Wednesday, May 29, 2013

little lilies

 Oh, I how I love these little lilies!

 And what a great name - Tiny Bell Lily.  Although she's not really so tiny. Each flower is 5 or 6 inches across.

 I put these bulbs in last fall and I've really been impressed with their show this spring.  The petals start off really pink and the color deepens as they age.

It is the beginning of lily season in my yard as I join others for Outdoor Wednesday!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wildflowers in the sun

coreopsis beginning to bloom in sunny bed
Just because a plant has a wiry stem doesn't mean it won't make a good flowering garden plant. Plants like ox eye daisies and coreopsis (tickseed) can seed and spread and pop up just about anywhere without taking up too much space. They are both blooming now, and will continue for a while with dead heading of spent blooms.

My daisies and coreopsis share space with lilies, coneflowers, black-eyed susans (rudbeckia), liatris, phlox and monarda. All of these plants are sun lovers. Full sun is at a premium in my yard. So I require my sun-loving plants to get along and share space.  I really like the kind of crazy quilt flower bed that results.

Who can resist playing " loves me/loves me not" when you pick a daisy?  It's also a great way to teach odd and even numbers to kids.

 Blooms that have a round center with radiating petals are always referred to as "daisy-like".  But it's much harder to play "loves me/loves me not" when petals overlap.  You should stick with the daisies.

 This is "Jethro Tull" coreopsis I got last year.  I just couldn't resist.  Why the name?  Well, the petals are fluted and IT ROCKS!

As you probably noticed, the pink phlox pilosa is till blooming! It's happy to have the company of the daisies and coreopsis! 

Make the most of your sunny areas.  If you let those wildflowers spread, soon you will have a fiesta of flowers!

I am joining Gail at Clay and Limestone for Wildflower Wednesday. 


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Welcome Fairies!

Miniature gardening seems to be all the rage now.  I like to garden on a little bit grander scale, but felt I really needed to make a spot just for the garden fairies.  One never knows who might visit the garden!

Check out others in the world at Our World Tuesdays and Outdoor Wednesday!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day May 2013

phlox pilosa

My gardens are still covered in the fabulous pink phlox.  I guess the cool spring has prolonged the bloom time, much to my delight.

Around the yard now I have clumps of purple with the siberian irises.  I just keep dividing and giving them away and moving them to new locations within the gardens.  They are really putting on a show this spring.

siberian iris

The ox eye daisies sway in the breeze intermingled with the phlox.

These red dianthus are supposed to be biennial, but this is their fourth year.  Every year they produce bigger clumps and more blooms.  This is my "mostly red" bed where the red honeysuckle is still blooming and encouraging the hummers to linger.

leucothoe fontanesiana "rainbow"
These tiny little blooms above on the leucothoe (commonly called "fetterbush") are a bonus.  I bought this last fall for the wonderful foliage, and now the little urn shaped flowers are peeking out from under the leaves.

My bearded iris have been a disappointment this year. I had to move most of them last summer and I'm hoping that's the reason.  I also find that every year I have less and less sunlight and I think that is also affecting the bearded iris.  Here is one that did bloom; I believe this is "Memphis".

 The pink flowering spirea are just beginning (princess, goldmound, goldflame, and anthony waterer).
anthony waterer spirea

goldmound spirea
  The mild spring weather has given us a longer bloom period.  April blooms have lasted well into May, and now everyday more buds appear. I am so enjoying the unfolding of Spring in the garden.

 What's blooming in your neck of the woods?

I am joining Carol at May Dreams Gardening for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day! 
Check out  A Southern Day Dreamer for Outdoor Wednesday!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

A bouquet for mom

Everybody knows Moms love flowers. One of my favorite memories of my mom revolves around flowers - wildflowers, to be exact.  As a small girl, I would roam our big yard and pick wildflowers like violets, henbit, spring beauties, fleabane and clover.  Once my little hands were full, I would present them to my mom who, of course, oohed and aahed over them and put them in a little blue and gold vase that seemed just perfect for the hand-picked flowers.  I never got tired of bringing her flowers and she never got tired of gushing over them.

What sweet memories!  When my mother died (36 years ago), I got the little blue vase and every spring I fill it with little flowers and think of her.

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all of you!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

playing well with others

phlox pilosa, soloman's seal, and azaleas
Do you label the plants in your garden?  No, I don't mean by their common or botanical name; I mean by their behavior.  Sure you do.  We all do. In our gardens, we have "late bloomers", thugs, plants with no sense of  'personal space', ones that need a lot of TLC, top performers, bullies, and true beauties. And there are plants that are dependable, shy, over-active, picky, easy-going, temperamental, and on and on.  Sounds like I'm describing a group of children.  As a retired kindergarten teacher, I know teachers should try hard not to label  children.  But, in every class, there's  always one that stands out.  Sometimes more than one.  And teachers always say longingly, "If I only had a classroom full of child's name"s!  This is the child who always gets a STAR by the designation "PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS".

 Close to 20 years ago, a friend gave me a clump of this pink woodland phlox.  Since then, it has spread on its own, but also with a little help.  Every time I thin out my perennial bed or move plants around, I seem to also have a little phlox moved as well.  Gail of Clay and Limestone calls it PPPP (practically perfect phlox pilosa).  Read here what she has to say about it.  I just say this is a plant that "PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS"!  And I have a garden full!

 Here is phlox pilosa playing with ox-eye daisies.

