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: Glory Glory Glory!

Hallelujah! It’s Spring! This cute little ray of sunshine arrived Easter – thanks Mom! – and can’t wait to be out there in the garden but patience, we did have a light frost this morning.

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Gerber Daisy

I have spent glorious days in the garden but have yet to finish Spring clean-up. I’ve made great progress, though. The Potager is ready. I put up my wire panels and even moved the Raspberries from behind the greenhouse. Next “leaf” day (biodynamic calendar) I will plant kale, swiss chard, lettuces … it’s just so wonderful to be back in the garden. I feel like skipping about.

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The calm before the storm.

Plants are arriving … these beautiful vines from Easy to Grow Bulbs arrived yesterday: Passion Flower Betty Myles Young and Corkscrew Vine. I couldn’t be more pleased and I’ll definitely be ordering from them again. Considering what it takes to germinate and grow either of these from seed, the cost seems very minimal. They are making a slow and easy recovery (from shipping) on my back porch before I move them to the greenhouse until danger of frost has passed. In spite of our lightly frosted morning, the temperature in the greenhouse was 60° F! I spent a portion of yesterday afternoon constructing a beautiful trellis for the Corkscrew Vine. (I’ll post about that soon.)

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AAAAND things are beginning to wake up and BLOOM! Just in time for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens on the 15th of each month. And wouldn’t you know, I’m home in my garden to enjoy it all! So, what’s blooming in the Violet Fern garden right now?

Mostly Crocus. It’s too early for these guys, they haven’t woken up yet. The crocus I have are mixed snow crocus and I didn’t diligently label their locations in the garden, but I do believe these are Blue Pearl, my favorite.

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When they’re awake, they look like this!

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Blue Pearl

Snowdrops are also blooming now that the snow is GONE, FINIS, BYE-BYE!

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Glory of the Snow, chionodoxa just started blooming. I want to rename them Glory of the Spring!

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Chionodoxa in the SUN!

Chionodoxa – what a difference lighting makes.

Disappointing is the Aconite, Eranthis Hyemalis, I planted last fall – not a sign. I thought this might have been one but upon closer inspection it looks more like a Daffodil. Maybe she’ll open later today!

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Daffodils are really making a push! It won’t be long before they light up the ground.

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Tulips are popping up everywhere, too, after these few warmer, SPRING-like days. I usually only plant species Tulips because Big Fat Rabbit likes to eat the fancy pants Tulips – I’m surprised he’s left me so many Crocus this year! – but I think this one is a fancy pants carefully hidden under Low Gro Sumac. The Woodland Tulips and Lady Jane’s are coming up, too.

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Next month (gasp) Poppies? They’re really growing. Don’t you just love all that fuzz?

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I hope your garden is waking up, too, and the sun is on your face! All smiles.


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What’s Blooming: The Last Nasturtium

I have to thank Carol of Maydreams Gardens for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day on the 15th of each month, who inspires me to walk about my garden in all kinds of weather and take in its beauty. Oftentimes this year, I have taken the garden for granted and not fully appreciated my paradise. Today it is drizzling rain but I walked about and relished the delicious Autumn palette which I will also share with Pam at Digging in Foliage Followup. Just a warning, this beholder found A LOT of beauty to admire …

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It is warm today, so warm that the door is open to our back screen porch – but by the end of this week we will have a real sliding glass door! The warmth is strange with so many of my blooms already to seed and the torch of Autumn aflame. It just doesn’t feel right, but I will enjoy it all the same. We dined al fresco last evening – you have to take advantage!

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I will say it again, I love my Cardinal Dogwood! I love it in the Spring when it’s adorned with white flowers. I love it in the summer when the birds forage its white berries. I love it in the Autumn when its leaves begin to yellow golden almost orange, and its stems begin to turn red. I love it in the Winter when its stems are on fire against the Blue Spruce. (As I write this, a White Throated Sparrow is enjoying some of the last remaining berries!)

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I am also loving one of my Spicebush which actually died back a bit after last Winter but made a good comeback. Its yellow leaves like the sun rising above the Blue Spruce.

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I am always drawn to The Woodland Edge. There is so much going on in this section of the garden at all times. On its floor, Orchid Frost Lamium blooms well into the first few frosts. Wild Strawberry lights up the ground with its reddening leaves.

