Saturday, May 24

Sunshine, Pathways, Locks & Stones


Today, for the first time since a short, warm week in April, I felt summer! It streamed through my window in the morning and pulled me outdoors, with no thought for any pedestrian pursuits like eating breakfast or brushing teeth. It even made me forget, for almost an entire minute, that I'm definitely not a morning person!

Only when my bare toes had felt the sun-warmed concrete of the driveway, and my tender veggies had made it safely back out into the sunshine after spending the chilly evening inside, did I realize how hungry I was. And since I had Big Plans for the day, I knew I would need a good breakfast.

But first, I wandered outside, coffee cup in hand, checking out the garden. I know that I have showed this simple combination of chives, sage (salvia officinalis 'Newe Ya'ar) and 'Fuldaglut' sedum before, but it continues to thrill me.

The 'Diablo' purple ninebark behind, and the stand of 'Caradonna' salvia to the left (both outside of this frame) really help define the space, but this plant combination alone makes me happy. Spikey, soft, upright, whorls of color... it's all there. And that they are all "humble" plants, two of them "mere" cooking herbs, makes it even more fun somehow.

It occurred to me as I walked around that I might have actually planted my shade garden too tightly. I meant to plant things closely, as my mind rationalized that with dry soil and the gardener's reluctance to water anything not edible, this trick would give the impression of a lush garden anyway.

But I might have taken that a bit too far, as you can see here with the 'Hillside Black Beauty' bugbane and its underplanting of pulmonaria. I thought that the bugbane would look tall and leggy, and the pulmonaria would provide a low, silvery foil, but right now it just looks crammed together. I'll have to keep an eye on this as the bugbane grows to see if it matches the picture in my mind's eye or needs to be moved.

On the brighter side of the shade garden, 'Othello' ligularia is doing its dark, brooding thing next to an unusually lively hakonechloa macra 'Aureola.' The Japanese forest grass sports these lovely red tips each fall, but I haven't noticed them in the spring before.

I'm guessing that our continued cool spell is playing a role in my garden all around. The hakone grass is tipped in red, my zebra grass is already almost 2ft tall and has yet to show much banding... but on the other hand my neglected moisture-lovers, like the ligularia, aren't yet looking as lackluster as they tend to do when it gets warm.

Eventually, I did take advantage of the gorgeous day to get some heavy work done, and as you can probably guess from this post title, my work involved pathways, "locks" & stones.

But concision is not one of my strong points, and I'm never able to edit myself well when I'm as excited as I am about today's sunshine and this current project. This is already a long post... and I have to get to the grocery store before it closes, or I will have nothing to eat for lunch at the garden center tomorrow... so the rest of today will have to be explained in a "part two" posting.

I hope that all of the rest of my fellow garden bloggers were able to take advantage of today's wonderful weather as well, whether working or playing. It really was a nice one--here on the sunny shores of Lake Erie, at least!

14 comments:

Leslie said...

I'm so glad you got a nice gardening day, Kim! It sounds as if summer has been very reluctant to appear...how nice that it showed up on a day you could spend in your garden and when it seems you're feeling all better!

Heather's Garden said...

Kim, it's so good to see you posting. We had warmer weather here today too and I felt the same way! I think it's funny when you say your posts are long. Do you ever make it through one of my run-on photo and wordfests? Love the row of chives!

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Leslie, reluctant might be an understatement! :) I am definitely feeling better. Still a little bit tired, but otherwise just fine--when I saw the doctor, he also prescribed me something new for my allergies, and it's working very well.

Heather, they don't seem so long when other bloggers make them--I get so interested while I'm reading that I don't even notice the length! I just get about halfway through writing any one of mine and think, "Oh my god, I have to cut myself off. Brevity is the soul of wit, and all that..." I'm sure my rambling drives anyone who is nice enough to stop by here a little nuts. I'm trying to work on it, though. :)

Kylee said...

You bet we took advantage of the weather today! My body feels it, and it needs rest because we've got a big day planned tomorrow, too. We're geocaching in Findlay with Kara and Adam and visiting one of the large nurseries there.

My garden looks much the same, Kim. This is its third summer and you know what they say... "The first year they creep........"

Things are definitely leaping around here!

Ewa said...

Your descriprion of the morning was great, LOL. I think not only me, but other readers are curious about your project :)

gintoino said...

