The geums have begun to bloom. Their ruffly petals remind of Spanish flamenco dresses.
Siberian iris 'Caesar's Brother'
'Johnson's Blue' geraniums, Siberian iris, and tradescantia grow near a large 'Little Henry' sweetspire (background). The sweetspire foliage will grow greener as it matures. By the time it blooms, it will be dark green.
This popped up this spring next to a clump of blue and white tradescantias. I think it may be the result of cross pollination.
The annual anemone take over in my dry shade garden
These are beautiful thugs. After they bloom, I pull them up by the handfuls to keep them in check. They always rebound vigorously by the following spring.
Campanula 'Pink Octopus'
'Pink Octopus' grows alongside a bigroot geranium and 'Goldsturm' rudbeckia
My Westerland climbing roses are blooming!
'Night Owl' climbing rose shares a fence with 'Westerland'.
'Night Owl' climbing rose
'Abraham Darby' lounging in the loosestrife foliage. I grow loosestrife in a pot to keep it from taking over the garden.
Native clematis crispa has bell shaped flowers with thick curved petals and blooms all summer.
It dies to the ground every winter so you never have to worry about how to prune it..
A very easy clematis to grow, it loves moist, rich soil and partial shade. The deutzia in the background is covered with buds.
"Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future."
- David Mitchell Cloud Atlas
I stand on my porch and watch, waiting, partially hidden. Cars speed by, eyes forward, hands gripping the wheel. They rarely slow as they near the turn and seem blind to the cascade of blue tumbling down the porch column and into the hollies. I imagine they see my garden as I see sports statistics, a confusing array of digits betrayed into a meaningless blob by the angles and lines that form the numbers.
I did not have to let the clematis grow. It would have been easier to rip it from the hard soil and simply let the shrubs fill the space. The pocket of soil between the porch and walkway is heavy and dry, the soil rolling into a ball before crumbling at the edges. Rich with foliage every spring, the vine hung like kindling by summer, so many small twigs and desiccated leaves to remind me of my folly. Water poured at its base ran in rivulets towards the hollies and onto the walkway, if it was even poured at all and I began to wonder why I refused to let it die. Its beauty was that of youth, ephemeral and seductive, but quickly turned hard, like a bitter wife with nothing to offer.
It was a small thing to build the compost dam that held the water and to tell myself that the effort wouldn't be wasted. Supple green shoots shot from the base, twining around the older canes and onto the support netting. It was an even smaller thought to add the soaker hose, a quick bing in the daily chorus that occupies my brain.
A car slows briefly and I see the drivers gaze stop at the clematis. I want to knock on her window and explain that my garden is a gift of beauty, requiring nothing more than a glance, but I don't. I stand frozen, watching as she drives away. It would have been easy to dig up the clematis, heave it into the trash with my other plant failures, and ignore my role in its death. I do not owe my neighborhood flowers but it is all I can offer.
Clematis grow best in moist, rich soil with morning sun and afternoon shade. These pictures make the flowers look purple because of the lighting, but they are actually a very intense blue. A mason bee house is hung above the clematis. Mason bees are stingless native bees that can pollinate more plants than honey bees.
This area is officially known as the Yuck side, since it houses the air conditioning units and utility meters. I redesigned it last fall and interplanted asiatic lilies between the bleeding heart roots so that once the bleeding heart - that's one giant plant! - goes dormant, there will be something to fill the space.
I recently added a deutzia 'Nikko' to the space in front of the bleeding heart.
Cowslip primrose is one of my favorite spring flowers. I love how simple they are.
These usually go dormant by late summer but are reliable spring bloomers.
This pink clematis is the first clematis to bloom of the season.
I can't remember their name!
They grow along a metal watering can birdhouse in the shade of a massive wall of Prague viburnums.
A view into the garden
The dogwood tree was just starting to leaf out in this picture, which is from last week.
These just finished their peak bloom. Prague viburnum is a super tough evergreen shrub that helps keep the side of our house cool and provides excellent shelter for birds.
When blooming en masse, they are lightly fragrant.
Steller Pink dogwood.
Euphorbia and anemones under the crepe myrtle
A view into the garden from the other side
I extended the rain garden over spring break and not all of it is visible in this photo.
A giant trumpet vine grows along the fence.
A new gourd birdhouse purchased this morning from a local farmers market. The artist can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My garden includes as many plants that attract butterflies as I can possibly squeeze in. Most aren't made of metal. Sweetspire 'Little Henry', heliopsis, phlox, and caryopteris grow in this bed.
My new 'Peach Sorbet' blueberry bushes have beautiful foliage that changes color as the temperature fluctuates. Most excellent!
I've begun to notice that a variety of garden catalogs are carrying clothing designed just for gardening. This is an intriguing concept. On a typical day in my garden, I am happily clad in whatever holey, stained clothes were closest at hand and pay little to no attention to my appearance. Devoid of makeup and hair care products, my short locks stick out at odd angles and my blonde lashes are rendered invisible.
This casual approach, although very comfortable, has significant drawbacks. Babies cry, dogs bark, and people have actually crossed to the other side of the street to avoid me. I began to wonder that if perhaps if I looked less like this
and more like this
dogs wouldn't bark, babies wouldn't cry, and people would stop crossing to the other side of the street.
Instead of purchasing expensive new clothes, I decided to cruise a local thrift store and then follow several tried and true fashion rules when creating new gardening outfits.
1. Sassy black boots and a scarf will liven up any dull outfit.
Knee pads aren't required if your boots go past your knees. Just consider them already built in.
Thigh high rubber boots are the perfect garden accessory. I was able to carry both my pruners and a small trowel in the side of each boot. The 4 1/2 inch heel is excellent for aerating the soil.
Now I don't have to worry about my tools falling out of my pockets and the scarf will protect me from the sun.
2. A little black dress should be a staple in every gal's wardrobe.
The Irish tweed hat kept my hair out of my eyes and gave me that "I know what I'm doing" appearance.
This breezy little dress will keep me cool on the hottest days.
3. You can never go wrong with a floral print.
By pairing it with my favorite baseball hat, I'm able to color coordinate my entire outfit.
It's such a relief to know that all these gems were waiting for me. I feel more fashionable already!