Sunday, April 26, 2015

A Garden Ramble


Come on in! I'm covered in soil but I don't think you'll mind. 


The garden is bursting with growth. I've just started cleaning all the grass out of the trenches between the beds and the lawn and have a long way to go. Someday I'll rip out a massive chunk of that lawn and put in a pond but not today.


These common primroses are one of my favorite spring flowers. I love how simple and straight forward they are.


I've been trying to add more plants with interesting foliage to the garden and love this golden passalong hosta next to the ajuga I've forgotten the name of.


I have loads of dry shade but epimediums thrive in these conditions.  


I think the flowers look like little UFO's.


I found one of our turtles! I'd love to know where they spent the winter. We have three eastern box turtles in the garden that were rescued from the middle of the road.


This corner used to be one of the worst spots in the garden. After redesigning it several times, it's my dry shade success story. The diervilla rivularis by the birdhouse is now six feet tall and the glorious little golden thing in the front is a symphoricarpos 'Blades of Sun'.  It turns green in the summer and has little purple berries. 


The iron cattails are part of the failed frog pond turned successful bog garden. Tall white turtle head ( Chelone glabra 'Alba') fill this spot in the summer.


Our native red columbine and 'Corbett's Gold'. These also do well in dry shade.




Silene 'Rolly's Favorite' is much tougher than it looks. It can tolerate drought but is much happier with moister soil so I moved it closer to the rain garden.


I mixed in some variegated 'Valley High' silene to give this area some zing.


I found fabulous new pots to replace the ones that were broken or cracked. These are from Home Goods, which is exponentially cheaper than our local nursery.


Both of these will be filled with gomphrena.


Fred, the bleeding heart, is huge and getting huger. What do you mean you don't name your plants? I've interplanted Fred with 10 oriental lily bulbs. As the grow taller, I'll tie them to the black metal stakes to guide them out of his foliage. When he's gone dormant for the summer, I'll have lilies to fill the spot.


I extended the front beds by another foot to keep my plants from being decapitated by the mower when they flop onto the grass. But of course, I then had room for more plants.... I just finished mulching this. This is a big butterfly garden full of salvia, coreopsis, and orange milkweed.


The new plants are tiny and hard to see but will grow quickly. The squirrels have already been over to investigate. I have deciduous shrubs in front of my house instead of evergreens. I know this gives me winter disinterest, but who cares.


Fothergilla 'Blue Shadow' loves this spot


and I love my fothergilla.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Element of Surprise

I am a sucker for surprises. I prefer them to be good and involve lots of chocolate, but even your garden variety can be fun. After moaning about killing my tulips, I had a few bloom just to prove me wrong.

Of course, they're bright orange. I don't recall buying orange tulips, but there you have it.


They're very pretty in an orange traffic cone kind of way.



Saturday, April 11, 2015

Killing the Tulips and Other Calamities

Sometimes life just doesn't go as planned. I shouldn't waste my time being surprised by this but it still occasionally catches me off guard. Last fall I planted a lot of tulips. How many exactly? Over a 100 stuffed into every empty space in every empty pot on my patio. So how many tulips do I have blooming? 

Two. 

Don't ask how much I spent on all the rotten tulips whose lumpy, bulbous bodies fill my wheelbarrow because I've already brain dumped that info into the same file that records how many calories are in a brownie. Apparently, all those empty pots didn't drain quite as efficiently as I needed them to and the tulips slowly began to rot. The snowdrops that I was counting on to cheer me up on early winter mornings before  heading to work also rotted, a double horticultural homicide committed with the most innocent of intentions.



Stay strong, little buddy!


My second blooming tulip is hiding in this pot. Once the tulips bloom, this pot is being relegated to my stack of Ugly But Functional Pots I Feel Guilty About Throwing Away.

So why did my bulbs rot this year but not last year? Who the heck even knows.... They could have been planted too deep in moisture retaining soil in pots with small drainage holes. Or they could have been sabotaged by space weasels, those poop brown rodents with poor taste in beer. 


Beer chugging space weasels are to blame for every garden disaster.

Along with the tulips, the gaura also rotted but that's become such an annual event I'm tempted to hold a parade and sell snacks. Instead of pulling a groundhog out of a hole, I yanked yet another mushy blob from yet another gravel filled pocket and threw it into the compost pile. But has this cured from growing gaura? Oh, please. Don't be silly. Of course not... I think I'm going to stick it in a pot this time. 

Gaura 'Crimson Butterflies' from Santa Rosa Gardens has been ordered to replace the rotten 'Sweet Emotions', which should have been named 'Tammy, I Hate You'. 

Even my Lazarus plant, the 'Cherry Joy' penstemon that survived the winter in a pot, was so shocked at being alive it promptly died. But all is not lost. It rarely is. When my newly-planted-last-fall 'Wine Spritzer' callicarpas died back to the roots, I ripped them out and quickly replaced them with the significantly more sober 'Sem' Sorbaria sorbifolia.



I've had my eye on this beauty for a few years. It's new spring foliage is pink and green.

While I could have settled for a mass of jumbled sprouts shooting out of the root ball, I preferred to just start over and tossed them in next to the rest of the garden casualties. Dead plants tell no tales.