Friday, June 15, 2018

June 2018 Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day: June is Bustin' Out All Over

 June is Bustin' Out All Over

March went out like a lion
A Whippin' up the water in the bay
Then April cried and stepped aside
And along come pretty little May.
May was full of promises
But she didn't keep them quickly enough for some
And a crowd of doubtin' Thomases
Was predicting that summer'd never come.

But it's coming by gum ...

Richard Rogers

With summer less than a week away, my gardens are 'bustin' out all over.' I grabbed my camera and headed out early on this Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day to record some of the beauty.

The window boxes along the tractor shed are beginning to fill out.

Roses and clematis have replaced the peonies and alliums of early June. The rose blooms, however, are more sparse than usual due to the very harsh winter that led me to cut most of them back to the ground. The bright purple alliums, now a more delicate mauve color, are forming their seedheads.

Left: Allium 'Globemaster' today. Right: Peonies and allium on June 1.
Climbing rose, Blaze Improved, and clematis. Beyond them are fading peonies.
David Austin rose (Rosa 'Olivia') blooming behind Edward, the new horse sculpture

The Cottage Garden is flaunting some blue/purple perennial geranium flowers, golden potentilla blooms, and pretty pink spikes of Veronica. In the shade, my astilbe is opening its white plumes.

Perennial geranium 'Roxanne'
Top: Potentilla.  Bottom left: Astilbe sp. Right: Veronica sp.

A wonderful spot to enjoy all this beauty is the new bench next to the pond. There are some pretty blooms there, but none more lovely than the velvety, purple water iris.

Froggy Pond
Water iris

Two of my favorite cottage garden plants, hollyhocks and delphiniums, are bustin' out. One of the delphiniums has it's first blue flowers opening. Believe it or not, that little cutie is a Pacific Giant. Oops, I guess it didn't read the label.

 Pacific Giant Delphinium with hollyhocks behind it.

The catmint, always reliable, made an early appearance in it's full-sun area. The spirea
 is blooming in the Serenity Garden even without full sun.

Catmint (Nepata 'Walkers' Low')
Spirea 'Golden Mound' with it's pretty pink flowers.

 I planted ladies' mantle in several spots. It's lacy, yellow blooms lighten shady areas.

For years I thought the groundcover with variegated leaves was the invasive goutweed and couldn't understand why it wasn't aggressive in my garden. I now know it is variegated masterwort, a much better alternative. It is blooming for the first time.

Variegated masterwort (Peucedanum ostruthium 'Daphnis') in a foundation bed
Peucedanum's bloom is like Queen Anne's Lace

Not just blooms, here is some of the striking foliage in my garden today:

From the top: threadleaf maple, sea holly, hostas, smokebush, brunnera, Japanese painted fern, and brunnera.

I knew this was a special day when I captured a picture of the pileated woodpecker. We hear him often, but he is too shy to hang around for a photograph. Today, he was so busy, he didn't spot me right away. He was really making the bark fly, wasn't he? -- you can see it falling.

I am joining with Carol at May Dreams Gardens for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. Thank you Carol for your wonderful meme. 

Happy Gardening my friends,

Pamela x

I enjoy my potting-shed library.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Late May in the Cottage Garden on Wordless Wednesday


I'm not usually at a loss for words. May, however, is one of my busiest months in the garden and leaves me little time for blogging. I am participating, therefore, in the Wordless Wednesday meme and posting just a few pictures of my end-of-May gardens. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.


I hope you enjoyed this brief tour. If you have any questions, I will be glad to answer them.

Happy Gardening,
Pamela x

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Blooms in the Serenity Garden in May

Vision of stillness
breathtakingly beautiful
peace, serenity.
Phyllis Babcock

The shade garden was not so serene two years ago when we removed the silver maple. The cutback in the amount of shade, the damage caused by fallen branches, and the resulting bareness of the beds made me very sad. Two springs later, serenity has returned to this favorite garden spot of mine. The plants have filled in the spaces and our serene lady once more dips her toes into a pool of blue grape hyacinths. The garden is enhanced by layers of foliage from dark green boxwoods and chartreuse spirea to climbing hydrangeas. Click on the pictures below to enlarge and see what I mean. You will notice the lacy ferns, the delicate white blossoms of lily-of-the valley, and a red bleeding heart, each adding its own beauty.

At the other end of Serenity the layered look is continued with mounds of hostas, a burgeoning turtle head, and an evergreen (the name of which I have forgotten) in front of the old cedar tree. The beautiful angel on the trunk of the cedar tree was gifted to me by my daughter more than ten years ago. The two plants in bloom in this area are lamium and calycanthus.

Tranquility of Nature's best
turns troubles to trivialities.
Joyce Johnson

I know I post pictures of the same flowers every year, but I never tire of May blooms: Jacob's ladder, lily-of-the-valley, bleeding heart, brunera, calycanthus, and violets -- all flowering in Serenity today. You've seen them before; here they are again:

Jacob's Ladder or Greek valerian (Polemonium caeruleum)
Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)
Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost,' pink Lamium, and the faded flowers or Helleborus 'Ivory Prince.'

Clockwise from top left: Lungwort (Pulmonaria), Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum), 
Miniature Hosta, Sweet Shrub (Calycanthus) 

Bleeding Heart (Dicentra sp.)

I planted numerous hostas in Serenity, with miniature ones in the fairy gardens. It was not so serene when I chased the deer out. I sprayed a deterrent, but with all the rain lately ...

