Tag Archives: pass-along plant

In A Vase On Monday—Peonies

In A Vase On Monday – Peonies

Each Monday Cathy from Rambling In The Garden invites us to share a vase assembled from materials collected in our gardens.

The garden reached its springtime peak this week as irises, roses and peonies shared the spotlight in the borders. Today’s vase focuses on 3 varieties of frilly pink peonies with a couple stems of phlox and roses as companions.

In A Vase On Monday – Peonies

Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ was the first peony I bought for my garden—fully double, vibrant pink, lightly fragrant.

Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ (Pink Parfait Peony)

Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ (Pink Parfait Peony)

Paeonia ‘Madame Emile Debatene’ has salmon-pink and rose flowers with a double center and is highly fragrant.

Paeonia ‘Madame Emile Debatene’ (on right)

I think this light pastel pink is Paeonia lactiflora ‘Sarah Bernhardt,’ a passalong from my garden club friend Jane. This is its second year in my garden but its first year blooming. Flowers are large and very fragrant.

Paeonia lactiflora ‘Sarah Bernhardt’

Materials
Flowers
Paeonia ‘Madame Emile Debatene’
Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ (Pink Parfait Peony)
Paeonia lactiflora ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ (passalong from Jane)
Phlox divaricata (passalong Woodland phlox)
Rosa (old-fashioned family passalong rose)
Foliage
Container
Tall Glass Vase

Have a great week!

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.

In A Vase On Monday—Coral Charm

In A Vase On Monday—Coral Charm. Photographed Sunday morning.

Each Monday Cathy from Rambling In The Garden invites us to share a vase assembled from materials collected in our gardens.

I cut two newly opened Coral Charm peonies on Thursday and the rest of these peonies Friday before an expected rain and conditioned them overnight.  I arranged them Saturday morning and have enjoyed watching them open from almost bud stage. Here they are just after being placed into a vase Saturday.

In A Vase On Monday—Coral Charm.  Photographed Saturday morning.

The color is softening as the flowers mature, shifting from pink coral into yellow apricot by Sunday morning, especially noticeable in the ones cut earlier in the week.

In A Vase On Monday—Coral Charm. Photographed Sunday morning.

By Sunday night the peonies were even more magnificent. I did not think they could get any fuller but they have.

Expansive blooms by Sunday evening

 

A glimpse from the side of the arrangement, Sunday evening.

Materials

Flowers
Allium Aflatunense ‘Purple Sensation’
Paeonia lactiflora ‘Coral Charm’ (Coral Charm Peony)
Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’
Rosa (old-fashioned family passalong rose)
Foliage
Container
Dark blue matte ceramic jar

I could show you dozens and dozens of photos of these Coral Charms, but none of them do justice to the real thing.

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.

After The Rain

Rosa (Rose) -Virgie’s Old-fashioned Rose

The garden was soggy yesterday after an afternoon storm that brought wind and rain. Temperatures were in the 80s F. this week, but will be 70s today after the storm. It has been a lovely, long spring in the garden. Often we move from winter right into hot summer days and the blooms don’t have a chance to linger.

My mother’s older cousin, Virgie, passed along many of her plants through the years. This rose is one she, my grandmother, mother, my daughter for a time (when she had a yard) and I think another cousin from my generation all have grown. It is sweetly fragrant.

Rosa (Rose) -Virgie’s Old-fashioned Rose

The underside of this heuchera shows reminds me of a young child showing her colorful petticoat. In back, hellebores continue to provide interest. What’s not to love about a plant that will bloom for months without demanding anything. The heuchera was purchased, but the hellebores were passed along by garden club friend Vicki.

Heuchera villosa ‘Big Top Bronze’ (Coral Bells)

Dianthus is an old-fashioned favorite and has been so perfect this spring. It is planted among Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood), both of which were purchased last spring.

Dianthus Ideal Select Mix and Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)

More irises have opened this week. Many of mine were passalongs from a former neighbor, Henrietta on Wave Road, circa 1977.  (Columbine has spread to every corner of the garden, not always creating the best color combinations. Time to cut it back.)

Iris germanica (Tall bearded iris) (bearded German Iris) with Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) in background

Iris germanica (Tall bearded iris) (bearded German Iris)

Though there are lots of bold colors in the garden, the soft fresh greens of spring are evident everywhere. The redbud in the southwest corner is another passalong from friend, Chase. I spotted two volunteers yesterday I hope to pot up and pass on to another gardener.  Passalongs carry happy memories.

Cercis canadensis (Eastern Redbud)

In A Vase On Monday—April’s Allure

In A Vase On Monday – April’s Allure

Each Monday Cathy from Rambling In The Garden invites us to share a vase assembled from materials collected in our gardens.

After another busy week of non-gardening duties, I stole a few minutes here and there and now at day’s end, Monday’s vase(s) finally are ready.

The colors of the late April garden are rich and deep; the flowers offer plenty of fragrance. My irises are not blooming as well as they should, but I love each new one that opens.

In A Vase On Monday – April’s Allure

The purple anemones that survived the fall planting and winter rains are seriously beautiful, but there should be many more. None of the white ‘Bride’ seem to have taken hold.

In A Vase On Monday – April’s Allure

This is anemone is an oddity.

This Anemone De Caen ‘Mr Fokker’ has a crown of stamens on both sides.

Here are a few close-ups.

The yellow Iris germanica (Tall bearded iris) is a passalong from 1977

Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris)

Dianthus Ideal Select Mix

Anemone De Caen ‘Mr Fokker’ and Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Anemone De Caen ‘Mr Fokker’

 

Materials

Flowers
Anemone De Caen ‘Mr Fokker’ – planted fall 2018
Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ – one of first purchases for this garden, 2001
Dianthus Ideal Select Mix – planted this time last year, overwintered well
Iris germanica (Tall bearded iris) – yellow pass-along from neighbor Henrietta in 1977
Iris germanica ‘Immortality’) – white rebloomer
Iris germanica ‘Orinoco Flow’) – passalong from down-the-street neighbor Gary
Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris) – passalong from a historic old Chapel Hill neighborhood
Foliage
Clematis ‘Jackmanii’
Container
Porcelain Ikebana vase, Georgetown Pottery, Maine. Triangle Blue Wave (6.5 W x 6.5 L x 2H)
Portmerion Botanic vase, made in England.