So that's were Summer is? We are going trough a very rainy spring around here (not that I really mind since it will allow new plants to establish themselves before the hot dry Summer were they will get little if any extra water. I love that Othelo ligularia. I'm also trying to use chives as a garden plant but somehow they don't look as good as yours (maybe they prefer cooler climates)

Layanee said...

I love that we have the same ritual...coffee cup in hand, checking out the latest garden delights. So, what did you make for breakfast? I chopped some chives for scrambled eggs! Gratifying!

Miranda Bell said...

Hi kim - just discovered your blog from May Dreams Gardens - no better way to enjoy your garden early in the day but wandering roudn with a good mug of coffee - it's usually when I decide what project I'm going to concentrate on or what needs my attention!! I was most amused to see the picture of your doggie as your Tomato Thief!! - We've a mischevious black labrador and given half the chance she'd have my whole strawberry crop and the rest... she's v. funny when we go out on walks and I pick blackberries from the bushes where they grow wild here - she stands and eats the berries herself off the lower branches!! Anyway - I could carry on but this is going to take up rather a lot of space on your message section... have a good weekend - Miranda

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Kim, it sounds like you had just the perfect day. Can't wait to see what your project is. It sounds intrigueing. I like anything that has to do with stones.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I prefer to garden when it is overcast & cool. I get too hot & sweaty otherwise. I know what you mean about having to keep an eye on 'Hillside Black Beauty' for spacing. Things look great for about 3 years, then suddenly everything is growing into everything else & serious plant editing needs doing. That's one of the fun parts of gardening, every year it's different, even with perennials.

Annie in Austin said...

Maybe crowded gardens aren't really our fault, Kim - it's an unconscious response to our experiences with plants.

If you give the plants lots of room they just sit there, secure in their status as horticultural treasures. But if you jam them in with other plants they realize there is competition, and work overtime to outdo their neighbors, hoping you'll move those interlopers somewhere else.

Hey, is that the Coral honeysuckle budded up!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Kylee, a large nursery in Findlay? I drive through Findlay when I go home, no matter which route I take... so I hope you post (or email) a review. And I hope that you all had a great time geocaching, too! :)

Thanks, Ewa! It was a lovely day all around, and I posted something about my newest project just a bit ago.

Gintoino, I don't think summer was hiding here... it's been MIA most of May so far, unfortunately. How nice that Ma Nature is watering in your new plants for you, though. If that was the case here, I would be happier--unfortunately, it's been cool and dry. :(

As far as the chives go, mine looked rather... spindly and wimpy... for the first few years. Just now they're starting to come into their own, though, so I bet if you be patient they will come around.

Layanee, have you also been known to get distracted, start a project or maybe "just a little weeding" as you walk around... and then find your coffee cup again later in the day?! (Or is that just me, lol.)

Funny, but my breakfast was going to be just like yours, chives and all! Except that I have a new cast iron skillet that isn't yet seasoned, and I threw the old one away because I hate it and it's nonstick, so instead we went out for pecan pancakes. *grin*

Miranda, thanks for stopping by--I can't wait to check out your blog, too! And I'm giggling about your pooch's escapades... mine hasn't discovered the strawberries yet, but she knows that she likes tomatoes and green beans. lol. Maybe it's the lab in them? (Coco is half lab.)

By the way, please don't ever feel like you have to cut yourself short leaving a comment. I love comments, and I sure as heck do not worry about taking up space with my long posts so it's all good. :)

Greenbow Lisa, it's... interesting! And if it looks half as good as it does in my mind's eye, it will be rather fun. But I did just post about it, so you can go take a look!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter, that's what scares me... this is only year 2 for some of these plants! It really WILL be a jungle in there next year, I'm afraid. *grin*

I prefer to garden when it is overcast & cool, too. And if it's lightly misting while I'm planting, that's even better.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Annie, you snuck in while I was typing! :) I like your theory of plant competition... it kind of works with my other theory, that plants don't start performing well until you start to complain about them and plan their removal. Plant Motivation all around!

And yes... I've been turning cartwheels over that pretty coral honeysuckle! YAY! I can't wait until the flowers open up!

It's so funny, though, some of the stems are 2+ft tall and are working at climbing up the trellis, while the budded ones that you see here are only about a foot tall yet, and are flopping into the sweet woodruff at the base of the honeysuckle.

SMC said...

I think I will try the chive & sedum combo... the fat little chive pre-blossoms echo the dark color of the sedum so nicely.

I just discovered Ninebark two years ago. Hamelin Pennisetum looks extra terrific in front of it.

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