Saturday, April 28, 2007

Yellow devil

Actually it's Yellow Archangel, but it's given me a hell of a time. I innocently planted this years ago wanting a groundcover that spread quickly. Well it spread all right. This is Lamium galeobdolum, and apparently there are some well-behaved varieties but this isn't one of them. It's listed as a noxious weed in the Northwest where it's overtaken large wooded areas. I can see why. All it has to do is spread a runner and there's another plant rooted.

It's supposed to do best in shade, but it hasn't found a spot it doesn't like in my garden. It overruns anything planted near it till its hapless neighbors are crowded out, deprived of sun and a space to grow in. If only my favorite plants were so tenacious.

Almost every bare spot in this bed held Yellow Archangel before I attacked it today. This isn't the last I've seen of it since it will re-grow from the smallest stem or root left behind. However, my weeding efforts are as tenacious as this plant and having gotten rid of an entire bed of spearmint invasion over the last couple of years, I think I'm up to the challenge.

These brackets are what's left of two large wooden window boxes that were on my front porch. I made them over 15 years ago and time and weather have taken their toll. I was pushing it by planting in the rotting wood last year and today I decided they had to go. When I got down to the brackets, it occurred to me that I could put a board across them and have a shelf for my birdhouses. But that's for another day. I'm tired and sore from spending 9 glorious hours in the garden today. 82 degrees! I can't ask for much more except maybe an aspirin. Come to think of it, Yellow Archangel was used as herbal medication in the old days, maybe I should go rescue a piece or two from the dumpster.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Blue and white

Perhaps the Harmony Blue anemone looks a little more luminous with some frosting on it. The bright yellow daisy behind it is known as a "Crazy Daisy". It's on a stake which you plunk in the ground and attach a hose to. The daisy waves and dips and water flies everywhere. I didn't need the Crazy Daisy to get enough water today. It rained all last night and turned to snow today.

The new tulip bed with the little amur maple just before I knocked the snow off the branches this evening.

Meanwhile, inside, the normal accoutrements on my kitchen floor anytime it rains.
I really need to see about fixing that leaky skylight. Maybe after I get the garden in shape. It's going to be 80 degrees this weekend. Woo-hoo!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

More on Harmony Blue

What they say...
Northwest Horticulture
Anemone coronaria 'Harmony Blue'
Common Name:
Hybrid Anemone
10 in.
6 in.
Bloom Time:
Spring thru Fall
Flower Color:
Shade to Part Shade

The Harmony series has a dwarf habit, which makes it perfect for mixed containers. It is tall enough to stand out, but doesn't overwhelm the other flowers. Harmony will keep blooming until summer, and in milder climates if planted it will bloom again the next spring. Harmony is a beautiful dwarf series of anemone that is ideal for winter and spring celebrations such asValentine's Day, Easter and Mother's Day. This series needs partial shade.

And what it may actually do...
Notice how it says Bloom time: Spring thru Fall but in the description it mentions it "will keep blooming until summer." So which is it?

The anemone sure contrasts nicely with that pot marigold (calendula) in this website picture but I'm pretty sure calendula need full sun, so I doubt they would look nice for long in the "shade, part shade" that the anemone requires. Oh well, I've been fooled by plant tags and garden catalogue pictures before, but gee, I want to believe them so I buy them anyway! Thanks to Annie and Zoey for their help in trying to figure this one out.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

New and blue

I thought I'd better post these photos of a new blue anemone before I actually put them in the ground and probably kill them. The tag says it blooms spring to fall, I'm dubious. Looking these up on the Internet and in several resources I don't see any indication that they bloom except in the fall. I have the Whirlybird white anemone which does bloom faithfully every fall, the flowers are much smaller and more delicate than these big fellas. These blue ones remind me of an Oriental poppy in size and I like that dark eye in the center which is rimmed by flower eyelashes. The wind has blown fiercely all week and by now most of the petals have blown off. Sure glad I took a picture.

