Sunday, May 31, 2009

Ask and you shall receive

Rain glorious rain - by the bucket. Everything is bigger, greener and full of vigour. Today it showed 5C (40F) on my thermometer and the wind is really gusty. I had every intention of doing a lady-like putter about the garden this fine Sunday a.m. - and instead did a quick spin and ran back in the house to my sofa, the Times and my coffee. As soon as my fingers warm - I'll go back and mow some of the lawn - anything to keep moving out there. Tonight they're forecasting 3C - which is just a silly temperature for this time of the year.

So without further ado, here's what's been going on in the garden this week:

I swear it looks I took this picture while I was practicing a new sport - run, squat and shoot. I assure you its little arms are intact. Poor snap or not, it just reinforces how important bright leaves are for me in a dark garden. Athyrium 'Ghost is just one of the best at providing its own little beacon of light.
The Erodium is back - blooming up a storm.
Big wind during the day and are all the pine cones I'd been waiting for around Christmas for the table.

Hard to capture, but a lovely little perennial - Lychnis atropurpurea. Here is the description from Chiltern Seeds: "From the Balkans, where it is found in moist mountain meadows, comes this rather fine perennial with purplish stems, reddish-purple marked leaves and ten inch panicles of deep purple flowers in late spring. 12-18 ins." Actually, a pretty good description for Chiltern. I've chosen to torture this plant placing it in my sandy dry soil, next to my path - so it will on occasion get a shovel full of salty snow. A very good forget-about it kind of perennial.

Never really noticed before how the flower form of the Cornus alternifolia resemble the form of the branches.

And the Japanese tree peonies are starting to bloom. I think this yellow variety is shy - none of the blossoms face front.

It has been exceptionally bright - and very high UV. For the very brief time this H. montana macrophylla is hit with the sun - look at the sunburn. If the leaf is hit with the sunshine while it's emerging, it just collapses on itself and turns to goo. I'll probably cut this leaf off in a few days when the plant is a little bigger.

Just a short while ago, the tulips were here with their great colours - my favourite hidy hint for ugly tulip leaves - big juicy hosta.

Just to prove you don't need a massive bank account to be a great gardener - take a look at what you can do with seed and a great imagination. Jacques, who is the Oakville Trafalgar Hospital gardener, has let the Allium go to seed and then has scattered the seed a little further every year making this wonderful purple river. Sure, it takes a bit of time, but what a wonderful effect.

Such a happy little geranium at the bottom of my steps.
Am going to have to double check the name of this little woodlander - but not until it warms up a bit.

Facing west in the garden - very pleased with my Loblaws Japanese Maple.

Finally got into the garden to do some serious maintenance and edging. I'm not a happy girl until the edges look good.

I had let some milkweed sprout in the garden several years ago. We're on a migration path for monarch butterflies. Every year, I find it in another spot - here it is making nice with the phlox.

OK, will have to take this later in the season to see if I love it or not. In any event, I love the Terra Nova introductions, but some of these bizarro colours don't seem to have a pair in nature. This is H. 'Georgia Peach' - I'm growing it with some grasses that look like they're dead, but they're not. This is Carex 'Bronzita' that I started from seed in 2007 - mea culpa, mea maxima culpa - the hair cut was my silly idea. The ends were dead, it was too close the the edge of the bed, in any event, I feel very sorry that I chopped it up and am hoping it will grow. My artist friend Lisa said perhaps the Heuchera would look good with something with a silver leaf - and I think she's got an excellent point - I've got a silvery salvia somewhere I've got to try the other pot with.
And here's what I hope to tackle after the lawn - the edging - and all those little unwanted volunteers. As a note, for those of you who want to try Wonderberry tomatoes, you'll never have to buy seed the second year, or any other year following the first. Fortunately, I like these tiny little black tomatoes, and I get to sit on the lawn while I read - two good things to be thankful for on a beautiful Sunday morning.


Outside In said...

