Monday Report

The question was asked by Tina of
In The Garden, a fellow Tennessee garden blogger, if there was no posting done here on the weekends. That is true, although there is gardening and some blog reading done, maybe some photos taken, the weekend is a time for one to relax and reflect. Sometimes the movement of events and schedules goes at a faster pace than is in our best interests. There is no good reason to race ahead to the next happening, it seems right to savor each blink of an eye slowly and thoroughly. But here comes Monday again, as ever, and feeling renewed and invigorated, it’s back to the blog.


You, gentle readers, are going to be vexed at seeing so many photos of the azaleas for the next couple of weeks. It will seem like we are a record, as in vinyl, stuck on the same note, playing over and over. Bear with us, for the blossoms on these shrubs are our heart’s delight. The incredible color of the above Rhododendron ‘Mandarin Lights’ will please your senses also, it is hoped. In the background, in one of our luckier planting combinations, is the early bird R. ‘Admiral Semmes’. This is his third time featured in the annals of Faire Garden. If the weather holds, you may be graced by his presence another time, or two.

R. ‘Cannon’s Double Yellow’, blooming earlier than is usual due to the fact that this little one is newly purchased. We have a more established older one that is one of the last of this group to bloom, a good thing to protect it from the occasional late frost damage. But when offered for sale, most plants are ahead of schedule, being grown in greenhouses and brought into bloom for the buying public. Many of the deciduous azaleas have dark reddish buds that open to yellow, an enchanting feature.

As promised, R. ‘Admiral Semmes’, opened fully, and fully filling this section of the property with its beyond wonderful scent. First to open, and first to finish, the Admiral leads the way for others to follow.

Attention grabbing from even one hundred feet away at curbside, the golden yellow hue draws the eye to its beauty. We are often asked what type of plant this is, for the public is more familiar with the pinks, reds, whites and purples of the evergreen azaleas planted in most yards here. A yellow azalea is a rarity to most.

We do have other new flowers opening. This gladiolus byzantinus was ordered last fall, one hundred small corms, and shared with the offspring in groups of twenty five, one group held for planting here. They are shown to their best effect planted all together. This is a test of the offspring gardening ability, not really but it is a role that is enjoyed by us, to see if they’ve got what it takes. They all are fans of the hybridized glads, confused by the pretty pictures shown in catalogs and on bag tags of masses of gaudy colorful clown like flowers. These more subtle beauties are hardier and shorter, being proportioned by nature to not need staking with appropriate flower size to stem thickness. Ours are planted in a pot and will go out in the garden in a place suited to their color and stature after the bloom is finished. Being in a warmer zone than the offspsring, our glads will be the first to bloom. It shall be judged against this bloom as to who are the bestest green thumbers, hooray for sibling rivalry. ;->

The everblooming bleeding hearts, dicentra eximia, are just beginning. Not as showy as the D. spectabilis, these ferny leaves and reddish blooms will go until frost and have given us the bonus of self sown surprises at every shady turn. These are grown in a cement block planter that has been ravaged by voles, and have survived where other plants have been lost to the underground marauders. The ripening foliage of crocus ‘Pickwick’ is seen surrounding the young plants, which bloom almost immediately after emerging. Many of the crocus have been lost as varmint dinner, but a few always get past the knife and fork.

Moving on, this simple lonicera sempervirens, a native here, is showing us the brilliant orangey gold within the coral trumpets.

Planted to disguise the disentegrating Ferngully, the honeysuckle is evergreen and multi bloomed. The hummingbirds are rumored to enjoy the color and shape of these flowers. It is hoped that we will be able to see if that is the case.

These variegated solomon’s seals have naturalized in the woodland corner. A clear picture has been attempted over the last several weeks, they have been displaying these charming green tipped bells for that time span, but the wind and light and just a lack of patience on the photographer’s part have prevented that wowee zowee macro shot, so this group shot will have to do.

Ah, the maidenhair ferns planted in the trough are peeking out. There will be so many photos of these most delicate of ferns, their pattern will be etched in our viewer’s craniums. Reddish in the beginning, but turning a most delightful black when stiffened by the elements, the stems are now like a cinnamon bun expertly wrapped by the baker.

Almost capturing the magic of the unfurling fronds.

We must slow our pulse after those last two photos. There now, all calmed down. The scent of the yellow wallflower, grown from seed, but so far no self sown volunteers, will soothe our brow and still our anxiety. Growing behind is one of the Japanese Painted Ferns.

The serenity of the coloration of these ferns in addition to their plentiful numbers allows them to be used all over the garden in any semi shady position. This group has evolved from the dropping spores from the planter suspended on the shed above.

From whence they came, the window trough on the shed. This wall faces north, providing a cooler habitat for spore formation. We are attempting to get the moss to fill in between the metal stakes of this container. As the moss travels downward, it falls off to the ground below, some with fern spores within its spongey mass. Recently black plastic netting was woven within the metal spokes to help hold it in place. Moss should have been added before the netting, it is seen now as this photo is described. But the planter is too heavy and long to be successfully lifted off and put on the ground so the job could be accomplished easily. That would be a good project, gather moss while ye may, and stuff it beneath the netting, one square at a time. Zen.

We end today’s tour with the first opening bell of the lily of the valley. Planted in a spot that is drier than these moisture lovers prefer, it has been a struggle to get this wondrous groundcover to spread. Slowly with each passing year, there are more green pointed tips arising from the moss. The flowers are shy and enjoy a rousing game of hide and seek with the woman holding the camera. They take extra delight when she has to do a headstand to snap their portrait. Extra points if it is windy.


That wraps up another Monday report. So glad you could drop by and see what’s new around the Faire Garden.


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33 Responses to Monday Report

  1. GardenJoy4Me says:

    Frances .. what a riot of colours and shapes .. of course I love your ferns ! .. I just transplanted my Maidenhair fern a few days ago .. in a shadier spot so it will be happier .. and yes, I think a fern collection in a shady area just makes you relax looking at them .. I discovered how cool the temp is under the full embrace of my Bittersweet vine over an arbor .. I stand under it for a break from the sun ! LOL
    Wonderful pictures as always !

  2. tina says:

    What you beautiful pictures. You really are a skilled photographer. Thanks for linking to me. That explains why you don’t post on weekends. I do remember when you did and will miss your lovely posts on the weekends. Love the Mandarin!

  3. Meems says:

    Good Monday morning, Frances. Very busy times in the garden these days and love my Saturdays for uninterrupted gardening bliss. You just go right ahead and shows us those luscious azaleas as many times as you desire… they are a treat… it just seems appropriate that the Admiral would lead the way.

    Every azalea bloom has long wilted away down here and we have pruned our bushes way back.

    All your blooms were a feast for the eyes today!
    Meems @Hoe&Shovel

  4. garden girl says:

    Faire Garden is an appropriate name Frances! Such lovliness! I was eyeing some yellow azaleas at the garden centers I visited yesterday. I’m not sure how I managed to escape without bringing one home with me!

  5. Frances, says:

    Joy, It is funny to think of you trying to escape the heat after such a long brutal winter. But you are just funny, a great gift.

    Tina, thanks and you are most welcome for the link. Maybe in the depths of winter I will post more often. Right now, it is out in the garden every spare moment, weeding, pruning, planting, lots of looking and thinking. So much fun, who can go inside and write?

    Meems, glad you are agreeable to seeing lots of azaleas. Their bloom time is wonderful but not long enough for me. We have a slow time before the daylilies start blooming, I can’t even remember what comes next, iris maybe.

    Linda, Maybe you can go back and get that yellow azalea, or else it will haunt you in your dreams.

  6. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Oh mercy, I don’t think I would ever tire of seeing those Rhodies blooming. Your garden is ahead of ours. I get excited seeing your pictures. It just makes the anticipation for seeing some of the same things in our garden more exciting.

    I have tried to grow Maiden Hair Ferns several times, wallflowers too, no luck.

    I would like to sit in your garden and relax too. AAAaaaahhhhhh all of those lovely blooms and plants. Just wonderful.

  7. patientgardener says:

    What gorgeous pictures. I loved the second one of the Azaelas – lovely combination of shades

  8. Nancy J. Bond says:

    What gorgeous blooms — I would never tired of azalea photos. Along with Rhododendrons, they’re among my favorites!

  9. ourfriendben says:

    Hi Frances! Thank you for showing us more of ‘Admiral Semmes’. What a delight! (And thanks for providing your source as well!) And of course I loved your cinnamon bun analogy. Thank heavens there are no Cinnabon franchises within 100 miles or i’d be heading out now!

  10. Robin's Nesting Place says:

    I don’t recall ever seeing a yellow azalea in Alabama. Most people have the reds and pinks.

    They aren’t very common here at all and I miss seeing them. I don’t think I’ll get tired of seeing azalea blooms.

  11. Dave says:

    Things are really coming alive in your garden! Don’t worry about doing too much azalea posting, they look great and I’m sure everyone will enjoy them. The ferns look great as does everything else!

  12. Gail says:

    A delight for the senses. Does the honeysuckle have any fragrance? It is beautiful! Can you feel the azalea envy all the way from here to your place?! They are both beautiful and fragrant…Frances, your close up photos are brilliantly done.

    It’s good to be back in town and in the garden, I came home to everything in bloom that could bloom….such a lovely homecoming.


  13. Frances, says:

    Lisa, thanks, you are welcome to come sit anytime. I had trouble at first with the maidenhair until I realized it likes it drier than most ferns, still shady and water in the beginning, but drainage is key. I have some in the trough planter that is the best in the garden.

    Patient Gardener, glad you liked it, more will be coming.

    Elly, glad to oblige. Have you found a source yet?

    Robin, the yellows are available yet not seen much in people’s gardens. I think they are an unknown to most when they are offered for sale, since they always have no leaves then, only buds. People may think there is something wrong with them with no leaves and don’t buy them. A big mistake!

    Dave, thanks. I am excited about the azaleas and will be taking lots of photos to try and catch their best side.

  14. Frances, says:

    Nancy J. , hope you like what’s still to come.

    Gail, welcome home. Glad you have lots of blooms to celebrate your return.

  15. Frances, says:

    Gail, sorry, I forgot to answer your question about the honeysuckly. No scent at all, unfortuneately. We have the Japanese honeysuckly all around us, it is quite the weed, and so benefit from its fragrance. So sweet, that one is budded but not blooming yet.

  16. joey says:

    Thank you for the lovely tour, Frances. You have many of my favorites. Can never see enough azalias and delight when they bloom here in May as do lily of the valley (a reminder of my mother’s garden and my wedding bouquet). Ah, ferns … my ultimate favorite, especially unfurling. I have several varieties also and if I could choose only one plant for a garden, it would be a fern garden that has a haunting call like that of my loons that faithfully return to the lake each spring.

  17. Yolanda Elizabet says:

    Like you I very seldom have time to blog in the weekend. You can show me as many pics of azaleas as you like because I will not tire of them soon.

    How nice to have a honeysuckle in flower already and some unfurling ferns too.

  18. Frances, says:

    Joey, thanks. The idea of a moss and fern garden , with a few early wildflowers sounds perfect. Large trees overhead, fragrant flowers wafting through the breeze…

    YE, My family was reading to have an intervention, I was devoting so much time to the blog. Now the garden in the intervention, it calls me every minute to come out and play.

  19. My Kids' Mom says:

    I’m new to your blog and enjoying the photos enormously. I live in Atlanta and so can have many of the same plants. I don’t know the Latin names however, so I may have to do some translating.

