And so starts July

P7060009.jpgI’m trying to see the big picture again, which is looking quite lovely, actually. I am in love with my yard, even though it’s fairly immature. Frank keeps reminding me that I don’t have to buy all the plants it needs *this* year. Right.

070101_25.jpg The pond is actually looking quite gorgeous, with all the things we planted around the edges blooming quite nicely. Frank says he’s seen Astilbe along the water’s edge elsewhere, and the back of the plant marker says it does well in “bogs”, so we took a chance and put it along the shallow part of the pond, actually in water, though. Blooms mid-summer, plant in partial sun. Prefers consistent soil moisture. Grows well at water’s edge or in bog gardens. Hardy to zone 3. Showy flower plumes and striking foliage are indispensable in the shaded or woodland garden. Excellent complement to bergenia, hosta, ferns and Japanese iris and especially attractive near water. A beautiful, long-lasting cut flower, fresh or dried. (Hmmm. “near water” not “in water”.)

070101_34.jpg The water lilies in the pond are almost ready to bloom. You can see little cone shaped things just at the surface, and in a few cases, just below the surface. We are eager to see what colors these flowers are. And we’ve got quite the frog orgy happening out here as well. In the evening, they are very, very loud! I caught a picture of one on a lily pad today, and we also saw a rather big frog right near the edge. Very, very cute.

Going in a rock crevice went another Hens & Chicks Sempervivum “Lavender and Old Lace”. Bright lilac rosettes of succulent leaves. Popular perennial for rock gardens, low borders, containers, or as rock wall plants. Vigorous and sun loving. Plant in full sun in well drained soil. Tolerates drought.

Frank took away one rock along the edge to make space for Sun Rose “Double Red” Helianthemum nummularium. Perennial. Profuse display of flowers, ideal in rock or flower gardens. Well-drained lean soil. Shear lightly after bloom. Blooms May to July. (Hmm. No hardiness info on tag)

070101_24.jpg The roses are either currently in bloom all over, or slightly past. The pale yellow one that we got from Agway this spring (30 below variety) is gorgeous, and I planted some pale yellow marigolds in the bed next to them, and it looks beautiful. I think I’ll let the marigolds go to seed and see if they breed true, because I like the combination so well. Will have to remember to look back through the seeds I bought to see what variety that actually was, because I don’t remember, though I do remember starting some marigolds from seed. The creeping rose from Etera is doing well, and just behind that is one of our surviving transplants from the old garden. We haven’t figured out it’s name yet, though.

070101_14.jpgThe only bulbs that have come up in the green pots look to be allium. They are very pretty, though, and are attracting butterflies galore. I’m wondering if I should replant them after they finish blooming … not quite sure yet. The landscapers didn’t get finished with all of their work last fall until very late, after the ground froze, and so I had a ton of bulbs that I wasn’t sure what to do with. Out of desperation, I put them in these pots, which I usually fill with annuals, hoping I could save the bulbs, but it doesn’t look like it worked, except for these. So now I have to figure out how to get these guys into the yard somewhere.

070101_20.jpgThe lilies are so pretty! We’d assumed these guys were orange, but they are mostly yellow, and very pretty. We hope they’ll make it through our winter. They said zone 5 though, so we’re not sure. I think I’ll give them some extra mulch in the fall to see if I can help them along.

P7060008.jpgOh, speaking of the pond and the bridge, a beautiful Scarlet Tanager pair came by to visit the pond and waterfall. The girl was far more timid than the boy, but they both splashed around in the water in the waterfall for quite a while. We had to take pictures from inside the house to be sure to not scare them away. Pretty, pretty!

070101_27.jpg 070101_26.jpgThe bed just to the north of the bridge is probably the prettiest place in the garden right now. Lots of things in bloom still. Lupine are the most noticed, and the cats tend to hang out here. Or under the bridge like Princess is here. Or on the well like Marmie is. They love to come garden with me, and must lie on whatever soil I dig up, and are very curious about the weeds I pull, often tasting them to see if it’s yummy. Speaking of which, I still need to get some buckets that I can leave out in the garden. I’m thinking green buckets, maybe. Some to hold weeds, because I can’t walk out there without pulling something, and having someplace to put it would be very handy. But I’m also digging up small to medium size rocks all the time, and having a place to collect them would be handy as well.

When I was traveling through Northfield, Massachusetts on my way home from NYC last week, I stopped and bought a bunch of plants on sale. I was looking for things to put in the very empty bed to the left of the front door as I walk out, in what I thought was a fairly shady spot. Though at the height of the summer, I’ve found out that it’s sunnier than I had in my head. But I bought all sorts of things for part shade, and I hope they do well here. We also want a tree of some sort here as well. I guess that’ll go in in the fall. Skip thought a birch clump would look good, and that would be okay, but I’m wondering if maybe a tree peony would do well here or not. It’s right at the front of the house, and something very showy is in order. I’ve left room for it, anyway, and more shade here would be good.

I just love Columbine. This time I got some “Dragonfly Hybrids”.

To go with that, I got some Pulmonaria Saccharata (Lungwort) “Dora Bieleveld”. I’ve never had this before, but it’s hardy to zone 4, and the guy at the nursery said it’s one of the first things up in the spring. According to the card that came with it: Striking, abundant bright pink, bell-shaped flowers held in tight clusters. The foliage forms an attractive rosette of velvety, lime-green leaves dappled with large white spots. Excellent for use beneath trees and shrubs. Effective as a groundcover, edging, or naturalizing plant.

Continuing on the theme: Tiarella Hybrid “Iron Butterfly PPAF” Foamflower, something else I’d never heard of. Hardy to zone 4, part sun, part shade. Large, fragrant white flowers in spring through summer over foliage that is deeply lobed with large maroon markings that persist all season. Bright flowers and intriguing foliage add color and interest to shady gardens. (Hmm. I put it in a part shade area, and hope it does okay.)

For some height in this bed, I put in some Hardy Asters, “Aster Alpinus Pinkie”. Produces intense pink, large flowers, grows to 12 inches. Sun, part shade. Zone 4.

False Dragonhead “Physostegia virginiana Crown White” (Never heard of it, but the pictures look pretty.) Striking flowers, beautiful in the garden or vase. Attractive in formal or natural settings, with asters, eupatorium and ornamental grass. Grows well in any soil, but may need staking in rich, fertile conditions. Divide every 2-3 years to control spread. Blooms midsummer to early fall. Plant in sun or partial shade. Hardy to zone 3.

The last to go in this bed was something I’ve heard of but never tried myself, Bugbane. Cimicifuga racemosa. Blooms mid- to late summer. Plant in partial sun or shade. Hardy to Zone 3. Graceful, slender spikes of fragrant flowers complement deep green leaves. Highlights the shaded garden and attracts butterflies. Lovely rounded flower buds and ornamental seedpods extend the floral display.

One new plant out in the circular driveway bed. Helianthus Occidentalis, perennial sunflower. Orange-yellow flowers, grows up to 4 feet tall. Blooms August to September. Sun or part shade. Hardy to zone 4. (I put this on the edge of this bed, because it looks study enough to handle the piles of snow that will get put here in the winter. Here’s hoping.)

070101_30.jpgBesides weeding, which I seem to be getting by with a few hours each week, the only other maintenance type thing we did this weekend was to fertilize our poor excuse for a lawn. Skip didn’t show up this week as promised, and I think it’s too late to reseed now anyway. We probably should wait until the fall before we do it again. Frank’s been having to mess with the timers on the sprinklers and lights, though — all is not quite right there yet either.

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