Friday, June 10, 2011

"And since all this loveliness cannot be heaven
I know in my heart it is June".
Abba Woolson

It is the time of the Iris, out in the garden
and they are really quite beautiful

The 10th of June and the garden is still a little slower than last
year, but the plants have been loving this cooler weather and  are growing
quite stupendously, vigorous and green and bursting with energy.

The peonies are heavy with buds and in the last few days the first of the 
beautiful rich blooms have opened and I smell their perfume as I walk the
garden path or clear my way through the beautiful green jungle that the garden is becoming.

Words from Vita Sackville West

"It always seems to me that the herbaceous peony is the very epitome of June.  Larger than any rose it has something of the cabbage
  roses voluminous quality; and when it finally drops from the vase, it sheds its petticoats with a bump on the table, all in an intact heap, much as a rose will suddenly fall, making us look up from our book or conversation, to notice for one moment the death of what had still appeared to be a living beauty."  

I walk in the cool of the morning and the fragrance of the evening
and all around me new blooms are calling to the bees
with great exuberance.

a work in progress along the lane

I am watching for the pretty pink prairie princess to cover herself with flowers
in time for Pentecost

or perhaps a poppy or two will be out to lend their brightness
to the red hangings at the altar and the hovering scarlet helium balloons
tied to the pews.

Tomorrow should see a few canterbury bells, and maybe some delphinium.

And what is so rare as a day in June
Then if ever come perfect days.
James Russell Lowell

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

The garden loves this weather.  I gaze at it through the windows that this morning were streaming with rain and see the alium, a lovely glistening purple globe, and the tree peony with its beautiful blooms that only last for a short time, but the common peony is all budded up, and the true scarlet flowers on the Oriental Peony linger on.

I go out to admire them, but once I am bent over my eye sees only the recalcitrant coutch grass and I go  immediately into eradication mode!  Such a saucy grass - when I figure a plant is finally in a neat and beautiful mound up pops the Coutch grass, waving at me from across the pathway, all but thumbing its nose at me.....

The new little Bridal shrub we bought last year is coming to the end of its blooming period, - still small and lovely.  The hawthorn tree, on the other hand, had taken off and is reaching for the sky with its pale pink blooms.

Of course those beautiful but invasive buttercups that arrived with the Oriental Peony fill in all the blank spots in the garden and provide a rug to lay at the feet of the taller plants.

I stop to admire the first of the columbine, and the lovely new white tulip alongside the trailer/cum loom room.

As well as the lone bloom on the little lilac bush that loiters in between the curly willow and the sumac trees.

It quite evidently needs a new home where it can grow like all the rest of the lilacs in the valley.
It is veritably awash in pale mauves, double french and dark royal purples.

It is time to tidy up The Lady Fountain, - give her a sprng scrubbing and start the fountain flowing.

Things are late, - but as lovely as ever.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

May the 14th, 2011

The Eve of Easter 4

And I have been away from this blog since Easter Day.  Is it the cold, unfriendly spring that has deterred me from enthusiasm?

Goodness knows I have been constant in the battle with the weeds and coutch grass, but when I went out into the garden yesterday to fill small pots with contributions to a plant sale I was horrified - absolutely horrified!!!!  Everywhere I stepped the grasses and yarrow, the dandelions and Chinese Lantern were conducting a massive invasion, - and the violets were beautiful but calling for a bed all their own far off on the other side of the pasture as they encircled the roses and daisies and grew up between iris corms and just generally made the garden their own.....

If you take a quick snap of the flowers and the luxurious growth all those weedy things manage to duck down and make as if they are not there,  but real hands on gardening reveals all.  I'm sure they couldn't have all grown in the last few warm days, but I did think I had things pretty well under control, - sigh....

Ah well, here are a few pictures of the burgeoning greeness and I will cast a blind eye at all the happy little weeds and plants that are entirely out of place.

The gorgeous golden perennial alysum that spreads along the driveway near the steps.

A few bright cheerful red and white tulips

their more flamboyant yellow cousins, who returned rather sparingly this spring

lovely rows of bright blue grape hyacinth that encircle the beds of daffodils who are busy now storing up goodies for next spring, having put on a splendid display this year.

