05 May 2009

sharing our space

We share our 2 1/2 acres with many other creatures. Some of them we're happy about, others not so much, but our latest cohabitants are very welcome...& so cute too!
These fox pups are about 1 month old. There are 5 out of the den so far, & we've enjoyed them out our back windows for several days now. This afternoon, 3 were out to play.

The one on the left was more reserved, & only joined in occasionally. The other 2 rarely stopped their boisterous romp.
They love to play "chase" around (& around & around) this spruce we planted 2 years ago.

Behind this one you can see one of the many openings to their den.

10 February 2009

thoughts on spring

Spring comes earlier for gardeners...
because they go out looking for it.

Yesterday I found Spring in the mud, where the snowdrops have started pushing up through...

...and in the full ivory Pieris buds dripping off their rosey stems.

I found it under crinkled leaves where new sprouts of Gentian pop out in pointy layers between the hollow sticks of last year's stems...

...but most vividly, I found it in the coppery curls that dress the bottom branches of the 'Jelena' witch hazel.

And so, happy spring. So what if it's not March 20th?

05 November 2008

trees & pumpkins

How is it I can be so busy, but if you ask what I've done, I haven't a ready answer? I feel like my time is broken up into bits & pieces & parts, always running around doing one thing or another... yet somehow, I haven't finished cutting back some ratty-looking perennials in the gardens, I haven't posted here in over a month (so much for that "at least once a month" plan), & I haven't even begun to think of holiday shopping. I've usually established a good start on that by now.

I know what I did yesterday, & I'm excited: I talked to a native plant landscape designer about trees, lots & lots of trees, & where to put them on our property. I now have little orange flags waving from wire stakes in a huge patch of our yard -- an area that was brush & has now been cleared bare (but for the weeds). But I hardly see the flags, because I can so easily see the trees. Sugar maples. Sweet birch. Black gum. Alive in the spring. Cool & shady in summer. Firey in fall. Tall & strong in winter. Of course when we get them planted, they will be small & scrawny & struggling to take hold. But still they will be trees.

Last week's excitement was, of course, of a different nature (pun intended):

08 September 2008

New (well, sort of) for 2008

These are flowers that I haven't posted previously -- not because the plants are new this year, but because I didn't get a shot of them last year. These range through spring & summer of 2008.

01 July 2008


The hardy spiderworts are native to the Americas, & are prized for their masses of flowers & long bloom season. They are easy-care plants (as many natives are) & aren't fussy about soil.

Most of today's
hybrids are crosses of three native species. I grow one species plant & have 5 hybrids so far. I'd like to add
a "red" (these are really a reddish purple or deep reddish pink) like 'Red Cloud' to my collection....

Tradescantia virginiana

Tradescantia 'Navajo Princess'

Tradescantia 'Sweet Kate' has golden leaves.

Tradescantia 'Bilberry Ice'

Tradescantia 'Concord Grape'

Tradescantia 'Snowcap'

21 June 2008


Iris cristata (crested iris) - This diminutive native blooms earlier, & in more shade, than any other.
Tall bearded irises:
1) 'Amain' - This spring is the first time 'Amain' has bloomed for me (I planted a small start of it 2 1/2 years ago). I was surprised at the huge size & luscious scent of the flowers. It is a "reblooming iris" so it is supposed to give an encore performance in fall. We'll see....

2) 'Copper Lustre' - Suzanne shared these with me, & for a while we didn't know the name. Last year I stumbled onto it while looking at a website dedicated to historic irises. This heirloom dates back to 1934.
Iris sibirica (Siberian iris):

1) 'Ceasar's brother' - When I see this ubiquitous variety for sale, I want to put a sign up for potential purchasers: ask 3 people you know, & at least one of them will surely have it in their yard & will gladly share with you. Still, they're beautiful.
2) 'Butter and sugar' - another "oldie but goodie"
3) unknown light blue - I've yet to ID this Siberian iris, & the photo is blurry, so maybe I'll revisit this one in the future....
Iris pallida 'variegata' (sweet iris) - Another one with a yummy scent, it has a creamy golden variegation to the leaves that looks good all season.
Water irises - These hydrophylic plants are naturally found at water's edge or even standing in shallow water. They can be grown in "normal" garden soil as well, but will suffer during dry spells. I grow them in my rain garden.

1) 'Gerald Darby' - My favorite part of the Darby iris is the spring foliage where rich purple is mixed in with the green. I've not seen anything else like it. As the season progresses, the leaves turn mostly green, but the stems of each flower are a deep purple.
2) Iris pseudacorus (yellow flag iris) - Native to Europe & introduced to North America in the early 1900s, this iris is invasive. It grows in vast thickets, crowding out all surrounding (usually native) vegetation. It spreads by seeds & rhizomes being carried downstream. It is contained in my rain garden, as we aren't linked to any waterways, & still I try to remove the spent flowers before they go to seed.

3) Iris fulva (copper iris) - Unlike the thug above, this uniquely colored iris is a well-behaved native. It is aptly named, not as bright as coral, not as deep as rust....
4) Iris ensata 'variegata' (variegated Japanese water iris) - The last iris to bloom for me (blooming now in late June) but a show-off all through the season because of its fresh green & white variegated foliage.