Friday, June 15, 2012

The Garden in June

Lots and lots of things are in bloom right now and on the whole I think the garden is looking quite good, though some plants are starting to show signs of stress from the hot and dry weather we have been having, despite daily watering.

View of a section of the backyard

Blanket flower (Gaillardia aristata)

The three pots of yellow and orange pansies (Viola x wittrockiana) that line the walk to the front door are still doing very well, despite the increasing heat

Sundrops (Oenothera fruticosa)

 A peachy-pink Achillea

A section of the front border

Orange butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

Young lotuses (Nelumbo nucifera) coming along

Young red hot pokers (Kniphofia cv.) in front of the Japanese fiber bananas (Musa basjoo), which are quite far along thanks to the mild winter

Echinacea 'Honey Papaya', a new red double coneflower hybrid that I just added to the red border

I also found plants to fill the large green containers which decorate the walk to the front door which I had mentioned a few weeks back. One now contains a young Cassia didymobotrya and the other one a similarly small naranjilla (Solanum quitoense), both surrounded by orange Lantana camara and a large-flowered, electric blue ornamental sage variety (Salvia cv.).

Container 1 with Cassia didymobotrya...

... Container 2 with Solanum quitoense...

 ... and a closer look at the flowering sage.

I particularly love the color of the ornamental sage; I am pretty sure it is the most intense blue I have had in the garden so far.


This year the deer have thus far been merciful and have spared most of my lilies long enough for them to actually flower. The Turk's cap lilies that were on the property before we moved in are not quite ready yet but the dwarf Asiatic hybrids I planted have all been in bloom this past week.

This really makes me want to add more lilies but of course there is no way to know if the deer will continue to be so considerate or return to their lily-bud-devouring habits...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Community Garden in Brazil

From German newspaper Die Zeit comes this lovely photo series of a community garden in a favela or slum in Rio de Janeiro:

Ein Gemeinschaftsgarten in der Favela

I particularly like how community members are raising plants for the garden in all kinds of recycled containers.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Planting Roses

So far my family's "new" garden - the one I have been working on for the past two summers - has been largely devoid of roses, apart from a few seedling Rosa multiflora that I have not had the heart to pull out and a solitary cream-and-pink Floribunda planted in the yard soon after we moved in. Part of the reason was the fact that practically all the nurseries and garden centers around here carry primarily hybrid teas, despite the fact that these tend to fail pathetically given Michigan's cold, dry winters and hot, humid summers. Various classes of antique roses as well as many shrub and species roses do much better but are scarcely available locally. Add to this that many mail-order rose nurseries only send bareroot stock and that the time window for planting bareroot roses in these parts is very short and falls within a time period when I am still away at school and I just never got around to roses during the last two years. This week, however, I finally put in a whole slew:

Rosa 'Autumn Damask' (Damask)
Rosa 'Charles de Mills' (Gallica)
Rosa 'Cardinal de Richelieu' (Gallica)
Rosa 'Tuscany Superb' (Gallica)
Rosa 'William Lobb' (Moss)
Rosa 'Honorine de Brabant' (Bourbon)
Rosa 'Alfred Colomb' (Hybrid Perpetual)

Except for Rosa 'Honorine de Brabant', these all went into the meandering red border in the back yard that I started last year. Meanwhile, 'Honorine' found her new home next to the apricot tree I planted last year at the edge of the terrace.

I ordered my roses as container plants from High Country Roses.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Mystery Orchid

This morning out on a walk with the dog I came across this little white-and-yellow orchid flowering at the edge of a small lake:

Does anyone know what species this is? I think it might be some kind of Goodyera but it strikes me as different from the more well-known Goodyera repens.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Cactus Season

My first patch of Eastern prickly pear cactus (Opuntia humifusa) has just begun flowering. One out of an ever-growing number of patches of this awesome native plant throughout the garden (see my Plant Care Profile for the species here), this one sits in a particularly sheltered, dry, and scorching hot spot at the foot of the south-facing wall of the house. As a result, it always blooms two or three weeks earlier than all the other specimens.

I have also been adding other hardy species of cacti. Last summer I added a pineapple cactus (Coryphantha sulcata) - see picture here - which so far has been doing quite well, and this year I have so far added baby specimens of claret cup (Echinocereus triglochidiatus), lace cactus (Echinocereus reichenbachii), pincushion cactus (Coryphantha vivipara), and tulip prickly pear cactus (Opuntia phaeacantha).