The previous post dealt with mostly traditional, old-fashioned flowers. This one will cover the native ephemera and Iris cristata, which is native to the US, but not to Michigan, although it thrives here. Oh, yes—and a tiny volunteer rose—I have no idea where it came from. Continue reading “Mostly Native Spring Ephemera”
It all started when I was taking out the compostables Saturday. The ground had finally frozen solid! I dumped the compostables into the bin and took a brief prowl around the yard to check on the rabbits’ depredations. They mostly come out at night, so sometimes I see them sitting under the willow-leaved Amsonia or eating safflower seed that has been flung about by the finches when they careen into the feeder when I am cleaning up after dinner. Yes, rabbits eat safflower seed, on top of everything else.
So far this winter, they have eaten the parsley and nibbled on the garlic. They have mowed the blue-eyed grass and tried the Iris cristata, which they have never bothered before.
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?”
I don’t know why this is the first year I have seen twin buds in my Iris cristata, but I have many, many with twin buds, in a couple of different spots; it’s especially obvious now that they are fading. Maybe they are sports. Maybe it’s the unusually dry weather. Maybe they’ve been there all along, and somehow I’ve missed them. I will be watching the area more closely over the next couple of years.
After 11 inches of snow on November 11, things got quiet weather-wise. Winter did not quite settle in. We got less than two inches of snow in December, and just a dusting on Monday—not enough to stick to the sidewalks. So what happens in the pause, the interregnum, between fall and winter? Continue reading “Interregnum: December, the Fall Into Winter”
“Your garden looks like an estate!” That comment really surprised me, but I realized that there is one thing this little yard has that most yards do not: beds with clearly defined edges and swaths of plants that are the same variety. Edges and swaths lead the eye around, and can make your yard seem both larger and calmer.
Fall is a great time to think about what changes you would like to make to your yard; many plants can be divided and moved around now that the temperatures are cooler. Summer’s damage can be appraised, and gardening mistakes can go discreetly into the compost pile. Continue reading “Edge Effects in Shade”
The latter half of December and the first week of January felt more like early March than early January. The lawn greened up a bit, as did various ground-cover plants. Continue reading “Ominously Springlike, the Other Shoe Has Finally Dropped”
What a gorgeous time of year. My eyes have been craving the bright, grassy, green of May in everything from lawn to ferns to rose foliage and new fig leaves. Here are some of my favorites.
The ostrich ferns are more or less full size, and a beautiful shade of green. Some of them have moved into the small gap between the top of the driveway and the big planter that sits there, making it easy to look down into them. Now that they are fully unfurled, the leaves make beautiful patterns.
The rue anemone have lost or hidden all their red pigment—the flowers are now white and the leaves are bright green. Rue anemone spreads happily and shares space well, especially with eastern columbines, which have similar-looking foliage. The occasional pop of red is pleasant. Continue reading “The Green of May”
I stepped out this morning just to see daylight, and found that there was only one small patch of snow left in my yard. We had quite a pile after the last set of snowstorms, especially in the spot where the driveway snow and the sidewalk snow were piled together.
May is always remarkably busy in the garden. It goes from largely native spring ephemera to the big blowsy traditional flowers that people associate with old-fashioned gardens: roses, peonies, bleeding hearts and allium.
But before talking about those more traditional plants, perhaps in the next post or two, I would like to talk about Iris cristata. Today, the foliage is doing its ground cover duty, but at the beginning of the month, the Iris cristata were just leafed out and showing flower buds. Continue reading “Looking Back on May Flowers”