Even with my normal blinders on I have noticed some rather brash weeds, one standing as tall as the iris the other day. Despite that, the garden this spring has been enchanting—a peaceful and meditative place that also is happily filled with flowers.
A peony novice, I appreciate them more every year. The first I planted several years ago was Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ and it has just bloomed in the last two days. The cold winter was good for it I guess, as it is loaded with blooms. Last year, just when Pink Parfait’s flowers opened, severe rainstorms turned them into a soggy mess. This spring is different. In the last three weeks we have had heavy, heavy rain, but all coming in a single day—not ideal for the garden in general, but the peonies are lasting better.
Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ (Peony)
Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint) makes a nice companion plant for the peony.
Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ (Peony)
And the Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint) has also worked great with my passalong phlox.
Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint), Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox)
The Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William) in the northern border continues to add rich texture and color (and as a bonus it holds up well in a vase). One of the nearly black bearded iris is still blooming nearby.
Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William)
Last year I had the idea to create a red border (and it could still happen, but I am not actively working on it). With that in mind though last April I planted Digitalis purpurea ‘Pam’s Choice’ in the southern border to accompany a new white peony and a new dark red one. None of them bloomed last year and the dark red peony seems not to have survived, but Pam’s Choice is looking great.
Digitalis purpurea ‘Pam’s Choice’ (Pam’s Choice Foxglove)
Forming part of the walls of the labyrinth, a large planting of Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue) has been flowering for 4 or 5 days. These evergreen plants have seeded generously and I have been able to establish them in several other parts of the garden as well.
Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue) in the Meditation Circle
The penstemon in the meditation circle need to be divided and the pansies are overdue for removal.
Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)
A potted Hippeastrum (Amaryllis), kept over the winter in the garage, bloomed successfully this spring. Now there are two blooming outdoors in the southern border, which I find more exciting. They have been growing outside for a number of years but do not always flower well.
A little ground cover planted last year looked just ok during the winter but it has filled out with lots of dainty blue flowers and is creeping between the stepping stones near the north gate. Its name is Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper).
Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper)
Another addition to the garden last spring was this dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea, now sporting a lone flower. Named ‘Ruby Slippers,’ it is supposed to have beautiful red fall color, both leaves and flowers. Although this has become a rather shady location, Phlox paniculata still seems perfectly happy, as seen in the background.
Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)
A garden club friend gave me some yellow Primrose this spring with the warning it spreads like crazy. Last year I refused the same plant for that very reason. If anyone recognizes it and can give me some details on it I would appreciate it.
This was a tag-along plant from the primrose. Does anyone recognize it?
There are three Baptisias in the garden, none of which perform well to my dismay. The deer stripped every flower off the stems of one that lives outside the fenced area just as I began to hold high hopes for it this year. The other two are underachievers, though to be fair, both are perhaps a bit crowded. I love the blue color of the flowers.
Baptisia australis (blue false indigo)
Along the southern side path plants often decide for themselves where they like to sit. Some years I make suggestions, but this year they have had free rein and I actually love the loose, effusive effect of letting them have their own way. (Self-seeded cleome will have to be removed from the path itself.) The very first bearded iris to bloom were these yellow ones and they are still putting on a show.
Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) Along Southern Path
Along this path Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) and white Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion) began blooming about a week ago. The red Lychnis did not make it this year.
Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) and Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion)
This tall verbena took hold along the path last year and seems content as the evening approaches.
Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)