The Violet Fern

A Colorful Tale of a Garden in the Making


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What’s Blooming: Forget Me Not!

I’m a little late for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day hosted by Carol of May Dreams Gardens the 15th of each month, but it doesn’t mean I forgot! I decided to spend what time I could IN the garden and not at my “desk” which translates to a table on the back porch where I live 99% of the time. I cannot not post what’s blooming in May! – glorious May before the jungle reigns.

Drifts of Forget-Me-Nots are blooming in the Woodland Edge and Dogwoods are just bursting into bloom.

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Along with Snowflake Flower (Gravetye Giant) and a few later blooming Daffodils that missed our heat wave.

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Amsonia Blue Star, one of my favorites, is just beginning to put on a show in the Woodland Edge.

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It is dry here, amazingly, after all that snow melt. Barely any rain and I’m not one to water. In the Bird & Butterfly Garden the Baptisia is at least a foot shorter than usual. My Forsythia is still gallantly trying to leaf out. Geraniums are loaded with buds but not quite open yet.

And one of my May Flowers has a bloom this year! (Sorry it’s out of focus.)

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The crabapples are blooming out front – oh so heavenly. And spice currant is blooming on the side where I don’t garden, but its wonderful fragrance drifts in through the front porch and windows.

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Creeping phlox and tulips that have not been overtaken by grass that seems to be invading my front gardens. I feel the need to weed!

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And these beautiful early blooming short Iris. I should move some of these to the back where I would enjoy them more. I don’t typically hang out front “in public.”

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I am in love with Cornus Alternifolia (Pagoda Dogwood) ‘Golden Shadows.’ It should flower eventually like my traditional Pagoda Dogwood as it matures. It just glows among my “shrubs” of Bleeding Heart in Hosta Row.

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Solomon’s Seal is blooming in Hosta Row right now, too. I hope it spreads like the Bleeding Heart.

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Brunnera has a beautiful dainty flower similar to Forget-Me-Not planted up against the North side of the house along the Nice Driveway where poppies are beginning to plump out.

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I’ve saved the best for last. What really has my eye, is Betty Myles Davis Passion Flower who I’ve potted up in a large pot (vacated by a recently deceased houseplant – mean bad gardener!). This is her third bloom already! I am going to enjoy seeing her bloom all summer I hope on the steps of our back porch leading into the garden. I just love her flowers.

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So much happens in May it’s difficult to slow down and enjoy but, thanks to Carol and Gardener’s Bloom Day, I have found a little time.


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What’s Blooming: Rose Petals and Cotton Candy

Well, here we are at the height of Summer for those of us in the Northeastern United States … J-UUU-L-III! This is the month of big bangs of blooms. Picture picnics and sizzling grills (of veggies), beautiful bouquets, carnivals and cotton candy. Reality: I took photos this morning in the rain, in my squeaky, squishy flip flops. No sunny skies here today but that’s okay, I have blooms – lots of big bang blooms!

I am still far behind in my gardening chores – chores that I have listed in my head such as you really, really need to cut back the Black Lace out front. You really, really need to weed that new area by the rose trellis. You really, really need to tie up your cherry tomatoes … on and on. So, you may see a weed, or a dozen, but the blooms are what to focus upon, please.

The Potager is in the worst shape. It needs a cut back, tie up, pull up, fall plant, and a really good day – or two – of weeding. The paths are barely passable, but there are blooms (and buzzes) everywhere – Calendula, Morning Glory, Tomatillos, Purple Perilla and Cutleaf Coneflower have reseeded themselves silly. Trumpet flowers are just beginning to open. The dill and borage are growing tree size!

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Dill Tree

The Bird & Butterfly Garden is becoming choked by Joe and Susan’s love affair. There will be a messy divorce come Fall, I predict. Still, on and on there are blooms – currently, Daisies and Bee Balm – through a veil of Joe Pye just budding.

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Another large growing patch of Bee Balm in the Nice Driveway – safe from Susan. Summer Nights Heliopsis decided to move itself to the Nice Driveway, too. I have also been spreading my Cone Flowers around for fear they will be permanently choked out by Susan. I’ve replanted or deadheaded some in the Nice Driveway, some more out front by yet another patch of Bee Balm, only pink, mixed in with Verbascum which also easily reseeds.

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‘Summer Nights’

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Liatris is finally taking off in the Nice Driveway. Things either thrive or perish in the Nice Driveway. It is full sun and somewhat dry. The soil is not as rich as it is in the back gardens.

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Sea Holly has flared up out front and is normally glittering with pollinators but not today in the rain.

