The Violet Fern

Creating Art & Gardens


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What’s Blooming: Forget Me Not!

I’m a little late for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day hosted by Carol of May Dreams Gardens the 15th of each month, but it doesn’t mean I forgot! I decided to spend what time I could IN the garden and not at my “desk” which translates to a table on the back porch where I live 99% of the time. I cannot not post what’s blooming in May! – glorious May before the jungle reigns.

Drifts of Forget-Me-Nots are blooming in the Woodland Edge and Dogwoods are just bursting into bloom.

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Along with Snowflake Flower (Gravetye Giant) and a few later blooming Daffodils that missed our heat wave.

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Amsonia Blue Star, one of my favorites, is just beginning to put on a show in the Woodland Edge.

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It is dry here, amazingly, after all that snow melt. Barely any rain and I’m not one to water. In the Bird & Butterfly Garden the Baptisia is at least a foot shorter than usual. My Forsythia is still gallantly trying to leaf out. Geraniums are loaded with buds but not quite open yet.

And one of my May Flowers has a bloom this year! (Sorry it’s out of focus.)

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The crabapples are blooming out front – oh so heavenly. And spice currant is blooming on the side where I don’t garden, but its wonderful fragrance drifts in through the front porch and windows.

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Creeping phlox and tulips that have not been overtaken by grass that seems to be invading my front gardens. I feel the need to weed!

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And these beautiful early blooming short Iris. I should move some of these to the back where I would enjoy them more. I don’t typically hang out front “in public.”

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I am in love with Cornus Alternifolia (Pagoda Dogwood) ‘Golden Shadows.’ It should flower eventually like my traditional Pagoda Dogwood as it matures. It just glows among my “shrubs” of Bleeding Heart in Hosta Row.

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Solomon’s Seal is blooming in Hosta Row right now, too. I hope it spreads like the Bleeding Heart.

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Brunnera has a beautiful dainty flower similar to Forget-Me-Not planted up against the North side of the house along the Nice Driveway where poppies are beginning to plump out.

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I’ve saved the best for last. What really has my eye, is Betty Myles Davis Passion Flower who I’ve potted up in a large pot (vacated by a recently deceased houseplant – mean bad gardener!). This is her third bloom already! I am going to enjoy seeing her bloom all summer I hope on the steps of our back porch leading into the garden. I just love her flowers.

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So much happens in May it’s difficult to slow down and enjoy but, thanks to Carol and Gardener’s Bloom Day, I have found a little time.

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Well, IT’s Here …

Yesterday we woke up to the first of IT. Today we woke up to IT again. IT is predicted in our weather forecast for the next four days, through Friday. IT is doing its thing right now. [Sigh.] I still have a few bulbs to plant.

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Waking up to IT

I didn’t quite finish prepping the beds in the Potager, either. I have just one more bed to compost and “leaf up.” The other I’m still harvesting. I also want to mulch the Asparagus. But I did manage to clean up four of the beds and add a layer of compost and a thick layer of leaves and grass clippings (aka “leafing up”). The garlic is planted and snug under one of those leafy blankets. I also managed to dig up the horseradish. I use its own leaves as a winter cover since they are so large and I can layer them alternately so the wind won’t blow them away – or maybe even use them as a raft or something! Probably not the best idea since diseases can harbor in that cover but I am not even aware of any horse radish afflictions and it always grows like mad.

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During my clean up attempts I discovered that I killed a small Alberta Spruce due to my neglect. [Sigh.] You see the raspberries are planted behind the greenhouse. I was going to move them after we put up the greenhouse but then, well, Summer happened. And well, wild grapes grow on the fence line. I had some Tansy planted next to the raspberries because I read somewhere (forgive me, I do not remember where) that Tansy is a good companion plant for raspberries. And there is some Lemon Balm growing in that little strip of border along the fence before the path. Well, all of it went quite wild and became an entangled mess. Before I knew it, the raspberry vines were growing into the greenhouse through the vents! I couldn’t even make my way behind the greenhouse. That poor little tree was snuffed right out. Whew, confessions of a killer gardener, relief. I will move those raspberries come Spring because I already have a spot planned, prepped and mapped out for them – that helps – A LOT. And I have another poor little Alberta Spruce that isn’t quite yet snuffed out. I think I will move it and add another on either side of the greenhouse to make it all quaint and formal in this wild patch of my world. I’m actually looking forward to it.

[Sigh.] Anyway, I thought maybe I would escape IT but I haven’t migrated soon enough. But this is what I love about the garden: I venture out and begin walking through it admonishing myself for things yet undone, swearing at this other four letter word, and then it slowly works its magic and I am captivated. IT is really quite beautiful and peaceful – the world is hushed. The Pin Oak still has some of its leaves and they are now a deep shade of red.

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A last Hydrangea bloom.

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Calendulas still bloom in the Potager.

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I still have many greens in the Potager, too, which we will eat up before we migrate either sautéed or in morning smoothies. Brussels, too. IT will bring out their flavor.

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Siberian Kale, Collards and Broccoli Rabe

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My favorite Lacinato Kale

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Brussels

I am admiring all the berries I have now in the garden. I thought I might get a good picture of the Winterberry but those birds snuck in and scarfed up every last one of the red berries. The orange, Winter Gold, still remain but will be gone by Winter’s end.

Winter Gold

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Cranberry Viburnum

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Crabapple Purple Prince

Unknown “mega” crabapple

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Yellow Twig Dogwood

I know the birds will eat these fruits while I migrate. I am comforted when I see the gold finches and sparrows feeding among the Black-eyed Susans and Helianthus even though a bird feeder sits just a few feet away. I know when the feeder is empty, the garden will still provide.

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Time to serve up the pumpkins, too. [Sigh.] IT’s here …

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What’s Blooming: Sage is the Rage

My husband turned to me last evening and said “frost warning.” WHAT?! I am definitely not ready for THAT – not ready at all. I shrugged it off – it was a warning on his cell phone. We live close to the river. Though, I must admit the first thing I did this morning was check the temperature on my cell phone: 46° F, whew! So, let’s celebrate another Garden Bloggers Bloom Day while we can, eh? I credit Carol at May Dreams Gardens on the 15th of each month for making me stop to smell the flowers so to speak.

Last year around this time I remember thinking my Helianthus Microcephalus was declining – not so. This year it is bigger and badder than ever and full of bumbles. A little floppy with recent rain.

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Last year around this time I remember thinking to myself I will divide those Black Eyed Susans – not so, never happened. Believe it or not my husband dragged a ladder through here to finally patch the hole near the roof of our garage/workshop the Starlings were kind enough to point out to us one Spring, and to clean out the gutters. He patched not one, but two holes. I’m thinking we should maybe patch a few things with impenetrable Black Eyed Susans.

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Another patch that needs my DIvided attention, is Obedient Plant along the nice driveway. Last year it flopped over and this year is a repeat performance. The bees don’t mind as much as I do.

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Indian Grass, in contrast, stands tall. I love the spikelets (a new word I just taught myself which refers to the flower clusters on grass florets) on this grass!

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And surprise! The False Sunflower given to me by a friend last fall is now blooming. I didn’t think it made it as it is on the edge of the Nice Driveway which receives the brutal brunt of the weather. It’s not attracting bumbles right now but a different kind of insect.

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Another bumble friendly plant this time of year that I don’t give enough credit to, is Garlic Chives now blooming in the Potager.

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Also in the Potager, Lemon Gem Tagetes. I was supposed to eat more of these (and those garlic chives now that I think of it)! I think they also help keep Mosquitos away.

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Leaving the Potager and strolling down the yet unfinished Hosta Row, Heuchera ‘Pinot Blanco’ is blooming again! Have to love Pinot!

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Hydrangea Quickfire’s beginning to burn – the creamy blooms now turning a burnished pink.

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Which will bring us to the Nice Driveway again and my container of Pineapple Sage and lime – Nicotiana and Zinnia. I used to grow Pineapple Sage in Maine and marveled at how large it became for an annual – shrub size. Then just before frost its tips catch fire with fiery red blooms that no hummingbird can resist! I snatched it up immediately when I saw it at our local nursery. I enjoy watching the hummingbirds hover around this container just as I imagined when I dragged it up from the bottom of our driveway to dress up our sea of pavement.

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We’ll continue on to the Riverfront which is showing signs of my neglect. Still, Russian Sage impresses with a backdrop of Black Lace. Black Lace made an amazing comeback this year after our last harsh Winter. And no, I have not cut back the dieback yet. Someday, someday …

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I hate to be reminded of our last Winter but hear that this Winter will also be quite severe. There are signs also that what I hear is true – fruit. Lots of food.

The Purple Prince Crabapples out front are loaded.

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I thought this was a crabapple tree also planted out front, but now I’m beginning to wonder. These are some pretty large crabapples and there are lots of them.

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The grapes on our front porch are dripping and just beginning to form. I love when the leaves yellow and the dark berries burst.

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The Cranberry Viburnum is also loaded up. Really spectacular this year.

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Next month there will be less blooming but it will be ALL about foliage! The Kopper King Hibiscus is just starting to show off and with that I’ll leave those of you who pine for Fall in the Northeast, anticipating …

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