The rain had quietly moved in, drenched the ridge, making each plant in my overgrown perennial fairy gardens look saturated. Each leaf soaked to the veins. Some of the flowering stalks of plants now incredibly heavy with the combination of blossom and moisture an additional burden on the stem that usually houses a blossom and fat bottomed bumbler.
The colors of each leaf in varying hues of green and texture. Spikes of Crocosmia like thin sword blades. Jutting from the centers of their leaves, crooked stems that have little tight buds all up to the tips. And some of those have already blossomed. George Davidson is a deep, bright orange yellow. The flowers are huge. Then the more reddish orange of the Montbretia's from Dian in Oregon thinned down dramatically since the deeper freeze we had last winter. The remaining corms jumped to where they felt more protected, and are making more corms under the rich soils, even as I gaze at them, soaked.
The blossoms hold up pretty well, but the red Crocosmia, Lucifer, doesn't. His blossoms are more closed up and looks like flying red birds. Because Lucifer is so much taller than the other ones, the rains are weighing the leaves to fall sideways. This tells me they need gentle hoops of grids to guide them more upright until they form a mass and colony of them in a few years up the road.
The patch at the entrance of the overgrown woods room have all leaned northwards. Like red birds in masses on the tips of all those stems, leaning from height, with moisture from all the rains,from winds using the height of the plants which is almost five foot to finally lay them northward-- and not paying attention to their fast spring growth, I neglected to provide them with adequate support.
You see them not only because they're screaming RED, but because of the amount of blossoms that are cranking out despite their proneness. Makes you want to run down that steep slope and grab them all up and TIE them to something to get the magnificence of how tall these things really are.........sigh. But like a spacey earth cadet, I have let them do their growing unhindered and sporatically checked on, while being distracted with the other seven beds up above these last two.
From running like a lunatic down to these red blossoms, I trudge up the now slippery pathway that is barely there. The ?? grass like weed that is intent on conquering my slope is everywhere. My mower long deceased, it will take hand ripping or garden raking to remove it. Again.
Everywhere things are just bursting with growth from the spring and summer outside. Surprises everywhere. I have a Euphorbia (I have many, some tender and spiney, needing winter repose inside, others of a hitchhiking from a digging of Mary Emma's in years past. If you dug up clumps of her perennial's, you hazarded a deffinate chance of getting not only the perennial that had grown to such huge and healthy proportions, but you also probably got a reseeder, some bulbs and a volunteer.
I got this Euphorbia which is hardy for us here, from her. It's nicknamed the Poinsettia Euphorbia. The leaves are shaped like a Poinsettia leaf, it's very green and dark like the Poinsettia, and when the little miniscule flowers start forming in the centers, the inside of each leaf starts to turn an orange red, making it look even more like a Poinsettia leaf.
I have it growing from a crack in front of the downstairs door that leads to the laundry/den/computer cave and pathway up the stairs to the main house. I keep wanting to pull it out and transplant it somewhere else, but have left it to slug it out with oldest son who steps outside frequently. I figure it will survive and reseed somewhere else for next year.
But upstairs on the deck that is off the kitchen and faces west the narrowness doesn't hinder me from overloading the walking space, the railings, anything I can with pots of various plantings. Hosta's that benefit from the shelter of the young maple I'm trying to encourage to go on and grow past the roof so I can keep it there to mature into a decent tree to replace the Pawlonia with.
Lots of healthy, lush growth in almost every pot on the deck. Last year's plants were busy being sown with seeds from the previous year's growth and some had quietly ridden inside in the soil of the cacti and succulents, others had been sheltered under other perennials in the experimental windowboxes of last year.
In the "chicken, peace rock" garden, and in another fiberglass pot that looks like a cement planter, also planted in sedums and some hens and chicks, last year's portulaca I had tucked into spots, had died back to the pea gravel I mulched these gardens with (that Micki taught me to ensure return of these sempervivums)spent a winter all hunkered down sheltered by hens and chicks, little rocks and exposed to western winter suns, and northern breezes. Now SURPRISE! Reseeded portulaca's in colors I have no idea yet, but are budding.
Kalanchole under the old steel BBQ sitting on the steel plate has recovered itself, had died back to stumps and pitiful leaves edged in brown from the dry air. I see little stems with tiny buddlets on them rising from the protective folds of the lush new succulent growth.
