Sunday, July 15, 2018

An Explosion of Color: July GBBD

I don't get to travel as much as I would like.  Between family obligations--including who's going to take care of four dogs??--and this and that, it is hard to get away.  So when my daughter offered to let me tag along with her to Washington, D.C. a few weeks ago, I jumped at the chance.  My husband stayed home, so I didn't have to worry about the dogs, and not much was going on in the garden that needed my immediate attention, so it was perfect timing.

While the garden was kind of at a lull when I left, all that changed in the few short days that I was gone.

In six days' time, the purple coneflowers had gone from a few opening blooms to a sea of pink!  And when I say "sea," I'm not exaggerating.  It's hard for me to get a good photo of the sidewalk garden that shows all the flowers, but maybe this one section will give you an idea.  Even though I dug up many seedlings in the spring, there are so many that there isn't much room for anything else.  Good thing I love coneflowers:)

Almost all the coneflowers that grow here are the native species, but 'Cheyenne Spirit' is one hybrid that has done well here and hasn't been overtaken by the natives--yet.  'Cheyenne Spirit' is one that will have different colored blooms on the same plant.  I bought this one before it bloomed, hoping for yellow blooms, but as you can see, I didn't quite get what I had wished for.  Still, I like the varied shades of coral and orange on this plant which sets it apart from all the common coneflowers here.

The other coneflowers have spread everywhere, including to the Lily Bed, which has been a riot of color for the past two weeks.  Even though I initially named this the Lily Bed, not all my lilies are growing here--I ran out of room here long ago! Since the daylilies are the other star of the garden right now, let's take a little closer look at some of them.

One of the first to bloom, 'Little Hug' is still putting out a plethora of blooms.

'Susan Webber,' a registered cultivar named after a local gardener.

'Moonlight Madness'

A NOID lily, given to me by a friend.

'Andrea's Dragonfly,' a division shared with me by my friend Beckie who named it in memory of her daughter. (Not a registered daylily)

Another NOID lily that I call 'Nettie's Coral' after my aunt who gave me several of these years ago.

It's probably apparent from the previous photos that I am partial to pastel lilies.  Take me to a daylily farm, and no matter what my buying intentions are, I always gravitate to the pastels:)  But I do have a few darker ones, including this lovely whose name has long been forgotten and which was also given to me by my friend Beckie.

Another non-pastel is this NOID that apparently got mixed up with some 'Stellas' I bought years ago.  I keep meaning to divide it because I really do like it much better than the Stellas anyway.

Some of my "literary lilies" are also a little darker like 'Divine Comedy.'  

And 'Canterbury Tales.'

'Romeo is Bleeding' is a bright red edged with yellow.

Of course, 'Romeo' had to have a companion, so I named this no-name hybrid 'Juliet.'

More of my "literary lilies"--and pastels again--'Tennyson' is a prolific beauty. I can't quite decide if this is my favorite daylily....

...or if 'Mistress Prynne' is my favorite.

I have many more daylilies than this, but I think you get that idea that I have become addicted to them.  The last few years, though, I've  also branched out a little to other types such as the Orientals, including what I call everyone's favorite, 'Stargazer.'  I've yet to see any blooms on the Casablancas, however, one of my favorite Orientals.

There are a few Orienpets as well, including this one whose name I've already forgotten.  With their downward-facing blooms, they are interesting but hard to photograph.

Although the coneflowers and lilies are the stars of the garden right now, there are other blooms as well.  Grey-headed coneflowers have been blooming for several weeks in the butterfly garden.

Hostas are just beginning to bloom in the Oak Tree garden.  All the rain we have had recently has turned my shade gardens into jungles once again.

In the Arbor Bed, the phlox are just starting to bloom.  This is 'David' with a fuschia no-name peeking behind it to the left.  I noticed this combo one day of whites with the pinks of the coneflowers and 'Stargazers'--another one of my happy accidents in planting.

I love, love the garden this time of year, but it's not just the blooms that I enjoy; it's all the creatures that come to visit it that bring me joy as well.  Well, not that darned Japanese beetle on the left coneflower, of course.  But I have been thrilled that finally the butterflies have appeared.  I was beginning to worry that their numbers were down this year, but in the last two weeks, I have had so many come to visit that my camera memory card is filled with nothing but  butterfly photos.  Black swallowtails, Red Admirals, and many smaller butterflies that I haven't identified are enjoying the coneflowers.

The Tiger Swallowtail is one of my favorites, 
and I'm pretty sure on Friday a Giant Swallowtail made a short visit as well.

But what makes me happiest of all is to see the Monarchs.  I've had at least two--my husband says he saw four at once--hanging about the garden for the past two weeks.  My milkweed plants are pretty puny, but at least I can provide some nectar for the adults with all these coneflowers!

It's been a hot, hot summer so far, but I am enjoying the garden right now, and I hope you are enjoying your summer garden, too.

