Six on Saturday – May 26, 2018

Here are my Six on Saturday. Lots to choose from in the garden this week so decisions were difficult. The rains have made for lush gardens, however, every single helicopter off my silver maples has germinated in my flower and vegetable beds.   –Imagine silent screaming–   We’re having two dry days so most of the lawn got mowed yesterday and today. We’re still mowing around some standing water spots. I put my tall rubber boots on to go out with my iphone camera.

Tomatoes have been planted in raised beds and have doubled in size. Some have blooms. We are eating lettuce, arugula, kale and should have the first radishes next week. My bean seed germination has been spotty perhaps because I was using old seeds.

Here are the things I chose for today’s post.

  1. Another lovely, but nameless, azalea.

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2. One of the William Peter hostas is huge.  I like the combination of textures with the fern. No slug damage to the hostas thus far. Perhaps ringing them with wood ash from the fireplace (suggested by Fred in France) is working.

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3. This is a climbing yellow jasmine (Carolina Yellow Jessamine – Gelsemium sempervirens). I put it in a pot because I didn’t know where it was going to go. When I figured that out and tried to dig the hole, I hit yellow clay that could have been put directly on a potter’s wheel. Every day I’ve gone out to see if there is still standing water in the hole. Today I was able to make a little progress with getting the hole the right size, but rain is expected tonight. I don’t want to drown this healthy plant, but it needs something to climb on. I stapled some bird netting to my fence as I’d seen in someone else’s SoS post, so I’m anxious to get it in the ground. You can see the baby maple trees that have sprouted in the pot.

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4. Sundrops: My mother gave me the original clump and I’ve always know them as sundrops. Now I discover they are Oenothera fruticosa, a member of the evening primrose family. Mine spread almost invasively so last year I pulled out bucketsfull.

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5. This groundcover was left over at last year’s Green Thumb plant sale so I brought it home and stuck it in the ground. It looked terrible all last summer which was quite dry. But this spring it is lush and blooming. Can anyone tell me what it is?

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6. This photo is why you should walk your garden every day. When I went out this morning the hardy gardenia my neighbor gave me was blooming. I had to stoop to get the fragrance but when this gets to be three feet tall it will perfume the garden. Gardenia jasminoides ‘Kleims Hardy’

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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.

 

 

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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

Six on Saturday – April 21, 2018

These are my Six on Saturday. The plants seem to believe that Spring is here.

  1. The Angelique tulips on the far side of this bed are just getting ready to bloom. There’s also a clump in the foreground.  They are a peony tulip and it looks like each bulb sent up several blooms. I think the pink and yellow tulips are a Darwin variety.

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2. The grass is greening up. I had to get the mower out and make a couple of passes where it was getting too tall. Repairing a grassy area that was full of Green Kyllinga (Kyllinga gracillima) last fall is on the agenda this afternoon if the lawn is dry enough. I sprayed it in the fall with  Sedgehammer which killed it, but I hadn’t realized there was so little grass. I’m not a lawn fanatic by any means. I’ll never get rid of the wiregrass (an uncultivated form of Bermuda grass that is just an evil weed in the Mid-Atlantic), but I don’t like the bald patches of dirt.

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3. Miniature hostas define a seating area on one side of my house. I always forget where the perimeter is in the winter, but the hostas, which get about 6″ tall, let me know. I put two Adirondack chairs in this area facing toward the back of the property so I can sit and enjoy the garden. The chairs are still behind the shed and it’s too wet to get them out. My father built them for me over 50 years ago. They are cedar and we have reinforced them several times, but amazingly they are still functional.

The cord of wood was delivered last week. It has to be wheelbarrowed (once the yard dries out) to the back of the shed where it will be stacked under roof and continue drying for next fall’s fires. To the left of the wood pile are white arches make of plastic electrical conduit. They are 16′ long and slip over pieces of rebar I pounded into the ground.  Originally there were four arches but I took them down this year when we were hauling debris from the back of the lot. When I put them back up it occured to me I could cross them over which might make a better foundation for annual vines like hyacinth beans. I’ll see what happens.

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4. I managed to get three raised beds ready for seeding before the latest rain. The one at the end has some transplanted kale that wintered over. I had to move it from another bed so I could dig it before planting. The other end has some iris I didn’t know what to do with last fall.

I have two more raised beds at the Community Garden. One bed is ready for  my tomatoes which are still in the garage waiting for warmer night weather when I will put them outside in the shade for a couple of weeks before planting them. We are still about twenty degrees lower than the normal temperatures for this time of year. The bed on the right in the foreground is garlic I planted last fall.

In the bed on the left (foreground) I found some sprouts of the Yellow Finn potatoes I planted last spring. There were ten seed potatoes in the bag and I didn’t get much of a harvest. They were, however, delicious. Perhaps I’ll do better with the babies I missed when digging the parents. I moved a few to corral them all in the same area. I still have to dig the rest of the bed.

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5. The epimedium blooms don’t last long, but are lovely pop of color. Wikipedia tells me that epimedium, also known as barrenwort, bishop’s hat, fairy wings, horny goat weed, or yin yang huo, is a genus of flowering plants in the family Berberidaceae. Mine has new leaves with reddish copper coloring. The leaves then turn green and are leathery by summer. Deer don’t like them and the plants spread. These are under a River Birch and tolerate dry shade.

