Random Friday

This week has just not been conducive to blogging. Things just seemed to keep getting in my way or interrupting me, so here's a motley assortment of shots from the garden this week.

My one white heather is in full bloom. I like it because it's so different from all the others. It also bright green tips in winter and spring that contrast nicely with the darker green of the old foliage.

I had almost decided to take out the Salvia x nemorosa 'East Friesland' in the driveway island, because they are deciduous and I'm trying to reduce the deciduous plants in this bed, but it looks wonderful with the Carex comans. Now I'm going to keep it and just interplant it with the carex so it can pop up through the sedge. In winter, the carex will mostly cover up any hole left by the salvia.

I love this combination, a few branches of the weeping Japanese maple trailing over two volunteers, a Carex comans and Asarum caudatum, with a bit of lime thyme mixed in. The best things in the garden often happen all on their own.

I had worried that my three erysimums might not survive the summer. They were growing closely in a gallon container and after they finished blooming they barely had any leaves. Clearly, I needn't have fretted, as they have all become bushy little bundles of grey-green leaves.

Thanks to Amy Campion, I now know that the silvery, mound-shaped weeds in the driveway island are Gnaphalium, most likely G. uliginosum. The common name is marsh cudweed, which I find extremely ironic given that these plants have grown with hardly any water. The photo below shows gnaphalium all along the left side. I loved this view, full of silver, gold, chartreuse, and a bit of rose from the 'Kent Beauty' oregano. What this photo hides so well is the gaping holes in front of the oregano, behind the chartreuse heath, and between the lime thyme and the large heather in the background. I should have included a shot from a higher angle so you could see all those. Maybe next week I'll revisit this photo. It's amazing what you can hide by playing with viewing angles and perspective. Oh! And I just noticed that the pewter Carex comans seedling is visible just in front of and to the left of the rock. Huh...it's really rather rock-colored itself...

To show the drawbacks of country living, I did include this photo of all the dandelions blooming in the yard. Yet, we have no shortage of bees and other pollinators. You can also see some tinges of brown to the left of the greenhouse. Those are some of the heaths and heathers I moved early this spring, right before the heat wave. Great timing.

Two of my favorite plants. The rich green leaves belong to Hutchinsia alpina, an evergreen groundcover only 2-3 inches tall that bears white flowers for much of the year. The stunning (in my biased opinion) blue-grey leaves belong to Alyssum spinosum, a mound-forming plant with white to purple, vanilla-scented blooms in spring that mature to tawny gold, spiny stems with tiny papery seed capsules. My plants are all cream to very pale coral pink in bloom.

Phragmipedium Olaf Gruss is blooming in the greenhouse.

As is Abutilon 'Hot Pepper'.

At the Garden Blogger's Bazaar earlier this year, I purchased two Eccremocarpus scaber from Ann, who blogs at Amateur Bot-ann-ist. One went behind a Yucca filamentosa on the south end of the house in the hopes that it would scale the faded bloom stalks of the yucca. The other was potted up in a 2-gallon nursery container and set into the bottom of my three-tiered plant hanger. The idea was for the Eccremocarpus to climb up to the top and provide a bit of shade for the tillandsias and orchids that are also on this hanger. During heatwaves it gets too hot for these plants. The heat has passed, for now, and the vine is just starting to clamber up the ropes of the hanger. This will also be an insurance plant I can cut back and stick in the greenhouse come winter, in case the one I planted in the ground croaks.

I love the branching tendrils at the tips of the leaves, especially as they curl around the black ropes like strange hands.

Admiring the gnaphalium again, this time partnering with Carex comans.

Remember last week when I expressed my disappointment at the shade of blue my Nigella damascena had decided to produce? I'm not disappointed any more. Being impatient, I didn't wait for the flowers to fully open and mature to their wonderful deep sky blue.

What a difference a week makes! There's already a fat seed pod down at the bottom where the first flower was. I'm quite happy having this as a weed. Don't mind the big hose snake slithering through the thyme in the background, it's harmless.

Aster x frikartii 'Moench' is starting to open its lavender blooms, looking lovely between the dark maple in the back and the golden stalks of variegated purple moor grass in the front.

I photographed this section of the driveway island for a Wednesday Vignette post a couple weeks ago. The view has changed again, with the heathers in full bloom. This is also a wider shot. Poor heath hiding under the variegated purple moor grass. Its embarassed that it got totally crisped after having the 'Crimson Pygmy' barberries removed from right next to it.

Now I remember why the yellow kniphofia is my favorite. It's sending up a third wave of blooms, larger than the second. There are more further down in the leaves and on the other side of the plant. The other three seem to be 1-shot wonders, at best 1.5-shot wonders.

It looks like the cool weather is supposed to continue for another week, at least, with more chances for rain in the forecast. I may be tempted to actually plant a few things. In fact, I don't think I'll be able to resist...


  1. Hopefully the cooler weather will last longer there than predicted, meaning a more conducive weather to do lots more gardening!

  2. "The best things in the garden often happen all on their own."...right you are!

  3. I love the happy accidents, like your Carex and Asarum combo. Mother Nature is so much better than me at putting together plant combinations. I've heard we may be getting some rain this weekend -- tomorrow and Sunday. That will be so welcome. I hope you get some nice variety in the Nigella seeds that I gave you today!

  4. Resistance is futile. I've been fighting to keep new plantings alive, but given a couple of overcast days, planting will again exert its siren call.

  5. I'm wishing I had gone ahead and planted some Nigella late, seeing your blooms now, I wonder what would happen if I planted some now, my Nigella that was self-sown finished blooming a long time ago.

  6. Nigella damascena is lovely; color texture, the whole package. It's common name, Love-in-the-Mist, is fun too.
    The 'country living' dandelions picture made me wonder: is there a plan to garden the entire fenced-in area? It would seem a rather tall order for just one person.


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