Saturday, May 31, 2008

Bloom time!

Well, things are starting to take shape in the Jess and Bokey Gardens! Click on the photos to get an even nicer view.

The weigela is blooming. It's a little like a cross between a forsythia and an azalea; it grows like a forsythia, with long, gangly arms, but with flowers reminscent in color (but not in shape) of azalea. The foliage is green tinged with red. It's an interesting bush, that's for sure.

The wood hyacinths are beautiful, and they are in a particularly interesting location among the ivy...this ribbon of plants happens to be right along a line where the sunlight falls every morning. Jess' mom and dad had planted these. They have been here a long time. Since I shot this, they have gone out of bloom, but I wanted to show them to you anyway.

My HE Young clematis is blooming. It is just the most beautiful shade of pale purple, and if you've read my blog for long, you know I love purple. This is its second year, so it will be a year or two before it really takes off. I have five other clematis that are first-year plants, so it will be awhile before they bloom, and they won't
bloom much.

Here's a close-up of the flower.

The astilbes are blooming, too. I love astilbes, they have the most interesting-looking bloom heads on them. These are the white ones; I am waiting quite impatiently for the pink ones to start blooming.

Here's another shot of the astilbe.

Still haven't seen enough? Neither have I. Here's my brilliant pinkish-purple rhododendron in full bloom. By the way, this is not the PJM or Roseum Elegans type that everyone else seems to have. It's darker than those (even though it's hard to tell from this picture). People who see it are amazed at how purple it is. The flowers are starting to die off now, but... Hachmann's Charmant rhododendron is finally blooming! I was beginning to think it was never going to! Isn't it just stunning?

Close-up of the flower cluster.

My iris are such a deep color of purple that they almost look black. The fragrance is wonderful, too. I dug a lot of these at the beginning of the season because they just took over the area where I planted them, and I wanted to plant some other things there.

I love pansies (no, the flowers!) and of course, have to have purple. Here are some of the ones I bought earlier this year. These are still in the flats, I didn't have room for them...but I couldn't bear to throw out the ones that I couldn't yet plant.

Here are some cineraria that I planted in a pot by the front stoop. I love these little blue-purple flowers. They won't be around much longer though...they only last about 10 weeks, and that's about how long I've had them.

I don't plant chives because they yield beautiful pinkish-purple flower heads...I plant them because they yield wonderful, delicate onion flavor to food dishes. But the flowers are a nice extra.

On a sad note, our more than 50 year-old silver maple has not been well for the last couple of seasons, and this will be its last. It has stood guard over the house for decades, but this year, its bark has become a sickly shade of grey and it has failed to leaf out like it is supposed to. When the seed pods formed on the branches this year, they didn't stay on the tree until they had dessicated, falling to the ground in rotation like tiny helicopter blades; instead they fell off the branches green, in huge clumps. And instead of leafing robustly as they usually do, the branches barely developed leaves at all. And the development of those leaves was so far behind that of the other maples that it was quite obvious that it was dying. Last year it had a very bad problem with fungus that the landscaper was concerned about. The mushroom-like fungus was growing all over the trunk and even when removed, redeveloped quickly. The carpenter ants attacked it early in the last season. There are many hollow spots in the trunks where the squirrels hang out, which give opportunities to carpenter ants and other pests to destroy the tree from the inside out. And recently, during a windstorm, a very large branch broke off, landing in the front yard near the dogwood. It has many large branches that hang over the house, and some of those have no leaves this year, meaning they are already dead. So we have called the town to request its removal. It was a very tough decision to make.

Next week, I'm hoping my pink mountain laurel will finally bloom. I can't wait to show you that one.


At 5:07 PM, May 31, 2008, Blogger Greg said...

Hi "Bokey"--so glad Jess suggested I drop by--who knew there'd be SO much delightful purple!?!? I miss my weigela and astilbes...they got left behind a move or two ago.

Those irises really are beauteous...that they are scented was a surprise to me--I can't wait until that variety starts blooming here so I can check that out!

The rhodos are just gorgeous...but saying that means I need to figure out something even *more* fabulous to say about that AMAZING clematis...

...and the cinerara (?), I'm running dry on the adjectives, but WOw!!.

So sorry to hear about your silver maple. It's always sad when we loose a beloved tree. Hope it won't change your front yard microclimate too much!

At 12:00 AM, June 01, 2008, Blogger Marc said...

Greg, welcome! Jess always says that he doesn't think weigela is a real name. So when you made your comment, I said, "see? someone else knows weigela!"

The irises are an old favorite. I've had them for about nine years. I moved 6 rhizomes from the old house to this house, and in three years, I had about 30 plants...way too many. Had to really thin them out this year.

Aren't those clematis great? I just love the color.

At 10:31 AM, June 02, 2008, Blogger Matt said...

Those are really great photo's of your flowers, Marc. I like how you seem to have a theme with the use of all shades of purple (and other colors splashed in) -- must be amazing to look at in person!

The astilbes sure are an interesting flower. In the photo they look a bit like snowflakes.
Nice job! :)

At 4:09 PM, June 02, 2008, Blogger Greg said...

I'm very excited then to tell you (with a good-natured side-raspberry to Jess) that I discovered that a substantial part of a previously non-descript shrub border at our new rental revealed itself this weekend to be a HUGE red weigela!! Should be fantastic in a few days, since the rest of it's white spirea!!

Now, if only I could figure out how exactly to pronounce "weigela".

At 7:59 PM, June 03, 2008, Blogger Brooklyn Bitch said...

Gorgeous. Just beautiful.
I want you to do my roof garden!
My flowers are lookin' decent, but, nothing even close to your lovely set up!

At 9:29 PM, June 03, 2008, Blogger Marc said...

Matt: Thanks! These particular astilbe fronds do look a bit like snowflakes, yes! Other versions look something like feather dusters. They're very pretty. Glad you like them!

BB: I'm honored! Lemme know when, and you can fix me a gallon of margaritas, a pound of guacamole and a basket of chips, and we'll discuss! ;-)


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