June 09, 2019

Garden Patterns, Textures, and Colors


Lately, I'm noticing patterns, textures, and colors in a different way. It's hard to explain, but many surprisingly pleasant views are catching my eye--like the Ostrich Ferns in the back garden, lined up to capture the morning light.

cottonwood seeds

This is not a pleasant view, but definitely a pattern and texture example--the Hostas lining the driveway are now covered in Cottonwood seeds from several neighborhood trees. Everything is coated in fluff and debris, and it won't end for at least another week. (I'm trying to be patient, because I recognize the trees' and seeds' ecological value. It just makes for a very messy garden. It also illustrates why most of my photos in this post have messy fluff all over them.)

sedum and petunias

Some of the patterns, colors, and textures are intentional, like this combination of chartreuse Mexican Stonecrop (S. mexicanum) with Wave Petunia 'Carmine Velour.' Last year, a patch of overwintered Supertunia Vista Bubblegum was in the same pot with the Sedums, but the Supertunia didn't survive a second winter in the sunroom. Both combinations offer pleasant pops of color and companion textures.

salvia and lantana

While I've had this combination in my garden for several years now--'May Night' Salvia (Salvia x sylvestris) with various Lantanas and Marigolds--I happened to glance over and notice the way the purple/blue Salvia was framing the orange hues of the other flowers from this angle.

shamrocks and ivy

Another pot I've overwintered for several years now combines English Ivy (Hedera helix) with Purple Shamrocks (Oxalis triangularis).

alternanthera and ivy

Continuing the same color scheme with Threadleaf Alternanthera (A. dentata).

purple and ivy

Together, across the back wall of the pond, they create waves of burgundy, purple, and green.

new guinea and coleus

'Sonic Light Pink' New Guinea Impatien (I. hawkeri) is another good pairing with chartreuse foliage--here, with Coleus (Solenostemon) 'Colorblaze Lime Time.'

shade foliage

We've had plentiful precipitation this spring, so all the foliage seems extra lush. Hostas, Convallaria, Epimediums, Sedums, and Hellebores (including the little Hellebore seed pods) form a carpet in various shades of green.

alliums and clematis

This combination was a happy accident. 'Nelly Moser' Clematis is a long-standing garden staple. I added several Allium 'Globemaster' bulbs along the back wall last fall, and was pleasantly surprised to see how they mimic the lavender/pink color scheme of the Clematis.

Everywhere I turn, there are new pleasant vignettes. Are you discovering or rediscovering patterns, textures, and colors in your garden this season?

May 29, 2019

Plant of the Month: Dwarf Korean Lilac

lilac blooms

No shrub can compete with the beauty, blooms, and fragrance of the Dwarf Korean Lilac (Syringa meyeri) when it's flowering. I've posted about this one many times, and I probably will again, but it deserves to be plant of the month and I've never done that until now.

We have two of these shrubs, both of which were here when we moved to this property nearly 20 years ago. Every year, the explosion of lavender/pink flowers is one of my favorite garden events of the season, generally peaking just after the Common Lilacs (Syringa vulgaris).

lilac and bumble

No, this is not a native shrub, but it definitely has pollinator value. The bumblebees were all over it when I was taking these photos. Later, I saw a monarch butterfly on it (I was in the garden working and didn't capture the photo). I've also seen tiger swallowtails and other butterflies, honeybees, hummingbirds, and other pollinators enjoying its sweet nectar.

lilac blooms 2

This year's damp, cool spring has been good to these shrubs, and they seemed to handle the extremely cold winter better than the Common Lilacs.

Dwarf Korean Lilac is hardy in USDA garden zones 3 to 7, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden. It naturally reaches a height of 5 to 7 feet, and a spread of 6 to 10 feet, but we keep ours trimmed to a much smaller width--pruning it each spring after it blooms. Although it's listed as needing full sun, both of ours thrive in partial sun.

Most winters, rabbits chew the lower branches; with snow cover, the damage is less significant. In years with heavy rabbit grazing, I simply prune the entire shrub more dramatically, and it always bounces back the next spring.

lilac and house

I like the statement it makes at the corner of the house. From this angle, you can't see it, but the shrub borders the driveway and a sidewalk. When you walk by, the scent is so very sweet!

lilac buds

My heart is happy when the Dwarf Korean Lilacs bloom.

May 16, 2019

As the Woodland Awakens

Various woodland plants, including Trillium grandiflorum, Hydrophyllum virginianum, and Geranium maculatum, all of which were planted by Mother Nature in this location.

In the woodland, every year is different. While some things stay the same, others shift and change.

As in past years, the expected ephemerals have shown their faces. What's different is that some have moved their locations, while others suffered damage from an overpopulation of rabbits.

I can't show you the Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) because the rabbits ate them. Oh, I know I could try Technique A and Technique B to repel the rabbits (I did try several rabbit repellents, and they didn't work for the Mertensia). But my original plan was to encourage Virginia Bluebells to colonize freely in the woodland. That won't be happening here, on this property. Although I plan to plant some native Alliums around them...

The rabbits also trampled the Trillium erectum plants just as those beautiful plants were about to bloom. Bye-bye for this year.

Podophyllum peltatum

The Mayapples (Podophyllum peltatum) (just about to bloom) are sparser this year. I think it's because the neighbors who border that part of the woodland cut down several large trees--dousing the Mayapple patch in too much sun. Perhaps that will encourage other wildflowers to fill in.

T. grandiflorum

T. grandiflorum might colonize a little more with the increased light on the forest floor.

T. sessile

Same with T. sessile.

Arisaema triphyllum

We always have quite a few Jack-in-the-Pulpits (Arisaema triphyllum) and this year is no exception.

Asarum canadense

The Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense) is spreading, and I'm very happy about that.

Claytonia virginica

Enemion biturnatum

I thought I'd lost the Spring Beauties (Claytonia virginica) and the False Rue Anemone (Enemion biturnatum), but those patches had simply shifted location slightly.

Viola pubescens

Viola sororia

Other plants that have changed, yet stayed the same, are the Violets, including the yellow Viola pubescens and the various shades of blue Viola sororia. They've moved around, but as always there are many of them in various colorful shades.

The woodland is awake!