This Week in the Garden – May 31

Blue-Eyed Grass

This week, most of the hydrangeas are starting to show their blooms.

Mophead Hydrangea

Mophead Hydrangea

So far ONE of the mopheads has flowers on it, but I haven’t looked too carefully at the other seven.

Lacecap Hydrangea

Lacecap Hydrangea

This lacecap hydrangea is also just getting started.

Annabelle Hydrangea

Annabelle Hydrangea

Both of the Annabelle hydrangea’s are blooming. I need to cut this one back a little bit because it wants to block the path.

Late Blooming Azaleas

Late Blooming Azaleas

After a little lull, the latest blooming azaleas are essentially at their peak now.

Late Azalea on the slope

Late Azalea on the slope

The two behind the bench didn’t have very many blooms this year, and the purple encore azalea didn’t look too good either. I think they were just a bit too stressed last year.

Fungus

Fungus

While clearing out the lower paths today, I came across this fungus growing in the shade of a Hardy Begonia seedling. I left him in place.

Blue-Eyed Grass

Blue-Eyed Grass

In the center of the lower garden, some of the Blue-Eyed Grass is blooming. I just have little clumps of it here and there and this year they are not blooming all at once. Even though it looks like grass (with tiny little flowers at the end of a long thin stem), it is actually a member of the Iris family. It’s a pleasant little surprise.

White Dame's Rocket

White Dame’s Rocket?

In April, I posted the picture above, thinking it was White Dame’s Rocket. Although it looks very similar, now that it has gone to seed I see that it is actually…

Lunaria Money Plant Seeds

Lunaria Money Plant Seeds

Lunaria! Or Money Plant. When dried, the seed pods turn a crisp white that looks paper thin. Very decorative.

Hostas, Coleus, Sedum, and more

Hostas, Coleus, Sedum, and more

I’ve added a lot of plants this year- many annual Coleus’ mainly for color. Here you can see a bright pink, and two more mottled with red Coleus mixed in with several varieties of Hosta, Hellebores, some Ivy, Sedum, Azaleas in the back, and dark purple Oxalis up front.

Caladium

Caladium

I also managed to keep this green and pink Caladium alive over the winter! I let it go dormant, packed it in some loose (basically Orchid) soil, and kept it in the basement in a dark area. I brought it out late, in April, and just let it sit outside and making sure it was watered. Surprisingly to me, it started growing again! It’s bigger than last year too, I’m very happy. I potted it, and repotted the white caladium I bought this year, along with some red shiso and put it out front with some hostas. Now that I know I can keep them alive, I think I’ll get some more!

Overgrown Path

Overgrown Path

So this picture is from the summer before we moved in, when we having the home inspection done. But it’s one of the best pictures I have to show how overgrown the corner of the path would get- with the grapevine. The grapevine was out of control and had started taking over the Rose of Sharon behind it and reaching up into the big crape myrtle behind that! I hate to pull out any living plant that was purposefully planted, but I really did not care for this one particular beast. Sun is also at a premium in the yard, and I want to use it for pretty flowering plants whenever I can. There’s a pretty little fence behind the vine (that was supporting it) and I thought this year would be so wonderful to have a bank of poppies and bee balm and Liatris (blazing star). I bought and planted some seeds and whomp whomp. I didn’t take the care I should have with them.

New Plants by Fence

New Plants by Fence

So last weekend while I was at Southern States to buy some other needed things, I found some plants I could not pass up. They were on sale, and were very reasonably priced. The tallest plant in the back is Japanese Catmint ‘Pink Dreams’, and then the flowering spikes in front of it is a pink salvia ‘Sensation Rose’, and in front of that is a sedum ‘Purple Emperor’. A couple of small pink snapdragons ‘Montego Mix’ (a dwarf variety) fill in the little spaces. I’m really hoping I can get these plants to grow and and spread out. I’m really excited to see how it fills out in the next few years!

Japanese Catmint

Japanese Catmint

A detail of the Japanese Catmint flowers. It’s a neat plant that I didn’t really know existed until I saw it the other day. Cats are drawn to the scent but not quite as strongly as they are to catnip. I need to clean up my tags, so that I can document all the new plants.

Green Zebra tomato

Green Zebra tomato

And even though I’ve been pinching off flowers because I thought it was too early- a few made it through and now I’ve got a baby green zebra tomato fruit! I am definitely ready to have some fresh veggies from my own garden this year!

 

This Week in the Garden – May 24

Hardy Orchid flower

This week in the garden, well the last two anyway, has continued to show me new blooms. It’s exciting for me to ‘discover’ flowering plants, but it’s also fun to anticipate what I know is coming back…

Smoke Tree or Cotinus

Smoke Tree or Cotinus

The much awaited “smoke” has started to rise from the Smoke Tree or Cotinus.

