Friday, May 30, 2014

May Garden ... A Rambling Post

The last two to three weeks have brought spring full on here ... the weather has been beautiful with sunny days and a light breeze.  My garden finally came out of hibernation and what survived the harsh winter is doing not too badly.  I did lose a few things, which I put down to the extremely low temperatures we experienced.  The lilacs are out fully now, and the entire yard smells heavenly!  There are lilacs in my yard and all three yards that border ours, so we even get the beautiful scent indoors.

The above lilac is the oldest, and although the blossoms aren't quite as spectacular as last spring, I'm happy it survived being hit by two very thick and heavy pine branches last year.  There's a little redbud tree beside it (and below photo), which lost three of the four sections, and is now down to one spindly trunk.  This was transplanted from my country home by my mother, so I hope it comes back a little bit stronger as the summer progresses.  To the right of the redbud is our ginkgo tree planted a few years back.  It's finally fluffing out a bit, but it sure is a slow growing tree.

And did I show you the hole that has been gouged out of the base of my beautiful pine tree?  How on earth is it to survive?!  So many of the needles have turned brown and dropped off the tree.  It breaks my heart to see it so damaged and possibly in its last year with us.
One of my new favourite plants is Solomon's Seal (below).  I transplanted this from my mother's garden a couple of years ago, and it's really doing well in this spot against the fence.  I didn't know if it needed sun or shade, and apparently it prefers shade to light shade.  Well it gets almost full sun in this spot, so I'm surprised it does so well.  It's native to North America, which I didn't realize, and it has very interesting foliage and flowers.
It looked like this (below) a week ago ... I like how the leaves unfurl.  It's a very sturdy upright plant, and the leaves nod over at the tops.

And this week the flowers are in bloom ...
I'm slowly making large groupings of flowers that do well in my garden.  Bleeding hearts seem to grow everywhere here, so I put them in their own special shady garden and tore everything else out of this spot.  This is what they looked like last week ...
And now today ...

I didn't used to like the white hearts, but I find that white flowers seem to glow a bit in a shady garden, so I decided to put some in with the pink.  Both are doing so well.

I've been working on this area again this week (below).  It's the entrance to our backyard, and I've ripped out the bush that grew alongside the wall.  It just wasn't getting enough sun anymore, and it was growing quite scraggly each time I trimmed it back.  I've decided to get rid of quite a few bushes this year.  I spend a lot of time trimming bushes that I'm not overly fond of, and I think I'd rather have some bright flowers in their stead.
Looking underneath the tall (unknown) bush in the left of the above photo, you can see the lovely ferns growing in the shade there (below).  I'm so happy that the ferns have established so well here!  I'm going to transplant some of them to the spot where the bush was as it's quite shady most of the day there too.  The ferns are a bit hidden from view when we sit on the patio, and I'd like to see more around the patio.  I love the smell of ferns and they remind me so well of my old home where they grew between three and four feet high along the creek there.  It smelled so fresh and woodsy down there by the creek.
The fiddleheads a couple of weeks ago ...
 Here is the one and only one token tulip that bloomed in my backyard this spring (below).  Obviously, this is not my strong point!  I think in the fall I'll plant some daffodils to welcome spring, as I understand they will spread, whereas my tulips just seem to die out.
Alongside the other side of my yard, I have my border of iris.  I read in Stacy's blog that iris need room to breathe.  I didn't know that, and when I had a closer look at them today, I realized all my black-eyed Susans were invading their space.  I ripped out some of the black-eyed Susans, and have some vague plans in my head to get the iris into a better situation.  I usually split the corms in August, but I didn't do that last August, and now they are all a bit shorter than last year.  I'll take better care of them this year.  They're just about ready to bloom now.
My butterfly bush still shows no sign of life (it's the two-foot long sticks in above photo on left).  Very disappointing since it blocked my neighbour's annoyingly high deck.  They sit in their deck and have a full view of my yard, which is not great because we put our pool up on this side of the yard, and now there's no privacy at all!  I'll be visiting the gardening store this weekend to see if there's some fast growing bush that can block this area a bit better.
There's a black aster alongside the fence too, but it took a beating this winter.  I'm not sure I like it there anyway because it interferes with my iris (which I like better).  And the aster has an odd smell to it that I don't like.  I have to figure out something better with this garden.
This is the little garden in front of the shed.  Once the clematis gets going (top right), it looks great, but right now it seems a little lacking.  Ideally, I always thought the clematis needed more sun, but it seems to thrive quite well in this spot despite being in shade for a good portion of the day.
At this part of the fence my blackcurrant or gooseberry bush came back really well after suffering from shock from a transplant two years ago.  My mom's clematis is coming back well too (on the left in below photo).  I transplanted some daylilies last year, and they've all come back quite healthy looking too (on the right). 
My son's pond area hasn't been touched yet this year.  The pond needs to be drained, scrubbed, refilled and stocked with his goldfish again.  I want to remove a large juniper bush here (turning brown this spring), as it's just getting ugly and crowding other plants which I like better.
Here's a view of the ferns from the other side ... I love the effect with the sunlight on them, which is only in the morning.
The columbine are doing well again too ...
A little lenten rose (below) that I gave to my mother many years ago.  It comes back each spring, although it doesn't seem to be spreading at all.
My son gave me this lovely windchime for Christmas.  The bamboo chime I brought from my parents' home eventually dried out and cracked, thereby losing it's musical tone.  This metal chime is deep sounding and I really enjoy listening to it.
Well, that's the tour of my spring garden!  I hope you enjoyed it, and that it wasn't too long of a post for you all.  As I say, my goal this year is to get things simplified back here and have large groupings of flowers rather than little pockets here and there.  I transplanted quite a few things from my mom's garden when she passed away, and I was a bit overwhelmed with all the new plants and unsure where to fit everything in.  Now that they've established themselves better, I can see where they do well, and I'm going to shift things around to keep it a bit less chaotic than it's been in the past.  Lots of work ahead of me though, and I will have to enlist the help of my husband to remove some more bushes (here and also in the front yard, which will be a post for another day I think).  Have a great weekend everyone, and thanks for stopping by!


