Winter was a long time leaving and now Summer is intruding on springtime. After a beautiful and warm day, it is 87°F at 7:00 pm. Yesterday the Easter Redbud was opening against the deep blue sky.
Also yesterday, several spikes of Meadow Sage revealed purple-blue buds. Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) was ready to pop open. Bumblebees were courting, a yellow butterfly drifted through the garden and a ladybug investigated a chrysanthemum.
Meadow Sage ‘May Night’
Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)
Ladybud On Chrysanthemum
Today the mulch project I began in early February was finally completed! The garden beds have all been weeded. There is still some cleanup to do to thin out some of the most aggressive growers (almost everything in the garden it seems). Nevertheless the garden looks tidier and feels ready for the green, the growth and the surprises that follow winter. And the patio is ready to be reclaimed for something other than mulch storage.
A few new Iberis ‘Purity’ and some Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink Chintz’ have been added to the center of the meditation circle in hope the mulch soon will not even be noticeable. The planting areas between the paths on the left are ready to plant tomorrow. I have used Angelonia there the last two years and it has performed great, blooming until October. It is an annual though and it requires trimming back several times during the summer in order to be able to comfortably walk by. I will try Dianthus year, an not very exciting choice–we’ll see.
I ordered new plants from a mail-order company in Michigan in February and finally received them today. I expected them by mid-March, but was dismayed as the shipment dates were pushed back several times. Perhaps the severely cold winter affected the company’s ability to fulfill the order, but now the temperatures here are extremely hot and the plants will need extra care. I will try to get them in the ground early in the morning.
A bit of happenstance in the late evening garden forms a nice texture study. A Candytuft with its bright white flower and slender leaves is tucked between the feathery, dark green of a dwarf Yarrow and the fur-like, silver-gray of a Lamb’s Ear.
The Tradescantia (Spiderwort) in this garden are violet, purple, and even pale blue, but not usually nearly white with a center that hints of pale lavender. Unlike the others which are pass-along plants, this was an actual purchased specimen. (Of course, it has moved itself around and is no longer where it was planted originally.)
Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)
The Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood) opened a week ago. The large white petals are actually bracts. The greenish-yellow cluster in the center is made up of about twenty small flowers.
The meditation circle has been in bloom since December thanks to Iberis Sempervirens ‘Purity’ (Candytuft). Since a series of recent heavy rains the Candytuft has looked really tired and will soon need to be trimmed back. After almost a full year I am still undecided on how to finish planting the labyrinth with evergreens. An annual, Angelonia, bloomed here well into October so it may be a good choice again this summer.
The garden in early April is fresh and growing enthusiastically. In the northern border Meadow Sage ‘May Night’ adds a bit of color, but soon the irises will be ready for a vibrant display.
Since the beginning of the southern side garden ten years ago, Cleome or Spider Flower has been a summer staple. It self-seeds usually quite heavily but for the last couple of years, only a few cleome have emerged, probably due to heavy applications of mulch in spring. There are a handful of cleome now that were late maturing but worth the wait. The striking flowers sit atop stalks that are five or six feet tall.
Meadow Sage provided some deep rich color early this spring, then took a break during the heat of the summer. Encouraged by refreshing rains and cooler temperatures, the meadow sage has returned this fall to fill the front of the northern border with spiky texture and deep indigo and burgundy tones.
Added to the meditation circle in early June, Penstemon ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’ seemed like an ideal choice because the ‘Husker’s Red Penstemon’ had done so well earlier. It soon became evident this is a wilder, more scraggly plant that bloomed intermittently throughout the summer, but never was attractive. Today the flowers do look beautiful though.
Fall 2011 began September 23 and the time since has been filled with many rains. The moisture has encouraged continued flowering in the garden. After a brief shower early this morning, the sun has been in and out of clouds all day. The temperature is currently eighty-five degrees.
After a wet spring with moderate temperatures, the heat of the last few days has seemed to shock the grass, but so far the garden is holding its own. A very brief, early morning thunderstorm brought little relief, as it was more thunder than rain.
Several perennials await planting. There are three lovely yellow-pink, peachy Yarrows for height in the back border. There are also five Verbena bonariensis, which are planned for the meditation circle.
Spruced up the garden for a few hours this morning, trying to shape and edit along the way.
Trimmed back Tradescantia (Virginia Spiderwort) that had grown too tall in front of the borders and had expanded into too much of the midsection.
Cut back the iris stalks, but kept the leaves to die back naturally.
Removed some large branches from a Buddleja davidii ‘Black Knight’ (Butterfly Bush) that did not get its proper trim back in February. It was overshadowing the recently added Gaura.
Pruned back the Iceberg Rose that had bloomed so well this spring. Suddenly it looked completely spent.
Trimmed the Meadow Sage by half to encourage new blooming. Pulled up stray Rose Campion and Stachys(Lamb’s Ears) in the side path to open up the path again.
Cut back the blooms on many of the Stachys, but left as many for the bees which were enjoying them so much.