Tag Archives: gardenia

In A Vase On Monday – Dahlias In A Silver Bowl

In A Vase On Monday – Dahlias In A Silver Bowl

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share a vase of cuttings from our gardens.

In A Vase On Monday – Dahlias In A Silver Bowl

I planned to showcase zinnias today but after a heavy day of rain on Friday the dahlias needed trimming back and re-staking. I collected so many dahlias I never made it back around to the zinnias. I passed along some flowers to neighbors and then spent a few peaceful moments arranging.

In A Vase On Monday – Dahlias In A Silver Bowl

In A Vase On Monday – Dahlias In A Silver Bowl

Later I spent a few minutes chasing daylight, even resorting to artificial light in the dining room.

In A Vase On Monday – Dahlias In A Silver Bowl

In A Vase On Monday – Dahlias In A Silver Bowl

Finally I placed them by a sunny window in the living room where we can enjoy them all day. The sunlight exaggerates the color of the left-most white Dahlia ‘Tsuku Yori No Shisha’ to nearly lemon-yellow.

In A Vase On Monday – Dahlias In A Silver Bowl

In A Vase On Monday – Dahlias In A Silver Bowl

A wedding present not used often enough, the Paul Revere bowl measures 11 inches in diameter by 5-inches tall. The flower arrangement is approximately 21-inches wide by 14-inches high.

In A Vase On Monday – Dahlias In A Silver Bowl

Objectively speaking I think some careful editing would allow breathing room and would enhance the design, but overall I am happy to see this huge bowl of dahlias brightening the house.

In A Vase On Monday – Dahlias In A Silver Bowl

Materials
Flowers
Dahlia sp.
Dahlia ‘Cafe Au Lait’
Dahlia ‘David Howard’
Dahlia ‘Tsuku Yori No Shisha’
Foliage
Asiatic lily
Materials
Paul Revere bowl, large

In A Vase On Monday – Dahlias In A Silver Bowl

In A Vase On Monday – Dahlias In A Silver Bowl

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 surprises she and others found to place in a vase this week.

In A Vase On Monday – Glow With Pink and Creme

In A Vase On Monday – Glow With Pink and Creme

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share a vase of cuttings from our gardens.

In A Vase On Monday – Glow With Pink and Creme

In A Vase On Monday – Glow With Pink and Creme

Prepared a few days ago two jars of Dahlia ‘Cafe Au Lait’ brighten our home on a rainy Sunday afternoon as remnants of Hurricane Delta pass through North Carolina.

In A Vase On Monday – Glow With Pink and Creme

The dark blue jar is 6.75 inches tall, the botanic one is just under 6 inches.

In A Vase On Monday – Glow With Pink and Creme

In A Vase On Monday – Glow With Pink and Creme

The dahlias range from 4 to 6.5 inches in diameter, some with hints of yellow.

In A Vase On Monday – Glow With Pink and Creme

In A Vase On Monday – Glow With Pink and Creme

In A Vase On Monday – Glow With Pink and Creme

Materials
Flowers
Dahlia ‘Cafe Au Lait’
Foliage
None
Materials
Dark blue matte ceramic jar
Portmerion- Botanic vase made in England

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 surprises she and others found to place in a vase this week.

In A Vase On Monday – October Surprise

In A Vase On Monday – October Surprise

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share a vase of cuttings from our gardens.  Blooming since June, dahlias continue to light up the garden.

In A Vase On Monday – October Surprise

The apricot orange is D. ‘David Howard’, the white is D. ‘Tsuku Yori No Shisha’ and D. ‘Gallery Art Deco’ is the sunset red. After weeks of sharing these dahlias it is challenge to find a new way to present them, so I am staying with a tried and true traditional design.

In A Vase On Monday – October Surprise

In A Vase On Monday – October Surprise

A maroon chrysanthemum from last year’s purchase adds a touch more red richness.  Added at the last moment Adonis blue Butterfly Bush contributes a bit of surprise.

