Tuesday, May 14, 2013


As the cool spring gives way to the warm spring, we have had weeks of enjoyment from flowering plants that in some years only last for days.  I've been preoccupied with planting hundreds of daylilies that have been arriving in the mail and going straight into buckets of water to wait their turn.

Yesterday, I took some time in the afternoon just to enjoy the plants in their spring personalities.  Here is a simple pleasure: a pot of chives.  We seldom think to use these herbs.  They have grown in this pot for years, and in the spring they flower.

Just below that pot is a thriving plant of Yarrow.  We grow many types of Yarrow around here.  They are plants for an arid climate, yet they do well here.

These plantings are in narrow beds that line our "car park" area outside the garage.  To the left of this Yarrow is a native Baptisia with yellow flowers that will open in a few days.

You can make out the carpet of herb "somethingorother" at the base of the Baptisia.  Kathy knows these herbs, tends them, encourages them, and tells me their names.  But I'm not good with names of any kind except for daylilies, family members, and pieces of music.

A steep slope leads from the car park down to the back yard.  Thanks to a previous owner's planting of three ash trees, we have some shade on that slope, where Kathy has made a garden of shade plants.  This is Meadow Rue.  It grows tall, provides clusters of fuzzy purple flowers, and delicate leaves to balance the heaver look of all the hostas in the area.  Kathy found four Meadow Rue plants last summer for this bed.

The main interest of this garden is the interplay of hostas, heucheras, astilbes, and ferns, with a border of lariope along the top.

"Caramel" heuchera brings so many shades of color to a garden that you wonder how anything else will attract attention.  And yet, each variety we grow has a unique contribution.  Look at "Snow Angel" below and notice that it's in flower before any of the others.

"Sonic Smash" contrasts "Snow Angel" with a dark pattern on its leaves.

And the native variety below grows and grows and grows to dwarf them all!

The hostas in this bed have a great deal of sentimental associations for me.  Below, a variety of "Aureomarginata" was given to me by my late friend and daylily mentor, Oscie Whatley, as a housewarming present in 1997.

And this plant of "Hadspen Blue," which formed a majestic honor guard along our front garden in University City, made the move to St. Peters.  I haven't seen this variety lately in the nurseries.  It must be out of fashion.  But is perfection ever out of fashion?

Easily the best feature in this garden is the gardener herself, my Keb.

In the back yard, amidst a vast collection of daylilies, we have an iris collection, a peony collection, and mounds of "Becky" shasta daisies, various phlox and coreopsis plants, and three smoke trees at the corner of the property.

I favor the bright lime green colors in contrast with the dark plum, a color which I've used at the center of a circular bed of pink, lavender, and white daylilies nearby.  The accent plant is a "Crimson Pygmy" barberry.

Another circular bed in that area contains a ring of orange daylilies with a "Golden Mound" spirea in the center.

The peonies and irises are just coming into bloom.  This is "Hawaiian Coral" peony next to "Blue Flirt" iris.  The geranium in the background is "Max Frei."

We don't consider the Canada Geese to be "pets" here, but the two who seem to have made themselves feel at home near our dock are bidding to be called "family."


Bev J. said...

Lovely time of year. Thanks for the interesting travel around the yard and especially for giving the names of plants.

Nancy said...

Michael you have such a talent for landscaping..I hope your neighbors can appreciate it as much as I do! I see their's is pretty plain. I can hardly wait to see all the daylilies in bloom!

Seajay said...

Michael, not only do you have a talent for landscaping your garden: you also have a penchant for the *names* of the plants... Thanks for the spring tour--especially the photo of your smiling wife!