Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Views of the Spring Garden

Last year I was a bit flattered when Susan Harris of Sustainable Gardening and Garden Rant (my favorite ranter, btw) emailed me for before and after shots of my lawn removal projects for a piece she was doing about the same. I was pretty horrified when I couldn't find anything to send her. I had never actually taken any before pictures of my yard before I started to tear it up. I think when I started I really had no plans, so the idea of documenting what I was doing never occurred to me. Now it's something I regret, and in general, both my husband and I have started taking more pictures of work we do on various projects around the house.

In the same thinking, I thought I would also try to be better about taking pictures of my garden each season, so that I could watch the progression of color and shapes. I'll try to take pictures from similar angles and locations for comparison. So here goes:

Views from the front left and right --

New this year is the Yarrow (Achillea 'Coronation Gold') and the yellow rose 'Sun Flare.' I really like the Yarrow. It has this hazy quality which allows other plants to peek through, and supposedly butterflys love it.

Things are definitely a bit scraggly, but the Dianthus (the pink stuff) and the Nepeta (purply stuff) are in full bloom. I absolutely love the Nepeta (Walker's Low). It blooms like crazy and has lovely grayish/silver foliage. It's really a great plant. Because it's part of the mint family, I think it can spread, but I've never found any suckers away from the mother plant, so maybe it's not a problem with this variety. Sorry about the digression.

View into the side garden from the front --

There's a lot going on in here, but its going to take a few years until I really appreciate this part of the house. I've planted a lot of Miscanthus and a few Arborvitae. I'm trying to create a screen for the seating area, but this part of the yard takes a lot of punishment. It gets full sun all day, and its like a wind tunnel, so I've struggled to find plants that will work. I've pretty much decided to focus on the ornamental grasses and roses, so it will take a while for everything to get big enough to make an impact.

Views along the fence --

I've planted daylilies and salvia. I'm still a bit undecided about this. I think I need something that blooms earlier than either, but also has to be indestructible because of the full sun, and proximity the street.

This little grouping is one of my favorites. It's another Nepeta (Six Hills Giant), Blue Grass (Festuca 'Elijah's Blue'), and Lamb's Ear (Staychis maybe 'Helen VonStein'). This little area takes a beating, has horrid, gloopy clay soil, and is in full sun, but the plants seem to love it.

That's it for the tour. I do need to include some pictures of the back, but I think it will be in a separate posting because there's a lot going on back there right now.

In parting, I will leave you with a few pictures of my Siberian Iris and Bearded Iris in bloom. My sister gave me both, and tried to adhere to my purple/pink/white color scheme when dividing them, but the crazy yellow/maroon Bearded Iris snuck in anyway. It totally doesn't go in my blue/purple Spring garden, but I love it anyway.


p.s. The little blonde elf is my son, who graciously allowed me to photograph the yard while he played on his old scooter.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Longest Two Weeks

One thing I used to be confused about was why none of my stuff was blooming in Spring, when my sister and Mom had lots of color in their respective gardens. I had the answer when I stumbled on a blog or an article about seaside gardening and found out that Spring comes one to two weeks later to the coast than it does inland. Happily, Fall also comes later as well.

So while my sis in Pepperrell has already been enjoying her Columbine and Bearded Iris, I've been on bloom watch. Today I was finally gifted with my first bloom of both!

Maria (above-mentioned sister) gave me these bearded Iris, graciously digging and splitting hers for me. What an amazing plant! It's almost four feet tall, with multiple blooms. The silver sword-like foliage is an added benefit.

I grew this Columbine from seed. I think I have a special affinity for the plant because of it. I found the Columbine was very easy to grow, so if you have the patience, they are worth it. I got these McKana's Giant Hybrids at Home Depot -- so they're fairly ubiquitous. I think next Winter, I'm going to experiment with some different colors.


One note: I loathe the color of my house (as displayed in the Columbine picture above). I call it "Road Color" or "Old Asphalt Gray." My husband threatens to paint it two or three times a year, but its not peeling enough to justify the expense/undertaking. Grrr!

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Cure for SAD

We've had a warm sunny week, and I finally feel inspired to post. I think it's safe to say Winter is gone (it was 90 on Tuesday). The garden is waking up up. Here are some signs:

Tulips are really blooming away.

The new patio peach (Prunus persica 'Bonanza') is starting to grow leaves.

The mesclun mix is growing nicely. A few radishes survived some critter.

I wasn't so sure about this Viburnum, but I love it this Spring.

Hardening off tomatos and basil.

The Vinca vine is blooming.