In A Vase On Monday – October Surprise

In A Vase On Monday – October Surprise

An autumn addition to this week’s vase is an aster that overtook an entire garden bed years ago.  I continue to try to eradicate it. I thought at least I could put it to good use this Monday, but I find I it hard to fix this bad relationship. I’ll continue to get rid of the aster. The garden does not need the chaos.

In A Vase On Monday – October Surprise

In A Vase On Monday – October Surprise

Materials
Flowers
Alyssum
Aster (Symphyotrichum)
Buddleja davidii ‘Adokeep’ (Adonis blue Butterfly Bush)
Chrysanthemum
Dahlia ‘David Howard’
Dahlia ‘Gallery Art Deco’
Dahlia ‘Tsuku Yori No Shisha’
Foliage
Gardenia sp.
Itea virginica ‘Sprich’ LITTLE HENRY (Virginia sweetspire)
Materials
Ceramic Urn Stamped “Vintage 4”
Lomey plastic dish insert, eco-friendly floral foam

In A Vase On Monday – October Surprise

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 surprises she and others found to place in a vase this week.

In A Vase On Monday – Ikebana Study

In A Vase On Monday – Ikebana Study

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share a vase of cuttings from our gardens.

Foliage was my starting point for this design. Ginger lily is blooming beautifully this year. It is sending up many new stalks, some of whose tips I harvested for today’s vase.

The dahlias are thriving in the cooler weather and seemed unfazed after quite heavy rain Friday. For this Ikebana-style arrangement I chose creamy white Dahlia ‘Tsuku Yori No Shisha’ paired with a purply pink one whose name I do not know. The latter was included as a bonus with this year’s spring order and I failed to record it.

Dahlia ‘Tsuku Yori No Shisha’

Dahlia sp.

Both flowers and foliage went in easily and I was satisfied with the placements until I began photographing. The flowers themselves were grand but the overall effect was underwhelming.

In A Vase On Monday – Ikebana Study

I kept coming back to them during the next hour and finally began experimenting with adding to the vase.  Eventually I was happy again with the design. The color of the deep pink zinnia adds surprise. The zinnia stem arches gently away toward the back left.  An added piece of ginger lily foliage continues the curving line down through the right corner, where a few sprigs of gardenia leaves help anchor everything.

In A Vase On Monday – Ikebana Study

With the movement created by the changes I think the design is more graceful.

In A Vase On Monday – Ikebana Study

Materials
Flowers
Dahlia sp.
Dahlia ‘Tsuku Yori No Shisha’
Zinnia
Foliage
Gardenia sp.
Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)
Vase
Porcelain Ikebana vase, Georgetown Pottery, Maine. Rectangle Blue Zen (6.75L x 3.75W x 2H inches)

Zinnia

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.

In A Vase On Monday—Gardenia And Company

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

Monday again!  Time to join Cathy with In A Vase On Monday to share an arrangement using materials gathered from the garden.

I chose a black triangular vase this week to highlight three surprise gardenias I found yesterday blooming along the north side of the house. The gardenia’s sweet fragrance is difficult to adequately describe, but is as luscious as its pure white petals.

Gardenia jasminoides

Gardenia jasminoides

Relentless heat and lack of rain has characterized our weather the past month and as a result a mid-summer planting of gladiolas has failed. The plants looked strong and promising during July and I was looking forward to using them arrangements. But August sered the leaves and stunted the blooms.  I salvaged just a portion of one to use with the gardenias today.

Gladiolus

Gladiolus

There are more zinnias included this week. One of the few flowers able to withstand the recent  temperatures, even their foliage is looking distressed.

Cactus Zinnia

Cactus Zinnia

When gathering flowers for today’s vase I also found a single stem of perennial sweet pea that looked fresh enough to include. Though the bloom is non-scented, the twining tendrils of this passalong add extra texture to the design.

