Just a June day in the cluttered Faerie Gardens


Well it was just another overcast June day in the cluttered Faerie gardens of ol' maddie, the mad one. The day was a phone day. It kept demanding attention like a two year old with a fudgesicle in one hand and reaching for the cat with the other.
Once again a perfectly good overcast day despite the intense humidity and hint of heat slipped past me to murder the masses of vinca major. I am so frustrated. But after I bounced off the walls, ran a useless errand that at least revealed the tax people weren't open but once a week (tomorrow, of course, but it COULDA been worse, it could have only been open on Tuesday........) I returned to feed and water oldest son before careening off the interstate highway to fling him towards his job.
The flowers along the roadside beckoned me to think, think think of those magical words that trickle out my fingertips.
The images popped into my head. It reminded me of the country road ripping I did Tuesday when I went to Diane's house bearing horticultural offerings and a few other surprises.
The beloved and familiar roadside images jumped out at me as I ripped down Valley Home Road towards Diane's little square of paradise. The efficient younger mowers had obviously been along at some time, sad to see. The edges of some parts of the country road were mowed closely. I could see great absences of the ditch lilies. But in lots of area's, the steep embankments were lit up like little white suns, by the thousands, of late spring daisies. All along the embankments and punctuating the ditches and edges of the roads in tufts of exclamation points there were too many to fathom. Some individuals making obvious statements, lush, leggy, and looking like individual bouquets. Others in great swaths of bright white with the clean yellow centers barely holding their own because of the purity of the white petals in many, many individual stands that having seeded in such vast numbers, they looked like rolling, climbing waves of white splashes.
I was amazed and since no one was behind me, I slipped into cruise mode and took it all in. It's been too long.
The absence of daylilies in ditches was dispelled when I started seeing a single or three or four persistent flashes of orange like some punk jumping out of a crowd as if to say "hey, you missed me!!! "As I came to the remaining open pastures that sit in front of older brick houses I started seeing more and more area's of these white daisies. And like knobby, purple prickly heads, thistles were starting to color up. Groups of them like gaudy skin-heads, quietly slipping into the masses of short but blinding daisies at their feet.
Then I started seeing embankments of pink roses in curtains, mingled with the Virginia creeper that blends in with the poison ivy that is too green and VERY obvious, even while passing by doing a good clip.
Since there aren't any shoulders along this road to speak of, but ditches, literally dropping off the edges of narrow road next to the asphalt, I started seeing scores and scores of green knobby stems leaning towards the road like they're watching the cars pass by. I breathed a sigh of relief, as I realized not all the ditch lilies were slain by the efficient younger mowers.
In older yards, I see great masses of roses blooming, and wish I was close enough to inhale their heady fragrances. The two story house at the bad curve has a wonderful Kousa dogwood that is probably 30 years old and it is shining out it's pointed star like flowers from under the protective boughs of a large white pine tree. The tree is loaded down with blossoms still.
Some yards along the roadside just back from the street I see punctuations of brilliant orange. Someone planted over 50 Oriental lilies and they're all blooming at once. The plants are at least three foot tall and the orange will almost put your eye out with it's intensity. It's a relief to see it.
Everywhere I look, the older houses have great mounding bushes of old peonies. I can tell if the owner is really old as they drive sticks in around the peonies with string tied to the sticks to hold up the stems and flowers once they grow and develop those huge blousy white flowers. They look like some strange corsets but they do the job no matter what they look like. in one yard, the owner has alternated along their large yard white, pink and deep reddish pink peonies and they are younger folk. I can tell this as they have put peony rings over the plants while they're dormant and the plants have grown up and thru the rings and you can't see them.
A house at the spot that could be a sort of iron cross and very dangerous requiring you slow down or wreck, has a more interesting planting. I see Shasta daisies, and tall Bee balm, not quite blooming but unmistakable. Liatris and different lilies dot the front of the house in blurs of color. Reds, whites and yellows. The corner of the house has a Crimson Bamboo that screams rosy red in the end of summer. Vertical striped Miscanthus, and Helianthus, and out a bit, a stand of double Heliopsis. This person is more of a select gardener, but seems to grow what does well for them.
As I pull up to the detour because of major road constructions, I realize I'll be going down a road I'm unfamiliar with. This will be even better, as I'll see flowers and shrubs I'm not used to seeing all the time. This is a road not really traveled before, even all these years.
As I turned up the first street, I immediately see dark cannas leaves with green stripes and purplish markings in a large clump, and white painted truck tires planted in red and white striped petunia's and magenta pink raspberry petunia's.
I turn a sharp curve where I cross a railroad track. The houses are shabbier but now I see hanging baskets on the wooden porches that are high up off the ground. The purple cascading petunia's light up the porch. Another curve and I see pots planted in bright red geraniums that are defiant in the bright sunlight. Smoke tree's all smokin' but not the purple smoke trees, but the darker white ones.
Old rose bushes that are bursting with blossoms, and everywhere I look, I see mimosa trees starting to shoot up and fill out with their tropical and ferny looking leaves. When they bloom the air will be sticky sweet with their perfumes. Not yet, but soon if this heat keeps up.
I cross another railroad crossing, this one a sharper curve and almost miss the way the road hooks to the right and see more older clapboard houses with tall porches, and a few chickens meandering around shady yards, hunting for bugs and such. This feels like home to me. I can't explain it, but it's taken me back to what is familiar to me when I was growing up as a child around my grandparents house, my great aunt's houses and some of my mother's people who lived just out of town. Chickens in the yards meandering around and hunting thru the grass and flowers just seems right.
Hitting the parkway that slices thru the landscape, I am soon at the exit where Diane lives and as I turn the corner, a pot of Hosta 'Paul's Glory' I had thought was safely tucked against another pot, tips over under my feet and the black soil I had used to bump it up in, spills on the car mat. Carefully not to put my feet on the young plant, I make sure it's not rolling under my foot, and I see the actual pot is reachable. I put my hand down and grab the half empty pot of soil and set it upright next to the bag with the Zebrina plants and the other pot of what I know now is asters that I mistakenly uprooted when I replanted a Penstemon a few weeks ago.
Sensing this wasn't a goldenrod plant, I left the root bound mass of young shoots sitting outside the pot on the ground for two days until I realized by the looks of the leaves that this wasn't Soladago, it was more likely asters I'd forgotten about. So I picked up the clump of plants that still held the shape of the pot and carried it over to the kitchen deck where my potting table is set up and gently tore the plants apart and planted clumps of each one in the quart pots that the sedums were in I got at Stanley's greenhouse awhile back.
Perfect. The roots almost breathed a sigh of relief and I mixed up a nice rich compost with a handful of Ironite and a dash of Greensand thrown in for good measure and potted each healthy clump of stems and leaves up with the intentions of checking out their progress later on. The rainstorm we had nourished them with rainwater and the massive lightening fed the leaves with air released nitrogen. The plantlets had not only recovered but were starting to show signs of thriving and bulking up. So I grabbed a pot of them when I was gathering up plants to take over to Diane's house to share the divisions. The color of the asters are unknown but they will be welcome.
