Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Well, it's the 15th of the month, yet again, and you know what that means...time for a roundup of everything (well, most everything) that's blooming at the moment.
As I'm sure many of you know by now, Portland (and most of the PNW) is having a nasty year. We went from something that could barely be called winter (really, just a cool fall) straight into summer, without even a hint of spring weather. As a result, the garden has been without any REAL rain for about 2 months. Summer has just started and I'm ready for it to be over! Oh well...things aren't looking too bad, for the most part...although I've had to water new plantings every few days...which is pretty annoying! Still...let's get going!
First up, a plant that does fine without any water at all, Teucrium hircanicum. To be honest, the plants I actually planted all died this winter (all but one, anyway), but they've reseeded heavily in the same area and the seedlings are indestructible...growing mostly in cracks of the sidewalk...much to the delight of bees everywhere.
Mixed in with the Teucrium are a few Scabiosa ochroleuca, which I had hoped would reseed a little...but, alas, not a single seedling is to be found.
If there is any flower that is dominating my garden at the moment, it's probably the Lilies...regal, colorful and not shy about it! Here we have what is perhaps the most fragrant of the lilies I have, 'Silk Road'. It's too bad I don't think the form is particularly great...but the scent is amazing.
Slightly less fragrant that 'Silk Road', here we have 'Anastasia', which makes up in beauty what it slightly lacks in fragrance.
'Scheherezade' has only the slightest fragrance...very sweet, but you really have to be close to smell it. Luckily, it's beautiful and VERY vigorous! I planted these this spring and they are good-sized already. However, the 3-year-old plant I have in the back garden is enormous...at least 8' tall...making me think I may have to move these this fall to a more appropriate place...they are going to be WAY out of scale here in a few years!
My favorite Lily, still, is 'Black Beauty'...alas, no scent is to be found...but the flowers are perfect...the form and color could not be better.
A runner-up for favorite Lily is 'Sarabande'...which is powerfully fragrant and has a great form.
And finally, a true beauty, 'Silver Scheherezade', which is not quite as vigorous as it's parent, 'Scheherezade', but has such exquisite coloring.
I have a few Oregano plants scattered around the garden, most of which are blooming now, which makes the bees happy campers.
I have such a love/hate relationship with the Fireweed (Epilobium) in my garden. On one had, it's beautiful, carefree and beloved of pollinators (plus, it let's me say I have at least a FEW PNW natives in my garden). However, it really wants to take over the garden...and pops up all over. Luckily, it's easy to pull up where you don't want it. This year, I decided to cut it back by half about a month ago, which delayed blooming...and it's shorter...so at e least it doesn't overwhelm the garden like it did last year.
While the Lilies may be the Divas of the Garden right now...I think summer really belongs to the composites...especially Echinacea. Nothing says summer like the Coneflowers, at least to me. This is my current favorite variety, 'Showoff', which has wonderful, reflexed petals (which I prefer to those that stand out more horizontally).
Being a seed strain, there seems to be a little bit of variation in the plants...which is great...this one has even thinner petals...more reminiscent of Echinacea pallida.
And then we have good ol' 'Magnus', which is a great Echinacea hybrid...very reliable and fairly vigorous...even in my garden, which provides far less sun than it would really like.
While I culled out most of the Knautia from my garden last year (they were just a bit too weedy), I have a few reseeded volunteers around the garden this year that I'm enjoying. Like the earlier-mentioned Teucrium, these self-seeded plants just seem sturdier and tougher than the actual plants I bought and planted originally. As long as they look good...they get to stay!
I've been on the lookout for Daucus carota all spring and finally found some a few weeks ago and Portland Nursery. It'a variety that actually blooms in shades of red from deep claret to soft champagne-pink...I'm hoping they reseed around so I have them in perpetuity!
In the category of "not-quite-blooming", we have Sedum 'Blue Pearl'. Previously, I had a few 'Matrona' in this spot...but they declined over the years and I decided to replace them this spring...we'll see if they far any better.
To be truthful, the entire front parking strip is far less robust this year...and I'm not sure why...was it the too-warm, too-dry winter and spring? Is it the constant barrage of dog pee? Oh well...I just keep trying!
Geranium 'Rozanne' isn't quite as vigorous this year without it's constant supply of rain...but it's no slouch, either...I can't imagine not having this beauty in my garden.
I've loved Sanguisorbia for years...but they don't always love me back...and seem to be very slow to establish in my garden. Still...these 'Tanna' are finally blooming decently...and I love them.
A close look at 'Tanna'...love those little dark spots of contrasting color!
Another Sanguisorbia, 'Pink Tanna' is much more robust than 'Tanna'...and much bigger...about 3' tall and wide, compared to 'Tanna's relatively diminuitive 18". The blooms are delightful...but I wish they were darker when they faded...still...not complaining!
Both of the Salvia 'Amistad' that I had planted in containers returned this year...much to my surprise! Both have been blooming now for over a month and the hummingbirds couldn't be happier.
While I've seen them blooming for weeks around Portland, my Rudbeckia are just starting up...such great, easy-going plants...and such a perfect contrast to the adjacent Geraniums.
While my poor Persicaria 'Golden Arrow' has been sulking in our hot, dry weather, 'Firetail' is bigger than ever! I'm not sure why...but it's huge this year and is throwing out these glowing scarlet wands like there's no tomorrow.
The little Liatris plants I put in this spring are still pretty small...but just started blooming...can't wait for them to bulk up over the next few years!
In the midst of everything else, I almost missed that the Echinops have started blooming.
And then there are the Agastache...'Blue Boa' being the best performer this year, for some reason.
'Blue Blazes' is usually a beast of a plant...with huge flowers...but it seems a little stunted this year...not enough chill, perhaps?
