The garden at this point in June seems like an entirely new one—so different from the early spring palette. A salmon-orange Gladiolus from years ago brashly turned up in the Southern border today. I almost admired it for being so bold, but in the end I cut it and placed it in a nice vase indoors. Beebalm is in full bloom, Echinacea is maturing in many parts of the garden and last year’s Allium ‘Drumstick’ is back. All are attracting bees. A hummingbird visited the beebalm yesterday. There have been a few other hummingbirds this year, but now that the beebalm is blooming perhaps there will be many more.
A Foxglove mystery may be solved. This Foxglove has been in the garden since 2008 or 2009 and I thought it had caramel in the name, but never could find the tag. The coloring is creamy when the flowers first appear. Inside the flowers are yellow with reddish-brown veins and a hairy lip. Today I researched it a bit and hope I have it identified properly now. Could this be Digitalis ferruginea (‘Gelber Herold’, ‘Yellow Herald’, Rusty Foxglove)?
Today the weather was clear, hot and very humid, reaching 93°F. before severe thunderstorms passed through this evening. The winds overturned a bench and a flowerpot, but otherwise things seem ok for us. Some of our neighbors are reporting trees down, cable service lost and even roof damage.
Irises and Spiderwort
Despite the heat I chose today to dig up some of the dozens and dozens of Spiderwort that have aggressively expanded throughout most of the borders. I had to dig up many irises in order to get to the roots of the Spiderwort, so now there is a lot of work to replant some of the irises and find a good home for the rest. Fortunately the high temperature tomorrow will be a nice 81°F. so the work should be enjoyable. The irises have needed division for years, but actually they bloomed incredibly well this spring anyway. The amount of Spiderwort I managed to dig today is just a small portion of the total I want to remove.
This white one looked so innocent and beautiful this morning. Actually this particular clump has not spread like the others, but it is getting very large.
A variety of birds fill the garden with color and song. Fireflies or lightning bugs have been out in the evenings for several weeks. Frogs sing frequently and incessantly, though I have not seen one in the garden. A couple of little bunnies are nibbling Thyme in the meditation circle. No sign yet of the 17-year cicadas.
It rained off and on all day and the outlook is the same for tomorrow. I’ll need to schedule some time for straightening and pruning after a fierce thunderstorm passed through last with heavy wind and rain, soaking the garden and sweeping over the catmint, roses and scabiosa. Fortunately the peony buds withstood the battering. Actually almost everything was fine and I am very happy with the way the garden has come together this year.
Despite ongoing efforts to reduce the amount of spiderwort in the garden, it is still cropping up everywhere. I find it lovely early in the season, but must redouble my efforts to keep it under control.
The garden is far from perfect, but I do not picture it too far ahead. My garden is a journey, maybe just a playground. At any it works. It is enough. Every time I glanced out the window and glimpsed the garden today, I felt such happiness.
Tradescantia (Spiderwort) pops up all over the place often with subtle color variations. This deep red-violet is one that caught my attention early this afternoon. This little insect also found it interesting.
It is well into November and some perennials continue blooming, mostly Echinacea. Pale yellow Chrysanthemums still brighten the southern border and Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’ and one unknown sasanqua are laden with fragrant flowers. Rosa ‘Iceberg’ has been lovely for several weeks.
Several camera-shy butterflies visited the last of the zinnias today.
Recently opportunities to spend even a few minutes in the garden have been rare. There are still many autumn tasks to complete—irises and daffodils to plant, weeding and mulching to finish. The garden is not waiting on anyone to get a list of chores done. It is shutting itself down gradually and gracefully, as if ready for a nice rest.
There has been no rain for a few weeks. Several light frosts have left the thyme in the meditation circle briefly coated in white, but today was a warm and sunny 73° F.
Early this morning Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) and Canna waited in the shade as the sun slowly moved to warm these sun-loving perennials.
Echinacea purpurea is native to Eastern USA and bees find it attractive. Later American Goldfinches will enjoy its seeds.
While it still can this bee should enjoy the Tradescantia (Spiderwort) that abounds in the garden. This week I am making some progress in cutting it back, but am finding it difficult work to remove it by the roots.
Although afternoon temperatures reached 92 degrees, the garden this morning was pleasant and mostly shaded, perfect for welcoming visitors to view the flowers. So when a neighbor and her friend walked by while I was taking pictures in the front side garden, I eagerly asked them to come to the back to see my garden.
