The Violet Fern

A Colorful Tale of a Garden in the Making


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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 Boom Boom Blooming

It is mayhem around here. With the new gardening jobs I have neglected my own which I vowed wouldn’t happen! This weekend is for my garden no matter what. Besides I have a tour happening Memorial Day weekend and the place has to look good! (Insert loud, languishing scream of torment here.) Trays of plants waiting to be planted, piles of mulch and stone waiting to be dispersed and there is that lesson from last year haunting me – you will get the edging done in Spring. It heckles me every day. At least we now have a running lawnmower – we have yet to mow the lawn as it was in for repair. (Sigh) someday, there won’t be any lawn to mow.

All in all, despite my neglect, I still so enjoy my garden and things are boom-boom-blooming!

This morning's view

This morning’s view

The Serviceberry, Amelanchier Laevis, is just about done blooming – but I captured its blooms a couple days ago. I wish the blooms would last longer – maybe when the tree is older? Anyway, I am just glad I didn’t miss the first opening. It usually blossoms right around Mother’s Day and we usually travel to see Mom.

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I love the Woodland Edge in Spring – it is my favorite with the morning sun streaming through it. There are many woodland flowers, bulbs, shrubs and understory trees (including the Serviceberry), but I still want to add more – especially some wildflower ephemerals.

Bergenia

Bergenia

 

Gravetye Giant

Gravetye Giant resembles a Snow Drop but is larger and blooms later.

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I love pairing fern fronds and flowers.

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Woodland Tulip

Did I mention it is very windy here today? We always seem to have wind like Wyoming. Thus, some of my flower shots are a blur. There are wild violets everywhere, but at the tip of the new Hosta Row I came across this white one. Isn’t she a beauty?

whitevioletAt the edge of the compost, a Celandine Poppy is blooming. I am not sure whether it is Chelidonium Majus (European) or Stylophorum dyphyllum (a North American native) since I do not have both to compare them side by side. These volunteered in my yard and well, a lot of invasives like to volunteer in my garden so I’m betting on Chelidonium. I’ll know for sure when the seed pods form. How do I know this? Kathy Purdy of Cold Climate Gardening recently posted on the Celandine Poppy – as usual, an excellent and informative post.

caladestinepoppyIn the Bird & Butterfly Garden my favorite Daffodil is blooming. I apologize, I don’t know the name of it, but it smells delicious!

Smells delicious!

Smells delicious!

Also blooming everywhere are the friendly forget-me-nots. I have even spied a few pink ones here and there!

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I love this combination of Forget-me-nots and Creeping Jenny.

There is a lot of flowering action out front where I don’t often go. I haven’t even finished cleaning up last years stalks but that is not stopping anyone.

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The front “river wave” of blooms.

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Dwarf Iris

Tulips and Creeping Phlox

Tulips and Creeping Phlox

 

Lady Jane Tulip

Lady Jane Tulip

I had visions of looking into a beautifully branched flowering tree from my front porch view (instead of into the street). This little tree has grown very fast and I can already see the tip of it from the porch. (I used to have a Cornelian Cherry here that was not happy and has since passed on, unfortunately.)

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View from front porch.

This year, this tree that I thought was a cherry but might actually be a crabapple, will be blooming! This tree started as a seedling in one of my window boxes from when I used a few branches with a beautiful red berry on them for my winter display. I thought they were cherries but there is no evidence of black knot gall which is prevalent here and affects most of our cherry trees. I guess I will know for sure if this tree fruits this year.

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The unknown cherry or crabapple tree with blooms for the first time.

The Purple Prince Crabapples will also be blooming any day.

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Purple Prince Crabapple blooms

Around the side of the house where I rarely venture, Spice or Clove Currant, Ribes Odoratum, is in full bloom. I can smell those blooms all the way into the house!

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Spice or Clove Currant

On the other (shadier) side of the house, newly acquired Brunnera and Lungwort Pulmonaria are blooming.

Brunnera macrophylla 'Blue' (Heartleaf Alkanet)

Brunnera macrophylla ‘Blue’ (Heartleaf Alkanet)

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Lungwort

Soon the Dogwood shrubs will be blooming but I am enjoying the emerging leaves of Golden Shadows Pagoda Dogwood! A young tree I planted last year and that the rabbits only nipped a bit.

Golden Shadows Pagoda Dogwood

Golden Shadows Pagoda Dogwood

My older Pagoda Dogwood will have blooms soon, too. I just love the Dogwoods. I just love Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day hosted by Carol at Maydreams Gardens – it makes one stop to smell the flowers even in the middle of mayhem!