As we continue to deal with medical issues there is very little time for the garden or keeping up with blogging friends, but I sneak a peek at your posts when I can. We are finally back at home which makes us happy.

In A Vase On Monday – April’s Allure

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.

In A Vase On Monday – Old-Fashioned Blooms

In A Vase On Monday – Old-Fashioned Blooms

Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share an arrangement every Monday using materials collected from our gardens. Thunder and lightning was exciting briefly late Saturday night, but the activity brought very little rain.

Zinnias began flowering ten days ago, cheering up the garden with colorful old-fashioned loveliness.

In A Vase On Monday – Old-Fashioned Blooms

By early June when daffodil foliage had finally died back so I could reclaim some space, I was losing interest in gardening because it was so extremely hot. But I found an old packet of Zinnia ‘Cut and Come Again’ (Zinnia elegant pumila), packaged for 2017 by Botanical Interests, and sprinkled out the seeds. Simple, colorful, heat-loving and reliable—what could be easier?

In A Vase On Monday – Old-Fashioned Blooms

In-between the time of planting seeds and harvesting the flowers, I celebrated a birthday with lots of family. The container today is one of a pair of mugs I received during a big family get-together that unexpectedly turned into a bit of a birthday fest for me. The cups were crafted by my niece’s mother-in-law, featuring beautiful form and blue glaze. The blue batik table runner was made by my sister using special Japanese fabric.

Mugs and Table Runner

Light in the dining room was fading so for staging pictures I draped the table runner over a chair in the foyer. I decided to include another gift. This spring I began teaching yoga and meditation regularly so this Tibetan meditation chime from another sister was particularly thoughtful.

In A Vase On Monday – Old-Fashioned Blooms

Well back to this Monday’s design, a single stem of fern-like foliage of Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy) inserted into the mug created support structure that worked well to hold the zinnias in place. As well, there is a cluster of Tansy flowers just beginning to open.

In A Vase On Monday – Old-Fashioned Blooms

The flowers look sparser from the back but I love the color of this largest zinnia.

In A Vase On Monday – Old-Fashioned Blooms

Materials
Flowers
Zinnia ‘Cut and Come Again’ (Zinnia elegant pumila), Botanical Interests. Heirloom. (packed for 2017)
Foliage
Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy)
Vase
Stoneware mug. Mary Murray, Mountain Forest Pottery, Brevard, NC.

In A Vase On Monday – Old-Fashioned Blooms

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.

In A Vase On Monday – Pink Florals

In A Vase On Monday – Pink Florals

Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share an arrangement every Monday using materials collected from our gardens. After weeks of hot, dry weather there finally were rain sprinkles on the Fourth of July just as everyone was getting excited about fireworks. The rain quickly moved on that evening, hurrying north toward town. Since then there have been several other showers, none bringing much precipitation.

Indifferent to the preceding, long dry spell, Cleome hassleriana has opened in the meditation circle and throughout portions of the borders. I gathered a dozen or more stems to feature in today’s vase.

Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower) With Liatris

Some of the flowers come out white.

Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Companions include fresh cuttings of Lathyrus latifolius (Perennial Sweet Pea) along with several clusters of Hydrangea macrophylla left over from last week.

Sweet Pea, Hydrangea and Artemisia

Lathyrus latifolius (Perennial Sweet Pea)

Soft silvery gray foliage of Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood) mixes into the soft gray-green band of glaze of the stoneware pitcher.

Hydrangea and Artemisia

Materials
Flowers
Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)
Hydrangea macrophylla
Lathyrus latifolius (Perennial Sweet Pea)
Liatris spicata (Gayfeather)
Foliage
Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)
Vase
Stoneware pitcher glazed with bands of cream, green, blue. (pitcher and 4 cups, Pringle Pottery, North Carolina, circa 1977).

In A Vase On Monday – Pink Florals

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.

In A Vase On Monday – May Dazzle

In A Vase On Monday – May Dazzle

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share an arrangement using materials collected from our gardens.

In A Vase On Monday – May Dazzle

Recently I have been enjoying a serene view in the garden whereby I am looking through tall white spires of Husker Red penstemon toward a border dominated various greens. White panicles of oakleaf hydrangea punctuate one end of the scene, while subdued silvery gray-green foliage of a passalong Dusty Miller fronts large clumps of dark green perennials not yet in bloom. This low-key combination of white, gray-green, and dark green was the inspiration for today’s vase.

Upon inspection the penstemon flowers were browning a bit, past their prime after a rainy week, but the hydrangeas were still quite fresh. Fern-like leaves of tansy, another passalong,  were included for color and texture.

Tansy Foliage Among Oakleaf Hydrangea

It seems an arrangement always needs more flowers than one would think. Unwilling to cut more hydrangeas I ended up using more peonies (from the refrigerator). And although using white peonies again this week would have preserved my original intention to create a subtle, calm design, I had featured them the past two vases.

I chose instead to add a bit of dazzle with Paeonia ‘Madame Emile Debatene.’ I could not resist adding a few “blue” angelonia to the mix also.

Paeonia ‘Madame Emile Debatene’

Angelonia angustifolia ‘Angelface Blue’

Heuchera leaves with reddish undersides pick up the hues of the peony and angelonia, while silvery, delicate Dusty Miller quiets the mood.

Heuchera and Dusty Miller Foliage With Peony, Hydrangea and Angelonia

The character of this vase evolved into a more spirited, brighter presentation than I had envisioned. I have learned not to stress over keeping a rigid idea and in the end, I am happy with this result. As a bonus, the peonies are quite fragrant.

