Tag Archives: Itea virginica ‘Sprich’ LITTLE HENRY (Virginia sweetspire)

Early May Vignettes And Blooms – Clematis ‘Niobe’

Clematis ‘Niobe’

Continuing a look around the garden over the first half of May, I keep coming back to this Clematis ‘Niobe’.  It was purchased in April 2015 at Southern States in Carrboro, a favorite local plant nursery since I’ve been gardening.

Clematis ‘Niobe’

I go through periods of wanting an all-red or all-white and certainly an all-blue border. They never materialize as I imagine but a few of the plants such as this one end up becoming stars.  This is a great shade of red.

The clematis has been waiting in the wings, caught up in the nightmarish aster that has been overwhelming my iris border. Most of last year I couldn’t even get through easily to the back fence where this clematis lives to check on it. This year the aster has been pulled out twice and still is revving its engines, sending out new runners underground.  (Its leaves are visible in the lower right portion of the image above.) I am determined to keep working to be rid of that aster.

Meanwhile Clematis ‘Niobe’ is visible this May and looking lovely. It began opening around April 10.

Itea virginica ‘Sprich’ LITTLE HENRY (Virginia sweetspire)


Late November

It was 24°F. when I left to teach yoga this morning. After class I braved the still below freezing morning temperature to explore the recently cleaned up garden.  Usually I wait for late winter/early spring to begin the clearing, but I hired some gardening help this year because the garden has gotten out of control. Voles had destroyed a Blue Point Juniper hedge and those trees were dying all summer.  Finally now they are all removed and the southern border looks very exposed.

Southern Border

Now I can see the outlines of the beds. It is not really a clean slate because there still are many aggressive plant roots biding their time, but for now I feel relieved. The meditation circle is free of obstacles and I can reset the stones and enjoying walking the labyrinth once again. My last minute bulb ordered arrived just before Thanksgiving and I can start getting them in the ground.

Meditation Circle

A dwarf Itea with its nice fall color was revealed during the clean-up. Inexplicably the shrub was planted several years ago at the back of a border, where it is hidden most of the time.

Itea virginica ‘Sprich’ LITTLE HENRY (Virginia sweetspire)

Itea virginica ‘Sprich’ LITTLE HENRY (Virginia sweetspire)

Confused, little mixed-up daffodils found the weekend’s 60°F. warmth encouraging enough to peek out. They don’t seem phased by the deep chill.


After the clean-up there is little left in place to offer unexpected blooms, but a couple of dianthus flowers stood out in the sunlight.

Dianthus Ideal Select Mix