The flowering almond was fragrant and most exuberant, but  the blackbirds
feasted on Forsythia buds, and the shrubs are just now starting to look respectable,
 having leafed out quite beautifully.

And the pretty pink double tulips have begun to lose some of their vigor,
 and were smaller and more delicate this year.

each year is different than the one before it, or the one to follow it, and I suppose
that helps make gardening such a precarious adventure.

Will the roses survive the early bitter November winds, and the sudden cold snap?
Most of them did, but the lovely grocery store roses were blooming their
little hearts out when the cold came, and one is completely dead this spring.
The others are trying valiantly, but not sure the prognosis is that good.

I lost all the foxgloves (except for maybe one that might make it) but, although a disapointment, 
it wasn't a surprise.  The Canterbury bells that are coming into their
second year are developing lovely green skirts and will probably
bloom before June arrives.

Today, after we had taken plants to the sale and I had purchased a three or four pots
to bring home, we drove around by the old garden to inspect the Korean Viburnum.
It is about twelve feet high,  - has never been pruned since we moved away and
had to abandon it, and was in full scented bloom, enough to make one quite giddy with the perfume.

Unfortunately, no small runners that we could salvage, but I brought a bouquet home.

The lilacs are on the verge of full blossom at the old garden, - here the little one I planted has just one bloom.
I think it needs to move house!

I leave with a bleeding heart, but will be back soon!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

April 24th, 2011
Easter Day

Daffodil time in the Garden

A few red tulips

Some fading Hellebores

The vibrant peony stalks

and the perennial alyssum  on the verge
of glorious yellow blooms.

Some visitors to the garden...

Still waiting for the hummingbirds and the orioles

their feeders hang in the curly willow with a welcome sign....

Everything has been watered, - the cutch grass has been engaged in a couple of skirmishes

Tomorrow the cloudy skies return
but the garden flourishes despite inclement weather
 and a late and fickle spring.

Ah, who will tell me, in these leaden days,
Why the sweet Spring delays,
And where she hides - the dear desire
Of every heart that longs
For bloom, and fragrance, and the ruby fire
of Maple buds along the misty hills
and that immortal call that fills
 the waiting woods with song?

Henry Van Dyke

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The fad is all for doing things SLOWLY, and I think that Spring has cottoned on to this idea and is applying it to her visits to the Garden.  A little here, a little there, - sip slowly and savour it all; the leisure with which the rich red peony stubs emerge from slumber and the slow ballet of leaves, opening in tiny increments their glorious greenness.

It is so very awesome that it happens at all, and the very slowness reminds us not to take Spring for granted, but to relish every gift, every bright green blade and every pregnant blossom, - yes (sigh) even the cutch grass!!

An hour in the iris and peony bed this morning, with the shovel and the trowel, digging up great lengths of cutch grass.  I can't believe how quickly it takes over, - the narrow bed along the fence line, where two years ago the sunflowers reached high for the heavens and the bees and the birds gloried in their lushness, last year became a nursery for curly willow cuttings, and somehow made great patches of cutch grass welcome as well.

The Canterbury bells I planted last year are lovely, large rosettes, but the foxgloves are a dismal failure.  I will go early to Don and Anna's greenhouse and try to get some second year plants.  The one out of a dozen that bloomed last year was so beautiful, and I can't understand why I have never been able to foster the great elegant patches of this wonderful plant that is so prevalent in English gardens.  Is it because it is so dry here, - or did I not give them adequate winter protection?  They looked so promising in the fall, and now I search in vain for any small green shoots.  I won't give up on them, - perhaps they too are luxuriating in spring's slow march into May and will surprise me as time goes on.

I brought in a dozen daffodils to put in a pitcher with some forsythia branches, - the few that weren't denuded by the mischievous blackbirds.  And some small daffodils and lenten roses to make a small bouquet for the table.

We are still under a pewter sky and as I look toward the Cawston Bench I see the tops of the hills are shrouded in what appears to be a small snow squall.

Slow indeed!!!!!