Holiday Weekend Flowerworks

Holiday Memorial Day weekend means extra time to work the garden. The man put the finishing touches on his stone layout, then we were off to purchase a rose bush (Neptune) to add to the blue/purple theme. I was then able to finalize our backyard garden and get plants into the ground.


The kids of course were on-hand to clown around and check out the new plantings.

Once the yard project was done, it was time to take stock of what was blooming…

Late spring blooms

Despite all the excitement that 2 new furbabies introduces to the household, I did still get to witness some really cool blooms decorating our new front yard landscape. The tall red cypress, red columbine, Crimson Pirate daylilies, and Picasso callas are just some of the vivid sights now showing their colors. Even the waterlogged gardenia managed to push out some blooms…

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The highly anticipated Pumpkin Pie Coreopsis in bud and bloom was slightly disappointing for appearing mostly like a typical tickseed, just with a little more orange in color:

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Yard crash progress as of 3/28

It was a back-breaking, sore-all-over labor to work the north-side shade bed and start the task of planting groundcovers and creepers in the stone pathway. But we accomplished a lot over the weekend, including our final tree selections @ Chambersville: a shantung maple and a Viridis japanese maple, both 30 gallon specimens. Due to the wet weather so far, Chambersville won’t be able to deliver our new trees until sometime mid-April.

Before pictures:

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After pictures:

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We mulled over the idea of adding blue glass to the marble rock river winding down to the path from the gutter. The man also wanted to add a marble rock feature to the front bed, but I’m not as open to the idea.

Plantings in the north bed: Carex Everillo, Hosta Fire and Ice, Astilbe (x5), Lime Marmalade heuchera, Foxtail fern, Cedar Sage, White Star caladiums (x3), White Splash geranium, green oxalis (white-flowered), Hort Couture Glitterati Ice Queen, wild red columbine, Sugar Plum heuchera, Japanese painted fern, Hort Couture Plum Crazy oxalis, Contessa Burgundy geranium, black mondo grass.

Plantings in the north path: Platt’s Black brass buttons, scotch moss, irish moss, variegated oregano, roman chamomile, Grace Ward lithiodora, Archer’s gold lemon thyme.

Wagon o’ Plants!

Temperatures peaked in the low 80s on Saturday, prompting a flurry of gardening excitement and run to the nearby nurseries. Strong’s and Home Depot are represented in this wagonload of plants. (By the way, this is a great idea to showcase small, planter-sized plants–I may have to shop around for a metal wagon to add to the garden decor!)

On the wagon name list: zonal geranium American White Splash, hybrid verbena (multi-color), verbena “Superbena Royale” Peachy Keen. Homestead Purple verbena, Limemound Spirea, Lemon Chiffon Coral Bells, multi-colored thrift, licorice plants, and boxwood basil.

Another impulse buy at Strong’s which I hope I won’t regret are these beautiful Songbird Bluebird columbines which I will plant in the blue bed and heavily mulch.

We accomplished plenty this Saturday. Weeds were pulled, much of last year’s debris cleared. Our compost bin got a good turning. Lawn got a good low cutting, and we plan on getting some weedkiller down this week. Many of the plants we bought previously finally got planted in their respective spaces and we even discovered some oldies making a comeback. More on this subject later.

Limemound spirea, thrift (armeria unidentified cultivar), licorice plants went into the front azalea bed. Lemon Chiffon Coral Bells and Curcuma roots went into the front shade bed. Asparagus and boxwood basil into the veggie garden bed (I had emptied spinach, cilantro, arugula and gai lan packets into this bed earlier in the week). Various thyme plants made it into the cinderblock wall; however, I failed to care for the Pesto Perpetuo basil plants which perished when I put them into the leek row. Hot and spicy oregano cuttings also made it into the cinderblock wall.

March Blooms and New Plantings

A quick peek in the seed starting room shows first use of the new heat mat I recently purchased from Burpee. I’m hoping the additional bottom heat will help the heat-loving seedlings like peppers thrive. Of course, I can’t seem to have much success with starting oregano from cuttings. It seems I will have to continue to draw variegated oregano from root stock, at the risk of losing the original parent–because these herbs tend to be very sensitive to root disturbance.

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However, despite the dual grow lights my hunny recently installed, I’m not having the miraculous response that I expected. The peppers are still having a difficult time thriving due to the moisture. I need to find my bottle of hydrogen peroxide and spray down the soil to kill any fungus. I’ve also had to re-sow some seeds due to some non-responsive seeds.

The loropetalums are bursting into bloom. First up is the purple fringeflower. We also took some time to flank our newly pruned Midnight Blue rose with 2 small lavender flowered lantana. Hopefully these are the dwarf kind and will form a nice carpet underneath the rose. We also planted our Home Depot petunias (blue, purple and pink) in the border. With any luck, these will thrive and spread, forming a nice lush colorful border during summer.

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The blue bed is also seeing action. This is one of the most floriferous years I’ve seen Mariposa Skies iris in bloom. By my account there were at least nine buds on one plant. The irises must love this site. I dropped a couple of the creeping phloxes (Emerald Blue?) into this bed. Hopefully these perennial types will last much longer than the annual types I tried last time.

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The diascia “Romeo Red” I picked up from North Haven Gardens will fill in the void in the lily bed (I should drop the name since the lilies really aren’t thriving in this bed) while my dianthus cuttings catch up. I find that it’s easier to propagate the red dianthus rather than the white, probably due to the particular cultivar. I’ve also transplanted one of last year’s Chocolate Chip ajuga cuttings I had in a planter back into this bed which will hopefully continue to spread and fill in the border.

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The Oriental Limelight artemisia are bursting back into good health. I found that this particular pot had rooted into the ground, which I immediately moved to another location. The artemisia wilted but I have no doubt it bounce back. I was disappointed with the performance of the Charmed Wine oxalis and the one green shamrock (oxalis triangularis?) in this bed. Both the purple shamrocks have remained woefully stunted (perhaps due to lack of water) while the green barely clung to life. It particularly got buried when I weeded out the bed, dusted the area with Preen and layered with cypress mulch. It remains to be seen if the green will bounce back. But I am happy to report that my Origami red columbine from seed are still hanging in there. Three specimens are still living in the bed, though I have to take particular care to see that do better this year. Maybe some fertilizer?

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Snapdragons are cool! Literally, they are cold-weather plants and love this chilly early spring air. I think I will have to remember to plant them in boxes again next year so that I can look forward to late winter color. I believe these are the Montego Sunset snaps that I purchased from Stokes last year. They sat unmolested and heavily mulched in the blue bed after I had given up on them late in the year, only to have dug them back up late fall early winter and placed into a box, thinking they were a salvia sport. Joke’s on me. It’s been a real joy to watch these colors progress from rose pink to sunset orange.

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Much work went into the new veggie garden. I planted spinach, eggplant (Bride), arugula, gai lan, cilantro. I also transplanted some of the silver lemon thyme (which had reverted back to solid green), dropped some catgrass, Alaska nasturtium and common chive seeds in the cinderblock holes. Did I mention the leek cuttings also went into their new home? Next week I plan on adding the asparagus to the bed, after I decide on where to place them!

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Wishlist plant: Emerald and gold mint or variegated mint.