Ah, so here we are again with my meager monthly blog post. Someday I will be able to post more often. I am coming to terms with what I can and cannot accomplish while stoking so many fires. The Violet Fern garden is once again getting away from me but that's alright - breathe - tomorrow I am saving the day for a date with my garden. I say "date" because I am in love with my garden and she needs my attention just as any other relationship. She needs to know I still care deeply for her. We have an ongoing romance. I am busy at the Park where I work - behind, or perhaps I should rephrase that to not as far along as I hoped to be in grooming their public gardens - but this year I am trying to achieve balance and so I will take a day for my garden just as work takes romantic garden days away from me. I mean back when I used to work for the man, I would take a personal day here and there or call in sick when I felt like I was losing the race and needed to catch up. Why can't I when I work for myself? Granted I don't pay myself but hey, when my own garden becomes obviously neglected, I become very upset so it is worth a little give to make me a happier person - everybody wins. I am ALSO trying to pull together my own personal gallery space, have rejoined a local gallery in the Cape of which I have a solo show coming up, and cannot wait for a weekly day and overnight escape to the lake (much needed to maintain sanity and regulate the scary BP). These are all new things this year to pile on top of what I wasn't exactly succeeding at last year: keeping my garden up to my ideals, painting, and still keeping my day job at the Park. So, I am extra challenged and extra motivated because these are what dreams are made of - I need to make The Violet Fern Art Studio and Garden happen. It is my dream 1. to paint and garden my days away and offer tours; 2. possibly teach classes/hold workshops about gardening, painting and also events in conjunction with others; and 3. sell plants and seeds as well as artwork. It isn't going to happen by itself so my motto is I'm making an effort alternating with make it happen.
An effort to set up my own little gallery space:
Painting the "walls" to my gallery space in Moss White.
Artwork waiting to be framed and displayed.
In spite of my negligence, the Violet Fern garden blooms on and in celebration of Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens, I am sharing what's blooming.
OUT FRONT ...
(still riddled by grasses in the beds), Black Lace Sambucus is making a spectacular show this year.
My Mugo Pines who suffered from a severe case of scale last year (treated with Neem Oil), are getting their very first cones! You can still see evidence of the scale. Drumstick Chives are preparing to bloom.
Common Milkweed (go Monarchs!) still invades the sidewalk. I tend to cut it down if it impedes walking but it is developing nicely and I love this plant - it is stately and the scent of the flowers is delicious. Thymes are also just beginning to bloom.
Because I have so much going on out front I tend to keep the window box dressings simple. This year I opted for some interesting hens-n-chicks which I hope survive the winter and continue to live in this box for awhile. I like their simplicity and form.
THE NICE DRIVEWAY ...
is in need of a good clean up with volunteer saplings coming up everywhere from neighboring trees. I started out well by digging up volunteer Viburnum Cranberry which was stunning in bloom this year. Then, well, other areas of the garden seem to always take precedence over the Front and Nice Driveway (because they are more public and I like to garden more in the sanctuary of my backyard). Poppies were beautiful and a few hang on and give me a glimpse of my vision of the allium and poppy blooming together. I will plant some Sensation Allium here instead as they should bloom a bit earlier and really fulfill my vision.
The Ninebark is filling out quite well in spite of its weird beginning as mildew infested Coppertina since ripped out - to much maintenance for a shrub - and a true to form (reverting back to the native species) seedling allowed to grow. The bees have been loving it! I paused one day to "smell the bees".
Columbines keep insisting on reseeding themselves Out Front and in the Nice Driveway. I have decided to go with the flow, it's easier than paddling upstream.
A long look at beds Bird & Butterfly (left) and The Woodland Edge (right). NOTE: when the lawn is freshly mowed it looks MUCH better!
THE BIRD & BUTTERFLY GARDEN ...
is in a bit of a lull right now after the beautiful blooms of Baptisia. It is littered with Fleabane which I will be pulling tomorrow. I took out three shrub sized clumps of Lemon Balm earlier in the Spring so my Geraniums and Oenonthera could make a comeback. The shrubs leading to the back of Hosta Row also need a good weeding/saving from Black-eyed Susan.
THE WOODLAND EDGE ...
is still being attacked by Bindweed now weaving its way through Spice Bush and the Spruce. It is the first area on my attack list for tomorrow - I hope to put in the 2" thick stepping pavers to make a path through here so I can better control the thug and the ever impeding grapevines. I am attempting to poison the Bindweed (gasp the valiant organic gardener!) because I can't think of any alternative, but it doesn't work well. I cut off a tip and dip it into the herbicide to kill its growth but it just comes up somewhere else. Still, I will be making an effort. Cranesbill continues to invade here - he must really like this spot. I have one that is probably affected by some sort of virus but I rather like the effect. I have planted more Iris through here - I like the outcome among the Cranesbill and Jacob's Ladder. Tradescantia 'Osprey' always captures my eye. Lamnium continues to skirt itself around the Spruce. You can see the dreaded Bindweed invasion - at least something is eating it!
My beloved Goatsbeard is blooming! (and also swaddled in Bindweed #*!) And I am loving Firefly Heuchera planted for my little humming visitors along with Cardinal Flower that has probably been smothered by Bishop's Weed (oh yes folks, I have all the top ten least wanted weeds). Aside from my gallant efforts of not spreading Bishop's Weed, it is cropping up all over the gardens. I should say hey, it is a low low maintenance plant "let it go" but I continue to try to fight it. Believe me, tomorrow I will be slapping some of those 2 inch thick stepping pavers right over it!
Shrub Flowering Raspberry, Rubus odoratus, is coming into full bloom and buzzing with the bees that sort of "squeal." So fun to walk by. It also has Bindweed growing through it (sigh).
Further along - closer to the garden she shed - Amsonias and Phlox bloom. The Meadow Phlox is stunted this year perhaps due to up/down temperatures and dry/wet spells? Or maybe it isn't quite at peak right now. I remember it being much taller and fuller last year when the Giant Swallowtail came to visit.
THE POTAGER ...
paths are overgrown with strawberries - it could be worse. I plan to thin them tomorrow and add some to a new raised bed designated just for them. There is much growing in the Potager aside from the usual tomatoes, kale, lettuce, beans, etc. Peas are reaching great heights. Squash is blooming and I always peek for squash bees but haven't seen any yet. Nasturtium still being held hostage in the greenhouse is blooming. I plan to plant it up tomorrow into a large pot with climbing spinach - malabar. Calendula is just bursting to bloom and a fancy clover is sporting fuzzy blooms. There are blue berries, raspberries and tigers oh my (maybe tiger beetles that is).
Lastly ... HOSTA ROW ...
Just the very beginnings of blooms with the lovely heuchera Pinot Blanco - highly recommended. And the shout-out-loud Chrysantheum Pyrethrum.
Until next month ... possibly sooner (let's hope).
Author Kathy Sturr
In this blog I may write about the garden, flowers, plants, and the garden ... mostly the garden, but also new art and inspiration.