A Houttuynia Cordata Mantle

Chameleon Houttuynia Cordata

The other title of this should be “How to make do with an unwanted plant”.

It’s long past time for some new cuttings for the mantle, and this time I decided to go with something that I needed to pull up anyway and that I have way more of than I will ever want. Houttuynia Cordata, or fishy-smelling herb, can be considered an invasive ground cover here in the States.

Flowering Houttuynia

Flowering Houttuynia

It can be pretty and charming in it’s own way. It does have pretty little white flowers with giant stamens. However, it proliferates with runners underground, and once it gets started, it’s incredibly difficult to stop it. It can, and will, take over your garden if you aren’t careful. It’s the one plant that the former owner mentioned by name that she wished she never planted. I’ve been pulling it up all spring, and it will never end. Although I do have a plan that involves pulling the plant and then injecting poison directly into the roots. But until then, I just pull. And pull. And pull some more.

Gathered Houttuynia

Gathered Houttuynia

Today, while pulling, I decided to make some use out of them and make arrangements for the mantle.

Mantle with houttuynia arrangements

Mantle with houttuynia arrangements

The left vase is filled with “chameleon”, a variegated houttuynia with pink edges to some of the leaves.

Chameleon Houttuynia Cordata

Chameleon Houttuynia Cordata

It starts out so pretty and innocent. These cute little leaves poking out of the ground in early spring. Now in late spring, most measure about 18″ tall, but some are even as tall as 2 feet! That’s tall enough to crowd out and cover the other plants that I want to see– mostly small hostas.

Chameleon Houttuynia Cordata arrangement

Chameleon Houttuynia Cordata arrangement

The vase on the right holds an arrangement of the more sedately colored leaves of houttuynia- the more common form.

Houttuynia arrangement

Houttuynia arrangement

When I first figured out what plant this was, and how I’m never not going to have it (unless there is a major overhaul in the garden which is not happening ever because 1. time, 2. money, and 3. too many things I want to keep), I started looking around to see if there were any other uses for houttuynia. Apparently, this Asian plant is well known in the East and is used both medicinally and in culinary. People will eat the roots and leaves, dry the plant and use it in tea. Others use it as an herbal medicine to treat upper respiratory infections, to detoxify, and as a diuretic. As much as I would love to believe that this plant that proliferates in my garden could help me in some way, I sincerely doubt it. If anything, it would probably cause me gastrointestinal distress.

Detail of Houttuynia

Detail of Houttuynia

Given how stubborn this plants seem to be, I wonder if some of them will try sprouting roots while living inside. I think I will try to find out more information about how to prepare them- hey another edible plant in the garden would be excellent! :)

 

Linking up to these parties: Remodelaholic

This Week in the Garden – June 1

Hydrangea

Starting around late April, I have been in the garden taking pictures almost everyday. I have taken so many, I have actually filled up my iphone’s storage capacity with pictures of the garden. And yet, most of them are just sitting in my computer. I almost don’t know where to start with categorizing and storing them. I keep meaning to post pictures since the mid-spring garden tour, but frankly there’s just so much going on out there I think I got a little overwhelmed.

So to start feeling like I’m actually accomplishing something with all these photos, I’m going to try an summarize once in a while. I know myself better than to actually promise a post every week- and there may be weeks where nothing changes in the garden- but so far that hasn’t happened. Practically every day something new is coming up or blooming. There’s still so much I don’t know, but I am at least trying to learn about what I have.

Early last week a new-to-me flower started blooming in the front bed by the Japanese Maple tree- Missouri Evening Primrose.

Missouri Evening Primrose

Missouri Evening Primrose Blooming

What a pretty shot of yellow to this otherwise mostly green bed. Just a few lonely flowers popped open, and within a few days, there were bunches of them.

Also in the front, but closer to the mailbox, I found this Coreopsis just starting to show some buds.

Coreopsis Zagreb

Coreopsis Zagreb

I also finally figured out (for sure) what this plant was in the front, on the other side of the driveway- it’s Asclepias tuberosa, or Butterfly Weed.