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day is brought to you once again by Carol of May Dreams Gardens.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

June Bloom Day

I'm a little late for Bloom Day, but it's been a busy weekend.  Besides a birthday party for two of the grandchildren, today was our annual Master Gardeners' Garden Walk.  Since I was a volunteer at one of the gardens this morning, I was able to preview all the gardens on the walk last night.  So many gorgeous gardens in our community, full of imagination and ideas to copy.  Maybe I'll get around to doing a post on them--one of these days.  I spent the morning at a friend's garden who has created a beautiful and peaceful oasis in her backyard.

This is one of Jolene's latest additions--she calls it "the door to nowhere."  I was so happy that we had a great turnout this morning in spite of the sweltering heat and humidity.  Everyone was in awe of this hidden gem here in our little town.

You won't find anything that creative in my garden, I'm afraid, but I do have some blooms.  I'm feeling pretty happy that I finally planted all the annuals I purchased this spring, some of which had been languishing on my back porch for nearly a month!  This is a begonia that I fell in love with called 'Appleblossom.'

'Wendy's Wish' Salvia is an annual I plant every year because the hummingbirds love it.  This year I took a friend's advice and planted one in a container near my back porch where I can see the hummingbirds up close as they visit each bloom.  I've noticed the bumblebees love it just as much.

I've discovered I really like succulents.  This combo in an old birdbath is doing well, and just look at the bloom on the Echeveria!

A close-up of these blooms, which I think are pretty cool.

Among the many annuals I planted in containers and in the garden are some I didn't plant-
-at least not this year.

These are 'Prairie Sun' Rudbeckia, which are annuals here, but this year they re-seeded themselves in the roadside garden.  I love volunteers like this!

Other than the annuals, there isn't a lot blooming right now as we transition into summer.  I say "transition" because according to the calendar, it's still spring, but the hot, sweltering weather we have had most of the time since May certainly feels like summer to me.  In the shade garden, Lamium blooms are spreading everywhere.

Lady's Mantle, a newer addition here, is also sporting its blooms.

Since my last Bloom Day post, the hostas have grown by leaps and bounds in the shade garden.

A few are sending up the beginnings of blooms, like 'Empress Wu.'

Indian Pink, Spigelia marilandica, is nowhere as big as the Empress hosta, but I'm happy it has survived here for several years.

The buds are just beginning to open up.

Elsewhere, a few hydrangeas are blooming, including 'Mary Nelle' above, the 'Annabelles,' and 'Ruby Slipper' oak-leaf hydrangea.

The weather lately has been crazy--besides the heat, last weekend we had bad storms that included a tornado nearby.  Fortunately, we had no damage from the strong winds, but we had five inches of rain.  The rain produced some interesting-looking fungi in the lawn.

Moving on to the Butterfly Garden, aka the Garden of Chaos, there are always some surprises--some welcome and many not so welcome.  Not sure what these flowers are--maybe Evening Primrose?  At any rate, I know I didn't plant them.

I have several butterfly weeds, and this one is really doing well right now.  I haven't seen any butterflies in awhile, but I'm hoping they find my garden soon.

Lamb's Ears are shooting up their blooms in the Lily Bed.

One of the more interesting blooms right now in the Arbor Bed--Common Mullein, Verbascum thapsus.  Some might consider this more of a weed, but it certainly draws attention.

The vegetable garden is growing slowly, but I finally picked my first snow peas this past week.  I'm loving the new raised bed built for me by a friend.  Lettuce and spinach will be pulled out soon to make room for some zucchini and squash.

This past week I visited a local lavender farm with a group of fellow gardeners, and what a treat!  I was able to brag that I have finally succeeded in keeping one lavender plant alive for more than a year:)

The Sidewalk garden doesn't have a lot of blooms right now, but these little Monarda are doing their best till the coneflowers take over.

The first Asian lilies are blooming in the Arbor Bed.  'Stella D'Oro' daylilies are also blooming in many places throughout my garden, but the real show of daylilies won't begin for another week or two.

While there aren't a lot of blooms in this transition time between spring and summer, all that is about to change--the coneflowers will be arriving soon!  Between the coneflowers and the daylilies I am looking forward to one of my favorite times in the garden.

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day is brought to you the 15th of each month by Carol of Maydreams Gardens.  Thanks, Carol, for motivating me to post at least once a month!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

GBBD: Remembering Spring

In my last Bloom Day post, I worried that spring would never arrive.  But not surprisingly, all I needed was a little more patience, for less than two weeks later, spring burst forth in all its grandeur.  Suddenly, daffodils were dancing everywhere, and each day new tulips opened up their blooms.

Now, two short weeks later, most of the tulips are just a memory.  I know that on Bloom Day we are supposed to be sharing what is blooming now, but since I haven't posted for a month, please bear with me--I just have to share all these happy blooms from the past few weeks.  I promise to keep the narrative to a minimum and let you just enjoy the sights.

