Although the garden as a whole doesn’t have a lot of color, if I lean in close, I find so many things like this little skipper on ‘May Night’ salvia. The salvia is blooming earlier than I ever remember. I don’t like its foliage as well as that of S. farinacea ‘Victoria,’ but ‘Victoria’ is barely up let alone blooming its little head off.
Another early bloomer is this heirloom dianthus which I purchased from Steve and Ruth at Bustani Plant Farm a few years ago. He got his plant from Dr. Dirt awhile back. I added one more plant of this dianthus to another space in the garden last year. It blooms with the ‘Karl Rosenfeld’ peonies. The bright color echo is exactly what I wanted, and that makes my heart glad. So many times we plan certain things, and they just don’t come to fruition. Then, sometimes, they do.
While some plants gave up the ghost last winter, others are thriving in spite of the ongoing drought. Remember, though, that most of my garden is on drip irrigation. I only water the one border by hand, and that may not last for long.
A new peony I added to the mix last fall is blooming, and I think I’m going to like ‘Flying Saucers.’ Is there a peony I don’t like you ask? ‘Er no. I love them all. During their short season, they steal the show from every other plant even the roses.
I’m afraid it will be a very different garden this year. All of the crapemyrtles died nearly to the ground, so my somewhat shady garden is now full sun in many places again. I am both dismayed and excited about this. I like full sun, but I was used to the garden being as it was before. I’m upset about the large crapemyrtle in this photo. I haven’t cut it down all the way because I am hopeful the inner trunks survived. The outer ones are split so I know eventually they need to go. However, ‘Nelly Moser’ clematis looks like she’s trying to cover the crape’s knobby knees. I didn’t have the heart to gently pull her away and tell her no.
I spent all of Saturday cutting away crapemyrtle branches and trunks (I have six), and my son helped me haul the debris (eight cart loads of it) to a burn pile. Yes, we can still burn brush in Oklahoma, but will need to wait until after the fire danger subsides. Who knows when that will be?
Not all is bad news though. Many of the columbines reseeded so we’ve gotten some real beauties this spring. I bought a couple more blue ones from Bustani this week, and I put them in today. This is a purple one called ‘Blue Beauty’ I believe. It’s definitely not blue.
I once had some double purple columbines, but they’ve all died out unless some of the small seedlings are those. The doubles don’t seem to come back as long as the singles.
And, now, the other worldly blooms of Euphorbia x martinii ‘Ascot Rainbow.’ This is such a cool plant. It always makes me think of martians. Perhaps, it is the name. I have three different euphorbias of this type including ‘Black Bird.’ I’m going to try to keep it alive this year. See, sometimes I kill things too. More often than you know.
We’ll end our walkabout with one of my favorite plants. I cut it back every year because I don’t like when it gets tall and rangy, but check out that fantastic leaf color. Purple smoketree or smoke bush should be grown in every Oklahoma garden, central Texas ones too. It’s a delight, and if you cut it back, it will still bloom on older wood, but stay compact. It’s a worthy plant to be sure.
Thanks for the visit and come back soon. I miss you when you’re not here.
Haven’t told you lately, but I LOVE your garden and your blog!!
I also lost big ole Crepe Myrtles that I had been meticulously keeping the suckers off the trunks and they were big….well guess they will be bushes for a while since the bottom is the only place there are signs of life. So sickening. But, like you, just have to roll with it in this Oklahoma weather. Not like we can change it! Your garden looks fun and I wish I could get myself to the point of knowing all the things that I have planted. I am green with envy!!
Holly, thank you. I’m sorry about your crapemyrtles too. I still have one which is showing no signs of life. The others are all going to be shrubs. That is life as you say. Thanks for the sweet words about my garden. You’ll learn everything in time.
Dee, I can feel your sorrow looking at the crepe myrtle with sweet Nelly Moser trying to comfort it, adding a blanket of foliage to warm it just a season too late. Ah, well, in the garden, all is change, really, and I know you’ll make just the right decisions for your space, filling it with color and light and beauty where once was frostbitten tragedy. Maybe more peonies? I’m with you in not being able to resist their gracious loveliness.