Everywhere the brilliant green of the trees is evident from the nourishing lightening and rains we've had recently. The air is heavy with humidity. Summer is on it's way. As I pull up behind her car, I see morning Mexican's gathering on their front porch across the street. Their bright brown eyes shining back at me, I raise my voice enough to audible, and say "Ola! Comaesta??" and smile. Then reaching for the half full pot, I start scooping up the precious soils and gently place 'Paul's Glory' back in the pot, tamping up every black, damp morsel until my hands and fingers are smudged with blackness. I can't scrape another bit, so I sit the pot down, grab the mat and shake it out onto the grass, and look into the yard to see..............
Her yard is bursting with roses and perennials and just starting to get cranked up. The arrogant rabbit that terrorizes her yard is actually in the side yard near her carport as I pull up and he stops and looks at me and actually slows down. Not threatened in the least, the furry demon sits and looks at me as if to say "WHAT?????" I point out this gnawing furry slipper to her, and the thing actually stretches out in her neighbor's grass and make itself comfortable. Intimidated? Not in the least. I can almost hear it asking me "whatcha bring me to munch???? Those last Zebrina's were delicious!!" Bastage. Rabbit stew if it weren't so lean on the meat and wrong time of the year to eat it..........it wouldn't even be big enough to give me a mouthful. I flip it off and it continues to lie there gazing at me as if I'm just humorous to observe.
Unbelievable...
Time is brief this visit, but we cram in as much horticulture and chat as we can before she has to go to work. Not having eaten and doing my sweet iced tea thing this day, after begging a piece of bread (a wish sandwich, a slice of bread, and you wish you had some meat.....<g>) she throws some pasta and marinara in the nukelator when we step back inside, and as I relent and eat, I read from my beloved book, 'Pass-along Plants 'to tease her with some of the writings. I've also taken her my most favorite book to read for herself later when she has the time.
The visit is fruitful as she shows me the seedlings of the Aunt Ruby's Green tomatoes she's sown, and Gertie's Gold. And Black Prince. Late tomato's are better than none.<g> Her seed sowing abilities are more than evident. I hope they take off and start growing with wild abandon with all this heat and moisture in the air.
We admire the hosta's that are bulking up and she tucks the babies I've brought her in with other plants she is trying to find a home for. I can't help but admire the silvery seed pods on her Wisteria she has growing along the top of her four foot chain link fence. I'll have to remember to bring my camera next time to try and capture the images.
I leave, with her tearing out of her driveway, intent on getting to work on time. I'm hot on her tail, and as she wings towards the northeast, I turn and head west. Now that I know there are things about to bloom, I'm taking a better inventory on my way back home.
I was right. The ditch lilies aren't all mowed to the ground. There are lots and lots of them waiting in the wings. I only hope that they bloom before the young and eager mowers come by. I even spot stubborn tufts of Chicory at the edges of the asphalt. No blooms of sky blue, these have been shorn down several times. The growth now is heavily branched and desperate to set flowers in this impending heat wave with the encouraging humidity to egg it on.
I start to see great fuzzy stands of Hollyhocks with knobs of buds but no one blooming just yet. Colors will reveal themselves soon enough. I will have to return just to see what they are. Some of these thick clumps of hollyhocks are in the yards where the petunia's are. And everywhere great writhing clumps of heavily fragrant honeysuckle twining and tangling up everything in it's path. If it weren't for the obnoxious blooming privet that is tearing up everyone's sinus cavities, you could get drunk on the sweet honeysuckle. that's the tickle at the back of your throat as you inhale the thick, honey like smells, and the slight ewww mixed in with the honeysuckle.
Fences are laden with it so much that they almost leap out at you. As I slow down to take a bad curve that is more a bad angle, I have the window down and I inhale. Ahhhhhhhhh sweet honeysuckle. You can taste it on your tongue the fragrances are so thick on the humidity. Nothing like it in the world I think out loud.
Remembering a remark Diane made back at her house, I slow to take the turn at the little garden shed where the incredible honey is sitting on steps of display. Nothing blooming, and honey is dear. Just a few bears in squeezy bottles, and quarts. The labels of what they are have been crossed out where there is no more right now, and prices are lower. But Wildflower and Blackberry is still there and as I raise up to reach my back pocket, I see a sign of the times. A monitor and indication that they've had to put a camera because some people have taken the honey but not left money. (the locked metal box with the slit in it for the honest donations is bolted to the top step, not all country folk are honest). I smile at the camera, wave the money towards the monitor and fold it and tuck thru the slot. I've given them more than is required, but a few dollars for their hard working bees and love of bottling is not a concern for me. The little woman also has days she bakes home made bread and coffee cake and they put that in a box with hardware screen on a hinge. Wheat with honey is her best bread, heavy and perfect and large loaves. yummmmm.
As I cross the intersection towards my own house, I notice where people have scored the ground, and the clay is ripped open and almost bleeding red. The house with the huge swath of daylilies are all bulked up in leaves and there are thick stems rising thru every clump with fat buds almost growing before my eyes as I pass. There will be almost every color you can imagine of this row that is at least 200 foot or more long and four foot wide.
Irises are gone, but I spot a surprise that I missed. Someone has yellow flag irises that are crisp and lemon yellow. And this is a moist spot near an older willow because close by is a clump of Cattails. Awesome. The things I miss when I'm tearing up the roads. I realize I haven't enjoyed the daily visual reports because I'm not going to work along this route. I've missed many arrivals and old friends these past weeks.
Turning the corner to get home and tsk tsk over the butchered Southern Magnolia at the corner house. Every Southern Magnolia is blooming great saucer sized blossoms now. Their fragrances aren't as noticeable unless you stop and walk under them. Some of the trees are ancient. Huge ones are over 100 years old. Others are younglings and only 40 or 50, but they are blooming never the less.
I start to recognize the spikes of Joe Pye along the roadsides where the mowers can't reach. Blackberry bushes aren't visible now as they're quietly setting fruit. But this will be an interesting year to see if they bulk up and ripen. I saw more blackberry clumps this year than last in fence rows.
The pasture at the back corner of Wine Road to my house has Cinquefoil blooming along the edges, the soft buttery yellow is noticeable. Lesser white daisies here. More pasture grasses. The road turns sharply and starts to rise upwards. I slow to a stop and take in the view of English Mountain to the south of me at the perfect visible spot. No one behind me, I stop and inhale and once again am amazed at how every day it changes.
The road dips and rolls ahead of me and the small valley and gully area is green and inviting. The cow pond evident at the off center of the pasture on the western side of Wine Road. I take the curve that cuts thru the thick woods and puts the road into almost darkness. Then clearing as I drop down and shoot straight up the dead end and pick up speed. I see white flashes along the paved road as the Wine's pastures on the south side of the road drops down to dangerous levels. If you go thru the two strand electric barbwire fencing (as you pass by Barney the burro in the pasture across the road on the north side) you will flip your vehicle as it's a drop off, nothing gentle at several points along this road and pasture.