In A Vase On Monday – May Dazzle

Materials
Flowers
4 Angelonia angustifolia ‘Angelface Blue’ (Summer Snapdragon)
2 Angelonia angustifolia ‘Angelface White’ (Summer Snapdragon)
7 Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)
5 Paeonia ‘Madame Emile Debatene’
Foliage
Dusty Miller (passed along as Dusty Miller. Possibly Artemisia)
Heuchera villosa ‘Big Top Bronze’ (Coral Bells)
Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)
Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy)
Mechanics
Floral foam
6-inch plastic Lomey dish
Large Green Ceramic Urn

Keeping the urn-shaped vase in mind, I created this design by inserting the fresh materials into floral foam that had been secured to a 6-inch plastic dish. Once the arrangement was completed I placed the dish to sit atop the urn.

In A Vase On Monday – May Dazzle

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.

In A Vase On Monday – May Flowers

In A Vase On Monday – May Flowers

Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share an arrangement every Monday using materials collected from our gardens. The garden is happy this month—more peonies are flowering and my heirloom rose opened this week.

Each peony is so large as to fill a vase just on its own. When gathering them I cut their stems short so as to leave as many buds as possible on the shrubs. This made it difficult to arrange them.

I thought I would use one each of Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima,’ ‘Pink Parfait’ and ‘Madame Emile Debatene’ but there was not enough room in the Ikebana vase I had chosen. Even replacing one with Iris germanica ‘Immortality’ gave the vase a crowded look.

Iris germanica ‘Immortality,’ Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’ and Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ (Peony)

I decided to rework the vase using roses if I had time later, so eventually I started over.

The old-fashioned rose is the fullest in several years. My mother’s first cousin shared this rose with me many years ago and I brought it to this garden 17 years ago. My mother and her mother also grew this rose, as did my daughter for a couple of years before she moved to California. She is visiting us this week with her husband so has been able to enjoy the garden as it reaches its peak.

Old-fasioned Rose and Spiderwort

Just as I began cutting the roses we had a downpour, so I only had a couple to use. The roses ended up on the left side near the base.

In A Vase On Monday – May Flowers

‘Madame Emile Debatene’ made a come-back at the upper middle of the design, just a slightly open bud,  and this time with a long stem to provide some height. Here is what it looks like when opened more fully.

Paeonia ‘Madame Emile Debatene’

‘Festiva Maxima’ is anchored on the right. I did not have time to gather more flowers, but I could have used two or three more roses to offset the size of the white peony.

Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’

Several stems of sunrise-hued snapdragons enhance the color palette and add texture.

In A Vase On Monday – May Flowers

Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon) and Old-fashioned Rose

I was not completely satisfied. I still wanted to use the third peony, Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait,’ so I found a way and I think it helped balance out the design.

In A Vase On Monday – May Flowers

Materials
Flowers
Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon)
Iris germanica ‘Immortality’
Old-fashioned Rose
Paeonia ‘Festiva Maxima’
Paeonia ‘Madame Emile Debatene’
Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait’ (Peony)
Foliage
Peony
Vases
Porcelain Ikebana vase, Georgetown Pottery, Maine. Triangle Black Wave (6.5 W x 6.5 L x 2H)
Rounded white glass bowl

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.

In A Vase On Monday – Spring Preview

In A Vase On Monday - Spring Preview

In A Vase On Monday – Spring Preview

My dear husband is finally home from rehab after back surgeries. He is slated for lots of therapy in the coming weeks to help him regain strength and mobility.

Naturally gardening time continues to be scarce as together we concentrate on his recuperation, but with his encouragement I was able to carve out a few minutes yesterday to collect some flowers to share for a Monday vase.

With spring-like, record-setting temperatures for the past month the borders are bursting with color. Faced with the many choices I focused on Anemone coronaria ‘Mr. Fokker’ which began blooming the first of February. In my garden, anemones have been difficult to establish. Most do not survive at all, others are short-lived, so I cherish this particular tiny patch.

Anemone coronaria ‘Mr. Fokker’

Anemone coronaria ‘Mr. Fokker’

For today’s vases I took inspiration from the blue-green combination of these anemones against the fresh lime green flowers of Euphorbia ‘Shorty’. I selected several complementary hellebores as well.

Euphorbia 'Shorty' and Anemone coronaria ‘Mr. Fokker’

Euphorbia ‘Shorty’ and Anemone coronaria ‘Mr. Fokker’

Helleborus x hybridus

Helleborus x hybridus

Ikebana vases with integrated pin holders are a quick arranging solution.

In A Vase On Monday - Spring Preview

In A Vase On Monday – Spring Preview

Hellebores began opening sporadically in December and for the last month have been spectacular. I added some named cultivars last winter which seem to have survived but only one is blooming. The label is missing and I have not had time to figure out which one it is.

Some of the hellebores in today’s arrangement are from an initial order of plants made the first year we moved into our house in 2001 and others are pass-alongs from Vicki, a garden club friend whom I first met through yoga.

Helleborus x hybridus

Helleborus x hybridus

Helleborus x hybridus

Helleborus x hybridus

Euphorbia 'Shorty' and Helleborus x hybridus

Euphorbia ‘Shorty’ and Helleborus x hybridus

This past week several hyacinths popped out for a fragrantly spicy surprise. They seemed to want to be arranged without fuss or competition from other flowers, so they fill one Ikebana container.

Hyacinth orientalis 'Blue Jacket' and 'Woodstock'

Hyacinth orientalis ‘Blue Jacket’ and ‘Woodstock’

Materials
Anemone coronaria ‘Mr. Fokker’
Euphorbia ‘Shorty’ (Shorty Spurge)
Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)
Hyacinth orientalis ‘Blue Jacket’
Hyacinth orientalis ‘Woodstock’
Porcelain Ikebana vases, Georgetown Pottery, Maine. Rectangle Blue Zen (6.75L x 3.75W x 2H inches), Triangle Blue Wave (6.5 W x 6.5 L x 2H), Triangle Black Wave (6.5 W x 6.5 L x 2H)

I am happy with the finished effect of grouping the vases and delighted to be able to share them today.

