Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Garden Grows

Heat and sunshine, just what the garden needs to thrive! You might think there is something missing from from that list, and you'd be right. Rain! Here it is, the annual dry season in central Ohio. The lawns are turning brown and daily watering of containers is the norm. It doesn't really matter to me, because as long as the flowers are blooming, I'm happy. For instance, the last of the roses finally arrived, including Garden Party, which is really more white than yellow, and fragrant too, 
Angel Face, which is a pretty lavender color and very fragrant,
and Oranges and Lemons, which is not fragrant at all, but oh so festive to look at.
The foxgloves are really having a good year. This light apricot one was seeded by me last year.
And these pink ones are either Candy Mountain or Camelot Rose. Doesn't really matter now, does it? They are gorgeous either way!
Some of the spring pansies are still hanging on, but I'm not sure how much longer they will look good. This is a small little bunch, but the colors are eye popping.
My lamp post clematis is really a show stopper this time of year, but I wish I knew for sure which one was giving me its all. Could be Polish Spirit, could be Jackmanii Superba. They are intertwined, and the flowers are so similar that I just can't tell. I think next year I'll replace the trellis with something circular that can actually wrap around the pole. But I'll have to do it in spring before they grows up.
Now I couldn't photograph it very well, but my Amsonia or Arkansas Bluestar bloomed for the first time. I just planted a row of these along the sidewalk last fall, and they gave a beautiful golden glow at that time. But this is the first time I've seen them in bloom. They have really gotten bigger, but I still think I'll plant some more this fall for an even better display.
The Kousa Dogwood Hearthrob is having one of its off years. *sigh* I just can't fall in love with this tree, but I also can't bear to dig it out. Every other year or so, it barely blooms. And the fall color is nothing to brag about either. The leaves mostly just fall off, and very early in the season too. Guess I'll leave it be, and keep on hoping for a prettier display.
I think most gardeners will agree that using lamium as a groundcover is a risky proposition. This stuff tries to take over the entire garden! But you know what? It's very easy to remove what you don't want because it pulls out easily. And look at it bloom! Very, very pretty, you have to admit. I've even had a few blooms in the middle of winter. Don't be afraid to use it, just know that you will have to rein in its exuberance now and then. After I took this photo, I removed about half of this area. It will be back, don't worry. Once you buy it, you'll never have to buy it again. There's always plenty to go around.
I've also heard that Evening primrose will try to take over my garden. So far, I'm enjoying it. There are lots and lots of pretty pink flowers bobbing in the wind. I've got it in an area where it really can't take over, so we'll see what I think of it as the summer wears on. I put down this seed last summer, and these are the first blooms I've had.
There are so many other pretty spots that are growing well in the early summer heat, too many to put in one post. I'll leave you with a new favorite, but a familiar one to many. I didn't really plan to grow Moonshine yarrow, but I couldn't resist the 75 cent pots found on the clearance tables at Lowe's at the end of  last summer. I'm so glad I didn't resist! These guys have been in bloom for weeks, and really look great for a long period of time. The bright yellow just grabs your eyes and holds it. I keep reminding myself to pick some and dry them, but I always have a hard time taking away from an outdoor display.
 And look how pretty it plays with the lavender. 
So the garden grows and grows this time of year, while I try to savor every moment! Summer is definitely my favorite season of all. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Rose Report from Robin

Since we had such a mild winter, I really expected my roses to be in peak form this year. I was wrong. They are very spindly, and covered with blackspot. But only those of us up close to them can tell. The blooms are still lovely. Of course, the Rosa Sunny Knockout is just as lush as ever, and covered in beautiful, fragrant roses. I have been calling this one Radsunny for awhile, and finally got a good look at the tag for the correct name. Consider this one a must-have in your rose garden, or any kind of garden, for that matters. Always perfect and beautiful.
I've had the first blooms on my Zepherine Drouhin rose climbing up the arbor. Some day I hope these flowers cover the arbor.
 On the other side of the arbor, I planted Golden Showers. It has remained quite small, but did manage to put out a beautiful bloom. I hope it has a growth spurt! In the meantime, I planted Grandpa Ott's morning glories on that side to compensate. 
My little Knockout tree rose is blooming, but it never has caught up to the blooms it had when I bought it. More fertilizer maybe?
 Here's another exception to the weak year my roses are having. Tahitian Sunset is a top performer in my garden. It's tall, very full, has no problems with disease and has perfect, fragrant roses. You must get this one!  Here's a before and after shot of one of it's beautiful flowers.
Funny Face is another dependable shrub rose, but it is trying to take over the rose garden. Always the first and last to bloom and never stops all summer long. However, it's not fragrant and is slightly bothered by blackspot.
Poor little Michelangelo is looking quite pitiful. Lost most of the canes that were sky high last year and covered in blooms. It's still putting out blossoms here and there, even this strange, flat flower that is not at all like it usually looks. This one has been a real favorite of mine, since it is deliciously fragrant and so very yellow!
The Fourth of July climber looks pretty good at a distance, but it is also being bothered my blackspot. I love the tie dyed look. I wish it was fragrant.
 My Don Juan climber is fragrant, and a pretty, traditional rose red. The petals often brown at the edges, but I'm the only one who can see it. 
Hot Cocoa is not a favorite. I thought I'd like the interesting orangy brown coloring of the flowers but they don't thrill me much in person. Not to mention that it has no fragrance. Any replacement roses in the future will be fragrant, because otherwise, why have them?
This little cutie is called Cecile Parade. It was actually a grocery store potted rose sold as a florist item. Once I planted it in the ground, it took off. It is now a fairly normal size rose and has these beautiful blossoms. All the other really tiny miniature roses I planted last year died off over the winter. Guess they were hothouse beauties not meant for the real garden.
I'm still waiting on blooms from Garden Party, Angel Face and Oranges and Lemons. They are all struggling mightily. My greatest fear is that my rose garden is falling victim to rose rosette disease. I've already removed one rose with it, and perhaps that's why so many of the others are struggling. Before I knew what the problem was, I ordered a beautiful David Austin rose to take it's place. Now I don't dare plant the David Austin in that tainted ground, so it has been planted in an urn for safe keeping. I fear for all of my roses at this point! I have to admit that none of them appear to have rose rosette, but I'll be on guard. In the meantime, I'll enjoy the blossoms I'm getting, like this Happy Chappy groundcover rose.
I definitely need more of these happy little blooms!

