Saturday, July 18, 2009

Establishedish perennials (photos)

Three Augusts ago, when I planted perennials for the first time, I was sorely disappointed. On Halloween, instead of being my usual silly self and acting scared each time I saw a three year old in those Spider-Man costumes with the blow-up muscles, I had to be the mean lady shaking my fist, yelling at the kids to get out of the garden, and muttering , "Damn kids" each time one of those three year olds left my driveway. This is because the perennials I planted were not the size I'd imagined. The baptisia were about 8 inches high and about 3 inches wide. The peony was a y-shaped twig. You get the picture. The following spring, they all grew to a whopping twelve inches or so. The final insult, no flowers. What was the point??? It was barely worth all the anger I had towards neighborhood kids who didn't even know my garden was...(sniff, sniff)...actually a garden.

I titled this post "establishedish perennials" because this year, in their third year, all are bearing flowers that are perfect, fragrant, and the colors in the garden are amazing. The baptisia's little coin-like leaves sway in the wind on stems about four feet high. On most summer days, there are so many butterflies around that you have to practically swat yourself a path to the car. It's strange to think of the years I've lived in this house without them indicating the marking of summer days. The garden is establishedish only because I keep adding on, so there are puny plants woven in between the older ones. It's also establishedish because though I still tend to be an impatient person, I have confidence that as the gardening saying goes - next year will be even better.

Nothing makes a bunch of flowers look more attractive than an old mason jar. The earliest signs of spring...

Is there anything more appropriate for spilling over a wall than carpet phlox?

This photo was taken in early/mid spring. My favorite shrub - sinocalycalycanthus - is in the background with the deep red/maroon flowers. The baptisia bloomed in the second year only, and it was a sad showing. I was pleased this year.

A couple weeks later when the other baptisia bloomed- twilite prairieblues...

This is my new Pass the Wine reblooming iris planted in the fall.

Green Halo Peony. Here's a tip to newbie gardeners, first year, your peony will look like a stick with a couple of leaves. The next year, it will be a little plant. The third year, it will look about like this...

Blushing Rosie - evening primrose on and over the retaining wall in the back

Early summer - blackbird lily, Russian sage on the left before bloom, and salvia peeking in the back.

Astilbe and clematis Rooguchi in the shade garden...

Another of the clematis. Huh. Who knew? A clematis that grows in the shade...

Candylily. I may have missed the first flush of blooms, but notice how these flowers twist. It's a very cool lily to have near the front to observe up close.

Now the late summer colors are in...I have yellows from the moonbeam coreopsis, the orange of the marigolds, the salvia's still going, the white coneflowers are in, the dark red daylilies are still blooming, the keys to heaven have been in bloom all season, and the window boxes are looking good in it's hot pink, deep purple and pale vinca shades. I now turn my attentions to guarding my vegetables from bugs, slugs, and other thugs (like bunnies). Thanks for looking!


  1. Wow, you have a beautiful flowers pictures.

    Can you check the mines? and then go to the RANDOM IMAGES.

    I am using a NIKON D40x camera.
    Please let me know what you think about my pictures.

    Thank you.

  2. Hey Greenish, topofthehill from og here. Nice blog so far. You've got some nice looking perennials there. I warn, they are addictive! :)

  3. Hey Greenish, topofthehill from og here. Nice blog so far. You've got some nice looking perennials there. I warn, they are addictive! :)

  4. Lovely pics! And so inspiring for newbies and for those (like me) who could quite possibly be tempted to one day see how green their own thumbs might be!

  5. Hi Melanie and Lisa,

    Thanks! Yes, they are addictive. Each season, I think I don't need ANYTHING else, but then I get a nice color catalog with a $50 off $100 order, and there's suddenly a need for $100 worth of perennials. How does that happen?


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