This year, more than in any other year, I have felt comfortable with the state of the garden overall and am happy when I can share this place. It is not perfect, of course, but some key garden renovation projects during the last year have made the garden much more cohesive and have given it personality. The meditation circle is one such project and today my neighbor’s friend walked the meditation path, experiencing a labyrinth for her first time. It was a nice morning in the garden.
Temperatures reached 87 degrees and the day felt quite humid and summery. The borders appear full and lush, a tribute to the power of adequate rainfall; however, the first flowering period of many plants is past, so deadheading and trimming are on the agenda for this week.
There has been little work done in the garden for the last two weeks, but that must change. The garden is in transition and is very much in need of attention. Echinacea, Gladioli, Liatris and Daylily are replacing Iris, Lamb’s Ear and Tradescantia.
Shasta Daisy clumps will be covered in bloom any day. Meanwhile Meadow Sage should be cut back to encourage more blooms. Nepeta may need shearing soon as well.
Monarda and Lantana are teasing with a bit of color today.
This weekend in town I came upon a large and beautiful planting of Baptisia and Autumn Joy, all in full bloom. In this garden all three baptisias lost their flowers suddenly this year after a just a short bloom time, but the foliage remains healthy and green.
Paths in the meditation circle are in some disarray lately. The pine nugget mulch being used this spring is too lightweight to stay in place when rains come. Also the mexicali ‘Pike’s Peak Purple’ Penstemon has sprawled over quite a bit and requires staking again. Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ is so much better behaved and retains its upright place, (although its self-sown seedlings need to be removed soon).
The annual Angelonia ‘Blue’ in the meditation circle has begun to grow now that the weather is hotter.
There will be plenty of tasks to keep this gardener busy this week but with an abundance of flowers blooming and the scent gardenia wafting through the air, it should be mostly delightful to spend time in the garden.
Record keeping: Part 2 of a series of notes about what is planted and what is blooming currently in the garden.
The northern border is filled with Tradescantia (Spiderwort), Nepeta (Catmint), Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox), Bearded Iris, and an Iceberg rose. Siberian Irises at the far end of this border are yet to bloom. Daylilies have grown large.
As the border transitions around to the west even more Tradescantia has crept in. Across the meditation circle toward the NW corner of the garden is a favorite native tree, Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood). This dogwood had its best show ever this spring.
A ‘Carolina Sapphire’ Arizona Cypress that used to fill this corner of the garden died last year. Its replacement is growing, but it will be a few years before it takes over to lessen the awkward, unbalanced look. I planted gladioli and zinnias against the fence this morning so the corner should be colorful later in the summer.
Behind the meditation circle, in the western border (above left) red Dianthus and Gaura lindheimeri ‘Passionate Blush’ (Butterfly Gaura) provide additional color. Phlox subulata were added this year to this area in early spring are nearing the end of the bloom cycle but will remain green in the front of the border. A recently added Veronica aspicata ‘Pink Goblin’ (Speedwell) is blossoming.
More Notes on the Western Border
In the western border a single Dahlia ‘Stargazer’ returns annually and I came across it this morning. It is the sole survivor of dahlias a friend started from seeds and shared with me years ago.
Backing up to the fence in this section, a Buddleja davidii ‘Black Knight’ has grown tall but is not ready to bloom. Tradescantia mixes with Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine), Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena), and perennial Dusty Miller. Nearby Foxglove and Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ are growing slowly, while Achillea x ‘Appleblossom’ (Yarrow) is beginning to bloom.
Along the fence five or so Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’ evergreens prepare to flower. In the center two Italian Cypress trees planted a couple of years ago are beginning to add much needed verticality. A Spiraea shrub bloomed well earlier and needs pruning soon.
Both in the western border and in the meditation circle white buds sit atop Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue). This evergreen perennial has burgundy and green leaves that contribute color as well.
Southern Side Path
Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ is turning brown from fluctuating temperatures and little water. A couple of weeks ago it was 34 degrees and today it was 92.
Monarda didyma (Scarlet beebalm), Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) and Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ are starting to grow up behind the clematis.
White Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion) just began blooming all along the path that leads up from the garden to the front of the house. In the middle section, yellow Bearded Irises are nearly finished for this year. Beyond the irises are lavender and Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear).