Moving Right Along


Elated but harboring a hint of worry about the breakneck speed in which spring is progressing in the Fairegarden. A series of slumbering plant stirringly warm days has brought forth fluffy flowers and foliage prematurely, if one is going by the chronology of the calendar of past years. The Erica with no name is blooming, planted in the totally wrong ph soil in the midst of alkaline loving lavender. Heaths and heathers are said to require acid soil. This is an example of drainage trumping chemistry.


Crocus Chyrsantha ‘Violet Queen’ and C. ‘Gipsy Queen’ in the knot garden are on schedule in their fluffy bed of assorted creeping thymes.


Stepping back to reveal that spring has not burst out all over just yet in the knot garden, the experiment in creative pruning of the boxwood hedge is in evidence. The look we are after is of undulating waves, not lacy scallops as it appears now. There will be continued tweaking on this project. The featured crocus shot is from the lower left corner quadrant. Long term, the vision is of purple and gold crocus to ring the perimeters. Work still in progress.


The hybrid witch hazel Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’ is fully fluffed.


Hard pruning to reshape and regain control of the fluffy Chamaecyparis psifera ‘Gold Mops’ hedge planted to showcase the sunset coloration of Diane’s tentacles against a brilliant yellow drapery was done last year in the continuing effort to meet the vision. Regular readers, bless your hearts!, will know we are all about the vision here.


The fluffy softness of Silver Mound, Artemisia schmidtiana ‘Silver Mound’, one of the very first perennial plants we ever purchased when serious gardening began, oh so many years ago, is regrowing at the front edge of the gravel garden.


This is a plant not seen offered for sale much anymore, possibly due to the difficulty of keeping it happy and healthy in a container and in the garden. The rarified realm of the gravel bed seems to its fluffy heart’s liking. The photo was taken last fall using the color accent mode of the Canon SX1.


The use of pea gravel has been a fluffy rousing success as a squirrel deterring mulch in containers and in beds.


Oops, we went off on a little fluffy tangent there, back to the topic! Spring like weather has persuaded the flowers that the time has come to burst forth. Our feathered friends have been seen performing courtship rituals. Blue is the first color to show of the grocery primroses planted every year in ground after greenhouse enjoyment during the depths of despair that hit every January. Will the requisite March snowfall damage the goods?


Onward to the new debutante being presented at the side of the Daylily Hill, please give it up for Iris histrioides ‘Katharine Hodgkins’! Kat has pleasantly surprised her fans by sprouting forth flowers first, sans foliage, unlike the I. reticulatas growing in the knot garden whose long grasslike blades partially obsure the dark azure petals. Fifty Kats were planted, all close together in a fit of intelligence last fall. We hope to share a photo of the mass at some point in the near future.


Impulsive fits R us, it seems. Moving right along to the new koi for the pond purchased at the biggest box store after the survival of Rooster, read about him by clicking here, was noted. Long may they live and prosper, come spring or a return to winter.

Frances

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29 Responses to Moving Right Along

  1. So many beautiful plants…your witch hazel is stunning. I love the color too! My heather has started to bloom as well, a little later than normal. Like you I am concerned about the warmer weather so early in the year. Could it be that winter is over already? Oh and your crocuses and iris are magnificent!

    Hi Karin, thanks so much. I hope you withstood the big storm that passed through here last night. This weather is one for the books! Winter can’t be over, yet, I keep telling myself as we go outside without a coat or even jacket. I am loving the iris, more of those must be added next fall. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

  2. crjen says:

    What a beautiful garden, such variety. Great photos. Living in a place where we have only wet and dry seasons it’s nice to see things coming to life in other areas.

    Hi Jen, thanks very much. We are lucky in our zone and climate, the diversity of what can grow here is a gardener’s dream. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

  3. Carol says:

    No threat of spring really getting going here, Frances. We have snow again!

