Thursday, April 30, 2009

April's Joys and Disappointment

April was a lovely month here in SW Indiana. We only had one really bad frost, the temperatures were June-like for a week and there was enough rain to charge up the garden. The garden responded to the lovely weather by popping out in blooms. The White Lilac that I stuck into the ground as short stick had its best bloom since I planted it. A happy surprise was that the Camassia bloomed right along with it.
The Peony Tree always starts out with the big fat buds full of anticipation.
Then the huge beautiful blooms appear shortly after the buds swell. While the blooms are gorgeous they just don't last long. These gorgeous blooms were open for only three days.
Then we had some rain and they turn into such pitaful ragmops. They are just the most disappointing flowers I think Ihave. Maybe I expect more from them but the tree doesn't set new blooms after the initial blooms have budded and bloomed. I wouldn't advise anyone to grow them unless you can find a more forgiving variety than I have. This one I have written down as Tree Peony paeconia. The other disappointing thing about it is that it was supposed to be purple. Maybe to someone elses eyes but not to mine. Other than this little disappointment there has been no high drama in the garden. Just me and my Dearly Beloved out there waging war against the weeds. What are some of your joys and disappointments of April??

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Auction Action

This weekend I went to an auction of plants. This was a first for me. I have been to many auctions but an auction selling nursery stock was a first for me. I only came home with a couple of items. Mainly because they weren't selling things I particularly needed. However I didn't come home empty handed of course.

Below is one of those contorted blue spruces. I am not sure of the name of it because the nursery had removed all the tags from the plants. I have a suspesion that there was more than one nursery involved and they removed their tags to protect their identity. Anyway, I have always admired these contorted spruces. They look like they should be underwater or on another planet. This one landed in a pot at the center of my knot garden for now. I want it as a focal point someplace and can't find decide where that might be. The other purchase I made was a buckeye shrub. It has some pretty blooms. I had the perfect spot for it at the end of the patio. It is a fairly large shrub already. I am pleased that it will stop the eye at this end of the paito.
I hope that you all had a fun weekend too. I also got some pots planted that will have to wait for another post... Have a good work week.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sky Watch Friday

The skies have been quite turbulent this week. Big clouds in the sky. This big fluffy cloud appears to be sitting on a mountain top. It is really just another dark cloud.
Later a big dark rain cloud was beginning to come through.
For more skies to watch go to Sky Watch Friday here. Have a great weekend everyone.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Symphony of Ferns

In my overly shaded back garden I have a collection of ferns. I learned to appreciate ferns when I moved here 15 years ago because I had mostly shade in my back garden. There are ferns that tolerate lots of sun but I most appreciate their ability to thrive in shade and once established they aren't too fussy about moisture. I have several pots of ferns that I have to bring in during the winter. To me they are worth the effort. Most I don't know the names of like the one above. It is a smallish fern but it grows well.
Below is Staghorn Fern. I have had it about 3 years now. It is growing alright but I think it struggles during winter when it is so dry in the house. It will be happier when I place it outside for the summer. It is getting a good drink of rain today.
The fern below is a healthy grower in a container. It has big leaves and has little feet that are thick and strong. Little plantlets start growing on these feet and I am sure in the wild it is how it spreads. I wish I knew what kind it is, if anyone knows please tell me.
This fuzzy footed fellow is a Rabbits foot fern. I just love its fuzzy little feet. It is another that I keep in a pot so I can bring it in during winter to protect it from frosts and freezes. I put a piece of it on a log last year and it grew well but of course it couldn't withstand the winter.
The hardy ferns are performing a concert. Their fiddles are all heading for the great blue skies. I think the fiddleheads are as interesting as the fronds. Like this Japanese Painted Fern 'Ghost' has very dark fiddleheads before the foliage turns its ghostly white. It is odd but this is the only variety of Japanese Painted fern that I can get to grow in my garden. I have tried several to no avail.
The Sensitive Fern is a native fern of our area. A start was given to me several years ago by a neighbor that was a great native plantsman. Not only does this fern look delicate but it is the toughest you can get once established. It doesn't mind to cross over into the path where the rocks give it a headstart on spring. The Tatting fern give us such sweet fiddleheads. It is an unusual looking fern and is typically very addaptive to a little more sun than some others.
My most prolific and most forgiving fern is the Ostrich fern. It was here when I moved in and it has not stopped spreading since. I have given away probably an acre worth of these hardy ferns and they keep on growing. I would say that if you have an impossibly shady, dry or wet area this fern is for you. In dry areas you must water to get it established but once there it will be a happy camper.
Last but not least is the Autumn Fern. It has the most interesting fiddleheads to me. They are so dark. I guess they are just warning you that the leaves of these ferns are going to be an unusual color too. This fern is a must for Gardeners that loves ferns. It will delight you with colorful fronds that go from rusty gold to dark green as it ages. I missed getting pictures of the Christmas Fern, Lady Fern and Male Fern. They are also great ferns for shady areas. Has the fern bug bitten you? What are your favorite ferns?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Blooms galore

