Six on Saturday – May 12, 2018

This is the time of year when I take a walk around the garden in the early morning and then again in the late afternoon. There is something new to see every day.

  1. Amsonia –  I have several Amsonia hubrichtii, commonly called bluestar. A friend gave me several and last year I shook the seed heads around, but I don’t see any volunteers. I would love to have more because the thread like leaves turn golden yellow in the fall. The fall foliage photo was taken at Chanticleer, a garden in Pennsylvania. You can see why I would want more. The flowers are brief and a pale blue. This year I’m going to save seeds and try to start some plants in pots.

IMG_6126    amsonia in the fall better

I have another kind if amsonia that I dug from a local garden that was going to be bulldozed. It also has blue flowers in the spring but the foliage is different than hubrichtii. It also self-seeds with a vengeance and once a clump is established it is difficult to remove. I keep a couple of clumps in some areas of the garden where not much else will grow, but I don’t let them go to seed. Eventually I’d rather have all hubrichtii.

2. Viburnum plicatum Kern’s Pink  – this lovely viburnum opens with pale pink petals, then turns to white. It is also a plant I brought with me to this house. Another tiny plant purchase that was worth the wait.

IMG_6111  IMG_6112

3.  Bearded Iris  – the ones on the right looks more pink than they are. They are not my favorites but they do well in a dry area of one side of the house and aren’t susceptible to borers. I’ll keep them. I have a number of varieties, all of which came from friends or the plant sale at the Woman’s Club of St. Michaels.

IMG_6087  IMG_6089

4. Pumpkin contest – my writing partner, Laura Ambler, has a sister who keeps trying to have an annual pumpkin contest. A couple of years ago she gave a bunch of us pumpkin plants and we were to see who could grow the biggest pumpkin. All the plants were doing well and then, almost overnight, all succumbed to borers. Not one of us got a pumpkin. We are trying again and were able to choose our pumpkin plants which Julia had named. I picked  a pot that had two plants. They went into the garden on Tuesday. I am declaring war on borers, so any suggestions are welcome. I will consider noxious chemical warfare.


5.   A hardy gardenia has replaced the Korean Spice Viburnum (carlesii) which used to be outside our bedroom window. It grew much to big for the spot where I’d planted it. And it bloomed on last years wood, but I never could get the hang of when to cut it back. The gardenia was a gift from my new neighbor who has a blank canvas garden and is thrilled to have anything I dig up to share. She took the Korean Spice and planted it in a more suitable spot in her yard. Last weekend I watched as her husband moved 7 cubic yards of topsoil to the new planting bed by their back fence. Heroic effort! The spots on the leaves are pine pollen.


6. This is a section of the back yard of St. Michaels Woman’s Club. An activity of the club is the Green Thumb group which meets monthly with a variety of gardening programs. Each May we have a plant sale in which members bring divisions, plants they no longer want, or the extras they have grown from seed. Most of the plants sell for 1 or 2 dollars. We raise a little bit of money for the club, but the real benefit is that club members can purchase plants they know do well in our area.


For a number of years I was in charge of the plant sale and joked that my garden is a memory garden, planted with the leftovers from the plant sale. I may not know the scientific name of the plants, but I know the names of the women friends whose gardens they came from.

That’s my Six on Saturday, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.



17 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – May 12, 2018

  1. Your Viburnum plicatum looks like a snowball bush I have ( V opulus) but yours is more graceful.
    Good luck with borers…here, it’s rather slugs that eat only cotyledons and young plants don’t have enough energy to grow …

    Liked by 1 person

    • Some of the women have passed on. A special friend who always started hyacinth beans for me died three years ago. I saved the seeds from one of the plants she gave me and at her memorial service we gave them to anyone interested in having a memory of Mary Lou. Her hyacinth bean plants live on in her friends gardens.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh I love a plant sale and yours looks like a good one. Your bearded irises are doing really well – I have just bought a similar red, pink and yellow one called ‘Indian Chief’. I have never heard of Amsonia before but now I want one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The plant sale was much larger ten years ago when many of us moved to this community. We all have well established gardens now and need less. But the sale if fun and we all go home with something. At the end my helpers are invited to take what they want of the leftovers. I came away with a stalk of oakleaf hydrangea which I’ll nurse in a pot for a year before it goes in the ground.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I hadn’t heard of Amsonia hubrichtii so I did a bit of looking up. Sounds like it’s mainly different species that are grown in the UK, if they’re grown at all. What got my attention was that the latex in their sap is apparently very effective at deterring slugs. It’s on my shopping list now.


    • I had no idea about that. The other variety of amsonia has white sap when cut. I might cut some of those clumps back and put the pieces around a few hostas to see what happens. I’ll keep you posted.


  4. Those are some rad bearded iris! I happen to like bearded iris, but my favorites are rather boring. I like the pure white ones, as well as the smaller Iris pallida. I really dig seeing more colorful and impressive bearded iris in other people’s gardens, even if I never bother to grow them myself. I just happened to be informed that a copy of my old black iris survived in a garden where I sent some of my iris when I needed to vacate my former garden. I am really pleased that it survived, but I do not really like it very much. I suppose it would look nice with the white iris.


  5. I like the flowers and then the verticality of the foliage. They do well in my garden which is my overriding criteria. If they had to be pampered, they’d be gone. This morning we had a heavy rain and they damaged. Oh, well, something else will be coming on shortly.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s