Smoke Tree flowers

Smoke Tree flowers

Smoke Tree 'Smoke'

Smoke Tree ‘Smoke’

I love the puffy little clouds of light pink billowing from the top. Martha Stewart Living magazine had a great little article on these wonderful plants this month.

Baptisia or False Indigo

Baptisia or False Indigo

Growing right next to it was a lone Baptisia or False Indigo plant. I do not recall seeing these pretty little flowers last year, but it is possible I had since I pinned a picture of Baptisia. Or I could have just been wishing to have some and now it turns out I have some!

Snapdragons

Snapdragons

Nearby are some snapdragons I planted last fall. I was so happy to see them make it- my other two died. I think I may have neglected them too much and an animal helped dig one up.

Pink Peonies

Pink Peonies

Also in the front yard, the pink Peonies at the end of the driveway peaked last week. Last year I just had one stalk with three pretty blooms, and this year it exploded! I love how they look and I’m happy to see more of them. I added a little wire cage for support- once they start blooming they just can’t hold themselves up.

Pink Peony

Pink Peony

Bletilla or Hardy Orchid

Bletilla or Hardy Orchid

The Hardy Orchid’s (Bletilla) are out in full now, and have the most vibrant color.

Hardy Orchid flower

Hardy Orchid flower

Riot of color on the Mahonia

Riot of color on the Mahonia

Moving around to the side yard, the color on the Mahonia drew my attention. The stems for the berries were a hot pink color, with some areas more dark purple.

Flowers in the Veggie Patch

Flowers in the Veggie Patch

Even though the columbine are slowing down and most have gone to seed now, there’s still plenty of color in the veggie patch. The roses are still going strong, there’s some Hardy Orchids in the very back, Siberian Iris in the middle, and up front a pretty pink foxglove (Digitalis).

Siberian Iris

Siberian Iris

Here’s a detail of the Siberian Iris.

Amsonia

Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’

Nearly hidden in the veggie patch is the Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’. I’m pretty sure that’s what it is because I remember seeing a tag for it in the box. It has been so helpful for me to have the resource of the box of plant tags! I don’t recall seeing the blooms of this last year, but I do remember the foliage–I think I just missed seeing it.

Clematis

Clematis

Near the patch, this drooping Clematis is blooming. It’s so delicate!

Clematis on the roses

Clematis on the roses

And this Clematis just started blooming on the Fourth of July Roses.

Fourth of July Roses

Fourth of July Roses

Fourth of July Roses detail

Fourth of July Roses detail

I think I did well with trimming this year, but I want to learn to be better at it.

Englantyne Roses

Eglantyne Roses

Lots of Eglantyne roses this year.

Virginia Sweetspire

Virginia Sweetspire

Back behind the birdbath, this sweetspire is blooming nicely. I haven’t had a chance to try and get really close to get a good detail of those flowers yet.

Goutweed

Goutweed

Overtaking the hill and the birdbath is some goutweed (also seen here with Houttuynia). Even though it can be aggressive, I think it can be pretty. I don’t mind keeping it around, but I’ll just have to also keep it in check.

Bugs on Goutweed

Bugs on Goutweed

One morning while out taking pictures, I saw all these bugs on this one flower head- does anyone know what they are?

Flowering Sedum

Flowering Sedum

This small creeping sedum, also around the birdbath, is blooming. I would love to have more of this stuff- and it stays “green’ all winter long (more or less).

After - A new space for Phenomenal Lavender

A new space for Phenomenal Lavender

This shot is from last fall when I planted Phenomenal Lavender–it’s grown quite a bit in the last 8 months.

Phenomenal Lavender

Phenomenal Lavender May 2015

Some of those spikes are at least two feet tall! This plant has grown very quickly, and is as advertised!

Hidecote Lavender

Hidecote Lavender

I also re-potted this Hidecote Lavender I bought last Spring and had out front. It did OK but I wasn’t totally happy with the location or the pot. This is feeling much better for now.

Platinum Blonde Lavender

Platinum Blonde Lavender

A couple of weeks ago we went to Lavender Fields Farm, which is not very far from us in Glen Allen. We bought a few things from them, including this beautiful variegated Lavender named ‘Platinum Blonde’. We took a free tour of their farm, which was really neat to see behind the scenes as most of our starters came from them (they sell to Strange’s). They also handed out tickets for free ice cream samples at the end- we tried the honey and lavender flavors YUM. It’s a sweet place to visit, and they have a great little shop filled with all sorts of lavender products as well.