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I love this little Wood Sorrel – still blooming – in the planters on the log pedestals this year. It is only hardy to Z5 so I think I will store these containers in my cellar for the most brutal months of Winter after they go dormant.

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The Pagoda Dogwood Tree really took off this year. Once loaded with white blossoms, then the most beautiful dark berries, its leaves are now turning a deep burgundy.

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Persicaria Firetail still on fire among the yellowing leaves of Amsonias.

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I feel lucky to get a shot of these Winterberries – they are usually stripped clean by birds the minute they turn red (and orange – the orange not so much).

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Yeah, those berries are nice but I can’t get over the size of these crabapples out front! I just love these and they are beautiful this Autumn. This is the first time this tree has bore apples!

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The Potager seems to have the most blooms maybe because it has “gone wild” on me. I need to cut down many things, especially the Perilla and Garlic Chives, but it all looks so beautiful – why don’t I just wait for a really cold, miserable day? Ha ha, that’s the way. Surprising me, Nasturtium blooms!

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I love the dark green Lacinato Kale against the now toffee colored blooms of Perilla – looks like I’ll have plenty of Perilla next year, too. The wild grapes are yellowing on the fence.

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Lemon Tagetes still blooming.

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Now’s the time to eat this Chard!

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Borage, Calendula, Nasturtium – the staple of the flowers in my Potager.

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One of my favorite Nasturtiums ‘Moonlight’ from Renee’s Garden.

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A green bee taking refuge in a squash flower. I planted my squash late and then it was further stunted by a forest of Dill so it is still blooming and trying to produce.

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One of my favorite colors of the ‘Flashback Mix’ Calendula planted three or four years ago and not since. To say it reseeds is an understatement!

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Speaking of reseeders, Granpa Otts Morning Glory is still quite glorious!

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An example of that red Blueberry Autumn foliage one always reads about!

I think gardeners tend to forget how outstanding Oenothera is in the Autumn garden. I grow it in the Bird & Butterfly bed and around my Pin Oak.

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The leaves of the Pin Oak.

It seems that the Helianthus Microcephalus went to seed earlier this year. It is usually one of the last bloomers. Behind it, the blooms of Panicum ‘Dallas Blues’ in the Bird & Butterfly garden.

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This is why I end up with so many Black-eyed Susans because I cannot bear to chop them down. They look cool! And the birds love to eat their seeds and since I will be migrating myself, I will leave them up all Winter long to feed the birds.

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The leaves of (naughty) Amur Maple, an invasive small tree I cannot recommend planting but I have it anyway in my garden because it hitched a ride from our Maine home.

Another Dogwood – I love them. (The shrub in the foreground beginning of Hosta Row.) Remember this one? This is a story of perseverance. This was the Dogwood that was sawed down by the Dogwood Sawfly caterpillars. Look at him now! A complete comeback, amazing.

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That “rug” of green on the workshop/garage wall is Clematis Virginiana. All I can say is WOW.

A surprise, and thoroughly neglected, Petunia or maybe Viola. This container (also on a log pedestal) was planted in early Spring and I have not been good about watering it regularly throughout the entire Summer – or even checking on it. Maybe neglect is a successful gardening method?

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Heuchera ‘Pinot Blanco’ still blooming among a few yes, self seeded Calendulas, and a fading ‘Quickfire’ Hydrangea.

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The fading blossom of Snowball Hydrangea.

I am also surprised Obedient Plant is just about finished blooming – again, seems to have gone to seed earlier this year, but very colorfully.

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I was captivated by these furry tails of Liatris!

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But Solidago ‘Fireworks’ seems to be blooming right on time. One can always find some type of pollinator on Solidago, even at this time of year which is why Solidagos are so important.

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Instead of a throw away Mum, I opted for a New England Aster which I will plant out in the garden. I don’t seem to have luck with Asters but I keep adding them hoping one will “catch” other than the weedy little white flowered one which pops up everywhere in my garden.

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Wild Grapes on the front porch.

This year should be dubbed the year that containers didn’t die. A Gazania ‘Frosty Kiss’ blossom! among some added gourds to a container out front.

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I’ll leave you with hope for Spring: a Milkweed pod bursting in what I hope will be its new home along the Nice Driveway instead of in the middle of my entry way. I find it beautiful.

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