Annual Migration

What a difference a month makes. We spent much of today hauling up the window boxes full of annuals (get it? annual migration?) from the basement to the back deck, which is now completely lined with flowers. Yay! They look so pretty, even if they are not quite cascading yet. But the temps for the rest of the week look like they’re not going any lower than the 40s, or higher than the 70s, so that’s perfect weather to harden off these darlings. Yeah, I went nuts taking pictures of them. Just remember that each window box represents a trip up and down a flight of stairs!

The flowering trees are still flowering nicely. They’ve lasted for over a week and make the yard smell lovely as well as look beautiful. And for a first time for me, we have lilacs that are going to bloom. Previously, we’ve had lilac bushes that got nice and big, but never bloomed, no matter how we fertilized them or babied them. They are still dark purple little tight unopened buds, but my guess is that we’ll see real blooms on them early next week.

Skip finished fixing the waterfall last week. It now goes over all the rocks it should, and looks and sounds spectacular. So, so pretty. We hope to go in search of fishes and plants tomorrow, though we bought a few irises yesterday that need pots to be planted in.

I bought and planted a bunch of Etera plants that my local Agway now carries. It sure is easier to buy them in person than over the internet, which I always used to do. I love to support local stores, so this is a nice way to get the plants I want at the same time. I made sure to buy the things that do well in zone 4, and they had really stocked up on them, actually. As I was searching for them on the Etera site, though, to link to them individually, not all the ones I bought are listed on their website, which is irritating. Maybe they’ll get them up there soon.

Most of the perennials that I had in my garden previous to “the landscaping” didn’t make the transition, so I have to replace them all. I got a good start, but I need a lot more plants. Darn! I’ll just have to keep hitting the nurseries around here. What a hardship.

I planted as many as I could today, before the bugs drove me in, even in my bug suit. The cats are all afraid of me in this get-up, but it’s my only chance at going outside during the month of May, due to the black flies, which were out in full force today. Plus, I am a black fly magnet, unfortunately, and allergic to the little beasts. Even through this suit, they get me. When I started to itch all over, I came in, even though I didn’t want to. So I’m satisfying my gardening itch a bit by updating the journal.

Here’s what went in today, out in the flower bed directly to the right of the driveway entrance, looking at it from the front of the house. (I need to get myself an overhead map. Maybe I can talk Frank into going up on the roof and takings some shots on the camera?)

Physostegia virginiana ‘rosea’, Obedient Plant. Best use in “countrified” groupings (that’s so my yard), cottage gardens, along fences. Full sun, 24-36 inches tall, rosy-pink late summer flowers. Survives down to -40, lavish flower display, easily grown, attracts hummingbirds and butterflies, good for cut flowers. Obedient Plants are so called because their “hinged” stalks hold a new position when moved. Leaves are toothed, lance-shaped; large flowers are tubular, on terminal leafy spikes nearly 8″ long. Also commonly called False Dragonhead. “Rosea” provides a delightfully luscious show of rosy-pink flowers, whether in the garden or cut for fresh indoor arrangements. (couldn’t find this on the Etera website, actually, which is irritating.)

Buddleia davidii “pink delight”, full sun, 6-7′ tall. A delightful deep-pink, in large clusters, mid-summer to mid-fall display, survives down to -20. (Hmm. Uh oh. Here’s hoping.) Lovely lilac-like flower display, attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. Butterfly Bushes are large shrubs with long branches arching out gracefully. Nodding, terminal clusters of tiny fragrant flowers parade through the summer months, attracting both butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden. “Pink Delight” has delightfully showy, especially large pink flower clusters, which can be cut for lavish indoor arrangements. Prune back to 36″ or shorter each year. [Note to self — needs pruning.] (I’ve never tried a butterfly bush here — I guess because of the only goes to -20 thing. Hope this one survives! I’ve always wanted one.)

Centaurea montana (Mountain Bluet) used in cottage gardens, naturalized in meadows. (had one before, called it perennial bachelor buttons, did well here) 18-24″, cobalt blue, early to mid-summer, survives down to -40, easily grown, naturalizes. Centaurea is named for the Greek mythological centaurs, who were said to have used the plants medicinally. Along with silver-green fuzzy foliage, the thistle-like flowers bring pleasing rustic beauty and are superb for cut flower arrangements and drying. Montana are native to the Carpathian Mountains, of the Pyrenees in Central Italy. Stems are unbranched, with a spider-web-like flower of cobalt blue. Though it will do well in the South, it prefers cool season areas.

Veronica latifolia “Crater Lake Blue” Hungarian Speedwell. Full to part sun, 12-15″, intense blue; late spring to summer display. Survives down to -40. Upright spikes of richly-colored, cutable flowers. Speedwells were given their botanic name (Veronica) to honor St. Veronica, who was said to have wiped away Christ’s tears. Grown for their delightful, long-lasting spikes of deep-purple flowers and easy care. “Crater Lake Blue” has a ground covering, sprawling habit and a supremely rich-blue color display.

[Note to self: come up with a way to put a to-do list together, especially about dividing and pruning plants.]

Frank planted these in the front, shady bed:

He did go up on top of the roof and get me some pictures, too, nice man. Now I have to figure out how to label the flower beds so I know what I plant where.

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