First of all I just had to show you the Broom 'Moonlight' plant that my Sister gave me for Easter. I actually planted it before they departed Easter Sunday so it has had at least one good watering since it rained that night. I just can't thank my Dear Seester enough for the thoughtful hostess gift. She knows what will make this hostess most happy.

You can see behind it that the helebores are still blooming up a storm. I think this has been their best blooming year. In that I mean they had the most blooms on them. I guess a little more sun didn't hurt them as I had feared it might. I just love walking out and seeing something new blooming almost every day. These little tulips were accidently planted right in front of the Virginia Blue Bells. They are happily blooming together. This is what you call a happy accident since I didn't remember that the Blue Bells were here when I planted the tulips. I am thrilled that I didn't dig up or damage the Blue Bells. I know in the past I have done them in by digging around where they are planted.
This is some Wild Ginger that is growing in the garden. They are sporting their blooms. You have to "want" to see them if you see them. By that I mean that they bloom under the leaves close to the ground. It is an unusual bloom too. It is sort of a bloom within a bloom.
The Double Kerria bush is beginning to bloom. It just looks like a ball of sunshine when it gets into full gear.
The smaller single bloom on the varigated Kerria is also blooming.
The Brunnera 'Jack Frost' is blooming its little head off. I ought to plant a few more in this area. This is one of those plants that everyone tells you how easy it is to grow but I have had a difficult time getting any established. I have killed more than I want to think about, however the one planted right beside the patio seems to thrive.
Our darling old apple tree is blooming now. It started out with just the lower branches blooming. I thought that the upper blooms had been frosted/frozen off but just today the top is also abloom. Today the bees and flies are busy polinating all the blooms in the garden. I was beginning to worry that the bugs weren't going to show up to do their work but the past couple of days have been so warm and sunny it brought out the work forces. It is just great to see them again.
I hope you all are having a great weekend.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - April 2009

It seems that every day I can go into the garden to find new blooms open. It is such an exciting time of year. I planted a few of these little bulbs last fall and I can't find the name of them but they look so sweet in the cold damp days waving in the wind. Another type of daffodils abloom. I have several now blooming but to keep from seeming redundant I am only showing these on this post. I have other photos on the previous few posts if you aren't seeing enough here. Of course if you want to see even more blooms today you can go to Carol's May Dreams Garden and see blooms from all over the world.
I haven't shown any of my wild flowers that are blooming. This trout lily is about to open. It likes the sun to be shining before it wants to open fully. You still have to get down low to see the pretty bloom because it is a shy bloomer and keeps it bloom pointing down.
Some of the Trillium is growing right into a hosta. I don't know why it chose this path but it will soon be covered by the hosta. Hmmmm. I should get out there and move them.
The spring beauties are still blooming. I can't wait until the spread all over the garden floor. They are such cheerful bloomers.
Happy Garden Bloggers Bloom Day to one and all.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Common Spring Disease - Ova Paschalis

