Tag Archives: spiderwort

Blooms, Blooms, Blooms (And no more peony talk)

Just to prove that I am not completely fixated on my peonies (that didn’t sound right), here are some other blooms in and about my garden during this fantastic time of year.
Veronica just about on its last legs but hoping the periodic deadheading will extend it a bit further: 

Physocarpus (Ninebark) ‘Diablo’ just started blooming and looks OK; I still value it mostly for the foliage:

Geranium ‘Brookside’ which I’ve been rather critical of in the past, looks good now that it is allowed to roam wild a bit:

Itea ‘Henry’s Garnet’ doesn’t blow you away in bloom, but it is reliable and performs so well in my native bed where it is consistently moist/wet:

I know I am going to enjoy Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’ for years to come as six of these were planted just last fall as tiny plugs and they already look fantastic. Not to mention they are ignored by the deer and the rabbits and survived wet feet this past winter:

Blooms nice, the rest … not so much. I am losing it for Tradescantia (Spiderwort) ‘Sweet Kate’ so they better shape up soon or they are gone:

Penstemon ‘Husker’s Red’ just about to bloom in full; give it about a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10:

First blooms on Hypericum ‘Albury Purple’:

Spirea ‘Snow Storm’ … hmmmm … takes up space … blooms are “decent” … suppresses weeds since better than bare ground … guess she can stay:

“Prune in June” – Cleaning up – UPDATE

During the last week of June, I severely cut back three groups of perennials as a means to “clean them up”, as all three had bloomed their asses off and were now looking tired and spent. 
I knew they would bounce back rather quickly with nice clean foliage and some new blooms and I’m here today to show you that they came through with flying colors.
#1 – Tradescantia (Spiderwort) ‘Sweet Kate’:
After the the big cut back:      
And how they looked about two weeks later:

And five weeks later … :

… with some periodic re-bloom to boot:

#2 – Geranium ‘Brookside’:

The day of their haircut:

And as of this evening:

#3 – Nepeta (Catmint) ‘Walker’s Low’:

Sheared back:

And now sporting cleaner foliage and some blooms (not to mention the bees are back in droves):

While cutting back your perennials seems like a frightening proposition at first, I would actually be more frightened to leave them untouched. Trust me, it gets ugly.

If you chop them back (assuming you did your research and you know which ones are “choppable”), in two to three weeks time they will look better than they did right before they were snipped.

Remember, “Just prune it”.

John

“Prune in June” – Cleaning up

It might be July, but you’ll have to trust me that I accomplished the following tasks while it was still June.
So no deep pruning discussions today, just some simple cutting back to clean up some spent blooms/foliage with the hope that the foliage will bounce back all nice and neat and maybe a second set of blooms in late summer.
First off, Nepeta (Catmint) ‘Walker’s Low’. Here at its peak:   

And then looking a little spent:

So, whack, all have been cut back:

More to come in a future post to show you how well they have bounced back:

On to Tradescantia (Spiderwort) ‘Sweet Kate’. Looking good and healthy in the spring:

In bloom and still holding up:

Out come the shears and they’ve been cut to the ground. Didn’t take long to see immediate foliage regrowth:

Finally, Geranium ‘Brookside’ looking good a few weeks ago:

And then looking severely spent today:

Thwack! Now we wait for the inevitable nice foliage mound to come back:

As with previous “Prune in June” posts, I’ll post additional photos as these perennials reinvent themselves over the next few weeks.

Cheers!

John

Let’s take a walk my friend

Knowing we are due for some serious rainfall the next two days, I woke my arse up early this morning and set foot outside into the foggy, damp and spider web infested yard. There may not be many photo opps in the foreseeable future.  
Some times a blog post idea pops into my head and after some serious reflection and self-editing (maybe one day I’ll tell you the ideas I passed on) I’ll take the photos to support the post. This morning I wanted to grab the camera and let the photos tell the story. 
As I write this post in a quiet house and drink my all worldly black coffee (big shout out to Grounds for Change) I already know I’ll look back on this morning in the winter and wish I could have it back. As much as I bitch and moan some times, there is nothing like a simple walk out in the garden in the early morning. Good f’n times.
This vignette caught my eye this morning – it contains fall color, persistent flowers and a kick butt ornamental grass. I like it:          

As OCD as I can be, I really do dig it when there is a surprise that defies all logic – like this purple coneflower popping up in the middle of Weigela ‘Wine and Roses’:

I never expected Tradescantia (Spiderwort) ‘Sweet Kate’ to still be blooming into late September but she is still blooming her ass off … and I thank her deeply:

Call me crazy, but I have always loved fading coneflowers, not sure what that says about me and don’t really want to know:

How have the birds left these alone? I wanted to chow down on them, spider webs and all:

More spider art:

Speaking of spiders, it is absolute panic time every September/October as the spiders make their way into our house. I have become immune to the sudden gasps and screams when the family sees another spider of gargantuan proportions. Without batting an eye, I grab a paper towel, scoop up the arachnid and put them back outside. The family then looks at me with awe and respect as they know I am The Protector.

One last one, the oats on Northern Sea Oats look awesome but I am so determined to limit their re-seeding this year. They caught me off guard and got me bad and I may have spent the better part of a month pulling the seedlings. Not this time:        

Have a great weekend!

John

Random garden musings

Some thoughts as I walked through my garden recently:
Thuja (Arborvitae) ‘Rheingold’ continues to grow on me each year. The foliage color and texture are friggin stupendous:   

Cornus (Red Twig Dogwood) ‘Arctic Fire’ may be the shrub I’m most excited about for next year. I bought the tiniest plug last year and actually forgot about it. It was lost amongst the weeds in spring but I babied it in a container and now she is ready to fly on her own. Get those twigs nice and red now, ya hear:    

Perennials I can’t grow due to poor drainage are now being kept in containers so I can move them around at will – sort of like rearranging furniture. This Sedum ‘Matrona’ is temporarily in front of Hydrangea ‘Lady in Red’ … I kind of dig it:

Berries on trees = good times:

Just thought this was kind of a cool shot – Lobelia siphilitica (Blue Cardinal Flower) through the blooms of a Panicum (Switch Grass):

This Asclepias Incarnata (Swamp Milkweed) is thriving at four feet tall:

But I liked it better when it was destroyed by the caterpillars:

I still prefer containers with only one plant in them – like this series of Cordyline. One day I’ll graduate to the big leagues and learn how to use thrillers, fillers and spillers:

Each morning I run, I look forward to seeing the blooms on Tradescantia (Spiderwort) ‘Sweet Kate’ and I’m cool with them disappearing soon after:

Have a great weekend and for all of you in the path of Hurricane Irene, stay safe. We’re already preparing here in NJ as we’re expecting 8″ to 12″ of rain.

John