In A Vase On Monday - Spring Preview

In A Vase On Monday – Spring Preview

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting and giving us a chance to express our flower arranging passion. Visit her to discover what she and others found this week in their winter gardens to place In A Vase On Monday.

In A Vase On Monday—Buttons Up

As the week begins I join Cathy with In A Vase On Monday, an opportunity to share an arrangement using materials collected from the garden.

 

In A Vase On Monday - Buttons Up

In A Vase On Monday – Buttons Up

As Thanksgiving approaches button chrysanthemums are a bright spot in the garden.

In A Vase On Monday - Buttons Up

In A Vase On Monday – Buttons Up

These were passed along over 30 years ago by my garden mentor Virgie, my mother’s first cousin. The little passalongs are appropriate today as I have been sorting through some old family photographs shared by my own first cousin. We are collaborating on our maternal family history. She’s been researching and creating family group records. I am organizing the pictures, writing narratives and posting it all on a family website. So I have spent many hours the past few weeks reminiscing. I discovered pictures of Virgie and of my mother as babies and am piecing together stories of them and other relatives, and meeting some I knew not at all. As i peer into some of the faded images I smile to see hydrangeas, elephant ears, ferns, roses, and vines growing around the porches.

I found one orange gardenia hip yesterday to include in this week’s vase. The chrysanthemums are displayed in a blue mug I purchased at the Eno River Festival one year. The Aucuba leaves are left over from a previous IAVOM, one from September. When I finally decided to take apart the greenery from that arrangement, I found several of the stems had rooted.

In A Vase On Monday - Buttons Up

In A Vase On Monday – Buttons Up

Materials
Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’ (Gold Dust Aucuba)
Button Chrysanthemum
Gardenia hip
Blue-glazed stoneware mug

I had collected snapdragon, camellias, echinacea and clematis to use also but the chrysanthemums wanted all the attention.  Having cut the clematis though I decided to share a peek anyway.

In A Vase On Monday - Buttons Up

In A Vase On Monday – Buttons Up

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.

 

 

A Rose For Mother’s Day

My grandmother and mother grew this rose and every spring I look forward to its appearance in my own garden. The rose of my childhood, my family used to wear this rose each year on Mother’s Day Sunday.

Virgie's Old-fashioned Rose

Virgie’s Old-fashioned Rose

It was Virgie, my mother’s first cousin and my gardening mentor, who passed along this rose to me, soon after I was married. The rose grew at my previous Wave Road garden and when we moved a few miles away to our current location, my daughter valiantly helped me fight thorns and dig roots so we could bring the rose to our new home.

[I shared a piece with my daughter when she and her new husband moved into their own home, one of many things that did not fit into the back of a station wagon when they later moved to California—yet I loved that she grew it for a time.]

VIrgie's Old-fashioned Rose

VIrgie’s Old-fashioned Rose

Virgie contributed not only this rose, but numerous other things that still thrive in my garden: Dusty Miller, Tradescantia (Spiderwort), Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox), Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant), Spiraea prunifolia (bridal wreath spiraea).

Other plants I have had to replace, but that she taught me to love are Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’, Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion) and Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William).

One I regret leaving behind is Calycanthus fluorides (Carolina spicebush, eastern sweetshrub). Several gardens on last week’s garden tour featured sweetshrub.

So, anyway a tribute to family and to a family rose on Mother’s Day.

Virgie's Old-fashioned Rose

Virgie’s Old-fashioned Rose

Early July Notebook

It has been another week without rain and several more 95°F days have pushed some plants over the brink, including a Phlox paniculata ‘David’ I bought in May. ‘David’ is a sophisticated white phlox that grew well in my former garden and I have been trying for years to establish it here. Seeing its sad state spurred me to water the entire garden thoroughly Thursday evening, but the effort was too late to save that new phlox I think.

Meanwhile pinkish things are blooming and thriving.

Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower) and Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower) and Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)

Purchased the end of April, this stubby foxglove may have been mislabeled as Digitalis purpurea ‘Camelot Rose.’ It is supposed to be 35-47 inches (90-120 cm) but while attractive, it is more like 12 inches tall. ‘Camelot Rose’ flowers in its first and second year. This one is finally blooming many weeks later than another variety in the same border. Maybe it will achieve its true height in the second year.

Digitalis purpurea ‘Camelot Rose’  (Foxglove ‘Camelot Rose’)

Digitalis purpurea ‘Camelot Rose’ (Foxglove ‘Camelot Rose’)

Digitalis purpurea ‘Camelot Rose’  (Foxglove ‘Camelot Rose’)

Digitalis purpurea ‘Camelot Rose’ (Foxglove ‘Camelot Rose’)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) is attracting lots of bees. I have begun deadheading some of it, but the best bee photos always seem to be those where the flower has faded. At least one flower looks fresh.

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Blush’ is looking better than it has in years. Although I cut it back, it is still flopping but at least this summer it is blooming.

Gaura lindheimeri 'Passionate Blush' (Butterfly Gaura)

Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Blush’ (Butterfly Gaura)

Gaura lindheimeri 'Passionate Blush' (Butterfly Gaura)

Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Blush’ (Butterfly Gaura)

When I could not find my preferred blue Angelonia this spring to use as the meditation labyrinth’s walls, I ended up using some lavender and some darker shades of pink on one side of the circle. I think Angelonia angustifolia ‘Archangel Dark Rose’ is on the left below and ‘Raspberry’ is on the right.

Angelonia angustifolia ‘Archangel Dark Rose’ and A. ‘Raspberry’

Most of the outer wall of the meditation circle is actually planted in white, specifically Angelonia ’Serena White.’ Hot temperatures arrived in late spring before the young plants had time to get established, but with judicious water they have filled in nicely and finally are acclimated after many weeks.