Potted Plants on deck

Potted Plants on deck

Speaking of the starters… they are progressing well. Everything looks good and healthy and growing! I’m a little paranoid that I didn’t get big enough pots for some of the tomatoes and may put them in something bigger soon… Also need to get a few more tomato cages…

Potted Plants on deck 2

Potted Plants on deck 2

I wasn’t happy with how I had some things, so I repotted the Caladium (it was burning up with too much sun), and I moved all my succulents around.

Succulents

Succulents

More Succulents

More Succulents

I’m still trying to get some of the babies to grow in the pot on the left. (They are shaded under the bench there).

Strawberry Begonia

Strawberry Begonia

With so much going on in the upper gardens, I don’t always make it down the hill. On the rock slide, the delicate little Strawberry Begonia’s are flowering. It took me a while to figure this one out.

Hydrangea buds and bug

Hydrangea buds and bug

Yay I’m going to have some hydrangea flowers this year! This might actually be the annabelle, but I did see some buds on my mopheads. Can you spot the bug in this picture?

Sedum and Coleus in the lower garden

Sedum and Coleus in the lower garden

This year I’m going to try some Coleus in the planter with sedum.

First Daylily of 2015

First Daylily of 2015

And last, but not least, introducing the First Daylily of 2015! This year this beauty in the lower garden beat out smaller similarly colored blooms in the veggie patch- which haven’t even shown a bud yet. You know Summer’s coming when daylily season starts!

 

This Week in the Garden – May 10

'Indian Chief Iris

As we begin to head into late Spring, I’m surprised by how many ‘summer’ plants I see up already. We’ve had some days hot enough to be summer already. The late azaleas are out in force now. There are a few that have yet to open, and the big show is pretty much over. I still have plenty to see though…

Some More Azaleas in the back

Some More Azaleas in the back

You can also see the Hostas coming out in full force. I haven’t noticed any evidence that the deer have found them yet.

Azalea next to deck

Azalea next to house and deck

Last week I shared a picture of this azalea just beginning to bloom, but this week it’s been gorgeous.

Azalea flowers

Azalea flowers

I think the flowers look almost tropical.

Azalea flowers 2

Azalea flowers

These azalea flowers are around the corner under the deck. So many different varieties! I noticed one of my neighbors has an orange-flowered variety.

Rhododendron

Rhododendron

Pink Columbine out front

Pink Columbine out front

More columbine! They’ve really been going crazy this year!

Dark Pink Columbine

Dark Pink Columbine

Dark Purple Columbine

Dark Purple Columbine

Clematis

Clematis

This clematis out by the mailbox is going gangbusters. I found another one blooming by the back fence next to the ‘veggie’ bed.

Fleabane

Fleabane

This Fleabane (Aster) is a bright spot in a shady area.

White Bleeding Heart

White Bleeding Heart

Another shade lover, the white bleeding heart, was at its peak this week. The pink version has just about finished up already.

Spiderwort

Spiderwort

In the lower garden, the spiderwort has several blooms open.

White Spanish Bluebells

White Spanish Bluebells

And these white Spanish bluebells appeared. You can see the flowers on a light pink azalea behind it fading fast.

Smoke Tree flowers

Smoke Tree flowers

Some of the more sun loving plants include this smoke tree- just starting to flower. I’m hoping to see the ‘smoke’ next week.

Purple Oxalis

Purple Oxalis

The purple Oxalis has exploded back and is already flowering. It might be time to divide this up a little bit…

Eglantyne Rose

Eglantyne Rose

I cut this beauty back in early Spring because it was getting a bit leggy. So many beautiful blooms- but I think next week is going to be the show stopper for this beautiful David Austin Rose.

Fourth of July Roses

Fourth of July Roses

It’s hard to get a good shot of the Fourth of July roses because they’re up so high.I cut these beauties back too. There was a lot of dead wood, and they were also trying to take over the veggie patch. Last year they just about attacked a few tomatoes.

'Indian Chief Iris

‘Indian Chief Iris

I’m so pleased to see one of the Irises I planted last year blooming! I planted it out front where it would get a lot of sun, and I was treated to a show this week. I’m hoping to see more and more of these as the years go on.

Bugs in Slender Deutzia

Bugs in Slender Deutzia

And lastly, just a few bugs I saw hanging out in the slender Deutzia. I’m not sure what they were, smaller than most of the pollinators I know. Any ideas?

This Week in the Garden – May 3

Lower Garden by bench

If you love color in the garden, this is the post for you. Other than some brief descriptions, I’m not going to rhapsodize how much I love this garden. I think the pictures speak for themselves. (Click on the Panorama Views for the larger/full size photo).

Front Yard

Front Yard

Panoramic view of the front yard.

Spanish Bluebells

Spanish Bluebells

Lots of Spanish Bluebells are everywhere- they can be aggressive. But I love how they look in large masses.

