Tuesday, June 30, 2020

This Month in the Garden: June 2020



I mulched twice this month; I must be a glutton for punishment. I mulch for several reasons: to help prevent weeds; to keep the ground cooler in the heat of summer; and to help the soil retain water during periods of little rain. In addition, I like the way my beds look when they are mulched. My mulch of preference is natural cedar hardwood -- no dyes -- ground as fine as possible. This year, we had a big pile of finely ground catalpa chippings from the felled tree. It seemed a good idea to use it rather than make a purchase. Duane shoveled it into buckets and wheelbarrows; I did the spreading. After several days, it was finished. I stood back to admire my handiwork. I hated the way it looked. The color was too light; it did nothing for the plantings. Needless to say, poor Duane left for the garden center to purchase bags of cedar mulch. Several more days of hard work later, I felt much better about the appearance of my flowerbeds.

Horseshoe Garden. Top: with catalpa mulch. Bottom: with cedar mulch

While I did little more than spread mulch, the plants continued to grow, bud, and bloom with stunning results. My June gardens were lovelier than ever this year, as you will see in the following virtual tour. Forgive me if I don't give the horticultural names, but it's getting late, and I would like to post before July. If you have ID questions, please ask in a comment.

At the beginning of June, bearded iris and clematis in the Horseshoe Garden
 with Edward, the horse sculpture.

Other early June blooms: top - rhododendron, bottom left - spirea 'Golden Mound',
bottom right - spiderwort.


I have a secret spot, under the weeping cherry, where I sit and read.
Can you see the hollyhocks coming into bloom?

The first hollyhocks

Hydrangea 'Pinky Winky' starts off with white blooms that will turn pink then red.
Look across the pond. The five window boxes on the tractor shed are filling out.


I filled the window boxes with Supertunias.

More late-June blooms:

Clockwise from top right: My friend, Katharine, gave me the calla lily bulbs; clematis;
white lavendar and bellflower; zinnia.

The Cutting Garden


Clockwise from top right: beebalm; yarrow 'The Pearl'; coreopsis; another zinnia

I planted nasturtium among the herbs in the trug on the patio.

The cottage garden herbaceous border wont peak for another couple of weeks.

Hostas are budding in the Serenity Garden

My favorite hosta, gifted to me by my friend Karen, has cupped leaves that catch the raindrops.
It is blooming today.

The newly planted dawn redwood tree replaces the catalpa.
 There is work to do -- leveling and reseeding around it.

I stuffed most of my pots with zinnias and marigolds. Here I added white petunias.
They are filling out nicely. 'Tie-dye' clematis is blooming.

While the vegetables in the Kitchen Garden are coming along nicely, something (we think a groundhog) is eating them. You can see the damage in the bottom two pictures. I've sprayed a deterrent, covered some vegetables with row covers, and Duane set a trap. It's very discouraging.

To end on a lighter note:

Abundance Garden is beautiful with sage, roses, and drumstick allium.

I am linking with Sarah in England for her 'Through the Garden Gate' meme. Thank you, Sarah, for hosting. I am deeply grateful to my blogging friends around the world in these trying times. Reading your blogs and looking at pictures of your beautiful gardens bring me such joy.

My garden continues to be my solace during the pandemic. Although shops and restaurants are beginning to open here, I am still being cautious, and not venturing far from home. Every day, I feel blessed to have such a beautiful place in which to be quarantined. Also, I am enjoying my pets, especially Charm, the miniature horse, and my elderly goat, Billy. Even young Doodles, Duane's goat, though thoroughly spoiled can be very entertaining.

Stay safe and healthy!
Love,
Pamela x

Charm and me on our daily stroll through the Woodland Walk


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Monday, June 15, 2020

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, June 2020




One of the many joys of creating a garden is cutting flowers to display indoors. This week's simple arrangement shows some of what is blooming on this Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. A peony takes center stage surrounded by the green and yellow seeds of allium, blue bearded iris, Peucedanum, and the tiny white flowers of multiflora rose. The leaves of smokebush complete the bouquet. When I got up this morning and looked through the den window, I could see the peonies are beginning to fade while the roses are coming into their own. Before starting this posting, I looked at what I had posted on this day the last few years; I don't want to keep posting the same thing. It is obvious, however, that there are significant differences. Take my roses, for example. Last year I wrote, "The roses are NOT doing well this year -- after the brutal winter weather and then the excessive rain." Today, my roses are gorgeous.

Peonies are fading as roses come into bloom.
Pink Knock Out® Rose
Miniature Rose, Coat of Many Colors™

Lichfield Angel is doing particularly well this year. I chose this rose for it's name which brings back happy memories. I attended Lichfield Friary High School for Girls (that's right, there were no boys) in the beautiful English city of Lichfield.  And my maternal grandmother was born in Lichfield. I have loved Lichfield Cathedral since during my high school years we frequently went there to worship. Back then the limestone angel, after which David Austin named the rose, was not to be seen. It was broken and buried for centuries - until, during excavation work in 2003, three pieces forming the 'Lichfield Angel' were found under the cathedral floor.

David Austin's Lichfield Angel
Another Knock Out® with the purple spikes of Salvia nemorosa 'Caradonna'
Rosa 'Improved Blaze' is not climbing the trellis this year; I gave it a rejuvenating cut down to the ground

Deer pruned all the buds off the Peace rose.

Some changes, bloom-wise, are the dark purple delphiniums in the cottage garden. I placed a color-coordinating  hanging basket of petunias nearby.


It's fun to see what's early or late each year. This year, the water lilies are extremely early.

