Sunday, March 29, 2015

Daffodils and Other Signs of Spring

I've only managed three posts in the last year, and the blog is essentially dead.  But since it started as a way for me to track some things going on in the yard - a public journal of sorts - and one thing I've consistently tracked is daffodils (first bloom date and color as well as total bloom count), I'm back. I might as well rename this "The Daffodil Journal"

Here's this year's winner:
Winning White

This brings the current record to:  Yellow 3, White 2, tie 1
2015: white (~27 Mar)
2014: yellow (~18 Mar)
2013: tie (6 Mar)
2012: yellow (25 Feb)
2011: white (9 Mar)
2010: yellow (17 Mar)

This is by far the latest first daff bloom of record.

I do have some other things going on in the yard, though everything is waking up a bit late.  Crocus are about spent.  I planted some bulb iris last year (my cuz now tells me they aren't likely to return) that were really pretty last week:

I think there should have been some white ones, too, but I can't recall where I planted them and they haven't made their location known.

Hellebores are enlivening the shady side:

Above the hellebores, the aucuba is producing an abundance of berries.  I don't think I've seen it this prolific before.

There were a few weak attempts at snowdrops:  they really don't like their parking-strip home, and have never been photo-worthy.  The flowering trees are budding, and I think the pear may beat the redbud, with plum pretty far behind (hmm...a new contest?)

See you again in about six weeks for the annual daff count.  I planted a few new ones in the fall and I look forward to seeing them!

Monday, June 16, 2014

June 2014 Blooms

Just two photos for June Bloom Day, to try to get myself back into the habit of posting something here for the record.

These are two of my favorite plant combinations in my yard, and they are both blooming now.  One was planned, the other a happy accident.  Enjoy!

Asclepias tuberosa (orange butterfly weed) and Spigelia marilandica (Indian pink)

Rudbeckia and Larkspur

I adore the long, fluffy petals on this annual rudbeckia.  Each year since this combo first "happened" along my front walk, I've shaken the seed heads of the rudbeckia and the larkspur over the bed, trying to get more plants the next year.  I end up with exactly one rudbeckia and about two larkspur.  At least they are near each other again this year.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Daff Count

Just a quick post to record this year's daffodil count:  a record-setting 616.

Annual totals:
2009: 347
2010: 282
2011: 175
2012: 460
2013: 513
2014: 616

No, I didn't plant any new bulbs last fall, even though I intended to do so.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Plant-buying spree

Today I went to the annual FONA Garden Fair (it continues tomorrow), looking for garden inspiration.  I came home with a very light wallet and a full cart.

Here's what's in that jumble of plants.

From the FONA sale:

Brunnera 'Jack Frost' - I bought one of these last year, too, but killed it.

Red Banana - another container plant for my "Tropical Paradise Patio".  One of these days (years) I'll finally get around to having the patio rebricked so I can actually use it.  Meanwhile, I'm collecting plants for it.

Meadow Rue - I might have bought one of these last fall, but I couldn't remember for sure, so here's (another) one.

Echinacea 'Sundown' - Unlike my Daffodil Desires, I actually followed through on a musing (from two years ago) to add more colorful echinacea to my garden.

Abelia - I'm missing a shrub in my front border.  This one is tiny, so I hope it doesn't get lost among the grasses while it grows to actual shrub size.

Dahlia - For a front-stoop container

Phlox paniculata 'Tequila Sunrise' - I lost my most floriferous tall phlox over the winter.  This replacement is supposed to be short-statured, so I'll have to move some things around in the garage garden to place it appropriately.  I'm looking forward to the bright color, but it will most likely clash terribly with the mostly-purple theme I have (accidentally) going on over there.

Outside the FONA sale is a space for other plant vendors.

The Melwood Garden booth had some lovely perennials, and good prices.  I bought:

Polemonium (Jacob's Ladder) 'Heavenly Habit' *- I've bought a polemonium just about every year I've been gardening here, and I always kill them.  This is the most vigorous one I've started with, so maybe this time will be different? 

Coreopsis verticillata 'Main Street' (red flowers!) - My Coreopsis rosea has been slowly disappearing from the upper garden, so here's a showier replacement

Heuchera 'Berry Smoothie'- because I can't resist a new-to-me heuchera, and I have one that's only barely alive after the winter.