Angelonia ’Serena White’ and Various Thymes in Meditation Circle

Angelonia ’Serena White’ and Various Thymes in Meditation Circle

Many thymes are planted in the circle. The center is largely covered in Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink Chintz.’

Thymus serpyllum 'Pink Chintz' (Pink chintz thyme) in Meditation Circle

Thymus serpyllum ‘Pink Chintz’ (Pink chintz thyme) in Meditation Circle

Not everything in the garden is pink. This morning I was thrilled to see this Iris domestica (Blackberry Lily) in flower. I had wanted to add Blackberry Lily to the garden for years and finally came across one in April at my favorite garden center. Then, when I was cutting back iris leaves a few weeks ago, I trimmed its foliage back accidentally. I assumed I had lost the chance of seeing it bloom this year, so spotting this orange color today was a nice surprise.

Iris domestica (Blackberry Lily)

Iris domestica (Blackberry Lily)

Speaking of iris leaves, this little skipper was perfectly content to sit on one in the early morning sun today.

Skipper On Iris Leaf

Skipper On Iris Leaf

Bees were everywhere this morning. This Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ was knocked down by wind a couple of weeks ago and I propped it back up as best I could. The bees do not seem to mind that the huge stalks are still leaning.

Bee On Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'

Bee On Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Blue Sky salvia has its own admirers.

Bee On Salvia uliginosa 'Blue Sky' (Bog sage)

Bee On Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage)

Bee On Salvia uliginosa 'Blue Sky' (Bog sage)

Bee On Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage)

Next to the back steps the first dark red flower has opened on a passalong dahlia from Libby at An Eye For Detail. Last year was the first time I really took an interest in growing dahlias. The one planted late last summer overwintered but has yet to bloom. This spring I bought tubers of several red and purple dahlias and I hope they will carry the garden through the summer and into fall.

Dahlia sp.

Dahlia sp.

In A Vase On Monday—Hydrangeas

In A Vase On Monday-Hydrangea macrophylla

In A Vase On Monday-Hydrangea macrophylla

A great beginning to my week is to join Cathy for In A Vase On Monday, a weekly invitation to fill and share a vase using materials gathered from one’s garden.

My two pass-along Hydrangea macrophylla have been slow to get established but this spring there were lots of buds. Then a severe freeze in early April dashed my hopes of finally having armloads of these lush flower clusters to enjoy this summer. As insurance for the future I need to invest in the ones that bloom on old and new growth, but meanwhile, a low branch in the back of one bush yielded a delightful surprise last week.

In A Vase On Monday-Hydrangea macrophylla

In A Vase On Monday-Hydrangea macrophylla

So no arranging necessary, I placed the branch into a favorite Caithness glass bud vase. This container is heavy for its size and therefore very stable. One branch, three stems, four inflorescences—instant satisfaction.

The first year these hydrangea bloomed the flowers were blue, which is my nostalgic preference. I will start adding some coffee grounds again to the soil to tip the color back, but meanwhile these blooms are fine.

Materials
Hydrangea macrophylla

In A Vase On Monday-Hydrangea macrophylla

In A Vase On Monday-Hydrangea macrophylla

Thank you to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for welcoming everyone to join her in this opportunity to share a vase each week. Please visit her to see what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday.

Wednesday Annotations

Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ (Hybrid Coneflower)

Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ (Hybrid Coneflower)

Echinacea are opening up all around the garden this week, mostly the species E. purpurea. Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ is a hybrid coneflower with a rich red center. At first it seems to be all cone, but eventually petals emerge.

Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ (Hybrid Coneflower)

Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ (Hybrid Coneflower)

Over the past several weeks I have removed all the red snapdragons and most of the ‘Husker’s Red’ penstemon from the meditation circle and replanted it with annuals that should perform well through the summer. I was happy with the labyrinth this spring, its walls planted in taller, fuller plants, but stepping to the next stone became like navigating an obstacle course.

For the new simplified planting scheme I used several shades of Angelonia (Summer snapdragon) to add color without blocking the path. I wanted blue and white, but when I was ready to buy the blue plants were scarce. From the penstemon at 11 o’clock around clockwise to 5 o’clock I used Angelonia ‘Serena White’.

Meditation Circle

Meditation Circle

Angelonia 'Serena White'

Angelonia ‘Serena White’

With the hot dry weather in May, it was difficult to get these established, and I had to break my rule and water nearly every day in the month. We finally had a little rain yesterday and today is overcast, a welcome reprieve.

To complete the plantings on the other side, I used Angelonia ‘Lavender’ (in bloom on the far left path) and Angelonia ‘Raspberry’ on the interior path (not blooming yet).

Angelonia 'Lavender' and Angelonia 'Raspberry' In Meditation Circle

Angelonia ‘Lavender’ and Angelonia ‘Raspberry’ In Meditation Circle

Angelonia 'Lavender'

Angelonia ‘Lavender’

At the labyrinth entrance with larger and darker flowers are Angelonia ‘Alonia Big Indigo.’

Angelonia 'Alonia Big Indigo'

Angelonia ‘Alonia Big Indigo’

I could not resist slipping in another gardenia to show. A single flower of  ‘August Beauty’ is blooming for the first time. Three of five bushes survive that were planted in August 2012.

Gardenia jasminoides 'August Beauty'

Gardenia jasminoides ‘August Beauty’

 

In A Vase On Monday—Lemon Yellow

In A Vase On Monday- Lemon Yellow

In A Vase On Monday- Lemon Yellow

It is interesting each week to join Cathy’s floral challenge called In A Vase On Monday. Her goal is to nudge us to fill a vase using materials gathered in one’s own garden.

Today’s vase features a single iris stalk with two open flowers and three buds. This iris is one of several selected at our community’s plant swap last October which had the good manners to be  a reblooming variety and a nice color. Since the first of September these passalong irises have enlivened a small southwestern-corner bed with numerous richly hued and fragrant flowers.

