June 24, 2013

English Roses Blooming

Rose season is going strong right now in the garden.  Above is 'Eglantyne' in the front yard.  You can see one of the 'Heartthrob' Korean dogwood trees in the background.  These pretty trees have been blooming for several weeks now. 

Here is the view from the other side with 'Walker's Low' Nepeta (catmint) in front.  This bush is actually three plants placed eighteen inches apart so they grow together, which is the way David Austin recommends growing his English roses.

Up close the second flush of blooms are ready to open.  This rose is still reaching toward its mature size.

'Eglantyne' is soft and fluffy and pink.  Very feminine.  The fragrance is not strong but it's nice if you get close enough.  My neighbor just told me that she can smell my garden as she walks past.  I told her that's probably much nicer than smelling the gardener.

Here is 'Crocus Rose' in the backyard with a 'Fine Line' Rhamnus (buckthorn) at the rear.

'Teasing Georgia' is finally filling out the trellis.  I planted a lavender 'Mrs. Cholmondeley' clematis at the base the spring, and it's already twining up several feet high through the rose.  It will be pretty next year.  More catmint and violet 'May Night' Salvia (sage) are growing in front.

Here is a closer shot of 'Teasing Georgia'.   Its color is more yellow than I captured in this photo.

'Harlow Carr' recovered from transplanting this spring to throw out a few little blooms.  I'm considering another transplant this fall, unfortunately.  It would be nice if I could figure out exactly how I want the garden at the beginning instead of playing musical chairs with my plants, but that just isn't happening.

And here's a final shot of 'Abraham Darby' in the evening light.  This is probably the rose that my neighbor is smelling when she walks by.  It smells lemony and completely delicious.  AD is tied with 'Lady Emma Hamilton'  - from which I cut a vaseful yesterday - for my favorite fragrant rose. 

June 12, 2013

'Blue Moon' Wisteria macrostachya

One of my 'Blue Moon' wisterias is blooming for the first time this spring.  I planted two back in 2010, and I nearly killed the other one last month after adjusting the sprinklers and forgetting to check that it was still getting water.  Ugh.  At least one of them is doing well.

This one is planted on the southwest corner of our home to camouflage a drain pipe and provide a little more shade to this hot area.  I'm being careful to keep the stems from wrapping around the pipe since the plant will eventually get heavy enough to pull the pipe over.  If I keep wrapping the stems around each other, I think they'll grow sturdy enough to support themselves, since wisteria can be trained into a tree with enough patience.  Or I might have to get creative with other supports attached to the house.

After waiting three years to see the flowers, I was very excited to notice a bunch of buds on the plant a couple of weeks ago.  A little more patience and then . . .

 . . . aren't these flowers gorgeous?  I wish you could smell them.  I keep trying to figure out how to describe the fragrance, but it's hard.  Very sweet and strong.  There's no need to get up close, as you can definitely smell it if you're downwind.

Many wisterias are not quite hardy enough to withstand Spokane winters, but Blue Moon is hardy to zone 3.  When I decided to plant wisteria and spent time researching different varieties, this one seemed like the best for areas with cold winters.  It can rebloom several times each year, though I don't know if our growing season will be long enough for that to happen. 

Wisteria machrostachya is is native to America and is a less aggressive grower than Japanese or Chinese types, though it can reach 25 feet in height.  The flower clusters may grow up to a foot long.  The best flowering occurs in full sun, though mine is obviously blooming and it only gets afternoon sun.  Too much nitrogen fertilizer or poor pruning practices (cutting off the ends of the stems with all the flower buds) can also prevent flowering. 

I ordered my plants from ForestFarm.com, but a local nursery might be able to find it for you.  I haven't seen it at any of the big box garden centers.  If you live in a cold climate or just want a repeat blooming wisteria, this one might be perfect for you. 

June 5, 2013

What's Been Blooming Lately

Here are some photos showing some May blooms around the garden.  Above are fragrant 'Asao' clematis flowers surrounded by buds on a 'Francine Austine' rose.  I don't think there will be any clematis blooms left by the time the miniature white flowers of this rose open, or they'd make a nice combo. 

'Absolute Amethyst' candytuft is a vividly colored alternative to the common white form of this plant.  The color will be great next to the lime heuchera and spirea leaves in this part of the garden, as soon as the other plants grow big enough to make it into a photo.

'Evening Tidings' iris are blooming on the west of the house, tying the lavender blooms of 'Walker's Low' catmint together with the deep violet flowers of 'May Night' salvia. 

'Pure as Gold' iris are vibrant next to deep violet 'May Night' salvia flowers.  This photo was taken a week or two ago, and by now the salvia flowers have opened enough to make a really strong color statement.  Love the drama!

The reddish leaves of 'Lady Emma Hamilton' rose make a nice backdrop for the iris.  The leaves are so showy that I'd grow this rose even if it didn't bloom . . . but soon it will start putting out loads of fragrant rosy-orange flowers that keep coming all summer.  LEH is a great rose.  I wish you could smell it by blog.

'Foxtrot' tulips and another darker variety whose name I can't remember have been blooming next to the back patio.  My friends keep exclaiming in surprise when I tell them these are tulips.  The masses of petals make them look more like peonies. 

Here's another shot of 'Foxtrot' with a new 'Tuff Stuff' hydrangea ready to start blooming in the background.  There will be lots of first-time bloomers in the garden this year.  It's fun to look forward to the show.