Friday, May 18, 2012

May Marvels

I'm not sure there is a lovelier month in the garden than May. And since I was born in May, this beautiful month is definitely a favorite of mine. Now I must admit I have not caught up on weeding, planting, mulching, trimming, and all those other spring chores that need to be done. But you know what? The garden just goes on without me.
 Last week, I injured my knee, right in the heart of the prime gardening season here in Ohio. Torture! There was a beautiful, warm, sunny Saturday, and I was not out in it. Appalling. Let's just say, there was pouting going on.
 But as you can see, the garden didn't care a bit. It just went right on blooming, and without my help. The nerve!
 After being confined to the house for a few days, I just had to get out there and see what was going on. I made it out the back steps, and it was so beautiful that I just had to see more.
 I took my crutches gingerly down the steps, and slowly made my way around the yard.
Oh was it worth it! My spirits were lifted, and my recovery began.
 Now that my knee is feeling a bit better, I fully intend to enjoy every last moment in the garden that I can.
 It only comes once a year, but it's worth the wait. I love you May!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sunny Siesta Key

We've recently returned from yet another vacation in Florida, and on this visit, we stopped in to see my dad and stepmother on Siesta Key. What a beautiful spot this is! From the car, I saw so many beautiful flowers, but I didn't get much chance to photograph them. But I did manage to snap these bougainvillea. They provided a WOW factor everywhere I looked.
Now if you live on Siesta Key, tradition says to take your exercise along the beach in the morning. So we did participate by taking our morning power walk there. I think I would be even more motivated to exercise if I had this option every morning.
There is another lovely tradition at the condo association where my father lives. Every night, they meet at their little cove at the beach to toast the sunset. Isn't that the perfect ending to the day?
 A few feathered friends joined us at the beach that night.
And with a glass of wine in hand, we said goodnight to the day.
Cheers, to life at the beach!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Got To Get Back To The Garden

We often vacation in early May, which is a bit of a dangerous proposition for a gardener. There is so much to see and do at that point, and I hate to miss it. You would think that being on vacation in Florida would distract me from thinking about my garden back home. But it sure doesn't! I keep wondering what I'm missing. This year, for instance, I knew that there were buds on my peonies. Since I've never even seen them in bloom I didn't even know what color they are, and I was afraid to miss them. I didn't! Turns out my peonies are white. It was a little dark when I got home, so bear with me on the photos being a little fuzzy.
I kept wondering about my roses too, and yes, some of them did bloom for me while I was away. Funny Face is always the first and most prolific of my roses.
Second most floriferous would be the Knockout Rosa Sunny. Gorgeous, blooms non-stop and very, very fragrant. What's not to love!
My Fourth of July climber isn't fragrant, but it's just plain pretty.
The May Knight salvia had started to bloom before I left, so I knew they'd be in their glory. That's them, hiding behind the columbine and the last allium. I had no idea the columbines would get that tall. 
 Moonshine yarrow had buds when I left, so I knew I'd find blooms. This was one of those 75 cent bargains at the end of the summer last year. 
Last year's tall snapdragons were expected to be blooming and they didn't let me down. I love the color mix.
I knew the clematis by the lamp post would have lots of flowers in bloom, and it did.
And yes, it was about to storm.
But there were a lot of flowers that I had forgotten all about, like Evening primrose,
perennial geraniums,
the rhododendron Catawbiense red,
 and Brilliant Star dianthus. 
 I had one little surprise bloom out front, when one of my white Siberian iris returned. I dug them all out last year because I didn't like where they were, but the bulbs have languished in the garage. So it was nice to see one of them that escaped. 
But the biggest surprise was a few more of my iris in bloom. I know I'm not the only gardener who forgets what they planted. I think this one is Rock Star,
 and I know this one is Batik. I had one of these back in Michigan, and I forgot all about planting it here. It really tickled me to see it in bloom for the first time.
Sure feels good to get back to the garden, even if it isn't Woodstock!