The Violet Fern

Creating Art & Gardens


What’s Blooming: Flowering Raspberry & Blue Flag

Here it is, June, the transition from Spring to Summer. In spite of my new bunny ranch, I have blooms – it is a miracle! Those bunnies are ravenous and I am considering my first BB gun – not really, only at certain moments such as when I discovered the Morning Glory was eaten to the ground in a blaze of glory. Although discouraged, I do have to remind myself that I chose to garden for wildlife. Here it is!

Bunny Ranch

Things will live through this bunny boom or they won’t and that is gardening. Here’s what’s on the menu and a portion of what’s blooming in the Violet Fern Garden this garden bloggers’ bloom day hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

The Woodland Edge is peppered in pinks and purples. For dessert? Flowering Raspberry.

Goats Beard

Goats Beard and Summer Containers in the Woodland Edge

Spiderwort and Columbines

Spiderwort (Tradescantia Osprey), Jacob’s Ladder and Columbines in the Woodland Edge

Blue Flag Iris

Blue Flag Iris II

Our native Blue Flag Iris


Primrose (Primula x bulleesiana)


Amsonia x Blue Ice, Blue Star and Allium Moly

Wild Raspberry and Phlox

Flowering Raspberry (Rhus odoratus), and Wild Sweet William or Meadow Phlox (Phlox maculata)

The Bird & Butterfly Garden is buttered in yellow.

Evening Primrose and Ladys Mantle

Evening Primrose (Oenothera) and Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla Mollis)

Ladys Mantle in the Rain

Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla Mollis) after a rain


Baptisia ‘Twilite Prairieblues’

The Riverfront is laced with complex flavors.

Black Lace

Black Lace (Sambucus)

Walkers Low, Snow in Summer, Black Lace

Catmint Walkers Low (Nepeta), Snow in Summer (Cerastium tomentosum), Black Lace (Sambucus)

The Potager is an herbal delight.



Thyme and Purple Perilla

Thyme and Purple Perilla

Sedum from Kring Point

Sedum in a Potager path from a nearby park (I took a cutting)

The new Hosta Row is dotted with Caramel, Heuchera ‘Caramel.’ May I have a Pinot with that?

Coral Bells & Hollyhocks

Heucheras ‘Caramel’ and ‘Pinot Blanco,’ Hollyhocks in background in new section Hosta Row

Can I get you anything else for your dining pleasure? No? Well, thank you, dinner’s on me.



Front Lawn Be Gone

This post is the fourth in a sequence of time lines of my garden from the very beginning until now. The bird & butterfly garden being the first, the potager (kitchen garden) the second, and my “nice driveway” being the third.

The front is an area I have worked on sporadically over the past three seasons. It has not been the main focus of my attention but I have made improvements. It wasn’t until this winter I was inspired with a plan for this area that I will put into action next summer. Then, it will be my focus and my front lawn will be gone.

For now, I am pleased with the much larger beds and how the plants have interwoven with one another to form a sort of patchwork tapestry of textures and color.

Like most of the village homes in our neighborhood, we had a ridiculously small patch of front lawn – that is now even smaller, thank you. We would not be playing croquet or bocce ball on that small plot in the upper left of the picture collage above, and it was the first of the lawn to go. Clockwise from upper left: before in the spring of 2008, spring of 2009, now, spring of 2010.

Pictured above clockwise from upper left: before in the spring of 2008, summer of 2009, now, summer of 2010. I added a Black Lace, Sambucas nigra (a hybrid of elderberry), in the spring of 2009 next to the existing barberry which I kept even though it is invasive. Eventually I am going to rip it out so we can reside the curve of the porch to match our new yet-to-be-constructed back screened-in porch. I will replace it with something native that does not have thorns! I did remove the existing pygmy barberry right away.

The Black Lace is my “Japanese Maple” of the north. It has grown extremely fast and this year has many blooms. I love how its lacy leaves now veil the view from the porch.

Pictured above clockwise from upper left: spring of 2008, fall of 2009, now (both bottom photos). In the summer of 2009 I connected foundation bed to the two I had made up front near the sidewalk, and added a small stepping stone path. The plants have really filled in and have nearly covered the stepping stone path.

Pictured above clockwise from upper left: early spring of 2008, summer of 2009, now, fall of 2010. In 2009 I added a small Cornelian Cherry, Cornus mas, a tree I picked for its hardiness as the front of our house receives some brutal weather and has cement clay for soil. It didn’t seem to be doing well and has since been moved to the back. (It still doesn’t seem to be doing well. Either it takes awhile to become established or I received a dud.) In its place is now a volunteer cherry tree that seems to be making it. I made the entire bed along the foundation much wider and added some curves and an inukshuk for guidance.

This spring 2011 two crabapples, ‘Purple Prince’ were also added street side. I am hoping with time, their branches form a canopy over our walk way leading up to our front porch from the street.

Now we have a fantastic range of blooms from spring through fall. I have planted bulbs each fall: daffodils, alliums, iris, crocus. The foliage is also its own intermingling arrangement of blues, greens and burgundies. Something is always buzzing or fluttering among the display. Eventually the lawn from the house to the sidewalk will be entirely gone. I won’t miss it.


Bloom Day: November, 2009

This is my first Bloom Day! Bloom day is hosted (and created by) Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Every month on the 15th bloggers share pictures of what is blooming in their gardens.

Not much blooms in North Country this time of year. But it has been a spectacular Fall and I am just thankful we are not under snow cover yet – as we usually are! Most of my blooms have faded but are still standing, and a few brave ones are still blooming – incredible. I usually do not “clean up” until early Spring so the birds can enjoy the seeds, and the bugs the cover, during the winter. I still find the faded blooms beautiful and the color of leaves “bloom” in their own right. Here’s a tour of what’s “blooming” in my garden.

Christmas Cactus (Indoors)
Switch Grass ‘Dallas Blues’
Agastache ‘Golden Jubilee’
Cornelian Cherry (Cornus Mas)
Evening Primrose
Sedum ‘Blue Spruce’
Lettuce Mix
Black Lace
Mt. Bluet
Cone Flowers (Eaten by birds)
The last Oak Leaf