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 17, 2014

Rubber Duck

Rubber Duck (1)

Rubber Duck (2)

Rubber Duck (7)

Rubber Duck (5)

Rubber Duck (3)

Rubber Duck (6)

Rubber Duck (10)

     The Chrysler Museum in Norfolk has just reopened after an 18 month top to bottom renovation and expansion. To celebrate, Florentijn Hofman's Rubber Duck is temporarily floating in The Hague just outside the museum entrance.

May 15, 2014

Bloom Day - May Flowers

     Lately, life has gotten in the way of blogging (as it should be). However, not wanting to miss Bloom Day I ran around yesterday afternoon trying to get some photos of the garden, when what I should have been doing instead was pulling weeds and watering the newly planted.

     My bearded iris were spectacular this year, but most have finished blooming. The one below is a later variety and looks really good coming up through bronze fennel.

     One of my favorite perennials is Amsonia hubrichtii, but I like it more for the foliage than the flowers which are too pale for my taste and remind me of skim milk.
Amsonia hubrichtii

     Behind the Amsonia is another favorite, Phlomis fruiticosa (Jerusalem Sage).
Pholmis fruiticosa

     My rose population has suffered a dramatic decline in recent years. A car took out one, I removed one for non-performance, and another for being overly zealous. 'Betty Boop' and 'Sun Runner' still bloom, but their days may be numbered.
Rosa 'Betty Boop'

Rosa 'Sun Runner'

     One of my favorite spring bulbs is Allium christophii (Star of Persia). More will be added this fall.
Allium christophii (2)

Allium christophii

Allium christophii (1)

Allium christophii with Syrphid Fly

     This winter was hard on many gardens. I completely lost several marginal perennials, some of my shrubs had to be cut to the ground, and my normally evergreen Eucalyptus gunnii turned completely brown. I was ready to ground-prune it, but signs of life have suddenly sprouted from the trunk in the past few days.
Eucalyptus gunnii (2)

Eucalyptus gunnii (1)

     One of the perennials I lost has already been replaced, Cuphea ignea 'David Verity'.
Cuphea ignea 'David Verity'

      Baptisia 'Purple Smoke' was late coming up this year, but better late than never.
Baptisia 'Purple Smoke' (1)

Baptisia 'Purple Smoke' (2)

     In the back garden, Confederate Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) has just started to open, and its sweet perfume is mixing oddly with that of the Voodoo Lily (Amorphophallus konjac). It's like the breaths of heaven and hell all in one.
Trachelospermum jasminoides

Amorphophallus konjac (2)

Amorphophallus konjac (1)

     To see what is blooming in other gardens around the globe, visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens who hosts Garden Bloggers Bloom Day on the 15th of each month.

May 2, 2014

Home Grown Horticulture

     Azalea season has come late this year, I'll blame the hideously cold and long winter. However, it has resulted in most of them blooming at once, and many parts of Tidewater are now cloaked in a riot of pink, white and red. The garden where I work is deservedly famous for its azaleas, and it takes real effort not to get distracted by all the color. One group of azaleas unique to the area are the McDonald Hybrids, developed by Dr. Sandra McDonald at Le-Mac Nursery in nearby Hampton, Va. Her goal in a decades-long breeding program was to produce hardy plants that bloomed with flowers like those more typically found on florists' azaleas. Dr. McDonald produced over 20 named cultivars and many one-of-a-kind seedlings, most of which are planted at the Norfolk Botanical Garden.

Rhododendron 'Sandra's White Surprise' (2)

Rhododendron 'Salmon Sunrise' (1)

Rhododendron 'Rosy Frills' (7)

Rhododendron 'Rosy Frills' (6)

Rhododendron 'Rosy Frills' (2)

Rhododendron 'New Generation Red' 2 (1)

Rhododendron 'Hot Shot' x 'Hershey Red Tetra' (1)

Rhododendron 'Dreamsicle' (2)

Rhododendron 'Dream Sherbert' (4)

Rhododendron 'Double Pink #2' (5)

Rhododendron 'David's Choice' 2 (1)

Rhododendron 'Dainty Rose' x 'Yaeshojo' (3)

Rhododendron 'Blushing Angel' (3)

Rhododendron 'A78-8-11' (1)

     All of the McDonald Hybrid azaleas are evergreen, hardy to zone 7-8, and grow on compact plants.