An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

May 15, 2013

Bloom Day: Almost Ready For My Close Up

     As of this Bloom Day I have only 3 days to finish getting my garden ready for a tour this Saturday.  I have been working off and on in my garden all winter and spring, but everything can't be done ahead of time, and there will be lots of last minute tweaking, deadheading and weeding. Though bloom-wise I am in a minor May gap, there should still be plenty of things for the group to see including some new plants.  I spent yesterday planting my purchases from the annual plant sale at the botanical garden.  I worked the sale all three days, plus spent the week before getting it ready, so I knew exactly what I wanted when the registers opened.

     One of the things I bought was Cuphea ignea 'David Verity'.  I had it several years ago, but it just up and died during the middle of the summer.  Smitten, I will try again.
Cuphea ignea 'David Verity'

      I also bought a potential plant replacement. One of my oldest perennials is Jerusalem sage (Phlomis fruticosa), and it is in a slow decline.  I planted my Phlomis-in-waiting at the base of the older one, just in case.
Phlomis fruticosa

     Right next to the Phlomis is one of my favorite native perennials, Amsonia hubrichtii (Blue Star).  Truth be told, I really can't stand its skim milk blue flower color, I grow it for the foliage texture and fall color.
Amsonia hubrichtii

Cestrum aurantiaum 'Orange Zest'
Cestrum aurantiaum 'Orange Zest'

Gaillardia x grandiflora 'Goblin'
Gaillardia x grandiflora 'Goblin'

Rosa x 'Pat Austin'
Rosa 'Pat Austin'

Rosa x 'Betty Boop'
Roas 'Betty Boop'

Tradescantia x 'Blue and Gold'
Tradescantia x 'Blue and Gold'

     Several years ago I bought some Ruellia at a different plant sale, and tagging along in the pot was a rain lily and this unidentified Tradescantia.
Tradescantia (unknown)

Iris siberica
Iris siberica

Allium christophii (Star of Persia)
Allium christophii

Portulaca x 'Happy Hour Mix'
Portulaca 'Happy Hour Mix'

Baptisia 'Purple Smoke'
Baptisia 'Purple Smoke'

     Quite unintentionally, the color of the Baptisia is a good match with the pansies (Viola x 'Persian Medley') blooming at its base.  It has not yet been hot enough to make the pansies melt out.
Baptisia 'Purple Smoke' (2)

Viola x 'Persian Medley'

     I do not want to show another close up of my Hime quince (Chaenomeles x 'Hime'), which has been flowering since November, so you get its neighbor, Hydrangea quercifolia 'Little Honey'.
Hydrangea quercifolia 'Little Honey'

     Little Honey is only one of many plants I have with gold or chartreuse foliage, and looking around the garden yesterday I realized I might be a chrysophilist.  Case in point, this tree is Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Frisia’ (Frisia Black Locust), which I grow for the foliage, but the sweetly scented flowers are nice as well.
Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Frisia’

     If you would like to see what is blooming in other blogger's gardens, then you should visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens, after all, it is the month of May.

May 5, 2013

Another Day at the Races

     Though it may not feel like it, spring is here, and it is busting out at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens. Some days I get so wrapped up in my work it takes a conscious effort to notice all the beauty around me.  Fortunately, I get to visit when I am not working, and last week I was there all day while my son's crew team was participating in one of the last regattas of the season.  Between races I was able to truly enjoy the garden without having to worry about trying to get anything accomplished.

     One of my favorite spring shrubs is the Chinese snowball viburnum (Viburnum macrocephalum), and they were peaking last Saturday.
Viburnum macrocephalum

Border Garden

     A talented co-worker of mine has a passion for small succulents and other plants appropriate to rock gardens.  There is one bed at the garden where she has been allowed to pursue that passion. 
Scree Garden

          Watching over this relaitvely new garden is one of NBG's ancient crabapples.

     One of my responsibilities are the annual beds, and when I came on board last September all the cool season plants and bulbs had been ordered or were growing in our greenhouse.  So I had the plants, but that was it, there were no plans as to how they should be used.  However, I work with people who have vision and between us we got these areas planted, and in the process I now have a new appreciation for tulips.  In another month the plants in these beds will be pulled out and a new summer scheme will be planted.
Circle Garden

Circle Garden (2)

Circle Garden (3)

     This combination reminds me that gardeners do not need to have unusual, hard-to-find plants for a design to look good.  This trio is a simple planting of purple leafed barberry (Berberis thunbergii var. atropurpurea), lamb's ear (Stachys byzantina) and creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea').
Matson Garden

     Much of the garden is maintained in a more natural state, and we make a great effort to promote regional natives. There are several large patches of mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) that thrive without any help from the gardeners.
Podophyllum peltatum

Podophyllum peltatum (2)

     Another native we promote are native azaleas, which are far too underutilized and under-appreciated.  This one is Rhododendron canescens (Piedmont or Florida pinxter azalea).
Rhododendron canescens

Azalea Point

Alabama Azalea (Rhododendron alabamense)
Rhododendron alabamense

    Despite their sweet fragrance and understated beauty, the native azaleas are overwhelmingly outnumbered by their Asian cousins, which were some of the first plants put in the ground when the gardens began back in 1938.

Rhododendron x 'Formosa'
Rhododendron x 'Formosa'

Rhododendron x 'Kirin'
Rhododendron 'Kirin' (2)

Rhododendron x 'Tango'
Rhododendron x 'Tango'

Rhododendron yedoense var. poukhanense
Rhododendron yedoense var. poukhanense

Azalea Point (2)

     I know this has been a pic-heavy post, but I have one more to share with you.  The circled rower belongs to me, and he and his teammates did well enough to progress on to the next regatta.  For this, and many other reasons, I am proud of him.
Maury Crew