Wednesday, May 7, 2014

May? Well, That Escalated Quickly

"Slow down!" This is what I'd like to say, not just to the cars speeding down my street, but to Mother Nature too. I love this time of year and I don't want it to end too quickly, dang it. Each evening after work I spend at least an hour walking the garden paths, unwinding and looking for opportunities to putter and create. Even when I'm not in the garden, my mind is ruminating on ways to improve a little troubling scenario--which is code for "bare dirt." 

I've been taking lots of photos. Here are the highlights.

Rosa 'Rhapsody in Blue' is actually the second rose to bloom this year.
The first is Rosa rugosa. I'm not sure why I didn't get a photo of it.
'Rhapsody in Blue' is now a really happy plant but started from a humble
cutting, a gift from my garden buddy Carol.
It has a fabulous fragrance.

Years ago I "rescued" two clumps of Pacific Coast Iris from the roadside.
After the initial culture shock, they settled in and now bloom reliably every year.
They're so delicate and sweet. But tough as nails. Kind of like me.  Ha, ha.

Antennaria dioica Pink Pussy Toes is a newbie this year. 
It's one of those plants that I look at and say, "Where have you been all my life?" 

Astrantia major ‘Ruby Wedding’ is just getting started. Whenever I see it,
I think of Scott Weber, the exceedingly talented Portland gardener, photographer
and proud new owner of Lil Sebastian. 

Incarvillea delavayi or Hardy Gloxinia is also a newbie I couldn't resist while
rummaging through the plant offerings at a local nursery.
It will go dormant in mid-summer.
Now, I want to buy its summer-blooming cousin, I. olgae. 

Heuchera 'Paris' has remained in this same pot since I bought it several years ago.
It blooms all summer and the foliage is nice too.
Definitely one of the most reliable Heucheras for me. 

I guess I bought a bunch of Allium 'Purple Sensation' last fall...

...because they're blooming all over the place.
Here, they're inter-planted with Phlox paniculata that will bloom in July. 

Camas (Camassia quamash) are just finishing up.
The native bumble bees really go for these native plants.
Makes me happy.

Melittis melissophyllum has really outdone itself this, its second year.
It makes me think of Barry, Canadian shade-gardener extraordinaire.
Thank you for introducing me to this lovely plant, Barry.

Phlox pilosa or as multi-talented Tennessee gardener Gail Eichelberger, likes to call
PPPP--Practically Perfect Pink Phlox is also all abloom.
Gail graciously shared this plant with me several years ago. Gail is awesome. 

Geranium x cantabrigiense ‘Karmina’ has really grown on me. It has seeded nicely all 
around my shaded pergola area so I guess you could say it has grown on me and the garden. 
 If I keep it watered, those sweet round leaves will make a nice ground cover all summer. 

I purchased Geranium ‘Birch Double’ last fall. It's not a rambunctious geranium 
but these flowers are so nice. 

Jacob's Ladder, (Polemonium caeruleum ‘Apricot Delight’) grows in a container under my patio covering. 
This way the rain and hail don't smash its delicate stems and flowers to smithereens. 

Verbascum 'Helen Johnson' is not delicate but top-heavy. It will
flop without a little help from mankind. 

I bought one plant of Silene robotii ‘Roly’s Favorite’ back in 2008.
One plant! 
I let it go to seed and its progeny have made themselves very at home in my garden.
The flowers are pink so, of course, it can stay. 

The progeny of Silene robotii ‘Roly’s Favorite’ grow much taller. 
Once they finish blooming, I'll cut the entire plant down to ground-level. 
It might put up a few blooms during the summer, otherwise just stay looking nice and green. 
For all these blossoms, it takes up very little garden real estate.

Speaking of pink, my Fagus sylvatica ‘Tricolor’ is "blooming." This tree is also a gift from my garden
buddy Carol. It's in a pot. Eventually it's going to need a permanent home. 
I'm not going to think about that right now.  

Thalictrum aquilegifolium “Meadow Rue” has also seeded in my garden. 
Here is one of the offspring blooming with 
Weigela florida 'Variegata' blossoms in the background.

Last fall, I had to break the container to get my Mukdenia rossii ‘Crimson Fans’ out of it. 
I think it likes its new in-ground home. It's just starting to blush. 
If you look closely on the right, you'll see the blue-green foliage of a poppy volunteer
that I didn't have the  heart to pull out. 

I captured this photo just last evening. 
How perfect is the Japanese Blood Grass, (Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubra’)
with back-lighting from the evening sunshine? 

I am so proud of this artichoke plant. (Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus)
I know they're "common" but these guys survived the record-breaking cold last winter.
I put a box over them which I'm sure helped but mostly I think they just wanted to live and make me happy.
They did and they do.
Behind it, against the fence is the winter-scarred Pacific Wax Myrtle. More on that later.

Rodgersia 'Bronze Peacock' is in its second year.
The leaves aren't very bronzy but there are no slug holes so it's all good.