What a lovely garden you have, I too like the effects of the alliums. Do they smell like onions? I was thinking about planting some.

Teza said...

This has to be the ultimate form of blogging..... a week's worth of photos and musings.... a wonderful idea!
I love the effect of the Allium. I want to grow A. christophii, the one that resembles a pyrotechnics display, but need somewhere where it's drama won't be overlooked!
I think your little wood-lander is Tellima grandiflora...'fringe cups!' and it is divine. I lost mine last year when I was thinning back some of the more rambunctuous kids! What wonderfully delicate flowers!
Our weather has been absolutely ridiculous this year, but I am loving the rain.... everything is so green! Have a wonderful week!

Grace Peterson said...

Barbara~~ I agree. The swath of allium is indeed genius.

The Heuchera: I've been happy placing it with pink neighbors. Gaura 'Ballerina Rose' seems to be all the rage in these parts and for good reason. I've also got a small clay pot of bright red hens and chicks beside it... It's all subjective and you might be grossed out by this combo but thought I'd share my two bits.

I decided just today to take out my bronzy Carex. It seeds all over but which isn't a huge issue but I'm just tired of it and want to use the space for something different.

Your gardens are gorgeous. I agree with Teza--a week's diary is a great way to blog.

easygardener said...

Your garden is looking good. I like your Geranium, a lovely blue.
I wish someone would invent a grass comb which would sweep through a clump of grass, removing all the dead stuff but leaving the new growth behind!

George Africa said...

Hello Barbara;

Just found your site via Teza's. I'm really enjoying the pictures and your narrative. I like any of the Athyriums including Ghost that you feature. Years back we started buying fern plugs from Terra Nova Nurseries and Silver Falls became my favoirte. Here in the east the red voles that never sleep and always eat maintain hybrid ferns at the top of their winter menu so spring time is a time of reckoning with what's left. I have noticed that the hybrids are about three weeks later than the native ferns to rise up from winter sleep but once they make it to sunlight, they grow quickly.

Thanks again for some thoughtful pictures.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm

Barbarapc said...

Cathy - thank you - only when you brush up against them - or, horrors hit one with a shovel when you're planting something else late in the season.
Teza - I'd felt so badly about not getting back to my blog - but saw that I'd taken photos every day - it was good for me to reflect on what had happened in the garden, so glad you enjoyed the read. (and for the i.d.!)
Grace - I'd tried some of the pinks I had in the garden and the two leaves seemed to cancel each other out - that gaura sounds like an excellent idea! Our growing season must be too short - our bronzy carex never produces seed heads. It was an easy one to start - can well imagine how it must spread.
E.G. what a great idea about the comb. You know, that's all I'll be thinking about as I sit stationed at one of these plants today removing all the ugly bits.
George - thanks for stopping by. Interesting comment about the timing of the ferns. Here I've found the athyriums (hybrids too) - all come out at the same rate - makes me think they must have the same parentage. So far, they don't appear to be a part of the food chain just yet - but what a nuisance about those voles!

Outside In said...

Hey Barbara please stop by my blog I have an award for you, thanks.


Gail said...

I agree with Teza...this is an excellent post and idea! Chock full of delicious goodies! Chicago was covered up with was the flower of the weekend...Big purples and white!

I am going to edge my wilder beds I think the formal edging will be a good juxtaposition to the wildflowers' exuberance. Thanks for the help!


Northern Shade said...

There are lots of beautiful stirrings in your garden. Your Athyrium 'Ghost' looks great. Mine haven't popped up yet, and they were a healthy group. I will miss them this summer, if they haven't made it. I love those silver fronds.

Jacques has created an eye-catching display, with those purple spheres floating over the light green leaves.

That's a good shot of the curving beds around your lawn, with the crisp edges, of course.

I have green and silver coloured Heuchera 'Mint Green', but with all the extra frosts this spring it seems to have been confused, and has pink, reddish orange, silver green, and even purplish leaves, many of the fall shades. I assume it will settle back to its more sedate colour in summer.