May 18, 2018

Midway on the Color Crescendo


The best color in the garden will happen over the next month (and maybe again in August/September, if my dahlia dreams come true), but pretty combos are starting to appear around the garden.  Above are 'Margarita' and 'Black Hero' double tulips.


'Black Hero' is such a fascinating color.  It looks maroon up close and in some types of light, and then it looks truly black at other times of the day.  It's also very long blooming, even though it opens at the end of tulip season.  Above it contrasts with an 'Early Emperor' allium, 'Moulin Rouge' astrantia, Euphorbia polychroma and 'Totally Tangerine' geum in the background.


I finally planted some 'Purple Sensation' alliums last fall, and the purple color is fabulous!  It also opens early in the allium season.  This cultivar is inexpensive to buy but is a valuable addition in the garden.


Here's one more shot of 'Black Hero' in the black and white garden area.  'Blue Mist' fothergilla is blooming in the midground, and the annuals in my broken fountain are sporting new growth.


A newly planted 'Mai Tai' geum perfectly echoes the spring leaf colors of my 'Peach Sorbet' dwarf blueberry bush in the background.


'Banana Daiquiri' geum is blooming for the first time in a soft butter yellow.

'Diane's Gold' brunnera and 'Sherwood Purple' Phlox stolonifera make a soothing duet.  It's so hard to capture good photos of these low growers, especially when they're young.


Another striking harmony came from 'Axcent Blue' aubrieta and a saxifrage, cultivar name unknown.  This photo is from over a week ago.


In the front yard, my 'Coral Supreme' peonies are about to bloom.  This photo is from around a week ago and shows the new support ring I installed this year.  I used this large Essex Support on three of my biggest peony plants, and I'm happy to note that they've grown to hide the metal and are staying beautifully upright for the first time.


May 9, 2018

Spring Petal Shower



The 'Royal Raindrops' crabapple trees are coming into bloom this week as the 'Spring Snow' crabapples drop their petals.  I have been busy in the garden with all the spring chores.  It's so nice to be outside again after a long winter.

Creeping phlox and Euphorbia polycroma add color at ground level along with a few tulips.

Long blooming 'Margarita' tulips are finishing up as 'Black Hero' begins to open.  I really need to plant more tulips this fall!

By fall I have less energy for planting bulbs, but in spring I always wonder why I didn't plant many more of them.  In this main sunny bed, I'm planning to add more double tulips for next year, like 'Orange Princess,' 'Abba,' 'Miranda,' 'Black Hero,' and 'Menton Exotic.' 


Allium leaves have been providing green color for over a month, and the earliest allium bloomers are starting to open their buds.  My alliums increase each year and have been divided and transplanted around the garden.


On warm days we've been enjoying the new bench swing.  Soon this corner will be shady when the honey locust trees finally finish leafing out.


My six 'Katherine Havemeyer' lilac shrubs are blooming now.  I wish I'd planted six different types instead, but in the past couple of years I found space for deep violet 'Yankee Doodle' and reddish-purple 'Charles Joly.'  These aren't blooming yet.  Maybe next year.


I planted annual verbena, euphorbia and dichondra in the bottom section of my broken black fountain.  The sprinklers reach it, though I might have to supplement water in the hottest part of summer.


I'm happy to finally look out the window and see so much green.


May is a magical time in the garden.  There's even more color coming next month, but I have to remind myself to fully enjoy what's happening now.


The west garden is cheerful as usual.  Spring is so great. 

April 17, 2018

Hellebore Roundup for GBBD


Other plants than hellebores are blooming in my garden, including small bulbs like windflower anemones and scilla, but hellebores like 'Kingston Cardinal,' above, have the largest presence.

I now have about fifty hellebore plants, thanks to division and seedlings.  The 'Golden Lotus' plant above was carefully cut into three divisions with a serrated kitchen knife and replanted in other areas. 


This double white was a seedling that matches my 'Sparkling Diamond,' so that's what I'm calling it.  The original plant was attached by a black fungus last spring and hasn't fully recovered, though it sent up one bloom stalk this year.

This seedling seems to be a mix of red 'Velvet Lips' and 'Pink Tea Cup,' and I'm proudly calling it 'Strawberry Freckles.' 


'Velvet Lips' also produced three true-to-form seedlings that bloomed for the first time this spring.  I cut apart my other plants and now have eight plants in total, six of which are planted in the northwest corner. 


This unnamed white hellebore was also divided into three plants and transplanted around the east back bed.   


Some of my large plants didn't bloom well this spring after their buds began growing during a warm spell in February (we reached 60 degrees F one day), then the temperature plummeted to zero the next week and turned the buds to mush.  This 'Golden Lotus' was one of the heavily hit plants, but the leaves are growing well so it should recover for next year.

'Jade Tiger' also lost its flower buds to the cold snap, but its leaves are beautiful on their own.  They'll lighten to green later in the seasons.

A few newly planted hellebores are blooming, including 'Sweetheart Ruffles' above.

One bloom stalk on a baby 'Molly's White' is blooming.  The leave are supposed to be frosted with silver, so I'm looking forward to seeing them.  None of my baby 'Wedding Series' hellebores bloomed this spring, but there is a tiny bud on one of my newly planted 'Madame Lemmonier' plants. 


'Amber Gem' bloomed for the first time, and it's not quite the color I imagined.  That happens sometimes with seed-propagated hellebores, though the tissue-propagated plants are all identical.


And 'Pink Tea Cup' is still going strong in the front yard.  It will be several years before all my baby plants and small divisions reach this size, but then the early spring show will be wonderful.  As much as I love spring bulbs, they don't stay in bloom for very long.  It's very nice to have hellebores that bloom for several months each year. 
I'm a little late for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day (though I got my taxes done on time!), but thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens Blog for reminding us to take stock of our flowers each month.