In A Vase On Monday

In A Vase On Monday

Materials
Gardenia jasminoides
Gladiolus
Lathyrus latifolius (Perennial Sweet Pea)
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)
Porcelain Ikebana vases, Georgetown Pottery, Maine. Triangle Black Wave (6.5 W x 6.5 L x 2H)

It is always such a pleasure to put together a weekly vase. 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—Gardenias With Blue And Red

In A Vase On Monday—Gardenias With Blue And Red

In A Vase On Monday—Gardenias With Blue And Red

On this Memorial Day I am joining Cathy’s  In A Vase On Monday, a weekly opportunity to share cut flowers from one’s garden.

Gardenias grow 7 or 8 feet tall along the north side of our house. They began blooming this past week and their first fresh, fragrant blossoms were a clear choice for today’s arrangement.

Gardenia sp.

Gardenia sp.

Gardenias

Gardenias

Companions for the gardenias are deep red antirrhinum and Black and Blue salvia.

In A Vase On Monday—Gardenias With Blue And Red

In A Vase On Monday—Gardenias With Blue And Red

In A Vase On Monday—Gardenias With Blue And Red

In A Vase On Monday—Gardenias With Blue And Red

The vase for today belonged to a special neighbor and friend who passed away last year. A brilliant, well-travelled and well-read woman, Linda had a warm smile for everyone, an unforgettable laugh and a fascinating story for every occasion. From time to time I helped her with technical issues with her no longer extant WordPress blog. On her blog she interspersed recordings of her daily life in Chapel Hill as a writer, with accounts of experiences growing up in Seattle and her time overseas as an American Foreign Service spouse where one of her official duties in 1990 was to greet Pope John Paul II during his tour of Africa. Among many things, we shared a penchant for Ann Patchett novels and anything related to Julia Child. A few years older than I, she kindly took me under her wing a bit, which was touching. I am grateful to have this lovely keepsake of our friendship.

As befitting its former owner, the vessel holding today’s flowers is unique. Made of blown glass, the form is asymmetrical with alternating bands of blue and green color. The top is loosely pinched together leaving just a small narrow opening, yet it accommodated quite a few stems.

In A Vase On Monday—Gardenias With Blue And Red

In A Vase On Monday—Gardenias With Blue And Red

Materials

Antirrhinum majus (snapdragon)
Gardenia sp.
Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

In A Vase On Monday—Gardenias With Blue And Red

In A Vase On Monday—Gardenias With Blue And Red

As always, thanks to Cathy for hosting this weekly flower obsession. Visit her at Rambling In The Garden to discover what she and other gardeners are placing In A Vase On Monday.

In A Vase On Monday—Featuring Gardenias

Trio of Vases - Overhead View

Trio of Vases – Overhead View

Trio of Vases - Overhead View (B&W)

Trio of Vases – Overhead View (B&W)

Monday brings the chance to practice flower arranging by joining in Cathy’s weekly challenge In A Vase On Monday, where the goal is simply to fill a vase using materials gathered in one’s own garden.

Yesterday I gathered a variety of flowers and foliage and placed them into glasses of warm water for conditioning. There were Zinnias, Dahlias, Perovskia, Lantana, Pink Muhly Grass, even a single, long-awaited Cosmos.

But of these, only a few of the Zinnias made it into this week’s arrangement. I never finished working with most of the flowers I collected, but did complete a trio of vases—two small and one large ceramic containers.

Trio of Vases

Trio of Vases

The prized blooms this week are gardenias from bushes on the north side of the house. Their fragrant, waxy white flowers and deep green leaves are the main focus for the large vase, accentuated by a few boldly colored zinnias.

Gardenias and Zinnias

Gardenias and Zinnias

Gardenia sp.

Gardenia sp.

 

In one of the small vases are an Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown,’ a gardenia with greenery and several sprigs of Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue.’

Black and Blue and Sundown

Black and Blue and Sundown

In the other small green vase are five pink and orange Zinnias, simply arranged.