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6. The first azalea is blooming. I think this one is a Lavender Lady. Many of my azaleas  began with plants my mother gave me. She started with a few plants and began to propogate them by air layering. Twenty years later she had an acre of azaleas of all varieties in a beech wood in rural Pennsylvania. Locally she was known as the Azalea Lady. One year, on my May birthday, she brought me a trunkload of azalea plants from her garden that bloomed on my special day. Babies of many of those plants, including this Lavender Lady, were brought as tiny plants from our old house to the new one in St. Michaels twelve years ago. I don’t air layer on the woody stems as my mother did, but if there is a low branch I pin it down to the soil and propogate new babies that way.

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That’s my six for Saturday. I’m not sure that Spring is finally here, but the plants believe it is.

Six on Saturday – April 14, 2018

  1. This week I took a bus trip to Lewes, Delaware to view the blooms of this small town’s Tulip Festival. The cold spring had not cooperated with a trip that was planned nine months ago. There were some tulips, however, with many more in bud. I believe this particular tulip should be called Georgia O’Keefe.

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2. We have now had several days where the temperature hit 60 degrees Farenheit. Soon I will be able to move my tomato babies outside during the day. I transplanted them last week into larger pots, then left them in the cool garage. They seem to be settling in and are not as floppy as they were a few hours after being transplanted. Note: On Friday I set them outside in the shade to begin hardening them off for planting in my raised beds.

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3.  Late last fall when all the maple leaves were down, I had someone come and blow them out of the flower beds and the grass and mulch them. They were then deposited in wire cages around my garden. I spread most of the mulched leaves last fall and some are by my compost bins to use as “brown” matter. There are just two bins like this left to spread. I didn’t use all the bins and think I might cut pieces from the wire netting and put it in the spots I believe the rabbits are using to get under my shed.

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4.  I have four rainbarrels on my shed and putting them back in place is on my to-do list for next week. I take them down in the fall because if there’s water inside them it will freeze and crack the plastic barrels. The barrels came from the winery in town and are food grade. I put soaker hoses on them in the summer that lead out to the closest flower beds. It’s amazing how much water we get off our small shed.

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5. This weekend is the Daffodil Festival in St. Michaels, the town I live in. At the Woman’s Club we planted 600 bulbs last fall. They look quite nice. There were several kinds of bulbs in the bags we got, so these are Dunno Natacluevia.The abelia bushes on the left get cut back every two years. They don’t seem to mind one bit.

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6. Yesterday the garden group of the Woman’s Club met to make May baskets. We are two weeks early, but spring is a busy time in our small town and this is when we could fit it in. We worked outside and it was almost 80 degrees and sunny. We soaked up the sun and the warmth. Everyone was happy to take home a bright reminder that spring is finally here after what seemed an endless winter.

I remember making May baskets as a child. We’d fold a paper plate in half, staple it several places and insert tulips or daffodils. Then a ribbon would be added and we would hang it on a neighbors door on May 1.

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That’s my six on Saturday, April 14, 2018, a meme started by The Propogator. If you’d like to join in, this is a link to the rules.

 

 

Six on Saturday – April 7, 2018

We’ve been having some beautiful sunrises. This was last week over my neighbors house. I love the lace of the unleafed trees against the sky.

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Our lot has six huge old silver maples on it. They are considered weedy trees, but they give us shade and are one of the reasons we bought this house. I wanted mature trees.  A previous owner planted daffodils, fragrant hostas and sedum between two of the trees.  The deer like those hostas, too. You can see the as yet uncollected piles of debris I pulled off the Autumn Joy sedums. Collecting yard trash was on my to do list yesterday but we had an unexpected dinner guest which was much more fun. That required picking up debris inside the house.

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As much as I love these silver maples, they require yard upkeep. They produce seeds that turn into helicopters which then float down and cover the yard. The worst part is that the helicopters insert themselves into the spaces between the boards on our back deck. Removing them requires a hands and knees effort. The baby seeds are already on the trees. When they are large and dried out, they fly and really do twist and turn like helicopters. I’ll look at this photo every once in a while to remind myself how beautiful they are as babies.

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Finally some tulips. Many more in bud. I keep spraying with Deer Away and so far so good. The deer like the blooms. One day you have a bed full of tulips and the next morning every single bloom is gone.

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These daffodils quickly make huge clumps that must be divided. I don’t know where they came from, but I keep dividing them and they are now in many places around the house. There are even a few coming up in the grass where the squirrels must have planted them.

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And finally some eye candy. A bloom on an early magnolia spotted on an early morning walk in my neighborhood . The pale pink on the interior of the bloom is divine. I wouldn’t have gotten this photo without the macro lens. Thanks again, Fred.

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These are my Six on Saturday. See The Propogator for the ground rules if you’d like to join in the fun.

Six on Saturday – March 17, 2018

1. I took this photo in the parking lot of the Harris Teeter grocery store where I was shopping for the weekend. It was really windy, but a woman from my yoga class pulled up and held the branch for me. Her gloves, which matched the unfurled buds, were a serendipitous addition to the photo.

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