There are pots of hosta's in varying textures and colorations. I'm babying these new hosta's their first year to grow in rich, amended compost. I'm learning the fine art of soil tweeking. A little Ironite, some compost which is already black and rich, a little greensand, some peat moss mixed in to bulk it up a little bit. June Fever, a yellow leafed sport. Paul's Glory, Guacamole, Patriot from a root a dear friend sent me, an unnamed sport from Sagae which I hope wow's me when it's three.
I glanced over towards the western yard, more lit now because two Pawlonia limbs had to be removed after all the moisture and rains were the undoing of the new growth from the water soaked pods. Every huge foxglove like blossom that quietly bloomed this summer, set seed and now each branch end has huge grape like bunches of these pointy green pods. I went out the other day only to notice that the Vitex bush (Chaste tree) that was in full bloom, was looking "odd". It was because the Pawlonia had broken a couple of major limbs, but the skin of the limb was keeping it attached to the rest of the branch and it was lying on top of the Vitex's branches, bending them, but not breaking them.
I had carefully moved the branches over and let the Vitex slowly straighten itself out. I might have to rope it tight to cinch it up and give it strength if the rains continue. But after I called the electric guys out to cut the branch, this time when they arrived, they brought the truck with the bucket, (unable to get into my side yard because of all the ornamental shrubs and raised boxes) AND the chipper! They cut the branches off closely to the tree, and then dragged all the limbs and threw them into the chipper. Now there's more southwestern sunlight and it reminds me that I eventually will have to remove most of the branches of this old tree.
Now with the area more lighted I see the fig tree is loaded with figs, the branches are reaching at least sixteen feet upwards, and barely, thru the large lobed leaves and figs and branches, I see a flash of pink. One of Zhan's pink flamingo's she brought me two years ago when she came up and visited. The one residing in the tree is looking downwards from it's perch in the crotch of the many branched fig trunk. The supporting dowel that normally holds it upright in a garden long rotted away, I decided it was too neat and large to replace the dowel for the moment, and out of desperation, had placed it in the fig tree. It resides there still.
You don't quite realize there IS a pink flamingo in the fig tree unless you duck thru the entrance of the western yard, under the boughs of the trumpet vine, past the forsythia bush, under the branches of the fig and almost collide with a stone like bird bath that blocks your path a bit between the two gardens.
Everywhere there are signs of twisted crayons. A lot of the petals coming out from their protective calyxis' look like twisted crayons. I've seen this before, but right now they're really noticable. Pinkish purple, my beloved "pirkle" phlox I saved near where an old house had been removed along highway 25-70 has rebounded from lifting, shoving in a trash can, potted up, divided and plopped into any hole I could find.
Each little bud is twisted up like a purple lipstick, the outer edges of the petals lined in a darker purple, showing the twist in the emerging blossom.
The compostite flowers fold their petals over the central cones, and spring open after a soaking rain like this one. The white Becky daisy I plunked into the sidewalk bed is starting to show signs of settling in. I can't assume anything. Time and next year's return will tell me if the new plant for that spot is acceptable. I hope so. The white breaks up the green so well, and if this plant survives, it will mingle with the hot oranges of the triple daylilies.
The color combinations are amazing. Deep orange with magenta throats, startling white with buttery yellow eyes, Shouting yellow drooping petals with green eyes, orange bells on the Crocosmia, Bruce daylily which has a deep red petal and a soft yellow orange throat that compliments and picks up on the Crocosmia and Quanzo daylily. Then there's the silliness of the Jester like Monarda's that have a yellow orange George Davidson crocosmia against it, and a purple monarda that is blooming next to the soft fuzzy slipper catapillar like blossoms of the Korean spirea that are blooming again since I pinched off the spent flower ends.
Raspberry pink flowers again on the Crispa spirea, and near them, a stray clean pink blossom of a hardy reseeded Geranium that Mary Emma had grown from seed years ago. Looking thru the tangle of the Loosestrife that is being munched by Japanese beetles, and the fleshy leaves of the 4 o'clocks, I see little dots of pink from the Columbine leafed meadow rue.
The new salvia isn't blue like the Blue Egnima, which has slashes of blue flowers all over it, but is a royal purple that I can hardly contain myself as I hope it establishes like the blue one and fills out under the boughs of the Korean spirea.
Color pops everywhere. The only color I'm missing out of the crayon box is black. Had the black stemmed daisy that Dian had sent me a few years ago survived, I'd have that. But seven of the eight colors aren't bad.
