Don’t you sometimes just want to kick back and eat junk food? No thinking, no calorie counting, no carb counting, no fiber counting, just tasty, pop into your mouth stuff. No guilt. That is what these *What looks good now* postings are to me. Take the prettiest photos of the moment, not from the archives but current, and load them onto the WordPress format. No clever repartee to tie them together, no how to, just flowers and/or foliage that is pleasing. To me. I am in love with the flowering phase of the Cilantro. It looks good and makes a green and white frilly cafe curtain for what is planted in front of it in the large raised planter box. This photo shows one of three Borage, Borago officinalis plants, looking cool as a cucumber with those sky blue blooms against the puffy white clouds of Cilantro. The bonus will be scads of Cilantro seedlings that will winter over nicely here, giving fresh herbs for ethnic dishes.
In this shot, I love how the Louisiana Iris ‘Black Gamecock’ is nonchalantly leaning against the half buried rock that came from the North Carolina mountain just Outside Clyde. It looks to me like a punk leaning against the lightpost on the street corner at night, wearing a black leather jacket, hair greased up into a spiffy pompadour do, tight blue jeans, white t-shirt with a pack of unfiltered cigs rolled into the sleeve and a lit one hanging languidly from his lower lip. I guess this flower reminds me of James Dean! Surrounded by Japanese blood grass, that is. Maybe there was a rumble?
Skipping lightly up to the rock edge of the yellow/white bed, one cannot help but be attracted to this blue and yellow combo. Catnip ‘Walker’s Low’, Nepeta x faassenii ‘Walkers Low’ makes a frothy filler for the brilliant yellow of evening primrose, Oenothera villosa? that is also nicknamed Sundrops, since it will bloom in the daytime. The primrose is a spreader, and a welcome one. It is not so tall as to smother most of this bed’s plantings, so is allowed to weave and fill in wherever it pleases.
Let us go have a look at a couple of the containers, some of which are newly planted with summer annuals. This is a time of transition. The Antique Shades Violas that were planted last fall are allowed to remain as long as they continue to bloom and look nice. The summer stuff is added alongside the Violas, squeezing the rootballs to slip into the tiny spaces between plants. The pink daisy is new to me, Argyranthmum ‘Madiera, deep pink improved’. The tag said it would bloom spring to frost. I am counting on that, but am dubious. It is pretty right now, however. In the background is NOT the gravel garden, it is the pathway behind the main house that is being colonized by Violets, Perilla and Persicaria, among others. It is on the to do list, the weeding of the gravel paths around here. But I would rather do so many other things than weed. It will finally get so bad that the job will be tackled, but we can still walk through for now, so there is still time for dawdling.
In the next blue glazed container is the just planted new Heuchera ‘Frosted Violet’. I couldn’t resist the color, but know that these dark leaves disappear in the long view of the now shady slope. There is a plan for the left slope to be covered with a patchwork of Heucheras under the trees, shrubs and taller perennials there. The lighter hues like Citronelle and Tiramisu show up great, and the darker Brownie shines pink when the leaves are backlit. Like I mentioned, this was an impulse buy, so got stuck into a pot. The pot was already filled with the same Antique Shades Violas, so those were moved to the outer perimeter and the Heuch jammed in. I love the flower amongst the dark fuzzy stems, looking perky with the color echo.
Some spots in the Fairegarden are impossible to capture in pixels, to the growing ever more picky photographer. This little patch where five paths meet is such a one. Too sunny, too shady, yucky background on three sides, trying to get a shot of Allium christophii for a post about Alliums later before these flowers are completely gone, this is the best that can be managed. Except for the spiky cane, the pretty dark red rose cannot be seen without showing way more of the appalling chain link fence than is desirable. The old metal wheelbarrow planter does help draw the eye from the silver metal though, and the purple smoke leaves of the coppiced tree give some substance to the very sunny shed bed beyond.
One survivor from a packet of seeds sown two years ago is now blooming, sort of. Echinacea paradoxa, the paradox being that it is a yellow flowered purple coneflower, has already won my heart. Several seedlings made it out of the greenhouse and into the ground last year, but only this one made it through the winter. Perhaps seeds can be saved from this bloom and sown in situ, the best way to have the greatest success with seeds here. It is assumed that these petals are going to elongate, widen and fall downward, if pictures on google are to be believed.
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Dooley’ is loaded with budded stems. It has grown to five feet tall and wide and looks better than ever before with the cool and rainy spring after a cold and snowy winter. A specimen of H. ‘Nikko Blue’ was noticed to be blooming in the Athens, Georgia garden of then football coach of UGA, Vince Dooley by Professor Michael Dirr. There had been a killing freeze that had zapped the buds on all other Hydrangeas of this type so cuttings were taken and the clones named for the coach. It was purchased as a Martha Stewart offering for KMart the year we moved to this house in 2000. It cost a little more than also offered Nikko Blue, but the idea of always having blooms overcame tightwadedness, so we bought one of each of those. It has been our experience that both varieties have bloomed every year, late frost or not.
A handful of seeds leftover from last year’s sugar snap peas were planted just at the right time, for a change this year. It seems to be either feast or famine with these early producing edible pod wonders. The first year after the veggie bed was built, one packet of seeds was planted to grow on the plastic rabbit fencing. The plants grew to be much taller than we had anticipated, falling over themselves and turning into a tangled mess, difficult to pick the peas so many were wasted. The sugar snaps of the next two years were just sad, the weather gods were not smiling and the crops were failures when it turned hot and dry too soon. 2011 greets about ten plants, bearing nicely in cool, moist conditions. That should be the perfect amount, few enough so that each pod is treasured. Excuse me, there seems to be a siren song calling for someone to come pick the bounty for a tasty appetizer for tonight’s dinner.