Reblooming Iris germanica

Reblooming Iris germanica

I used strongly patterned, boldly colored Canna leaves to add balance and drama to the arrangement. This orange-flowered canna has not bloomed for the last two years and perhaps needs to be divided; nevertheless, its foliage is attractive and adds nice height to the southern side garden.

On a whim I cut a few stalks of wispy Pink Muhly Grass to add a softer element to the design. I liked the one curving shape introduced by a grass stem, but overall I do not think this material was particularly effective or necessary.

In A Vase On Monday- Lemon Yellow

In A Vase On Monday- Lemon Yellow

The hand painted Fenton Glass vase, a gift from a sister, proved to be the perfect height for today’s flowers, approximately 1:3. The diameter of its opening was just snug enough to hold the elements upright and stable. The yellowish-green coloring toward the base subtly echoed the bright lemony yellow of the iris.

In A Vase On Monday- Lemon Yellow

In A Vase On Monday- Lemon Yellow

Materials

1 stem reblooming Iris germanica
1 small stalk Canna
6 stems Muhlenbergia capillaris (Pink Muhly Grass)

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting. Discover what delightful things she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday.

Beginnings

A First Garden

A First Garden

I recently came across this photograph that shows my first garden. The same summer I was married I planted this little flower bed at the very edge of our property near the driveway.

Silver bells and cockle shells and pretty maids all in a row. Or in my case, a back row of gladioli, two rows of red salvias, and a front row of zinnias, all meticulously outlined in small stones collected from around my yard. Both gladiolus and zinnia were well known to me, but the red salvia was not and it seemed terribly exotic.

These little plants were a rectangle of joy that summer and so looking back at it now, I have to say this was quite a successful garden.

A year before our marriage my husband had bought a small house on a dirt road, down in a valley on a one-half acre, heavily wooded lot. The land was once farmland, but had returned to young pine forest by the time our house was built four years earlier.

The trees were mostly loblolly pines and unfortunately, over the years we learned a lot about how freshly broken pines smell after ice storms and hurricanes. Long after this photo was taken, the sweet gum tree visible on the left became a Hurricane Fran victim. The resulting light that streamed in after the tree was removed brought us an interesting surprise—after nearly two decades of living there a yucca plant bloomed for the first time in this little corner.

That yucca, discernible In the middle right of the photo, lay at the base of a large pine. It was planted before we had moved there by Dr. Harold, our neighbor who owned the adjoining property. His wife’s first name was Fern and perhaps to honor her or just because he liked ferns, he also had dug up ferns of some unknown type and placed them, earth and all, atop these two tall stones, where they thrived during our years there. Dr. Harold had a deep love of the land and often walked his property and the surrounding woods with a beautiful English Sheepdog and later, his Golden Retriever, Lance.

Though only three miles from town, my newly married self felt isolated and lost on this land “out in the country.”  I did appreciate the azaleas and the many fine native dogwoods growing there, but being unused to anything wild, I did not even recognize what poison ivy looked like. Thankfully a wise friend finally took pity on me and announced one day she was coming over to walk me around our property to point out the poison ivy, so I could know what to avoid. It took a while but we eventually managed to get that pesky plant under control.

There were too many trees in my opinion and the soil—in addition to being covered with tree roots, the soil was heavy clay, quite opposite the rich, loamy soil of my parents’ vegetable garden.

The first year we were married my husband and I used large (and heavy) stones picked up from along nearby roadsides to create paths and to delineate islands around groups of trees.  At the sunniest edges of these islands I tried to grow flowers, but gardening was not easy for me in this shady location. Everything I wanted to grow needed sun.

Though I did not consider myself a gardener at this time, somehow the few sunny spots in our yard soon became flower beds. They were mostly filled with irises that had been passed along by my across-the-street neighbor, Henrietta.  Many years later when enough trees had fallen to allow plenty of sunlight through, I decided to turn the entire front yard into a garden with islands of perennials and these irises were the starting point. The garden I created at that time is still my favorite.

By that point I had learned enough to hire someone to bring in lots of planting soil and compost to form raised beds. No more scratching around tree roots in hard clay. The year before my good friends and accross-the-street neighbors, Bill and Cecy, had made a wonderful garden in their back yard, exuberantly full of shasta daisies and yarrow, among other things They had started with loads of compost recycled from the town’s food waste, so I took a cue from them.

When Janice, my friend who earlier had taught me how to tip-toe past the poison ivy, saw the beginnings of my perennial garden, she dropped off lots of ephemeral wildflowers and other natives, such as Monarda.

I am not sure what sparked the idea to create that perennial garden. Over time I think I had become a gardener without being aware it was happening. In my memory it stands out as a respite from work and simply a beautiful place to busy my hands and free my mind.

I was fortunate to have a true gardening mentor, though when she was living, I did not know to think of her in such terms. Through the years my mother’s cousin, VIrgie, shared dozens of plants from her garden, including sweet shrub, spirea, Turk’s cap lily, phlox, tradescantia, everlasting sweet pea. When we moved to our current home many of Virgie’s plants came with me. It was the wrong time of year to be able to bring Janice’s ephemerals,  but her Monarda came along and so did Henrietta’s irises.

Sadly my digital images of my previous perennial garden were lost during a painful hard-drive crash. I am still hoping to come across a printed photograph of it sometime when I take time to go through my boxes of pictures. For now I remember it circuitously by looking at this image of my first little garden near the driveway—the beginnings of a love of gardening.

 

 

In A Vase On Monday—Roses And Lavender

Roses and Lavender

Roses and Lavender

It is the first Monday of May and I am joining Cathy’s weekly challenge In A Vase On Monday to create a floral arrangement from materials gathered in one’s own garden.

This weekend when I saw my old-fashioned rose had begun blooming I immediately decided to feature it in my Monday vase. It is a sentimental favorite.

A pass-along rose

A pass-along rose

I brought this rose from my previous garden when we moved here thirteen years ago. It was a pass-along from my mother’s cousin, a sweet woman whom I consider my gardening mentor. She was the source of many other pass-along plants as well. My mother had also grown this same rose, as did my maternal grandmother, so each spring when I see these deep pink buds, they bring tender memories.

Roses and Lavender-2

Lavender branches seemed a perfect choice for greenery and for contrast included Salvia Dorada ‘Aurea’ (Golden Sage). I selected a few salmony-pink Dianthus as filler flowers.

Roses and Lavender-6

 

 

When doing formal arrangements I always underestimate how much material is required. With a bare spot still needing to be filled I remembered a piece of Allium Nigrum had broken off in the garden the other day before it even had opened, so I had brought it inside. It worked fine to finish this week’s vase.

White flower of Allium Nigrum was a last minute addition to the arrangement.

White flower of Allium Nigrum was a last minute addition to the arrangement.

Materials List
Old-fashioned Rose
Lavender
Dianthus ‘Ideal Select Salmon’
Salvia Dorada ‘Aurea’ (Golden Sage)
Allium Nigrum

This design is my loose interpretation of a traditional round design. The rose stems were not strong enough to work with easily, but the arrangement went together without too much fretting. I used floral foam set into a 4-inch diameter, shallow dish to hold the flowers, envisioning that the arrangement would sit atop a crystal vase. Because I had not been careful to conceal the sides of the plastic dish, the effect was imperfect though.  I tested the arrangement on a round, straight-sided black ceramic pot and also without an extra vase.  In the morning perhaps I will gather a few concealer leaves or flowers to resolve that issue.

Roses and Lavender-5

The roses and lavender are wonderfully fragrant. My husband remarked how nice the house smells tonight.

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting. Visit her to see what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday.

More Irises

Iris germanica 'Immortality'

Iris germanica ‘Immortality’

This is my favorite time in my garden. This is the time of year where I have to check on the garden morning, noon and night because the plants are changing so quickly and flowers seem to open while my back is turned.

I started an end-of-the-month summary for April but could not find time to complete it. Ditto, first-of-May. Perhaps I will post an overview later when things slow down, just for my records. Tonight I would like to share a few more irises.

Christina asked the other day if my white iris was open yet and yes, it opened that same day. If you read this blog regularly you will not be surprised to learn this white iris was a pass-along, so I am not positive about the name. I think this is Iris germanica ‘Immortality.’ It reblooms in fall, which makes it especially easy to recommend.

Iris germanica 'Immortality'

Iris germanica ‘Immortality’

I showed the Japanese roof iris in Iris Musings, but I was drawn back to it when I noticed the coloration and pattern on this bud.

Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris)

Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris)

Another pass-along iris from my friend Henrietta bloomed two days ago. So far it is the only one of this color. I have decided I should try to mark it and divide it later this summer.

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)  (bearded German Iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris) (bearded German Iris)

I researched this iris using a description I thought fit it pretty well: dusky pink standards, burgundy falls. canary yellow beard. I immediately found a good candidate, Tall Bearded Iris Jacquesiana, which may go back to at least 1839.

Then another possibility emerged, perhaps Tall Bearded Iris ‘Prosper Laugier’ which goes back to 1914. It was described as “a smokey lavender, velvety violet-carmine veined bicolor.” I became fascinated reading the coloring descriptions of irises and became quite side-tracked. ‘Prosper Laugier’ seems a good match but it is impossible for me to to know with certainty. If you recognize this iris I would appreciate your help.

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)  (bearded German Iris)-3

Iris germanic a with May Night salvia

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)  (bearded German Iris)-2

Have a great weekend everyone. I will be touring gardens this weekend and helping out as a garden guide with the Chapel Hill Spring Garden Tour. I expect to come back to my own little garden with lots of great ideas and inspirations.

Meditation Circle

Meditation Circle

Iris Musings

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

The first irises began opening over the last several days marking a major milestone as spring travels though my garden. This yellow Iris germanica (Bearded iris) is always among the first iris to bloom each year.  It is a special pass-along from my friend and  former neighbor, Henrietta.

Years ago Henrietta grew beautiful bearded iris her mother had obtained from a friend who grew them for a local florist. One July she divided them and sent her son to all the nearby homes to deliver copious quantities of leftover rhizomes. As a young working mother gardening was not a big part of my life then and I left the plastic bag outdoors for weeks without really giving much thought to the treasure within.

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

 

Eventually I did plant them, but didn’t understand not to bury the rhizome, so the next spring they failed to bloom. My friend assured me they would bloom the next year, which they did, and they have bloomed every year since.

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)-2

I brought some of these irises to my current garden nearly thirteen years ago and when the stalks emerge and fat buds form, when the first tip of color is revealed and finally the inflorescence follows, the irises feel like comfortable companions, old friends getting together again after a long time apart.

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Henrietta and I stayed in touch after she moved away from the old neighborhood, but sadly one year her Christmas card was returned unopened and I have never known an ending to the story. A nice thing about pass-alongs is the way they keep relationships and memories going.

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Iris germanica (Bearded iris)

Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris) is another pass along plant from another special family friend. When my garden was on a small local garden tour in the neighborhood last year, everyone who stopped by marveled at it and I passed along many bags of rhizomes.

Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris)

Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris)

Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris)

Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris)

One of the few irises I have actually purchased, Iris germanica ‘Raspberry Blush,’ was added to the garden March 2012. It is among the first to bloom.

Iris germanica 'Raspberry Blush'

Iris germanica ‘Raspberry Blush’

Iris germanica 'Raspberry Blush'

Iris germanica ‘Raspberry Blush’

Iris germanica 'Raspberry Blush'

Iris germanica ‘Raspberry Blush’

Iris germanica ‘Batik’ is another iris I purchased and have always enjoyed. Its batik markings are pretty unusual.

Iris germanica ‘Batik’

Iris germanica ‘Batik’

On a side note I have grown this Hippeastrum (Amaryllis) several years now. It spent the winter in the garage without attention. I moved it to the back screen porch a month ago and gave it a drink or two of water. There is only one flower head on this stalk and only one stalk. Several more amaryllis are planted in the garden. They are making slow progress toward flowering but this one looks promising.

