A Gardening Year

The adventures and misadventures of an heirloom gardener

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

We Have Green!

Pictures from April 20:

These were not planted in the Green Garden, but they could have been. I love the green "eyes" in them.

And here they are . . . The much anticipated green parrot tulips. They did not disappoint. I've never grown parrot tulips before so I didn't know what to expect. These are great!
This is the picture that is in my screen saver slide show at work. An attempt to be "arty"!
The wild columbine that I planted in the wildflower garden last year germinated quite well even though the seed was a few years old. Last fall, I transplanted a lot of them to spread them out. They came through the winter just fine and the first one is blooming:
They are also supposed to attract hummingbirds. Coincidentally, the wildflower garden is next to my planned hummingbird garden they should work well together.

My bleedinghearts have begun to bloom. I have two. A fernleaf bleedingheart . . .
. . . and an old-fashioned bleedingheart.
The first Johnny Jump-Up of the season:
There are a few, very few more, in various beds. No matter how hard I try, I can't get them to grow well in my yard. I know most people consider them a nuisance. I WANT them to become a nuisance! Maybe I should just stop trying so hard!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Playing Catch-up

I am hopelessly behind both in posting and photos. These are photos that were taken around my yard between April 16 and April 19.

This is another of the mystery tulips that appeared and bloomed. The bulb is on one side of the fence and the stem and the flower are on the other side of the fence.

I love my primroses. I tried dividing and transplanting some of them last year. I had about as much luck doing that as I did transplanting roses this year!

A lot of my photos are taken early in the morning when I get home from work. The sun is still low in the sky. I love the way these are back-lit.

My lovely fritillaria bulb from last year rotted. This is a new one in a new spot, hopefully with better drainage. I don't know why the stem is bent.
These are a few tulips that have survived for years. They appear to be in a row. I don't plant my bulbs in rows but rather in groups. What happened here is that of the original group, only these three survived. They are actually staggered.

More early morning light. The dappled shade from the maple tree in my neighbor's yard will become denser as the foliage develops. This bed is not shaded all day, though. The shade will move as the sun moves across the sky. I like this picture a lot. I think I may use it as wallpaper on my office PC. I'm a little tired of looking at last summer's picture!

This bed is in the front of my house and sorely in need of renovation. The daffodils were here when I moved in. I pulled out the ugly shrubbery and planted Nikko Blue hydrangeas and added crocuses, tulips and grape hyacinths. I'm going to widen this bed and add astilbe. My one and only tree is located on this side of the house so this bed is in deep shade most of the day. It's also the side with my bedroom so that stays nice and cool in the summer.

More primroses! Judith has the most wonderful post about her primroses, including the candelabra primroses that we both covet. I too have the perfect spot for them along the back of my house where they can add summer color after the iris and roses finish in May.

The Iris bucharica bloomed. This is one of five bunches. By the time they were all in bloom, we were having heavy rain and I couldn't photograph them. I tried to take as many pictures of them before the rain as I could because they won't survive the summer. I didn't realize when I ordered them that they require extremely dry conditions over the summer. It's too wet here in NJ for them.

A closer look at them. I love them.

I finally have green flowers in the green garden. The parrot tulips I planted bloomed. Pictures soon . . .

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Admitting my addiction

I went back to Home Depot today as planned. Their selection was even better than my hurried examination last weekend indicated. It was a tough decision. I limited myself to the three healthiest roses I could find. Here's what I ended up with for a total cost of under $30:

Belle de Crecy (Gallica, prior to 1829) Long mid-season bloom, non recurring. Very double, fragrant flowers are shades of pink and mauve, developing quickly so that all shades are visible on the bush. Upright rounded growth to 4 feet.

La Reine Victoria (Bourbon, 1872) Fragrant, lilac-pink double blooms are carried elegantly above the foliage from June through October. A slender, erect bush with soft green leaves on canes reaching up to 6 feet.

Madame Pierre Oger (Bourbon, 1878) Very fragrant, double, pale blush pink rose deepens in color as the sun touches the petals. Abundant bloom with a good repeat in the fall. Upright growth habit reaching 4 to 5 ft. tall; soft medium green foliage.

Despite my best intentions, I know that I will go back and buy more roses. I am an addict. Is there a 12-step program for rose addicts?

I think there may be hope for Harrison's Yellow. I thought it was dead. All my other roses are leafed out and it looks like this:

Closer examination revealed that one branch is developing foliage. I pruned away all the dead branches. Now it looks like this:

I'm leaving the roses that I transplanted and probably murdered in place. I refuse to write them off. It's still early in the season. I'm going to give them more time to adjust to their new locations and maybe start putting out new foliage. I did my usual pruning of all the dead branches off of them before I moved them, but I probably should have given them a more severe pruning.

General Jacqueminot is a definite loss, brown and shrivelled. Seven Sisters is turning brown and shrivelling up. I'm going to look up where I got it from (thank goodness for my spreadsheets!) and call the company. Hopefully, they will either send me a replacement or refund my money. I'm also keeping the Home Depot receipt. They guarantee their plants.

Maybe there is hope for me also. I have taken the first and toughest step and admitted my addiction. Now I am taking steps to minimize the financial impact of my addiction. Can recovery be far behind?

Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Great Rose Massacre

Now ALL of the roses I transplanted are looking terrible. I don't think any of them are going to make it. My only consolation is that they were dying anyways where they were. I just hastened the inevitable. To make matters worse, Seven Sisters appears to be DOA and Harrison's Yellow and General Jacqueminot didn't make it through the winter. I've never lost so many roses at once.

