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Friday, May 20, 2016

The Pea Family Showed Up This Week

I was standing out in the garden and noticed I was surrounded by blooms from the pea family of plants.

My initial thought was, "oh good, the Leguminosae family has arrived. Oh wait, not Leguminosae like I learned in college, now it's Fabaceae. Leguminosae, Fabaceae, does it really matter-a?

Maybe not.

What matters is their blooms have shown up in my garden.

The common peas, Pisum sativum, started blooming earlier this week in the Vegetable Garden Cathedral. I'm growing the variety 'Green Arrow', obviously.

Nearby, a native wisteria is starting to drip with blossoms.
This particluar wisteria is Kenturcky Wisteria,  Wisteria macrostachya.  It has a lovely, soft fragrance.      I trained it to twirl up a post and then "let" the flowers hang down. I say let because I don't really have much control over it.

And guess what else from the Leguminose-Fabaceae family is blooming in my garden?

Clover.

That's right.  Clover.
Trifolium repens, actually. Dutch white clover. It's growing all through the lawn, on purpose. I sowed seeds for it in the lawn. On purpose.

This particular patch, however, is actually in a path in the Vegetable Garden Cathedral, not on purpose, but not hurting anything really, so I've left it. I'll cut it back some to keep it a little bit in check.

Over in Plopper's Field, False Indigo, Baptisia 'Purple Smoke' is blooming.

And just a little ways down from it, Baptisia ' Caroline Moonlight' is trying to get some attention, too.

I wonder if it notices a Clematis vine is trying to grow up through it? The clematis is in my other favorite plant family, Ranunculaceae.

Finally, in a container on the patio, I'm growing a new pea variety, 'Masterpiece'.
See those tendrils? Those are edible, and the pods will be edible and the peas, too.  A trifecta pea.

The flowers in there with those peas?  Violas, which are in my other favorite plant family, Violaceae.

I love it when a lovely family, like Leguminosae-Fabaceae, comes to my garden, or at least makes itself known all at once.

I wonder which family will show up next?

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - May 2016

Welcome to Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day for May 2016.

Here in my USDA Hardiness Zone 6a garden in central Indiana, we are off to a great start to the growing season.

Well, almost a great start. As I write this, the weather forecasters are uttering words like "patchy frost". I've moved my tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants inside for now We'll see how things improve in the coming days before I take them back outside and plant them out in the Vegetable Garden Cathedral.

In the meantime, no threat of patchy frost will temper my excitement for all the blooms in my garden and for this gardening season, which I am sure will be my best one yet.

After all, isn't it the month of May that makes us fall in love with gardening all over again?

Here's a peak at just a few of the blooms.

Up first are the first two nearly open blooms of Clematis 'Rooguchi' with Salvia 'May Nights' in the background. They are both in Plopper's Field where I plop in new plants wherever there is a blank spot and it looks the new plant will get along well with those around it.

After years of plopping plants in  Plopper's Field, it's getting a bit full and, as always, I should spend a bit of time weeding it.

I'll do that soon, but in the meantime, I'll enjoy the Salvia and chives.

And some daisies, too.
These are the quite common Ox-eye daisies, Leucanthemum vulgare. Once you have these daisies, you'll always have these daisies as they self-sow readily.

Plopper's Field is also home to several columbine, Aquilegia sp.,  including this seedling.
I didn't plant it there, but I take credit for leaving it there.

Across the way, in the border called Bird's Blanket, because it is in the shade of a honey locust tree and I placed some bird feeders near the edge of it, the first hardy ground orchid, Bletilla striata, is blooming.
These ground orchirds have been returning faithfully for several years, though the new foliage almost always gets zapped by frost in April and thereafter looks a little ragged.  Who cares though? I'm growing them for the flowers!

What else is blooming?  How about Dianthus 'Bath's Pink'?
I've got a nice stand of it that I'm going to whack back once it finishes blooming because it has spread beyond it's allotted space. But I can't whack it back until it is done blooming because I garden with certain rules and principles of my own making and one of them is "Let the plant finish blooming before you move it".

Did I mention columbine?  They are blooming all over right now because I don't usually dead head them until the seed heads have released their seeds.


The columbine, which some call Granny's Bonnets,  are providing a lot of bloom right now.
 Later, the columbine foliage will just hang around, not bothering anyone.

One of my favorite columines is this yellow one.
Behind it is a nice stand of pink columbine. Names and varieties you ask. Sorry, I couldn't find their tags.

