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Showing posts from May, 2011


Who knew that the jumbled mass of fairy tale branches and twigs that came alive at night and when we weren't looking is a gorgeous Wisteria, now in full bloom. At some point I will need to prune this as well as the trumpet vine across from it, then slowly coax them to climb an archway between them, instead of their current clinging situations in which they are bringing down the shed, gutters, and house in the name of progress.

Where the arch will go. Wisteria on left and trumpet vine on right. 

Tulip Tree

I read about them in a gardening book last winter and thought I had never seen one. I now own one. Beautifully proportioned, graceful, at least 4 tulip "flowers" so far.


In early spring, lots of bunches of what looked like reddish-purple celery stalks started sprouting. I thought maybe rubharb. Not so, I realized when they got bigger and sprouted perfectly round buds that they were flowers, and then when I saw ants on them I instantly knew :-). I am so excited to have our very own peonies. There are 4 or so bushes, and most seem a bright red. I'll know the colors for sure next month. Each day another millimeter or more opens up.


Muscari have bloomed their bright blue purpleness in 2 or 3 bunches on the patio garden border. The bumblebees love them and so do I.


One of the lilacs has started blooming, here is a picture - spring personified. Jebediah has also bloomed! Will post picture of him soon.

I wanted the sweet smell of Lilacs to be present for our first spring, so we went to a nursery a few weeks ago and bought one. I had the choice between the common purple lilac and the Charles Joly french lilac, which has wine-colored blooms, and a slightly more gangly, less compact branch structure. I chose the common purple because it is projected to grow taller than the Charles Joly, and wanted it to eventually shade the height of the house on the East. Neither of us had planted a tree before, and we really enjoyed figuring it out. We named him Jebediah, and planted him on a rainy cool afternoon. The ground was soft because it was wet, but also a bit heavier because it had water in it. We dug a hole twice as big as the root ball, removed the burlap, and set Jebediah in the hole along with a mixture of mushroom compost and the s…

Virginia Bluebells

The bluebells at sunset. One of those pictures that got some magic in it. We are sitting outside right now at sunset, and just noticed a ruby-throated hummingbird drinking nectar from them!:

Spent some time identifying these. They were a bit of a mystery, with their light green foliage and berry-like bells. Finally discovered they are Virginia Bluebells. They grow in the shade garden.

Barrenwort/Bishops Hat

The most beautiful fuschia and white bishop's hat grows in the shady areas in the front. The "hats" seem to be hiding more under the leaves as the spring goes on.

Plants to identify

I'm in the process of identifying so many. Can you help with any of these?


photo3 - a shade groundcover:
photo4 - a shrub - has red leaves in early spring, but black bark:


Two kinds of Hellebores, a dark purple, and a white, have bloomed their shy petals in the shade garden. They always look down and hide them, but we know they have those charming fringed centers.

The Shade Garden

Here is a more recent picture of the shade garden - full of ephemerals! Virginia Bluebells, Snow Trillium, and others.

The Shade Garden is the name we are giving to a triangular area set off by stones in the backyard. Bordering it on all sides (and some grow within it) are tall Pin Oaks. The shade there is intense in the summer, and when we moved in last August, almost nothing was growing there - just mud. Now it is early Spring, and of course the leaves are not yet appearing on the Pin Oaks, so the area is getting lots of sun. Appearing there now are a few Hellebores, a number of pretty ground covers, and some plants I have not yet identified. I was planning to plant Bleeding Hearts and Astilbe there, but we'll need to watch and wait a bit to see if anything else comes up - I don't want to crowd the current residents.

Early Spring

These crocuses are our first blooms of spring. They are in the front border and they are the Pickwick variety. Such joy at seeing their cheery, strong striped petals after the long brutal winter. Realized that these are "our crocuses",  for the first time I was not admiring someone else's in a city garden. Such a joy!

Along with the crocuses, Scilla Siberica and Glory of the Snow appeared in semi-circles around Bartholomew and Hickory, the large Burr Oak and Shagbark Hickory (we've named most of our large trees) on either side of the front yard. 

Welcome, and Jeremiah 31:12

We are new gardeners, having moved from the city and purchased a home in the country that already has a number of beautiful garden beds. There are hundreds of types of flowers, plants and trees, and we are so excited to be identifying them, caring for them, and improving wherever we can. We are now their caretakers, and take the responsibility seriously! The purpose of this blog is to journal and document what grows and blooms each week, as well as to seek other gardeners' expertise in identifying and caring for the plants and trees. 

They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion; they will rejoice in the bounty of the LORD--the grain, the new wine and the oil, the young of the flocks and herds. They will be like a well-watered garden, and they will sorrow no more. - Jeremiah 31:12

This passage speaks of renewal, and, as C.S. Lewis writes:  "...of woes mended, of winter passed and guilt forgiven."  May we be "helps and heroes" to our gardens.

We've n…