Sunday, May 16, 2010

Jorene's Perennial Gardens-May 16, 2010

My perennials are starting to bloom nicely now, so it will be another exciting, fun year full of beautiful color.

Clematis are one of my favorite flowers. I have many different varieties planted all over our property. I like them because they come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. Additionally, the different types of clematis bloom and rebloom throughout the year, so it is possible to have clematis blooming before the last frost in Spring until after the last frost in Fall. They are easy to grow. Finally, since they are a vine, they need very little soil to grow in and can actually be grown in a pot on a porch for apartment and townhouse dwellers. If all of those wonderful traits do not pique your interest, check out this beauty.

This Kilian Donahue clematis is quickly becoming one of my favorites. In fact, she wins the prize for Miss Popularity hands down. This perennial is planted just outside my back door, so I have the privilege of seeing her every time I walk outside. What a sight to behold she is. The early flowers open ruby red and mature to brilliant fuchsia with an orchid edge. The more mature flowers are pink lavender with a pink bar. Because the flowers change over time, it looks like it has several different types of flowers on a single plant. Right now, she is only about 1 foot tall but will allegedly reach 9 to 10 feet tall in a couple of years and bloom for 3 months! The thought of this beautiful perennial blooming for nearly an entire growing season just makes my heart pitter-patter. I am so happy with her already that I can not imagine how awesome it will be when she is 10 times her current size. She is supposed to bloom June through September. However, I think she bloomed early this year because our Spring was so incredibly warm.

These bearded iris are not planted in a flower bed either but, rather, along the edge of our driveway. If flowers were people, the bearded iris would be a strong, steady, dependable marrying kind of man. That is why I have them in nearly all of my flower beds. Unlike the fickle tulip which can not commit to blooming every year nor stand up to a Spring thunderstorm, the bearded iris returns annually-without fail, and when the blooms arrive, it really means something. Old Man winter is gone for good, and the long, hot, sun-filled days of Summer are not too far away. Other than a little bit of sun, the bearded iris is not a needy fellow; it does not require any special soil or treatment to grow. Its blooms are fairly long lasting, and, like the best kind of man, there is more to this perennial than just its showy flower. After the bloom fades, its beautiful, unique blueish, sword-shaped leaves remain tall and sturdy all year long. The leaves serve as a great color and shape contrast to other perennials in a flower bed and are also beautiful just by themselves.

In late spring, I can look out my bedroom window and see these iris, the goats, the cow, the Appalachian mountains, and the sunset all in one glance. It is such a beautiful, peaceful sight to see that I feel very lucky to live here.

In my naturalized perennial bed, the tall purple roadside phlox, ox-eye daisies, blue-star and bearded iris are all in full bloom.

DH and I worked today on the herb/cutting garden. I moved all of the flowering perennials to a different location, and DH tilled under all the soil that is in between the perennial herbs and Japanese iris. We added more perennial herbs, including transplants of chives and lemon balm, hyssop, and tarragon and numerous annual herbs such as dill, cilantro, and a variety of basils. We love to use fresh garden grown herbs when we cook for our groups, so this garden seems to get larger every year. The Japanese iris in front of the herbs look like they will bloom soon.

Th bearded iris in the friendship garden are blooming, and the peonies, salvia and Japanese iris are about to bloom their dark pinks and purple. I thinned out and gave a way a large number of bearded iris in this bed last Spring because they were really starting to take over the left half of the bed. Looking at only the few flowers here that are blooming, I am slightly regretting that decision because I miss seeing them in mass quantities. However, I know that they will fill the bed in a year or two, and I will have to thin them out all over again. Plus, it always makes me feel good inside when I give perennials to other people.

The bleeding heart and columbine are blooming beautifully in the shade garden. These two perennials remind me of Southern girls. They are incredibly graceful and delicate with gorgeous blooms, but they are also long lasting and can stand up to the hard rains that Spring brings them. Many more plants are also starting to grow, including the astilbe, hydrangea, ferns, and hostas. Ken plans to get the gutter out of it this week ; ). Our snowfall was so huge this year that it completely destroyed our brand new gutters on both sides of the lodge. I plan to edge and mulch this bed soon, in addition to digging a dry creek bed down the middle of it. I would really like to finish it by the end of June and then add more perennials to it each year as I am able.

The shade garden continues to fill in nicely with hostas, ferns, and perennials. I was mistaken last week when I said that the clematis I transplanted died. I just noticed that it has new green growth coming on, so I expect big, beautiful flowers on it next year. The purple cardinal flower and a yellow ground cover that I purchased from Blue Stone Perennials arrived, and I planted them in their appropriate spots. There will be a few bare spots in this bed this year as the perennials I have planted get established, but I am really excited for this bed to grown and mature to become as lovely as I know it will.

The boxwoods, day lilies, and hostas in my front beds continue to grow. Although the boxwoods survived last winter, they are a little worse for the wear. Some of the branches and leaves are still droopy from the weight of the feet of snow that bore down on them all winter long, so I think I will prune them some. The day lilies will bloom in June. I also plan to get some hanging baskets to fill with annuals and hang out the porch above these front beds. I hope to complete that task next weekend.

The full-sun front bed continues to meet and exceed my expectations this year. So far, it has more flowers blooming then all of my other beds put together. This is just fabulous because I have spent the last 5 years trying to get the reality of this flower bed to align with the picture I had in my mind. Currently, the following perennials are blooming in this bed: armeria dusseldorf pride, the white and dark purple clematis, nepata walker's low catmint, viola purple showers, pat's select ajuga, chives, bearded iris, and bluestar.

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