Vase of Pink and Orange Zinnias

Vase of Pink and Orange Zinnias

The vases were interesting to photograph from above. I seldom include props but today I used one of several pieces of decorative molding salvaged from my father’s cabinet shop to play with the composition of the largest vase. (I had planned to use this molding with last week’s orchid but as it turned out it detracted from the integrity of the flower. Here it just is used to add weight to the bottom of the composition.)

Doecorative Molding

Decorative Molding

Gardenias and Zinnias - Overhead View

Large Vase – Gardenias and Zinnias – Overhead View

Large Vase - Gardenias and Zinnias

Large Vase – Gardenias and Zinnias

I like the black and white version of the last image.

Large Vase - Gardenias and Zinnias (B&W)

Large Vase – Gardenias and Zinnias (B&W)

Materials
Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ (Hybrid Coneflower)
Gardenia sp.
Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’
Zinnia

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting. Discover what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday and feel free to join in.

In A Vase On Monday—Red On Red

Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)

Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)

Each Monday brings opportunity to practice flower arranging by joining in Cathy’s weekly challenge In A Vase On Monday. The goal is to fill a vase using materials gathered in one’s own garden.

I had hoped to feature gardenias this week, but they are in very poor condition this year. None were pristine, most were brown, but I managed to find just a single usable bloom. Fortunately Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm) is just coming into flower this week and I was able to incorporate a flowing arc of red into this week’s arrangement. Glossy green leaves of Camellia sasanqua and silvery branches of lavender complete the design.

Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm) and Gardenia

Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm) and Gardenia

The red and black raku pot used to hold the flowers is one of several I have collected by Charles Chrisco, who grew up in the Seagrove/Jugtown area of North Carolina where there is a rich  history of traditional pottery making.

Materials
Outline foliage: Camellia sasanqua
Round focal flower: Gardenia jasminoides
Filler foliage: Lavandula x intermedia ‘Dutch’ (Dutch Lavender)
Outline flowers: Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)

Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)

Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting. I encourage you to visit her to learn what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday.

June Fragrance

Gardenia jasminoides 'Chuck Hayes'

Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’

The lusciously sweet scent of gardenia is back in the garden.

The western border against the fence, planted with Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes,’  is beginning to fill with creamy rich blossoms.

Gardenia jasminoides 'Chuck Hayes'

Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’

This Chuck Hayes hedge bloomed earlier last year, by May 23, but since everything was early last year, I checked my records back another year. In 2011 the date was June 4.

The mature size of this hardy evergreen is 3-6 feet in height and width. In this garden those in more sun are approaching the 6-foot mark while those situated under more shade are 3-4-feet.  This year’s abundant rain was perfect for keeping these plants looking healthy.

Gardenia jasminoides 'Chuck Hayes'

Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’

Two gardenias of unknown species are in full bloom today along the northern side of the house as well.

Gardenia jasminoides sp.

Gardenia jasminoides sp.

Gardenia jasminoides sp.

Gardenia jasminoides sp.

 

These 8-foot shrubs were rooted by a dear friend and former next-door-neighbor.  Across the driveway sits the gardenia she planted when she lived there. It is still growing strong, but ironically it has not begun blooming yet this season.

This gardenia’s individual blossoms look so compelling, it was impossible to select one representative image.

Gardenia jasminoides sp.

Gardenia jasminoides sp.

Gardenia jasminoides sp.

Gardenia jasminoides sp.

Gardenia jasminoides sp.

Gardenia jasminoides sp.

Gardenia jasminoides sp.

Gardenia jasminoides sp.

I brought some flowers into the house to enjoy and the gardenia scent is delightful.

Note
Five Gardenia jasminoides ‘August Beauty’ (Gardenia) planted last year to screen the heating/air conditioning units are disappointing so far.  They are barely hanging on, showing yellowing leaves and little growth.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – September 2012

Each month Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD), hosted by Christina of Creating My Own Garden of the Hesperides, is an opportunity to examine the contributions of foliage in one’s garden.  It is 83F this afternoon, the first day of autumn, sunny with a gentle breeze.