And nearby, the species Aquilegia canadensis, is flowering
Those blooms always look like they are ready to take off and fly away, don't they?

Elsewhere in the garden, Amsonia is in full bloom.


There are more blooms, many more blooms, in the garden, and lots of buds, too. But I don't want to take up everyone's time so we'll call it good with these blooms, and maybe this bloom, too.

This is one of several Alliums blooming right now.

What's blooming in your garden right now? We'd love to have you join in for Garden Bloggers' Bloom  Day and show us. It's easy to participate and all are welcome. Just leave a comment below about what's blooming in your garden and then leave a link in the Mr. Linky widget to help us get safely to your bloom day post.

And remember, "We can have flowers nearly every month of the year.” ~ Elizabeth Lawrence

Sunday, May 08, 2016

A lifetime supply of plant labels

Whole lotta pink columbine
Dreams do come true.

Way back on Easter, as I was lowering the blinds on the back door, the string holding them together on one side broke.  Not wanting to have that particular door without blinds, I decided to move the blinds from the same size door in the sunroom to the back door until I had time to buy a replacement blind.

Then the string on the sunroom door blinds broke and I had no door blinds.

Looking at the two heaps of blinds on the kitchen table I realized that I now had something even better than door blinds.

I had a lifetime supply of plant labels.

Free plant labels! Free!
Yes, with my trusty tin snips, I can cut my door blinds up and have a lifetime supply of plant labels.

I tried them out this evening.  The pencil washes off the front side of the blinds, the part that faced inside, but seems to be permanent on the back side of the blinds.

I'm in business now!  The Vegetable Garden Cathedral is going to have the best labels a garden can have.

For free!

I'm thinking now I might also label other plants, too.

For free!

Or not.

It depends on if I can find the labels for the plants I can't remember the names of. Like my pretty pink columbine, pictured above.  Of course, I know it is a pretty pink columbine. Duh. I just don't know which variety. But is it all that important to know the variety?

Yes, it is important to know the variety if it is a plant someone gave me to trial, like this Clematis, the first clematis to bloom this spring.

Clematis 'Delightful Scent 'Sugar-Sweet™ Lilac PPA

I didn't remember the variety at first, but with a little help and prompting from a friend on Facebook, I figured it out. It's Clematis 'Delightful Scent 'Sugar-Sweet™ Lilac PPAF. It's got a great color and was the first clematis to bloom this spring.

I'm going to put my lifetime supply of plant labels to work and label this one, then see what other plants need labels around here.

After all, did I mention two door blinds broke and I now have a lifetime supply of plant labels?  For free!

Monday, May 02, 2016

How to lure enchantment to your garden

Clematis integrifolia
Do you know what your garden sounds like?

You might think it sounds like birds singing and bees buzzing. And you might be right if your garden is ordinary and by ordinary, I mean lacking in enchantment.

But if your garden has that element of enchantment that many gardeners seek, it may sound like the soft ringing that can be heard if you listen intently to bell-shaped flowers.

If you listen intently to a bell-shaped flower and hear nothing, I can assure you that your garden is not enchanted and that is a sad state for any garden.

But if you listen and do hear the sounds these flowers make, congratulations.  Your garden is enchanted and you are now a lucky gardener.

And if you listen and discover enchantment in your garden, and I hope you do, remember it is fleeting and can disappear if you don't take care of it.

And now you want to know how to take care of enchantment once you have it in your garden, don't you?

I will tell you how to take care of enchantment once you have it in your garden.

The first thing you must do is what you must not do. You must not hide enchantment and keep quiet about it.  If you do that, enchantment will feel forgotten and unappreciated and it will slowly slip away. You might not notice enchantment is gone, though, until one day you'll go out into your garden and feel a bit bored and unsettled.

What you must do to keep enchantment in your garden is tell others about it, especially children.  You need to tell children how bell-shaped flowers make a lovely sound, and then lean in and listen for the sound.
Convallaria majalis
What else must you do? You must show children how to pick Lily of the Valley blooms (or similar scented, bell-shaped blooms for your climate) and present them to their mothers and grandmothers. Then they will always remember that they did so because Lily of the Valley blooms have the most wonderful scent, along with an enchanted sound, which will make the memory of picking them last forever.

I do hope your garden sounds enchanted and you are sharing its enchantment. If not, plant more bell-shaped flowers and see if you can lure in some enchantment.

I promise you'll enjoy the sounds these flowers make and you'll love the enchantment they bring.