Thursday, June 28

Of All The Things I'll Lose When I Move...

... I just might miss the front yard garden the most. I have a quiet but deep appreciation for its ease.  For its undemanding nature.  

For the way it greets me with waves of grasses and sea kale when I pull up next to it after work.

For the way it catches the light and extends the beauty of the evening in exquisite jewel tones.

I don't like playing favorites, but this is really the one part of the garden that I plan to somewhat recreate--or at least keep in mind--when we move.

If you were moving away from your garden, which part would you miss the most?

Monday, June 18

Spiky and Purple Foliage Follow Up - June 2012

It's a spikey, purple foliage follow up this month in my garden!  First up:  Why should the "ornamental" gardens have all the fun?  Here's a pretty cordyline that's snuggling up to my 'Canby' raspberries in the backyard:

It was simply labeled "Tropical Foliage" and was being sold for an obscenely low amount at Home Depot... and jumped into my cart when I went to buy paint. I know, I know.  I really do try to support my local independent garden centers, but... sometimes you have to rescue cool plants at the big box stores, too.

'Sparkling Burgundy' eucomis is similarly spiky, purple and tropical-looking.  Here it picks up the warm tones of carex buchannii and 'Purple Knockout' salvia lyrata, and echoes the form of the dwarf iris at its feet, while contrasting nicely with the fine textured ponytail grass and chunky oakleaf hydrangea:

My front yard is at a bit of an angle, which is kind of fun because it adds another dimension. From some angles--like this one--you don't even see the green foliage of the foxgloves, sedums and bergenia that break up this swath of purple:

It looks like a lot of purple, but it actually looks really nice against my house--which is beige, and surrounded by cement driveways that add to the boring. From top to bottom, we're seeing purple from my Japanese maple, 'Diablo' purple ninebark, an unnamed heuchera, and 'Albury Purple' St. John's wort.

For more awesome foliage--in all colors and forms--check out Pam's Foliage Follow-Up post, here.  (And be sure to check out all the links!)

Sunday, June 17

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - June 2012

I have to admit, I'm late for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day more often than I'm on time. Usually, I have good intentions, and start planning to try to fit in a GBBD post around the 10th... but miss the deadline anyway.  This month?  I just flat out missed the date!  I literally looked at my cell phone this morning and then said out loud:  "Oh my gosh, it's the SEVENTEENTH! I totally missed Garden Bloggers Bloom Day--AND the Foliage Follow-Up!"

At least the plants are blooming right on cue.  Well, the oakleaf hydrangea might be a tad bit early, but the ponytail grass and the salvia lyrata are pretty much on time, anyway.  And the presence of as-yet-unplanted flats of summer annuals confirms (sadly) that it's still mid-June at my house:

'Bonfire' begonia is nearing the end of its first flush of blooms on the north side of the front porch:

While bright red snapdragons are just starting to bloom in the backyard.

Drumstick alliums are just getting started now, too, but it's odd to see the lighter purple of verbena bonariensis already in bloom behind them:

I feel like the verbena usually doesn't start putting on a show until later--at least July--in a normal year. And it's odd to have a June Bloom Day without the appearance of my 'Zweiweltenkind' goatsbeard, which started blooming in earnest right after the May edition and it browned and done right now.  So I guess that the legacy of our mild winter lives on through June!

Also blooming in my yard right now:

'Summerwine' yarrow, 'Chubby Fingers' sedum album, various red sedum, 'Purple Dragon' lamium, 'Caradonna' salvia, (the last of the) sea kale, a few hosta, lonicera sempervirens, clematis jackmanii, culinary onions, 'Sweet Kate' spiderwort, 'Black Beauty' and 'Black Lace' elders (because I cut them back so late in the spring), 'Grosso' lavender, horehound, Meyer lemon, 'Blue Daze' evolvulus.

For more of what's in bloom all around the world, visit Carol's Garden Bloggers Bloom Day roundup, here.

Wednesday, June 13

Wordless Wednesday: An Old Dog & Her Birthday Treat

Sunday, June 10

My Clematis Is a Tree-Dweller

For years, I read about clematis jackmanii and its famous vigor. Cautioned that it would need a strong trellis, I planted it next to the biggest rectangle of wooden lath that I could find--which, frankly, at 6 feet tall, wasn't really all that gigantic--and waited for the show. Year after year, I tried different things to get this purple beauty to at least make it up to the top of said trellis... to no avail.

Finally, I got kind of disgusted with the whole deal. Forget the trellis, forget the pretty purple blooms. I was just going to dig up the stupid vine and be done with it.  And then... my young Bing cherry tree seemed to die. So I planted the clematis at its feet and trailed a few strings down from the lowest branches, hoping that Mr. Jackman might climb aboard until I got time to take out the Bing. And he has--oh, but he has!

And yes, those are cherry leaves you see in the background--and grape leaves to the right. Mr. Bing made a remarkable comeback, and has now grown so large that the Concord grape vines need to be pruned away from him. And the Jackman's clematis flowers stretch up through the tree as far as the eye can see!

All of these pictures were taken straight up while I was standing underneath the tree, so you can tell how high my clematis now climbs. Sorry there are no good far away pictures of this whole scene, but the clematis flowers kind of get lost in the leaves when you get more than 10 or so feet away from the tree.

I have to admit... I kind of like them even more for the fact that they are hidden.  There's something special sometimes about flowers and plants that you have to really make an effort to seek out--even those that grow in your own yard!

Friday, June 1

A Very Cherry End to May

To cap off an oddly long, warm spring--which followed The Winter That Never Was--I got to enjoy my first few of these guys on the very last day of May:

They were delicious, but I feel a little bit odd about enjoying cherries already at the beginning of what is traditionally strawberry season!

An oddity that I don't feel at all ambivalent about is this bloom on my Japanese bloodgrass:

Mine has never flowered before, but I know that bloodgrass is reported to be slightly invasive/aggressive in areas where it regularly flowers. So I cut off those white tufts as soon as I was sure I had gotten a good photo.

These blooms made up the third garden oddity this week:

At first, I didn't notice anything amiss here. My tree peony, 'Chojuraku', blooms pink and the buds looked pretty normal, if a bit small. But once they opened and I saw both the color and the petal structure of the blooms, I knew something was not quite right. So I followed the stems down to the ground:

Yup... suckers from the rootstock! I dug into the ground a little bit and pruned them back... but will have to remind myself in a few weeks to check again and make sure I'm not seeing any resprouting.

Definitely an interesting ending to May.  Wonder what June has in store?!