When you look thru the screen in the bedroom towards the driveway, you see them all. And now the air is heavy with the first rich fragrances of the Harlequin Glory bower stars. As you stand at the rounded wall, what you smell and what you see are totally different. The flowers are hidden from you above your head. But your eyes are drawn by the pink lips of the first early blossoms from the perennial begonia's.
With all this rain, and moisture and fogs and humidity, the begonia's are thriving like never before. Lush and almost jungle like, they're tromping down the slope from underneath the black cherry tree.
Goofy looking Cat's Whiskers (Cleome) are bobbing amongst the pirkle Phlox, the pink and soft pinkish white picked up and complimented by the pinkish purple. Jutting thru the middle of the foliage of all this, a couple of white butterfly bush flowers, and foaming near the knees of the phlox, yellow corydalis which has bloomed now for months. I'm still in shock that it's bloomed so much and for so long. The little yellow britches are so neat, and the foliage is holding strong. With all the secret flyers, I'm sure I'll find little seedlings next year like I do the columbine.
My tangient thoughts return to the discovered treasures of sowings of the corydalis from last year in unexpected places. One in the washed soils from up above that settled at the feet of the wall where the original plant bloomed last year, draping over the wall and dropping tiny little seeds which in turn were tended by loving fairy hands until I spotted the unmistakable leaves of this corydalis shining up at me when I had to relocate the pink butterfly bush when youngest son started building the nook deck.
All along the wall, are four plants. All reseeded from the original, so it must really like it where it's at.
There are so many moments of peek in these chaotic gardens. Everytime I think of changing it dramatically,it shows me that it works like it is at the moment. I can tweek it a little bit, add a new perennial in a spot and hope it adapts to the clustered and claustrophobic gardens, but other than removal of vinca, and the unwanted flopping 4's that spring up intent on leveling any unwairy perennial to the ground with it's heavy, succulent leaves and stems, it works.
Pots of quaking oat grass with a volunteer purple loosestrife, broken pots planted in moonlight sedum with reseeded wild white daisies in the corner of the crack and a blue clips campanula. A pot of asters and black eyed susans with strands of dianthus and a stubborn carnation wad.
Daylilies that are finished, the Siloam Little Fairy finally finished and there are just a few soft sherbert pinkish orange blossoms left on the clump beside the driveway at the corner of the sidewalk.
Behind the house, the double althea's are all flaunting petticoats for fairy balls to be slipped on. Double purple ones with deep maroon throats, softer pinkish gathers with maroon eyes, a Peptol pink skirt with deep rose pink eye, and an old fashioned white skirt with deep pink eye and shades of purple mingled with it.
Beneath these, Ajuga is spreading the bronze green leaves, and the Sum and Substance is girthing up.
One of the things I'm discovering is the compatability of some plants to multiple places. And Hosta's seem to be very resilient with exception to plantings in pots, and I've just not found the perfect container yet for a small leafed one, is all <g>.
The evening is drawing closed, the lights are now fading on the brighter flowers. The tones of reds and oranges are more somber, and the white daisies beside the sidewalk are more prominant. The evening hummers are supping from the blue chalices before bedding down in their tiny nests.
The wren who has made herself a nursery nest in the little blue window box that is hanging on an old window hanging shelf unit is sitting on her four perfect little eggs waiting for her fledglings to hatch. Her little striped face with the little beady eyes peer up at me, hoping I don't make her flee her charges. I put the weedwhacker back on the hook and go quickly so as not to spook her. I want her to know this is a safe place for now. She'll have to move her babies once they get hatched and fledge. Dropping to the dogrun sidewalk would be detrimental for them, as Piquito is a voracious hunter.
But the position of the nest is right behind all these flowers and seeding Heavy Metal grass and Quaking Oat grass and all those Japanese beetles and tasty catapillars for her to snap up. I've watched her from my window in the early morning. She stretches out, and flutters into the foliage which is like her own personal jungle and snatches up cabbage butterflies and other morsels and then flitters back to sit again on her eggs.
The chunk of moon is lighting up the sky for the first time in nights. There's been so much rain, all there has been is just soft grayish black. Tonight there are actually signs of stars and a planet shining out from the tapestry. The visual scented by Glory Bower flowers, some honeysuckle and backed in loud throbbing choruses of the cicada's and tree frogs. Loud enough to cut thru the open window, but enough to encourage me to open it a sliver to let in the sounds at night.
Thanks for allowing me to share this with you.
Madgardener up on the noisy ridge, back in Fairy Holler, overlooking English Mountain in EAstern Tennessee, zone 7, Sunset zone 36