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May 2008

Public Gardens, Garden in the Woods!

High 79 F
Low  49 F

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This week I took a side trip to Garden in the Woods which is a public, wildflower garden with great walking trails.  It is in Framingham, MA.  Lots to see there this time of year!  There does seem to be a bug problem at the Visitor's Center.  Can anyone identify this one!  Dsc_0034_2 They do have some nice plants for sale in this area but I did not purchase any.  The trail begins at this water feature. Dsc_0033
Click on picture to enlarge
The little red flowers are pitcher plants, Sarracenia. These are Sarracenia oreophila. Dsc_0072 They are quite intriguing.   Most of the plants in this wildflower paradise have identification tags.  The trail bends down this hill with the Rhododendrons Dsc_0045 in bloom along the way.  Beneath that Rhododendron is a stand of Maidenhair fern which is just beautiful. Dsc_0039 Trilliums Dsc_0049_2 line the pathways and so do ladyslippers although I only saw the yellow ladyslipperDsc_0044 which I have never seen wild in the New England woods except for here in this garden.  Still, they are pretty and very curious.  Along the path there was this benchDsc_0061 projecting from the stone wall.  I want a few of these!  Winding around hills and through wet depressions I came upon the Dsc_0066 bog gardens which have the pitcher plants growing in them.  They seem prehistoric to me with their unusual form.  One of the workers showed me how the flower forms a cup Dsc_0070 around the nectar necessitating the insect to climb inside this chamber in order to feed and spread pollen.  This one is Sarracenia flava.    A room of yellow for an insect! Dsc_0077 Have any of you ever heard of turkey beard, Xerophyllum asphodeloides?   The seed head looks like this Dsc_0079 and it does form a softly textural carpet of clumps on the forest floor.  It is not a plant I have seen before but I found it very interesting. Stopping at Garden in the Woods was a delightful respite from the sales circuit and we must all maximize our mileage these days which is my excuse for visiting along with the educational factor of learning a few new plant names.  Here is one last, ethereal, shot of the Sarracenia. Dsc_0074 Do any of you grow anything like this?


Weekend update!

High 78 F
Low  58 F

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When the night temperature finally exceeds fifty degrees we have turned a corner here in New England.  That is not to say that all will be warm from now on but it is a sign that summer is on its' way.  Memorial weekend is always busy.   The fish pond is coming along and is almost ready for some fish and some photographs. Dsc_0004_2 The borders are filling out to the point where the need for mulch has passed.  The vegetable garden is half planted.  The EM has made some stellar tomato cages.  He anchored them with an 18" piece of re-bar with an 3 inch 'L' weld at the base.  The re-bar was pounded in the ground with  'L' over the bottom row of the wire cage holding it to the ground.  Dsc_0033 I did start tomatoes from seed.  There is 'Brandy Boy', 'Mortagage Lifter', 'Sungold', 'Marglobe', 'Green Zebra',' Red Lightning' and that is about it.  A friend gave me one 'Celebrity' and one 'Juliette'. Dsc_0043This is what they looked like about two weeks ago before hardening off. Dsc_0013 My record keeping needs work so here they all are and I hope that when they fruit I will be able to tell them apart.  I also planted peppers this weekend including the famously hot 'Bhut Jolokia' which is ranked at 1,000,000 scoville units. I need to get a closeup of this pepper plant but it is just on the right of these tomato cages and the leaves are quite shiny and healthy looking.  This pepper plant is supposed to be quite ornamental and I am thinking of making deer spray from the fruit if I actually get some.  I will have to invest in a  hazmat suit  which will be necessary for picking and processing.  I hope the season is long enough for it to bear fruit.  As  I mentioned, the borders are filling in but the Phlox divaricata is starting to age and I will miss thisDsc_0019_2 beautiful, pale blue, cloud of florets.  I have to remind myself that there will be something else to garner attention as the season progresses.  This plant, in flower, will be missed!  What would you keep in bloom in your garden throughout the season, if you could?   


Mud Bath!