Primed to focus on foliage I started out walking around the front of the house this morning where glossy leaves of Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ (Winter daphne) shone in the early light. The anomaly of red-tinged buds was an unexpected sight.

Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ (Winter daphne)

Along the north side of the house is a very narrow strip separating our property from the neighbors’ drive. Planted at the northeast corner of the house is a Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’ and just beyond are several gardenias (variety unknown) that have bloomed well this year.

Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’

Both the camellia and the gardenia are trouble-free but do require some light pruning to keep from extending into the neighbors’ driveway. I had to trim them last month which I think stimulated this new growth on the Sasanqua.

New Growth On Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’

Listed variously as fall-blooming and winter-blooming, this Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’ bloomed last year by November 1.

Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’

A friend rooted the gardenias that grow here now and presented them to me when they were just six or eight inches tall about ten years ago. This view is looking west toward the main garden.

Gardenia in Northern Border

Both the camellia and the gardenias are evergreen with nice glossy leaves.  These shrubs serve to hide utility units from the street, but flowers, such as this creamy Gardenia flower, are a bonus.

Gardenia Flower in Northern Border

Next to the gardenias is a grouping of Helleborus orientalis (Lenten rose) which add deep green color and texture now and will enliven this area in winter and spring when they bloom.

Helleborus orientalis (Lenten rose)

Moving down beyond the Hellebores the rest of the north side strip is planted mostly with Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) and Aegopodium podagraria(bishop’s weed) that took over. The Aegopodium can be invasive and I have planned for several years to remove it. It will die back in the winter.

Narrow Property Strip

The reddened leaves of Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) suggest a sense of autumn.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

This variegated Aegopodium is a shade-loving ground cover.

Aegopodium podagraria(bishop’s weed)

Flowering Dogwoods are native here but this is not a good example of one. It turned brown during a three-week dry spell in July and never recovered. Flowering dogwoods usually have beautiful red foliage in the fall.

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

The dogwood is setting fruit.

Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood) Fruit

In front of the house near the street the Crape Myrtle that was blown over in July is rallying.  I was unable to match the variety reliably for a replacement so decided to see how it works out to let the tree recover on its own.  There are utility lines nearby so this is the easiest and least expensive approach.

Crape Myrtle

Crape Myrtle

Thanks to Christina for hosting this look at foliage.  For inspiration visit her at Creating My Own Garden of the Hesperides where you can find links to other Garden Bloggers Foliage Day entries.

Mid-September Blooms

One week before the autumnal equinox, large puffy clouds adorn the deep blue sky. It is a beautiful, sunny day, 79°F.

This Stargazer Dahlia is a cactus-flowered dwarf variety. Grown from seed and passed-along a few years ago by a dear neighbor, this lone survivor returns annually without any special attention.

Dahlia ‘Stargazer’

Speaking of survivors, this tomato was a surprise, surprise when I discovered it last week growing underneath a bird feeder. My next-door neighbor grows beautiful and delicious tomatoes and I assume a little bird thoughtfully brought this into my garden.

A Tomato Volunteer

A patch of zinnias is finally adding some cheerful color in a back corner of the property. Mixed seeds always seem to be mostly pink but finally a few yellow, coral and orange are blooming now.

Zinnia

Though most have faded by this point in the season, several Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) continue to display fresh blossoms.

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Tradescantia (Spiderwort) are a very favorite flower but they have become so aggressive I have had to cut back, pull up, and repeat the same removal process over and over throughout the summer. The result is that many Tradescantia are still present and blooming. My former garden has very heavy clay and lots of shade and the tradescantia stayed very well-contained, but here it is too spready. This white blossom is an unusual one, most in this garden are blue or violet.

Tradescantia (Spiderwort)

The gardenia shrubs continue to be welcomingly fragrant. This is one of the Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’ that grow along the western border of the garden. The newly planted ‘August Beauty’ variety is doing well but it will be some time before it can provide much screening to hide the heating and air conditioner units.

Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’

Roses are not my forte but this Rosa ‘Iceberg’ belonged to a special friend who passed away a few years ago. Several times I have almost given up on it but it did not give up. So here is this lovely bloom today as a special reminder of a special person. I enjoy that gardens can honor memories and cultivate friendships. Thanks for visiting my garden today.

Rosa ‘Iceberg’

August Beauty and Chuck

Today I purchased five gardenias named ‘August Beauty’ to screen heating and air conditioning units near the house’s foundation. I am unfamiliar with this variety, but the price was irresistible. These plants are tiny, but should fill in quickly, reaching 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide.

Meanwhile, well-established, ten-year-old gardenias perfume the garden.

Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’

Well-watered from generous rains during most of this year, ‘Chuck Hayes’ Gardenias along the western border bloomed magnificently in late May. They have flowered occasionally since, but recently there has been a flurry of sweet-smelling blossoms.

The hardy ‘Chuck Hayes’ is a good variety for this region as it resists cold and tolerates warmer temperatures. This compact evergreen shrub, 4-5 feet high, features leaves that are dark green and glossy. Flowers are double, velvety white and highly fragrant. Mr. Charles “Chuck” Hayes, who developed this gardenia, was from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’

Elsewhere today Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ drew a myriad of visitors, including this lovely one.

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

I am not sure what it is (anyone?) but This butterfly is a Red-banded Hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops). [Thanks to P&B  for the identification!] I enjoyed the way the Monarda in the background echoes the scarlet in this creature’s wing.

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Mid-July Musings

Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’

‘Chuck Hayes’ Gardenias began blooming at the end of May this year and since then a few occasional blossoms have continued to appear. This particular bush lost several limbs last week when the top of a neighbor’s Loblolly Pine came crashing down during a severe wind and rain storm. The jolt seems to have encouraged a few more flowers.

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Temperatures are heading toward 100 today. A few individual heat-loving plants are going strong, but for the most part the garden is shutting down. There are no lush drifts of color or interesting plant pairings to note.

There are still plenty of bees around enjoying such delicacies as Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes,’ Penstemon mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’ (Beardtongue), Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint) and Salvia ‘Blue Sky.’

Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)

Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm) began flowering on the last day of May and though it looks stressed from the heat, blooms continue to appear. For the past three weeks hummingbirds have been regular visitors.

Goldfinches dart among the tired and ragged seed heads of Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower). For a while longer I can justify leaving the drying coneflowers for the birds, although their sprawling stalks (and most of the garden in general) have become very unsightly. This garden is definitely at its best in Spring.

After A Brief Shower

An early evening shower splashed onto the garden briefly, leaving the air thick and humid and the flowers slightly heavy, weighted by tiny water droplets.

Newly Blooming

Fragrant Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’ and a few other plants are newly blooming in this Chapel Hill garden today.

Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’

Long before the garden’s picket fence was installed ‘Chuck Hayes’ was planted as a low privacy hedge in the western border. Both evergreen and deer resistant this gardenia variety is very cold hardy in this area. It prefers regular watering, but seldom is anything watered in this garden beyond a week or two after planting. The hedge is benefitting from the very significant amounts of rain the garden has received all winter and spring. It also responded well to the Epsom salts I applied a month ago when some of the leaves began to yellow. Many of the original ‘Chuck Hayes’ shrubs were lost to drought and the spots left bare are gradually being replaced with taller plants that can provide more privacy.

Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’

Nearby the first clusters of flowers have opened on the Butterfly bush (possibly Buddleja davidii ‘Black Knight’).

Buddleja davidii ‘Black Knight’? (Butterfly bush)

Buddleja davidii ‘Black Knight’? (Butterfly bush)

The bees are finding plenty of food, including this Veronica spicata ‘Pink Goblin’ (Speedwell), which actually has been blooming for a few weeks now, not just starting today. It seems much revived after last night’s elaborate thunder and lightning storm that brought heavy amounts of rain.

