Between you an me this is the Monday afternoon view, but to get anything online before Tuesday night I may have to cheat a little here and there 🙂
I started planting all the true tropicals and annuals about two weeks ago, and although they’re beginning to put on some weight it’s still the scattering of perennials which give all the color. As you can guess from looking at the lawn we still haven’t had any decent rain.
Water is not an issue for the papyrus though since it’s sitting submerged in a planter which lacks a drainage hole. The green algae has passed its peak and the water looks much less stagnant. I may even throw a few fish in this week to keep the mosquitos from breeding.
You may have noticed the purple haze of Verbena bonariensis which is beginning to develop over the bed. Because of the mild winter several plants of this borderline hardy perennial survived and are already beginning to put on an early show.
This isn’t the first year I’ve had a late start to planting the tropical bed. There are so many other jobs to attend to before this reaches the top of the list, plus there’s always procrastination and general laziness on my part. Fortunately I’m a quick learner and have picked up a few tricks along the way, one of which is “The lazy man’s canna and dahlia pre-starting method”. Rather than potting roots and tubers up and getting them going in a greenhouse or other gardening luxury, I drag the storage tubs out onto the (full, hot-sun) driveway, open tubs and bags, try to orient growing point up, and spray a little water on them all. Less water is better than too much, and over a week (or three) the shoots begin to grow and the break out of dormancy in a way which I feel is quicker than planting them straight into the cooler ground. I’d show you pictures but the mess of trays and tubs and bags spread out in front of the garage is a bit embarrassing.
While we wait for the tropicals, the perennials continue to have their moment. The purple salvia ‘Caradonna’ is already fading, but there’s an interesting Verbascum showing off behind it. Normally this would pass unnoticed as a sea of sunflower seedlings takes over this end of the bed and overwhelms everything in it, but this year I’ve manned up and stood up to the little thugs. One by one I pulled sunflower seedlings out and although it was nearly sinful composting such healthy volunteer plants, it was also a bit cleansing. I’m ready for something different here.
I’m pretty sure it’s Verbascum nigrum, the black mullein. It came here uninvited as a hitchhiker in the root ball of a red -stemmed dogwood. The dogwood in turn was one of those gifts from a better gardener who heard me (how could you not) whining about how nice her dogwoods were, and how I can’t seem to find the same kind anywhere around here. Sure enough on her next visit a bag came out of the car and inside were the roots of a nearly full sized division off her own plant. That’s awesome, but even better was the clump of scilla and the healthy verbascum plant which also came up the next spring from the root ball. I judge a gardener by the weeds they battle, and her scillas and verbascum almost embarrassed me when I thought of the crabgrass and bitter cress which probably followed her home. Paula was smart to only accept bulbs…. they’re usually weed free 🙂
So that’s where we are this week. Both Kimberley at Cosmos and Cleome and Cathy at Words and Herbs are also following views each Tuesday and it’s a great way to follow the changes which happen throughout the season. Give Cathy a visit to see what others are up to , and if you happen to join in please leave a link at Cathy’s blog so we can find you. Have a great week!