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.



Three In A Dozen For Diana

I am joining Diana of Elephant’s Eye in choosing twelve months of my favorite garden plants. In this month of March, I am all about green. Each Spring, I look forward to the fresh, crinkly leaves of Lady’s Mantle, Alchemilla Mollis. Lady’s Mantle is native to Europe but has become traditional in many American gardens. I cannot imagine a garden without the ruffled skirt of Lady’s Mantle edging its borders and so must include it in my dozen for Diana.

Lady’s Mantle, a perennial herb belonging to the Rose family, has a long history of curative and magical powers. I mostly admire Lady’s Mantle for its leaves and the way they catch the rain and dew. Apparently so have many others before me. Throughout history, these dainty drops adorning the leaves of Lady’s Mantle were considered mystical and constituted the part of many potions. Considered by alchemists to be the purest form of water, they used them in their quest to turn base metal into gold – hence the name “Alchemilla”. (The generic name Alchemilla is derived from the Arabic word, Alkemelych – alchemy.)  In earlier times, it was also believed the dew that collected on the leaves was thought to preserve a lady’s complexion and took on extra magical powers if collected by the light of a full moon. Lady’s Mantle also been used in traditional medicine as an astringent tonic for skin conditions, as a tea in the treatment of menstrual and digestive problems, and to dress wounds so that they may heal faster.

Lady’s Mantle is said to be named after the Virgin Mary’s cloak because the lobes of the leaves were thought to resemble the scalloped edges of a mantle. Its tiny chartreuse to yellow flowers dance above its frilly foliage like lace. Lady’s Mantle prefers to grow in partial shade. Mine grows in sun as well, in moist soil, but I am in a cooler zone. Aside from an elegant edging, it also makes a graceful groundcover.

To read about my previous choices for a dozen for Diana, click below.
January: Sunflowers
February: Wild Roses

Hmmm, if I scratch myself training the wild roses, I could try applying some Lady’s Mantle to my scrapes!

Sources: BotanicalGlobal Garden, Live and Feel