    Good morning, Carol. There is good in the steady winter you experience there in Indiana. The plants don’t get fooled into emerging from the safety of the snow too early. What happens to ours remains to be seen. I am already making plans for what will be covered if cold comes back. The garden is too large to cover it all, sad to say.
    Frances

  4. Good morning Frances…I just heard the first bird, welcoming the day. I’m unfamiliar with Erica…She is a beauty. I love your scalloping hedge progress. What a cool idea. The space is already pretty, the shape will look nicely echoing the pattern of the garden. H.

    Hi Helen, good morning to you and thanks for visiting. We can hear some birdsong, or chatter outside as the light begins to brighten the garden. Such a nice way to greet the day. I had a fling with the heaths and heathers in the beginning of establishing the garden here on the steep slope. Many have been removed, making way for natives and grasses for more textural interest, but a few remain. The photo is an extreme close up, the flowers are pretty from afar, but not nearly as cool as up close. The hedge trimming needs practice, good thing it is like a bad haircut and will grow back! HA ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

  5. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Your garden is showing signs of a serious awakening. Itn’t it wonderful to have such color and form in the garden again. I like the idea of your undulating box hedge. I am watching snow flakes fall this morning. Even the tenacious little song sparrow isn’t singing this morning. Brrrr.

    Hi Lisa, thanks for visiting. I am sorry you are having snow and cold, may it be short lived! I am loving seeing the garden coming alive with bloom, even if it is too early. The happy daffys cannot be denied! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

  6. gagarden says:

    You have some beauties opening into spring. I love your knot garden and know the look you are going for. I have a client who has this done with yew. I doubt I have images, because this was years go, but it is an amazing look. Rooster will be happy to have some friends, they are so cute when little.

    Hi Donna, thanks. I think yew lends itself better to shaping than the box, but since box is what we have, we will try to shape it to our will! HA I saw a group of the new littles in the pond this morning. They have been very shy since joining Fido in there, hiding out in the rocky depths. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

  7. Layanee says:

    The crocus make me smile and that iris? Sublime! Spring has started in your garden FG. Please send us some.

    Hi Layanee, thanks. The thought of your smile makes me smile. Spring, go to Rhode Island, please! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

  8. Randy says:

    Frances,

    Both those crocuses are great, we have 10 different ones and neither of those! The Katharine Hodgkins iris is a very cool one and you got 50 of them!!!

    Stopped by Southern States and another 150 hellebores came in. Picked up a Corsican Hellebore, which I have wanted for over a year and HGC Winter’s Song wait until you see it, a white hellebore on steroids!

    Hi Randy, thanks. I love the earliest of flowers that chase away the winter blues. They are so small that they would get lost in the blooming chaos of later spring. Hooray for your new hellebores, can’t wait to see them! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

  9. Great tour of your early spring/late winter garden. So much evidence of what is to come. Your boxwood trim design plan sounds great!

    I like your new “pets” for your pond.

    Our last remaining goldfish narrowly escaped the Great Blue Heron this week. I saw the big bird in time to run into the cottage garden. We didn’t see the fish for two days, so we thought she was gone. She is just smart–and was hiding under the bridge!

    It is a bit warm for this early and the willows are sprouting green leaves that will inevitably get frosted.

    Hi Cameron, thanks. Only the smart fish can survive here as well. Cats and raccoons are not as adept as that heron, I would wager. Our willows are leafing, I fear for them and might cut them for the house.
    Frances

  10. My Kids Mom says:

    “The use of pea gravel has been a fluffy rousing success as a squirrel deterring mulch in containers and in beds.”

    You’ve given me an “Aha!” moment. I’ve tried chicken wire to deter the squirrels, but my potted pansies are still dug out all winter. Pea gravel is now noted for next fall’s planting.

