not sure if there is anything I should be doing about them.

Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris)

Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris)

Yellow Bearded iris in the southern side path have been blooming for several weeks. Nearby Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion) seems reluctant to open.

Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion)

Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion)

A few other plants in this same area are beginning to add some color though. The Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ is in full bloom this week and the Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’ is ever so close to flowering.

Baptisia 'Purple Smoke' and Clematis 'Jackmanii' at Southern Entrance

Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’ and Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ at Southern Entrance

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Several Sunday Blooms

Gradually the garden is coming into its own. The beds show less mulch and more green plant material. Near a group of Iris blooms Phlox divaricata (Eastern Blue Phlox), a North Carolina native plant.

Phlox divaricata (Eastern Blue Phlox)

Phlox divaricata (Eastern Blue Phlox)

The Jackmanii Clematis is very close to opening its first flower of the year. The vine looks healthy and strong, but needs a taller trellis to help it make its upward climb.

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

A large stand of yellow Bearded Iris began blooming this past week. These were pass-alongs from a neighbor about thirty-five years ago. This group is nearly always the first of the bearded irises to flower.

German Bearded Iris

German Bearded Iris

 

German Bearded Iris

German Bearded Iris