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.

Wonder Woman and the Root Slayer

I just ordered a new garden shovel. It’s called a Root Slayer. I could have used it yesterday when I planted ten new azaleas.

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I put the plants in a section of the garden that will now get more light because our neighbors removed a hedge of very tall Leland Cyprus. These azaleas will get dappled sunlight underneath some crepe myrtles, large old silver maples and river birch that I top every year so they don’t get too tall. Despite the fact that I didn’t need very big holes, they were hard to dig and there were lots of roots so I called in the husband.

After trying the first couple of holes with a shovel, my smart husband (who likes to work smarter not harder) got the pick ax out of the shed. I retrieved the big cutters from the garage and we started on hole number three. Those tools made the digging go faster but we could have used that Root Slayer.

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When this tool showed up in an email ad this morning I knew I had to get it. It’s sharp on the bottom with cutting saw edges on the sides and enough of a flange to really get some foot leverage. I have other Radius tools that I like so I’ll let you know my critique on this one once I’ve used it.

I think I’ll go back to Eastern Shore Nurseries and get ten more azaleas – at 10 for $25 it’s a screaming deal. Now, please excuse me while I go change into my Wonder Woman duds.