  20. Frances, says:

    My Kid’s Mom, welcome and thanks for visiting. Any plant names you want more info on can be googled. It is amazing how much can be learned doing that, I still do it quite a bit. Sometimes it will even take you to someone’s blog post on the subject, even Faire Garden! HA!

  21. jodi says:

    FRances, you just go right ahead and put up lots of azalea and rhodo photos, to your heart’s content…I’m still a ways from having any in flower, and I adore them. (planning to add numerous varieties this year!)
    Your photography just gets better and better–I love your eye for colour and composition. And good for you for taking the weekends off from blogging. I think it keeps it all fresh, don’t you?

  22. tina says:

    Can I ask a favor? I don’t know how to create links like you and Dave and all the other bloggers do. I usually get the url in my created links. How do I do it the way you do? Some special set up? Thanks for any help you can give this somewhat technologically challenged person.

  23. herself says:

    Those are wonderful photos!

  24. Piondröm says:

    Hi Frances!
    Beautiful pictures.
    I cant wait untill my roddies started to bloom, even if the foliage is fine to.
    It is so fun to see that you growe a lot of plant that we have to “ower here”.
    Regards Ken

  25. Amy says:

    A heavenly post after a day of cold wind and an afternoon of snow! Some of my less sheltered tulips are decidedly droopy 😦

    False Solomon’s Seal is a native here and I was wondering the other night if anyone grew it in their gardens. I bought two of the everblooming bleeding hearts last year but only one survived. The leaves on the other suddenly turned black and the plant died. I’m thankful it didn’t spread and so far everything looks good.

    I haven’t actually seen an azalea in real life, only in photos, and this is the first time I’ve seen yellow blooms. I love it!

  26. Kylee says:

    Oh Frances, you know what I love, don’t you? The macro shots of things…so very lovely. And I would never grow tired of seeing azaleas.

    Congratulations on your nomination for best new blog!

  27. Frances, says:

    Jodi, thanks. So glad to hear you have azaleas in your garden. There is hope for others up north then. The weekend off does recharge my brain cells, they aren’t as sturdy as they once were and need to sleep sometimes. ;->

    Tina, I will leave a message on your blog about the code to do the links.

    Linda, thanks so much. The is a great compliment coming from such a good photographer.

    Ken, thanks. It does semm that the plants we can grow and choose to grow are similar!

    Amy, the solomon’s seal must have a broad range. It has filled in nicely in my woodland area and is so cheering. You need some azaleas!

    Kylee, thanks for the encouraging words. I was thrilled to learn on our nomination. More macro on the way!

  28. Mr. McGregor's Daughter says:

    Azaleas don’t grow well here, so keep those photos coming! What is the Latin name of your “False Solomon’s Seal”? It looks just like true Solomon’s Seal (Polyganatum biflorum). How ironic that you can’t get Lily of the Valley to spread – last year I ripped out tons of it, as it was taking over the garden. This year, they are confined to sunken containers.

  29. Frances, says:

    MMD, thanks for keeping me on my toes. This was a passalong plant from my neighbor and that is what she called it, I didn’t question her. After googling about it, you are right, it is polygonatum odoratum variegatum. I fixed the blog post too.

  30. Kathryn/ says:

    Frances, that yellow azalea is a stunner. I’ve for certain never seen one before. I must research! Thanks!

  31. Frances, says:

    Kathryn, thanks. I agree, the yellows really stand out now with all the pinks blooming. They are the deciduous types of azaleas, a mixed breed of the natives and the exburys.

  32. Carol says:

    Geez, is it nearly Friday already and here I am just reading your Monday post! Busy! I like the azaleas, having none in my garden. So, I’ll come here and enjoy them in your garden, so keep posting about them!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  33. Frances, says:

    Carol. HA I feel like the blog reading has raced past me also. Too much time outside in the garden. Now is our busiest tme. I am surprised about no azaleas in your garden. You need at least one of the exburys!

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