Froggy Pond with early-blooming water lilies

New to the Horseshoe Garden are the sweet blooms of yellow allium gifted to me last fall by my friend, Katharine. They like this spot with its morning sun and afternoon shade.

Yellow allium moly Jeannine

My wild columbine grew extremely tall this year. I read that it can grow from six inches to four feet; that fence is four feet high. Technically a perennial herb, Aquilegia canadensis is our native species. Hummingbirds love it. My friend, Bill, gave me the tiny plant five years ago. He grew it from seeds he collected at a nearby historic site. 

Native columbine Aquilegia canadensis

First time blooming in the rain garden is the native iris.

Blue flag Iris versicolor

Finally, in the Kitchen Garden the marigolds are coming into bloom. I have had considerable wild animal damage this year in addition to deer munching my roses and other flowers. Something ate the peas and cabbages when they were about an inch high -- may have been a groundhog. There is a family of chipmunks living under the potting shed; they dug up various seeds, leaving the seedlings for dead and scattering seed shell husks. I was devastated when they did this to the sunflowers that I sowed. The last sunflowers I grew got a stem borer so I waited a few years to be sure I was rid of the pest. I sowed a good sized stand last month and they were coming up nicely, but now I have only three left. I was so disappointed that I picked up a sunflower plant from the garden center. I would have bought more than one but they were $15 each. Compare that to the cost of a packet of seeds! Darn those chipmunks.

Marigolds coming into bloom
My fifteen dollar sunflower

Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day everyone! Be sure to visit our host, Carol, at May Dreams Gardens. I'll echo Carol in asking, What's blooming in your garden today?

Stay safe everyone as our country begins to open up.

Best,
Pamela x





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Sunday, May 31, 2020

This Month in the Garden: May 2020


May's beginning was very exciting with the publication of Country Gardens magazine's summer edition featuring my garden. Right there on the cover it states, 'English Garden Style: For Tough American Climates' -- that's my garden! What an honor to appear in a national magazine. I wrote about the photo shoot HERE describing those events when famed garden photographer, Rob Cardillo, and producer, Samatha Thorpe, came for two days in July. Rob's pictures are just spectacular and Samantha did a wonderful job writing a very accurate article. I thank those of you who read the feature and told me how much you enjoyed the article and the pictures of my garden.


After that excitement, the nonevents of the stay-at-home order were a bit of a letdown. The weather didn't help. As I described in my last post, temperatures fluctuated from plant-killing frosts to mid-summer-type heat and humidity. As a result, bloom times have been off kilter this May. If you look at the photograph at the top of the posting you will see that 'Globemaster' allium are in bloom in the cottage garden but not the peonies. Usually, the purple allium and red peonies bloom together, making a very striking picture. (The flowers on my pink peony, however, are opening.) Another anomaly this month is that the viburnum was in full bloom before the crabapple tree lost its flowers. I had thought that frost damage would prevent the crabapple from blooming at all, but its blossoms were late and spectacular. Other spring-flowering shrubs and perennials performed right on time.

The pink peony is blooming.  I wish Blogger enabled you to smell these beauties

Top: The rain garden decorated with petals of crabapple blossoms. Bottom right: Blooming crabapple (Malus species). Bottom left: Maries' Viburnum (Viburnum plicatum tomentosum 'Mariesii'). Pictures taken on the same day.

I tend to post similar photos every year, so I'm happy to show something different. The viburnum below was not doing well for its first few seasons in my garden, probably because of deer damage, but now it is filling out and showing its lovely flowers.

Pink Dawn Viburnum (Viburnum x bodnantense 'Pink Dawn')

May is English bluebell time; I picked some for the kitchen counter. Every year, on this blog I say the same thing, "How I miss the bluebells of my homeland." I grow them along Bluebell Creek to evoke wonderful memories of my childhood. 

English bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta)

Some of my favorite white flowers, right on time, at the front of the house:

Top right: lilac (Syringa Vulgaris var. alba). Top left and bottom right: Snow azalaea (Rhododendron mucronulatum). Bottom left: Bridal veil spiraea (Spiraea vanhoutte).

Love my iris

Of course, May is one of the busiest months in the garden. After dividing plants, weeding, and mulching, I planted the window boxes, and sowed and planted the Kitchen Garden. Duane and I put out pots and ornaments. I am so happy to display the new fish sculptures, a gift to myself as nobody took the many hints I dropped. 

Five window boxes on the tractor shed planted with Supertunia® 'Vista Silverberry', Supertunia® 'Vista Bubblegum', and purple fountain grass.
 
Top: Real koi fish   Bottom: Ceramic fish sculptures by Maine artist Tyson M. Weiss

Empty pots all around waiting to be filled. (Actually, I started that task and several are done.)

All the direct sowing is completed in the Kitchen Garden

Every day brings changes at this wonderful time of the year. Walking around my gardens this evening, I found more blooms: rhododendron, columbine, and amsonia.  Their pictures are for next time. But before I close, let's take a Critter Walk and see the wildlife to be found in my garden this week:

The scarlet lily beetles, doing what beetles do, on my Turks' cap lilies. I've been hand picking them and dropping them into soapy water, but they have done a lot of damage chewing through leaves.
Top: I find the antics of the chipmunks fun to watch. Bottom: Momma Robin on her eggs.
Top: Bambi looked over by his Mum. Bottom: Young deer watching baby foxes at play in our upper field.


The stay-at-home order has been lifted, finally, in my county, although with many restrictions. My first trip out will be to a garden center; I don't have enough plants for all those pots.

I am linking with Sarah in England for her 'Through the Garden Gate' meme. Thank you, Sarah, for hosting.

Wishing you a safe and healthy June, dear gardening friends.
Love,
Pamela x





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