Well now it’s official, the first roses are in bloom.
I don’t think anyone out there dislikes roses. They might not like growing them, but to dislike them or harbor worse opinions seems out of the question and even borderline suspicious to me. There are a few roses around here but I’ve tried to hold back. Rose Rosette Disease is in the wild roses all around us, and I’d hate to see it jump into the garden and decimate any big plantings I might end up putting in. Unless they’re irresistibly fragrant of course. The workhorses I have right now are barely fragrant, and at the start fo each summer I always give a little thought to adding something with a fierce perfume. This year I’m thinking rugosas, and we’ll see if I can hold strong or not.
The front border along the street is still riding high with the last of the iris and alliums and a returning lupine star from last year. I was sure the lupine would would be a one and done wonder but here it is in year two looking even better. Between the lupine and some new allium schubertii I’m really pleased how it looks. Usually the iris are followed by a lull, but not this year!
You may have heard it mentioned that someone here is going through an iris phase. It’s true, and I guess it’s been building for longer than I’d care to admit. Two years ago ‘Bayberry Candle’ was added, and this year I’m seeing how a flower which is not bright nor flashy, can still be rich and amazing.
It’s possible there have been other iris as well. ‘Gerald Darby’ was showing off his purple foliage earlier in the year and now has sent up several purple tinged flower stalks topped with several elegant (purple of course) flowers.
These later iris are part of what I call the ‘water iris’ group. That term would likely make a more knowledgable iris grower cringe, but for me it’s one of the beardless iris which do well enough in occasionally soggy, and my always clayish soil, even to the point of sitting in water. I put the invasive yellow flag (Iris pseudacorus) in this group, and although it’s a little too sloppy for me I do have the brown veined ‘Berlin Tiger’ version which will hopefully not seed around and spread as much as the standard variety. This one has the distinction of being one of my most expensive iris, since even though the original plant was free from a friend (thanks Kathy!) I may have been tempted to search out similar varieties, order them from far away, and then add other things just to round out a decent order…. and I’m still thinking I should add a few more this summer…
Moving out of the iris world it’s also peony season. On the plus side my garden is too small and this gardener is too fickle to invest in bunches and bunches of these. I’m counting that as a good thing since if it weren’t set up that way I’m sure I could devote quite a few beds to these opulent flowers and surely I’d go overboard.
At this time of year the gardener is spending most of his time weeding and mowing, but what he really needs to do is finish planting. Last weekend overwintered bulbs went into the tropical garden, and in an attempt to buy some time from the weeds the lawn clippings were collected and spread around as a mulch.
I do prefer thick perennial plantings as a way of crowding out weeds rather than the trouble of mulching and cultivating, but a full bed in June doesn’t leave much room for all those annuals I’d like to still add. Hopefully this doesn’t become a regret in August.
Maybe I will whack a few things back today and sneak a few castor beans and cannas in. I also have a few orange marigolds which should really class things up, so maybe this weekend… In the meantime here’s one more picture of my little darling ‘Red Rum’ lupine, I honestly look at this plant a million times a day.
All the best for this weekend. Hopefully you are either well into it or have already had an excellent time of it, I know I plan to 🙂
I just have to avoid the temptation of nursery hopping this weekend… in the hopes of finding some fragrant rugosa roses. We’ll see.
A Tuesday greeting from humid and damp Pennsylvania. I love it. The garden has never been so lush and vibrant, and until the mold and fungus kick in I’ll enjoy every minute of it, even the downpours. Here’s the view this Tuesday.
In all honesty this is actually a Monday afternoon view since the lawn was freshly cut that afternoon and strong storms were on the way, but close enough, right?
This is the time of year when this border really hits its stride. For the next few weeks it should be just full of color… maybe too much color, but if you think back to our bleak months of winter I think you’ll be able to ignore much in the way of poor design and less than perfect color combinations!
The variegated comfrey has been something I NEEDED for a few years and finally got a hold of this spring. It’s everything I like in a plant, big, bright, and variegated, and although it will likely scorch in this normally dry, full sun spot any other year, this season it’s doing just great. If you need any other reason to grow this plant check out Nancy Ondra’s Hayefield blog for one of her posts on this plant. I make no secret out of the fact it was her photos which ignited my plant lust for this goodie, and honestly it’s been at least a year since I last plugged her awesome blog or books or just plain good person-ness so I think it’s about time I mention her again.
I’ll finish up with the far end of the border which is looking much nicer this year than normal. Part of that has been the rain, but the other factor is I’ve been making a point out of starting at this end and working my way over to the mailbox rather than the other way around. With my attention span it really makes a difference which end you start from 🙂
So that’s where we’re at for this Tuesday View. If you’d like, give Cathy at Words and Herbs a visit to see how everyone else is doing this week, it’s a great way to keep tabs as the season changes, and even better if you join in with your own view… plus you can’t go wrong on any visit to Cathy’s!
