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.
Pamela x

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Friday, May 15, 2020

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, May 2020

One of the joys of May -- the golden leaves of Goldmound spirea (Spiraea japonica 'Goldmound')

It is very warm and humid on this Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day with a thunderstorm brewing. It's a sharp contrast to one week ago when a late Polar Vortex hit the Poconos, zapping many new buds and leaves in my garden with -20°F wind chills. While I am tempted to illustrate this posting with pictures of my dead plants, I choose to remain positive and show the good things that are happening today. I'll limit my negativity to just one photo -- the weeping redbud tree.

Frost damaged flower buds on Lavender Twist Weeping Redbud tree, Cercis canadensis "Covey"

While there will be no flowers on the weeping redbud this year, there are blooms on other plants. Let's take a short walk to see what we can find.

Clockwise from top right: Violets (Viola sp.), primrose (Primula vulgaris), Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis), Dwarf crested iris (Iris crostata)

Violets in the cottage garden are scattered among the forget-me-nots and primroses -- reminding me of my mother's garden in England.  'Freckles' is my favorite.

Violet (Viola sororia 'Freckles')

I moved Jacob's ladder to give it more space.  It seems happy in its new spot in the Serenity Garden.

Jacob's Ladder or Greek valerian (Polemonium caeruleum)

Some lilacs and one of my bleeding heart plants were damaged by frost, but others were fine as you can see.

Top: Lilac (Syringa vulgaris). Bottom left: Bleeding Heart (Dicentra sp.) Bottom right: Jacob's Ladder (Polemonium caeruleum)

 Most of the daffodils have finished blooming; "Pheasant's eye" is always last. A great favorite of mine.

 Daffodil Narcissus 'Pheasant's Eye' -- a very fragrant daffodil

Before the freeze, I started mulching my beds with compost as I do every spring. Yesterday, as warm weather returned, I worked on the Serenity Garden. Many hostas were damaged, but I'm hoping compost and a little TLC will revive them.

The Serenity Garden mulched with mushroom compost

Of course, backyard birds are busy at this time of year.

When the red, red, robin comes bob, bob, bobbin' ...
Once again the chickadees are nesting in the jug birdhouse on the porch

To end on a joyous note, the first alliums are beginning to open in the pollinator garden. Their opening buds always intrigue me. I'm not sure about the giant alliums, "Globemaster"; I hope they survived. I don't know what these little ones are called as they were in an unmarked bag at the garden center, where I purchased them cheaply. They have bloomed reliably for many years and this year they didn't let a bit of frost bother them.

Allium sp.

I'm linking with Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Thank you, Carol for hosting Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. Do go to Carol's blog and see what is blooming in her garden and in gardens all around the world.

Happy GBBD everyone,
Pamela x

Doodles, always climbing
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