Tag Archives: Eastern Redbud

Early April Charms

The temperature is 79°F (26°C) at 7:00pm but it will cool down for the weekend about ten degrees. It has been sunny and warm this week and somehow I even managed to get a few things accomplished in the garden. There are quite a lot of weeds I still need to tackle, but I can see progress in the area of maintenance. Meanwhile plants are responding to the nice weather, putting on new growth, sending up shoots and displaying glorious blossoms.

Phlox subulata (Moss Phlox) is just beginning to open. It is planted in several locations around the garden and I just made an application with our architectural review board to put some in the “hell strip” near the street where grass struggles to grow.

I prefer the bluer hues and currently am growing Phlox subulata ‘Emerald Blue’ and the darker Phlox subulata ‘Purple Beauty’.

On the left is Phlox subulata 'Emerald Cushion Blue' and on the right, 'Purple Beauty'.

On the left is Phlox subulata ‘Emerald Cushion Blue’ and on the right, ‘Purple Beauty’.

Phlox subulata

Phlox subulata

This native Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) is at about the same stage as last year and should bloom in a few days. This particular one is hovering above a thick mass of Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm), also a native plant.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Despite being crowded out by evergreens in the back corner of the garden, a struggling Cercis canadensis L. (Eastern Redbud) is valiantly signaling another spring. This tree also is native to this part of North Carolina. The clusters of magenta flowers often grow out of the tree trunk itself.

Cercis canadensis L. (Eastern Redbud)

Cercis canadensis L. (Eastern Redbud)

Cercis canadensis L. (Eastern Redbud)

Cercis canadensis L. (Eastern Redbud)

Cercis canadensis L. (Eastern Redbud)

Cercis canadensis L. (Eastern Redbud)


I pruned the Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ back to 7-8 inches in late winter and it is leafing out and forming a lot of healthy buds.

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’


Spiraea is in full bloom this week in the western border.







Another white flower in bloom now in my garden is Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft). This can be long-lived but I have lost many plants in the last few years due in part to voracious voles and perhaps also due to wet soil. Some have survived here at least ten years so there may be a difference in the variety also. At any rate, things are moving along. So nice to see the garden awakening.

Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft)

Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft)

Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft)

Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft)


Summer In April

Cercis canadensis (Eastern Redbud)

Cercis canadensis (Eastern Redbud)

Winter was a long time leaving and now Summer is intruding on springtime. After a beautiful and warm day, it is 87°F at 7:00 pm. Yesterday the Easter Redbud was opening against the deep blue sky.

Also yesterday, several spikes of Meadow Sage revealed purple-blue buds. Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) was ready to pop open. Bumblebees were courting, a yellow butterfly drifted through the garden and a ladybug investigated a chrysanthemum.

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Ladybud On Chrysanthemum

Ladybud On Chrysanthemum

Mulch Update

Today the mulch project I began in early February was finally completed! The garden beds have all been weeded. There is still some cleanup to do to thin out some of the most aggressive growers (almost everything in the garden it seems). Nevertheless the garden looks tidier and feels ready for the green, the growth and the surprises that follow winter. And the patio is ready to be reclaimed for something other than mulch storage.

A few new Iberis ‘Purity’ and some Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink Chintz’ have been added to the center of the meditation circle in hope the mulch soon will not even be noticeable. The planting areas between the paths on the left are ready to plant tomorrow. I have used Angelonia there the last two years and it has performed great, blooming until October. It is an annual though and it requires trimming back several times during the summer in order to be able to comfortably walk by. I will try Dianthus year, an not very exciting choice–we’ll see.

Meditation Circle

Meditation Circle

New Plants

I ordered new plants from a mail-order company in Michigan in February and finally received them today. I expected them by mid-March, but was dismayed as the shipment dates were pushed back several times. Perhaps the severely cold winter affected the company’s ability to fulfill the order, but now the temperatures here are extremely hot and the plants will need extra care. I will try to get them in the ground early in the morning.

3 Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant, Orange Glory Flower
12 Delphinium x ‘Pacific Giants
12 Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William)
1 Clematis ‘Wildfire’
3 Veronica spicata ‘Rotfuchs’ syn. Red Fox (Red Fox Veronica)
1 Paeonia lactiflora Duchess de Nemours (White Peony)
1 Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)
1 Digitalis purpurea ‘Pam’s Choice’ (Pam’s Choice Foxglove)
1 Paeonia lactiflora ‘Black Beauty’ (Nightlife Peony)
20 Anemone coronaria de Caen ‘The Bride’ and ‘Mr. Fokker’

Clouds And Other Sightings

Substantial early morning rain left the garden soggy and provided a good excuse to put weeding chores on hold. The day reached a lovely 76 degrees with sun and clouds trading places throughout the afternoon.

March Sky

One little flower has popped open on the native Eastern Redbud. After tomorrow’s projected eighty-degree warmth more will probably be encouraged to follow suit.

Cercis canadensis L. (Eastern Redbud)

A grocery store hydrangea has lived on the screened porch for three or four seasons, while year after year nice quality nursery ones have failed to survive in the garden. I will keep trying to get one established in the garden proper, meanwhile this little faithful one lives on in its original pot.

