Archive for May, 2008
Back in September, Carol at May Dreams Gardens challenged the garden bloggers to post about plants that, for whatever reason, we would not plant again. I made a post about the Showy Evening Primrose, and this is an update on that post.
I have not really changed my mind about Oenethera speciosa since I wrote that post. I started my eradication program last fall, and discovered this spring that apparently that was the wrong time to try to get rid of this very invasive plant.
This spring, I had more primroses than I had last fall, despite spending hours digging them out. A couple of years ago, I started weeding them out of a different flower bed in late spring, and just kept after any little sprouts that showed up for a year, and they finally quit.
It seems that if you are trying to get rid of them in the fall, they have just spent all summer feeding the roots, and they don’t really care if you pull them out. If you dig them out and leave the slightest bit of rhizome, they just resprout cheerfully in the spring.
I started pulling them this spring, and I had gotten about 80% of the patch pulled for the first time when I started to feel more kindly towards them. After all, they do make a most beautiful wash of pink flowers. Perhaps, I was thinking, it wouldn’t hurt to leave a patch of them. As I was walking about admiring and anticipating the return of some of my perennial bulbs, I noticed a huge disparity between two sides of my paths in regards to the health of my Dutch irises.
Observe the clumps of Dutch iris that are in the foreground of this picture. Notice that there are several stalks coming up at each clumps, the stems are thick and strong, the stalks have several flower buds on them. Now look in the background to find the clumps of Dutch iris on the other side of the path. Having trouble? Here is a close-up view of one of those “clumps.”
Right in the middle of the picture is the spindly stalk of the iris on that side of the path. It is lying at an angle in the picture. Notice how thin the stem is, how there is only one stunted flower bud.
All of these irises came from the same source and have enjoyed the same climate and care. The only difference? The fat healthy ones had the primroses removed from around them two years ago. The thin spindly one had the primroses removed about 5 minutes before that picture was taken.
I don’t mind invasive plants, but primroses take their invasiveness to an extreme.
The irony in all this is, as we “speak” I am planning to plant some primroses in a spot in the stroll garden where they will be the only thing there and will make a nice ground cover under my poplar tree. I think I can keep them in control there.
I’ll keep you posted on that! Wish me luck.
Once again it is time to brag about our gardens share pictures of what is going on in the garden, a wonderful custom established by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. In anticipation of this event, I have been wandering about the place armed with my camera for the last few days. I am extremely glad I had the foresight to do this, because today it is raining and everything is WET in the extreme.
Rain has got to be the theme of the last week. So far in the last seven days we have received over 5 inches of rain. I do not know how much we got last night and this morning. I haven’t gotten dressed yet, so I haven’t been out to the rain gauge. In spite of all the water falling from the sky, we were able to find enough “dryish” days to get the lawn mowed. The place is lush right now.
I have reported previously on the vegetable garden, which is going great guns right now. We are still enjoying asparagus, and the peas have finally started blooming. Also, my little broccoli plants are starting to make heads, the carrots are about 1/2 inch high and we are enjoying plenty of lettuce. The tomatos and peppers we purchased at Baker Creek are well established and growing strong.
In the back yard, the wisteria is not blooming. I guess it is sulking because it got frozen back to the roots last year. But the whole picture is lovely, and in the background you can see the herb garden with some blue irises blooming.
Around the corner, the hosta garden is looking quite beautiful.
Those coral bells have flower stalks on them promising to be full of blossom in a few days. The little mini hosta in the lower left corner is one of the ones I dug up in August to make room for Jim to put the post in for the new arbor that is going over this garden to give it shade. I forgot about them for about three months, and replanted the very unhappy plants when I finally noticed them where I had stashed them for future reference. A miracle! They did not die, and are growing well this spring.
Right behind them is an amazing double columbine. It showed up as a volunteer at the rental house we own across the street, and I could not resist transplanting it onto my own place, where it is an amazement every spring.
So, if we start at the hosta garden and make a tour around the place, the first thing you need to do is turn around and admire the new rock garden. The candytuft I transplanted into it last fall is loving its new home.
