June 16, 2011

June Bloom Day

Its mid month again, time for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day sponsored by Carol at May Dreams Gardens... only I'm a little late, but not too late too be blog number 171 on her list! This is also a perfect chance for me to catch up on everything that's blooming in the summer borders. Right now the star of the show is the 'Jacob Cline' Bee-Balm (Monarda didyma 'Jacob Cline'), which is in full bloom and yet to be touched by any rains.

We have only had 1/4 inch of rain in the past few weeks, and although we set up the sprinkler on all the beds about once a week, we can never get quite enough water for the plants... and its starting to show. The constant temperatures about 90 don't help either. We were supposed to get storms last night but they swung south.... and so out comes the hose again, but that's what it takes.

The familiar faces of summer are returning to the garden. The first Purple Cone flowers (Echinacia purpurea) have just opened. A personal favorite of mine, Crocosmia 'Lucifer', is also just opening. I just love the exotic flower and the large linear leaves add interest even when not in bloom.

June is full of blooms of all shapes and colors, too many to capture. A few more beauties right now are a pink Yarrow (Yarrow millefolium 'Summer Pastels'), Route 66 Coreopsis (Ceoropsis verticillata 'Route 66'), Perennial Plumbago (Plumbago ariculata), Japanese Aster (Kalimeris pinnatafida), and a sunflower planted by the birds.

Two more of my favorites June bloomers are Culver Root (Veronicastrum virginicum) and Tomato Soup Coneflower (Echinacea 'Tomato Soup'). The Echinacea is not quite as red as some pictures I have seen of it in other gardens, but mine generally gets a beautiful striping effect.

The Clematis (Clematis 'Ernest Markham') is also blooming, for the first time I've seen. Actually we thought it was a different variety ('Nelly Moser') because that's what the tag said, until it bloomed with a deep burgundy flush instead of white. I guess that's the chance you take with clearance plants.

There are quite a few day lilies (Hemerocallis) splashed in the garden too... but 'Lady Elizabeth' is my favorite, with its near-white color.

 For a passing glance, I will leave you with the first blooms from the Butterfly bush (Buddlea) in our front landscape, a true sign of summers presence. It is almost 10 feet tall already, and I cut it back to less that a foot this spring! I'll have to think of it as my gift to the butterflies. 

"Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair..."  ~Susan Polis Shutz

June 7, 2011

Escape to Natures Gardens

A couple weeks ago Brian and I escaped hot Raleigh for a couple days to camp along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. Ive been late posting this one, as I have started my new job, but after this I will get back to the garden soon! 
Just a 2 hr and 45 minute drive north from our little garden gets us to some amazing hiking and camping spots in Rocky Knob Recreation Area of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Although we have been to this area before, this time was special because we were at the peak of the Flame Azalea blooms with wildflower accompaniments, in the best section of the parkway to see it, with the rainy weather keeping away any crowds. For most of this post, I'll let John Muir take the reigns.

"The mountains are calling and I must go"

"Now comes sundown. The west is all a glory of color transfiguring everything. Far up the Pilot Peak Ridge the radiant host of trees stand hushed and thoughtful, receiving the Sun’s good-night, as solemn and impressive a leave-taking as if sun and trees were to meet no more. The daylight fades, the color spell is broken, and the forest breathes free in the night breeze beneath the stars. " 

"How deep our sleep last night in the mountain’s heart, beneath the trees and stars, hushed by solemn-sounding waterfalls and many small soothing voices in sweet accord whispering peace! And our first pure mountain day, warm, calm, cloudless, —how immeasurable it seems, how serenely wild! I can scarcely remember its beginning. Along the river, over the hills, in the ground, in the sky, spring work is going on with joyful enthusiasm, new life, new beauty, unfolding, unrolling in glorious exuberant extravagance, —new birds in their nests, new winged creatures in the air, and new leaves, new flowers, spreading, shining, rejoicing everywhere."

"Warm, sunny day, thrilling plant and animals and rocks alike, making sap and blood flow fast, and making every particle of the crystal mountains throb and swirl and dance in glad accord like star-dust. No dullness anywhere visible or thinkable. No stagnation, no death. Everything kept in joyful rhythmic motion in the pulses of Nature’s big heart."

"Another of those charming exhilarating days that makes the blood dance and excites nerve currents that render one unweariable and well-nigh immortal."

"Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is necessity; that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life." ~ John Muir