Tag Archives: gbbc

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – May 2013

I am joining Christina at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides for Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD) and a chance to examine the importance of foliage in the garden.

This month I have enjoyed the prolific blooms of a spring garden and earlier today I posted a long entry about May flowers, but because of GBFD, I also kept an eye open for foliage highlights.

The plants I notice again and again are the silvery-leaved Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear), perennial Dusty Miller and Artemisia, as they help break up the spaces and add interest—some pop—to the borders.

Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ear) with Iris and Achillea

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) with Iris and Achillea

Dusty Miller

Dusty Miller

Artemisia 'Powis Castle' (Wormwood)

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)

Dark colors especially the reds of Canna and Husker’s Red Penstemon worked to add excitement and even some sophistication to the garden.

Canna and Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Canna and Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)



Penstemons and Thyme In The Meditation Circle

Penstemons and Thyme In The Meditation Circle

Another plant with good foliage coloring is Heuchera (Coral Bells). It is available in many colors though the nurseries do not seem to stock many different ones.  I bought three Heuchera villosa ‘Big Top Bronze’ last year and finally got them planted in a permanent spot in April.

Heuchera villosa 'Big Top Bronze' (Coral Bells)

Heuchera villosa ‘Big Top Bronze’ (Coral Bells)

I have not cooked with this Golden Sage, but the bright yellow green coloration and pattern spilling out through the railing is reason enough to grow it.

Salvia Dorada 'Aurea' (Golden Sage)

Salvia Dorada ‘Aurea’ (Golden Sage)

Much of the foliage I have been following this month is intriguing simply as it is part of the amazing early stage of a plant’s growth cycle.  Flowers will eventually arrive, but for a long time before the plants bloom the volume created by the leaves and stems lifts the garden upward accenting it with shape and texture.

Liatris spicata 'Floristan Weiss' (Gayfeather)

Liatris spicata ‘Floristan Weiss’ (Gayfeather)

Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)

Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Anemone coronaria de Caen 'The Bride' and 'Mr. Fokker'

Anemone coronaria de Caen ‘The Bride’ and ‘Mr. Fokker’

Be sure to visit Christina to see her skillful use of foliage and find links to other GBFD bloggers.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – April 2013

I am joining Christine at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides for Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD).

The garden is filling in with this month, from green, sword-like Iris leaves and feathery Achillea to the silvery foliage of Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear), Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion) and perennial Dusty Miller.

Achillea, Candytuft and Lamb's ear

Achillea, Candytuft flowers peeking out and Lamb’s ear

An exciting addition to the garden is this Oakleaf Hydrangea. It’s full name is Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea).

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Ruby Slippers'  April 16 2013

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ April 16 2013

It arrived as part of a plant shipment on April 11 and by April 16 it was settling in well. Yesterday, just five days later, it really seems to be acclimated.

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Ruby Slippers'  (Lil' Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea), April 21, 2013

The broad green leaves of this deciduous woody shrub resemble oak leaves. In fall the highly textured, leathery leaves should turn scarlet and burgundy. The inflorescences should bloom white, turn to pink and eventually fade to burgundy red.

Be sure to visit Christine to see other GBFD articles.

Enjoying the Great Backyard Bird Count

The birds have been active at the backyard feeders since early this morning with no signs of slowing down. Here eight cardinals and a sparrow are jockeying for another chance to partake.

The temperature has dropped more than ten degrees to 37° F during the day as rainy, wintry weather returns after a yesterday’s sunny 65 degrees.

Early this morning before the rain started, I counted birds for a half-hour and then submitted a second checklist for the Great Backyard Bird Count. My very first checklist ever was submitted yesterday on Day 2 of this annual event. Both days there were some birds I could not identify, but I was able to report 68 birds. These are what I counted yesterday:

Start Time: 1:45 PM – Total Birding Time: 45 minutes – Number of Species: 10
Mourning Dove – 2
Red-bellied Woodpecker – 1
Fish Crow – 2
Carolina Chickadee – 1
Tufted Titmouse – 1
Eastern Bluebird – 2
Song Sparrow – 1
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored) – 1
Northern Cardinal – 6
House Finch – 2

Today’s checklist looked like this:

Start Time: 8:30 AM – Total Birding Time: 30 minutes – Number of Species: 16
Mourning Dove – 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker – 1
Blue Jay – 1
crow sp. – 1
Carolina Chickadee – 1
Tufted Titmouse – 1
Brown-headed Nuthatch – 2
Eastern Bluebird – 1
American Robin – 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler – 3
Song Sparrow – 1
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored) – 1
Northern Cardinal – 12
Red-winged Blackbird – 12
Common Grackle – 6
House Finch – 4

An Eastern Towhee and more robins showed up today after I finished counting so they were not included in the tally.  This is just a snapshot in time though and perhaps someone else reported them.  In a moment of serendipity, one interesting sight today was a large group of Red-winged Blackbirds accompanied by grackles and other blackbirds. It was only two weeks ago I first spotted a Red-winged Blackbird in this backyard garden and marveled at the Exceptional Sighting. Today for a fleeting couple of minutes, there were a dozen.

2012 Great Backyard Bird Count

All manner of birds have passed through the garden this winter, but cardinals are among the most common right now. Spotted ten Northern Cardinals having breakfast this morning at the feeder. The birds perch among the evergreen branches of two ‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypress trees, where they can check out the feeder.  Or they may tuck themselves just inside the Spirea shrub to watch for an opening. The bright red coloring of the male cardinals makes them easy to follow.

Just found out recently the 15th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is coming up.

For four days between February 17 – 20, 2012, people across North America will be counting birds and reporting their results online. I will join the count this year for the first time.