Hippeastrum (Amaryllis)

Hippeastrum (Amaryllis)

 

 

Passing Along Plants, Recipes And Memories

After a few weeks hiatus my thoughts are returning to the garden, although the bitter cold of January still makes it nicer to be indoors than out for at least a few more days. And in the meantime?

Recipes and Memories

Recipes and Memories

I have always enjoyed cooking and began collecting recipes at about the age of ten. Keeping up with my favorite recipes has always been a challenge. No sooner do I have them organized than the kitchen drawer begins overflowing afresh with newspaper or magazine clippings and hand-jotted instructions from friends for various tasty delights. This must sound familiar?

As the new year began I picked up a project again that I had set aside many times before.  Two of my sisters have birthdays in January and this is the year I finally persisted to create a book for them of some special recipes and recollections about food and mealtimes we shared growing up together.

I had already typed up the recipes and written most of the chapter introductions.  Even so, it took about ten days to organize them, get the layout ready to get printed and proof; seven days later I had the books in hand. Three days later I was able to present the books, part recipes and part memoir, to my sisters and my daughter.  They all seem pleased. I told my sisters if they remembered things differently, they must write their own memoirs.

To illustrate the book I used photographs from the garden, featuring many pass-along plants from our relatives to complement the passed-down family recipes. Hydrangea, everlasting sweet pea, day lily, iris, woodland phlox and views of the meditation garden are some of the pictures included.

For appetizers and salads I used an image of peach-colored Appleblossom Achillea.

Achillea x 'Appleblossom' (Yarrow) and Shasta daisy foliage

Achillea x ‘Appleblossom’ (Yarrow) and Shasta daisy foliage

For desserts I chose the luscious, creamy and fragrant gardenia.

Gardenia Blossoms

Gardenia Blossoms

It was time-consuming, but so satisfying to create this book. Recipes are piling up again though.

After this winter diversion now I am almost ready to get back out into the garden.  Where are those warm days?

Schlumbergera

Christmas Cactus

Christmas Cactus (in front of a Jade plant)

I confess I have only just learned Christmas cactus belong to the genus Schlumbergera, but this is a plant I have known all my life.

Ubiquitous in the home of every relative and friend I knew as a child, a Christmas cactus was one of those plants easily shared and easily tended and thus passed-along and treasured as an heirloom.

This one, full of timely blooms, is commanding attention.  It was a gift several years ago from former neighbors, who across the miles continue to be special friends. Being able to associate my plants with people is one of the pleasures of gardening.

Christmas Cactus

Christmas Cactus

Garden Recordkeeping Part 2

As September 2013 winds down I have some photographs and notes to record. This is the second of several posts.

Last Sunday I focused on the garden’s Flowering Dogwood for GBFD, but there were several other foliage items to mention. This spring I planted two new Peonies and both seem to have taken hold. This one is Paeonia lactiflora ‘Black Beauty’ (Nightlife Peony).

Paeonia lactiflora 'Black Beauty' (Nightlife Peony)

Paeonia lactiflora ‘Black Beauty’ (Nightlife Peony)

Coreopsis is supposed to be an easy plant to grow for blooms all summer. I have had mixed luck with them in the past, but the ones I added a couple of years ago are not being given a fair chance.  They are in an overcrowded spot where they become hidden and miss out on the sun.  Recently I uncovered them while trimming back one of the borders. I need to find a good location where they can be seen, possibly somewhere along the Southern side path, although I worry they will want more water than that spot can provide.

Coreopsis

Coreopsis

Salvia Dorada ‘Aurea’ (Golden Sage) is attractive for its color and leaf patterns. Lightly fragrant, it can be used for cooking (although I have not) and is reputedly attractive to butterflies. This plant overwintered successfully last year.

Salvia Dorada 'Aurea' (Golden Sage)

Salvia Dorada ‘Aurea’ (Golden Sage)

Salvia Dorada 'Aurea' (Golden Sage)

I have been monitoring the progress of the Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) since discovering it in the garden mid-summer.  

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Last week I noticed insects on one of the Callicarpa leaves. As the camera approached they moved en masse toward the edge and underside of the leaf as an avoidance measure. I cannot identify these definitively, but they seem to be Large Milkweed Bugs or Leaffooted Bug nymphs. It is unclear whether they are beneficial or pests.

Large Milkweed Bugs or Leaffooted Bug nymphs on Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Large Milkweed Bugs or Leaffooted Bug nymphs on Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

The Asclepias died out in the garden not to be seen last year, so I added three plants in early spring. I have lost track of two of them but I noticed this week the third one was infested with aphids. When I first spotted the color orange I was hopeful they were Monarch Butterfly eggs but no, not with legs. The aphids washed away easily with a spray from the hose, as suggested by several online resources I found.

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant) infested with Aphis nerii (Oleander Aphid or Milkweed Aphid)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant) infested with Aphis nerii (Oleander Aphid or Milkweed Aphid)

I planted Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue) in the meditation circle several years ago and find it self-seeds rather freely. Next weekend our neighborhood is having a plant swap, so I expect that would be a good time to pass some along.

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue)

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

Before the date of the plant swap I also have some canna to divide as it never bloomed this year or last and some Ginger Lily can be shared as well. The Ginger Lily flowers have been abundant and fragrant this year.

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

This spring I planted a dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea that is supposed to be nice for autumn color. It seems to be getting well established, but I think I tucked it away in a spot that may be hard to see it.

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

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

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

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) and Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) are easy to grow and spread themselves around carelessly. Last year I removed a lot of Aquilegia and this spring I was heavy-handed pulling out the Stachys. They are both thriving in the garden though and at this time of year they look fresh. These images were taken early yesterday morning while still covered in dew.

Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ear) and Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) and Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ear)

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)

Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ear)

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)

Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ear)

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

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.