As I whip up the dead end road, I get to the top and level spot and take in the full view of English Mountain that Miz Mary shares with me and the neighbor across my drive that is behind her house and back pasture/yard. Glancing down at my mailbox tucked between the other two, I see I have a new pad growing on my prickly pear cactus. If Edward wouldn't weed eat it, it would be huge by now. The pink Acacia or pink locust trees are leafing out in their unusual leaves, and one bush is re-blooming.
Take the curve at the boulder that would ruin a good fender if you hit it, that sits behind her house's corner, and as the driveway straightens out, I see the evidence of her mower man not being around these last 5 weeks. The pasture is tromping up and trying to eat the driveway along the edges.
I've been closing the gates to keep the puppers inside the perimeters of mine and the other neighbor's land so they won't leave Miz Mary any puppy lumps, and the Zebra grass is already six feet tall. Thrusting out of each clump the Crape Myrtle is covered in red tinged leaves. I should have cut every branch back because of the massive damage done by the female 17 year locusts when they sliced and laid their clutches of 400 eggs in everything. It's too late now, I risk losing blossoms now.
Getting out of the van, I close the iron gates and stand looking at the sight before me. HUGE clumps of soft lavender and purple striped Zebrina's in groups. No Dame's Rockets. But two. In a fit and frenzy the other day I started popping off stems and before I knew it, I had removed 99% of them from where they had seeded themselves.
While they bloomed, I adored them. But before they burst those thousands of seed pods open to turn this hill into Dames ridge, I pulled all but two up. they'll give me enough daughters next year and the ones I pulled up will be tossed into the east side of my woods and see if they sprout.
Open the door and the dawgs pop out of the side like eager toast out of a toaster, they run thru the tangled and tight "doorway" to the side yard and gardens. The forsythia has thrown stems all the way to the trumpet vine. The Zebra grass and vertical striped Miscanthus I tucked in at the feet of the trumpet vine for contrast in textures is gathering strength. But the opening is almost closed with growth. No mower, I need to at least cut back the branches of the forsythia to widen the narrow entrance.
As I stood looking at all those Zebrina's all colorful and happy, I decided to check out who was blooming today. Boy was I in for a surprise.
I started at the NSSG because I wanted to try once again to capture the magnificence of Jackmanii clematis. As I stood at the bottom of the driveway in front of the short wall that makes up the bed, I noticed a completely different clematis blooming. Slightly crumpled in leaf, a pale washing of blue that made my eyes draw towards her, and four perfect flowers all gathered together as if holding each other close for protection.
The shot I strived to catch was elusive. But I kept on. The butchered and coppiced pink Buddleia from Grand Haven, Michigan has sprung back from it's major pruning and is rewarding my folly with great, thick stems that promise to wow me with flowers later on when I need them the most.
I parted leaves of the Fallopia and took in the survivors of the NSSG. A nameless hosta next to variegated Solomon's Seal next to the still tiny Bears Breeches that Zhanataya sent me years ago. I MUST remember to top dress this with some of that rich, finished compost and see if that jump starts it to grow lusher or if I should just lift it and PLANT it in the compost pile!
The stand of Blue Enigma Salvia is making beads of green pearls of buds drooping from the tops to hang over the stems. Others have slightly straightened up and have begun to reveal the little lipstick or crayon like deep sky blue, round end from each calyx. Others have burst forth and have thrown open their blue mouths to beckon the sippers and fliers to come taste of their sage like nectar.
Everywhere I encounter head tall ferny like branches of Sorbaria or False Astilbe plant. Some rise above my head even taller. (I'm 5' 4" to give you an idea of the height). This is a creeper. Another one. I seem hell bent on having plants that are creepers. Like the Harlequin Glory Bower. The original plant was lovingly purchased at the now no longer in existence, Holbrook Farms nursery in Fletcher, North Carolina when they had their moving up to Kentucky and goin' outa business sale at the end of summer. I bought several plants that were new to me, but established at the house and nursery. Seeing maturity was easy to help me buy these tiny hopeful's.
The St. John's Wort Hyperion bush was magnificent. Had to have one. Got a little four inch pot for a $1.50 and now it sits happily at the edge of the NSSG and on the start of the wall and soil that make up the postage stamp garden. And it's looking more and more like the one at Holbrook Farms Nursery, only it now has a youngling Glory Bower shoving thru it. It fits somehow, though. Glory Bowers are stalks with tufts of leaves that smell wonderfully of peanut butter when brushed up against or deliberately rubbed. And later on, the flower are gorgeous soft white with blushes of pink that are awesome and fragrant sharp vanilla that entice butterflies to lose all inhibitions and light and dance atop the uppermost displays. Lower trunks or thick stems are gangly and don't have leaves. So it's almost fitting that the fairies coaxed the Glory Bower to quietly grow thru the legs and skirts of the established St. John's Wort bush, spring upwards finally when I noticed it, too late to remove the young shoot.
The original Glory Bower died horribly because I had planted it next to the Sorbaria and the Mexican Jasmine (Mary Emma called it Confederate Jasmine) and in the same line along the concrete that bordered the grassy and tiny side yard off the boardwalk that led to the den and nook with the nameless baby dogwood seedling that was only six inches high. And the Cornelian Cherry that was labeled "Twig Leaf Dogwood" and also in a four inch pot for $1.50.
The next year, my friend who had gone on the field trip with Mary Emma and I (Delores) asked how my Harlequin Glory Bower had fared the winter, and I told her of it's death, and because her back forty perennial gardens were so lush and well tended and rich in soils, hers had not only thrived, but had started suckering immediately. So she dug me up another shoot and presented me with it. I'm eternally grateful, and wish she could see the survivor of hers as HER Glory Bower was long removed after she sold the bed and breakfast and old Federal house that was next door along with all those incredible perennials she grew up on the upper terraced acres behind the houses.
That shoot thrived into quite a nice little shrubby tree, and has gifted me with more and more flowers and dances from the visiting butterflies and hummer and other various fliers, but this winter, it seemed that it had been stricken by the colder tastes of a couple of freezes. No growth on the main trunk. After waiting until well into spring for signs of life, the second shoot filled out and leafed, and the youngling growing thru the St. John's leafed out sooner than even that remaining trunk, and I decided to cut it back.
After careful deliberation though, I almost planted a clematis at the base to utilize the three inch trunk, and decided against it and took the loppers to it. I stopped only when I got to shoulder level for some reason, and decided to cut the rest down later (I distract constantly, by the subtle whispers of the fairies beckoning me to do other things elsewhere).
It's a good thing I stopped when I did. Finally some life pumped upwards in the "dead" trunk and there are now fresh green shoots rising up at the cut junctures promising new stems!