    Hi Jill, thanks. Good luck with the squirrels. The gravel really helps, as does a product called Permatill, if you can find it, crushed slate. There is still some digging, but they don’t seem to like the stones.
    Frances

  11. Janet says:

    Your comment about garden visions made me laugh. I brought a Red Buckeye ‘tree’ with me from VA. This tree is about 4 inches tall— but I have a vision… ๐Ÿ™‚ One of my new MG friends thought I was funny for talking about my tree. oh well. It is still living!

    Love Silver Mound, a friend in VA had it and what a pretty ground cover.

    Hi Janet, thanks, I love the thought of you laughing! Good for you bringing your little tree along, that is a special one, too. We have done the same with seedling dogwoods which are now as large as the house. Don’t lose sight of the vision! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

  12. Witchhazel here tightly closed. You are so smart to site your dark-flowered ‘Diane’ in front of evergreens so the flowers show up.

    Hi Carolyn, thanks. It seemed a good plan, along with the early daffs planted at the feet of Diane. The gold mops grew way bigger than the tag said and I didn’t prune them when young as should have been done. I am hoping they will regrow the foliage, it will be bright gold and look wonderful. Some day. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

  13. Rose says:

    Enjoyed all the spring fluff this morning, Frances. Spring has succumbed to winter once again here, as we have a new blanket of snow covering the ground. I love your new irises–Kat is a variety I’m not familiar with at all. I can’t wait to see a vision of it en masse!

    Hi Rose, thanks. I am so sorry you are still having snow. We may still have some here yet, but right now, the plants and birds think spring has sprung. I saw these iris in a British gardening magazine and had to have them. Van Engelens was my source. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

  14. Nice to see ‘Diane’ in full flower. How is its growth rate for you? I have one in my garden and it’s pokey slow. I’m beginning to question the 10 ft. in 10 years quote as that would mean mine would have to grow a foot a year to catch up and that’s not happening.

    Hi Susan, thanks. I will admit that for the first few years, Diane was slower than a snail in growth. After about 5 years, she started growing larger, faster. Patience. 10 feet in 10 years is about right, but she takes a while to get going. More water helped, she is a thirsty girl. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

  15. commonweeder says:

    How encouraging to see spring creeping in. I am dealing with snow, freezing rain – and blood in the hen house this am. I’d rather look at fish that you and Layanee have.

    Hi Pat, thanks. I am sorry for your weather, and chicken issues, yuck! Spring is ahead of schedule here, but since we have no control over it, we might as well enjoy it.
    Frances

  16. I’m giggling at your first sentence. We still have yet to experience the tiniest bit of Spring. Fresh new snow today… six inches and still coming. But I’m so happy for your gardens!

    Hi Carolyn, thanks for that. I love the thought of you giggling. This is the time of year that we speed past our neighbors to the north, but we could still get six inches of snow here. We never know! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

  17. that black and white combo on the flower is really interesting… very pretty.

    Hi Jenn, thanks for stopping by. Those are some nice colors, I agree. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

  18. Leslie says:

    You are a bit ahead of me on several things…my first crocus is still trying to open for one thing! I love the knot garden and look forward to seeing the boxwood evolve.

    Hi Leslie, thanks. These are the super early crocus, the chyrsanthas. The larger vernus will bloom later but are showing now. Things seem out of sync with this unseasonably warm weather. We will ride the wave of it, and hope for more wave like pruning of the boxwood in the future. For now, it is just a bad haircut. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

  19. Sandra Jonas says:

    Frances, I find H. ‘Diana’ hangs on to her dried foliage too long & obscures the flowers… does yours do that as well?

