The Violet Fern

A Colorful Tale of a Garden in the Making


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What’s Blooming: I’m a PAN FAN!

Whoa, I almost ran right by Gardener’s Bloom Day hosted by Carol of May Dreams Gardens each month so that we have flowers every day of the year. Fortunately, I’m putting on the brakes. There isn’t much blooming per say in the Violet Fern garden but she still has color – lots of rich, enticing color.

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I have been in the garden very little but I still love her and I do spend whatever minute I can. I am plagued by a cat – stray or roaming I’m not sure which – and my beloved birds have taken notice and become scarce. I spent years planting and planning this garden to attract birds and it is somewhat disheartening that a careless neighbor, or unfortunate cat, can have so much impact upon my creative space, but there you have it. It has taught me to let go a bit more and so I have. I am still connected to the garden but my connection is much more amoebic.

The Pin Oak is just starting to turn. I think it is perhaps my favorite Fall foliage in the garden.

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Although, Cardinal Dogwood is a close rival. The old limbs have the most color and I planned to prune them off but I am going to wait just a little bit longer so I enjoy the show.

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And of course, Highbush Blueberry rivals any ol’ invasive Burning Bush. Tucked in here in the Potager.

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But then there are the Mellow Yellows … Spicebush Lindera benzoin (the one that survives). I will unbury the other one soon and move it from beyond the strangling arms of bindweed and Flowering Raspberry.

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And the Tulip Tree is such a glorious sight as he was in a bit of trouble not so long ago. He grew taller this year so I know things are on the upswing.

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Ooh, and then there is the beautiful sea foam green of Baptisia.

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But how about the texture of these garlic chive blossoms among Germander – ah.

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Vibrunum Cranberry doesn’t have much leaf color yet but that’s only because all the color is in the berries!

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And, wow, look at them apples! This is a tree I planted from some prunings I took from the side of the road one year for holiday display in my window boxes. One of the “apples” must have rooted so yes, it is planted from seed so to speak. I can’t believe how big it is now. And those apples – look at those apples! Each year I question if it is in fact from the Crabapple prunings I took or if I somehow chanced across an apple tree.

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So, what is blooming? Orchid Frost Lamium – blooms nonstop all season Spring into Fall frost. I love it beneath the Blue Spruce. They compliment each other well.

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Another all star blooming is Calendula which I planted from seed only once, four or five years ago. I have grown very fond of this tough little annual that throws itself around with abandon.

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Making me happy this year is Chrysanthemum Mary Stoker. Finally she is blooming and I just love her rich, ripe color. She is poking through Hydrangea Quickfire. Shoo fly!

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Another wonder bloomer is Persicaria. I wish I had more Persicaria varieties and maybe I will when I redesign this area of the garden. Firetail is a long bloomer, carefree and very attractive to bees. Her leaves are big and her flowers like little wands rising above casting magic about.

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Surprise! Johnny Jumped up into this little woodland container long after the petunia dried up.

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Even though there was a slight frost upon the rooflines this morning, Nasturtium in the Potager continues to look great.

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I am admiring Solidago ‘Fireworks’ this year more so than other years in my Nice Driveway. It looks great beside our native Indian Grass. I think I want more of this in my garden, too. Not that my garden needs more plants but I think it’s important now for me to weed out the weak and bring in only plants I love that perform really well so this is where I’m coming from

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What’s a PAN FAN you ask? A Pan Fan is a fan of Panicums and I am a big, big fan of my PANicum switch grass ‘Dallas Blues’ this year. He is large and in charge with silver blue foliage and purple blooms that will all turn to gold soon.

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Here he is blooming among the seed heads of perennial sunflower Helianthus Microcephalus.

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Fan that I am, I would like to add more Panicum grasses to my garden perhaps along the Nice Driveway – it would also dance well with Solidago.

As you can probably tell, I am still very much in love with my garden. She needs a little work but she always, always gives me joy and beauty. There’s pleasure in that.


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What’s Blooming: Everything!

It is the 15th of the month, that means Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. A wonderful forum where everyone shares what’s blooming in their gardens. So, what’s blooming in the Violet Fern garden? Just about everything!

Here is a bird’s eye view of the Bird & Butterfly and Woodland Edge borders. The entire garden hums and soars with bees and birds during the day and crickets and bats in the evenings. Cabbage whites, and occasionally other butterflies (I saw a Monarch the other day!), flutter and spin skyward. This is why I let it grow wild with natives and don’t use any types of herbicides/pesticides – all is blooming and alive. It is music to my eyes and ears.

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In the Bird & Butterfly Garden we have perennial sunflower, Helianthus Microcephalus which has spread itself around a bit; Black-eyed Susans; Joe Pye; Mint; and a new feature somehow, a Lemon Balm edging which the Wool Carder Bees are guarding.

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Joe Pye Weed

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Black-eyed Susans

In the Woodland Edge, Phlox; Nodding Onion; Flowering Raspberry; Great Blue and Cardinal Lobelias; Persicaria; Cup Plant and Rudbeckia Laciniata bloom on and on. Turtlehead is just peeking out of its shell. Jewelweed is also in bloom and is almost constantly visited by either Hummingbirds and / or Bumblebees.