Your color echo is so well done. I’m just now discovering some of these concepts myself, as I begin to mix flowers into my vegetables more and more. Thanks for showing me a beautiful example.
Happy belated Easter!
Yes, gardens are all about change, and I’m already thinking about what will work in that spot if the crapemyrtle doesn’t recover. So far, all the others are coming out at surface level. However, they are all thriving. Happy Spring!
Wow, yes, I’d be pretty devastated if I lost so many crepe myrtles. I’m sorry. 🙁
But knowing you you will fill in those spaces with something beautiful that can survive those Oklahoma winters and will flourish. Happy Easter, my dear.
Kathryn, all but one of the crapes are coming back. It will just look a bit different for a few years. Winters in Oklahoma are unpredictable, that is sure. Hope your CA spring is a happy one.
Like you, your garden is delightful, Dee. Each year holds issues that we all deal with … staying on top of weather is impossible and often responsible for many of our failures. But gardeners forge on … we are invincible 🙂
Fine tour of your garden. Sorry about your crepe myrtles.
From deepest, darkest Arkansas.
What happened to the crepe myrtle? We have tons of them here in northern VA. I have three giant lavender ones in my garden. The US Botanic Gardens in DC uses Bustani, too. I’ve cruised their site but never purchased anything but your columbine are so pretty, I may have to give them a try. Love your eponies. Mine have a ways to go before they bloom.
I mean to write peonies, unless you actually do have ponies. Then I’d probably like them, too. :o)
For not having much to look at flower wise, you have a lot to look at flower wise! Glad to see the garden is coming back with a furry.
LOVED your tour!! I have a purple columbine that looks just like your picture. .though I didn’t know the name of him. .It’s one of my fave spring blooms! You have way more blooming than we do here!! And our drought is equal to yours. .with chance of moisture this week!! Praying for that! Enjoy those gardens on these beautiful spring days!
Hi Melanie, I think it’s my watering system. If I didn’t have the irrigation system, I would have a lot less. It drip waters three times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Thanks so much for stopping by. Happy Spring to you too.
Sad day for the crepe myrtles. I’m sorry for your loss. It’s always unfortunate. But maybe it can be an opportunity to try something new?
Hey Caleb, well, all but one are coming up from the ground so I’ll enjoy them as shrubs for a few years. Yes, everything will get more sun and lots of changes are afoot. It’s all good.
We’re really borderline with large crepe myrtles – they get frozen back to the ground every few years. So most of ours are shrubs…
Your garden is looking fabulous! Hmmm, maybe I need to get out in mine and spruce it up a little. I’ve been pretending it looks so tatty because it’s still early in the season…;-D
Hi Susan, thanks so much. All that bike riding will get you in shape, but alas, not the garden. I hope you know I’m kidding.
You have my deepest sympathies on the loss of your Crape Myrtles. I can not imagine if that happened here. It would be like Florida losing its palms or Arizona losing its saguaros. I heard that there was a winter in the mid 80’s cold enough to kill top growth and most had to be severely cut back, making me glad I was not here then or a gardener then.
Hi Les, thank you so much. All but one have come out from the ground. You know, in Oklahoma, we know it’s a possibility we’ll have a horrible winter, and they will die back to ground level. Thanks goodness we had the snow cover. It is still sad because I loved them so much as trees.
Pretty peonies – mine will get going in another month or so. Is Victoria a perennial for you? That would be so nice. We have to plant her as an annual around here, but I love her elegant foliage and flowers.
VW, I am surprised I’m that far ahead of you. Salvia ‘Victoria’ is a perennial most years. However, I add some ever spring to make up for those which don’t come back. After last winter, I’ve had a lot of ‘Victoria’ loss, but oh well, the delphiniums are looking good. I’ll add more ‘Victoria’ later. Have you tried ‘Victor.’ A friend of mine likes him even better. There is also a blue cultivar with white calyces called ‘Strata.’ I’m trying it for the first time this season.
