Monday, July 16, 2007

Bloom Day, the day after

Went a little nuts with the camera yesterday in service to a gardener's bloom day and our upcoming vacation. I've arranged for cat care but feel all perennials will need to fend for themselves. Not really sure what will make it, but at least we've got pictures. I'm most concerned about the containers. What is it, pray for rain and pass the tubers? Something like that...

I was really happy we didn't miss the Canna bloom, although it almost looked a little cooler right before it actually bloomed. Loved the Bird of Paradise look. This, along with the elephant ear, is going to be overwintered in my first ever attempt at saving money and bulbs down in the cool, dark basement. Cross your fingers.

Veitch's blue globe thistle (echinops ritro) is doing well and good, just a wee bit floppy but a true blue in thistle and stem. I attempted some blue sea holly right next to these that never showed this year, but I may be surprised next season. I'm attracted to this plant's blue glow 'round about the shank of the evening (7-ish), but I don't admire the flies, gnats and other riffraff constantly hovering around its globes.

Other faves, slightly underexposed...

Strangely, I'm not much of a fan of phlox in groupings, but individually their interest is highlighted. I guess you have to get to know them...

I don't know what this is. I never realized this chicks and hen I fumbled into a corner on the rock pile/garden would flower. I feel confident in its tenacity, happy for its surprise. Semper vi.

This is the second monarch I've seen all summer, and it literally landed in my frame. All I've been seeing of late is loads of painted ladies and hope there's no Monsanto-type catastrophe affecting monarchs. Happy to see this one, love to see more. Maybe I shouldn't clear out all the coneflower...

Other blooms, botanical names to follow (later, really)...

Joe Pye weed
Rose of Sharon
Sedums ( a little early?)
Bee balm
'Endless Summer' Hydrangea
Japanese anemone, just about

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Horton's soft clover...

That's the only name I can come up with for this exotic, Dr. Seuss-like perennial. I'm calling it a perennial because it's in the same location every year, but I'm not the architect. Just an admirer. And coveter. I do want this plant. This bloom turns into a brilliant red fuzzy ball 'round about August and it does resemble the fluffy puff of Whos Horton hears in that other perennial classic, 'Horton Hears a Who'.

Judging by its street side sunny location, I think it could handle my front parkway "prairie" bed. I call it the prairie bed because most of the residents are (thankfully) extremely low maintenance and native, I think.

There's false indigo (Baptisia Australis), goldenrod (Solidago), black eyed susans (Rudbeckia hirta), lots of liatris and a bit of yarrow (Achillea millefolium). All of these, however, are getting crowded by the coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) and I'm looking to mix things up a little.

Maybe this Horton plant would offset the wispy, ok weedy, textures without too much fuss. This is all part of next year's plans, of course. Vacation's coming up and then it's August. Time to find out what's really drought tolerant. Maybe I should call that bed the Darwinian bed...

So, all I need to do is head to the garden center and ask for the beautiful, freaky famous Horton's soft clover.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

"Joyfull Newes out of the newe founde worlde"

It's hot. I spent a large portion of the holiday on the couch reading 'Nature's Government', a book about "Science, Imperial Britain, and the 'Improvement' of the World". Yikes. There are some good bits about botanical history, though. Apparently, one of the driving forces behind botanical collections of the16th-ish century was to literally collect all the plants that had once been in the Garden of Eden and then scattered on account of events related to the fall.
Hence the "Joyfull Newes". If you could just gather them all back, in one place, in one garden, Eden would be returned and we could all call it a day.
Seems so noble. I'm not sure if it seems noble because it's so impossible or so optimistic or both. Maybe it seems so noble because there is an actual philosophy, crackpot though it may be, guiding a garden's design.
This is something I admire yet find difficult to adhere to. I understand the value of planting native species and restoring a bit of prairie, but coneflower, even with its hypnotic seed head, can get a little invasive and a little tiresome.
I waver. I see Giant Japanese Butterbur in a magazine and want it, native or not.
I'm working on a wish list of marginal plants that may take the place of some perfectly hardy, drought tolerant natives. I'll leave the ethics for another day.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

forest for the trees

This is my very first post on my very first blog about, of all things, gardening. I could fill a forest with the things I don't know and can't identify, but I do try. We moved into this landscaped bungalow 6 years ago barely interested in or capable of green things. I've changed. I find myself googling ground covers and planning, always planning, to someday have my imaginary garden meet what's actually shaping up and filling out all around us. It is a source of constant, industrious distraction.

Speaking of distraction, on my way to a long overdue weeding session I spotted this growing in a shaded corner on the southern side of the house. It's either my new favorite weed or a very long distance volunteer. Maybe somebody's unwanted impatiens. Any ideas?