Another recent planting...Ammi majus...here's to hoping it will reseed like the Daucus ;-)
Well...this post is getting ridiculous...so let's wrap up with a few wide shots. The North Border looking east.
The North Border looking west...
The Front Border looking north...
The Front Border looking south...
There you have it...a little catch-up on what we have blooming right now here in my garden...for more floral goodness, head over to May Dreams Garden...and Happy Bloom Day!
Friday, May 15, 2015
Here we are, almost unbelievably in the Merry Month of May...not even just starting...the middle of the month! Spring has been fitful but pleasant...and we're finally settling into a pattern of cool days and pleasant nights (good sleeping weather, to be sure). While we've had some dry spells during the past few months, we've been getting fairly regular rain, thank goodness, and the garden is filling in nicely. Without further ado...here we go!
If April is all about Tulips, then May is the season of the Iris and Allium. I inherited 4 or 5 different varieties with the house and have slowly been thinning them out so I just have a few of each now...instead of a million of one type and practically none of another. The bicolor one in the foreground is my favorite...very floriferous, but delicate...and with an intoxicating fragrance, to boot!
Another legacy Iris from the previous owner, I really love the delicate creamy-yellow blooms.
And yet another Iris we got with the house...which bloomed for the first time a few years ago, to my surprise...a delicious, deep, velvety purple!
I also have quite a few Iris I've purchased from Schreiner's over the years...but, admittedly, I've quite forgotten what most of them are...so, let's just enjoy the show...here, a really nice bicolor in the parking strip.
This one, I believe is 'Dracula's Kiss'.
An Iris that Norm piked out (even though he swears he doesn't remember, 'Sultan's Pride'.
And the last of the currently-blooming Iris (the late bloomers are yet to come), another wonderful bi-color...just ending it's bloom period.
Most of the Columbine in my garden have crossed and ended up in various shades of yellow...when I saw this yellow/purple (pinkish) Columbine at a recent plant swap, I snapped it up!
The other flower that really dominates the garden right now is the Allium...I have quite a few and just keep adding more...like this tall, white variety (maybe 'Mt. Everest').
Allium 'Globemaster' is my go-to Allium for most spots...great color and stature...and high enough that you can really see it over plants as they grow taller.
My favorite, however, is the shorter (I do wish it were taller) Allium cristophii...just love those amazing exploding fireworks of metallic-lavender blooms...and they dry beautifully, lasting all winter if you're lucky.
One of the newer Allium varieties I planted a few years ago, 'Graceful' is anything but graceful when it first emerges, looking like nothing so much as weedy grass, however, when it blooms, it's pretty spectacular.
Thanks to their overlapping bloom time, you can enjoy Allium and Iris together...and they make quite a pair.
And while it's nothing like the spectacle at Joy Creek, I'm pretty happy with how the Allium in the front parking strip are starting to multiply and create quite a show.
Of course, there are also the not-quite-alliums, the Nectaroscordum...which I adore...with their romantically dangling, duskily-colored petals.
Randomly, I also have purple culinary sage blooming (I know, you aren't supposed to let it bloom, but oh, well).
Persicaria 'Purple Fantasy' has tiny little off-white (nearly pink) blooms that are barely noticeable...but are a nice little pointillist features.
The oldest of my Amsonias is reaching massive proportions...love it!
I've finally managed to secure a volunteer Queen Anne's Lace in the garden (Daucus carota)...here's to hoping it re-seeds and becomes a perennial member of the garden...but not a pest!
The blooms of Lamium orvale aren't the showiest in the world...but they're nothing to sneeze at, either.
Geranium season is also upon us...with 'Anne Folkard' leading the way...
...and good ol' 'Rozanne' joining the fray.
If you don't have a Baptisia, you need one...this is my favorite, 'Purple Smoke'.
I actually removed most of the Knautia from the parking strips last summer after they fell apart and looked dreadful. Of course, they will always be with me in the form of self-seeded volunteers...and I can't complains...there are worse weeds out there ;-)
Another plant I often toy with the idea of removing, Sildacea oregana...which, while lovely, is a bit on the sprawly, lanky side. However, it's one of the few natives I grow in my garden...and I need at least a tiny bit of "native cred", right?
A plant I thought had croaked over the winter, Monarda bradburiana, was just VERY slow to emerge (like 2 months later than usual). Of course, I had already purchased replacements...which are now blooming, several weeks earlier than the returning plants. There is quite a bit of variation in the blooms. This one, with hasn't actually pushed out petals yet, has really colorful bracts.
This one, just opening, is a darker pink than usual.
While those fully-opened blooms on another plant are the soft, clear pink I remember...time will tell if these are all just variations...or stages of opening.
Like the Monarda, the Astrantias have been slow to wake up this year...and don't seem quite as vigorous as I remember them in years past...still, some are starting to bloom, like this 'Roma'.
I loved my blue Camassia so much this spring that I decided to plant more this fall...but I got impatient and bought some already-growing a few weeks ago at Portland Nursery. They were labeled as 'Danube Blue'...but, upon opening, are obviously not that! Still, I actually really like these, so it's a happy accident.
While I'm sure I forgot a few things, that's most of what's blooming...so it's time for some wide shots...this is the front border looking north.
The same looking south.
The side border looking west.
And the side border looking east.
The Side border walkway...finally completed after removing the privet last fall.
And a wide view of our whole corner property (new paint job and all)!
I hope you're haivng a great spring so far...especially as summer is practically breathing down our necks...although, if we're lucky, the rest of our spring will be cool and pleasant before the heat arrives. Happy Bloom Day...and for more posts, visit our host, Carol, at May Dreams Garden.