Monday, June 28, 2010

Jorene's Perennial Gardens - June 27, 2010

The big news this week is that our friends came over while we were out tending to our other vegetable garden and picking blueberries, and they fixed our broken gutter. This is great for a couple of reasons. First, the thunderstorms will no longer erode erode the good soil from my shade garden's flower beds. Second, we can now store the rain water that runs off the roof into our huge rain barrels/cisterns located in the back of the lodge, and I use this water to water my gardens during droughts. I am so thankful for their help. After we discovered their surprise, DH hauled up 4 loads of compost to help me fill in the large holes that had eroded during the Spring thunderstorms. Then, he helped me mulch it all over. Eventually, I would like to build a dry creek bed down the middle of it, so I have left space for that. I am not positive if that will happen this year or not because we will be very busy with our vegetable gardens and guests at The Ponderosa Lodge until November. Nonetheless, I am really happy with the way the shade garden is starting to look.

The dark pink astilbe is blooming in the shade garden, and the color of the blooms really pop against the light green leaves of the frances williams hostas located directly behind them. Astilbe are medium sized plants that grow approximately 24" tall. They produce a big airy plume in the Summer, although my dark pink astilbe do not produce as puffy a plume as the light pink ones. They are an excellent choice for the shade garden because they are care free, deer resistant, and long blooming. Astilbe is also available in white, peach, red, and purple.

I also have my very first big hydrangea bloom on a hydrangea that our friend Doug in Northern Virginia gave me this Spring. Hydrangeas are a staple in many Summer gardens, but this is the first hydrangea in my garden that I have managed not to kill. I am pretty happy about that. My hydrangeas are fairly short in stature this year because they are newly transplanted, but they will eventually grow to 4 or 5 feet tall. The mother hydrangea plant is located in Doug's neighborhood, Fairlington Villages, in Arlington, VA, and nearly every beautiful hydrangea in that neighborhood was started from that one plant. I really hope that Doug's good luck with hydrangeas rubs off on me. So far, so good.

The other big news this week is that all of the day lilies on the property are in full bloom. I have orange, yellow, and red orange varieties. They were all on the lodge property when we purchased it, or gifts from friends, or transplants from my townhouse in Northern Virginia, so I am unaware of their species. There are a large variety of day lilies commercially available in nearly every color of the rainbow that bloom in June, July, and August. All of mine bloom about the same time (mid to late June). As an aside, I learned this week that daylilies are nearly 100% edible because you can eat the tubers, the young leaves, the buds, and the flowers which means that this perennial provides you with beauty and bounty all in one.

In my naturalized garden, the white ox-eye daisies are no longer blooming. Pink Asiatic lilies, orange day lilies, and red and maroon Jacob's Cline Monarda (bee balm) have taken their place. The Monarda, which started out a few years ago as small plants, have been fabulous growers in the garden. They are a superb choice in this type of naturalized bed that gets full to part sun because they are care free and deer resistant. Moreover, the beautiful flowers, which are uniquely shaped spheres with finger-like projections shooting out, are very attractice to butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. The leaves can be used to make a delicious herb tea.

The hostas and ferns that were transplanted to the part shade to full shade beds located on the guest side of the lodge have settled in nicely. One of the clematises did die off, so I will have to replace it. The purple lobelia (cardinal flower) and a yellow chrysogonum pierre (a ground cover) that I purchased from Blue Stone Perennials appear to have survived their transplants. The lobelia appears to be growing which is a nice sign. I am not sure if it will bloom this year, but, hopefully, it will produce some nice color next year. One experiment I tried this year was to plant annuals in a few bare spots in this bed this year. I thought this would produce season long color and make for a prettier bed, but for some reason, the annuals did not survive the transplant. In the future, I will probably only plant annuals in the flower boxes, so I will need to find another perennial to fill in the bare spots.

The thread-leaved coreopsis in the part shade to full shade beds are blooming, and the black-eyed susans planted with them will bloom soon. Both of these plants are care-free, deer resistant, and spread readily. They should continue to bloom until frost.

I sheared the salvia in the friendship garden as I stated that I would in my last blog. The red-orange and orange day lilies are currently in full bloom while the yellow brown-eyed susans are just getting started. I also discovered one gorgeous double blossom orange day lily which has beautiful ruffly petals. When I look at this bed, all I can think of is all the work that it is going to take this Fall to thin it out. It is amazing how quickly the perennials in it have grown, especially along the edges, in part because DH puts our wonderful rabbit manure in this garden twice a year. Since the flowers are all fighting for space, I will mark about half of the day lilies and Japanese iris that I want to transplant, shear them all to the ground in the late fall, dig out the ones I have marked, and then transplant them to a different spot on the property (most likely on our front hill)
. The double blossom day lily.

Last but certainly not least is my full sun bed. There are currently six perennials blooming in the full-sun perennial bed: veronica royal candles, nepata walker's low catmint, spiderwort, purple clematis, Russian sage, and shasta daisy. This photograph is a close-up of the full-sun perennial bed. It contains, from left to right, low-growing ajuga, viola, and lamb's ear in the foreground with white clematis, spiderwort, russian sage, and blue star in the background.

As an aside, blogging about the perennnial gardens has allowed me to keep a very good track of the sequence in which my perennials bloom, and it has also allowed me to see where I could place more effort. For example, there is not a great deal of color in this full sun bed in mid-Summer. Although the flower boxes that contain annuals make up for some of the lack of color, it also clues me in that I should start researching perennials that bloom mid-summer so that I can add them to this bed in the Fall or next Spring.

The purple clematis and spiderwort are at the end of their bloom cycles, but they still look lovely.
This photo is a close up of shasta daisy and delphinium which are no longer blooming. The delphinium, which I wrote about in-depth in my last blog, will drop its seeds soon. Then, I will cut the flower stems and leave the green plant part. The shasta daisy is another beautiful mistake. Although this perennial fits the purple, blue and white them of this bed, I thought that I had transplanted all of the shasta daisies to the front of our driveway.

If there were only two perennials that I could have in my garden, they would be this veronica royal candles and nepata walker's law catmint. While they do not produce the most magnificent blooms, their flowers are deer resistant and last for over a month which counts for a whole lot in my book. Hope, our English bulldog, snuck into the left side of this photo; she's always trying to steal the show!

1 comment:

  1. GORGEOUS!!!!!!!!! I'm sure pictures don't even do it all justice!