The Black Cherry shade garden has slipped into a sort of semi dormancy and growth at the same time. The old fashioned bluebells I lovingly call Bev's "taters" have finally flopped their leaves down to the soil and I see great spaces where they lie decomposing to nourish the earth beneath them. The leaves have done what they are meant to do. Nourish the bulbs beneath to make more. Now they will break down and I will once again be tempted to plant something to fill up the spaces I see. As I stand there, gazing at the empty spots with the fallen straps of leaves, I notice that the fairies have already thought of this. Perennial begonias are starting to surge upwards thru the debris.
Mom's Nature hates a blank canvas more than I do. LOL The ferny clumps of astilbe have returned for me when I least expected them to survive after Sugar Dawg dug to Australia and are spiking their frothy flowers above the leaves. Looks like a white one, a red, hopefully. I will have to top dress this bed too just to encourage the astilbe to girth up more for me in the added soil around the base of the tree's roots.
The Tricyrtis or toad lily I bought last year, I think it's 'Tojan', has appeared as well. Not lost to the diggings either. I can't wait to see what the flowers look like in the summer's end.
Around the backside of the cherry tree and the newer additional part of the raised bed, I have removed all the dead roots and plants of the lithodora, Grace Ward, putting their spent bodies in the pots for return to Lowes to get credit (one year guarantee regardless is so neat! That's more plants to get......) and in one perfect hole, I gently placed the Fantastic color astilbe that was a bit overpriced, but well worth the investment.
This is the newer astilbe that gives almost four season enjoyment. New growth is shocking lime green with heavy texture of leaf. Then as the leaves mature, they darken to burgundy and have tall spikes of pinkish flowers, followed by fall color that is supposed to wow you as well before it dies back for winter. The darker and older leaves were what attracted me to the pot, and despite the pricey tag, I got one (I couldn't afford two......) and hopefully it will like this rich hole of soil and start to spread out for me so I can divide it next year.
This has been an experimental year for me for hosta's though. And I must say, I have more shade for them than I really realized. A friend gave me a piece of a little one called "Lemon Lime" that proved to be quite a grower. The small piece tucked gently and nurtured in a gallon pot for a year has shown me that it will bulk up quite nicely. It was actually large enough this spring to tuck under the skirts of the Lady Jane magnolia in one of the empty holes of the lithodora I pulled out. (the thread here is Lithodora's like semi shady semi-sunny spot, fast draining soil (but not TOO fast draining) that is kept evenly moist, but not TOO rich. I had rich, too fast draining soil around the base of the Jane magnolia. Perfect for bulbs and a few perennials like the Blackberry corydalis, but not the Grace Ward.
Knowing my mistake, and if I find any more lithodora's, I will plug them into a semi shady spot in the ground. Period. Where they will thrive just fine. No fuss. But the Lemon Lime hosta has gripped the loose, rich soil like a lover and has tripled it's size since I put it in the hole. I couldn't ask for more!
A transplanted columbine has kept it's leaves and is hopefully will settle in for one last year of growth and wow me with double flowers next spring before setting seeds, and the bulbs I've tucked into the little garden will return since they adore loose, rich soils.
I've worked myself over to the Jane magnolia, admiring the purplish pantaloon like flowers of the Blackberry corydalis, but have to admit to myself that I really like the yellow one much better. I hope it didn't hear me, because it is a most lusty plant. And can see it's cousin, the yellow one over on the wall under the overloaded grapevine trying to carry the Jackmanii clematis' many flowers.
Next to that wonderful clump of volunteer corydalis, I had tucked the variegated Tiarella with the nothing to write home about flowers. True, they ARE little foam flowers, but the true draw of this was the highly mottled leaves. I so hope it settles it's toes into the soil and do what they do so well, creep and fill in area's.
I had enough of the NSSG, noticing as I walked back up the driveway, that the clump of Butterscotch daylilies are making buds, even if they don't get enough sunshine. Now that it's so warm, I will have to watch the Japanese anemone leaves for signs of blister beetles.
The eastern end front garden has changed once again. Way too much Korean Spirea, I reached in and cut several stems a few weeks back, and that still wasn't enough. This bush is determined to take over the whole bed, and there are other residents there trying to thrive besides it. I do a sort of crazed American cottage garden, and there are trumpet lilies, a few remaining oriental lilies, purple monarda I would rather have a whole wad of, but even these tough little plants have to fight for room with the Korean spirea. A few remaining corms of Lucifer crocosmia, the pathetic Spice clethra that refuses to give up.
At the corner, a button spirea that is shy but refuses to die. Next to it, a nice clump of magenta spiderwort, or Tradescanthia I hope bulks up and fills out. And at the front corner, a clump of Stella d'Oro and another one of Siloam Ury Winniford that has just started opening up one deep cream bloom with the really large purple eyes and chartreuse throats that highlights that purple eye zone. It's quite startling to see it. To perfectly draw the eye is a Siloam Little Fairy planted in a pot not far where you leave everything here, to gave adoringly at. The flower of Little Fairy is cream and pinkish and has a rose colored eye zone and wavy and ruffled edges.
Tearing myself away from this, and noticing that the Pasque flower I tucked next to it has made seeds on one stem, I gently gather the foamy seeds and place them in the soil in hopes of germination. And see the pointy leaves of the black eyed Susan pushing thru the soil in the pot with Little Fairy. Stray seedlings of Oat Grass are carefully tugged out and discarded. One pot is more than enough of this tenacious grass I love so well.
Back at the Korean Spirea, I notice that Bruce has girthed up and is starting to set stems with little green finger like pods of future flowers.
I have been clearing the area near Bruce and dug out great tubers of 4 o'clocks and in their places, I have planted a clump of Tequila Sunrise variegated Coreopsis that will need trimming soon. Then near it, a nice clump of monarda and a bit further, Sunny Days coreopsis with dark eyes of deepest maroon at the base of each petal.
Standing and looking down at the newly added plants, I see more 4's that will have to be lifted, and a very happy clump of Heavy Metal blue gray miscanthus. Near that is Gloria's Wine and Roses Crinum that survived the winter and has started those great strap like leaves. And close by, the root of the ? Hibiscus that Virginia Davis had me dig up that I thought I lost. There are more to tuck in at other places to bulk up and thrive of a deep rose color. I fear I've truly lost Lord Baltimore though. I adored him and his deep red skirts. The Cumberland River hibiscus I dug from the banks of the Cumberland River are up and doing quite well. This variety is a wild flower.
Back around the front I have changed the parking area a bit. Since it is paved with bricks on their sides and was settled in powdered calcium carbonate, I have brought the metal bakers rack for plants and set it up beside the extended bed that now is my "Frakartii aster" garden. In it, resides red Oriental poppies, a pink bells hyacinth, the odd narcissus and crocus, a stray remaining stem or two of Physotegia or Obedient plant, some monarda of hopeful red flowers (I so hope this is where Mrs. Bradshaw moved to!) way too much vinca to be totally removed once and for all, and all around, I've placed my container plantings.
