Showing posts with label clematis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label clematis. Show all posts

Friday, June 23, 2017

Local Color in My Garden

Etoile Voilette

Here's some stunning photos of the flowers in my garden this year. Japanese gardens are traditionally subdued: white flowers and perhaps a touch of red are allowed, but the rest of the garden is supposed to be textures and shades of greens.

Pink iris.

In American gardens all color combinations are the rule. I'm as American as it gets when it comes to gardens: ecclectic in choice of plant materials, and as an artist, the more color the better!  I'd find it hard to believe that any color in nature actually clashes with another, though some combinations do look better than others.

Red yarrow, white salvia with barberry, peonies, lavender and roses.

This is what the front bed by the garage looked like a month ago. A couple of weeks later the peonies have set seed, the yarrow flowers faded to pinkish cream, and the lavender is in full bloom, for a different combination of colors

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Thinking about the delightful "Dawn and Dusk' combination of climbing rose and clematis, I found a photo from 2013, right after those two had been planted and I was putting in the flame azalea on the east side of the house.

Planting the flame azalea on the east side of the house.

Four years later.

Here's what that spot looks like today--what an amazing difference a few years' growth can make! Several other plants have been added over the intervening years, of course.

Columbine var. "blue Barlow"

This particular deep blue columbine that I planted last year is odd in that it lacks the classic spurs of the Aquilegia species--I wonder what it was hybridized with? The color is fabulous, anyway.

The Little Indians, early June

The Little Indians bed is now in summer mode, lush with Stella d'Oro daylilies and orange asclepias. A shot of it earlier in the spring shows the seasonal progression.

The Little Indians, mid-May.

Yellow daylilies under the red maple.
Red Alchillea with orange Kniphofia (Red hot poker) and Catmint

Last year I bought an assortment of a dozen unnamed varieties of Asian lilies to fill in the island bed in back. I got them in the ground a bit late in the season and only a couple of them bloomed, rather late--in September! After a year of settling in, this summer they have presented some spectacular blooms--a riot of color!

Lilies starting to bloom
Further along
Bicolor zinger: yellow tipped with orange

Vibrant orange
Pale pink

Pure yellow

Now that I see their colors and different heights, I may dig up some of these lilies and re-arrange them for more pleasing display of color. It may be that the height difference is more due to soil fertility than genetic--that remains to be seen. My garden is my laboratory, where the bare earth is transmuted into gold by the sweat of my brow.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

My Spring Garden

Dawn and Dusk.

This year my spring garden has been more floriferous than ever. My climbing 'New Dawn' rose and clematis 'Etoile Violette' on the porch are looking even fuller than last year! Other plantings that were just getting established last year are starting to come into their own, like this old-fashioned iris my mother used to grow in her garden. It may not be as showy as the newer varieties, but its wonderful perfume, which many of the other varieties lack, more than makes up for it.

Old-fashioned iris

With such warm weather during the winter the grape hyacinths bloomed early, although the new batch I planted last fall (a mixture of several varieties) didn't bloom until late April, along with the Spanish Bluebells (Hyacinthoides). The new pink dogwood in the background complemented the soft blues beautifully.

Spanish bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica) with pink dogwood

The rhododendron planted on our first spring here (I've forgotten the variety, probably 'Yaku Princess') finally put out a few blossoms this year, though the leaves sustained a lot of winter damage. I hope that now that it's getting more shade it will continue to improve. In this alkaline soil, it's hard to grow acid-loving plants such as azaleas and rhododrendrons.

Rhododendron 'Yaku Princess'

The 'Admiral Semmes' azalea planted last year didn't put out much bloom his year, it will need more time to get going. I had expected the flowers to be yellow, but the soft peach color is as lovely as the fragrance (It's a cross between the southern Azalea austrinum and Exbury hybrids).

'Admiral Semmes' azalea

Clematis

I had ordered a metal arbor structure for the clematis that my sister Bea gave me last year but
I've been having trouble assembling it, so the poor vine is just leaning against a couple of bamboo stakes at the moment. Lovely flowers, though I can't remember the exact variety-- it looks like it might be 'Nellie Moser'.

The east bed

The Japanese maples on the east side of the house are growing nicely. Recently I put in two new native trees--a sourwood (Oxydenrum arboreum) to shade the Carolina Silverbell (Halesia caroliniana) partly visible on the left in this photo, and a honey locust in the back yard. The trees came bare-root and the recent rainy spell has helped the locust to start budding out, but the sourwood appears to be dead--I may have to call the nursery where it was bought to replace it.

Irises and Double Knockout rose

The front walk.

The irises in the front didn't perform as well this year--perhaps they need to be given a bit more room to spread? But the general tapestry by the front walk is finally starting to look as I had envisioned. The expansion and consolidation of the backyard beds continues, with two new shrubs: a Fothergilla gardenii and a Blue Mist shrub (Caryopteris x clandonensis 'Longwood Blue').



