Ginger’s Water Tale

We had a 5¼-inch rain deficit from September–December 2022. It turned out to be the third-driest year of this century for us.

I was thinking that we started spring relatively well hydrated until I checked the local precipitation data through the National Weather Service. January–March had a rainfall surfeit of over 2½ inches, but that didn’t completely make up for last fall. It was enough rain at the right time to make the early spring plants happy, including the ginger.

Wild ginger coming up. Photographed on April 17, 2023.

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Roses in June and Keeping Track of Names

The roses seem relatively happy this year, although I think at least a couple will need to be moved this fall due to encroaching shade.

I have a very nice apricot shrub rose that catches sunbeams in early morning light. It’s been bugging me for years, so I decided to see if I ever knew the varietal name of this rose. I started with my photographs from 2000. Yes—the end of the last century; I have verified that by June 2000, I had already lost track of the name of this rose. The rose has always reveled in sunbeams, and I have always reveled in its reveling.

A fully opened apricot rose in a morning sunbeam. Photographed on June 18, 2023.

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Is the Dwarf Japanese Solomon’s Seal Dead?

It may seem brutal, but one of the goals for this garden is minimal or no supplementary watering. I posted what I thought was an alarming picture of a beleaguered section of dwarf Japanese Solomon’s seal, wondering if the problem was too much sun or too little rain, in another post.

It got worse. We started the year with precipitation well below normal—we had relatively little snow last winter—and then we had periods of entrained rainstorms followed by several sunny, breezy days this spring. It was relentlessly breezy, and sometimes hot as well. Continue reading “Is the Dwarf Japanese Solomon’s Seal Dead?”

Foreshadowing Summer

Purple greets you at the entry to the garden. The Baptisia australis, also known as blue false indigo, that first poked above ground May 1 is in full bloom. Disturbingly rare this year are the bumblebees that usually adorn these plants.

The Baptisia is in full bloom by the garden entrance. Photographed on May 31, 2022.

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Echinacea purpurea: a Hive of Activity

Echinacea purpurea is a scruffy-looking plant when it’s not in bloom. It gets interesting when the flower buds start developing. They are very individualistic, and both the flower buds and leaves noodle around while the plants manage to stay stiffly erect.

Echinacea purpurea flowers developing. Photographed on June 25, 2021.

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Michigan Lilies: Breaking Ground to Dormancy

The Michigan lilies break ground at the very end of April under the redbud, with a lot of company. Last year, the wood phlox had just broken dormancy by the end of the first week of May. This year, the phlox was in full bloom, and the lilies were a little less obvious.

The northern end of the rain garden: the big, oval, chartreuse leaves are bluebells; the lavender flowers are wood phlox; and the sprays of narrow leaves are the Michigan lilies. Photographed on May 6, 2021.

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The Roses of Summer

My favorite rose started blooming in late May, bloomed right through the dryness of August, and will continue for a while yet. At this point, I’m leaving the hips on to ripen, as they turn a very nice orange. It’s a David Austin rose called Windrush, which has a fabulous scent.

The rose Windrush in full bloom. In the upper righthand corner there are columbines; to the right, there are geraniums, Johnson’s Blue. Photographed on June 9, 2020.

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