Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Redbud is the King of Hearts

Redbuds mostly (and deservedly) get love and appreciation for their eponymous buds and the springtime flowers that festoon their branches.

But check out the leaves on this Cercis canadensis! Here's a tree with a lotta heart...

PS - You know the other great thing about redbuds? Free seedlings! We started with four redbud trees. Now we have eight, plus a number of new babies that sprouted this year. Any unwanted seedlings are pretty easy to pull if you catch them young. And the seedlings you do keep? Man, they grow like gangbusters.


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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

In the Merry Month of May...

...there are arrowwood (Viburnum dentatum) buds...

Flower buds on arrowwood viburnum (Viburnum dentatum)

...and blooms.

Flower clusters on arrowwood (Viburnum dentatum)

An arrowwood viburnum volunteered next to the oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) in the front foundation, which is fortuitous since they both have complementary white flowers and bloom around the same time...

Flower panicles blooming on oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia)

I planted that oakleaf hydrangea way too close to the house. (I was young and foolish in those days. Unlike now, when I'm a bit older and still foolish.) As a result, I had to trim back some of the stems to the ground over the winter, and I can see where I'll probably need to do more trimming next winter. But for now, I end up with lovely vignettes of the white flowers blooming against the white porch railing...

White flowers of oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) blooming against white porch railing

There are no flowers yet on the new oakleaf hydrangea that I planted last autumn, but it seems to be settling in nicely. I sited this one in the understory shade of a crape myrtle, where I'm hoping it will thrive with filtered sunlight all day...

Nearby Clematis 'Crystal Fountain' has been putting a great show for weeks and weeks. I completely failed in my attempt to get this to climb into the crape myrtle, but it sprawls charmingly and forms an attractive groundcover. I cut this back near the ground over the winter, so this is pretty much all new growth. I grumble a little about Crystal Fountain since I don't believe it provides any benefits to wildlife, but even wildlife gardeners need a few purely aesthetic marvels in their gardens, right? (Just a reminder - Crystal Fountain clematis flowers can look lovely for at least a week floating in a bowl of water on the breakfast table...

The 'Carefree Beauty' rose really does live up to its name. It's the only rose I grow and all I've needed to do so far is prune it back to keep it from swallowing up the sidewalk. I don't fertilize, I don't spray, I rarely water it, and I still get two powerful flushes of blooms in spring and autumn. I'm really just winging it when it comes to rose pruning. I cut it back fairly hard this winter and got a wonderful spring bloom, but all the soft lush foliage got a bit floppy. I think some gardeners try for the floppy look, but (grass always being greener and all that) I sort of wish the bush was a bit more upright and structured. So I may prune it back again when this bloom finishes. I'll let you know whether that works or can go into my bulging file of Not So Great Ideas.

I totally gave up on rose verbena (Glandularia canadensis). It's got a reputation for being floriferous, but finicky. And it's certainly lived up to that reputation in my garden, flowering its heart out and then vanishing. But a couple of rose verbena plants have either come back from the roots or volunteered, and this one has put on a fantastic show this year.

Finally, I don't remember planting this penstemon and have no idea what type or species it may be, but it sure is pretty!

What are some of the shining stars in your May garden? 


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