High 77 F
Low  42 F

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Memorial Day weekend is summer kick off here and two cookouts so far have not disappointed.  Yesterday was a bit brisk but today was one of those gloriously beautiful, clear days.  All is looking lush.  Tomorrow morning the tomatoes will go in the ground along with the peppers and maybe some green bean seeds.  I picked a  bounty of lettuce for the weekend parties.  Isn't it gratifying to eat from your own garden?  Work on the fish pond is coming to an end as yesterday it was emptied of its' sludge and refilled. Tucker, the job foreman and dog with a heretofore perfect reputation, has one major fault.  He is crazy about running water or moving water and could not resist this Dsc_0051 mud bath as the EM bailed the bottom of the pond. Dsc_0055_2  He really thinks he can catch it. Dsc_0061 He did get a shampoo and wash after this episode but he overexercised and is sleeping quite a bit today.  He is moving pretty slowly after all that running and jumping.  Tucker just turned ten and that is getting a bit on in years for a dog (I'm going to think of other things).  The fish pond is full now and is awaiting the  fluffing and buffing.  The new filter is running and the water is flowing.  In a week or so I will add some fish to watch from the bench.  What is more relaxing than watching fish swim and hearing the trickle of water flowing down the rocks?      


Nature's Mysteries!

High 55 F
Low  44 F

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No matter how we plan, sometimes nature takes its' own course and we are left wondering  what meandering path the steps took from beginning to end.  The walk in the field and woods this week left me curious as to how the egg arrived at this destination in the middle of the field nestled against this fern.   What snatched it from the nearby neighbor's barn and how long ago did it meet its' demise?Dsc_0031
I also noticed this gall nestled in a bed of leaves along the path.  Nature makes perfect circles.Dsc_0010   Does anyone else have any of these little birdhouses made of thatch?  This one is hanging in the Rhododendron and is already occupied by a house wren.  She has packed the entrance so tightly that it is a wonder she can climb in but I have seen her do it. Dsc_0020 The moss is sending up short stalks which are really very thin and threadlike, Much goes unnoticed without the aid of a macro lens and a bit of close up manipulation. Dsc_0020_2 Would you  have realized just how red the base of these Moss_sporesdsc_0018_2 thread like stalks could be?  There is nature's circle once again in the form of a raindrop hanging on this filament. 


Plant Combos!

High 57 F
Low  35 F

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Over at David Perry's blog he is talking about 'Dance Partners' in the garden.  These plant combinations are what we often seek to create as gardeners.  Sometimes nature just provides a helping hand as she weaves her magic throughout the garden.  The above picture is an example of nature's work with Polemonium 'Stairway to Heaven' woven around a volunteer ajuga flower spike.  The ajuga finds refuge among the variegated leaves creating this painting. Dsc_0006 This Hosta 'Great Expectations' may finally be living up to its' name after its' fifth or sixth season in this garden.  It is purposefully underplanted with Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea'.   In the same garden, Dsc_0019 the entry garden,Dsc_0020 these Viridiflora tulips 'Artist' were planted next to the Hosta 'Krossa Regal variegata' so that the hosta foliage would hide the spent tulip foliage.  The undulating shape of the 'Artist's color streaks mirror the edge  of the hosta.  That little feature was unexpected but pleasing to my eye.  I have shown this combination before but as it dances its' way toward maturity it becomes more interesting. Dsc_0016 This is Spirea 'Magic Carpet', Sedum 'Angelina' and Sedum seiboldii.  This combinationDsc_0017 is Phlox stolonifera with Hosta 'Francis Williams' whose yellow edge is just beginning to show.  The purple of the Phlox seems intensified to me by the soft color of the hosta.   There are some combinations which the camera cannot translate from the satisfaction of the eye. Dsc_0001a   It is probably my lack of expertise with the lens but this Phlox divaricata in soft blue is exactly mirrored by the Camassia cusickii which is surrounded by a skirt of Iris cristata.  The iris cristata also mirrors these colors. Dsc_0003a   Here is another shot with the  phlox in focus.

Dsc_0003b_2 And this shot shows the iris at the base of the camassia along with a purple leaf heuchera for contrast.  The reality is more pleasing than the photos. They are only about three feet apart but I cannot get them all in focus in the same shot.  The natural lawn needs mowing at this point and isn't it amazing how the lens seems to magnify the contrasting textures of grass and violet foliage?  I am looking forward to the continuing waltz of the season with flowers and without.  Sometimes it is just the varying tapestry of foliage which keeps the notes ringing and the dance continuing.   