The bakers racks and the corner pieces have the surviving cacti and succulents from the den that made it. It was a hard year for my cactus gardens inside. I lost many many beloved and older members because I neglected them. And the ones that survived got the final insult. My older, sole female cat, Pye, discovered the huge pots with the single occupants and thought this was a wonderful place to drop a few kitty lumps or piddle. After moving the racks and securing them over the growth that is coming between the bricks, I started dragging the assorted wonderful pots of sedums and sempervivums to enjoy the sunshine they so deserve. Topping it off is my "Parking for Witches Brooms only, All others will be TOAD!! is shoved thru the wires to face outwards as you pull up after turning around to aim outwards in the driveway.
I also moved my mom's old weathered concrete troughs, one with the broken open end, that I but up against the other one, and have a perfect squarish rock that closes the end almost completely and is allowing a sedum to set roots and hold the soils.
Mike and I picked the troughs up and positioned them along the southern front and he picked up the other one and carefully set it against the first one and I started planting replacements for what was lost while they were shaded by the unknown dogwood and Cornelian cherry. The first to tuck in was Autumn Fire sedum. Next was the dark and mysterious Lynda Windsor. A new clump of hens and chicks, to accompany the trailing sedum that I never remember the name of that has already cascaded to the ground and will start taking root near the driveway now that it's in hotter and sunnier locations.
Spaces are filled with a soft mango colored ice plant. I hit bulbs that were resting, so I was careful not to disturb those too much and tucked mostly sedums in the remaining spaces, and now a few weeks later, I see they're settling in just fine.
The Frakartii asters are already leafing out to over two foot. The whole bed seems filled with them, which is fine by me. I just need to position grids over them before they start really rising upwards. And on the west side of this extension garden is a very healthy purple Loosestrife that has seeded a daughter in the little island that needs major removal of more vinca. In desperation I had cut all the stems back to gain at least temporary control until I can dig up each and every one for the hopeful last time.
As I stand looking at all this chaos, I have to feel a sense of pride that despite my efforts to have a lot, I have more than I realize. The remnant roots of the pink geranium that Mary Emma gave me of a variety she'd grown from seed has proven to be tough and able to withstand direct sunlight, regardless of what the books say about geraniums. I need to dig a toe up and transplant it to a shady spot and see if it would colonize that as well. The pink is very clean and beautiful.
Diane's orange Crocosmia suffered horribly this winter, but the remaining survivors hopefully will bulk up and make more corms. If not, I will beg more of them as I'm sure she has boxes of them in her Eugene gardens. <g>
Like I had indicated earlier, this is the year of the happy deep blue spiderworts. They have colonized everywhere. I will soon have to cut them back for re-blooming. For now I don't mind. I'd rather have them than the vinca that is persistent and taunting me with it's obliviousness to my removal last year.
Irises didn't do hardly any blooming this year and I remind myself as I look at their healthy swords of leaves to lift them later on and put them all in one spot and see if they bloom for each other in another spot.
The bed is bulking up with Herbsonne rudbeckia, Quanzo daylilies and 4's. Buried in the middle of the foliage behind the pink geranium, is one showing of Columbine leafed meadow rue. Goldenrod has tripped throughout the whole beds, but I've been removing quite a bit of it, and have only left a few stems for later this summer's end.
My Dragon lilies are now as tall as they will be, and making fat burgundy striped creamy colored pods atop silly green leafed stems that now need securing to ensure they don't bend or snap. Tall people like son or husband with a passing can destroy the whole show of one magnificent stalk without realizing it.
The Dragon's settled in a bit close to the sidewalk edge gardens and tend to lean over towards the sidewalk to get a look at us. I try to train them more vertical but they need more than just training. Finally in desperation and creativity, I had used two tall old rebar screws I took from my old high school before they tore it completely down as memento's and they are just tall enough to allow me to drive them deep enough in the soil nearby the large bulbs and then gently tie the thick stalks against them to pull them back a bit.
The ground cover has taken a vote and the winner is yellow archangel. Lamium. Everywhere. The silver and green leaves are a mass everywhere, under everything and thru everything. Weaving and winding thru every perennial in the western side front gardens, across the sidewalk to the eastern and trickling out and waving to you from the driveway. Threaded thru this, Houttuynia vine pokes up thru this with it's tri-colored leaves and white flowers. It's out matched in invasiveness. But it's appearance is random and welcome. I don't discourage it. I figure they'll slug it out and may the best ground cover win........
I've decided to excite the hummers and transplant a clump of Blue Enigma over to the eastern side of the bed for domination. Already their squeaks and squawks of pleasure of discovering the first deep blue trumpet and tubular flowers have met with rousing approval and welcome.
The beds are a mess, but I hadn't the heart to do more than remove some potential conquering and altering members. Dames Rockets moved in unannounced and threatened to take over where the vinca left off, but after enjoying their heady fragrances and loving their shocking pirkle flowers on branching arms that grew to over five foot, I started removing stems and after an hour of pulling and piling, discovered I'd gotten all but two plants removed. Those two will more than give me enough plants for next year's Dames,and now that I know what they look like, I can move them to places where I want them.
All kinds of surprises. The Sweet Autumn clematis has grown attached to the wisteria trellis, and apparently I had tucked a clematis under the back of the trellis near the old wisteria vine. It has shown me it's a young Jackmanii. Determined to show who it is, there are nine deep purple flowers clinging against the vines and leaves of the Sweet Autumn shining brightly out at me.
Shoving thru this curtain of vines, the single Kerria japonica has decided it would like to step out from under the trellis and show itself. I see shoots sticking out everywhere. The leaves are unmistakable. Then there's the walking soft white phlox that Mary Emma gave me that I finally got cut back in time to at least shorten it's towering height.
This year I have a new phlox that will wow me with it's brilliance. The old fashioned one that screams from older yards. I discovered a patch near where an old trailer used to be, and they had removed it after years, and one day I passed on the old road and saw the brilliance from the road and realized I was looking at the old phlox. So I went the next time with shovel in hand and dug up quite a few plants and put them in the trashcan to hold them stems and all. Potted up some, gave a clump away and planted two of the largest feet in the circular bed near the east end by my nook and den, and they're proving to be most happy with where they are now. And where I got them, has been totally bulldozed. So I feel as if I saved some old phlox from being lost.
The wisteria bed is crammed full of daylilies, fighting it out with Mary Emma's phlox, a Centauria plant, possibly a stokesia, (I haven't found the leaves or flower bud yet) I seem to have lost the Bright Lights Solidago, and the wild white Joe Pye, but the asters I salvaged at Mary Emma's are bulking up nicely and growing thru their grid rings. And on the western side of the wisteria garden, Bog sage is up, little tubular mouths of bright sky blue with white to embellish the blue are just starting. The Viburnum has settled in with spider daylilies setting buds, Gooseneck loosestrife here and there gaggling along, making goosy necks, and the occasional 4 o'clock that I still pull out. Dead in the center are a healthy clump of Mary Emma's Lady Bells campanula's or Adenophora's. I lifted a clump of these and put them in another spot awhile back.
I want who's in there, and there's no room for 4's here. They flop and kill with their weighty fleshy arms. I have them in other places to enjoy their fragrances. I snap their thick, fleshy stems as I stand taking this all in.
