Monday, May 30, 2011

Taken for Granted - Almost.

As gardeners, we are so busy in April and May – acquiring new annuals, getting them in the ground or in containers, maybe adding a perennial or two, cutting dead branches out of shrubs, cleaning up the last of the winter debris – that we pay scant attention to the plants that are “just there”. The shrubs and perennial flowering plants that we, well, take for granted. They cause us no problems, they require little or no attention, and while we spend our outdoors’ time with new Daisies or Daylilies, transplant Basil, Tomatoes, Cosmos and Impatiens we have started from seed into our gardens, and figure out if it’s time for the Pansies and Violas to go, they keep our landscape beautiful without any participation from us.

This morning, I decided to photograph a few of them. My garden is richer because of their presence.

This Germander has not looked this good in years. Some years it's stalky and woody, with more brown than green in evidence. I've owned this plant for eight years already -- since before I had my current garden.

Acquired as a small shrub in a one-gallon pot, this Viburnum is now huge. It took several years for it to bloom, but for the past two years it has been spectacular, covered in white blossoms early in the year. It is now showing an inclination towards berries in a few months. The birds will be delighted.

Last winter's red berries on this Nandina cheered up my garden on even the dreariest days; the coming crop looks equally promising.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

If you planted a Zinnia seed . . .

. . . and this popped up, would you be surprised?

I was! Here I was, watering trays with Zinnia, Butterfly Weed, Ageratum and Nicotiana and when I came to this 9-cell black-plastic one and saw something move, I knew it was not a Zinnia seed that had germinated!

Not the first toad of the year to make its appearance in my garden, but this is probably the last place I would have expected one.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

More Herbs!

An "antique" tin container, freshly planted with (from lower left) Lavender, Tarragon, Chives and Thyme, is my newest adventure with herbs. They, and many others in my garden, come from Cheryle and Ray Maddox's farm.

A huge bed of Lamb's Ear in full bloom at the farm.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

It Feels Like Christmas!

The day a shipment of trial plants arrives is as exciting at my house as Christmas morning to a 6-year old! Today is such a day. Santa Rose Gardens in Gulf Breeze, Florida, sent me two grasses (Panicum ‘Northwind’ and Pennisetum alopecuroides), two popular perennials (new varieties: Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ and Coreopsis ‘Jethro Tull’) and a true-and-trusted hen-and-chicks (Sempervivum Hardy Mix).

Here they are:

They arrived in great shape.

Looked better, upon unwrapping, than many others I have received from other sources.

And here they are, refreshed and happy, in the company of two Sedums and an Astilbe.

Today they are resting in the shade. I will plant them tomorrow or Thursday (depending on the weather) and I will let you know from time to time how they are doing.

Grow What You Eat

When I attended a presentation by Barbara Barker earlier this year, and learned about her “dirty dozen” list (the top 12 most contaminated, by pesticide residue, fruits and vegetables), I determined that I should plant a cherry tree in my garden. Well, you know how it sometimes goes with good intentions . . . I did not do it!

Then I got an e-mail just now from Keith Howard, alerting me to a list of ten easy to grow fruit trees. Cherry is on that list. So, my determination has been reinforced. A cherry tree is not at the top of my “to buy” list for the fall.

In the meantime, I will enjoy the blackberries and blueberries I am already growing.