Have a great week, and wish me luck. I started tidying up a few shelves in the garage on Friday and the weekend turned into a full blown garage cleaning, rearranging, repairing, and repaint-a-thon. I’m not even halfway done. It was needed.
I’m about done with this gardening thing, it’s just so much work!
We have yet to hit our traditional summertime combo of brutally high temperatures and endless rainless weeks, and for once it seems our climate has decided to make it easy on the garden and gardener. The garden has been enjoying excellent growing weather and perfect transplanting conditions, and I think I’ve done more this year than ever to shape up the yard. The deck has been no exception. Overwintered tropicals came out of their garage storage earlier than ever and containers were put together way before the usual Memorial Day rush. I like the way it came out this year (which was not the case last summer).
In my opinion the whole point of annuals is you can try something completely different each year, enjoy an entire season of noncommittal color, and then count on winter to completely clean the slate for next season. For the most part I started with a clean slate, but this year I tried to bring in a few new things rather than just sit in the rut I felt like I’d been settling in to.
My ‘ outside the box’ move didn’t last much longer than putting down the traditional purple fountain grasses and substituting with a couple new coleus. Lots more foliage this year rather than flowers, but for the most part, since I overwinter so many plants, I’m bound to always be stuck in at least some part of the box.
Cannas and coleus are back this year and doing great. The coleus were all new purchases made to replace those I was too lazy to bring in last fall. Lesson learned with that but now I’ll have to make all new decisions on which ones to take in when frost threatens. Experience shows it will be all of them 🙂
Since May the plan has been to re-do some of the unfinished ends of the deck. You know how the goes. As of July 11th there’s been no action, which isn’t world ending, but it does mean I haven’t yet hooked up the drip lines which should go to each planted container. The regular rains have been my savior but as things grow that won’t last. I need to get things going!
By all estimates I have about another week left in me before I throw in the towel on whatever projects didn’t get done this year. All work and no play is making me an extremely dull gardener and summer is too short for dullness.
Gotta go, weeds await!
Its mildly disturbing how quickly the weeks roll by, but once again it’s Tuesday and time to check in on this year’s view. This week marks a new month, a definite turn to summer, and for those in the US it’s Independence day so bring on the picnics and barbecues and fireworks 🙂
I’m declaring this the year of the lily in my garden since it seems as if bulbs all over are putting out more blooms than ever. I have special to me seedlings which have surprised me with their first flowers but I also have some of the fancier hybrids which have finally settled in.
The Asiatic hybrids are some of the most popular of the early lilies, but I’m not all that crazy about the shorter, upright facing forms. I like the tall downward facing ones, and if I had more room I think I could easily collect a few… hmmmm… new bed idea?
Now I won’t go on about the scarlet lily beetle, since as of yet they have not reached our little valley, but for those of you afflicted by this pest I extend my sympathies. I dread the day they reach here and that will likely be the year the lilies are given away to better homes. I’ll just grow sunflowers if it comes to that.
The street side of the border is beginning to show some color again as the lavender colored perovskia, pink coneflowers (Echinacea), and a lonely yellow rudbeckia open up.
A few years ago I tried adding a few named varieties of Echinacea purpurea to the border… well actually it was just two, and neither were the more exotically colored forms which you see out today… the plants seeding around now are just more of the average form, which in my opinion are still awesome, but don’t be fooled into thinking you need every seedling which comes up. I rip out plenty each year, and if I were smarter I’d do it again now while they’re in bloom in order to select out the smaller, less exciting flower forms.
As you probably know, these coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) are North American natives and not far removed from the wild forms which dot the prairie landscape. For a minute I might ask myself why I bother with other more troublesome primadonnas from landscapes far removed.
Have I mentioned spring and now early summer have been perfectly watered? They have, and the hydrangeas and pretty much everything except for a few iris and dahlias are looking all the better for it. Plants are lush this year and on top of that it seems all the good bugs are swarming while the bad are sparse. You know that won’t last, but for now the only thing which seems too lush are a few of the ornamental grasses and this Eryngium.
The late planting of annuals is also a work in progress although I have high hopes for a later season of full plants and bold colors… if not entirely tasteful or well thought out colors 🙂
I guess the only thing left work-wise for this summer is mulch. I couldn’t garden without mulch and this year I’m treating myself to a load of shredded bark mulch rather than a temporary bandage of grass clippings or shredded leaves (which were used up elsewhere months ago). This time of year I only cover the outer most foot or two of beds since the inner sections are already covered in plants. It’s not that I wouldn’t mind mulch there as well, but for as much as I plant and replant, this perfect coating of shredded neatness would be dug in and over within a few months and for me that doesn’t sound like a worth-it kind of investment.
So that’s a pretty full Tuesday View. As usual thanks go to Cathy at Words and Herbs, and I invite everyone to give her site a visit to see what her view and others around the world look like this week. It’s always a treat and I’m sure they probably mulched weeks ago. Happy fourth, and have a great week!