Thursday, June 4, 2009

Surprises and New Adventures

First off, I have to say things seem to be moving slowly this year. We've had a fairly mild spring with a few exceptions, and so without a burst of heat, outside of the iris and azalea, things have been slow to bloom. However, there are some things that are now starting to pop.

Surprise! My blanket flower (gaillardia) is back. Initially, I thought it might be random Coreopsis - had to wait for a bloom to see what it was - when it popped red, knew it was the blanketflower. I think it is the 'burgundy' strain, but am not sure. I planted it two years ago, but it didn't return last year. At all. I didn't even list it in the plant file because I thought it had been frosted to death since it's out in the front unprotected from wind -- and it wouldn't be the first thing that didn't come back from a New England Winter. This plant pretty much took over my garden the first year I planted it, with hundreds of red blooms from planting through frost. So much so that my sister made me cut it back -- too crazy she said. Anyhow, here it is just blooming - Welcome back.

New adventures - I have a few to share. First, foxglove. Swampgardener gave me a seedling last year. I didn't think much of it - but this year it has been a strong grower. It is now in full bloom - see right. At 4 feet tall, I think it has a bit of Venus Fly Trap sense to it - and I'm constantly chasing my 16 month old away from it. So pretty, and yet so menacing. Did I mention it's poisonous?

I am trying out a couple of fuzzy foliage plants. Rose Campion, the pink variety, was one of my Garden Club purchases. A $3 bargain, it seems to have taken hold, though this is what is will look like (left - from Univ of Ill. Website) and this is what mine looks like now (below right) cross fingers. Around for hundreds of years, the rose campion is hardy to zone 3 and likes moist soil. Though it apparently is a reseeder, folks online are recommending staking (yuck) and oh yeah, it needs to be cut back for reblooming. I gots me a bargain! It's in the new back garden - where, after failing with the veggies last year, I decided I wasn't quite ready to relinquish the spot to the pachysandra. I've tried to find some things that work well in part shade; in addition to the RC, I added some variegated Hosta, Siberian Iris, a mystery plant (whole separate post) and a new 'Quick Fire' Hydrangea. See image below. I couldn't resist it in a troll through a new found local garden center. It was a "proven winner" variety, which I find consistent, and it already has bunches of blooms. Here is what it will look like in a few weeks (hey, I can dream!) courtesy of WFF.

I also put some lambs ear - looks very similar to the rose campion - out front after a mis-planting in deep shade - thanks Sis! It is perking up a bit, and from what I read, it can be an invasive speader, so I'll keep an eye on it.

I also planted the border around the deck - with a goal to hide the side of the rectangle that is our deck -- with some hosta, impatiens, and coleus for some mid-Summer color. Here's the view from the ground.

So my last add to this post is a question - more a call for advice - this hosta (strain unknown) was doing wonderfully in the sunny front yard until this year when something (!) started eating it from the bottom up. I'm not talkin' bugs, I'm talkin' beastie. Here's what it looks like now, and what it can look like - this healthy one is half a yard away in an area close to the house. I'm tempted to use moth balls to deter the bugger, but I'm not sure the plant will ever be the same. Any suggestions are welcome - short of a shotgun.

1 comment:

Swampgardener said...

My staychis just grows from the mother plant, no suckers or sprouts faraway, and it doesn't seem to grow that fast. Owen loves touching it, so maybe let D have a touch (it will keep her away from the foxglove).

I did some reading on the foxglove, and the leaves make you throw up (usually prevents the death part) if you eat them. And you can't get sick from just touching them. The poison has to bind with sugar in your stomach. So she can touch the flowers (just wash her hands before dinner).

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