Container combos!

High
Low   42 F

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Hosta 'Krossa Regal variegata' and Lysimachia n. 'Aurea'
It is time to start potting up some containers and, if you are addicted as I am, it takes a bit of time so starting just a shade early with the less tender plants such as perennials helps with the time crunch to come.  There always seems to be so much to do and not enough time in which to get all tasks done.  The way of this world!  The above containers were filled and planted with the hosta which I divided and the Lysymachia which also was stolen from a bed.  I will put a tender annual in as a filler under the hosta which has an upright form.  Perhaps one of the fusion impatiens will go in that spot. Dsc_0005 The middle pot has a Sum and Substance hosta in it and there is little room for underplanting with this one.  We shall see what it looks like when it is fully expanded. 
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This purple container is in high canopy shade so quite a bit of light gets through although it gets little direct sun.  I chose a Heuchera m. 'Midnight Rose' for its'Dsc_0003 speckled foliage,  Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' for the spilling effect, Solenostemon 'Lemon Sunsation' for its lemon yellow foliage with purple stems and the little Torenia 'Yellow Moon' which also combines the purple and yellow.  I like this combination and am looking forward to seeing it fill in.Dsc_0034 Elizabeth over at 'Gardening While Intoxicated' asked if anyone had tried any of these new Torenias yet.  I have not used the Torenias before but this new one did catch my eye.  I'm looking forward to seeing all of your container combinations.   What is more fun than the endless plants, containers and colors  we can put together.  I doubt if any of us use the same plants or pots and that is what makes each container the creative effort of the gardener who puts it together.  What are you potting up this week?


Bloom Day- May 15, 2008

High 63 F
Low  41 F
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Phlox stolonifera and Iris cristata
Bloom Day begins with a gray overcast and the gray continues throughout the day although it is relatively warm.  I actually have many plants in bloom right now. Dsc_0006 The red tulips are still blooming although I see a bit of fading going on around the edges which spells the end of bloom in the 'River of Bulbs' for this season. Dsc_0009 The camassia is growing on me as more blooms open and create a bigger patch of color.  The bleeding hearts are all in their full glory.Dsc_0021_2     Dsc_0006_2
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  There are the spectabilis and s. 'Alba' and s. Gold Heart' plus the D. eximia which will bloom all summer.Dsc_0013   The lilacs are blooming as are the Dsc_0018 Lily of the Valley.  These two are the fragrant friends of my childhood.  There are also Dsc_0001 violas and Dsc_0003 sweet woodruff blooming along with the Dsc_0016 mertensia which is quite blue  now.  In the long border the alliums are just showing some color. Dsc_0016_2 This is just one of five which were planted last fall.  I am enjoying the garden these cool spring May days.  It is truly May Dreams here and big thank you to Carol who brings us all together to share the beauty of the garden!


Garden shots!

High 49 F
Low  42 F

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In reviewing today's pictures I realized that I took quite a few lousy flower shots.  I am left with overall garden shots which will have to do for tonight's post.  The above picture shows the pool border on the right and straight ahead, the barn garden is filling out. That white tree is the Carolina silverbell.  It is not quite  in full bloom yet. Dsc_0019 It does seem to be tilting to the left.  I could stake it and correct the lean but don't you think that gives it character?  Dsc_0034 This shot is taken of the left handed mitten garden and the Florida border down the middle of the lawn.  The lawn was mowed for the first time this weekend and while it is politically incorrect to sing the praises of the gas powered mower I have to comment that the sound of a mower is forever tied in my memory banks as one of the hallmarks of spring and approaching summer.  It's soothing drone is only second to the fragrance of freshly mowed lawn.  Green seems the predominant color right now but there are spots of color.  Dsc_0006 This is the Euphorbia polychroma in the background with the dwarf bearded iris next to it.  I like this color combination. Dsc_0038 The entry garden has the most color in it at the moment.   The tulips are blooming in their orange robes Dsc_0010 and the Iris cristata are in flower next to the purple leaved heuchera. Dsc_0033 The camassia are just coming out.  I am not so sure about camassia.  I haven't grown them before and I haven't decided if I like them or not.  I have two different species, Camassia cusickii Dsc_0009 and Camassia quamashDsc_0016 which is deeper violet.  Have any of you grown these and what do you think?