Late April, early Summer

Saturday and Sunday this week were moving days, hauling the big tubs of tropical bananas, elephant ears, agaves, and other assorted this and that’s out of their crowded Winter home. At long last I can move around the house without fear of being speared by an agave tip.

p1010610Most of the tropicals were set on the small stone seating area by the pond in the front yard, shaded from the afternoon sun by the house and a large white dogwood. Only a handful of days before complaints were many that Spring would never arrive, and now most of the week will hover around ninety degrees.

After acclimating to the morning sun I’ll move some to the afternoon sun-drenched back deck and patios for the duration of the Summer. Many will grow such that I’ll doubt that there’s room enough to fit all back inside for the Winter, but in they’ll go.

Today, several varieties of New Guinea impatiens were planted beneath the Seriyu and Bloodgood maples and in the big concrete planters that dry out so quickly. The maples assure that this area remains dry unless a monsoon moves in, and New Guineas do well there despite neglect.

p1010620An ‘Illustris’ colocassia replaced one that I let go to the freeze in the swimming pond last Fall, planted along with a dwarf papyrus, and the yellow striped canna ‘Pretoria’, or ‘Bengal Tiger’, that will grow well over head high planted with several inches of water over its container. By July the roots will spill over the top of the plastic pot, and I’ll have to keep them chopped back or it will look to invade the Japanese iris and sweet flag. ‘Illustris’ is no more than three inches out of its four inch pot, but  is just as vigorous as the canna, and will grow taller than my reach by August. Elephant ears (colocassia) and most cannas thrive planted in water, though the alocassias prefer damp, not wet soil and shouldn’t be grown in the water.

Moving the potted tropicals, planting the impatiens, petunias, and water plants, removing a bit of string algae from the swimming pond, pulling a weed or two as I went, and I was whupped by mid-afternoon. I don’t know if it was the heat, or getting old, probably both, but I was ready for a tall iced tea a few hours earlier than anticipated. I summoned enough energy to make a last trip through the garden to bring you this week’s highlights. There are still many holdovers from weeks past, but with warm days they’re fading fast. Still, the blossoms and new leaves make the garden a magical place.

p1011216I’ve been anticipating the dogwoods for weeks, and here they are, only a week late, so in reality, right on schedule. Cherokee Sunset dogwood (above), with red flowers followed by yellow and green variegated leaves, is much slower growing than the other dogwoods, only five feet tall after several years. I think that it will pick up the pace now that it’s had ample time to establish roots. I won’t quibble with anyone who argues this is pink, not red, and what do I care, for it is a wonderful tree.

p1011207The white flowering Cherokee Princess is a selection of our native white dogwood that is more vigorous and disease resistant than seedling grown. There are a number of selections that are propogated by rooted cuttings, some better than others, but all delightful trees. The weeping white dogwood is in bloom now, but is losing the battle and getting squeezed out by the tree lilac and a large mahonia.

p1011212The fragrant viburnums are fading, but several other shrubs are blooming. Fothergilla ‘Mount Airy’, with its bottlebrush flowers, is blooming near the base of the sourwood faced for the neighbor’s enjoyment. Too lazy to walk this area often, I hadn’t realized that it sprang upwards last year, being on the far side of the mixed  planting of evergreens, flowering trees and shrubs that borders the garden. On the opposite side of the garden Bottlebrush Buckeye is days from opening. Perhaps next week we’ll take a look.

p1011218p1011205The Lilacs (above and left) are blooming, except for Miss Kim, the poor lass planted in the shade of three huge hornbeams and the pink weeping cherry, and on the other side the sourwood. Still, she’ll get around to blooming in another week.

p1011244Near the Buckeye, our teaser for next week, is Calycanthus, the sweetshrub, distinctive for its odd, reddish brown fragrant blooms. The scent is not strong enough for my weak sense of smell.

p1011206Back again across the garden Schip laurel is flowering. I have made too much that the blooms are insignificant, but today they seem more substantial, though not long lasting, and I guess not very memorable since I seem to forget about them.

p1011213I photographed the cones of the weeping spruce last week, and this is one week later. No flower is more beautiful.

Azaleas should be blooming in days, mostly Encore azaleas in my garden that bloom now and in September, except deer have eaten nearly all the blooming tips. The buds on the fragrant deciduous azaleas are fat, another to look forward to in the coming week.

My overheated and overworked body yearns for cooler days coming by late week. Though the gardener’s work is never complete, more relaxing minutes creep into each weekend, and soon enough days will be consumed floating lazily in the swimming pond with no care but to watch the koi, and dragonflies darting here and there.

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