The month of May is flying by, and we are full of may flies as well. I am so bug bitten after spending the day out there yesterday, even in the bug suit, darnit. Have many bites on my fingers, which are all swollen up now.
We saw some critters in the pond for the first time — a small yellowish-green snake (most likely a garter snake). It was about 2 feet long, and enjoying the waterfall, actually. Slithered into the rocks at the side pretty quickly when we showed up, but I’ll watch for him with my camera now that I know he’s there.
I saw one big frog and several small little guys. We’ve been talking about going out hunting for tadpoles to help control the algae, actually, but it’s nice to see the frogs find the water all on their own. I wonder if any turtles will drop by?
The bugs were so bad to me that I had to come in, though, darn it. Frank stayed out without me and said that the bugs left him alone enough to plant the remaining things that we bought yesterday. The ones I planted yesterday look all perky and happy, too, which is great.
Right in front of the house, to the left of the porch, these guys got planted: (mostly shade)
Thalictrum aguilegifolium Columbine Meadow Rue. Part sun, 24-36″ tall, lilac flowers, late spring to mid-summer display, survives down to -20. (Hmm. Could be iffy.) Meadow Rues are splendid woodland or natural garden choices, thriving beautifully in moisture-retentive soils with full sun to dappled light. Lovely fernlike foliage forms full, lush mounds from which arise tall, sturdy stems bearing delightfully airy flower clusters. Aguilegifolium means “leaves like that of a Columbine” and the foliage is lovely enough to stand alone in cut arrangements. This is one of the prettiest and showiest of the Meadow Rues. The lilac flowers are held aloft on 6-8″ wide bracts and looks like a big purple powder puff.
Around the rocks along the side of the waterfall:
Sedum spurium “Tricolor” Stonecrop: Full sun to part shade, 2-4″ tall, pink flowers, summer display. Survives down to -40. Unusual foliage — often in intricate whorls, drought tolerant. Stonecrops are a large family of over 600 species of succulents, very easily grown in quick-draining soils and sunny spots. Flower clusters will attract welcome visits from butterflies. “Tricolor” is a low, creeping variety, with splendidly variegated fleshy leaves of green, cream and pink in tight little rosettes trailing from short stems. Roots easily; can be invasive.
Papaver nudicaule “Garden Gnome” Iceland Poppy. Full sun, 12″ tall. Mixed-colored flowers, including red and yellow, early to mid-summer. Survives down to -50. Poppies are characterized by nodding flower buds, solitary, four-petaled, bright flowers on long flower stalks, and coarse leaves that are lobed or dissected. The seed capsule is hard, oval, and quite decorative. “Garden Gnome” offers bright, multicolored flowers. Native to sub artic regions, these poppies are becoming popular in the South, though as an annual. Iceland poppies are perennials in the North, living 2-3 years and flowering from early spring to early fall.
And the most exciting of today’s plantings is:
Clematis viticella “Polish Spirit”, next to one of the posts of the pergola. Best use: as climber or let grow through trees, shrubs, containers. (we need to pick up some dowels and put them in the post for it to climb up.) Full sun. 10-13 feet tall. Deep purple-blue flowers, July to September. Survives down to -40. While all Clematis are known to climb, the leaf, flower size, flower color, flower shape and scent vary from species to species. But most often they are grown for their abundant blooms and ensuing decorative seed heads. “Polish Spirit” was raised by Brother Stefan Franczak in Poland and introduced in 1989. An outstanding plant with very good foliage and intense purple-blue, single 3″ flowers, it is valued for its free-flowering habit when other Clematis varieties are finished blooming.
Also planted two types of mint, next to the waterfall, where mint would naturally grow. Frank is concerned because he didn’t plant it in a container, and mint is known to be invasive, but right now, we want plants out there so much that letting it spread for a while sounds good, actually. So we now have peppermint and spearmint growing, hopefully wildly!