Six on Saturday: Azaleas and Clematis Take the Stage

We had some torrential downpours which flattened many of the bearded iris. That’s a shame, but we needed the rain. I was out early in the week taking some photos and am glad I did. We have now had close on five days of almost solid rain (over 16″) and things are getting beaten up.  Despite the weather, the azaleas and clematis are taking center stage and I will have azaleas blooming until the end of June.

  1. My favorite azalea is Martha Hitchcock. It layers easily so I have propogated multiple plants that are now through out my garden. This is a lovely place to sit unless the wren nesting in the bird house above the bench gets upset. Another wren built a nest in a pot turned on its side on top of the woodpile which is under roof. I don’t know if these are house wrens or Carolina wrens. I’m no better with bird names than I am with plant names. And birds don’t sit still while I consult my bird book.

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2. Clematis Abilene. The perennial orchid below the clematis was given to me by a gardening friend for my May birthday several years ago. I don’t know the name, but I think it is a native. It has colonized enough that I will have some to share. The color of the orchid mimics the color in the clematis and the strappy foliage adds a different texture when both are through blooming. A happy coincidence. You can see more azaleas behind the clematis blooms.

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3. Azalea Rosebud: My high school boyfriend gave my mother this cultivar as a gift when she was first beginning to propogate azaleas. So ever after it was known, in our family, as Rosebud Don Park. None of my other boyfriends — or husbands for that matter — ever got an azalea named for them by my mother.

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4. I bought this clematis on a Green Thumb bus trip. I searched to see if I had been smart enough to stick the tag in the ground, but I couldn’t find it. It is the palest of blue fading to white. The flowers are six inches across. This is climbing on an obelisk on the edge of my azalea garden. Honestly, this photo is just flower porn.

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5. Another nameless clematis is now blooming on one of the trellises at the back of the garden near the shed. These SoS posts are going to shame me into keeping better records. It looks sort of purple where the sun is hitting it, but it is a deep true blue.

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6. False Cypress Lemon Thread: the plant in the foreground in this photo was given to me last week by the same friend who gave me the native orchids in #2 above. She said it would grow 5-6′ tall and 6-8′ wide. I wondered where I could put something that would get that big. I did a little research and those sizes are what it might grow to in thirty years. It will be someone else’s problem long before then.

I found a spot where it will give me a lemon pop when nothing else is demanding attention. The location gets morning sun and then dappled shade through the river birch clump. I’ve learned not to plant dark foliage in the shade where it is difficult to see in the shadows.

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

25 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: Azaleas and Clematis Take the Stage

  1. The orchid does overwinter and I never especially mulch it. However, I don’t remove the leaves in my azalea beds in the fall. I think they like the thermal blanket in the winter. I may or may not remove some in the spring. This year it has been so wet, it has been almost impossible to get into the garden.

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    • I bought some babies two years ago that were the kind that are cut back in the spring, but I never got around to cutting back the montanas this spring and they are doing fabulously well. Go figure.

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    • Another blogger said is was a Bletilla Striata. And another person posted a perennial orchid that looked very similar with the same name. Wikipedia says, “Bletilla striata, known as hyacinth orchid or Chinese ground orchid, is a species of flowering plant in the orchid family Orchidaceae, native to Japan, Korea, Myanmar, and China.” So much for me thinking this was native to my area. LOL

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    • I thought Pleione at first but there are multiple flowers on a stem so it is Bletilla – I bought one this year but it was in a sale and it arrived shrivelled and never regained ‘consciousness’ – that’s what you get for 50% off unfortunately.

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  2. I’m very pleased to see your picture of Bletilla striata as I planted one last weekend and I wasn’t expecting so many or such big flowers. I hope mine is as good a form as yours. Love the Azalea Martha Hitchcock too but it doesn’t seem to be available over here unfortunately.

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    • My Bletilla striata clump is about five years old. I unwittingly found a spot it liked when I planted it as I tend to be one of those “where can I put a shovel in” gardeners. If we were closer I would pin a low branch of Martha Hitchcock to the ground and have a plant for you in a few months.

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    • She did like Don Park — even after he surprised her one time by weeding her minimal garden (we were in a new house in a subdivision with only minimal landscaping by the developer) and pulling up things that weren’t weeds. She never told him.

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  3. I have no idea what those azaleas are; and I have grown a lot of azaleas. Ours are those that are best for the climates of the region, which is very different from there. We also did not grow any of the new introductions.

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