Nan over at Hayfield has an excellent post here about this seemingly common disease that has popped up again this spring. I am sure if you look around your neighborhood at this time of year you will see signs of this malady. As you can see we have a small infestation here in the pots on our front porch. You can see the colorful egg-like spores in our flower pots.
I am not certain but I think we can attribute the spread of this disease, at least in my garden, by the unassuming bunny that parks its self on the bench on my front porch. I am keeping a keen eye on him. I would love to actually see him in the act of spreading these ova in the garden. Are you having the same trouble in your garden? Be sure to read Nan's post for full details.
The best thing to do is to clean out these spores as soon as possible or you may find them anyplace in your garden. Have a great week everyone. Thank you Nan for keeping us up to date on this disease.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Skywatch Friday - April 10

While we were out walking the dog this week we came upon this Chipping Sparrow singing his heart out. I thought he looked so handsome sitting amongst the bright red blooms of the Crab Apple Tree with the fiercely blue sky as a backdrop.
He seemed to be quite pleased with his performance as he is looking at his domain. For more Sky Watching go here. I hope you all have a wonderful Easter weekend and the Easter Bunny brings you chocolate eggs. I also want to thank my Dearly Beloved for letting me post his pictures of the Chipping Sparrow.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Survival of the Fit

Before I even get going I want to thank Linda Brazill, Each Little World, for sending this Book to me. Home Outside by Julie Messervy is just a wonderful as I thought it might be. I haven't read the entire book as yet, I just received it yesterday, but I can tell you I have 'read' all the pictures. It seems to be a book with great suggestions and ideas. Not the how to but the look see and then some explainations as to why it would be so good. I just love it so far. For a really good review you can read at Pam's Diggng blog. Now as to my nearly frozen stiff garden. I am happy to say that it turned out not to be as bad as it could have been. I have only one tulip that didn't quite like what happened. Blogger won't let me add any more pictures or I would show you more. I guess the ground was warm enough it protected the plants and blooms that were up and about. Since the freeze it has been quite warm, working its way into the upper 50's, so the creeping phlox has begun to bloom with the white tulips.
The varigated Soloman's Seal is up .

The wild vinca is blooming.

The Epimedium is beginning to bloom. I just love this delicate little bloomer. I need to put some in a pot and get it up off the ground so we can see the blooms better.

I hope you all have been having great weather and are looking forward to the weekend.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Blooming Weather

This spring so far has been a little warmer than usual, great for blooming plants. However that is to change tonight. I decided that since the weather is reverting to winter, with freezes forcast for the next couple of nights, I had to get out and take some pictures of things that are blooming. They might not last much longer.
This Saxifraga Bergenia 'Perfect' is blooming for the first time. I have been so thrilled with this plant. I have tried to grow it several places in the garden but it didn't take until this last attempt. It might have been the 21" of rain last spring that helped get them established.We have a few new tulips blooming. I find these most enchanting. They have wrinkly leaves and only stand about six inches tall. They haven't opened all the way yet because it has been so darn cloudy and cool. I hope they survive the freeze and open wide when the sun does come out. Another shorty but cutie is this red tulip. It is even shorter than the first I have shown you. It has some lovely foliage too. It is spotted with maroon.
The 'Jack Frost' Brunnera is beginning to bloom. Hopefully it is in a protected place where it won't be damaged by the cold.These pretty little white daffodils are not protected.
I can't for the life of me find the tags for all of these plants. I planted this little narcissus several years ago. It just blooms and multiplies. I wish I knew what it was called.
Our white lilac bush has the most buds on it that it has ever produced. I am afraid that the freeze will do away with what looked to be its best show ever developing. The wind is so fierce I don't think covering it would be an option. That might damage the bush itself. We will just have to take our chances.
The ole double daffodils are blooming away. They are interspersed with the blackberries. I hope the blackberries will give them enough protection from the frost/freeze.
Of course the dear sweet violets will not be detered from blooming. They might pout for awhile but they will be back like gangbusters. This is one delicate looking toughie.
I can say goodbye to the Serviceberry tree I would imagine. It is about ready to go to making berries. I hope the freezed doesn't completely do away with its fruit. Many of the birds in the neighborhood like to dine here. I hope they aren't disappointed.
I hope you all have a good week. I will be sitting her fretting about the freeze.