Back slope with azaleas

Back slope with azaleas

Here’s another grouping in the lower garden. Looking up the back slope with flowering azaleas and a flowering Spirea.

Pink Spanish Bluebells

Pink Spanish Bluebells

I also have a few smaller clumps of pink Hyacinthoides hispanica. They are not as tall, and don’t spread quite as easily.

Spirea Bush Flowering

Spirea Bush Flowering

The Spirea in the other picture is actually quite a large bush. There are thousands of these tiny flowers.

Spirea Flowers

Spirea Flowers

Flowering Viburnum

Flowering Viburnum

Another white flowering ‘bush’ (although it’s quickly becoming a tree) is a flowering Viburnum. There is one in the front side yard, and one in the back, behind the garden bench.

Lower Garden Paths

Lower Garden Paths

The lower garden paths are lined with color now. This is probably about the peak of the azaleas right now, although there are several bushes that haven’t started opening their buds yet.

View from Bench

View from Bench

View from the other direction. That’s sedum growing in the low tuffa pot. I haven’t decided what to put in the larger pot this year (if anything).

Lower Garden by bench

Lower Garden by bench

One of my projects to do this year is to refinish the bench. It needs to be stripped, sanded, filled, primed, and painted. I haven’t decided on any color(s) yet, any suggestions?

Coming Down the Stairs

Coming Down the Stairs

Here you can see another bush, other than the azaleas, that is also blooming this time of year–Rainbow Leucothoe.

Rainbow Leucothoe with Pink Azalea

Rainbow Leucothoe with Pink Azalea

I have a handful of these graceful bushes. This one is out front.

Slender Deutzia

Slender Deutzia

Another flowering bush is the Slender Deutzia. In this shot, you can see the grapevine coming back (I cut it way back), the hydrangeas new leaves at the base of the plant, and two little tomatoes I planted along the fence.

Slender Deutzia Flowers

Slender Deutzia Flowers

Backyard in the morning

Backyard in the morning

I have a great view in the mornings, dappled sunlight through the trees.

View of Wisteria 'Tree'

View of Wisteria ‘Tree’

The Wisteria is training well. I hope I can continue to figure it out.

Wisteria Detail

Wisteria Detail

View from Back Deck May 2

View from Back Deck May 2

Here’s the view in the daytime from the back deck.

Potted Veggies and Herbs

Potted Veggies and Herbs

On the deck, I’ve got my veggies and herbs potted up. I bought a whole bunch of tomato starters, some celery, red peppers, jalapeno peppers, zucchini, basil, rosemary, parsley, and chocolate mint. This year we’re determined to get lots of fresh vegetables. I also planted several down in the garden where ever I could find room.

Planter with caladium and dahlias

Planter with caladium and dahlias

Also potted up some planters too for some color. This one features a red Dahlia, Caladium, and (I think) a Cordyline.

Planters

Planters

At the base of the deck stairs I added ‘Caramel’ Heuchera to the big blue pot, and a Heuchera ‘LimeLight’ with some coleus to the smaller green pot.

Caramel Heuchera

Caramel Heuchera

Pink underleaves of the Heuchera, and the top side will turn more apricot in winter.

Side Yard

Side Yard

The side yard is alive with color as well, some that’s even a bit unexpected.

Star of Bethlehem flower Ornithogalum

Star of Bethlehem flower Ornithogalum

The ‘Star of Bethlehem’ flower is showing now that the Spring Starflower has subsided.

Possibly Weigela

Possibly Weigela

Up next to the house is this pretty little pink flower. Last year I thought it might be a bellflower, but I couldn’t find anything that quite looked right. While searching flowering bushes, I came across a Weigela that looked very similar. The only problem is, mine is not very big, and does not look like a bush. I’m going to take a closer look at it soon though. Maybe it’s a baby that self-seeded from another plant that was here. I did fine a Weigela plant card in the box…

White Columbine

White Columbine

The Columbine’s are big and beautiful this year. Not all of them have come back, but most of them did, plus some new babies.

Lots of Columbine

Lots of Columbine

This group in the veggie patch is quite large and colorful this year.

Pink Columbine

Pink Columbine

This pink Columbine has not only grown, but has spawned two smaller plants.

Azalea by the House

Azalea by the House

This azalea looks so tropical to me with it’s large pink star-like flowers. You can see the Ferns and Hostas have come back.

Oregon Holly Berry (Mahonia)

Oregon Holly Berry (Mahonia)

I also noticed that many of the berries have been picked off the Mahonia (Oregon Holly).

Panoramic View from Back Deck

Panoramic View from Back Deck

Sometimes a regular picture hardly does the view justice.

Looking Down the Hosta Stairs

Looking Down the Hosta Stairs

I just love it. There’s a view around every corner.