Monday, May 26, 2014

Beauty spots

Cricket House
I'm beginning to find really nice little spots in my garden now, as it keeps maturing. They're all transients to some extent, because shapes and sizes will change as the shrubs and trees keep growing, so next year they may look very different. But the color juxtapositions will hopefully stay. This is the first spring that my front garden—my daily view out my front window—has really looked like a garden. I'm very happy with the mix of foliage colors—the bronzes and greens, plus the pale, almost-white of the pieris. I've already enjoyed the choisya flowering, and the astilbes are getting ready, showing their buds. It's taken me eight long years to find a combination of plants that can grow in the horrible clay and successfully compete with the firs for water, not to mention surviving the hot summer and cold winter winds that funnel through there. That spot has been my biggest cultural challenge.

Another area that took a very long time to shape up is a small patch in back I call the triangle. Everything I planted there except the Bloodgood maple has been very slow growing. It doesn't get much sun and the firs dry that soil out quickly, but it too is finally becoming very nice to look at and easy to maintain. This is the view from the east side.
Rhododendron Scintillation, Hosta seiboldiana

This is my morning view of the triangle. I love the light coming through the translucent acrylic shed window. Makes me think that having walls in a garden isn't a bad thing, if there is light coming through windows in them.

R. Scintillation
This grouping is about four years old, and the Blue Angel hosta is really staking its claim to space this year—it's about two feet across. The Sum and Substance behind it is almost as big. They weren't much more than half that size last year, so I guess they've grown up. The purple Siberians and the pale blue of the spruce-on-a-stick go great with the hostas

Hostas Blue Angel, Sum and Substance

This is a grouping that will be a little different soon, because the lovely multi-color foliage of the Peaches'n'Cream Japanese maple is really smothering the two azaleas beneath it, and you can only see the Halcyon hosta because I recently pruned away its cover. I'm enjoying the look right now, but pretty soon I'll have to get down there with the pruners again.

Acer palmatum Peaches'n'Cream, Hosta Halcyon

The blue of the Halcyon, the lime green of the new rhodie and hydrangea leaves, and the matching pinks of the rhodie and the azalea below are one of my favorite color combos, especially against the dark brown of the mulch. One of the first years I started gardening, Halcyon was widely available in small pots, and I bought many of them. For a small hosta, it's a great workhorse, always happy, almost never gets slug bites, and just keeps growing. I wish they'd come back into style so I wouldn't have to divide mine, but I'd take a dozen more in a heartbeat.

Hosta Halcyon

This Dr. Ruppel clematis in its third year is another great example of delayed rewards. Its first year, it grew all of ten inches tall. The second year, I put up this trellis for it and it spent the whole season sending one stem up the far left side. Now look what it's doing! I'm hoping that next year it'll cover the trellis with those flowers.

Clematis Dr. Ruppel

Here's another third-year wunderkind. For two years it's been incubating in this spot between two of my Hamamellis. I was at an HPSO study weekend and asked a plant vendor for a good shade-blooming rhodie, and this is what he recommended. I like the dark purple, especially above the Lemon Chiffon heucheras. They seem to have flea beetles this year, or something similar. Oh well.

It's a great year so far out there. And it's really nice for me, finally having the garden I've been planting for so long. Ahhhhhh.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

OMG—Oooooo, My Garden!

Rhododendron Cherry Float

I finished my early morning cleanup session today by taking a few more photos, and I feel like there really aren't any words for all this color. Or maybe I'm just tired. Anyway, here are my newly blooming treasures, young and old. I bought this rhodie seven years ago and this is the first year it's bloomed. It's a floppy one, thin branches and large flower clusters, but who cares when they're this rich?

Rhododendron Cherry Float

Here's another floppy one. This used to be my favorite, for the deep cerise color. Now I'm not sure any more. Not this year, anyway. But seeing all the upward facing shoots, I'm wondering, since it's all over the ground now, will it start growing up? Or is it convinced it's a ground cover?

Rhododendron (unk. var.)

This one's slighty less floppy and is this gorgeous peach color, which I've never seen anywhere else. This is one of my rhodies that gets direct afternoon sun, and the only one I've noticed Lace Bug damage on. Not too much, fortunately.

Peachy Rhododendron (unk. var.)

The baby flowers on my oldest Satomi, which I love from now till I eat the fruit. :-)

Cornus kousa Satomi

I finally got BIG snowballs this year! Softball sized! I love the hanging cluster. Wish I could tuck a little LED bulb inside each one. That would be cool.

Viburnum plicatum sp.

My geums made it through the winter in my worst, wettest clay so well that I bought six more, in two more colors, orange, and red.

Geum Alabama Slammer & forget-me-nots

Last but not least, I bought this clematis last summer at a hardware store for $5, when it had just a few of the inner petals left on one beat-up flower, just enough to convince me it was the lavender-blue the tag showed. I had my head down yesterday, pulling weeds and extra forget-me-nots, and I almost poked myself in the eye with these blooms. I had no idea it was blooming already and it surprised the heck out of me.

Clematis Multi-Blue