Thursday, July 23, 2015

Rain, Rain, Go Away

While Indiana has been breaking rainfall records, the poor garden has been suffering. Tomatoes have never looked worse. My one year old bittersweet vine has shriveled up. Rhododendrons are dropping leaves as well as wilting. All of this is because of standing water in the over saturated garden beds.

This rain has also made it very difficult to get any planting done. There are no flowers in the Cutting Garden as it has been reduced to mud for over a month and a half. Impatiens have waited patiently to find a home along the path of the Shade Garden. Perennials are standing in trays that must constantly be dumped of water while we wait for the ground to dry enough to plant them. Overall this has been a bit of a difficult growing season.

Finally on Monday we had sun. And Tuesday we had dry conditions. Wednesday and today, more dry, sunny days. So perhaps the sunflowers and zinnias will go in after all. We will just have to wait until late September or early October for flowers. My motto has always been "better late than never" when it comes to gardening, so I guess Sunday I will concentrate on rows of sunflowers and zinnias, as well as new rows of beans (for some unknown reason only wax beans have germinated-the bush and pole beans never sprouted) and maybe some new patches of mesclun.

All the while I'll be hoping the weather has turned for the better.

The Shade Garden was saturated. The path had standing water for days on end, and I'm afraid we lost two Japanese maples due to all the rain. I am going to wait and see if they come back, but so far the leaves have all shriveled and or dropped. My Southern Magnolia is rather haphazardly stuck in the middle of the path. I'm still not sure what I am going to do with him in the winter, so for now he's staying in his nursery pot.

I've begun to consider a koy pond for the White Garden.

Strolling along the Hydrangea Border and you are likely to lose a shoe. This also makes me worry about the peonies in the opposite bed. So many places need to be raised!

The overgrown Vegetable Garden has basically been abandoned since all the rain began. Normally the back would be a lush row of vigorous green tomato plants. This year it is a sad, droopy, blighted plot.
More standing water. In a raised bed.

A sick little tomato plant. This bed received brand new dirt and compost this spring, and it's been three years since the tomatoes were planted in this spot. So very frustrating. 

Mud. Damp. Mud.
Even in usually dry places the ground just couldn't hold anymore.

Thankfully there were some moments of beauty as the sun came out.

Every year I want to rip these out because they are usually covered in aphids. The one benefit of the rain, it seems, is the lack of aphids!

The poor Cutting Garden.

Some cosmos volunteered from last year's seeds have grown, but the ground has never been dry enough to plant any seeds.
Hopefully this Sunday Junior can help me plant instead of helping create mud holes all over the lawn.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Springtime in the White Garden

 Several years ago, inspired both by Martha as well as Vita Sackville-West, I embarked on creating a White Garden. To my surprise it's been easier than I expected to focus on one color and fill this small garden (probably the smallest of the gardens) with a variety of plants. Foliage is just as important as the flowers, maybe more so when dealing only in white, but it does create a rather magical place. The flowers are visible later in the day, and it makes a nice place to gaze upon in the twilight.

These were taken over a few weeks. The azalea is just now beginning to open, and the white allium are growing taller and taller stalks. The delphinium has been lost, but a peony planted last year is promising a nice showing. Of course I would like more ferns and hosta, and astilboids would do great here. Maybe a white clematis...

The White Garden is in a rather low spot. The sogginess of spring snow melt and rains doesn't seem to affect the 'Thalia' daffodils and low growing 'Snowdrop' anemones. The poor bench used to sit in the midst of the garden over the planting of lily-of-the-valley, but needs repaired. More snowball viburnum and a rhododendron has taken it's place. I love the low concrete planters filled with white impatiens.

Approaching from the North entrance to the garden. The grass path separates the White Garden from the larger Shade Garden. The anemones have spread nicely.

A tiny white columbine. I'll scrape away the mulch to make sure the seeds reach the soil.

Even past their prime, the 'Snowdrop' anemones are cheerful little flowers.

'Mount Hood' and 'Thalia' daffodils lead the springtime charge (after the snowdrops), but are followed closely by tulip 'Purissima'. I plant more and more white tulips every fall as they aren't reliable perennials.

One of my favorite flowers. The scent of lily-of-the-valley in the rain is even more heady than their already intoxicating scent.