From the Herb Society, I didn't actually buy herbs, but I did get:

Bloodroot - for the shady side, with the brunnera. I've wanted one of these for a long time.  No idea if I have the proper conditions for it, but I'll find out next year.

Now, my biggest barrier to success when I go all-out with plant purchases is actually getting this stuff in the ground.  I had planned several hours this afternoon to do just that.  Thanks to a poor choice of driving route (excessive traffic), I arrived home just as the skies were opening up for a nice spring thunderstorm.  I did get the Dahlia potted up during the rain.  The other plants, well, maybe I'll get to them in a few days ....

* I've just re-read the tag. This is a selection of Polemonium boreale, not Polemonium reptans, which means I can't put it in my "native-ish" garden.  Into the side yard it goes!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Floral Start to Spring

Happy Spring!

Here's the first daffodil bloom* in the yard.  I think it opened earlier this week, but I didn't get out to see it until today.

Next, some plum branches that I pruned about 10 days ago and brought inside.  All these flowers were just little white balls yesterday.  How did they know they were supposed to open today?

 Finally, my lodgers brought me these tulips before they departed today:

I'm so happy to have flowers to share on this first day of Spring!

* the current record:  Yellow 3, White 1, tie 1
2013: tie (6 Mar)
2012: yellow (25 Feb)
2011: white (9 Mar)
2010: yellow (17 Mar)

I thought the daffs were super late this year, but it looks like they are on a very similar schedule to 2010.  It's great to have a blog archive for things like this.  (Maybe I should keep up with this thing a little more, so it is not just a daffodil recording device!)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Black-Eyed Susan Grass

Today I found a new plant:  black-eyed susan grass.  Never heard of it?  That could be because it doesn't exist.  Blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolia): now that's a thing.  I've even grown it, though not reliably.

So how did I happen to find this non-existent black-eyed susan grass?  Well, first, I didn't mow my yard for a month.  Maybe five weeks.  Normally in the summer four to five weeks is a typical span between mowings, but with actual rain this year it needed mowing about three to four weeks ago.  But I was on vacation.  Then it was hot.  Then I was so busy I had not a single daylight moment to myself.  Then I was gone again.  Then yesterday, well, yesterday I took a breather.  Then today I started to continue that breather.  But 1/2 hour before dark I decided the yard must be cut right now.

I dragged the mower out of the garage and coaxed it to start.  I sweet-talked it into venturing through the tall grasses and taller weeds.  "They" say one should cut about a third off grass stems in a mowing. At my mower's highest setting (where I generally leave it), I was cutting off not less than 2/3 of the growth.  It was slow going.

Because it was slow going, I was able to take time to look at what was being mowed down.  And there it was:  black-eyed susan grass.  It closely resembled an annual rudbeckia, just starting to flower.  Since it was growing in my lawn, however, it must have been a grass. 

If I'd stopped to photographic-evidence-taking, there's no way the mower would have started again.  You'll just have to take my word for it.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

July 2013 Blooms

Once again, my bloom day post has been delayed.  I blame the excessive heat.  Oh, I took pictures on the 14th and 15th, but the heat has completely sapped my energy for even the most sedentary tasks, like blogging. 

Fortunately the garden doesn't complain quite as much about the heat as I do.  I did venture out earlier in the week to find a cucumber hiding among the very tall weeds.  It is over a foot long.

On to the blooms ...

Most of the yard this month has been daylilies and Rudbeckia.  But I also have these:

 Echinacea on the patio, forming the backdrop for the glider.  The 'White Swan' Echinacea is barely visible in this photo, just behind the glider and on the right edge.

More Echinacea in the side garden, shading some yellow-blooming blue spruce sedum.  Oh, and there's something else in there ...

It is all flopped over and only made two blooms this year, but the stargazer lily, declining for the past few years, is still there. 

And here's a closeup of the blooming sedum

The lower border in the front has some sedum, too.  I don't remember what this one is, with thick grayish leaves.

Also in the front border:  four o'clocks and catmint.

The upper garden is sporting some cute little Coreopsis rosea.

The garage garden is full of phlox.

The side garden, in addition to the Echinacea and lilies, has balloon flower (shown here with daylilies) and heliopsis (with a rose campion).

Back in the front are this year's new bulbs:  Acidanthera (Gladiolus callianthus).  I just love them!

Oh, I'm pooped now, just thinking about those plants out in the heat.  Time for a nap.