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.
We weren’t able to enjoy our tree peonies in the last two years as it was either too windy or too much rain which brought down the flowers as soon as they opened up. This year, though we had a lot of rain, there was a brief period without and it coincided with the tree peony blooming. Not just us enjoying the flowers, the bees were also busy collecting pollen from them.
We have only two tree peonies in our garden as they grow very large and don’t like to be moved once established. The ‘Nishiki’ has been with us for 10 years and is around 3.5 feet tall. It usually produces around 15 to 20 flowers each spring. We look forward to seeing how many flowers it will produce each year since it produces more flowers as it gets older.
It’s a flower that’s worth growing. It’s not fussy and doesn’t need much attention, however, it’s a slow grower. The beauty of the flowers make it worth the wait.
The Earth gives us sanctuary and sustains us in all things. Aside from being a provider, she is also a designer, inventor and teacher among many other things. She is kind but can never be tamed. That last is quite likely what saves us all from ourselves in the end.
Today is the official first day of spring and feels like it too. Spring flowers bloom, birds start clearing their territory and look for nesting spots. Not much to describe; just happy that spring is finally here.
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.
It’s that time of year again: A time of colors and scents. The unintended Clematis Montana (Clematis Montana var Rubens) proves itself of worthy for any garden again even though it blooms only once a year. I can hardly see it’s leaves this spring. The pool fence is covered with the beautiful pink flowers and it has attempted to climb up the patio roof. We are still debating whether the scent is chocolate or vanilla. Either way, I have an urge to eat the flowers every time I smell them. I will be giving it a crew cut this year since it has been taking over other plants space. Guilt ridden just thinking about cutting it but for everybody’s benefit (plant-wise) it needs to be done.
I still remember the arresting scene of Wisteria (Wisteria floribunda) that made me want to grow one. That was when I walked under the Wisteria Pergola in Central Park when it was in full bloom. A sea of lilac pealike flowers cascaded down over my head and a powerful sweet perfume filled the air. I promised myself then and there that I would grow one when next I have a garden.
When I moved from New York City to the current address, I was lucky enough to have a neighbor who had them growing on her property. She offered me a runner years ago and I promptly planted it by our pool fence. It proved to be a mistake since it grows several feet a season, too fast for such a small spot. I dug it up and replanted it by a dead tree stump and put up a supporting pole to keep it straight up. I also prune it every year to keep it in an umbrella shape. It’s still too low to walk or sit under but it’s a lovely shape and it will continue to grow upward. I think it loves where it is judging by the way it blooms so profusely and twice last year too. The second time didn’t produce that many flowers though. Aside from the lovely flowers, the fragrance perfumes our garden from morning to evening. I guess it’s eye catching enough when the handsome young man who supervised a crew of men topping our trees asked me what it was and commented that “it’s stunning”.
One problem with growing Wisteria is that it produces a lot of runners. I have to cut them off every year. I also had to dig another one out from the original planting spot. This year I have to dig one more out from the same spot and I hope it’s the last. This one will be relocated to the front lawn. It’s almost like the Day Lily, if you leave even a just a small section underground it will grow back. But it’s still worth growing.
I really love this time of year when at every turn I see beautiful colors and the air is filled with a sweet scent. The ‘Kanzan’ cherry tree (Prunus Kanzan) in the front yard finally blossomed. Half of the tree is covered with white flowers; the other half with pink (it was grafted that way). This year the white one didn’t seem to be all that happy. The flowers dropped faster than they used to.
The Purpleleaf Sand cherry (Prunus x cistena) are also covered with flowers. This large slow growing shrub has a very interesting combination of leaves and flowers: deep red leaves and pure white flowers. But the best of all is the strong honey fragrance. The lone Dogwood (Cornus florida) in the front lawn is still covered with white flowers. It responded well to feeding in the last couple of years. So, it went from hardly blooming to profuse blooming and now produces berries for the birds at the end of the summer. I will have to learn when and how to prune since we now have to bend down to walk under these trees. But cutting healthy branches off the tree makes me feel a little like cutting my own limbs. We hired a professional landscaper to ‘top’ the trees that are too tall and too close to the house as it’s become necessary now. But, if I can convince myself that it’s just like pruning the roses…
Spring is finally here, though a little too cold for April. There are plenty of things to do in the garden and most of them are time sensitive. Cleaning up dead stalks, feeding, pruning, training, mulching, starting the seedlings…they all need to be done at certain times in order to be done correctly and to be good for the plants. Two days off from work, from dawn to dusk, seems to be too short a period of time to get them all done. Something has to go on the back burner.
I started seedlings like tomato and chili pepper at dusk and working into the night. After pruning, training and feeding the roses, I have other perennials that are waiting in line to be pampered. Then I sow cool weather vegetable seeds like arugula, radish, carrot, chard, kale and sugar snap pea in the garden. After all these chores, a good hot shower and a glass of wine, then I sleep like a baby. As much as I love to blog I have no physical energy left, though I remain mentally clear and calm and want to share what nature is providing me. So I apologize for not updating this blog in a more timely fashion. Call it planting season time requisition, for lack of a better term.
Here is one of my new acquisitions this year: a Blue Zebra Primrose (Primula acaulis ‘Blue Zebra’). It’s a lovely addition to my primroses.