Last Sunday, before the wind drove me inside, I finally managed to dig, yank, and hack out a rose by the front walk which has been snagging the mailman for a number of years. It used to be Bibi Maizoon, a heavenly cabbage rose that I adored. But Bibi died back to rootstock one winter and ever after it bloomed once a year as a small, pale pink, open-faced rose. It was okay so I left it. But last year all it grew was a giant tangle of thorny branches and no flowers at all.
Once I got it out of there, I was able to see a nice little clump of Minnow narcissus which I had forgotten about. They're such tiny blossoms they were dwarfed under all the rose canes.
Out in the bed by the front walk these Darwin tulips are in bloom. I'm pretty sure these are Pink Impression, I vaguely remember planting some a few years ago. So these must be them.
The Canada Goose decoy guards the bed of tulips. I have a few of these decoys in the beds in the front yard. I don't know why I like kitschy stuff in the garden, but I can't seem to help myself. The garter snakes like to curl up under these. The rose in the rear is Betty Prior, gearing up to snag passersby. I have to keep the front side of it hacked nearly flat so the neighborhood children don't get scratched as they go up and down the sidewalks on their riding toys. Bad placement of a rose, but then I never thought it would thrive.
I did find some blue pansies to plant around my tulip bed. I'd seen a picture of this and thought it would be very pretty to accent all the bright colors with the more subdued blue. When I got to the garden center I was wowed by all the shades of the pansies, and I ended up with several flats full of jewel colors in my cart. Then I got a grip and reminded myself of my original intention. So out went the jewel colors and in came the blue. I'm glad I was able to restrain myself because I like the way this looks.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Ghost storm

I said I wouldn't post anymore shots of snowy tulips and I'm keeping my word. This was the new bed last Thursday afternoon. I thought I was being clever and helping a few tulips and daffodils hold their own against the forecasted 12-14 inches of snow we were supposed to get overnight and into Friday. Coloradans battened down the hatches, the airlines canceled 140 flights at Denver International in anticipation of snowed-in runways, even the State Legislature declared it a snow day. And nothing happened. During the night the front took a 100 mile swing south of us, spawned a tornado in Texas, and generally wreaked havoc across the nation. But we were spared. Now we're feeling like weather wimps, but I think it's just post traumatic snow syndrome.

The next day dawned sunny and beautiful, a good thing for one of my nephews who had planned an outdoor wedding at a small bed and breakfast inn at Manitou Springs, nestled at the foot of Pikes Peak. The bride, in her long gown, had to clamber up those steep wooden steps to the top of a hill and descend down the other side into the garden for her wedding entrance. A spread of rose petals awaited her. And no, she didn't trip. Ah, youth!

Pikes Peak and the Garden of the Gods rock formations made for a nice backdrop. Talk about borrowing your neighbor's scenery to enhance your garden.

I hadn't been at the wedding five minutes when the strap on my shoe broke. See that one across my ankle? It came unglued, or unstitched or whatever it was that was supposed to be holding it on. Thankfully the shoes had wedge heels so I was able to pretend like I was wearing clogs. With a flopping strap. I was almost wishing I had a pair of flowered wellies in the car!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Easter Bunny did it

Since my last post, things were looking rosy outside. The snow melted, the sun shone. I took off the lawnmower blades (actually, my neighbor did) took them to Big Tool Box while they sharpened them while I waited, I changed the oil, mowed the grass (highest setting). That was last Sunday. The tulips and daffodils were standing erect again, having shrugged off the surprise snowstorm, and then the Easter Bunny paid me an early visit this morning. Those poor yellow tulips above don't look quite as happy as the day before.

They were looking pretty perky then. Ah well, fleeting beauty. That's spring in the Rockies. Our local garden guru gave us a "to-do this weekend" list in the newspaper. He says:

  • Prune hybrid tea roses, butterfly bush, and grapes as needed

  • Fork organic matter into vegetable beds

  • Top-dress perennial beds with compost

  • Aerate and fertilize lawns

I've pruned the roses (well, some of them); the butterfly bush seems to be squashed behind the Rose of Sharon and I'm not sure what to do about it; fork organic matter? Not today. Same with top-dressing. The aerator guy came last week and it's really too soon to fertilize the grass no matter what the guru says. Do I want to kill myself mowing that verdant lawn? Do I really want to encourage it this soon? I don't think so. Besides I've seen his garden. He has no lawn, well, maybe two long strips.

While I was mowing last weekend, I checked on the Nepeta "Six Hills Giant" which I cut back drastically a few weeks ago. This plant has been growing next to the driveway for years. See that crack in the concrete? Six Hills likes to throw runners out there too, so it looks like I grow flowers in the middle of the driveway. When my son was a teenager he drove over it every day to get his car in the garage. He said he always enjoyed that since it smelled so good after he crushed it. A teenager noticed that? It gladdened my heart and it obviously didn't hurt the nepeta in the long run.

Before the Easter Bunny came, here is the freshly mowed front lawn complete with aerator plugs. In the background is a Flowering Quince (japonica) that I see I should have trimmed last spring after it bloomed. Too much Quince, not enough Flowering.

Well, must go, I have an appointment with an Easter Bunny (ears first)!