A snowball of blooms on the viburnum.

The lilac didn't make a great showing this year. Only a few blooms. I think I should have done some pruning.

This!!! A mislabeled white rhododendron. Unless it fades to white he is getting moved. The tag is still on him! "Pure white blooms" ay, yi, yi.

I just can't resist them! They will soon go to seed, get cut back, and bloom again, with a little less vigor, in the Fall.
Looking over the White Garden from the Northwest corner into the regular Shade Garden. Nest there will be hosta and astilbe blooms. The Japanese painted ferns will be fully leafed out, and the obedient plants spreading throughout will fill in any gaps. I still need to get the rest of the impatiens planted, as well as some white begonias to help fill some of the gaps. I'll keep you updated on the process!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Garden At the End of April

Yesterday I was rather under the weather with a Spring cold, but then my Dad called and told me he was getting the yard of dirt I had been begging for for the vegetable garden. Time to get a movin'!

It was actually a pretty quick chore, and we could have used at least another half yard, but we are set to begin planting in earnest this weekend. Everything already in the ground is up, which makes me that much more eager to plant some more! Here's a look at the Garden in all it's ever changing Spring glory!

I always plant a row or two of tulips for cutting in the vegetable garden. The dirt (a mix of top soil, peat, and sand) was mainly for the large bed in the back of the garden. The raised beds in the front section were already amended with compost and will just get a bit of this new dirt mixed in.

A large clump of borage has self-sown in the very center of one raised bed. Alas, I'll just have to plant around it.

Some shelling peas emerging.

More radishes.


Leaf lettuce 'Black-Seeded Simpson'.

The chives are getting buds!

And the sweet peas planted along the chicken wire fence are all up. I actually found another three packages that I should probably find a home for.

Ferns are unfurling in the Hydrangea Border.

And the primroses continue to grow and amaze me. I've never had such luck!

The Shade Garden right now is a mix of daffodils, hellebore, primroses, a few tulips, and some fritillaria. Soon it will be all columbines, lily-of-the-valley, peonies, iris, and allium.

Not a ton of blooms on the still small white lilac, but it's still exciting to wait for the buds to bloom!
Another look into the Shade Garden.

The path is becoming much more evident as everything matures and spreads.

The west end of the Shade Garden. The edging of muscari always makes me smile, and all of the lighter green leaves around the base of the tree are lily-of-the-valley! There are also some fritillaria I forgot I planted here and there in this section.
Some of the split corona daffodils down in what is basically the "Yellow Border". Forsythia start the show, followed by the long row of five different varieties of split corona daffodils, and yellow Asiatic and Oriental lilies end the show.
Oh! And some yellow primroses!
Looking back toward the Shade Garden, which is rather sunny in early Spring.

One of my favorite flowers of all.

Lily-of-the-valley! So close to opening!

This was the best year yet for the fritillaria. Most of them are tucked under the long row of pink-cupped daffodils.

More fritillaria meleagris.

One more look at the primroses. Love them! I've bought a bunch of red and hot pink ones to add to the mix.

The little white trillium grandiflorum

I think this is technically a yellow trillium, but the flowers are always second to the leaves. It is happily spreading! I believe there are seven sprouts this year!

Another fritillaria. I couldn't resist, I'm so happy to have so many.

Over in the perennial beds I'm eager to see this fritillaria persica bloom! There is still a lot of work to be done in this section of the garden which is laid out in more formal beds than the rather casual Shade and White Garden.

The plantings aren't formal, however. More borders of muscari edge beds full of iris, red hot pokers, peonies, delphinium, cone flower, geranium, allium, etc. etc. More like a formal cottage garden.

A planting of rather red tulips.

I cannot wait until the quince is large enough that it won't miss a few branches to bring inside in the Spring. I think two or three more years should do it.

Lilies are coming up everywhere and seem stronger than ever! These are a mix of Asiatic and Tiger lilies.
Some of the more lovely tulips get pride of place out front.

A glorious golden peony-flowered tulip.

A mix of peony, lily, and Rembrandt tulips.

And last but not least, the giant Korean spice viburnum is blooming by the front door. I have several small branches on my night table preparing me for sweet dreams.