Also in its second year, Syneilesis aconitifolia. Only three leaves. I'm so dang impatient. 
But at least it's healthy, right? 

The leaves on Parthenocissus henryana "Silver-Vein Creeper" make me sooooo happy. 
Because this guy is planted in a really shady spot, I wasn't sure if the "silver" veination 
would show up or if the whole leaf would look green. I needn't have worried. 

Brunnera macrophylla  ‘Jack Frost’ is another gift from Carol. Look at how robust it is this year. 

Beside the Brunnera is Hellebore 'Hot Flash' which I purchased for the foliage rather than the flower.
Underneath it is Oxalis crassipes.
Side note: The winter cold killed all my container plantings of Oxalis. (I had several.)
Fortunately the in-ground plantings were protected and survived. 

Sword and Lady Ferns, Fallopia (Polygonum cuspidatum ‘Variegata’)  and Lamium 'Ghost'
situated by my pond, under the Japanese maple tree. 

 Hosta 'Sum & Substance', Persicaria 'Red Dragon' and Aucuba japonica 'Gold Dust'
playing well together under the pear tree, with a few more pink Silene blossoms photo-bombing.  

Hosta 'Sum & Substance' looks better than ever this year.
This photo doesn't show how huge it is so you'll have to take my word for it.

Oh, almost forgot. 
Congrats to Eileen Hanley of Gatsby Gardens who is the winner of 
the random drawing for a copy of my book
Grace in the Garden
Thank you to all who entered.


  1. Amazing how quickly things grow where it snows. Ours is coming about very slowly this year. An ice storm at the first of March set us back some. Won't be long and we'll be in those 100 deg. temps again! Yuck. Everything looks great, Grace

  2. Oh Grace - visiting your blog is expensive - another geranium has gone on to my wish list. I've not encountered the beautiful 'Karmina' before so hope that she has swum across the big pond!

  3. This photo-filled post leaves me breathless with admiration! Beautiful and so well documented. I have SO much to learn.

  4. Your garden looks lovely! You're so right about May, it does seem to be making the garden rush headlong into summer. I adore your pink Verbascum. Mine are all blue, I need some other colors.

  5. Go-o-o-orgeous, Grace! Thank you for sharing. Nice to see how far along your garden has come this spring. Lovely....

  6. I love this time of year too, everything ( that survived this winter) looking so healthy and fresh . I've been staking things more this year... come on wind and rain !

  7. You're right - this year seems to be moving along like a speeding train. It's nice to spend a moment and enjoy your garden in pictures. I think I need to find some of those pussy toes.

  8. Wonderful time in your garden Grace!I see have many new plants as you write ' I bought..' Love your "rescued" irises, heuchera, brunnera - mine is shooting first leaves,and of course -your onions are pretty!

  9. Your garden is so pretty and I can tell how much you love gardening! All your beautiful plants and flowers look so happy! :)

  10. So many beauties to look at in your garden. I am loving your new Pussy Toes. That picture of the Blood Grass is just gorgeous. Love it.

  11. Grace, this time of year is magical. Sadly this past week I have not had the time or energy for much around the garden. My hubby had another trip to ER this time diverticulitis. I am hoping now he is on meds and starting to feel better,Life will soon return to normal, whatever that was *grin* My veggie garden is coming along, and it is therapy to wander out there to see how things are coming along. Your flowers are so beautiful, a joy to see. thank you for sharing.

  12. Everything looks fantastic! I love that delicate Polemonium and the Parthenocissus henryana.

  13. Beautiful as always!! I have the white pussy toes...never saw the pink ones. I love the blood grass. I look forward to your posts.

  14. "And along came pretty little May": ain't it the truth...especially in your blushing garden. I always see something to want in your posts. The winner of your giveaway is in for some hours of pleasure.

  15. Everything looks so wonderful Grace! Thanks for the generous mention with the Melittis.... still no sign of mine, but then not a whole lot showing in the garden up here just yet. My Fagus is still in a pot too...... thinking mine will be there for quite some time. Yours looks very happy, so I would not worry!

  16. Your pictures are wonderful.....I could step into them! I love your evening light pic. Things are coming along slower here in the east and looking at your blog makes me yearn for my garden to grow faster!
    I got a great deal on your book at Amazon. It's very readable and enjoyable. Any fellow gardeners reading this, I highly recommend purchasing Grace's latest's a great read and a great price!

  17. My goodness, but your garden woke up quickly from winter's chill! Love that purple rose. I doubt I'll see any roses this year, winter here in Ohio killed off a lot of them. I'm not too disappointed, because it's giving me a chance to tweak the rose garden. There were too many under performers out there anyway.

  18. I am so jealous of your lush beautiful plants that appear they have had lots of rain. Would you please send some to South Texas?