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I can never pick out Butterfly Weed until it’s in bloom, then bang, there it is!

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Good news! I thought my New Jersey Tea didn’t survive but then, bang, there are some small blooms!

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I had a large whiskey barrel container at the end of our driveway. I finally moved it up to the garage in the dead sea of paved driveway to break it up. It was really just a pee spot for all the passing dogs where it used to be, anyway. And when the crabapples were planted, it didn’t really fit out there anymore. It detracted from the trees. I devised a trellis with bamboo and grapevines to grow Cardinal Climber for the hummingbirds.

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I also planted Pineapple Sage and some of the seedlings I started this year into it: Castor Bean, Lime Zinnias, Lime Nicotiana, Love in a Mist, and Shrimp Plant. I love it in its new spot – birds even perch on the trellis – a Cedar Waxwing the other day! But sadly, it is full of black ants and they are eating the bases of the stems! You can see the Castor Bean is wilting. I tried chalk around the barrel, sprinkling cinnamon around the base of stems and transplanting some Calendula to deter them – they seem to be dwindling. All remedies I looked up online. (I also have an ant problem in one of my raised beds – where are the Flickers?) Next year I will be sure the ants are gone before I plant. There’s always next year says the gardener.

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Shrimp Plant blossoms

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Lime Zinnia bud

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Castor Bean flowers

I think the Woodland Edge is my favorite part of the garden. There is always something going on. It is also the most wild and difficult to maintain. My stone paths I attempted are almost completely grown over (another item to add to the list). Right now this border it is all frothy and pink.

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The beautiful cotton candy blooms of Queen of the Prairie are just beginning to froth.

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Queen of the Prairie (in pink) and Tall Meadow Rue

Persicaria Firetail just beginning to flare, will shoot off until frost.

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“The Rocket” lights up.

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The Hydrangea in the drive droops in the rain. This Hydrangea’s cuttings have taken root in new Hosta Row.

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Hydrangea from cuttings now growing in Hosta Row. Golden Shadows and Red Twig Dogwood in foreground.

A new Hydrangea ‘Quickfire’ (replaced Oakleaf which surely would not have survived last Winter here) just beginning to bubble behind Heucheras Pinot Blanco and Caramel. I love this combination.

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Well, if you’ve hung in here this long you deserve a grand finale! These photos were take a few days ago in the sun. The Prairie Rose, which unfortunately I cannot see, or smell, from our back porch as intended because we have yet to install our windows, has never been so big and full! I would say this rose definitely disguises that chainlink fence now. My neighbor can appreciate it anyway, and the bees – of whom I can hear their buzzing through the wall – and the syrphid flies and more. Rose petals flutter down from the sky throughout the garden.

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And so yet another Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens gives proof through the night that we can have flowers nearly every month of the year.


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What’s Blooming: June Bloom

It’s been rainy here but today in June, the sun blooms. Purple podded peas … blooming in the sun.

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Also in the Potager, herbs like chives and thymes are in flower. Borage is on the brink.

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Chamomile (and Vetch) running rampant.

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A first, Ornamental Clover, Trifolium Rubens, just beginning to bloom. (Last year the rabbits mowed it down.)

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Just beginning, the first drops of Oenothera, in the Bird & Butterfly Garden (a blue and yellow stage along with Lady’s Mantle, Cranesbill).

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Baptisia Twilite Prairieblues …

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The Woodland Edge in its “Pink Fairy” stage with Tradescantia varieties brought to me by Jean’s Garden.

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Jack in the Pulpit lingers in the shadows.

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Flowering Raspberry, Rubus odoraus, is buzzing and vibrating with bees. Listen.

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Meadow phlox, Phlox maculata or Wild Sweet William is loaded.

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Flanked by Northern Blue Flag Iris.

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Opposite the Woodland Edge, in new Hosta Row, Heucheras ‘Caramel’ and ‘Pinot Blanco’ soak up the sun.

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Gazania Kiss Frosty Mix, kissed by the sun, out front where the sun is full.

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Superfinia Petunia Lavender Lace in a window box.

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A sweet seat on the front porch next to what I’ve dubbed as “hummingbird honey suckle.”

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On the other side you can see the waterfall of blooms.

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Sitting on the front porch you can take in the scent of Dianthus Greystone.

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Chives and Catmint Walker’s Low line the sidewalk.

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Common Milkweed is just beginning to bloom (IN the sidewalk), but I’ve yet to see a Monarch here in my garden.

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If I were a Monarch, I would visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens for a great list of blooming gardens on Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day.