Friday, May 22, 2009

Wisteria at last

It seems like this vine, which has been blooming in small increments for the past 3 years, has finally hit its stride. Full disclosure: from where I sit in the garden, it really looks more like this:

But I can see that more blooms are coming on the shadier patio side and I think it will get more floriferous there. They will take longer to come, but thanks to the shade they will also last longer (which is why I still have tulips). As I mentioned in another post, in late April, I got on a ladder and randomly hacked away at this, mainly to reduce its incursions on my neighbor's property. You are supposed to prune after blooming, but after I did that I had more blooms than I have ever had. Coincidence? I think not. Though the time elapse between cause and effect does seem too short.

Regardless of which side it is blooming on, the scent is heavenly.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A temporary garden acting like a real one

It doesn’t seem right to discuss flowers and Bloom Day without mentioning what’s been growing and blooming in the Show House garden. I’ve enjoyed watching our temporary garden develop as the trees, shrubs, and perennials get bigger and come into flower. Even the veggies are flowering—which isn’t supposed to happen—but they look pretty. Those we’ll keep and hopefully whomever gets them will whip them into shape.

Some of the more interesting plants include the two dogwoods, the fothergilla, and the trollius. The garden is pretty much in full sun, so everything is advanced. All the plants are healthy, and we’re pleased to be giving them back in such great condition to the nurseries who lent them. And glad not to have to worry about watering them anymore; the viewing period ends tomorrow. Sadly, nobody ever looks at this side (the back) of the salvaged door panels, where the trollius and tiarella are.

These pesky little pots, though cute, have needed constant watering throughout the viewing period, the tree bags generally need filling and every other shrub and perennial is in a container as well.

Above you can an idea of what some of the plants looked like when we started and what they've become, though I don't have exact matching shots that would do that, unfortunately.

The other stuff

It has been tulip season on the GWI property, as this post demonstrates. But there are many other longstanding stalwarts of the spring garden that have been providing pleasure over the past weeks.

I bought this pulmonaria last year, and have been steadily adding spring-blooming perennials with good foliage to shady spots (as I remove pachysandra). It’s in a bed with hellebores, astilbe, hosta, and so on, all common shade plants, but more interesting when mixed. And by this I don’t mean they necessarily look better; sadly, a solid bed of the same plant is more restful on the eye. If boring.

Elsewhere other workhorses like the sweet woodruff are doing their reliable thing. And just imagine, my wisteria is in nearly full bloom! Against most wisdom, I mangled it pretty good with some dull loppers a couple weeks back and it seems to have liked that. Most of the blooms face the south, so are best enjoyed from the alley, not the patio, but there are a few that I can actually see. Yes, it still needs a lot of trimming, but it's difficult to get up there.

Predictions around here are that everything will be two weeks early, but I’m not so sure. People say that every year. This day-late Bloom Day post is a chain reaction brought about out friend Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

I even have pansies.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Last gasp of spring

At least as far as my property is concerned. When the Norway maples fully leaf out, that’s it for the front (grassless) yard. And that’s why I go nuts with tulips at this time of year, and why I am happy to treat hybrid tulips as annuals. May is the only month that I can have a semi-colorful front garden. But that’s probably the best, because tulips should be a front garden type of flower.

I grow a lot of species tulips that do perennialize, but I have never seen species tulips as big and vibrant as these (above). They are the t. vvedensyi. I wondered when I got the bulbs—they were much larger than the average species bulbs. Yes, I realize this picture looks like I photoshopped it in, but the digital camera cannot handle these colors. They’re just too bright. Could these possibly come back year after year? They don’t even look real now.

Elsewhere in the front garden areas and stoop, I have Blushing Lady, Mrs. Scheepers (not yet out), Queen of the Night (in front containers), Orange Princess (front containers), and the remaining Spring Green viridiflora (near the vvedenskyi).

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Cleaning up the hood

Actually there were only eight of us, so we just managed the east end of Allentown’s main business street. It starts with a corner garden (of sorts) that has a large expanse of grass, a few trees, a cement/tile triangular planter, a walkway, and a shelter in the form of a hyperbolic paraboloid. It’s a neat little space, though many feel a building should be there. Here's a better image of the corner planter in high summer.

Long ago there were some wooden raised beds that were demolished by the owner of the lot. I worked on them, and also on some tree beds that are still there—sort of. I was amazed to see that some white parrot tulips I planted around one the trees 9 years ago were still blooming. That would never happen in my front yard.

After the wooden beds were gone, some architecture students (the ones who built the planter, walkway, and paraboloid) hauled marble remnants to help fill in the space. I like them, and they looked especially good today, surrounded as they were by muscari and dandelions.

So I admired them for a while, and then it was back to sweeping up cigarette butts and clearing out winter debris.