Today, I have quite a number of annuals and a couple of perennials to plant, so I'm off to toil in the garden. Happy springtime, dear friends!


Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Garden Wall II


Jessica Stickseed (Hackelia micrantha).

Other delightful surprises kept showing up along the trail: blue forget-me-not like flowers (Hackelia micrantha), a wild clematis with drooping blue flowers (Clematis occidentalis), so many other flowers that I couldn't begin to guess at! I wish I could have had an expert botanist with me, I'm sure one could have pointed out so much more than I could take in.

Native clematis (Clematis occidentalis)

Along the trail.

Mountain Death Camas (Anticlea elegans)


Going to the Sun Road below the trail.

As the trail wound around thickets of subalpine firs and some very steep hillsides, it was now several hundred feet above the Going to the Sun Road. The lush vegetation of the Garden Wall began to thin out and become more like grassland. Fields of bear grass in bloom dotted the slopes.


Looking towards Haystack Butte.

Looking down a chute.

looking toward Haystack Butte.

I hadn't encountered any hikers for a while, and it had stopped raining when I turned around and saw this tiny creature on the trail right behind me. I'm still trying to figure if it was a Pika, a small mammal that inhabits high-altitude meadows in the Rockies, or a baby chipmunk or vole of some sort (the coloring looks much like a chipmunk but it's lacking the characteristic stripes).

A tiny inhabitant of the Highline Trail.
Pika or chipmunk?

I held still while the tiny-eared creature grazed on the vegetation around the trail briefly and then disappeared into the brush. I gazed at my watch--it was getting towards four o'clock. I had intended to reach Haystack Falls before turning back, but I needed to turn around now to get back back in time to return my rental car before they closed at six.

Looking up.

Reluctantly I turned back. Other hikers returning from Haystack Falls passed me. I stopped now and then to take more photos.

Wildflowers on the Garden Wall.

Wild onion (Allium schoenoprasum)

This was the last photo I took before my camera froze up. The shutter would not focus or shoot, and when I tried to see the other photos I had taken, it would not change modes. Oh-no!  What was I going to do without a camera, and this early into my trip? I had two weeks ahead at Sperry Chalet--how was I going to get the photos I needed? How could I have been so stupid? 

Well, there was nothing I could do for now. Perhaps when the camera dried out it would go back to normal, or I could find a store in Columbia Falls where I could get it fixed quickly. But on a Saturday evening, the chances were slim. I passed a couple of Japanese tourists with very fancy camera rigs and was tempted to offer to buy one of their cameras, but they didn't understand enough English for me to even try.

I trudged on back towards my car. At least I'd gotten the hang of using the poles and my stride didn't feel so awkward as at the beginning of the hike. I drove back to the car rental place to call Kevin as prearranged. I explained the situation with my camera but he said he didn't know of any camera repair shop in town--there wasn't any store where I could make a quick purchase either. My only hope was to pray that the camera would dry overnight and work again.

That evening I tried to think of alternatives if the camera didn't go back to normal the next day. I called Herb and he thought perhaps he could buy me another camera the next day and ship it to Kevin overnight, and Kevin could send it up with the next mule train that would resupply the chalet in another few days. I fell asleep praying this wouldn't be necessary...

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Darling Buds of May

Pink peony bud.

After two very rainy and chilly weeks the sun finally came out last week, coaxing those darling buds of May to start opening. The irises came to perfection a bit earlier than I had expected, while the roses bid their time.

The front walk.

On impulse, I bought a new pink iris to reward myself after a hard week. I'd have to expand one of the flower beds to make room for it, but that would give me room to separate and replant some of the the irises in this front bed that are getting a bit crowded.

Pink iris.

The irises in the back yard suffered from fungal leaf spots, perhaps because it's been so wet, so it seemed best to put the new iris bed behind the peonies in the front, where the drainage and air circulation are better. I waited a week for the ground to dry out, and still, a few evening showers interrupted my labors. Yesterday evening despite the heat, I finally managed to get in the new iris and separate some of the others--voila!

The new iris bed.

As I was working on the expansion, the rosebuds began to open. Ah, is there anything as lovely s a rose, except perhaps many more roses?

The red Double Knockout rose by the front walk.

My 'Etoile Violette' clematis and climbing rose 'New Dawn' have grown into a sizable array after three years--earlier in the spring I pruned the rose and trained it farther up the porch pillar. It's now grown into a graceful "S" curve and gradually come into full bloom.

Rose and Clematis last week in May.
Rose and Clematis, first week in June.

Close-up.

Other plantings are filling out nicely too, more on those in the next post. My garden keeps on growing, fuller and more lush each year. The garlic spray has kept the deer from eating my roses, at last, I can enjoy them in their glory!

Evening in the garden.