Saturday, June 26, 2010

Are you Superstitious?

Are you Superstitious? My first reaction is 'no, absolutely not'. But then, I do knock on wood regularly and have been known to toss a little salt over my shoulder now and again. I am fond of black cats, neutral towards the number 13, and I absolutely would not walk under a ladder, but that's just for safety reasons.
But I digress. The reason I am thinking of Superstitions is that my first Iris Germanica is in bloom. It is the near black 'Superstition' and is said to be the darkest of the irises. I am completely captivated by this bloom, which stands well over 3 feet tall.
In contrast to the dark flower on light background, here we have a light flower on dark background. A white cosmos. The simple and delightful shape of the bloom makes me smile.
Do you see what I see? One of the blue flax isn't happy with it's expected colour, and has chosen white instead. I think it is trying to gain the attention of the birch it is planted under. The other flowers don't seem to mind. In fact, it makes them appear all the more blue!
My little geranium is blooming well now, this picture reminds me of how badly I need to weed the bed, and that I should't hang a birdfeeder over a flowerbed (this area use to be grass). I had gotten behind on maintaining this bed due to the aggressive Robin. I have a very sad update about him, there were torrential rains & storms here for about 36 hours last week, during which he vanished. I am sad to think of what happened to the eggs (or chicks?) in the nest. Especially given how very hard he tried to protect them.
Stella has just started to bloom! The other daylilies are still setting buds (except Bonanza, which has yet to send up a flower stalk...). The garden hose makes for a nice sculptoral element ;).
I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm thrilled with 'Stairway to Heaven'. Could the little blue flowers be any lovelier?

It is doing a good job tying together my problem child bed. The mix with anemones, violas and sweet woodruff is quite pleasing.
The tango wiegela is growing well, although I had to hard prune quite a few branches that didn't make it. The little trumpet flowers are a nice addition to the dark foliage.

Time for Roses! Not sure why I didn't have any before this year. 'Sunrise Sunset' is covered in blooms, they are not quite the colour I had hoped for and are a little shocking, but it seems happy and healthy so it is a welcome addition.

I much prefer the delicate beauty of Morden Sunrise. Although she only has one bloom, it is so very elegant she has already become a favorite. You may notice the few black spots at the bottom of the picture, any advice on how to treat them would be appreciated, since I am a rose newbie.

Here is another favorite, a well established good old fashioned bleeding heart. It is missing some of it's gems due to little hands, but still looks great. It takes up a lot of space, and it somewhat unruly, but I think it adds to it's character.

Enjoy your time In Your Garden! :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Solstice Bouquet

Happy Summer Solstice! Here is my bouquet for you, it's the first time I've been able to participate in Noelle's challenge.

This odd little arrangement started with the recue of my lone blue diamond tulip, which had fallen over due to it's immense size. Then I pruned a stem of my purpleleaf sandcherry that was growing along the ground, and the same for a sprig of variegated dogwood & spirea. A lilac stem & a string of hearts and presto, something to put in a vase.

Wishing you a very happy solstice, odd that the days will be getting shorter, as summer is just beginning. It always perplexes me a little.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Flowers & Rainbows

I didn't quite get organized enough to post on the 15th, so I feel like I'm a day late and a dollar short :O). I also want to apologize for not keeping up with my regular visits to your blogs, things have been a little hectic lately, so I will try to catch up and then keep up. There is a fair bit of garden activity at the moment and I'm happy to share some pics with you.

The polemonium Stairway to Heaven really brightens up a shady bed. The foliage is lovely and the little blue blooms are a nice bonus.

The stars are back! I think my petunias are recovering from their rocky start, at least the star pattern has returned, I thought they might stay solid all summer. Now they just need some sun and 20-20-20 and should get back to normal.

This is a picture of my absolute favorite tree. I know it is a little 'Charlie Brown', but that's what I love about it. It didn't bloom for a few years and I thought it was a crazy volunteer something that would have to go. Then it produced clouds of white blooms and I relized it was a lilac lol! It may have been to short to get some sun over the fence until 3 years ago, it has bloomed ever since. It is tucked (squished!) between the houses, a fence and a gigantic spruce. I really can't imagine that it was planted here on purpose, it can't be viewed from the road or the house, and it's shape is twisted and slanted, trying to get away from the monster spruce just left of the photo. But here it is, and I'm very attached. I'm quite sure it is a Beauty of Moscow, the buds are pink and open to white with some faint pink hues.

And then there is the peony in the shade. I'm sure this one was planted on purpose, it is right between the lilac and spruce (lilac leaves at the bottom of pic), it gets NO direct sun whatsover, but produces about 5 or 6 large dark pink blooms every year. I finally put a ring on it this year so it wouldn't flop. Odd place for a peony, but kind of a nice suprise. It is too large and well established to move, so here it will stay. There is on in even deeper shade nearby which doesn't bloom at all, but surprisingly makes for a lovely foliage plant, who would have thought?

No open blooms yet, but I've pretty excited about my first Iris Germanica, this one is the almost black Superstition. Provided nothing catastrophic happens to it, I should have some blooms to share with you soon.
I finally got my Cosmos planted a few days ago, there are seedlings in the tulip bed as well, but I planted a dozen plants, just in case. Most of the tulips are gone, only a few remain. They look lovely together, it's too bad there isn't more of an overlap.

My planters of odds & ends are blooming quite well. I hadn't really noticed the little yellow centres of the blue lobelia, but it really stands out with thse snapdragons.

