Tulips, Daffodils and Iris — All at once

P6070022.jpg The fish are getting quite brave. We seem to have around 12-14 of them. It’s hard to count the little buggers. But they now come to the surface when we feed them, and if we just go to look at them, they think we’re going to feed them, so they all rush over to see. They are getting bigger, too, slowly.

P6090018.jpgWe’ve really been enjoying the gazebo in the evening. It gets really buggy in the early evening, so the bats are out in full swing. The screened gazebo is the only way we can stay outside at all. I’m getting really tired of having to suit up in my full bug suit just to do a bit of weeding.

P6090007.jpgWe have some strange things blooming at the same time — one bed has white and purple tulips, the last of the daffodils, and the first of the purple iris. Pretty!

The existing flowers that I planted a couple of weeks ago are coming along nicely. It doesn’t look like I’ve lost anything, even though the nights have been pretty chilly, in the mid-30s, several times this past week. The lilacs are still sort of blooming, just starting to fade. And the white azaleas are currently blooming.

P6070018.jpgI stopped in Northfield, Massachusetts coming home from New York City this week, and picked up a bunch of perennials at a nursery I love. Then it was Ginny’s birthday this week, so I went to Breshears in Alstead, NH and bought a bunch more stuff.

So, here’s what got planted today:

Dianthus plumarius (Cottage Pinks) Zone 3-9. Rock Garden, perennial. These are relatively short-lived, so divide the clumps regularly in the spring, every two to three years. Great companion plant due to its rich blue-green foliage and the wide range of pink flower hues that are available. (I still haven’t given myself a to-do list for things like this. Must do.)

Thermopsis False Lupine. Zone 3-9. Lovely native plant that is well-adapted to the perennial garden. Flower spikes appear in late spring and are covered with bright flowers. This is a large plant, so give it room to grow in the back of your border. (Hmmm. I think I gave it enough room.)

Aguilegia vulgaris (Granny’s Bonnet) Perennial, zone 5-9. (Hmm. My tag said zone 4). This is the columbine that is native to Europe and is grown for its spurred, blue flowers that bloom in midsummer. I planted these in the front of the house, which is pretty shady.

Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox). Perennial, zone 3-9. 3-4 feet height. Full sun. Rich, fragrant blooms are the hallmark of these summer-flowering perennials. They are not only excellent for the cutting bed, but will also fill the house with their sweet perfume. Don’t allow the phlox to self-sow or the blooms will return to their original magenta color. (That doesn’t sound bad, actually.) I bought two of these, one in white, one in blue. I usually have too many yellow flowers in the late summer, and wanted to start to branch out to other colors for this time period. Planted in the bed, near the pond.

Helianthus (Sunflower) Perennial, 3-6 feet, zone 5-9, full sun. For volume and quality of flowers, it’s hard to beat this member of the sunflower family. This is a big, hardy and carefree perennial that will show with blooms right into September, when most other blooms in the garden have faded. Growth will bemore lush is watered in hot spells. Can grow to 6 feet. (Hmmm.)

Galium odoratum (Sweet Woodruff) Groundcover, rock garden, herb. Part shade, full shade. White flowers, zone 4-8. Perennial. A very attractive groundcover for shaded areas of the garden. Does well in a woodland setting, but may be a bit too aggressive for a border. Little white flower clusters appear in early sumer above the leaf whorls. The effect is delicate for such a vigorous and hardy plant. Leaves and flowers are fragrant and can be dried to make a tea. Sweet Woodruff has also been used to flavor the wine known as May wine. (Hmmm. I thought it could take more sun than this description says. I put it next to the bridge, on the south side. I hope that’s not too sunny a location. It looked pretty, and I did put it very close to the bridge, so it will be somewhat shaded. Will have to watch it, though.

I also put in some rosemary in the rocky area near the bridge. I put some Oriental Poppies along the bed low stone wall, north of the pond. (Hereinafter called the Poppy bed. I’ve got to get a way to name these beds!) I put some lupines next to the pond, and a bright yellow dahlia. The tag claimed it was hardy to zone 4, but I don’t believe it. I’ve always thought you had to dig up dahlia bulbs where we live. I guess it was a cheap enough experiment, because I couldn’t resist the flower!

P6090010.jpgWhile I was at the nursery in Alstead, Frank asked her if Sweet Peas were perennials, and she showed him a set of some that she claimed were hardy in our area. They really want something to climb on, which I don’t have, so I tried them on the north side of the bridge, and they can climb down the rocks. We’ll see how they do! I wouldn’t mind if they climbed up the railing of the bridge, but I doubt that will happen.

Window box update: The upstairs balcony boxes are not coming along as nicely as the ones on the first floor. But the lantana are just starting to bloom.

P6090017.jpgDownstairs, the window boxes are looking fabulous. The electric blue of the lobelia just pops out when you first drive up the driveway. I love this color. The flowers aren’t exactly cascading or anything yet, but the season is still young. We do have a problem though — the railing doesn’t seem to be holding up very well. It’s not straight anymore. Frank’s got to figure out a way to stop them from leaning, because it looks like the whole thing could just topple over any second. That would be horrible! All my pretty, pretty flowers!

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