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My Grandmother’s White Phlox

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Nodding Onion

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Cardinal Lobelia

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Great Blue Lobelia

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Cup Plant is at least 10-12 feet tall this year!

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Rudbeckia Laciniata and Cup Plant

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Pink Turtlehead

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Jewel Weed

Corkscrew vine is blooming! – but WAY up there! (It still smells divine down here, though.)

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I got out a ladder so I could zoom in.

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Corkscrew vine flower

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Corkscrew vine flower

Talk about vines – trumpet vine continues to bloom and impress! Untitled

Polite Clematis Claire de Lune is putting on a show this year.

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Clematis Claire de Lune

In striking contrast, our big brute, native Clematis Virginiana, has them all beat! In full bloom now and rambling among Hosta Row into the Hostas and Hydrangea.

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Clematis Virginiana

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Out front a pink phlox blooms against Karl Foerster, and Russian Sage against Black Lace.

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Karl Föerster grass

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Russian Sage in bloom, Black Lace in background

I know that it’s the grand finale of Summer because Obedient Plant is just beginning to paint the Nice Driveway in purple.

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Obedient Plant

Normally this would make me sad but this year I am looking forward to cooler weather and spending some quality time in my garden neatening it up a bit and reinforcing a few paths through the beds for easier maintenance. After that I will be spending a whole month (!) moving my office/studio to a different room of our house that is a little bit larger and putting together and organizing my seed starting set up. We will be escaping again this winter to Cedar Key, but I want to be ready the minute I get home to start seeds which I will begin indoors this time before moving out to the little greenhouse. I’m going to start them in my new office/studio space which will be clean, organized and welcoming when I return home. The hornet’s nest in the greenhouse now looks inactive and I am dying to get in there to clean it up – it is full of weeds ):


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What’s Blooming: Pretty Weeds

Well now, I was going to post What’s Growing “soon” as in the beginning of the month, but here we are the 15th of June – Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. What’s Growing will have to wait like these plants on the steps of my back porch – still waiting to be planted – but some, not waiting to bloom.

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As you can see it is a bit of a foggy morning after night rains which I am grateful for as we were very dry not so long ago – now we are thoroughly watered.

Looking forward onto the Bird & Butterfly and Woodland Edge Gardens – the pink and purple phase with splashes of Evening Primrose, Oenothera. The field of grass in the foreground will one day become a walkway of stone or paver or crushed gravel or even boardwalk. The pond will be nestled in between these two beds.

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Oenothera with Lady’s Mantle in the background in the Bird & Butterfly Garden.

I have been singling out “problem areas” in my garden – not really problems – but areas that require too much of my time that I want to rework to grow without my meddling so much. This is one of them. I had began a stone path through here, but as you can see (or not) it is now completely overgrown – I’m going to switch to large stone pavers to make a path through here. This is where bindweed reigns but overlook that and see the blooms of a pretty purple Columbine, Jacob’s Ladder in purple and white, Cranesbill Geranium, and Tradescantia. The bamboo pole marks a special plant I actually planted (novel!) that I want to be sure doesn’t become lost. The wooden framework is for continuing the construction of a wooden fence we began last year.

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Flowering Raspberry never disappoints and is larger than ever. Much of my garden work is now pruning and cutting back vs. planting/weeding. It is swallowing a spicebush (another problem area) that I am going to move to a different spot (where oh where?) so I do not have to worry about it becoming eaten. The Pagoda Dogwood and Serviceberry should rise above eventually. I love to walk by this native shrub because you can hear it! – the buzzing and humming of bees.

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A pot of fuchsia, Angel Earrings, in the Woodland Edge to break it up a bit. A treat for hummers. I bought two more hummingbird feeders but now I’m thinking why don’t I just hang / pot “natural hummingbird feeders” – less work.

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I thought I scored at the Master Gardener plant sale some Agapanthus which I potted up in the Bird & Butterfly Garden – again for a bit of a break – but I’m thinking it looks more like an Iris bloom – we shall find out. That’s Baptisia, in the background.

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Agapanthus?

In the Potager thyme, chives, and this beautiful ornamental clover (a pretty weed?), Trifolium Rubens, bloom or are about to bloom. That is my “Asparagus Forest” in the background – to think I was worried about it coming back earlier in the Spring! – ha ha.

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Golden Shadows Pagoda Dogwood looks like blooms in Hosta Row just beyond Red Twig Dogwood in the foreground – yes, this is the one that was nearly eaten to sticks last year by Dogwood Sawfly caterpillars. Further on, hydrangea just about ready to bloom. That is native Clematis Virginiana on the left (not a tree) engulfing our workshop wall.

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In the Nice Driveway Garden, these allium were planted to bloom with the poppies. The poppies are finished blooming – I never really had perfect timing.

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False Sunflowers are coming in bigger and better this year – thank you Angie!

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Out front the Coral Honeysuckle never disappoints though it has a bit of an aphid problem again. I know nature will balance out. Our front porch declines, this lattice will have to come down before winter. It is falling apart. We will replace it with welded wire and I think the plants will be more of the focus.

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Pretty Milkweed continues to grow in my front walk along with Mugo Pine and Catmink Walkers Low – and not where I placed all its pods last year.

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It’s not just pretty to me so I let it blossom.