Tag Archives: garden photography

Fine Outdoor Dining

Summertime and outdoor dining go together and Echinacea (Purple Coneflower) was an attractive menu option this afternoon in the front side garden.

American painted lady (Vanessa virginiensis) has been around a few times in previous years.

American painted lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

American painted lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

This is the first time I have noticed the other butterfly, which I believe is Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus).  Both were difficult to photograph as they flitted from one flower to the next and darted away when I got too near. The coneflower’s appeal soon drew them back, allowing me to get a bit closer.

Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)

Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)

 

Irrigation With Ollas

Ollas – Clay Pots For Irrigation

I saw these ollas displayed for sale at the North Carolina Botanical Garden yesterday. Bury the unglazed clay pot leaving about 2 inches of the neck exposed. Fill with water. Plant within 18 inches from the center of the olla (creating a 3 foot circle that will be irrigated by the olla). Tempting. Have you tried this technique?

Ollas – Clay Pots For Irrigation

Ollas – Clay Pots For Irrigation

Ruby Slippers In The Garden

After featuring the red leaves of my dwarf oakleaf hydrangea in Monday’s vase I went back through some photos to evaluate how it looked earlier in the year.  The sequence of its development each year is remarkable, so I thought I would share its colorful stages.

This is Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’  (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea). It was planted in April 2013 near a large Arizona cypress at the back of the western border, where it could receive some protection from the hot summer sun. It developed rich red leaves that first year and had one or two blooms the following spring, but in 2015 I moved it forward where it could receive more sunlight. Then it really took off.

Just planted, April 2013. Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’

April 30, 2017

By late April the hydrangea show begins. This oakleaf blooms on last year’s growth, but unlike the Hydrangea macrophylla in the garden, flower production has never been affected by cold weather.

April 30, 2017. Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’

May 8, 2017

The inflorescence can be about 9 inches long.

May 8, 2017. Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’

May 15, 2017

The deciduous shrub is said to mature quickly at 3 1/2 ft. tall to 4 to 5 ft. wide. Mine has not spread that wide, or maybe it has. I should measure!

May 15, 2017. Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’

May 31, 2017

The flowers open as pure white but in a couple of weeks take on a pink tinge.

May 31, 2017. Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’

June 27, 2017

In another month the flowers have developed a richer red hue. (Ignore those pink garden phlox in the background–an unplanned combination so shocking I almost like it.)

June 27, 2017. Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’

July 1, 2017

July 1, 2017. Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’

July 1, 2017. Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’

September 22, 2017

Eventually the flowers fade and at least in my hot summer garden, turn brown—the least attractive stage. I have no pictures of the oakleaf during this period.

Then in about September the leaf color begins to transform the shrub.

September 22, 2017 Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’

December 6, 2013

Brilliant red leaves developed even the first year.

December 6, 2013. Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’

December 21, 2016

Last winter I captured this frosty-rimmed scene.

December 21, 2016. Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’

November 25, 2017

And this year the color has warmed the garden with richness.

November 25, 2017. Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ has been a successful addition to my garden. What’s your favorite shrub for extended seasonal color?