 Phlox pilosa also likes to play with red dianthus and goldmound spirea in a sunny bed.

Phlox pilosa likes to play with hosta "patriot" in a shady bed.
 Look at that phlox just jumping into the middle of the sedum.
 Phlox pilosa even plays well in an area where not too many other plants are happy - next to the mailbox.

Phlox pilosa snuck in with this group of soloman's seal.  But that's alright.  I'm happy with it wherever it is, especially during the "pink season".  And when it is finished blooming I can cut it back, pull some out, or ignore it.  The other plants will thrive around it.

This pilosa is also called downy phlox, prairie phlox, and fragrant phlox.  Their scent is wonderful.  When in bloom, I always keep a vase full inside.  Hope you have plants that "play well with others"!

                                        I am joining Susan at asoutherndaydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday and Tootsie Time for Friday Flaunt your Flowers.  Please go to these blogs for links to other posts.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Outdoor Wednesday: Azaleas

If you're looking for me in May, look outdoors. I'll be with the azaleas!

I hope you have some azaleas to enjoy!

I am joining Susan at  a southerndaydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday.  Please go to her blog for links to other Outdoor Wednesday posts.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

In the pink

dianthus - "Bath's Pink"  (cheddar pink)

 According to Collins dictionary, the color pink is named after the flowers called "pinks", in the genus Dianthus. The name derives from the frilled edge of the flowers. Have you ever used pinking shears?  They cut in a kind of zigzag, like the jagged edge of the dianthus.  The word "pink" was first used in the 17th century (OED online).  Pink is thought of as a feminine color, but that has not always been so.  Think about Valentine's Day and you see why pink is called "the color of love".
Lenten Rose (helleborus orientalis) are still hanging on although the blooms have faded in color.
Winter gave way to Spring with the pinks of hellebores, camellias, flowering cherries, redbuds, crabapples, pink tinged daffodils, tulips, flowering almond, and creeping phlox.  Now spring is in full force with pink abounding.

George Tabor azalea
Pink is such a spring color.  It is very easy on the eyes - it doesn't "pop" or glare.  I find pink to be a very soothing color and look forward to the shades of pink in my gardens every spring.

 I didn't always love pink - not until I had a baby girl. I began to see pink in a new light.  It's a sweet color that delights the senses and brings a smile to one's face.

 Pink blooms are like tiny ballerinas in their tutus, dainty and delicate!

cross vine "tangerine beauty"
These encore azaleas  were sold as purple, but look pink to me.

Would you call the color of the crossvine pink?  Maybe so.

knock out rose
As with most colors, there are many shades and names.  With pink the shades vary from nearly white to almost purple. There's coral, salmon, hot pink, blush, shocking pink, fuchsia, cherry blossom, and rose - to name a few.

gladiolus communis
rain lily (zephyranthes)
weigela florida "wine and roses"

And the star of the pink show this time of year is this phlox that Gail at Clay and Limestone calls PPPP (Practically Perfect Pink Phlox pelosa).  Usual bloom time is mid-April, but Spring has been slow to arrive this year.  It has just begun it's reign.

As the PPPP gently blankets my gardens, I am anticipating the arrival of more pink blossoms: astilbe, hydrangeas, coneflowers, bee balm, spireas, and more.  Awww,  I'm tickled pink it's Spring!  Hope you are too.  Have a wonderful May Day celebrating the beauty of our earth!

Friday, April 26, 2013


Vines are great in the garden.  They expand the  garden space by lifting the eyes and soften the hard edges. They can provide a screen or be used as ground covers on steep or eroded areas.  Vines climb by tendrils, by twining or by clinging. The gardener will often train vines that twine or grow long stems on a structure.

Purple hyacinth beans (Lablab purpureus) were planted in the spring at the base of this inexpensive arbor and by mid-summer began to bloom and attract butterflies (picture from August 2011).
tomatoes are vines

English ivy (Hedera helix) climbs by aerial rootlets and so needs no help to cover fences, walls, or trees

Our property came to us with lots of English ivy.  I have gotten rid of much of it over the years, but I have encouraged the growth on our back chain link fence and it has made a wonderful year round green back drop to the gardens.  I am careful to keep it in check and continue to whittle away at the ground area the ivy covers.

Cross Vine (bignonia capreolata) and Carolina Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) share an arbor by my back gate. 

 The native cross vine is really putting on a show right now.
  Cross vine "tangerine beauty" that I put in last summer is covered in blooms.
     The native red honey suckle is a real beauty and attracts hummingbirds. Light regular pruning keeps it blooming throughout the summer (not as heavy blooms). This vine grows very quickly and is easy to train up a hook or pole.

"Ouchita" blackberry is a vertical growing plant, so it might not technically be called a vine, but it does like  something to lean on. (don't we all, from time to time?)

There are some vines that are invasive and you should really steer clear of, such as japanese honeysuckle, wisteria, and autumn clematis.  I think particularly if you have a small lot, as I do, that you have to be careful when you choose vines so that your property is not totally overrun. And you really want to stay away from the vine I wrote about in a previous post.

Virginia creeper appears on its own on the fence here and there.  Never invasive and beautiful leaf color in fall.

These are the vines that I presently have in my gardens.  I haven't been too successful with clematis, but maybe someday I'll figure out the perfect spot for one.

I am joining Tootsie Time for Fertilizer Friday!  Happy gardening dreams!