My potted strawberries seem happy enough, can you see the little blooms? It has been quite cool here so far, hopefully the dog days of summer will bring them along nicely.
I purchased a Pink Beauty Potentilla last fall, but it didn't survive the winter. Fortunately it was still under warranty so I brought it back for a replacement. Here it is, hopefully this one fares better. These blooms appear rather shy, but aren't they pretty?
The story of my Robin continues. He has mellowed considerably, I suspect the chicks may have hatched. Now when I'm out In The Garden he stays in the nest and doesn't move. It's better than getting dive bombed.
As a result, I was able to take a moment and get some pics of my little plants under the birch. This is the little Dianthus 'Firewitch'.
And my icelandic poppies. Of all the colours in the mix, this is probably the last I would have chosen, but now that it's here I rather like it.
The blue flax just started to bloom, as you can see, I like the background of the white birch behind the blooms.
The weather has been very predictable lately. An evening thunderstorm followed by a sun shower and rainbow. I took a few pictures the other day and they turned out quite well.
And I don't want to forget the dog's container, the petunias are blooming well even with only a little late evening sun.
I can hardly wait for the blues, white and yellows to return. The shastas, false sunflowers and various bellflowers are are growing well and should bloom quite soon. Stella d'oro is setting buds as are some of the other daylilies. I'm pleased that my H.F. Young Clematis made it through the winter, it is growing well and rapidly, but no signs of flowers yet. It feels like a slow start, but I'll take it!

Monday, June 7, 2010

24 hours of new blooms.

I was away for a mere 24 hours recently, and when I came back there were so many surprises in the garden. I felt like I had been gone for much longer!

I'm very excited about these blooms, most of these are new plants, and have been in my garden for less than a year.

These are the last tulips to bloom, and are called Virichic, I find the colours very pleasing.

My first ever rose!! This little one is on a 'Sunrise Sunset' shrub, it is suppose to have an apricot centre, and be quite a bit bigger, but the plant is young and I'm tickled pink that it's happy enough to produce a bloom. Lots of buds are setting, so there may be a size/colour variation.

I am very happy with this plant, Gentian Speedwell 'Barbara Sherwood', the flower spikes are striking, and are blooming very well, even in the shade.

Here is a closer look at the blooms, each is very pretty, white/pale blue with slightly darker blue lines etched across the petals. An added bonus to this lovely plant is the evergreen foliage year round.

I planted a few little blue violas in the border of the bed last year, along with my standby Sweet Woodruff, they make a nice pair and both are very well behaved.

Another beauty in the front bed is the Snowdrop Anemone, also performing well in the shade. I just planted one in a sunny spot, it'll be interesting to compare growth & blooms.

I moved some lamium into the bed last year too, it seems to have taken root well. I don't ever recall blooms before, it looks like there will be some pink ones very soon. I like the way the leaves look in the shade.

I haven't planted these Cosmos yet, but they are blooming in their little trays. I plan to put them in the tulip bed & I am hoping they will self seed, just wondering what your experiences have been?

Here are my new icelandic poppies 'Champagne Bubbles' they are in the miniatures bed under the birch tree. There is a robin's nest in the tree, and the dad is VERY aggresive towards intruders. I've been screamed at, dive bombed and pooped on, so the next few pics were taken rather hastily.

This adorable groundcover is a type of baby's breath. I'm sure the planting tag said 'Mouse Ears', but I can't find any reference to it anywhere. The little leaves do look like mouse ears, and the flowers are adorable.

Sea Thrift has just started to bloom. It has a reputation of being extremely low maintenance and thriving on neglect. Great qualities in a plant, in my opinion.

My globeflower is an early bloomer. The little yellow balls are so bright and adorable, I'm very happy with this late 2009 addition.

Jacob's Ladder is blooming beautifully. I'd love to tuck them into more beds but won't crowd them since they are prone to mildew. You can see how much earlier they are compared to others in the beds (shastas, heliopsis, asters, bellflowers...).

Here are some more of the gift irises, they came in a variety of colours and are so charming. I may have to move them since they are at the back of a bed (they were at the front, til it expanded), and being dwarfs are hard to see. On the other hand, they are kind of a nice surprise when having a close look around...

My white bleeding heart has not produced very many blooms this year, but they are so very pretty. I suspect more time for growth/maturation is needed (and I have promised not to relocate again).

Many of my shrubs seem a little sparse, and with quite a few dead branches. I suspect it has to do with the terrible fall (heavy snow in Oct), and then the recent cold snap. I had to replace my pink potentilla, and some heavy pruning will be needed elsewhere. 2 of my weigelas are only growing from the bottom, same goes for the hydrangeas. I'll wait before pruning back.

The perennials seem to have fared better. All 3 (free!) Ostrich Ferns are back, as are all of the hostas although they are quite slow. The clematis is growing well and my little dwarf balloon flower at the base has just emerged. I hope to find some more this year to add, in order to keep the clematis roots nice & cool.

Oh, and a question for all of you. Remember my 'Blue Star' petunias? They were quite stressed/leggy after being in the trays in my house for a month, which reminds me I really need to fertilize them. Anyhow, they are starting to bloom, but the blooms are all solid blue/purple. This happens occasionally to a flower here or there, but it seems wisepread. I don't know if this is a stress response? I really hope to have the star pattern this summer.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tulips & Lilacs

(In keeping with the Wordless Wednesday meme, I have decided not to add any descriptions of the tulips & lilacs, but if anyone is interested in finding out what varieties they are I'd be happy to provide the info. :) )