Six on Saturday – Buds on the Solstice – December 22, 2018

Friday, December 21, 2018: the rain stopped and the skies cleared so I put on my chicken boots and wandered  through the standing water in my garden. I wondered what I would find on the shortest day of the year. It turned out there were lots of signs of spring even though it’s months away. Some of these are clearly flower buds (rhododendron) but some may be leaf buds.

  1. There are buds on the rhododendron Roseum Elegans. Some buds flowered in our late warm fall, but there should be some blooms in the spring.

rhododendron flower buds

2. I wouldn’t have noticed the purple hues of the lilac buds if I wasn’t out taking a close look at twigs.

lilac bud

3. A flower bud on the “Kleims Hardy” gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides). The shrub didn’t look so good in the fall, but the leaves are now a healthy green.

hardy gardenia

4. Viburnum Kern’s Pink. I don’t know if these are flower or leaf buds.

viburnum Kern's Pink

5. I had a hard time finding buds on the azaleas. But I didn’t know until I saw the photo that the leaves have tiny hairs. Does someone know what their purpose is?

azalea buds

6. Apical bud of a Bottle Brush Buckeye (Aesculus Parviflora) that I pulled from the ground near a colony at our local library reading garden. I help take care of this garden so have some gleaning privileges. The twig is about a foot tall and I have it in a “nursery” bed. If it survives the winter I’ll need to find a good place for it as it gets quite large.

bottle brush shrub bud

That’s my Six on Saturday, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. There’s always something interesting in the garden if you just stop to look. 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.

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.

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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.