Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Garden Book Reviews June 2013

Not often, but occasionally, my mother will purchase a garden book for me.  She picks them up here and there at garage sales, so I never know what garden subject or age the book will be.  They are all fun.

Jackson and Perkins'
Rose Companions:
Growing Annuals, Perennials, Bulbs,
Shrubs, and Vines with Roses

by Stephen Scanniello

was an especially delightful book to receive.

I do, however, wonder about the previous owners.  What makes them decide to sell their gardening books?  Do they know all the information in it?  Have they had to quit gardening for some reason?  Do they just have too many gardening books?

Really, can one ever have too many gardening books?

I especially wonder when there is an inscription inside the book.  The hand-written inscription inside my copy of this book reads:

Merry Christmas Merle  
Happy gardening days ahead!  
Love, Dad & Mom "C" 

Did Merle have happy gardening days?  I can only hope.

Artemisia with Crepuscule rose

Do you like to grow roses with companion plantings?  I do.  I can not imagine having roses without having other gardening joys growing alongside them.

Stokesia with Lion's Fairy Tale

Just by the title of this book, I was expecting a listing of rose companion plants.  And there is a directory - in the back of the book - with not only a listing of suggested companion plants but also plant size, bloom color and time, hardiness zones, and suggested uses.

Liatris with Antoine Rivoire

But this book has more than just listings of plants.  It also has information about location, design, and all the different types of roses.  This would be quite a helpful book if you are new to gardening and want to have a rose garden with mixed plantings, or have a mixed bed and want to include some roses.

Scabiosa with Charles Darwin

To borrow from the inscription at the front of my book, I hope you, too, have happy gardening days ahead!

Now it's your turn!  Please join us on the 20th of each month with your own Garden Book Review.  Any book with a gardening influence qualifies.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Peacock Orchid

Last spring I planted a new-to-me bulb, the Peacock Orchid.  I loved its blooms.  But I also loved its spiky, grass-like foliage.

This spring, I planted many, many more of these bulbs.  The foliage is a great contrast to the roses in my garden.

I would plant them just for their foliage, but a bonus is their blooms.  They are just now beginning to bloom in my garden.  Unfortunately, there is a problem.  The bulbs from last year didn't return.  I don't know why.  Peacock orchid is also known as Sword Lily, Abyssinian Gladiolus, or Gladiolus murielae, and is hardy in zones 7 though 11.

Peacock orchid

I'm hoping they will return next year.  If not, I will have to make a decision:  Either make do without their fabulous foliage and beautiful blooms.  Or treat the bulbs as an annual.  

But I don't have to decide right now.  For now, I'll just enjoy.  The blooms and the foliage.

I'm joining Pam at Digging for Foliage Follow-Up.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

June Blooms

June is the month for blooms!

A clematis blooming on the entry arbor looks so welcoming.  This poor little clematis has had a hard life.  I have accidentally cut it down with the string trimmer every year for several years.  In fact, I couldn't even remember what color it was going to be until it finally bloomed for me this year.  I am trying very hard not to accidentally cut it down again!

The Casa Blanca lilies have just about finished blooming.  But there are other lilies blooming now, just as lovely.  How I wish I knew the name of this lily.  It has one of the largest and most beautiful blooms I've ever seen.

The daylilies are the star of the show at this moment in time.  They are placed throughout my garden.

Here they are again, scabiosa and asters in front, orange cannas in back.  These daylilies are Pandora's Box.  I bought them because they were inexpensive, as far as daylilies go.  They have done well for me, and their creamy yellow blooms look nice with the other blooms in my garden.

Here they are again with Lady Hillingdon rose.

One last look.  Just because.

Another daylily I love is this red and orange one.  I don't know its name.  But it looks fabulous next to the yellow yarrow.  Yellow yarrow.  Can you say that fast five times?

I also have some old-fashioned orange daylilies.  I love them, too.  Marcia sent them to me.  Thanks, Marcia!  Some may not care for the color combination of orange and pink together, but so far, I'm quite happy with this combination.  La Marne rose is on the far left, the orange daylilies are planted in the middle and Appleblossom flower carpet rose is planted on the right.  Together, they are certainly not an expected combination.  What do you think about orange and pink together?

