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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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 Sméagol 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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