A delightful walkabout. You’ve reminded me that I need to check the American Smoketree at the top of our hill to see if the blooms are opening yet. The leaf color of your purple tree is beautiful. I love your white and purple Columbine and martian Euphorbia.
Thank you very much Sweetbay! I adore smoketree. I think it’s one of the most beautiful shrubs we have. I have a green one, but its blooms haven’t opened yet. I know, aren’t those Euphorbias funny things. Happy spring my friend.
Lisa at Greenbow
Dee, you have lots of beauties to soothe your soul from losing your crepe myrtles. I have never had a crepe myrtle get as large as yours. They die back to the ground almost every year. Have heart though because they usually spring back. I have tried the Blackbird Euphorbia but it didn’t last the season here. Thank goodness there are many other things to grow. Love those columbine. I have mostly the wild one. It is blooming up a storm now. So is my peony tree. Yipee. Love your new peony. It almost makes me want to get out and purchase one. Cheers.
Lisa, isn’t that funny. My tree peony has buds, but not blooms yet. My herbacious peonies are just starting their show. I always add a couple of peonies every fall because they make me smile. I’ll let you know if Black Bird comes back. Probably won’t.
Wow! That ‘Flying Saucer’ Peony is gorgeous! Is it a tree peony or an herbaceous peony? I’m just learning about them as I moved into an apartment with a yard last summer and want so much to have peony…but the yard becomes a little shaded over summer when the foliage from the fig trees grows in. (not a bad problem to have, I know…the figs are wonderful!)
I’ve been thinking a tree peony, which I understand can tolerate a bit more shade, might be the way to go.
That’s too bad about your crape myrtles! I guess it’s been a tough winter everywhere this year. I agree with Robin – change is always interesting…It will be fun to see what you do next!
Thank you RedGardenClogs for stopping by. ‘Flying Saucer’ is a herbaceous peony. I have three tree peonies, two are quite small as they planted only last year. Figs are simply divine. You are a lucky person to have a fig tree if you can fight off the birds. In your climate either type of peony will probably be all right with a bit of shade. However, the herbaceous won’t bloom as freely.
As an aussie, I always love a good walkabout and yours is no different. Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s botanical garden, had the same experience when their crepe myrtles ftroze to the ground. When cleaned up, these trees turned into glorius shrubs full of flower but shrubs may not work in your space.
Have you tried the ‘Golden Spirit’ smkoketree?
Hey Patrick, you came a long way to visit. I’m honored. Shrubs will be okay for the time being, and I’ll start limbing them up again after some strong stems come back out. It’s all okay. I don’t have ‘Golden Spirit.’ Must go look. Thanks for the heads up, and thanks for stopping by.
Phew, I just took a garden walk and didn’t have to WEED! Hurrah!
Loved getting this close-up and personal tour…the crape myrtle? Whaddayathink?
Hi Sharon, well crapemyrtles aren’t 100% hardy here. They will come up from the ground. That was the coldest winter in 100 years. Love to you too my dear friend.
kate/high altitude gardening
It’s just heartbreaking to read that your Crape Myrtles have died. They are such lovely trees. One of the master gardeners in my group did something kind of odd, but very clever, when she lost some trees. She left them standing, spray painted them a soft pink and encouraged clematis to take over. It might sound strange, but they turned out to be a very pretty addition to her garden! Perhaps Nelly was thinking she could help you out and cheer you up at the same time?
Kate, it’s okay. All but one are not dead. They just died all the way to the ground. So, it’s a new day with small shrubs instead of great trees. I love Nelly’s idea of using them as structural assets. Love the soft pink too. Well, my clematis is currently climbing the only one which has come out. I’m still waiting to see what happens with it. Thank you for the tip.
