A Gardening Year

The adventures and misadventures of an heirloom gardener

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

What's Blooming and Not Blooming Today

The itching woke me up this morning. My eye was swollen shut. My other eye was itching and beginning to swell. When I looked in the bathroom mirror, my entire face was so swollen that I looked like the Incredible Hulk. In desperation, I clawed through the medecine cabinet. I was relieved to find leftover Allegra from a sinus infection in February. This is the best combo for me for dealing with poison ivy, prednisone and anti-histamine. The doctor had given me some cortisone cream, but other than temporarily soothing the itch, it isn't helping.

I spent the afternoon hiding my hideous face in my backyard, weeding and planting seeds in my long, sunny border. I use it as a "nursery" in the spring to start seeds in. It works really well. Too well, maybe. This is what happens when you have nearly 100% germination:

Those are Bells of Ireland destined for a new bed in the front. It hasn't been dug yet because it has been so dry, the ground is like rock. I know this because I widened a bed in the front a few days ago. I had to jump on the shovel to get it into the ground. Right next to the Bells of Ireland, the Canterbury Bells are started to germinate. They will be staying in that bed.

Note to Self: there is no need to buy or save seed from Tithonia. It readily reseeds itself:

Another Note to Self: when planting poppy seeds, make sure the air is absolutely still or make allowance for wind when sowing:

Of course, after I spent hours seeding the bed, the last of the roses arrived. I had been convinced that the order had been cancelled. This is the order from Michigan Bulb that had been duplicated. The customer service rep I spoke with said she had cancelled the duplicate rose order but when the roses never arrived, I assumed the entire order had been cancelled. I seeded the bed figuring there would be no more rosebushes. Now I don't know what to do. All of my beds have been seeded, the ground is too hard to dig a new bed for them, I have no pots large enough to temporarily house them and short of donning a burkha, I look too awful to leave the house and buy pots.

Now for the good news. One of my mystery plants is blooming. I still don't know what it is. Would anyone care to venture an opinion?

Here's a close up of the flowers:

This could be a wildflower. I have seen them growing along the road. But it was also near an old abandoned lot so it could be an escapee from an old garden. I ID'd my mystery plant from last year. It's a Digitalis lutea aka straw foxglove aka yellow foxglove. And that's what I planted! It's just that the picture in the catalog was misleading or the wrong foxglove which is why I was so puzzled. I found the answer in a great book I bought, Restoring American Gardens: An Encyclopedia of Heirloom Ornamental Plants 1640-1940 by Denise Wiles Adams. Last fall, I moved those foxgloves into the semi-shady garden. Three survived the winter and are sendingup flower stalks. I'm glad because there is way too much pink and red in that bed. I need other colors!

Also about to bloom is my Madonna lily:

These are supposed to be difficult to grow but mine came right up last year. It just didn't bloom. So I ordered another one. That's it to the right with the two spindly leaves!

And my sage is finally going to bloom this year:
I grew them from seed and I've waited three years for them to bloom! I was beginning to think they were a special non-blooming variety like the hellebores I bought:

Look how HUGE they are! They had better bloom next year. Those are wood hyacinths growing amongst them. They do bloom every year.


At 11:51 PM, Blogger Sylvana said...

hellebores - I think I will have to get some of that.

I hope you get well soon!

At 8:36 AM, Anonymous Talbin said...

I hate to tell you, but I'm pretty sure your mystery plant is garlic mustard, a highly invasive non-native weed that produces lots and lots of seeds and can take over a native woodland ecosystem. It's right up there with buckthorn and purple loostrife in it's invasive properties. Here's a good description from the National Park Service website: http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/alpe1.htm.

Although this website says garlic mustard is not in my state - Minnesota - it is, and our wooded neighborhood has been inundated with it. Pull and throw it now before it goes to seed!

Otherwise, though, I love this site and the Garden Voices site - keep up the good work!

At 6:06 PM, Blogger RusticateGirl said...

Have you tried Zanfel for your poison ivy? I once had a HORRID case and it was an absolute lifesaver for me (see my April 18 post). I don't know what I would have done without it, immediately stopped the itching and helped w/healing quicker. Hope that helps. Nice garden BTW, mine is about to explode and I can't wait. I'm impressed with your sage from seed.

At 7:12 PM, Blogger snappy said...

Hope you get better soon from poison ivy rash.Love your blog posts and photos.You have some beautiful flowers/plants.

At 6:44 PM, Blogger kerry said...

Sorry to hear about the poison ivy. That is some nasty stuff.

I have this one too and always wondered what it was. Looks like I'll be pulling mine out too.


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