  19. Hi Grace thanks for your sweet comment! I`m sorry but I had no idea what the green wallpaper is called. I decorated my dinning room with the same wallpaper but in red and its quite nice too! If I came across the name I will let you know! :)And I need to say it again... Your garden is so so pretty! I`m thinking to add more greenery to my very small back yard and you gave me lots of ideas in this post! Thanks Grace!!! Hugs. :)

  20. Oooo, I love that Heuchera "Paris", this one is new for me. I have so many heuchera, but as the gal above said...visiting your site could be expensive. I also have oodles of pink Phlox, doesn't it make you happy just to look at it?

  21. Okay, here comes my typical list of loves:

    That rose is gorgeous!!!! And how sweet are those little iris?! Too stinkin' cute.

    I've never grown the Pink Pussy Toes - I'll have to keep my eyes out for one.

    I was at Portland Nursery yesterday and they had that astrantia (which has been on my wish list for as long as I can remember), but only in gallon pots. Fifteen friggin' dollars. It took everything I had not to bring it home with me. I pet it several times before turning away. There were actually quite a few plants I had to do that with. It was sort a depressing trip, actually. I have all these amazing plants on my wish list, that I can't flippin' afford. Lame, lame, and more lame.

    I actually did buy that Gloxinia. I wanted it really bad, so I bought it for my sister for Mother's Day. Ha! I can visit it in her garden. :)

    I bought a bunch of those same allium last year and then left them sitting in my house all winter. Dope. I stuck them in this spring and have a couple green shoots poking up, so hopefully that means they'll bloom next year. Yours are awesome and now I'm pissed I didn't stick them in when I first got them.

    That Melittis melissophyllum (that I've never heard of) is super cool, too. Why oh why don't we live closer so that I could poach starts of everything from your garden?!?!

    I stuck a bottomless basket around my Apricot Delight this year and it helped immensely. The rain still beats it to heck, but the sides of the basket keep it out of the dirt. I love that plant. I bought a white one this year - I hope it does as well.

    I started verbascum from seed years ago and it came up, but then never did anything. I expected that the first year, but it didn't overwinter. :( I seriously love that plant. Portland Nursery had a Foxglove that had a similar base color, but with almost neon pink highlights. It was the most amazing thing I've ever seen. They had it in a planter display with purple heuchera, torenia and a lime green grass. I thought about that planter and that plant for a week. I was there again yesterday and went back to look at it again. I can't get over how stunning it is. But alas, it isn't hardy and it's $15 dollars. I need to start hookin' to support this habit. (that was a joke)(sort of)(ha!)

    I love seeing pictures of the Crimson Fan established. Now I'm even more excited about my new baby! And the blood grass I stole from my sister's yard. What a great photo with the sunlight. Again, happy to see it in a home - it justifies my need for it. :)

    The brunnera is another one I had to walk away from. Why are these things I want so dang expensive?! And why can't I find them in 4-inch pots that are more reasonably priced?! I need to hit up the new Xera nursery. Is that how you spell it? It's right by my mom's house, so I have a good excuse to "drive by" it. :) I would imagine they specialize in more of the "fun" plants and in smaller containers. Adding it to my to-do list.

    As always, your garden photos are so inspiring. And seriously makes me want to make real life friends who share in my obsession so we can share plants. I was just chatting on Pinterest with someone about my plethora of Solomon's Seal and how I'm practically forcing it on people. He was saying how he'd happily take it off my hands - if only we were closer to each other. Have you seen the price of that stuff?!?! Holy cow. And I have it coming out my ears. I love it with all my heart, but a person only has room for so much!

    Okay, enough rambling for one day. I have Mother's Day plants to pot up for my sis and my mom. And my niece's birthday is today - she turns four - and I got her a big pot that I'm filling with pink and purple plants. Gotta start 'em young!

    Enjoy the weekend and Happy Mother's Day to you!

  22. Everything is so lush Grace. I have alliums that will bloom in a couple of weeks...and you are the second blogger to show the pacific iris. I have never seen these before and I love any iris actually!!

  23. Gary & I walked in the local County Extension Garden this morning - all so well groomed and documented. I must say, except for the fresh air, your blog post just MIGHT contain even more variety than we saw this morning! You ARE amazing :)

  24. Your garden seems considerably ahead of mine, I am north of you and at a higher elevation. My rose buds are coloring up so hopefully they will bloom soon, the Rugosas are blooming. My Pink Pussytoes are about to bloom, I think they are a super ground cover. Your garden looks so perfect, I'm fighting so many pernicious weeds all the time, so I'm really happy when I find plants that self-sow that can take over whole beds and defeat the weeds, I haven't tried Silene roboti. Geraniums are great for that. Thanks for visiting!

  25. gotsa pinks and purples...Love those irises!!thanks for visiting

  26. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! That's so funny what you said about Scott regarding the Astrantia, because I was thinking the same thing (and also when I saw the Blood Grass). :) All your plants look so lush and healthy!

  27. I love that Japanese Blood Grass with the Lady's Mantle! It is a stunning combination!! Your garden is so alive and full of such beauty! Wishing you a lovely week ahead!! Nicole

  28. ooooh, love that pink pussy toes!


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