Veronica spicata ‘Pink Goblin’ (Speedwell)

Pale delicate flowers of Lavender are open today at last and bees are finding it irresistible.  In the background are drifts of pink Achillea and the ‘Blue Point’ Juniper hedge planted last year.

Lavender and Pink Achillea

The first blossoms of Salvia ‘Blue Sky’ appeared today, revealing this flower’s characteristic azure blue brilliance atop a 5-foot flower stalk.

Salvia ‘Blue Sky’

Liatris spicata ‘Alba’  is not quite open, but a little of the white flower is visible. The soft grass-like foliage provides a nice texture in the northern border.

Liatris spicata ‘Alba’

One more newly opened flower today, a cheerful Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy). There are many large clumps of this herbaceous perennial all around the garden, so soon this single blossom should have plenty of company.

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

A Mild March Day

It is seventy-one this afternoon and the clouds move in and out.  Earlier, the sun was nice and warm and the several hours spent weeding this morning passed easily.

Suddenly the spiraea is covered in little white flowers, several weeks earlier than usual perhaps. This deciduous shrub is a long-time favorite.

Spiraea

Spiraea

Spiraea

Nearby a recently transplanted plant with two mottled, red leaves is reminiscent of a trout lily, but its identification is uncertain.

Perhaps a Trout Lily?

Three or four Digitalis purpurea (Foxglove) were visible all winter and are starting to grow.

Digitalis purpurea Foxglove

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy) never died back during the winter. The clumps could use division. Transplants from last year look healthy and strong.

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Several new Phlox subulata added to the garden a few weeks ago have acclimated well. This one is ‘Purple Beauty.’

Phlox subulata 'Purple Beauty'

Helleborus orientalis (Lenten rose) continue to add color around several areas of the garden. I transplanted a few small seedlings to a shady spot near the back steps.

Helleborus orientalis (Lenten rose)

A row of ‘Chuck Hayes’ gardenias once formed a low hedge along the back border of the garden, but a couple years of drought killed off many. The five that remain look greener and healthier than usual this Spring.

Gardenia jasminoides 'Chuck Hayes'

The daffodils are already finishing up their cheerful displays. This one is ‘Flower Carpet.’

Daffodil 'Flower Carpet'

Blooming In Mid-September

The garden has been completely on auto-pilot for the past eight weeks. With July’s extreme heat and drought came parched plants and severe gardening lethargy. Then the months of August and September brought several important rains, and as is the way of gardens, this garden responded, sparking renewal in growth and interest.

Blooms, Blooms

Touring and taking inventory today it was impossible not to revel in the multitude of blooms.

A few days into September the gardenias began blooming again, putting on a more magnificent show than in early June when temperatures in the mid-nineties forced them to struggle. Now the air is filled with the lovely and unmistakable scent of gardenia.

The Orange Canna adds height and interest to the east end of the side garden. Throughout July the canna’s blossoms wilted almost immediately. Today its elegant blossom brightens this space again.

A few Shasta Daisy flowers continue to bloom in different spots around the garden.  The divisions transplanted in early Spring are healthy.

It was a treat to discover the Jackmani Clematis in bloom today.  This is unusual for this garden. Again the rain seems to have made the difference.

The lantana has been in this garden for ten years.  It performed beautifully this year, one of those plants that does not mind the heat.

The Meditation Circle

The flowers in the meditation circle have held up well throughout the entire summer. The marigolds and angelonia withstand the heat and humidity brilliantly. Both have spread beyond the 12-inch allotment of space between the stepping stones, but an occasional shearing works to restore order to the labyrinth and yields long-lasting bouquets to bring inside.

The perennials in the circle, candytuft, thyme and penstemon, all performed well and look healthy. Between the two types of penstemon (Beardtongue), Penstemon Digitalis ‘Husker Red’ is the preferred choice. The 18 ‘Pikes Peak Purple’ Penstemons (foreground) have done fine but are more scraggly and flowers are not very showy–fine in their own right but not great accents for the labyrinth in the meditation circle.