Hydrangea Growing In Pot

Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft) is planted in several places around the garden. The structure of this flower is captivating and its pure white draws me in. This one is probably ‘Alexander’s White.’

Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft) 'Alexander's White'

Eastern Redbud and Company

Cercis canadensis L. (Eastern Redbud)

The native redbud showed a few spots of pink against the gray bark last week. What a difference a few days can make—today its lovely color is full of promise. This particular tree is poorly situated, crowding out and being crowded by two ‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypress. The site was meant to be temporary for this once tiny twig, but time got away and now this once tiny twig is about to bloom again in its default permanent location.

Along the Southern Path

At the top of the Southern path outside the garden entrance is a Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ with a few newly formed buds.

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Lavender’s young leaves are soft, silvery and fragrant.


Nearby, fresh growth abounds on the Linum Perenne ‘Sapphire’ (Flax), although (oops!) last year’s brown has not been trimmed away. This herbaceous perennial was reintroduced last spring after many years of absence in this garden and I look forward to seeing its pale blue flowers.

Linum Perenne 'Sapphire' (Flax)

Irises are tucked all around the garden, different kinds and all gifts from friends. All should have been divided years ago. Some irises along the Southern border have leaves more than a foot tall, others are but 3 or 4 inches so far. When the irises bloom this garden will be in its peak.

Meditation Circle

The meditation circle has provided so much pleasure since its completion last April and I am grateful I will not to be digging my way through Spring this year.

Meditation Circle

I have experimented with a few evergreen perennials the last eleven months to learn what might live easily in the narrow 12-inch spaces between the stepping stones of the labyrinth. Once imagination and budget for perennials ran low last summer, annuals were used to help the circle look vibrant and colorful. The evergreen nature of the chosen perennials helped maintain interest throughout the winter.

Iberis Sempervirens 'Purity' (Candytuft)

In the center of the meditation circle Iberis sempervirens ‘Purity’ (Candytuft) continues to be a showy feature. The newer ones planted this winter (shown in front) will soon catch up in size to those original ones in the back.

Though most are green, several of the Thymus x citriodorus (Silver Edge Thyme) seem to be just hanging on.  It has been too wet for thyme to thrive and the thyme need to be given a better home. This variety is not tall enough to provide much impact in the circle.

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue)

The three new Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue) are doing well, as are the original two from last year that were tested for performance in this site. The foliage is lovely close-up but does not provide a lot of contrast against the brown mulch when seen from a distance. When in bloom the tall white spires were lovely last year.

The outermost green plants on the far right of the meditation circle are also Penstemon, though not nearly as well behaved, a bit scraggly in fact.  They are Penstemon mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’ and have recently had a severe shearing to tidy them up. They weathered winter well and have remained very green.

January Winds Down

On this fifty-seven degree sunny afternoon, a mild breeze lifts the fragrance of Daphne odora wafting into the air.

Held up by a very cold winter, last year the hellebores began blooming by February 19 and continued through June 20, 2011. This winter they began blooming a month ago on December 30, 2011.

With its scent noticeable for a few weeks now, the aromatic Monarda didyma (Bergamot, Scarlet Beebalm) is growing. Beebalm is native to this area.

Monarda (Scarlet Beebalm)

Another native, Cercis canadensis L. (Eastern Redbud), is volunteering under the back steps, at least I think this is a redbud.

A Volunteer - Redbud?

Magenta Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion) will be back in the garden this year thanks to a neighbor who shares my passion for these old-fashioned flowers. The garden is full of white rose campion grown from seed, but for some reason the magenta ones, which had been passed-along many years ago by a dear cousin, had disappeared. Rose campion are not native but generally do well in this climate, reseeding easily.

Rose Campion

End-of-Winter Beginning-of-Spring Inventory

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.


Several 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.

Creeping Phlox

Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox) has been a favorite in this garden, but it has not bloomed well in several years.

Woodland phlox

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.

Meadow Sage

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.

March Surprises

Garden surprises abound today including two bitten off daffodils, which is highly unusual. Suspiciously, deer tracks abound as well.

Elsewhere the daffodils look lovely and seem not to mind that it was twenty-nine degrees last night.


Artemesia shows new growth, as does the hydrangea and the clematis.

Iris gain height daily.

A heart-shaped leaf must be a redbud volunteer.

Near the front walk a few deep magenta hyacinths emerge from among the newly opening candytuft at the base of the crape myrtles.

Eastern Redbud

In-between rain showers, with a deep blue threat approaching from the west, there were a few minutes this afternoon to check out the Eastern Redbud, which began just hinting its color midweek.

Nearby the redbud many birds, including a brown thrasher and an eastern towhee, cardinals, house finches, a bluebird, and a mockingbird, have gathered around the feeder today, but they all tucked themselves away as I approached to inspect the dark pink flowers.

Clusters of magenta flowers sit along the long, gray branches.  Some flowers emerge from the redbud’s trunk itself.

Temporarily “dug in” and never moved, this redbud sits much too close to the Carolina Sapphire (Arizona cypress), but the cypress is a nice background for the redbud’s showy blossoms.

Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Cercis
Species: C. canadensis
Binomial name
Cercis canadensis