There is a lot happening in the Trusty Garden in April and May. I guess I forgot to take pictures of the front yard, with its blooming trees and bulbs. I tend to photograph individual plants more often than landscape shots. Like the adage says; I can't see the forest for the trees! So this is just a backyard garden tour.
We start by entering the back yard from the north side. The first thing we see a long mixed border with trees, shrubs and perennials that follows the fence line. I call this the Shrub Border. At the top of the hill, in the corner of the yard, is the arbor my husband built me for my birthday one year. You can see some Egyptian onions near the forground and a smooth sumac shrub, Rhus glabra with a purple foliaged ninebark, Physocarpus 'Summer Wine' blooming behind it. Under the arbor, Salvia 'May Night' and oxeye daisies, Leucanthemum vulgare, bloom near the garden bench.
Along the fence, be sure to notice the beautiful Clematis 'Jackmanii'!
If you look to the right from this same spot, you'll see the garden that is the back-of-the-house foundation planting.
There are lots of spring bloomers in this garden. Note the Ajuga, Ajuga reptans 'Atropurpurea' in the foreground, and Pasque flower, Pulsatilla vulgaris 'Red Bells'. The tiny blue flowers in back are Brunnera macrophylla, and the yellow is from the Japanese Kerria shrub, Kerria japonica. The silver foliage is a dead nettle, Lamium 'Orchid Frost', another spring bloomer.
The tree is a Kousa dogwood, Cornus Kousa. Below it, the white edging flower is the hardy geranium Geranium x cantabrigiense 'Biokovo'.
Further along in this garden, you'll see more clematis and Iris pallida 'Variegata'. The yellow flowering groundcover is called golden star, Chrysogonum virginianum 'Pierre'. Notice the rain barrel. We have three of them, and use the rainwater we've collected for our containers and for summer watering in the vegetable garden.
In that same garden, a couple of weeks later, a perennial foxglove called strawberry foxglove, Digitalis mertonensis blooms. I planted three of them last year, and these are the first flowers. Cool! Now we'll see if they come back next year as promised!
Another interesting plant in that area is called bloody dock, Rumex sanguineus. The foliage is edible, and really looks fabulous in a salad! Here it is next to a red Knock Out rose that is just starting to bloom.
Here's a view of the back patio and the screened porch that my husband finished building just over a year ago. We love it! The herb garden, in the foreground, is new this year. It's a formal, circular design with easy access to the kitchen. I can't wait for it to fill in a bit! The bright red slash is a group of little Dianthus plants called 'Tiny Rubies'.
Creeping thyme, Thymus praecox 'Coccineus', fills in between the stepping stones by the herb garden . . .
Some dwarf Bearded iris. I don't know the cultivar name, because this was a pass-along plant.
This photo shows the bronze-foliaged Lysimachia ciliata 'Firecracker' on the left. This plant bears yellow blooms in summer. I cut the foliage back by half in late spring, to keep the plant shorter and fuller, or it tends to flop. This picture was taken just before the cutting back. The deep blue sundial base is accented by blue star, Amsonia tabernaemontana, with its pale sky-blue flowers.
There's a lot going on in the vegetable garden, with onions and garlic, asparagus, lettuce, fennel, chard, broccoli, cabbage, kale, carrots, peas and radishes and probably more things growing. These are all plants that can be started in the cool spring weather. The trees are a pear on the left, and a plum on the right. Since this picture was taken, the pear tree got fireblight, a bacterial disease spread by bees, and I had to prune about one-third of the top off to save the tree. It still has a few pears, though!
I tried potato bags for my potato plants this year. Aren't the plants lookin' good? Check out my blog for more information and pictures of how to plant the bags!
Strawberries are our favorite fruit, and our 8 by 24-foot bed is providing plenty.
Here I am holding a branch of Physocarpus 'Coppertina', a newer cultivar of the ninebark shrub.
My favorite part of this shrub is the new growth - see why they call it Coppertina?
The late spring and early summer of 2010 will be remembered for the many days of pounding rain, with repeated thunderstorms that dropped inches of water all at once. This picture shows the herb garden and adjacent areas under water. This happened about a half a dozen times, so I've built up the raised bed of the herb garden by a few inches to keep the drought-tolerant, dry-loving herbs happy! I sure hope it works. We'll check it out on the summer Trusty Garden Tour!