The Violet Fern

A Colorful Tale of a Garden in the Making


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.


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.


Joe Pye Weed


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.


My Grandmother’s White Phlox


Nodding Onion


Cardinal Lobelia


Great Blue Lobelia


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


Rudbeckia Laciniata and Cup Plant


Pink Turtlehead


Jewel Weed

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


I got out a ladder so I could zoom in.


Corkscrew vine flower


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.


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.


Clematis Virginiana


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


Karl Föerster grass



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.


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 ):


What’s Blooming: Hey Joe and Here Comes the Sun

Yet another Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, celebrated the 15th of each month and hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. My garden is looking “tired” – a reflection of me? I am tired. Tired and struggling with allergies. The garden is beating me down. I have managed to cut a few things back, tidy up a bit, add a few small paths but that’s about all. Not much harvesting going on either – fresh salad, herbs and cucumbers.

Joe Pye is everywhere! But I love, love its big floppy, purple heads – all loaded with sleepy bees. I am going to move some of the volunteers to a new corner of the garden.

Joe in the Potager

Joe Pye in the Potager

The Susans are also prolific even in spite of the severe rabbit pruning they received earlier this summer. They are taking over the Bird & Butterfly Garden (along with Joe). I will need to thin them this fall so the bee balm and coneflowers have more room to grow. My asters are buried and so is Husker’s Red – more moving around.

Susans in the Bird & Butterfly Garden

Joe Pye and Susans in the Bird & Butterfly Garden

Nodding onions are the star of the garden now. Great blue lobelia is just revealing itself.

Woodland Edge August

Great Blue Lobelia and Nodding Onions along the Woodland Edge

Nodding Onions

Nodding Onions up close

Iron Weed has just come into bloom – flop. Lots of flopping going on. Don’t you just hate that?

Iron Weed

Well, I wanted more flowers in the Potager and I have them!

Flowers in the Potager

Calendula and marigolds blanket the paths. Trumpet vine gone wild. These marigolds are 3-4′ tall!

3' Marigolds in the Potager

Sunflowers are also beginning to bloom. I didn’t think any of them would make it given the rabbits’ taste for sunflower sprouts!

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Mexican Sunflower

This Amaranth is taller than the sunflowers – almost 7′!

7' tall Amaranth

I find most of the action – blooms and birds, bees, etc. – in the Potager and Woodland Edge, but there is more going on in the new Hosta Row. Clematis Virginiana is blooming for the first time! Too bad the wind wreaked havoc on its trellis. That’s just the way it goes in gardening it seems. The snowball hydrangea bloom on and on and on (along with the Dogwood shrubs this year), in Hosta Row and along the Nice Driveway where the wall of grape and hydrangea has filled in completely.

Native Clematis Virginiana

Native Clematis Virginiana

Snowball hydrangeas in Hosta Row

Dogwood and Snowball hydrangeas in Hosta Row

Wall of grapes and hydrangea

Wall of grapes and hydrangea

New Hydrangea ‘Quickfire’ is blooming alongside Heuchera ‘Pinot Bianco.’

Hydrangea 'Quickfire' and Heuchera 'Pinot Bianco'

White Phlox that belonged to my grandmother also bloom along the Nice Driveway. Fresh against the fading Bee Balm.

Phlox in Nice Driveway

Pink phlox blooms out front through a veil of Karl Foerester Feather Reed grass.

Pink Phlox through Karl Forester

Mints are coming into bloom throughout the garden. Catmint blooms non-fail all summer in the Riverfront.

Catmint Walkers Low

Soon to be outdone by the Russian Sage.

Russian Sage

I don’t look out front too often but I’ll have to keep an eye on it as things are coming into bloom like this young NJ Tea and butterfly weed. This sheered off Mt. Bluet Centaurea is reblooming, too.

Mt Bluet Centaurea

Mt Bluet Centaurea reblooms

New Jersey Tea Buds

New Jersey Tea Buds

Butterfly Weed Buds

Butterfuly Weed Buds

Of course, the honeysuckle blooms all summer until frost and even into December!

Honeysuckle in August

Coral Honeysuckle

This is the home stretch. Not much more blooms from hereon out but beautiful Fall color to look forward to. Nights have been cool and some of the trees are already going dormant. Early fall this year? Obedient Plant is just starting to bloom – have to love a late bloomer like Obedient Plant even if it is a thug.

Obedient first blooms

Be sure to join in Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day by visiting Carol at May Dreams Gardens.