Butterfly Weed

Butterfly Weed

Some of the blooms are almost neon orange in color. No wonder butterflies are attracted to it! I’ve got plenty of volunteers coming up as well, and the more food and shelter for butterflies, the better. So far, I haven’t seen but a few and most of them were moths I think. With all the bright blooming flowers we have, we hoped to be buzzing with bees and butterflies, but unfortunately there just aren’t that many of them…

Also by the mail box, the peonies have faded now, but the roses (presumably some knockout variety) and Salvia (I think) are lasting.

Roses and Salvia

Roses and Salvia

Down the side bed, a pretty Annabelle Hydrangea is blooming along side some small roses.

Roses and Hydrangea

Roses and Hydrangea

The taller plant behind the hydrangea is a smoke tree. You can also see some daylily leaves, and I think garden phlox in front.

The rose are tiny, but so pretty and delicate compared to the other varieties I have blooming.

Roses

Roses

In the veggie bed, there is a beautiful deep dark purple clematis blooming, as well as more knockout roses.

Clematis and Roses

Clematis and Roses

On the other side of the bed, but I don’t have a picture in this post- I have a great foxglove blooming. I’m so glad one came up because I love how striking they look. Towards the front of this bed, the first daylily of the year opened up! It’s really pretty and even though I have notes about the locations of the different varieties, I’m not 100% sure which one this is, but I think it may be Siloam Jandee.

First Daylily

First Daylily of the year

A few days later, this gigantic head popped open in the lower garden.

Huge Daylily

Huge Daylily

It looks really similar, but it’s definitely different. The outer edges of the petals are not ruffled, and the interior is more orange. It’s also a larger head, probably at least 4″ across.

Coming down into the lower garden via the stone steps, you have this view with more Annabelle hydrangea blossoming.

View of Lower Garden Steps

View of Lower Garden Steps

If you look carefully, you can see another azalea just starting to bloom behind the bench. The big daylily is just beyond the bench.

But those hydrangeas are just so lovely! And they go for quite a while too.

Hydrangea

Annabelle Hydrangea

I am going to have to trim this back a little bit at some point, because both it and the leucothoe are jutting into the stairs right at the same place. The leucothoe is getting a haircut as well, and several new stems have already emerged.

As spring turns to summer, I already see where I will need to make some decisions about the overall direction of the garden and which plants are growing out of control. So far, it’s been easier for me to focus on smaller areas at a time.

 

 

Linking up to these parties:  Remodelaholic

Garden Update – Moving a Path

Path Before moss growing

I have not been posting much this month because I’ve been spending a lot of my time outside in the garden. I love it so much!

As Spring kicked into high gear, I started looking at the garden for areas that need attention. One area that I knew I needed to address was this little path that goes from the back yard, past the raised vegetable bed, to the compost bin. Here’s how the path looked late last July/ early August during inspection.

Path Before inspection day

Path Before – inspection day

By the time we moved in late September, even more of the path was obstructed from Grapevine and the hydrangeas. Yet, there was still plenty of space on the other side, but just a bunch of slate stones just sitting there.

Overgrown Path

Overgrown Path

Nothing was even close to level, and as the fall turned into winter, I noticed more difficulty in taking this path. It felt slippery, lopsided, uneven, and a little dangerous. In this next shot, you can really see how uneven the stones were too.

Path Before Late March

Path Before Late March

So this Spring, I decided to move the stones as best I could, without making a huge to-do about it.

Path Before

Path Before

Path After stones moved

Path After stones moved

I didn’t want to over think it, and I had no money to spend, so I just did very little to move each stone. All told the project probably took me about 3-4 hours over 3-4 days. I picked up each piece of slate, Figured out where I wanted it, and dug the area I wanted to place it. I tried to make it more level, but with still just a little lean for water to run off. I used a larger shovel to start, and then used a hand trowel to make the area smooth and as level as I wanted it. I then placed the step and made sure it felt somewhat secure, and then pushed up the extra dirt and stones around it.

