Spending time in the last couple of months on family affairs exhausted me both physically and mentally and didn’t leave much time left for anything else. I retreated to Instagram @petalsandwingsimages as my outlet since I didn’t have to spend time correcting images on PhotoShop. Now, as the dust settled, I’m back.
With plenty of rain in early spring, the garden has grown pretty fast and the flowers have responded well, especially the irises. I don’t water irises regularly like the other plants so with plenty of rain they bloom in abundance.
All these irises either re-bloom or are fragrant or both. With good weather, I should see most of their flowers again in October.
I want our garden to resemble a natural environment as much as possible but the roses don’t seem to quite fit. I try to incorporate roses in the garden anyway. I love roses and I think any garden without roses is not a complete garden. Any readers who don’t like roses and think that they are a pain to take care of, please do not take offense. It’s just my personal take on it.
There are periods, before the roses bloom in late spring and in between blooming (for the re-bloomers) when there are nothing to see but green leaves. I need plants to give some color to the trellises and the area adjacent to the rose bushes. There are a few plants I found that work well for our garden and make the garden look more natural.
The first choice, as recommended by many professional gardeners, is Clematis. They intertwine with rose branches and flower here and there between them. For mid-spring, Clematis ‘Crystal Fountain’ is really lovely.
Peony is another good companion for roses. Unfortunately, I’ve forgotten the name of the white one above. But the flowers large and quite fragrant.
A new wave of rose buds have started to emerge now, not as profuse as in late spring. I’ll keep seeking rose companions and in the meantime, the echinacea and garden phlox are in full bloom.
A Good Time For Planning: Flowers For Pollinators I
Snow came down two days ago accumulating just three inches. Today the garden is still covered with snow and the temperature dropped down to just above 10°F. It’s a perfect winter day for bird watching through the patio door. Since the ground is covered with snow and the sources of water around here have turned to ice, they congregate around our feeders and heated birdbaths. It’s also a good day to start planning for the next growing season.
The plant catalogs have been piling up. I have picked out a couple of new vegetables I want to try and am now looking for flowers that bees and butterflies will like. A new Cosmos ‘Cupcake’ looks very tempting. I have already put 200 crocus in this autumn. If they haven’t all been dug up by the squirrels and chipmunks they should blossom when spring arrives. Any new plants I choose I make sure will benefit all pollinators, not just honeybees. If I have to pick and choose however, flowers for the bees will come first.
Here are some plants that work for our pollinator garden and I start with flowers:
These are just some of the flowers I managed to photograph with honeybees on them. There are many more flowers that they like- crocus, snowdrop, Black-eyed Susan. Next post will be on herbs and vegetables that I allow to flower, both as a pollinators food source and as the next season’s seeds.
Summer will be here in two weeks and I can feel the heat in the air already. One day the temperature was hovering below 50º F and I had to wear a sweatshirt in the garden. The plants just stalled in their growth. The next day it hit 80º F and even wearing just a t-shirt it was too hot, but plants were shooting up all over the place. As much as there is an endless list of things to do at this time of year and never enough hours in the day, I still love this time of year the most. Life has renewed itself in the garden. There are some disappointments of course here and there. The Wisteria has only a few flowers, not a lovely waterfall of flowers as it did in years past. Clematis Montana and Lilac, both the common one and ‘Miss Kim’ blossomed less than usual. The Hydrangea has taken its time to sprout, coming up from the base so I don’t expect any flowers this year and I don’t see any new buds on the old branches yet either. They’re probably still struggling to shrug of winter.
Even with less flowers so far this year there’s still plenty of color and scent in the garden. The Columbine has never ceased to amaze me. This year there are more and more new colors and forms that I know I didn’t plant. Since I let birds and bees do the pollination, it’s always a surprise. It’s also a good year for irises.
Watering the vegetables a in the morning is a lovely time to be in the garden, with lovely scent wafting in the air and birds singing. This is the time of year that no matter how late I get home, I make it a point to go out into the garden and breath in the perfumed air while listening to the crickets and peepers performing their nocturne.
I woke up this morning to see snow falling outside. The temperature is cold with no wind so the snow stayed on the leaves and on the ground. Lucky that I’ve gotten everything I needed done in the garden before the weather got cold and snow fell. We insulated our beehives only last week, good for us and the honeybees. We also put up a cold frame for the first time this year and getting it in last weekend. We weren’t looking forward to hammering poles into frozen ground! We can now grow winter vegetables like Kale, Swiss chard and Arugula in there. I’m not sure how well this will work but I want to try growing hardier vegetables year round if I can.
Anyway the sight of snow on the ground, trees, leaves and flowers is a reminder of the omnipresence of beauty year ’round.