To Be Continued

Many more flowers deserve mention today so this post will be continued later.  For a last glimpse at the garden today, here is Salvia ‘Blue Sky.’  This was brought from a former garden ten years ago. It is particularly lovely this year.

June Vignettes

June arrived as temperatures are approaching, but not yet surpassing, historic records. Yesterday’s 96 degrees forced the tip of the tall digitalis (foxglove) to simply curl over, leaving the plant in the shape of a shepherd’s crook.  Later in the evening it had straightened itself to it’s usual dignified, stately form.

Predictions calling for temperatures to reach near-100 today swayed me to break my anti-watering stance this morning. The new shrubs and perennials especially need a bit of nurturing against this heat for a while longer. Besides, spending early moments in the garden is one of the nicest ways to enjoy the serenity of the space, while providing an opportunity to make mental notes of the accumulating garden chores.

Bees, butterflies, birds, blooms and scents make the garden a special place. Monarda (Bee Balm), Blue Sky Salvia and gardenia are the latest flowers to open in the garden.  I knew the gardenias had opened before I saw them, with their unparalleled fragrance wafting through the early morning air; monarda smells wonderful in its own minty fresh way.

Morning Garden Walk

The backyard garden at the end of May is pleasant and lush, with inviting colors, textures, diversity of plants, and sounds of birds, elevating this morning’s walk to a remarkably satisfying experience for this gardener.

Chrysanthemum, silvery Dusty Miller, Sweet Pea combine with soft leaves of Eastern Red Columbine.

The tradescantia (Virginia Spiderwort) wake up the early morning garden with intense blues, but close under the strong sun by midday.  The pink yarrow and white rose campion mix well and the tall blades of iris add balance.

Nearby a lantana has sprung to life and soon will be covered in multicolored clusters of red, yellow and orange.

Stachys (Lamb’s ear) brightens the back corner between some irises and a gardenia.  The gardenia will soon add its unique fragrance to the garden.

The Liatris spicata (Gayfeather) earlier seemed terribly crowded by the irises, but as its bloomtime approaches it stands tall.

Verbena bonariensis frequently draws American goldfinches to the garden.  It is surrounded by a foxglove, shasta daisies, tradescantia, a rudbeckia ‘Irish eyes’ and gardenias.

The meditation circle with its labyrinth still has more mulch than plants. Five bonariensis await planting within but I am hesitant about whether they are a good choice. Meanwhile the penstemon and angelonia have worked out great.  The thyme lacks a strong presence, though it grows fine and has bloomed.  The candytuft bloomed a rewarding second time.

Many more plants are tucked and packed into this small backyard haven, making each morning’s walk new and interesting as they transition through life.

Almanac

After a week of extreme heat, with temperatures reaching into the nineties, last night’s cooling breezes and this morning’s crisp air were welcome.  Despite the prediction of rain I broke my rule against watering and gave some plants a good drink.  Still only 66 degrees by lunchtime, the heavy rain started suddenly and continued steadily until early evening, and streets flooded in Chapel Hill.  The garden’s meditation circle flooded near the entrance and in the middle, draining pretty well afterwards, but leaving a stark contrast to its bleached-out look under the severity of the sun earlier in the week.  After a rosy-clouded sunset, the rains returned.

Gardenia Curiosity

This colorful seed pod, discovered yesterday on a nine-year old gardenia in my side garden, is an interesting surprise and a first.

The gardenia itself is a pass-along plant, rooted by a former next-door neighbor and gardening enthusiast. Last year in a happy, reciprocal interchange, I was able to root a cutting for her to add to her new yard. Gardens are full of nice memories, marking moments of times past, even as they point to the future and to renewal.

Today it’s gray and wet and 43 degrees.  Distinctly heard thunder, so will it snow within the next two weeks, as the old wives’ tale predicts?