Spring Garden Chores & Shopping!

May 25, 2009


Ahhhh Spring.  Time for weeds and sudden storms.  I’ve had the “work crews” out this weekend pulling weeds.  This is a   never ending chore at my house.  I swear, there’s enough perennials to choke out all weeds but somehow they find their way in anyway!  I did some weeding, got some sunburn, took a couple photos, gave up and handed the camera to Mike.  I’ve since decided not to do that again because I at least hold it straight!  We just got a good rythm going on Saturday when the skies opened up and we had thunder, lightening, torrential rain, hail the size of nickels and wind gusts of 60 mph.  The “work crew” thought they were finished.  NOT SO!  Sunday back we went.  The Big Guy was doing a rain dance every time I turned my back but Mother Nature cooperated and the rain held off until they had successfully weeded the front beds.  My primary job was to identify where the gaps in the plantings were so I could order replacements for those lost to drought, fungus or whatever.  But hush!  Don’t let the “work crew” know I ordered.  That means they’ll be planting soon too and I’ve not yet convinced them that the fuller the bed the less weeding there’ll be to do.   Bluestone Perennials is having their half price done shipping for Spring sale so I made a huge hauling there.    Wayside Gardens finally had the Bullseye variety of Mountain Laurel I’ve been looking for the last 4 years unsuccessfully!   I’ve ordered some Ecinacea and a dwarf fothergilla from Lazy S’s Farm in Virginia, and let me tell you, they are one of my favorite perennial nurseries!   There are many more I could order right now if money and time permitted but I am concentrating on two places.  First the blankspots in the front yard.  Next, the tiny little strip of bed formed at the top of the retaining wall that holds up the hot tub patio out back.  I’ve taken care of both.  Now to wait for them to arrive and plant, plant, plant.

So let’s cover what I’ve ordered.  There’s a strip bed along my brick walk out front.  The Chasmanthiumhas a couple blank spots.  I ordered two at Bluestone.  There’s a dwarf fothergilla that succumbed to drought so I’ve ordered one from Lazy S’s.  I’ve got a GREAT little “grass” in that bed…sisyrinchium augustifolia or stout blue eyed grass.  It’s got the teeniest bluest flowers amid grassy leaves.  They are best planted en masse and my en masse was not adequate so I’ve ordered half a dozen more from Bluestone.  Along the fence line and in front of the house I’ve got quite a variety.  I’ve got two dwarf fothergillas, but have a whole where one will fill in nicely.  It’s right at the corner of the porch.  Do you know this plant?  Mmmmm.  It’s wonderful!  It gets to be about 3 or 4 ft tall.  In the early spring it gets these fuzzy things like hairy pussywillows that are creamy white and smell GORGEOUS.  Like honey.  I love to sit on the porch when they are blooming.  I noticed that the clethera I thought had bitten the dust, planted just below the porch, has come back so I am hoping to enjoy that fragrant beauty later this year or next year.   There are a TON of aquilegia..the native variety… in this bed, but I want to fill in withsome more in the holes.  Thank you again Bluestone!  My hummingbirds alsothank you.  The native mountain laurel is looking pretty chlorotic…and the buds are sparse this year.  There’s a hole, I’ll put the new Bullseye from Wayside in it.  No doubt this native one (which is reallygoing to be way too large for the spot if it ever takes off) will eventually come out to be replaced by another Bullseye.  Now why are these things so picky about their transplanting?  Sheesh!  The native one was a b&b and I should really consider myself lucky it’s hung in there for four years.  I am very pleased to see that my cinquefoil (potentilla tridentata) has taken and finally spread, throwing up loads of teeny white flowers this year.  There’s two holes in the front of the house still.  I keep trying to fill them.  I can’t find the plants.  SIGH.  Anybody know where I can buy a couple Carolina Rhododendron?  They are as scarce as hen’s teeth.  I reckon I’ll need to give up the ghost if I don’t find them this year and plant a hybrid next year.  I just love the color of the native.  It’s a soft blush pink to white that is so gentle and easy.  Olga Nesbitt is an offspring but a poor alternative in my book I’ll say that.  Moving down a  bit along the fence, the goldenrod (golden fleece) has some spots that needed filling so Bluestoneto the rescue…as with the Aster (October Skies) that fronts them.  There used to be three Elderberries along the fence…my idea…to feed the birds.  I underestimated how prolific and large they can get as well as the box elder bugs that love them too.  We tore them out…it left holes.   I put some sweet smelling roses in and now we need some fill in perennials to match those around them.  I’ve also added some Coreopsis from Bluestone.  I’m a huge fan of the Zagreb variety and have it in the island and along the fence.  I put the Creme Bruleein the side yard and it’s very pretty but I don’t like it nearly as well.  The Zagreb is sturdier or something.  Shaped.  I’ve already got two roses coming for the side yard…from High Country Roses.  That leaves us with the ordering for the teeny back bed below the hot tub.  I may come to regret it because it will definitely attract bees…but I’m going to assume they won’t want to take a dip in the hot tub and they’ll leave me alone.  I’m putting in a blend of lavendula (English Cushion) agastache (tutti frutti) perovskia (little spire) and gaura (whirling butterflies).  All at half price.  THANK YOU Bluestone.  I can’t wait to get that bed planted and growing.  It has the promise of drawing a ton of butterflies, some hummingbirds and smell heavenly.  All assuming, of course, the agastache and the gaura don’t rott off.  Here’s to self seeding and Mother Nature’s indulgence once again! 

That’s it for the buying till fall.  The fall garden plans and wish list will be another post.  For now, the Big Guy got the word…the side and back yards need work parties to weed and tame so that he will be able to go on his fishing trip (over our anniversary and Father’s Day again) with a clear conscience. Since there’s only 3 weeks left, I better get his work party organized!



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