The enamel spagatti pot of Commander Hay sempervivum is making daughters, threatening to bloom as the central whorl of succulent leaves that look like artichokes is lengthening and the broken pot I placed a brother in has survived the invasion of white yarrow and is now fighting off a clump of grass that is obscuring visibility of it's magnificent fleshy leaves. A haircut is needed. I am aware that my mental "to do" list is getting rather lengthy......and I ain't got a pencil on me LOL....
Two pots of ice plants are struggling along from winter, one, a white centered with hot pink edges, the other is the pinkish magenta one. The geode pot that Avo made from concrete has semps in it, and I had moved them to a more sunnier spot.
Clearing out the Dames opened up the area more and I distinctly heard the signs of relief from the Chinese almond bush in front of the western front bed. And next to it, yet another clump of seeded Herbsonne Rudbeckia has appeared. To crowd the graceful spring blooming bush. Already too large to dig up, I can only watch and maybe tie up the floppy stems as it gets huge and hope it doesn't crowd the Almond bush too much until I can lift this new clump and plant it in another spot.
The two tree peonies aren't too happy with their location, so I'll lift the one and plant it in the NSSG and leave the other one at the back of the bed and hope that digging the hole deeper was not too disturbing and the reason it only gave me one blossom. Time will tell. The leaves are healthy, just puny on flowers. I hear the scratching of mental pencil on paper as I make more notations. I am insane. Truly mad.
In front of all this, are the most healthy and happy and loaded with striped plum and soft lavender flowers of the Zebrina malvacea. I didn't dig anyone up and only cut them back to get them to branch. And branch they did. And wow. It's the FIRST thing you see when you pull in the gate.
Right across the pathway from the asters and all this mass of perennials and vines, resides the magnificent and overbearing fig tree. I didn't prune the branches at all. It rewarded me for my folly by setting figs very early this year. I'll need a ladder to reach the highest ones, and fear the gigantic hornets will remember where the fruit is and give me a run for my efforts. Literally.
Underneath the arms, the Lemon Queen Helianthus has returned, only not as forceful as last year. The joke this year was the Arum came up in the middle of the fig. I could literally see the mottled leaves nestled between the branches of the tree and then the large spaths as it bloomed. Hilarious.
At the edges are attempts of other plants, but the fig is rapidly hording all the bed and box for itself. The greedy arms rise and suck up all the south and western sunlight and you can almost hear the wails of protest of the BBQ pit/fountain garden as the remaining occupants struggle to get SOME sunlight.
At the southwestern corner is a nice clump of Amsonia montanii and a clump of "I- refuse -to -bloom- blue eyed grass". A lone piece of Baptismia threading thru the Lime Spirea that is holding it's own on the northwest corner of the box that spills perfectly over. Some stubborn Oriental lilies of red coloration, but that are now fighting for sunlight as the fig sucks it all up.
On the corner of this box on the western corner beneath the Amsonia is another Viburnum. and behind that, a little Spirea. with some sedums straggling behind that along the edges.
Near the corner of the fig box, where the Helianthus is, I plugged in Mary Emma's Confederate jasmine and it loves me for it. I'll have to remove the Sorbaria piece. I'd much rather have the yellow flowering jasmine. The Sorbaria can go somewhere else to take over. More mental notes, I'm running outa paper......<gbseg>
Along the driveway I have gone insane. Where the Confederate jasmine is growing where I transplanted it last year after it lived restlessly under the Sorbaria and Cornelian cherry in the NSSG, I planted three of four lilacs before it. Next to THAT is Lennii magnolia and a young Lady Jane magnolia next to the remaining old forsythia that borders the other opening into the side yard. And in front of the Lennii is a Wine and Roses Weigelia and an Autumn Jazz viburnum. Two of these guys have to be moved and soon......................(not the forsythia as it's huge and would take two years to grub out). Right in front of the forsythia is a sport of the Zebrina's. Not plum and lavender, it's more pinkish purple with lighter plum stripes. Totally different from the rest, I can't even consider removal of this until I see seeds forming, and only then will I even cut it back because I don't know if it's from the gravel and soil or if it is a sport. It almost looks like Mystic Merlin only not as grape purple.
The orange sherbet colored trumpet vine which is another thug I never bargained for I brought from Mary Emma's is now setting flowers and a few have already opened much to the delight of the hummer who while flying away from his Blue Enigma salvia finds the just opened trumpets and has to taste them too. And then there is all that honeysuckle on the chain link fence to drive him further wild. Not to mention all the mimosa has started blooming earlier than normal.
Next to the trumpet vine I need to prune into it's umbrella shape, are the happy Zebra twins. Miscanthus. And the vertical striped miscanthus I tucked in front of the first to give different textures and thrusting thru the grasses, Crape myrtles. At the base of these, sadly is a tangle of vinca that will take me days to eradicate.......... One myrtle is red, the other is white. which is which bloom will tell.
Behind these grasses and myrtles is the western bed. The lilac bush has been trimmed and whacked as it's been encouraging it's shoots to pop up in the middle of the box with the blue spiderworts, Japanese anemone, Herbsonne rudbeckia and all those remaining narcissus bulbs. The happy discovery was the remaining Brodaea with that neat blue star like flower. And in a bare spot where Smagol dug the corner up, I tucked some festive zinnia's to fill in the spot.
In front of the lilac is a container planted with a stubborn mum, and another pot with English bluebells or "taters" and a red daylily. Beneath, in a galvanized tub, a lush growth of catnip and no sign of any of the rudbeckia's I planted around the backside. Rats.
Along the fence against the honeysuckle I have to watch closely, the Diablo ninebark is glorious but not as dark as last year due to the honeysuckle stealing precious sunlight. The suckle will have to go...........Next to that, a pot with a columbine that needs placing somewhere else. The fairies put it there before I could use it for something else. And next to that, the Heliopsis that Mike LaForest gave me a start of has returned. This one being the lost lance leaf one I used to have years ago.......... and the Pizzazz Loripedilum, and finally the magnificent and amazing Oak Leaf hydrangea.
Thinking back to the Pizzazz Loripedilum, I remember and go back to the front sidewalk cluster and sure enough, I missed them the first time. Another clump of purple loosestrife is starting to pink up nicely (time to really watch for those impending Japanese beetles) the Hummingbird Clethra is back and I still need to plant it in a nice thick concrete urn to raise it up as it's only three foot tall and being swallowed by the Lamium. The Cammassia has set seed and you can't see it for everything else. And Gloria hasn't reared her head inside the sea of silver and green leaves (the disco belle hibiscus that Gloria brought me).
Back to the side yard, I gape at the Oak Leaf Hydrangea and realize I have to find a lawnmower and cut the grass before it obscures the edges of this incredible bush. I check for honeysuckle and so far so good, just a poke weed and I pop it as soon as I spot it. It's definitely utilizing the compost pile next to it.