One bright spot on the horizon was a flying visit I made to Home Depot. They have all sorts of heirloom roses between and $7 and $10. The checkout lines were crazy so I didn't buy anything. I'm going to do some research on the varieties they have available and then go back during the week when it will be (hopefully) less crowded.

I made a new slideshow for my computer at work. I was tired of looking at last year's pictures. In addition to some of the random spring pictures I've already posted, here are a few more that made the cut:

Not part of my new slideshow. Look at how large and healthy these hellebores are! I think they are a special non-blooming type.
Remember the mystery tulips? They popped up all over my backyard. Here's one that actually bloomed. This is a really shady spot except in the early morning. I'm going to be making a new shade garden here. Lots of ferns to hide the ugly fence.
Actea, the flower that started my heirloome mania. I deliberately planted a bunch of these where the tulips that got eaten last year grew happily for so many years before becoming a rabbit buffet. I don't get mad, I get even. Rabbits don't like daffodils. Take that, you Furry Fiend!
Did I mention that I have a lot of white daffodils?
These were supposed to be green daffodils. Do you see any green daffodils? I don't see any green daffodils.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Great Rose Migration

The first batch of roses that I ordered arrived yesterday. Today I began the great rose migration. There are a number of roses in the wrong places in my yard. They are just not getting enough light and are steadily dying. My goal is to move them to more favorable sites. This is an experiment for me. I've never transplanted roses before.

The first one I moved is nearly dead already. How it has survived this long is a mystery. Reine de Violettes consists of one long spindly branch and one short spindly branch. It's been "growing" along the back of the house which only gets the morning sun. Obviously not enough for this rose.

I moved it to the Purple Garden. I think it looks much happier here, don't you?

Next up was the tiny blaze rose that I rescued many years ago but has never done well. It was in the semi-shady garden. Again, not enough sun. I moved it to my sunniest border along the neighbor's ugly fence and right next to my composter.
The red flowers should show up well against the dark green and hopefully it will benefit from the compost. In its place in the semi-shady garden, I planted my new Zephirine Drouhin which tolerates shade. It looks really healthy with lots of leaf buds. The Seven Sisters that also came is green but has no leaf buds. I'm concerned. That one has been planted at the other end of this border where it can sprawl across "my" fence. I have fence issues with my neighbors and have to be very careful not to grow anything on "their" fence.

The last rose to be moved (for now) was the Apothecary rose. It has been struggling under the double whammy of shade from a maple tree in my (other, nice) neighbor's yard and being smothered by the Harrison's Yellow which I planted too close to it. The Harrison's Yellow is aggressively reaching for sunlight and completely covers the Apothecary rose as seen here:

It has been moved to its own section of the sunny border. That's "my" fence miraculously left intact by my neighbors when they erected "their" new fence last May.

I've decided that in addition to blocking the view and some of the noise from their six dogs, that the dark green color will provide a great background for my roses. I will definitely be planting more along here.

I have two more roses to move, The Fairy and General Jacqueminot. I'm going to create a whole new bed along the walk in front of my house and move The Fairy there. Then I'm going to move General Jacqueminot forward in its current bed which they are sharing. I want to center it more in the bed once The Fairy is gone.

Later that day: Reine de Violettes is no longer looking happy. It is drooping terribly. I'm hoping that it is just transplant shock.

More Random Pictures of Spring

I have loads and loads of violets in my yard. I keep reading about what a great scent violets have, but mine don't seem to have any.

For some reason, I've never noticed the insides of tulips before. I think I like it better than the outside.
My hydrangeas have grown to cover the tulips. It was unintentional but has worked out well. In the spring before the hydrangeas have any leaves, the tulips bloom and provide color. As their flowers and foliage fade, the hydrangeas leaf out and hide them.
I told you I had a lot of white daffodils. I didn't plant these.
Nor did I plant these!
Or these. There are tons and tons of these daffodils in the round garden. I don't find them attractive because they face downwards.
These are Narcissus bulbocodium "Golden Bells". I didn't realize how tiny they are.

Here's a better picture of them. Aren't they cute? They are supposed to multiply freely. I hope so. Another picture of the Thalia daffodils. They have a strong scent. It's really wonderful. I'm not accustomed to daffodils that have a scent. One of the many reasons I love heirlooms.
My Alpine strawberries are beginning to bloom.
And already I have mystery plants! They're hard to spot in this picture. Right behind the primroses. Judging from the foliage, I'm guessing they are foxgloves. I have planted foxglove seeds that never germinated in this garden before but I can't remember what kind they were.
I have no clue what this is.
After nearly a decade, there are not many tulips left in my gardens. I planted a few last fall. I will have to add tulips to my list of bulbs for this fall.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Random Pictures of Spring

Don't say I didn't warn you. Every day I'm out in the gardens obssessively snapping pictures. And now, thanks to the speed of DSL, I can share the best of them with you. Every day! Aren't you excited?

Here's what the Ice Stick tulips look like when they open. To give you an idea of how tiny they are, that huge brown thing laying next to them is a leaf.

Here's another "green" daffodil. Nope, this one doesn't look green to me either.
Another look at the first green daffodil. It's looking very white.
The Thalia daffodils are doing great in this spot. Unfortunately, they don't show up well against the white shed. I hate to move them, though. I have more that I got for free last fall growing in another spot. If those do as well, I'll move these.

I just love grape hyacinths.

These daffodils were already here when I moved into this house. I love the unusual cream color. In fact, I love this picture so much that I am using it as wallpaper on my PC.
I'm noticing that there are a lot of white daffodils in my yard, most of which I didn't plant. Note to self: plant yellow daffodils!