As we walk north from this corner of the yard, the first newsworthy item we come to is a clump of Star of Bethlehem growing under one of my Japanese maples.
I have these lovelies all over the place. They line the front walk, they are out in the labyrinth, they are also in the wild flower strip along the street. The only thing I can say about them is a report of what my friend Maggie said when she gave me some of the bulbs about 10 years ago. I had mentioned that they seemed awfully happy where they were, and she replied, “Well, you might be sorry you plant them. They can get a little TOO happy, if you know what I mean.” She was right. Hence all the places where they are growing.
Continuing along the flower bed where that picture was taken, we come to a rugosa rose that is in full bloom.
I couldn’t resist putting in a close up of this beauty. Not only is she pretty, but she smells delicious. Below the rugosa rose is one of my “face” rocks.
A little farther along in that bed, I have a clematis that is going great guns, despite the fact that its roots have heaved out of the ground two winters in a row and it seems to get “drowned” every time it rains hard and the pond over flows. It just doesn’t care, and is rewarding me for the abuse.
This is another beauty that deserves a closer look.
Proceed along the fence under the bird feeder where a gold finch will scold you for disturbing his meal, but not actually leave the feeder. Go out the gate into the back part of the place, and have a look at the pond. It is so full of vegetation it is almost not a pond any more. But I am not going to weed it out at this time because there are salamander newts in there maturing and I don’t want to disturb their habitat until they have “fledged” and left the pond.
Over on the root cellar, the strawberries are blooming. Good berry set – maybe the box turtles will let us have some of them this year.
Out by the sauna, the volunteers are going strong. I have Dame’s rocket, a wild phlox, that is established out there. There is also chicory, cathedral bells and a large catnip patch.
We continue along outside the fence, past the labyrinth and the vineyard, along the driveway where we have the apples espaliered, and out in front of the house where the big news is.
There are plenty of honey bees, working the alliums and the wood hyacinths.
This leads me to the big news in the front garden. There are irises galore. There are a couple of beauties who will return and rebloom in the fall.
The rest is just complete extravagance. I love these ladies, and I don’t know what I would do without their season of bloom. I willingly spend the time in the hot August afternoons, digging and splitting the clumps so they don’t get too large. I dead head them every day while they are blooming, just to extend their bloom period. And I am starting to understand the passion that drives people to be collectors of this extravagant flower.
And so I leave you with that flurry of ruffles and lace. Tomorrow I intend to do an update on my NIMBY post, another topic inspired by Carol at May Dreams.
I have had a love affair with mandalas for quite some time. I went to a discussion group about 10 years ago where the presenter was talking about how therapists use mandalas drawn by patients to get insights into how they are feeling. We learned how to make our own mandalas, and I started drawing them almost every day. I forget what all the rules of interpretation were, but it did give me a creative outlet.
Then I found a mandala coloring book series, and bought one of them. Once I finished coloring all of them in, I was hooked. Right now I have three mandala coloring books, and find a great satisfaction in sitting down with them and playing with my colored pencils.
I stumbled across Sue O’Kieffe’s blog last year, and while I am not a daily visitor there, I stop by on a regular basis. I love her digital mandala work, and have followed links to other mandala makers I found on her site. Looking at her work has changed how I look at my photographs. I have not actually got the right software to do photo image processing as detailed as she does, but I look at my pictures and try to imagine how they could be manipulated to make amazing mandalas.
I have so many massages on my book and so darn much work to do in the yard right now, I just don’t have time for another computer project. I was weeding the new hen and chicks bed and realized I have mandalas staring me right in the face, and all they need is to be shot, cropped and posted.
This is the result of the bees’ work three years ago in my iris patch. I discovered a couple of “volunteer” seedlings when I was thinning my patch, and took a flyer and planted the babies out to grow. They didn’t bloom last year, but this year I finally get to see what I got.
Now, isn’t that subtly beautiful? I particularly like the bronzy edging to the fall. Below, an artful closeup: