The Violet Fern

Creating Art & Gardens


What’s Blooming: Vanilla Spice and Everything Nice

Bloom day already! We have Carol of May Dreams Gardens to thank for hosting this virtual bloom day the 15th of each month. And this is THE month for those of us in the Northeast – the grand finale. With a taste of Fall in the air, I am reminded, sadly, that Summer will end. The skies have been dark and stormy with rain and cooler temps. And yet again, I am reminded of the beauty of Autumn and late Summer. The deep dark sky shows off the golden hues.


Joe and Susan are really getting it on this year!



There’s gold in ‘dem ‘dere hills! Well, my garden’s not much of a hill, but there are plenty of golden blooms: Cutleaf Coneflower and Cup Plant are loaded.



Bees love Cutleaf Coneflower, Rudbeckia Laciniata.


I’m not sure, but I think there’s more than a bee in this capture.


The Potager is more flowers than vegetables this year due to my lack of attention. Trumpet Vine has gone wild but I don’t mind. Wasps seem to be attracted to it, but I also observed a Bumble Bee and another smaller bee all within a few seconds. It keeps things busy, anyway. I am seeing more hummingbirds this year than I ever have – due to the plantings? But I am sorely lacking in Butterflies even though I have been planting native for six years now.



Borage among the tomatoes. I purposely planted seeds in 2009? I have not planted it since then yet I always have a bumper crop of Borage. The bees love it.


Grandpa Ott’s Morning Glory – another reseeder – among the Sun Gold cherry tomatoes. You know, this is a rather striking combo!


And so is this – Lemon Gem Marigolds with a back drop of Purple Perilla (now classified as a weed in my Potager but oh so pretty).


The Woodland Edge has been taken over by violets but I’ve been adding a few taller things to compete with them. Turk Cap Lily seems to have made itself at home. I received these from our local garden club.


An irresistible purchase, Kopper King hardy hibiscus, stands tall among the violets, too. It is no longer in flower but I noticed these eggs on one of the beautiful bronzed leaves. Anyone?


When it was in flower, yowza!


Another recent purchase that’s been on my wishlist, Summersweet, Clethra ainifolia ‘Caleb’, Vanilla Spice! Oh, she’s nice and I wish we had smell-o-rama so you could smell her! She should get along with those violets, too.


Everything will be so nice! Culver’s Root is always a display come this time of year. It’s buzzy, too.


The Culver’s Root is flanked by Ornamental Onions.


Great Blue Lobelia, Persicaria Firetail and white Phlox remind me of July (now gone by)!


I couldn’t pull all the Jewelweed as the hummingbirds love these … but as a consequence, I will be pulling more again next year!


Hosta Row is becoming a favorite spot of mine even though I have yet to plant some of it and the weeds have moved in. I just love the colors of this calendula with heucheras and Quickfire Hydrangea – they are somehow soft, pink and girly (so unlike me)!




For the first time in Hosta Row, hops are in bloom! I just love them.



But the star of Hosta Row is definitely our native Clematis Virginiana. It went wild this year (as most of my garden does)! It has completely covered its new trellis and is roaming among the Hostas looking for more. Just look at all these blooms!




And that’s it, pant, pant … I have to stop! There’s more, more, more like Russian Sage, Rooguchi, “Sublime” Nicotiana, Perennial Sunflowers, berries but … there’s also next month, next year, and foliage followup!



What’s Growing: Purple Peas and Potato Seeds

In spite of the roaming and very hungry rabbit herd, I actually have harvested a few things from the Potager for myself!


The garlic is now hanging to dry in my shed.


I planted Purple Podded Peas from Hudson Valley Seed Library. Each year members are asked to grow a different heirloom seed by the library, and then to collect some of the seed and send it back to the library. This way heirlooms are grown in and spread about various places so the plant varieties live on. This year the chosen seed is Purple Podded Peas, a wonderful dried pea that was absolutely beautiful growing on the vine. I just recently harvested the pods I let dry (on the vine). I cannot wait to make a homemade split pea soup with these! – though I can wait for the colder weather to do so, even after our recent heat wave.


Purple Podded Peas

Speaking of heirlooms, I did not realize that potatoes actually produced seeds! Did you? Most potatoes no longer set seed as this trait has been bred out. I planted a variety pack from Wood Prairie Farm called Potato Blossom Festival.


Potato Seeds or Berries

So far no signs of damage from the Squash Borer Moth on my cucumbers and squash. I hid a bean bush in there that the rabbits didn’t find and actually picked my first few green beans!


Cucumber Tower


Cucumbers beginning to form.


Squash Towers

The asparagus has been tossed about in recent high winds and chopped off by, yes, again the rabbits, and still the first year fronds manage to fill out.


I’ll be making salsa verde soon, minus fresh chiles from my garden. The peppers have been picked almost to death (again, the rabbits) – maybe they’ll make a come back. I am hopeful. They are now secured within open-ended black, plastic pots. The cold frame is covered with plastic potting trays for the same reason – actually a rather nice shade cover – and is planted with beets, carrots, turnips and kohlrabi.



So far, a couple of the artichokes, surrounded by zinnia and nasturtium, look promising. I sure hope they flower – last year they dried up!


The pole beans are not-so-mysteriously missing from this bean tower. Morning Glory climbs up it instead. Third round of sowing seeds … maybe this round will make it?


Potted eggplants – a container variety from Renee’s Seeds called Little Prince – next to purple perilla which has seeded itself throughout the Potager.


Container Eggplants and Purple Perilla

Volunteer dill has been left to run wild through the Potager.


I have been training the trumpet vine over the rustic arbor. It has doubled in size this year.


Trumpet Vine Campsis ‘Flamenco’

I will be planting more lettuces, chard, kales, and spinach over the next few days for autumn harvest. I am going to raise one of the beds another 12″ to see if it will be too tall for the rabbits to take interest. If anything, it will be easier to tend.


What’s Blooming: Button Blossoms

It is a steamy 90+ degree F day in Clayton along the St. Lawrence River, but this morning the blooms were fresh in the Violet Fern garden on this Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day hosted by Carol of May Dreams Gardens the 15th of each month.

There are buzzing drifts of Bee Balms in the Riverfront and Nice Driveway beds.

Pink Bee Balm, Swamp Milkweed and Verbascum

Bee Balm 2013

Each morning I enjoy the low murmuring hum of bees among blooming Prairie Rose along side our back screened porch.

Prairie Rose 2013

Bee on Prairie Rose

Along side the front porch, dripping honeysuckle hums with hummingbirds. Another favorite stop, the Trumpet Vine “Flamenco” in the Potager.

Honeysuckle Front Porch

Trumpet Vine 2013

Sea Holly ‘Blue Glitter’ peeks out from beneath Black Lace (Riverfront).

Sea Holly and Black Lace

The Woodland Edge is awash in pink with blooms of Flowering Raspberry, an unknown pink Veronica, pink yarrow, and Persicaria ‘Firetail.’

Awash in Pinks

Firetail close up.


Red and pink plumes of Astilbe japonica ‘Montgomery’ and ? – I fear the plant tag is buried in my compost pile.

Astilbe and Cimicifuga Leaf

Pale purples of  Tradescantia ‘Osprey.’

Tradescantia 'Osprey' (Spiderwort)

The Woodland Edge ends in a cloud of Tall Meadow Rue, Thalictrum pubescens.

Cloud of Tall Meadow Rue

Puffs of Snowball Hydrangea skirt a newer section of the garden, Hosta Row.

Snowball Hydrangea in Hosta Row

Shasta Daisies light up the Bird & Butterfly Garden.

Shasta Daisies

All good stories have a happy ending and this visual story of what’s blooming does! My Common Buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis, has blossoms for the first time!

Buttonbush Blossoms