Every spring I am eager to see what tulips emerge, both the new bulbs I planted the fall before and the old faithfuls I have had for a few years.  Since tulips are not very long-lived and because they are a popular treat for certain varmints (more on that later), one never knows just how many or which ones will appear.  I planted more 'Margarita' last fall because the old ones were looking puny last year and was happy to see the new plantings looking good.

I also planted lots of orange tulips last fall, because I had very few in my garden.  I think I might have gotten a little carried away, though, because I had so many different orange tulips that I couldn't remember which was which. This is 'Gudoshnik'--I think.

This is 'Orange Van Eijk,' according to my planting notes from last fall.

After being impressed last spring with 'Lightning Sun,' I ordered more for this year.  One photo doesn't do these justice--they have variegated coloring in shades of orange to red, and the color varies from one bloom to another.  As they age, the petals remind me of an Impressionist's brushstrokes. Both 'Lightning Sun' and 'Gudoshnik' are tall Darwin tulips purchased from John Scheepers and should last for several years.

I did plant more than orange tulips last fall, in case you were wondering.  'Barcelona' is a lovely rose-colored pink; I just wish I had gotten a better photo of these, minus a car in the background:)

Then there were the returnees: although I prefer the tall hybrid tulips, I do love these little species tulips 'Lady Jane.'  The best part besides their longevity is that they multiply.

My namesake 'Rosalie.'

A double, 'Pink Star.'

And another double, one of my long-time favorites, 'Angelique.'

And what has become my very favorite tulip of all, 'Akebono.'  Another Darwin tulip, these return every year, yet just to make sure I always have some,I add a few more each fall.

There were many more returning tulips that I have simply forgotten the names of.  I wish I could identify the ones above so I could order more this year; they really were beautiful.  Notice I also had a healthy crop of henbit and dandelions this spring.

Some type of Rembrandt tulips.

Shades of yellow

Pale pink/lavender in the shade garden

Orange and purple are not a color combo I would usually choose, but I'll take it here.

And finally, two whose names I do remember and usually the latest to bloom, 'Maureen' and 'Queen of the Night,' with some early 'Purple Sensation' alliums.

Tulips are my favorite bloom of spring, no matter what color or type.  Although most did very well this year, despite the late start and quickly rising temperatures, there were a few disappointments.  The biggest disappointment was in my roadside garden, where I planted an additional two dozen bulbs last fall.  Whether it was the voles that have invaded that area or another varmint or the standing water from the floods in February, only one measly tulip appeared!  This is not the first year this has happened, so I am finally waving the white flag--this fall I am going to stick to daffodils and alliums in this area.

Tulips and other bulbs weren't the only blooms this spring.  The first week of May the flowering trees began to bloom, including the redbuds.

The week before, I was sure the crabapples had been nipped by frost, but thankfully I was wrong.

For one glorious week, my driveway looked like my header photo, once again.

The old lilac has gotten huge and was full of blooms that smelled divine.  I have two newer, smaller lilacs, including one called 'Scent and Sensibility' that also has a sweet fragrance.  But nothing compares to the scent of this original!

Spring is my favorite time of year, but sadly it is the shortest season here in Illinois.  After one week of heaven, the trees dropped their blooms and leafed out, and the lilacs faded.  Only a few fading tulips remain. Temperatures soared into the 80's and even the 90's a couple of days, and we have sped straight into summer.  If nothing else, spring is a reminder of transient beauty and the importance of slowing down and enjoying the moment.

But while I am sad to see spring fly by so quickly, the garden has gone into overdrive, providing more blooms as it transitions into summer.  One of my favorites above, Amsonia tabernaemontana.

Small alliums in the shade garden.

The taller 'Purple Sensation' are taking over one corner of the Arbor Bed!

My original bleeding heart is a no-show this year, but the newer 'Gold Heart' dicentra is doing well.

The tiny blue flowers of  'Jack Frost' Brunnera are a favorite of mine, and I have added several more of these the last two years.

It does pay to take the time and look closely around you--I almost stumbled over this Trillium one day while weeding in the shade garden.  I am so excited to see it, as woodland plants often don't do well for me in the dry shade of this garden area.

The Butterfly/Pollinator garden is also coming to life.  Camassia were the first to bloom, but I didn't take time to get a single photo.  Now Phlox pilosa, or PPPP as Gail calls them, are showing up here and there.

Golden Alexanders are also flourishing, which delights me
 since I tried for years to get them established here.

If you have stuck with me till the end of this post, I thank you.  And while I am sorry to see spring come and go so quickly, there are daily reminders like this 'Immortality' iris that there is much more to come in the garden in the coming months.

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Carol of May Dreams Gardens.  There are sure to be many, many blooms to see this month so hop on over and join in the celebration of spring!