Path After towards house

Path After towards house

You can see some areas are lighter colored- and that’s where there was more gravel. I think originally it was probably more of a gravel path, and then over time they decided to move slate here. The soil is rich and organic, and I came across many worms, termites, and other critters living in the dirt. This picture was taken in early May, when the azaleas were going wild.

Path Looking Towards House

Path Looking Towards House

A couple weeks later, I bought some Iris Moss (Sangina) to plant in between the stones. I wanted something to grow to give the stones a little more stability, but I also love the look. I do think I’ll need to get some more scotch moss – I got one 6″ pot and divided it up and planted it in 5 different spots. But I think if I want it to fill in faster, I’ll probably need to get some more.

Scotch Moss in Path

Irish Moss in Path

I’d love to have more moss growing back here, and maybe some other kind of in between stone filler – like sedum or creeping jenny (moneywort). I have both of these growing in the veggie bed, and I did try to transplant some creeping jenny. I don’t know for sure that I want it down there though (it kinda wants to take over the ground). And I don’t know how well these do in a lot of shade.

Creeping Jenny and Sedum

Creeping Jenny and Sedum

In this picture from last year, you can see a bunch of moss growing (under the gorgeous hydrangea), but I think a lot of it died over the winter. I tried digging up some of it and transplanting it when I relaid the stones.

Path Before moss growing

Path Before – moss growing

And here’s the scotch moss today, still alive! Maybe it has even grown a little… but you can also see that there are lots of little weeds… which is why I’d love to have scotch moss over the entire thing.

Scotch Moss still alive

Iris Moss still alive

And here’s the path today, late May. Those are roses growing up a trellis in the back, to the right.

Path Late May

Path Late May

My goal for the garden paths are to be functional and pretty as much as possible. If there’s any way to lessen the overall maintenance as well, I will try!

 

 

Linking up to these parties:  Remodelaholic; Nifty Thrifty Things, Thrifty Decor Chick

A Woodland Baby Shower for Charlie

The Cake

In early April I attended a baby shower for my Step-Daughter-in-law at her mother’s house. It was a beautiful day, in a beautiful setting with the new mom surrounded by loving family and friends!

Dining Room

Dining Room

I was able to help a very little bit by bringing a burlap table runner, lots of fresh flowers from my garden, and just a few little extras to add to the theme- a Woodland Baby Shower. The theme is based on the nursery theme– full of cute woodland creatures, and the beauty and bounty of nature.

Dark Hellebores

Dark Hellebores in a green glass vase

Our gracious host, Linda, provided her home as the location for the shower, which itself is set out in the countryside, surrounded by woods, farmland, and horse country. Spring is the perfect time of year to have a baby because everything seems so fresh and new! Linda made these cute cards to hang from her chandelier in the dining room- one side with a letter, and the other with a cute animal.

Charlie Letters Chandelier

Charlie Letters Chandelier

She was nice to let me share these pictures of her home and drawings on my blog!

CHARLIE

Her inspiration was the theme of the nursery. Aren’t they so cute!

charlie Animals

She also had a delicious spread of deviled eggs, olives, fresh vegetables, grapes, chocolate dipped strawberries, cheese and crackers, and trail mix. I brought the embroidered tablecloth, which has pretty little Irish native plants on it.

Yummy Foods

Yummy Foods

And the cake! Delicious and made in house as well! The cake was modeled after other Woodland themed cakes we found online. I think it came out so nicely.

The Cake

The Cake

Lots of fresh spring blooms.

Hellebores and Daffodils

Hellebores and Daffodils

Little details, like this toy fox, made a difference. I’m so glad I’ve been able to use the burlap table runner again!

We also played a couple of games, of which the winners got to choose from the Party Gifts table.

Party Gifts

Party Gifts

Little Charlie made his debut just less than a month later. Isn’t he a cutie pie?

Baby Charlie

Baby Charlie

I think he’s a lucky little guy because he has so many grandparents who love him.