  1. It's all so beautiful. I'd love to spend the day in your garden xox

  2. Your garden is looking so pretty! I especially love the bleeding hearts; those are the biggest, most beautiful ones I've ever seen.

    Blessings, Victoria

  3. I love that windchime Wendy! What a sweet gift...I would cherish a piece like that! You have so many beautiful plants coming up in your garden! And you captured them in such an outstanding those ferns! Just so pretty! Happy gardening lady! Nicole xo

  4. Thanks for the lovely little tour around your beautiful garden, Wendy and have a happy, sunny weekend.

  5. I thoroughly enjoyed your tour of your beautiful garden and your narrative!! You have a lovely garden, Wendy; so many pretty flowers and plants popping up to greet those lovely blue skies. How lucky are you to be surrounded by those heavenly Lilacs. Their sweet-smelling fragrance must be a joy from morning to night.

  6. OOh I enjoyed the ramble round your beautiful garden Wendy!
    So fab to see it in full colour after all the white photos over winter!
    Hope you have lots of time to enjoy it!
    Ali x

  7. Fast growers in place of your butterfly bush are leather leaf viburnum as well as rose of sharon. Do you cut your butterfly bush to the ground in the early Spring? We have several and they come back huge and gorgeous. We have a couple of Japanese maples that didn't like the harsh winter. We're hoping they survive. Your yard is so pretty its like having a private park. :o)

  8. Your yard is so pretty! Lots of neat plants back there. So sorry about your pine tree. Its hard to lose a big tree like that. I have always had trouble with butterfly bushes that die after a few years. Hope you find a something to replace it.

  9. I really like your yard, and what you've done with it. You have so many pretty flowers, etc. I don't really have a flower garden, just a raised flowerbed in the back yard, and a couple kegs out front.

  10. What a lovely garden you have! So many beautiful flowers...
    Have a great weekend and take care!
    Love Titti

  11. Gorgeous garden. Spring has definitely sprung there!

  12. Oh Wendy what a glorious garden you have and how lovely you have made it. We only have a small garden and I am not the best gardener in the world so it is always a big treat to look at a real professional like you, fabulous. Sending you big hugs and loves as always Wendy. Dorothyxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  13. Your garden is bloomin' lovely Wendy, thank you so much for sharing such gorgeous pics, all beautiful, but I do feel sad for your pine tree! I hope your week is a very happy one - enjoy it! Joy xo

  14. Your garden looks so different now. Lovely photos!!!

  15. Your garden is lovely Wendy, it's so nice to see our old friends waking up after their winter sleep. :)

  16. Wow, thank you for an amazing garden tour! You have such a beautiful array of plants, the Solomon's Seal is fascinating, and I'm a huge fan of ferns. To block neighbours, bamboo is pretty, grows very fast and makes a pleasing sound when the wind breezes by. It's also good because you can have a thin row or a thick cluster, it's quite versatile and serves the same purpose in my garden! Chrissie x

  17. Good morning, I really enjoyed the tour of your gardens. I wonder if there is something that you can spread over the wound on your pine tree to help it heal?
    I transplanted a solomon seal from my Mother's garden too-a few years ago-it survived two years of drought and extreme hot summers and this year it has spread in a large area and looking fabulous now-I think it is a very cool plant too.
    Your bleeding hearts are gorgeous too and I always have loved lilacs-I should plant me a bush here where we live now-I really miss not having one.
    Have you been back canoeing again?

  18. Your garden looks lovely Wendy, so pretty! It is such a shame about the losses over the winter, that is so sad, but it looks as though you have lots of other lovely things growing and new ones will come to take the places of the things that are no longer growing, and all of the things that made it look as though they are very happy indeed! It is so nice to see some colour for you after all that snow and winteriness. xx

  19. Your garden looks just lovely Wendy ... I too love Solomons seal ....I hope your pine tree is ok... I think they can survive as long as the bark is not off all the way around the trunk.... will keep my fingers crossed for you ...have a nice week...Gail x

  20. Well I hope pulling out the black eyed susans help your irises. I'm sure they will be beautiful even if they are on the short side. I am not too sure what would cause that. I love your bleeding hearts. They are so beautiful in masses like that. We also have a high deck that now overlooks our new neighbors and it is weird. I really wish the builder would have installed a screening, but why would he? Anyone will buy anything these days. Hope you have a wonderful day.

  21. Wendy, it's all lovely. You've done a lot of work. Well, gardening is fun and work mixed together. ;) That's a lovely trellis - we are getting one this year (well we have it and haven't set it up yet, there's a bit of a 'project' going on back there). I'm curious to know what you have growing up it, if anything!


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