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 – May 5, 2018

Spring/Summer has arrived on the mid-shore. Temperatures by the end of the week were in the high 80’s. I think we had five days of Spring. The gardens are popping now with azaleas and bearded iris. We always called them flags when I was growing up. I am going to use these posts to try and find — and possibly remember — the scientific names of some of my plants.

  1. Solomon Seal was planted several places around my garden last year. I marked the spots with a small landscape flag because I was given roots and needed to remember where I had planted them. These little plastic flags are available by the bunch at my local hardware store. You can see two splotches of pink in the upper right corner of the photo. I use these a lot for things that come up late or things I am watching. Supposedly the little bell shaped flowers on Solomon Seal are fragrant, but I’d have to lie on the ground to get a whiff.  I believe this is Polygonatum odoratum variegatum although photos from plant sources show two bells instead of one.

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2. New varieties of azaleas bloom every day. Lots of hostas emerging and the slugs have not attacked them….yet. You can see a pink flag where another Solomon Seal is emerging.

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3. One of my favorite hostas is Frances Williams. (Hosta sieboldiana ‘Frances Williams’) I bought a tiny plant thirty years ago at a stand by the side of the road and carried a clump it to our new house eleven years ago. It is suscepitble to sun scald and the slugs think I plant it just for them. For now it looks lovely.

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4. A repeat blooming yellow bearded iris (species – Iris germanica) was the first to open in the garden. I am a sucker for pops of yellow. Just behind the iris are some of those allium schubertii I planted last fall. Most are coming up, but not all of them have buds. Odd. At the top of the photo is soldago or golden rod. More yellow in the late summer garden against large clumps of miscanthus Morning Light. The wire cage is to protect a fall aster from the bunnies.

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5. The azaleas got thru the winter just fine but my one rhododendron (Rhododendron catawbiense ‘Roseum Elegans’) did not fare so well. It set lots of buds, but decided December was a fine time to bloom. So there are not many blooms and some are deformed because the bud began to open too early and then it got really cold. This was the best bloom I could find.

We have lots of pines in our area and the yellow pollen coats our cars, plants and eddies in the parking lots. You can see it on the rhodo leaves.

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6. The river birch (Betula nigra) in the middle of the picture below is leafing out. I top mine every two years so they stay in scale with my garden and take on a more weeping form. I didn’t do enough research when I planted them. They can grow to 70 feet which would be fine for a two story house but not next to my one story rancher. The tree on the left with the reddish leaves is a flowering cherry that is getting ready to bloom. It’s gorgeous briefly. The small leafed maple near the deck is from a 6″ seedling that someone gave me. I put it in a small pot, then a larger one, and finally in the garden about four years ago. I don’t want it to get much larger.

Seeing this view of the garden gives me pleasure. It doesn’t show the barren plot on the right, near the shed, that sorely needs my attention and is not, at the moment, a pleasure to look at. I’m in contemplative mode about that bed, thinking about what I should do with it. For the moment it is not under water.IMG_6036

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.