More blooms - I can't neglect the roses!  Here's Cinco de Mayo.

Prosperity rose is putting on another flush.  (Vitex in the background.)

Lion's Fairy Tale.

Other blooms in my garden include mophead, lacecap, and oak leaf hydrangeas, gardenias, Confederate jasmine, gaura, liatris, Shasta daisies, stokesia, abelia and crape myrtles.

There are a few surprise blooms, too, such as this lovely yellow iris.  It must be shy to be blooming so late!

In contrast, these chrysanthemums are a little early (or maybe they, too, are late, as usually they bloom for me in early spring then again in the fall).  I have firewitch dianthus in front of them, and the combination looks nice.

But the biggest surprise of all are the hellebores that are still blooming!  According to my photo archives, they have been blooming since February 3rd!  I'm amazed!

I hope you have something amazing blooming in your garden, too.

I'm joining Carol at May Dreams Gardens for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Judge and Jury

I'm back!

If you recall, I posted that, along with all the company I was expecting, I had also been summoned for jury duty.  I met my obligation and went to the courthouse on the appointed date.  Much to my surprise, I was chosen to serve as a juror.

It is a serious responsibility to be a juror, knowing that someone's life (or at least a portion of their life) is in your hands.  We had to look back to the past, and try to decide if there was sufficient evidence to convict.  Before we were presented with the evidence, I just kept thinking of how terrible it would be if we were to make the wrong decision.  It would be truly criminal if we were to find the defendant guilt if he actually wasn't.  At the same time, if he were actually guilty, I was concerned about him being set free to possibly do the same thing again.  Being a juror weighed heavily on my mind, as it should have.

After all the evidence was presented, and a vote was taken, I was relieved to find that each of us had made the same decision. We found the defendant not guilty.

I have always been a bit cynical of our justice system.  Being a juror, however, has made me much more proud of our judicial system.  It's not perfect by any means, but being tried in front of others rather than having a dictatorship or committee decide one's fate is something we as Americans should be proud of.

Donna at Gardens Eye View asks us to look forward in her quarterly Seasonal Celebrations, while Beth at Plant Postings asks us to look back in her quarterly Lessons Learned.  In both of these, I have realized that I am the sole judge and juror of my garden.  I am the one that decides my garden's fate.  I am the dictator.

Sometimes, those decisions are easy.  But sometimes, they are extremely hard to render.

The beautiful blooms of the lilies are my Seasonal Celebration.  They have already started blooming in my garden.  It is a thrill each summer to see the lilies in full bloom.

Of all the lilies I have, the pure white Casa Blanca lilies are the ones that are, to me, the most stunning.  Tall and strong, they reach up to over 5 ft tall.  Their thick stems hold up to the winds and storms that move quickly through this area.  Their white, innocent blooms pop in my colorful garden.

Even the company I've had recently gasped one night when they looked out the windows over the garden, and the white lilies were glowing in the moonlight.  In those few seconds, a decision was made, and I ordered another 50 more bulbs.

So, what is the Lesson Learned?  Well, I have two Chinese indigos (indigofera decora).  They are beautiful plants, and I knew when I planted them that they had a tendency to sucker.  I thought they had plenty of room to spread out where I planted them.  Obviously, their idea of plenty of room and my idea of plenty of room are two different things.  They are suckering all over the place, and have outgrown their allotted space.  They are encroaching on the neighboring plants.  As pretty as they are, and as hard as it is to come to this decision, they need to be removed.  If they are not, the other plants will suffer and eventually die.

Past the spirea, past the rose,
the indigofera (with its small, pink blooms) is beautiful,
but not a nice neighbor.

I have a hard time removing plants.  And yet, I know that, in order to have a garden that is beautiful to me, I must remove plants from time to time.  It is a hard lesson for me, and one I seem to have to re-learn every year.  I must be strong.  I must remove these plants.  They are guilty only of doing what they naturally do, but I know that they can not be allowed to stay.  I have been agonizing over this decision for months, but I know what the final determination will be.

I'm celebrating the lilies in my garden, and I've realized that I want more.  But the decision of removing the Chinese indigo has been a hard lesson to learn.  Still, I know that they must go.

Unfortunately, I now have the unpleasant task of being the executioner, too.

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