Friday, May 17, 2019

More Garden Beauty

Virginia Fringe Tree in East bed.

My garden looks so wonderful at this time of the year, it's hard to choose what to post! The succession of flowers and combinations of color is serendipitous. This section of the bed above is an example--I didn't exactly plan it, it was populated with the trees and shrubs that appealed to me at the time, and that I believed would do well in an eastern exposure where the soil retains more moisture. The bed started with the Full Moon Maple 'Shirasawanum' on the right, another Japanese maple, a dark red-leaved variety called 'Bloodgood' on the other end, and a tiny Rhododendron in the middle (the last two not visible in this shot). Over the next five years I expanded the bed by joining those three plants into a larger island bed and filled it in with the variety of plants you see here: Virginia Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginicus) on the left, a dark purple Columbine that has spread, Ageratum and some hollies. I love it when chance results in such surprising beauty!

East bed looking the other way.

My front walk in the rain.

On the other hand, the area by the front walk was a bit more planned, with a variety of sedums and creeping thyme (Woolly and Red thyme) interspersed with low shrubs and a Double Knockout rose. I wanted to present the effect of a Persian carpet with different colors and textures around the walk, and it's taken a number of years for the plants to grow dense enough to create the effect I envisioned.

Irises in front yard.

West side front bed with Alliums, Roses, Iris and a Peony.

Iris 'Victoria Falls' in the back

Bi-color iris in back yard

The irises started to open around the first of May, and are still putting on a great show. There is something about these regal flowers that is impossible to resist. One particular surprise was the yellow dwarf iris variety called 'Bluebeard' I planted in the back yard last year-- I had not expected it to be so short, with a pale, startlingly blue beard. I hope these new irises will gradually spread to fill the area with masses of color.

Dwarf iris 'Bluebeard'

The roses and Clematis are now preparing to burst into bloom--some of the rose buds have begun to open, but I expect the peak of bloom in another week or so. It's been a very rainy May so far, and my flowers are loving it.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Spring Parade

Cherry tree in front yard.

The cherry tree in our front yard reached peak bloom on Easter Sunday--what a heavenly sight! Short-lived glory, after a few days the leaves grow out enough to overshadow the remaining blossoms, and the rest blow away. As the cherry blossoms fade, the dogwood flowers begin to open and the new leaves unfurl.

From the porch.

The creeping Phlox in the front yard continues to expand and cover more ground each year. As spring unfolds, the Redbud tree in back made a nice show, but the new daffodil beds underneath don't amount to much yet--it will take a couple more years before they fill out.

Back yard on April 21.

Flowering Quince

I managed to save my flowering quince from the worst of the winter depredations by fencing it off with plastic mesh, but the deer still managed to nip the ends of the branches that stuck out. There were still plenty of the charming double flowers for me to enjoy.

Carolina Silverbell Tree (Halesia carolina)

The Carolina Silverbell tree bloomed much earlier this year than last, though the flowers seemed smaller than last year's, and had a rosy tint. I wonder if the difference is due to poor soil nutrients or simply a normal year-to-year variation? Many trees have cycles of several years of poor to so-so flower production after one peak year of blossom. Since my tree flowered for the first time last year, perhaps this is one of those off-years.

Spanish Bluebells (Hyacinthoides )

The bed of Grape Hyacinths (Muscari armeniacum) and Spanish Bluebells (Hyacinthoides) is looking good. The pink and white varieties planted two falls ago haven't grown as much as the blue ones planted several years earlier, I've no idea why. I usually find a number of the blue Muscari springing up in odd places across the lawn where I hadn't planted them--the squirrels like to dig them up and re-plant them at their whim--so this spring I've been digging these up and putting them back where they should be.


Now is the regal irises' turn. The first to open in my yard was this stunning bi-color I planted in the back last fall--I forget the name of the variety--though it has only one flowering spike this year, hopefully there will be more next year. Behind it I planted a light blue iris called 'Victoria Falls' that is about to open, and in front is one curious dwarf yellow iris with a light blue beard, aptly named 'Bluebeard.' Unfortunately, it had only one flower, and I didn't get a photo of it in time--it's just closing up in this photo.

Iris bed in back yard.

Front yard.

The front bed is just starting its annual show, which may not be as spectacular this year because I divided the plants early this spring. The recommended practice is to divide them in late summer or fall--but I had so much other work to do I put it off until after the ground had frozen. The plants seem to have weathered the transplant fairly well, but they may not be as full as in other years.