Across in the western bed, I have placed the urn that I planted with a wildflower and Husker's Red penstamon. The creamy flowers are flopping all over. I need to stake them thru a support hook. Lemon verbena isn't as intrusive this year, but still makes me stop and rub the leaves to release the lemony scent. I inhale happily and continue my observations.
Rounding back thru the narrow path between the fig and this bed, Diane's Love in a mist have started setting seed pods. And one lone Larkspur has sprung up at the edge of the bed with deep blue, light blue and white flowers. Maybe they will seed inside the bed for me next year. And in the middle, the Arum has already bloomed and I think I see the corncob looking seed head, if it doesn't mush out, it will turn brilliant orange before melting (Dutch Gardens has the best picture of this, so far mine don't last long and have only done this once). And the Japanese anemone are thick here and I remind myself once again to watch for blister beetles. One hatching and they'll eat the leave to bones in one night. I have to be ready with pyrethrums to blast their butts.
This bed also has Quanzo daylilies and deep blue spiderworts and one little clump of the magenta spiderwort. Across from this bed is the Vitex or Chaste tree bed which is more shady and sheltered due to the cedar tree I left in the fence row and the over branching Pawlonia limb that hangs above it.
Underneath the skirts of the Vitex is a Wide brim hosta and Nancy lamium. Hellebore and Ladybells that I planted two years ago are coming into themselves here in the shade as happily as the original clump in the western side of the wisteria bed behind the asters. Their blue purple bells light up under the bush with it's twisty limbs. I spent hours trimming off all the dead ends and tips after the locust bitches sliced it to pieces for eggs. A stray Crocosmia is up under here and it will have to be transplanted to a sunnier spot. And there are signs of perennial begonia under here as well. This is packed tight too.
There might be a small blue aster that Diane sent me a few years back. It hasn't run rampant, but I always rejoice that it's just showed back up again.
I've just about gotten as much as I could possibly see into my head and filled up my eyes with all sorts of flowers and textures when I glance over towards the dead mimosa trunk where I planted the Forest Pansy redbud, and she rewards me with the uppermost branches rewarding me with another vision of deep red stained glass heart shaped leaves. The deep blood red leaves are literally lit up by the sun and from my vantage point, look like fine, stained glass hearts on thin, dark stems gently moving in the breeze.
As I see this, my eyes are held in peripheral amazement, and my head turns to get a full view and there before me, just next to the Butt rock on the first terrace, is Blue Bird Hydrangea (Hydrangea serrata 'Blue Bird'), but I gotta tell you, blue has NOTHING to do with this awesome flower. The color is actually a somber shocking, electric pink that draws you towards her branches and holds you captive. The central flowers have little white pistils and the whole flower head is flattened. This lights up the whole spot.
As I stand there admiring her, I see next to her, the variegated Blue Lace Hydrangea is bouncing back from the nipping of cold temperatures this winter fairly well, but not as much variegation yet on the leaves. But it's setting flowers, never the less. Then under that, the Endless Summer hydrangea has three large mophead flowers in the softest shades of purple/blue/pink/cream blueberry you ever laid eyes on. And it promises to bloom all summer long? WOW!
Humbled, I stop right there, noticing that the Beauty berry bush is blooming all along each branch, and the Deutzia that Bro John sent me a youngling of is taking off and throwing nice thick stems skywards, so I'll have more flowers next spring.
The Sand Cherry's dark leaves contrast nicely with the shocking green teensie leaves of the Scotch Broom, and below off the natural terrace on the next level, the Black Knight Buddleia has great, dark purple flowers that waift warm honey in the heat.
Slipping up the steps, I pause to admire the growth of the semps and sedums in the mortar tub at the northern end of the deck. Orostachys and sempervivums (hens and chickens of several varieties) are making use of the rock garden I've built for them and bulking up this second year. Next to it, a glazed Bonsai pot has Voodoo sedum and a dark Hens and chick spreading slowly over the tiny pea rock I top dressed the soil with.
Above me, on the railing that overlooks the woods and the tops of the old Indian shot canna's of my dad's that are already eight feet tall, and the shorter Bengal Tiger canna's, a white windowbox I placed on the railing and have tried several kinds of plants, finally wound up with a fairy sowing of Feverfew that settled in last end of summer and wintered over. Now it's all bulked up in the good soil, thriving in the full sun exposure, with some unidentifiable African bulbs sending up shoots next to them. I hope with the heat they grow as if they are in Africa and show me who they are. I've forgotten (blush).
The deck is hardly walkable as pots planted up with all kinds of iris, bare root perennials, divisions of Hibiscus from Virginia Davis' house, Hosta varieties and assorted nursery stuff are lined up along the edges of the narrow deck.
My huge pot has a wire and five heirloom tomato plants that have tasted the soil, frolicked in the heat and sun and rains these last days and are now over the wire and need tomato stakes. I see flowers on one stalk. I don't know who they are, but I'll enjoy their fruits and have to remember to save seed for next year's crop.
Another smaller mortar tub is filled with soggy peat and a Variegated Japanese grass that I wonder would be happier in a drier bed. My mind never stops and I finally slipped back into the cooler house to record my thoughts before they trickled out my head and onto the floor.
My attempts at completely sitting down and writing this was sporatic and hit and miss, and before I knew it, almost a week had gone by. Spring had careened off the walls of everything and the thunderstorms and heat had moved in, and you could hear the fairies turning little cranks on all the flowers to open up faster, bloom sooner, bulk up quicker. The leaves were stretching and groaning, and thankfully a few days of overcast and nourishing rains with feeding lightenings had at least supplimented all this rapid growth.
I had another opportunity to go to Diane's and do some garden smoozing. This time, the trip to her house along the winding, weaving country road was more intensely colored and developed along.
ALL the surviving ditch lilies were opened up with mouths flung wide and orange with obvious throats of burgundy red that were visibile even from the van's windows above them.
Great streams of orange flames running along side the road with huge puddles of that incredible blue Chickory. And in lots of area's now, the Chickory blending with the orange ditch lilies, making the color combinations more than worthy of having in a single garden.
Along this same road, waves and crests of more and more white daisies like water, rising up the steep embankments and down towards those same ditches, evening out and spreading like water when it seeks level pastures. Water falls of pirkle colored old fashioned wild sweet peas, and rising, thick hummocks of soft purple crown vetch, intersperced by the lapping deep water blue's of thrice mown Chickory along the very edges of the asphalt to clinch the visual.
As I drove down the road, an upper pasture terraced above the road and leveled off that had huge puddles of yellow buttercup ranuculous wild flower's that looked like thousands of happy dots of dingle petaled waxy bowls. Rising abouve the wispy stems and waving in the breezes, capturing the rays of intense yellow from the sunlight that was beating down. They love the heat. The waxiness of the petals only makes these little wildflowers shine more.
Punctuations of instant bouquets of Catalpa trees. All the Catalpa trees were not only blooming but loaded with white flowers. A huge hand could just rip up a tree and shove it into an oversized vase and you'd have a bouquet!
Then another surprise! Bright, perky pink cups of Mexican primroses in those loose, floopy drifts along the roadsides and dropping down into the ditches to peak up from under the leaves of the ditch lilies in some places. Then lifting up thru the quilt of whites (of the Queen Anne's Lace which looks like lacy platters balanced on stems waving in the winds) blues, and oranges.
As I made the now familiar sharp turn at the detour, my eyes were greeted by another early, yet recognizable sight. It's the first part of June, and it now feels like high July or early August, but the mimosa trees everywhere are already blooming. The puffy balls of silky threads in pink and whites loading down the ferny tropical looking trees that are everywhere. They say it's an introduced invasive weed tree, but to me, the start of summer is kicked off by the blooming of the mimosa trees. And since we get cold enough winter here sometimes, the mimosa's don't have an opportunity to get as magnificent as I've seen them in their more tropical loving enviroment of Texas or Alabama or the lower Southern states. My first sight of a truely mature mimosa left me speachless, I had no idea they could be that large and wonderful. I still love them and wonder if I could stand not having them spring up wherever they want to in my yard to thrill the hummers and small climbing children who discover their branches are just rubber enough to climb up and bounce on on a summer's day.
With all this heat, I know the hatching will be stepped up. Soon the Japanese beetles will be out and munching on my purple (pink) loosestrife, and although I don't mind, I do love the delicate pink flowers along the tips of the upright stems. I'll never have a visual of what I saw them in their invasiveness and eye shattering waves of pink when I dug my own plant up in Kalamazoo, Michigan years ago. As far as my eyes could see was fields of shouting pink. The pink so intense, it DID look purple.
Despite that I am but a few miles from Douglas Lake, I know I can keep my own Loosestrife in control. I am surprised by it's tenacious and sneaky sowings. Usually it just jumps around, but occaisonally the Loosestrife fairy slips a joke at me and I find another plant somewhere rediculous. Mine are up front, three of them, punctuating the front beds and if I am on top of it, I snip them back so they branch more and bloom more for me. But I discovered a single plant down and behind the house near the woods boxes that was surprising. And I'll leave it because I want the color there and it will distract the Jap beetles.
And knowing with the Loosestrife comes the munchers, I also know I have to really diligently watch for the blister beetles. Those ladies are even worse for my flowers than the Japanese beetles. And I can't gather those in jars of soapy, oily water to drown.
With all this heat, I now have silly Jester heads of red monarda or Bee Balm. More and more spires of deep blue Salvia, daylilies making those popping sounds as the heat fast forwards them to bulk up and show themselves.
I'll not have to think about cutting back the spiderwort. The heat will spend the flowers for me as the stems will start reaching for the sky and flop about.
I'll leave you here. With me still finding more places to tuck in perennials. A white daisy called 'Sunnyside up' to brighten and hopefully take root and make a clump. I'm always trying to get a Becky or Shasta to settle into my gardens for white relief. The wild daisies do for me, mine are in pots, and I keep hoping they seed into the beds but unless they have the poorer soils they require, I'll be forever resigned to have them in pots, flopping about and cheering me up with their shining faces.
Maddie, up on the ridge, back in Fairy Holler, overlooking a hazy and sweltering English Mountain in Eastern Tennessee (where it's already 94o with a heat index of upper 90's) where it feels like zone 9 despite being zone 7, Sunset zone 36
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madgardener wrote:

Do you know the botanical name of the bamboo?
Thanks.
--

Travis in Shoreline (just North of Seattle) Washington
USDA Zone 8
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searching for it, and it's not a true bamboo, that's the common name. when I find it, I'll tell you, k'? maddie

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madgardener wrote:

Thanks.
I was really only interested if it was a "real" bamboo. I have about 16 different kinds now.
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Travis in Shoreline (just North of Seattle) Washington
USDA Zone 8
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well as far as I know, I only know the common name of it and everyone around here (mostly oldster's and the next generation up which would be people old enough to be my siblings and then my generation) call it Crimson Bamboo because it exactly looks like bamboo, only it's easily cut or broken, as it has segmented stems. In the fall it send up "flowers" or at least a grassy type of flower on top and at the junctions of the joints and it turns a bright, crimson. I've also heard it called Mexican Bamboo. I called UT Agriculture today and left a message, I'll try tomorrow only because I am curious what the true identity is. Inquiring mind wanna know, ya know? Now the people down in town (Dandridge ain't very big, despite that there are hordes of people moving in, I mean the business and "town" section isn't very large) who have an art business with neat hand crafted things like ceramics and glass stuff and window thingies and what not have planted TIMBER BAMBOO, and let me tell you..............some of it is now harvestable, as they've been in that spot next to the main road now for about ?15? or more years. Improved the house that they sell and display wonderful stuff in and live upstairs and down around the main floor. The timber bamboo is doing what it does..........it's growing westward. And the young shoots are strong enough they poke thru ASPHALT, and CONCRETE!!! The daughter who is in her late 30's (her mom and dad and even husband are involved in this business along with all the artists they engage for their wares) showed me shoots that were six inches thick at the base, nine inches tall and had sprung up overnight, literally. She goes out and kicks them over with her foot. She then pointed to one that had shoved it's way thru the STREET apparently thru a minute crack.........and Squire wanted some of this??? I think not!!! She worries now from her dad planting it for building fences and such from the bamboo when it gets to the "timber" stage which a lot of it is now, that since it's walking westwards it will soon invade the foundation of the house and business and she's not sure how to remove it (like most houses around here, it's built against a ridge and there is a full downstairs that is partially underground with three sides exposed on the sides and back, and this house is also two stories.)
The 38 foot pieces I cut several years ago when their neighbor on the east side of them and their business (our town is a mix of homes, businesses and such in the older established parts, more normal with streets and neighborhoods as you follow the roads that end in many, many coves all meandering around the huge lake that runs south along the whole town) whacked the bamboo that had eaten his steep driveway. I saw all the bamboo lying piled up on the other side of his driveway and it was free for the removal. I just stood there and cut the limbs off the bamboo before taking it home to use as stakes and such. Others were taking it for using for their pole beans. Beat the heck outa the local cane that grows along the moist parts of the countryside (our native bamboo)
sorry about the running ramble there. Cathy has offered me several times in the early spring some rhizomes of the timber bamboo and after seeing the huge scary shoots, I've firmly declined, and instead shared with her perennial begonia and other nice perennials for her's and her daughter's gardens. (the back lower yard now is literally a shadowy bamboo forest, which is kinda neat, but being in town, it will eventually have to be burnt or something, unless it blooms, then the problems will be over once and for all)
madgardener
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madgardener wrote:

The aggressiveness of running bamboo is highly exaggerated but precautions should be taken.
There are some very nice temperate clumping bamboos that expand *very* slow.
The only bamboo native to the US is /Arundinaria/ /gigantea/.
The bamboo flowering is not a 100% guarantee that it will die.
I'm looking forward to the identification of the "Crimson bamboo".
--

Travis in Shoreline (just North of Seattle) Washington
USDA Zone 8
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