The rains of April and May have been good for Oklahoma gardens, and mine is no different this Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. Welcome Sweet May in all your floriferous glory. I will not take you for granted. I will not complain about soggy soil. Hot and dry July will soon be on its way, and then there’s August too.
However, today is a glorious Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. We had more rain night before last and earlier this morning. I wanted to show you raindrops on roses and other good things. Maybe, once again, our pond will fill to capacity. I didn’t keep track of all the rain, but we’ve had at least twelve inches in the last three weeks. You can also check the rainfall stats on the Oklahoma Mesonet, but remember, I’m a quite a bit south of the Guthrie reporting station.
I am giddy. Can you tell? This is a stupendous spring. I removed five or six roses due to general drought dieback and other stresses. I only saw signs of Rose Rosette on one, and I yanked and bagged it as soon as possible. I replaced dead roses with some native plants and other shrubs. I also bought quite a few new daylilies in anticipation of our regional meeting in 2017. I think my garden will be on tour. I hope so.
Speaking of tours, we also had a garden party in our backyard for four garden groups last weekend. It gave me the impetus to spiff up the garden and helped me look at it in a new way. I think there were more than forty women out here and one man. I didn’t have time to count everyone though. I was busy answering questions. Several people asked where I get my daylily markers. I also use these markers to identify lilies and other plants that I might not remember. I have a lot of plants, I can’t remember them all. I get my markers from Triple AAA Quality Engravers. Bernard Holliday has been tremendous help. These markers last for years and years.
Looking at the overall garden, it is full of little blooms and roses. Visitors were surprised I still have so many roses. I do, but I’ve lost over half. It’s okay. I appreciate the ones I have so much more. When I was sent a shipment of new roses to try, I took them and planted at my priest’s house because there is less chance of them getting Rose Rosette there. I’ll go up and take pictures soon.
I planted a ‘Peggy Martin’ rose last year because I couldn’t resist the story of her survival in Hurricane Katrina. I hope she will live long and happy in my garden, but if she doesn’t, I’ll remove her. Next to ‘Peggy Martin’ is Hypericum spp., St. John’s wort. I don’t know the species, but I’ve planted two other shrubby St. John’s wort in the back garden. Hypericums are so good for pollinators. In front is Cotinus x ‘Grace’ smoketree. I planted a five gallon shrub last year, and it seems very, very happy in this clay soil section of the garden. I also have a green smoke tree, and the standard ‘Purple Smoke,’ but I wish I had a C. coggygria ‘Ancot’ Golden Spirit. I know I could find just the spot for it.
Penstemon are blooming. The visitors were in love with ‘Violet Dusk,’ a penstemon I found a few years ago at Lowe’s. You can now find it online. It does reseed so you’ll always have it, but it isn’t a thug. Mine appears to be much more purple than some I’ve seen online.
When you go to a box store, try to look past all the annual color and focus upon the odd and unusual. I saw ‘Violet Dusk’ blooming and thought I would give it a try. The same thing for ‘Dark Towers’ penstemon. It was on a sale table at Home Depot. I took out my iPhone and looked it up. When I saw it was similar to ‘Husker Red,’ but the foliage retained the darker color better, and it bloomed pink, I snapped it up. This is how you should shop when you go to a nursery. Color is nice, but buy things out of bloom. If you only buy plants in bloom in spring, your garden will be a one-season affair. You have to instead think ahead and look for plants with interesting foliage and growth habits in order to have a garden with year round interest. With spring-blooming bulbs, hellebores and later, asters and garden mums, mine blooms from February through October, and sometimes, November. I use tropicals and annuals for the summer months because our summers are hotter than Hades. Do they overwinter? No, but plants with good foliage are worth their weight in gold.
Now, I realize I didn’t shop this way when I had little kids with me. When the kids came, I tried to let them choose whatever they wanted. My garden looked nothing like it does now. It has matured over time as my children grew up. Before long, I’ll only have one child at home. This is bittersweet, but life often is.
Look at this Asclepias tuberosa, butterfly weed, in bud. Try to add some milkweeds to your garden this year because you’ll be helping the Monarchs. Plus, this native is a bright spot of orange marmalade in your garden for early to mid-summer.
Some of the clematis are blooming splendidly while others are really sad. I don’t know why except that one, ‘Fireworks,’ got smooshed by the chicken wire when we had a fence post failure. Bill replaced the post, and I’m now trying to get ‘Fireworks’ to cheer up. I’ve also noticed that sometimes if a clematis blooms a lot one year, it may take the next off, or bloom less in our climate. ‘John Paul II,’ ‘Huvi,’ ‘Queen of Holland’ and ‘Niobe’ are all lovely spring. You can click on the photos, above to make them larger. I accidentally broke off a piece of ‘Queen of Holland’ last week. I was trying to pull out some Virginia creeper, and I grabbed the stem. I do this once a year to at least one of the clematis. Also, parts of clematis sometimes look dead in early spring so be careful when pruning. I found two ‘Jackmanii’ clematis at Westlake Ace Hardware on Danforth and Kelly. They were in that section of small perennials they always carry. I love ‘Jackmanii,’ an old clematis. I know it has problems with wilt, but in the years when it blooms, oh my! I planted one each at the base of my ‘Pink Velour’ crapemyrtles shown in the top photo, and I’ll use chicken wire to train them up the trunks. I either use regular chicken wire hidden by other perennials growing around the trees, or the green coated kind.
Finally, Wisteria macrostachya ‘Blue Moon’ has come into its own and joins W. frutescens ‘Amethyst Falls’ in bloom. I’ve noticed that ‘Kentucky Blue Moon’ does start blooming a bit later than ‘Amethyst Falls,’ and is more blue. This is nice because their bloom times do overlap.
I also planted more honeysuckles in the garden. One is Lonicera periclymenum Sweet Tea ‘Caprilia Cream.’ I guess Ball Horticultural decided Sweet Tea is easier to remember than ‘Caprilia Cream.’ It certainly is for me. This honeysuckle is intensely fragrant and has large blooms. ‘Dropmore Scarlet’ is another I planted, and it isn’t blooming yet. I think I also bought ‘Major Wheeler,’ but I can’t find it. I do that sometimes, lose plants. I know I planted it. Somewhere.
I still have some baptisias blooming, and I bought two new ones from Proven Winners: Decadence® Cherries Jubilee and Decadence® Lemon Meringue. I found them both at Lowe’s on Memorial and Penn the other day. They were sitting forlornly on a table because they weren’t yet blooming, and no one knew what they were. If you follow me on social media, I often take photos of plants I love when I see them at various nurseries in town so you can find them.
Okay, I could talk your ear off even more this Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, but I’ll just say that Carol from May Dreams Gardens is our hostess with the mostest. Thank you Carol for helping me keep a monthly record of blooms for all these years.