Deer nibbled the hostas

There are violets all through Serenity ...

Violets (Viola sp.)
                                                                                             .... and more in the Cottage Garden:

Violet (Viola sororia 'Freckles')
In the Cottage Garden, violets and primroses, oh, my.

Also in the Cottage Garden the allium buds are ready to burst open.

Allium sp.

I am late for Garden's Bloggers' Bloom Day, celebrated on the 15th of each month, but I'm participating anyway. If you go to our host's blog, May Dreams Gardens, you will see that Carol's blooms are so much more advanced than mine even though her Indiana garden is the same zone 6 as here. Until fairly recently we were classified as zone 5 which I thought was much more accurate. Looking at Carol's columbine and clematis, I'm hopeful, however, as I feel the promise of blooms to come. Check it out!

The storms this week brought terrible devastation to much of the Northeast. We didn't lose power and my gardens were not impacted except for minor flooding. And I saw my first butterfly. I feel blessed! Wherever you live, I hope you are safe and enjoying your May garden.

Pamela x

Morning Cloak butterfly on Crabapple

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Saturday, April 28, 2018

The Glory of Spring at Northview Gardens

Spring finally arrived in Pennsylvania. I celebrated with a visit to Northview Gardens in Ambler; my husband and my friend Janet accompanied me. It was raining, but Janet said we could make our own sunshine. Northview is the home of Jenny Rose Carey, senior director of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society's (PHS) Meadowbrook Farm. Jenny Rose and I met at a master gardeners' conference a couple of years ago and have been good friends ever since. When PHS offered a private tour and lunch at Northview, I was very excited to participate. This was my second time there; I recorded my first visit HERE. We joined the other visitors for coffee and snacks in Northview's carriage house. Jenny Rose introduced us to the wonderful world of historic (pre-1940) daffodils, demonstrating with cut blooms from her garden. She described how the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) places daffodil cultivars in 13 divisions, starting with the trumpet daffodil in Division 1 and ending with daffodils 'distinguished solely by botanical name' in Division 13. I was amazed at the diversity. My old brain found it difficult to assimilate all this information at first (it's good there wasn't a test) but upon my return home it was fun to look at the daffodils in my garden and assign them to the appropriate divisions. I must confess that I couldn't do this without the cheat-sheet that Jenny Rose gave us. My interest in unusual daffodils was peaked, so I investigated the American Daffodil Society's website. I urge you to take a look. Some amazing, unusual blooms -- who knew?

When we started the tour, our first stop in the 4 1/2 acre garden was at the Moon Beds with their daffodil mass-plantings. It poured rain since the moment we arrived, so raincoats, wellies, and umbrellas were in order. I was thankful that H.H. held an umbrella over me and my camera so I could take pictures.

Jenny Rose Carey shows us the daffodils in the Moon Beds.

As we walked around the flower beds, I was gratified to see some daffodil cultivars that I grow, and love, in my own garden:

I grow Narcissus cyclamineus with its swept back petals.
Large cupped daffodil. I have one similar. Mine is Narcissus 'Joyce Spirit'
Trumpet daffodil with ruffled white blooms. I have them on my Daffodil Walk.

There were not only daffodils but many more spring blooms in Jenny Rose's gardens. I've grouped some of them by color:

Perfect Pinks
Difficult to pick a favorite!

I fell in love with this snake's head fritillary and on my return home I ordered some for fall delivery.

Fritillaria meneagris called Checkered lily or Snake's head fritillary

Wonderful Whites
Top: Anemonella thalictroids. Right: Leucojum aestrivum. Left: Trillium pusillum 'Roadrunner'

Beautiful Blues
Top: Brunnera macrophylla Bottom: Mertensia virginica Virginia bluebells
Still raining -- Jenny Rose points to Virginia bluebells

Virginia bluebells with raindrops -- so beautiful!

Since my last visit, Jenny Rose gave the Redbud Allée and the Winter Walk new pathways. I love how she left grass down the middle and planted it with spring flowers. The redbuds were in bloom this time and a copper beech at the end of the allée had retained its glowing leaves. Stunning. One of my favorite walks at Northview.

Redbud Allée (Left)  and Winter Walk (Right) with new pathways

Following our tour, we returned to the Carriage House for an excellent lunch. When the other guests had left, Janet, H.H. and I enjoyed an extended visit with Jenny Rose and Hanna, her lovely head gardener. We drank tea and talked gardens. How blessed I am to have such wonderful, like-minded friends.

Referring to a list of herbaceous blooms that grow at Northview, I see Sanguinaria canadensis Bloodroot listed, but I didn't notice it on my visit. I was thrilled when, on my return home, I found mine was blooming.
Sanguinaria canadensis Bloodroot in my Serenity Garden

My very late Forsythia blooms today

I am especially happy to see my miniature cherry tree with blossoms, pictured bottom left in the following collage. It is Snow fountain cherry Prunus x 'Snofozam.'

More of my spring blooms.

Based on my tour, I developed a wish list of plants to purchase for my own gardens. It includes Anemone blando Windflower, Epimedium Witches hat, Fritillaria meneagris Checkered lily (already ordered), and I may try Trillium again (no luck previously.) And, of course, I want to add some unusual daffodils to my collection. I think I will join the American Daffodil Society.

Spring arrived at last in Pennsylvania; my favorite season filled with promise. I left Northview truly inspired. Where are you getting your inspiration this year, dear gardening friends?

Wishing you a happy spring, or whatever season it is in your corner of the world.

Pamela x

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