Garden Bloom Day – June 15, 2011

I had family visiting this week, so I’ve missed Wordless Wednesday and I’m a day late with my Garden Bloom Day photos!

Lots of things are blooming in the yard right now, especially on the west side of the yard in the border along the garage wall.  That area receives the most sun and the plants there seem happy.

Things are moving along on the east side of the yard in the border along the fence, but it’s shadier there so some things are slow to grow and bloom.  This our first June in the new apartment / yard, so it’s interesting to look around and see where things are NOT happening.  I’ll need to think about what things I can add to that East side fence line under the Privet trees for next year.  It would be nice to have SOMETHING blooming there in June, and right now there is nothing.

On to the things that ARE blooming!

This is Astilbe, ‘Peach Blossom’ – in the shade garden along the side of the house.  I’m not sure if it’s a shorter variety of Astilbe or if it’s just small because this is its first year…or maybe it’s too much shade?  Right now the plant is about 2′ tall.

the lavender plant I put in last fall has really filled out this year and is spreading out. It’s been in various stages of blooming for nearly 6 weeks now, and it smells terrific.
here’s a close up
This is Lilium, ‘Blackout’ I was expecting it to be a much darker maroon – nearly black according to the photo on Easy To Grow Bulbs, where I ordered it, however I am absolutely in LOVE with this color and I’m very happy with this Lily! I bought 3 bulbs and planted them in 3 different areas of the yard, so their blooming will be a little staggered – perfect. You’ll have to bear with me posting several pictures of this beauty – I’m a little over the moon about it!

If this Lily multiplies over the years you might hear my squeals of delight from miles away.
Day Lilies are also blooming. These came with the property. Earlier this spring I dug some up and transplanted them around to various parts of the yard.
I’m not usually a fan of the color orange, but these are just delightful.
Not the best shot, but this is the border along the garage wall. The sunniest spot in the yard, this border also benefits from being so close to the wall for protection from wind and a little extra heat off the building.  Everything is starting to get a bit more shade now as the fig trees are filling out…hopefully it won’t be too much shade a month or two from now!
This border includes: sweet basil, parsley, cilantro, bay leaves, Thai basil, lemon verbena, a 3-foot tall young lilac, foam flower, lavender, a “mystery” tomato, heliotrope, violets, lambs ears, Dusty Miller, a climbing rose, cosmos, day lilies, the Asiatic ‘Blackout’ lily, and a few weeds. 😉 Plus some begonias back on the steps in the shade.

Not yet blooming, but the Annabelle hydrangea is really filling out…
Since this is our first Spring/Summer in the yard, I thought it would help me to have an idea of how large this baby gets, how quickly it grows/spreads, etc. When we moved here at the end of last summer this hydrangea was about 4 feet tall and nearly as wide and was blooming its socks off. I divided it in the fall and gave a large division to my friend Bev in PA, where it seems to be doing well. Clearly, this hydrangea didn’t mind being divided one bit. In fact, I think it might be happier.

I’m not so sure the tree peony that I planted next to it this Spring is as happy and I hope it won’t end up getting crowded out by this enormous hydrangea!  You can just see the tip of the tree peony in the left side of the photo.

That potted plant on our portable makeshift “backyard coffee table” (a wooden half barrel with a granite slab on top) is a “mystery” clematis that came as a surprise gift from my friend Bev over the weekend, and I am SO excited.  We think it may be Autumn Clematis.  Whatever it is, it is most welcome here.  Clematis is one of my all-time favorite flowers.  Hopefully this time next year – or who knows, maybe even this fall! – I’ll be posting photos of IT blooming.


Devil’s Walking Stick

Last fall my friend gave me a “garden warming” present of a shrub that she noticed I had liked when we visited a nursery together.  At the time, it was about 4 feet tall and have lovely dark berries on it.  I had been asking about shade-tolerant shrubs, and the nursery owner pointed toward the “shady zone” where I noticed this shrub.

Aralia spinosa, otherwise known as Devil’s Walking Stick, went into the ground in a very shady spot near our house, partially underneath an enormous (18 – feet tall and out of control) Forsythia.   What to do with that particular beast is another post for another day!

Last fall the Aralia spinosa lost all of it leaves and I honestly couldn’t tell if it was living or going dormant or what.  I did a little research and although I wasn’t 100% positive I was supposed to, I pruned it down – pretty much all the way to ground, leaving just an inch or two above the soil so that I could see where it was planted.

This Spring it came up in full force, and actually it appears to have two main “stalks.”  I cannot believe how much it has grown and how full it has leafed out.

I’m a little afraid because the info I’ve found on the internet suggest that I’ve got myself a real TREE, here, with the possibility of it growing up to 20′ tall.  Yikes.  If this year’s growth is any indication of just how quickly this thing can move, I believe it.

Perhaps if I prune it to the ground each year that will keep it in check?  I’ll see what it does this year and think about if I need to move it to another spot or not.  I’m hoping it will produce those lovely berries this fall and that they might be appealing to birds.

Hard to tell from the photo, but it’s at least 3′ tall and easily 3′ in diameter.

It didn’t flower at all this spring, just went straight to leafing out.  Our garden areas are relatively small, so I’m a bit worried about this one taking up too much space or competing with other things I’ve planted.

Some of the leaves have an unusual or irregular pattern…

This is definitely one to watch this year.  I’m curious to see how much more it will grow and whether or not the birds like the berries.  Garden space is at a premium here, so I feel that a plant really  has to prove itself to be worthy of taking up the space here!  Right now I appreciate the quick, lush growth and show of green in an area that not a whole lot of other plants could tolerate because it is so darn shady.  We shall see, Devil’s Walking Stick….we shall see!