    Hi Sandra, thanks for visiting. In my garden, Diane holds onto just a few leaves longer than I would like. I go out with scissors in January and very carefully cut them off. A small price to pay for the flowers in winter. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

  20. I love all the plants here, the Iris is the best in my opinion though you do have some lovely crocuses.
    Its good to see that some people have spring in full flow, here it is very much the tail end of winter still. Just in the last few days has spring started proving it might be round the corner.
    I did my first real bit of gardening this year today by forking over a bed ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

    Hi Knight, thanks for stopping by. This is the time of year when zone 7 struts its stuff. That and the conscious planting of the very earliest blooming bulbs, trees, shrubs and perennials. Some years are earlier than others. I am glad to hear your were able to get out there and play in the dirt. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

  21. Gail says:

    Dear Frances, We must be a bit behind you~Or it’s as I thought, the rodents have eaten my Crocus Chyrsantha. Thank goodness for the narcissus. Fairegarden Diane is gorgeous. Mine is still dressed in her brown robe that’s covering up her itsy bitsy red flowers. xxoogail PS Love the undulating waves and your skill at visualizing.

    Dear Gail, thanks for stopping by. I hope your crocus were not eaten by those devils. In the beginning of the knot garden saga, the little winter crocus lined the quadrants. You can see in the photos how many are left, but those survivors have multiplied and will be spread after blooming. The gravel addition has been a huge help in deterring the dining. The brown robe of Diane is cut with scissors very early in the year to make way for the orange. Someday those waves will be undulating, I hope! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

  22. Lola says:

    Love that Diane. Wish she would be happy here in my garden. You have a beautiful awakening for your pleasure. Hope ole man winter doesn’t spoil it for you.

    Hi Lola, thanks. Diane is a beauty, I agree. Most of the things in bloom will not be harmed by cold, it is the fragile new leaves of trees and shrubs that are not equipped with the antifreeze that I fear for.
    Frances

  23. Well I love the Heather of course! Your blooms look fantastic and your photos are as always beautiful!

    Well, of course! Thanks for visiting, Heather. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

  24. Wonderful to walk through your magical garden Frances. It is great so see that spring has arrived, please do blow some warm air my way.
    I’m so fed up with winter now. Although today the birds sing their lovely spring melody and we have 45F…the snow is melting ๐Ÿ˜‰

    xoxo Tyra

    Hi Tyra, thanks for joining me. I hope your spring comes sooner rather than later. It sounds like yours might be trying to break through the winter barrier, birds singing is always cause for delight. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

  25. Marguerite says:

    Frances your knot garden is lovely. I quite like that cross shape in the middle. Aren’t the small bits of green popping up in spring just so rejuvenating? I love watching each day to see what new pieces have emerged.

    Hi Marguerite, thanks. The knot garden is quite different from every other part of the gardens here, the only flat space and an indulgence for a dream of such ordered geometry. Seeing the green is so refreshing, our eyes yearn for it. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

  26. Looking good.

    That witch hazel is beautiful. Hope winter doesn’t return with avengence. Your warm spell a week or two back made the weather news over here.

    Hi Rob, thanks for the good wishes. Each warm day gets us closer to the point of no return to winter, I hope. It really is warmer and that has fooled the plants and the birds into thinking spring is here. Hope that is no joke! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

  27. joey says:

    What a thrill, dear Frances. An awakening garden is what all gardeners dream of. (So enjoy views of your knot garden). My dears are all still sound asleep, although I hope yawning and stretching under their thick blanket of snow.

    Hi Joey, thanks for being so sweet. We do dream of turning the corner to spring, hoping there is no backtracking! May your own dears awaken right on schedule. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

  28. Les says:

    Oh I love the colors of that iris, and it has to be on my list. Things seem to be further along for you, than for us. However, this week has brought things closer to spring.

    Hi Les, thanks. The color is so pale, the feathering so delicate, it is a delightful iris. I love that the leaves are still not showing yet, it is all about the flowers! May your spring arrive soon. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

  29. Hi Frances, Your knotgarden area will be very special. I didn’t understand what the plant in your first photo is, but isn’t it unusual? Would it grow for me (zone 5a)?

    Hi Shady, thanks. The first photo is a heather, really it is a heath as the Ericas are heaths, Callunas are heathers. We are at the southern edge for it, you should be able to grow it if your soil is acidic and well drained. Find a sunny spot that is dry and there you go! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Frances

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