Wednesday, May 30, 2018


What is so sweet and dear
As a prosperous morn in May,
The confident prime of the day,
And the dauntless youth of the year,
When nothing that asks for bliss,
Asking aright, is denied,
And half of the world a bridegroom is,
And half of the world a bride?"
-  William Watson, Ode in May, 1880

Like last May the month has been rainier than April.  I haven't had to water the garden, with the exception of some transplants, even once.

This outstanding clematis, 'bee's jubilee' made an early appearance.  It will bloom through-out the season.

Rhododendrons, with the exception of the native, 'rosebay' or 'maximus ' do not grow well here.  I've heard that the well-known 'pjm ' may be an exception so I bought and planted one.   I also ordered the 'rosebay' from a Texas nursery since I couldn't find it here.

This splendid perennial 'jack frost ' brunnera has emerged and bloomed.  I love it's colorful foliage and it's one of a very few variegated plants that I have .

My 'western pride' nectarine produced an abundant crop of low acid, sweet and juicy nectarines.  This is a semi-dwarf fruit tree that is disease and pest resistance.
My Asian pears, for the first time, have been hit with cedar rust, a fungus that happens when it rains too much.  I've given them a systemic soaking of a sulfur product to try to stop it.
After a long search I finally found and ordered a Viburnum 'korean spice' one of the most fragrant shrubs ever, from a nursery in Tennessee.  It's a two-year old shrub .  For some reason they are not stocked by local garden centers.  They were one of the most demanded cultivars in the Chicago garden center where I used to work.   I now have 8 Viburnums in my garden.  

                                    Korean Spice Viburnum
May has been a very busy month in the garden and tackling the weeds was one of the main chores because of all the rain.  

Tuesday, May 1, 2018


"The sun was warm but the wind was chill.

You know how it is with an April day.

When the sun is out and the wind is still,

You're one month on in the middle of May.

But if you so much as dare to speak,

a cloud come over the sunlit arch,

And wind comes off a frozen peak,

And you're two months back in the middle of March."

- Robert Frost

Last April I purchased four hens and it has been delightful to watch them grow. Granddaughter Lea loves to feed and play with them. They are all good layers and the mother hen ( the red one -Henrietta ) lays the largest eggs I've ever seen.

True to its "April Showers do bring May flowers " reputation, April has been very rainy with some teasingly warm days and some very cold days.

Amazingly the hellebores have continued to bloom since Feburary. The dogwoods, red buckeye, Asian pear , apple, nectarine and peach trees have all bloomed and luckily weren't hit with a late April freeze as they were last year.

This outstanding foliage plant, Butterbur, or Petasides, a passalong plant, is colonizing in my front woodland garden and adds a much-needed spot of color.

The long stretch of below freezing temperatures caused my evergreen 'Lady Banks' rose to drop its leaves, however, it recovered very quickly and bloomed profusely.

The Autumn Sages, a favorite of mine, were also hit hard by the prolonged freeze but also have recovered and are blooming nicely. It's one of the longest blooming, drought-and-deer tolerant plants in my garden. I have at least six reds but fell in love with this purple one and had to have it.

A grand lady that shows off her finery in April is the lovely "Marie " viburnum ( Viburnum plicatum tomentosa 'mariesii ' , as she stretches her arms full of blossoms. The blossoms will be followed by bright red berries, another spectacular show.

April is full of activity as the bluebirds, Carolina Wrens, Bluejays and Cardinals set up their nests. I have four birdhouses full of newly laid eggs. No sooner had I installed a new birdhouse it was promptly claimed and the nest built very quickly.

As April fades away the Iris, catmint, hellebores, ajuga, green and gold groundcover, vervain, Solomon's seal, woodland phlox and Euphorbia are putting on a spectacular Spring show.

I know that gardening is the "Slowest of the performing arts " but I'm glad to finally see the fruit of my labor as my garden is beginning to fill in and mature.

Farewell April and welcome sweet May.

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