After a cold, wet Wednesday, yesterday there remained a chill in the morning air as I took an early saunter around the garden. Water drops clung to leaves and petals in places the sun had yet to reach. It was quiet except for calming notes of birdsong.
In front of the house (which faces east) a couple of plants rescued last year during a neighbor’s border renovation project were catching the early rays. (I think I have identified them correctly.)
In a border along the south side of the drive ascelpias is making good progress. This area also has lots of echinacea popping through.
This spring the southern side path heading toward the back garden has been flourishing with daffodils, irises, baptisia, and clematis. Unfortunately this bed has a terrible infestation of bermuda grass that seems impossible to manage. I hired an organic company to help with it, to dig it up, but dosed with a great deal of mansplaining, their expensive efforts in March have proved to be merely cosmetic.
(I am focused on trying to keep it from getting further into the main garden and in two places have used layers of cardboard and piles of mulch to smother it. This can take two years from what I have read. I think this grass came in a few years ago in some bad mulch at a time I was not able to pay attention to the garden. I am trying to avoid spraying harmful products but frankly it is overwhelming to manage.)
So even as this ginger lily emerges with vigor, the grass continues its rampage on this border.
In the midst of my indecisiveness about this dilemma I came across a white form of rose campion having an identity crisis!
Each Monday Cathy from Rambling In The Garden invites us to share a vase assembled from materials collected in our gardens.
Scarlet Beebalm with its spicy, minty scent has been blooming several weeks. I have been planning all week to showcase it in today’s vase, along with red daylilies.
Unfortunately Sunday was a resting day for the daylilies and the only blooms open were pretty tired. Think of the pair in the vase as placeholders.
Here are a few that were blooming Saturday—they really have been beautiful this year and more will open soon.
For filler I chose Salvia greggii, which is blooming better than usual now that some trees are cut and it gets more sun. All these red flowers were most uncooperative when I tried to photograph the arrangement late yesterday afternoon—lots of dark shadow and blobs.
I had Shasta daisies ready to step up and add light but I decided against them. A black and white image underscores the overall dark tones of the arrangement. Next time I would try to balance the lights and darks better. Also I feel the Monarda (beebalm) is a lost against the shaggy foliage of the salvia, the textures are similarly sagging and loose. In person this is much easier to read.
Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm)
Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red’ (Autumn Sage)
Porcelain Ikebana vase, Georgetown Pottery, Maine. Rectangle Blue Zen (6.75L x 3.75W x 2H inches)
Many thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting and giving us an opportunity to share flower designs across the world. Visit her to discover what she and others found to place In A Vase On Monday.
Friday and Saturday the garden gratefully welcomed more rainfall. By mid-morning Saturday the showers had stopped and I hurried out to see the first daylily blooms of the summer.
The garden is taking on a summer look.
Only a few Shasta daisies have opened. There are many tight buds.
Monarda and cleome have been blooming about a week.
Though not very tall, much of this pink yarrow was flattened by the rain.
Scattered throughout the borders, Purple coneflower is having a good year. Last year it scarcely made an impact at all.
The color and form varies widely.
I especially like the white echinacea, but it does not spread like its pink relatives.
It is just a number, but having arrived here, I like the idea of marking my 550th post.
Most days this week I have enjoyed the garden by getting up early, between 5:00-6:00 a.m., to take pictures, water certain plants and spend some time in quiet reflection before the neighborhood starts bustling. A red Daylily started flowering a week ago, this yellow one opened today.
Wednesday I noticed a colorful creature spiraling an Allium Atropurpureum. Perhaps someone will be able to help me identify it.
Scattered all around the garden, Echinacea purpurea has been reliable in the heat. Some planting of echinacea received no extra water during this drought, but I watered this section fairly regularly since I was watering nearby. Even drought-tolerant plants such as this one respond positively to some attention.
Bees are becoming active at this early time of day, but frequently during my walks I have come upon them asleep on Echinacea and once, on Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catmint).
Another bee pair was lazily hanging out on the spire of a Liatris spicata. This one is the only liatris that has kept its dignity during the recent heat wave.
Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox) came into its own this week. Along with Cleome it helped to fill in some gaps along the fence in the western border, attracting more bees at the same time.
A recent addition to the garden, Ruellia brittoniana ‘Purple Showers’ (Mexican petunia) is taking its time getting adjusted to its new home. Eventually it should make a nice large clump and overwinter, I hope. There are a couple of new flowers each morning, gone later in the day—the bunny or some other phenomenon? I have not seen the rabbits in 4 or 5 days nor have I come upon an abandoned little blue velvet jacket.
Under the screened porch a long border was overtaken years ago by Shasta Daisies. When they first come into bloom they are fresh and inviting.
Always too quick for my camera on a few mornings there was a single hummingbird sipping among the Monarda didyma (Scarlet Beebalm). The blooms are drying out so one time the tiny bird caught a a long red petal in its long beak instead of finding nectar—I could almost see it trying to spit it out.
Last night a huge storm passed us right by and hovered instead over the town of Chapel Hill. Several friends reported hail damage. Tonight a smaller storm carried some light rain our way for 45 minutes. The bird baths were filled only half-way, but the water should help refresh the garden. Have a great weekend.
We had another nearly 100-degree day yesterday and yet, a fresh daylily greeted me in the garden first thing this morning. A thunderstorm during the night brought welcome rain and it is cooler today, a mere 91°F. Starting tomorrow temperatures will climb again into mid-90sF for another week. When summer starts officially on Sunday what surprise can it bring?
Part of the Monarda border fell victim to the storm’s strong wind and rain, actually a small price to pay in exchange for not needing to water this morning.
I planted some new purple gladioli for cutting this year, but the first to flower is a salmon one from many years ago.
Several weeks ago I pulled up last fall’s snapdragons from the meditation circle, but as an experiment I left one along the front edge of the northern border. Surprisingly it continues to bloom despite the heat, its rich blossom, still drenched from last night’s rain, seems impossibly smooth and glossy red.
I added several new Liatris spicata (Gayfeather) to the border this spring. Rather than opening, some of the flower tips just turned brown from the heat, but this one is off to a good start.
With the appearance of its first multicolored flowers open today, Lantana camara is making a comeback in the southern border. It had died back to the ground during this year’s cold winter.
Just on the other side of the fence from the lantana, one of my favorite vignettes from this morning’s garden walk is a large patch of self-seeded Cleome at the southern entrance to the garden. While the gate and much of the garden was still in shade, the flowers were bathed in the sun’s early light.
A nectaring bee found the cleome enticing.
I was surprised to discover this burst of color in the southern border early this July Fourth. I inherited this daylily several years ago when my daughter moved and could not take her plants. This is the first time it has bloomed in my garden.
Not really knowing its name I nicknamed it Fireworks just for today as a nod to Independence Day and the streams of color that will fill the night sky.
I will have to check with my daughter but I think this is one she selected at Roger Mercer’s daylily farm. The closest match I could find on his website was ‘Black Jade’ but it is certainly not one unless by accident as the price listed was $200.
Another nameless daylily, this sunny yellow, ruffly one I selected during the same daylily farm visit. Sometimes the color seems almost tangerine but not sure I would describe it as such this year. I know very little about daylilies but am becoming more interested in them this year.
And one more thing—I could not resist showing the first flower that has opened at the bottom of this gladiolus spike. With its nice clear magenta hue it really stood out against the grass and sedum below.