Dear Dee, What a lovely walk through your garden~I adore peonies, but, need them to be pretty and fragrant! I’ve planted Continus ‘Grace’ and wonder how far back you prune yours? They are so lovely…I almost don’t care if they flower. Your crapemyrtles were gorgeous and inspiring to me~I planted several small ones in the Susan’s bed last fall after visiting your garden in June. Fingers crossed that yours will be showing their lovely foliage soon. xxoogail
Gail, you will be excited! ‘Flying Saucer’ is very fragrant. She smells lovely with the dianthus planted in the border across from her. Well, as for the crapemyrtles, they are coming back slowly. One day, they will be the knights they were once more.
Dee, I think that the crape myrtle stump would look great w/Nelly Moser clambering over it. I have a thing for stumps … being of a short & stumpy build myself ;-)*
I wonder if that Cotinus would grow for me. I tend to think our lengthy spells of hot days and warm nights might be too much for it.
Cindy, you are not short and stumpy. I’ve seen you in person. I know. I don’t know if smoketree would or not. It grows like a weed here though with very little amendment to my sandy soil. It’s a keeper.
What a glorious walkabout. Peonies are always amazing and so dependable.
Pat, I so agree with you. Peonies are glorious flowers which ask for so little. Who cares if they don’t bloom but once a year. It’s impossible to kill them.
Gardener on Sherlock Street
Change in the garden but you have many pretty plants wanting that space!
Hey GSS, yes, I’m filling those empty spots as fast as I can. 🙂
Hi Dee, I’ve not had good luck with ‘May Night’ – I think my soil might be too heavy – yours is lovely. So sorry about the crape myrtles – hopefully some will put up new growth from their still living roots. I love all the euphorbias, though only a few are hardy here – your capture of ‘Ascot Rainbow’ is really nice.
Hi Cyndy, sometimes one plant does well in one climate and terrible in another. Salvias definitely like sandy soil. My soil is twenty years of compost, but today I found a terrible spot. I felt really bad about it. It’s clumpy and looks like I haven’t amended it in twenty years. Will remedy that this week. Thank you for your sweet words about my photo. I love euphorbias.~~Dee
Mr. McGregor's Daughter
There are peonies I don’t like – the big floppy ones. I am increasingly enamoured of the singles and Japanese type, like your ‘Flying Saucers’, although I’d be willing to make an exception for ‘Karl Rosenfeld’. Wow, what a color.
I wonder if that Euphorbia was the inspiration for the Martian space ships in the original movie “War of the Worlds.”
MMD, I love how you have your preferences for different plants. ‘Karl Rosenfeld’ is bullet proof easy. I bought those peonies twenty years ago as my first peonies ever. Now, I have a dozen or more. I bet you’re right about the euphorbias.
My May Night is nowhere near to blooming. This was such a fun tour…even with the sad crapemyrtle news. Hope you get some regrowth!
Leslie, isn’t that weird that in this one plant I’m a bit ahead of you in California? Odd. The crapes are coming. At least, all but one are. Thanks so much.
Kathy from Cold Climate Gardening
Are all those crape myrtles dead, or do you expect them to come back from the roots and eventually get big again?
Kathy, all but one appear to be alive. They are all just coming out from the ground. It took seventeen years of work to get the large crapemyrtle to its beautiful size I’m sorry to say.
I enjoyed the walk-about! And remember when one plant dies, it just makes room for another one. But it is still hard, I’m sure, to say good-bye to those big crape myrtles.
It is hard to say good-bye, but now, I will just say hello to them as shrubs. That’s life in the garden.
Robin at Getting Grounded
Dee, I’ve never heard of Crape Myrtles freezing. I know you had unheard of -17F temps, so I suppose those hardy trees finally had to admit they were beyond their bounds. How sad – I lost my Bottlebrush two years ago the same way (like yours it was huge and over a decade old). But changes are always interesting in the garden. Love those peonies!
Hey Robin, we’re at the northern edge for most crapemyrtles, and I remember them freezing all the way to the ground when I was a child. However, the weather has been so warm in winters, we got complacent I guess. Things happen in the garden both good and bad, and that’s okay. Like every says, change isn’t necessarily bad.