Last year, I tried to keep a weekly photo journal of my perennials. I did well until I was called to military duty mid-July. By the time I returned to the lodge in mid-August, it was all I could do to keep the weeds from overtaking the flower beds. (The fact that we had an infant to care for also added to the workload). This year, I hope to do a better job of keeping my photo journal. I'm starting very early this year because we have had an unseasonably hot, dry April with temperatures frequently in the 70s and 80s. It is usually very wet with rain nearly every day and temperatures in the 40s and 50s this time of year. My perennials are sprouting as are the trees on the mountain. They do not usually sprout until mid-May. At the rate the perennials are growing, the full sun beds should be blooming by May followed by the shade beds. However, we could get frost and snow until mid-May, so I am a little worried about the more tender perennials and trees. I have my fingers crossed for rain and above freezing temperatures for the rest of April. Below, are photos of my various perennial beds and their current states. I hope to blog more about the specifics of each perennial bed as the plants in them grow and bloom this year.
These are the two budget garden beds that DH and I built and blogged about last summer. They were covered by snow until very recently, so they are a little behind the other perennial beds. I was worried that the small Itea Virginica Henry shrubs, which are in the back and have yet to get their leaves, would not make it through our harsh winter. We received over 200" of snow here, but they appear to have made it. The only plants in this bed that did not survive were the lily of the valley. Although these are partial-shade beds, they receive too much sun for lily of the valley, and it just fried last year. I have added ajuga, which spreads quickly, to take its place. I will also add more lamb's ear and liriope because we have extra of them this year. That way these beds will fill in faster. All of the plants in these beds require very little care.
This photo is of my naturalized perennial bed. My original idea in 2005 was to plant extra perennials in here and let them grow in a naturalized setting. I almost gave up on the idea because nothing seemed to happen in the first couple of years. However, by 2007, I was starting to see a little progress. Last year was pretty great. It bloomed all season long. There are currently bearded iris, Japanese iris, ox-eye daisies, blue-star, and oriental lilies sprouting. I really can not wait to see how this bed does this year. It is always a fun surprise.
This photo is of our herb garden in the back with a cutting garden in the front and peonies in the foreground. We grow all sorts of perennial and annual herbs, including chives, lemon balm, mint, rosemary, a variety of basils, thyme, oregano, anise hyssop, and marjoram. This year's cutting garden contains a large number of gladiolus bulbs and Japanese iris.
This is our friendship garden because all of the perennials in it have come from dear friends and neighbors. This bed happened by accident. We had some extra perennials and rocks. DH did not want to mow this patch of grass, so he built the low rock wall and threw the dirt in before I had a chance to say otherwise. I added the perennials. I have a love/hate relationship with this bed. I love it because it is, by far, the most spectacular bed we have. It is always in bloom with something beautiful. Also, the colors always seem to flow nicely from one season to the next. However, I hate it because this all happened without ever really trying whereas I have planned and worked so hard with my other perennial beds, which are never up to the caliber of this one.
This is the new shade garden DH and I are constructing. It contains pink, blue, and white perennials, including columbine, bleeding heart, hydrangea, meadow sweet, lamium dead nettle, and foam flower, as well as a large variety of ferns and hostas and a pee gee hydrangea tree that I just planted. I would also like to add a little creek to this perennial bed, but I am pretty sure that, with all of the other activities going on at the lodge right now, it will have to wait until next year.
The above two photos are of my shade gardens in the front of the lodge. They contain purple and yellow perennials, including clematis, black-eyed susan, cardinal flower, woodland violets, Japanese iris, lady's mantle, and coreopsis, as well as a large variety of ferns and hostas.
My two front porch beds contain small boxwoods (which took a complete beating this past winter), day lilies, and hostas.
This front bed contains cannas, day lilies, lamb's ear, and gaillardia goblin.
This is my full-sun front bed, which I am constantly planning and working on. It never seems to look as nice as the other beds nor as I had hoped. In other words, it always fails to meet my expectations. Hopefully, this year will be the year. It currently contains purple, blue, and white perennials, including clematis, spiderwort, blue star, daisies, scabiosa butterfly blue, bearded iris, Japanese iris, lilies, Russian sage, delphinium, coneflower, and ajuga. It also contains a small blue hibiscus that I planted last Spring along with lamb's ear and a wide variety of sempervivum.
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