March 20, 2011. Today in this Northern Hemisphere town of Chapel Hill, N.C., the vernal equinox occurs at 6:21 pm. This seems like a good time to inventory the garden.
The newly planted Blue Point Juniper hedge is doing well, but will not be providing much screening for several years.
The earliest of the daffodils and the burgundy hyacinths are at the end of their bloom cycle. Iberis sempervirens (candytuft) and Muscari (Grape Hyacinth) are opening slowly. Several sedums are emerging (the rabbits must be pleased).
Tradescantia (Spiderwort) is coming up in various spots and a few echinacea (Purple coneflower) have returned.
The first flower is open today on the White Flowering Dogwood, while ‘Flower Carpet’ Narcissus have been lovely for a week or more.
Coral Delight Camellia
A nice surprise in the garden today.
The spring-blooming camellia ‘Coral Delight’ popped out when I was not looking. I missed checking on it yesterday and today discovered several blossoms had opened wide.
Daylilies attract the deer so I am trying to pull out many of them. I must hurry to finish the job before they grow any larger or they will be too tough to dig out. Some of the resulting space freed so far was used to transplant a few Shasta daisies.
Hellebore- Lenten Rose
Hellebore (Lenten Rose), which opened one month ago, continue to bloom profusely in their charming manner.
The newly planted Sweet William is doing well and the evergreen
HeucheraPenstemon is recovering from the long winter. Digitalis Purpurea ‘Alba’ or ‘Camelot White’ (Foxglove) looks promising.
Small pink yarrow, tansy, lamb’s ears and rose campion (shown here), all rather aggressive growers, are coming back strong.
The old-fashioned spirea is the star in its section of the garden, brightening up the entire space of the western border. (A pink saucer magnolia behind the spirea is a fortunate example of a borrowed view.)
Nearby the Eastern Redbud competes for attention, deservedly so.
Just one week ago the Jackmanii clematis had new leaves, but was still largely brown. Today it is lush with green.
black-eyed Susans echinacea (purple coneflower) seem pleased with their new location along the southern path. They were transplanted last year from an over-crowded spot where they did not have have enough sun.
Russian Sage and Bee Balm
Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) is another transplant to this section of the garden; Monarda (Bee Balm) is just starting to emerge in this and several other sections of the garden.
Phlox subulata (Creeping Phlox) has been blooming all over town but started opening only today in this garden.
Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox) has been a favorite in this garden, but it has not bloomed well in several years.
Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern Red Columbine) is quickly unfolding in several spots around the garden.
Eastern red columbine
Salvia (Meadow Sage) has started to form buds.
An iceberg rose should have been pruned earlier, but it is now getting its leaves. The deer find it delicious. There are several perky mounds of catmint. Sword-like leaves of these bearded iris seem to grow inches daily. The garden also has German, Japanese and Siberian iris and a couple of Dutch iris.
Catmint, Iceberg Rose and Iris
In some ways the garden appears bare but there are many other plants not even mentioned. The inventory will have to be continued later. One last thought for today though.
As I go about renovating this garden, I do recognize that improving the overall design and structure (or “bones) will make the garden more interesting year-round. I have read that just having a collection of plants does not make a garden. But at this time of year seeing my particular group of plants develop and mature provides immeasurable delight and satisfaction. It is like having old friends come to visit. And it feels like a garden.