Waiting with me for the sun to crest the trees, Kitty stands at attention on the deck. There are blooms to show on this fine day, in the monthly ritual known as Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day, brainchild of Carol of May Dreams Gardens. This has been a stellar year for the clemmies. Shown wrapping around the deck railing is Clematis ‘Betty Corning’.
Out front, on the part of the arbor still standing that was once home to the rose we nicknamed Killer, R. ‘Alberic Barbier’, the two clemmies that were planted in each hole with the two roses at each end, bloom on. The roses had to be dug out, the top crosspiece of the arbor that had been twisted like a pretzel by the massive rose canes was removed, but the clemmies are the survivors of that dream gone wrong of roses dripping downward in front of the large plate glass window in the living room of the main house. C. ‘Etoile Violette’(s) has legs.
Returning to the back yard, we pass the metal wheelbarrow that was turned into a planter last year, click here-Inspiring Wheelbarrow and A Little Guest to read that story. It is hoped that the flowers will equal or exceed last year’s show. Calibrachoas, Angelonias, Nasturtiums, Celosia, Diascia, Coleus and forget me nots join a single red feather grass. If needed, some will be removed or switched as the season progresses. We are not married to this group of plants.
Wrapped around the rusty metal clothesline pole, Rosa ‘Altissimo’ is thriving since its roommate R. ‘Moonlight’ was removed after succumbing to Rose Rosette disease. May the red rose continue to show resistance to that dreaded scourge.
Heading up towards the shed and knot garden, we pass a favorite of birds and humans alike. The red hot pokers came with the property, most likely Kniphofia caulescens. Three more species have been added of the Knips, but have not yet bloomed. We love the bold spiky foliage and the finches have already been seen tasting the flowers as they open yellow from coral buds. I want to point out the small yellow flowers on the opposite side of the gravel path.
It strikes me funny that over the years I have tried to establish this wooly yarrow, Achillea tomentosa along this edge of the Azalea Walk pathway. It is evergreen and should love the rocky drainage here. Last year, the weeding and spreading efforts were abandoned in the process of making the garden more maintenance free. Let the blood grass and weeds take over the space and fight it out for supremacy with the Muscari. It is not running the whole length of the pathway, as hoped for in the the vision, but there are now strong patches of the silvery stems, blooming even!
Onward and upward we trudge, we can rest here on the middle terrace as we turn to face the rising sun rinsing the shed in pinkish light. Mid May finds the self sown seedlings of Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ abloom in various hues of white, pink and lavender. The color variations are due to the promiscuity of the Penstemon clan, a happy result of some wild parties held by the fairies behind the knot garden in the early days of the Fairegarden.
On the far side of the shed grows the once blooming but boy does it make a big bang Rosa ‘Veilchenblau’. Careful pruning, make that ruthless cutting back keeps this beast of a beauty in check, along with tying the canes to the nails holding three galvanized tubs hanging at the ready. Really the tubs are ornamental at this point, but did begin as utilitarian objects, long ago. There was a post written about the pruning of Veilchenblau that can be seen by clicking here-Veilchenblau Gets A Trim, if anyone is interested in knowing more.
On either side of the bench that sits at the top of the knot garden, facing the house and so high up that one can see well over the rooftop to the woodlands beyond, there are two cheapo obelisks from Tuesday Morning, each planted with Rosa ‘Magic Dragon’. Behind the bench is a purple smoke tree, Cotinus coggygria, now smoking. There is another purple smoke on the middle terrace at the Angel Corner that is coppiced to the ground yearly so it does not ever bloom.
There is really so much in bloom now, it was decided that it might be interesting to show some of the things that are seldom seen on the blog posts, either because the photographer cannot get a decent image or it is such a lowly and common plant, why bother. The Lamb’s Ear, Stachys byzantina falls into the latter category. This is ironic since the number one viewed story ever written here is about this silver, furry leaved, humble plant. It is an old post, the photos are small but clickable. If your curiosity is piqued, click here-Lambs Ear Love to view it. Perhaps you can explain why it continues to get the most hits per day not counting the current post.
The caboose of the train today will be one of the self sown Violas from the gravel path of the knot garden. In the past there have been elaborate beauty pageants involving the most deserving of these volunteers. Perhaps there will be another, who knows?