Back to the garden

After two weeks away, I’m quite relieved that the garden has not become the disaster I feared. While traveling, the gardener envisions many thick stalked weeds sprouting above shrubs with a ground hugging crop spreading seeds below. Certainly, some weeds have popped up, but not in alarming abundance. I will catch up with maintenance quickly once I gain the courage to brave the heat, after being caged in a cool vehicle for four thousand miles.Gilt Edge toad lily

Last week, my wife forwarded photos of the first blooms of ‘Gilt Edge’ toad lily (Tricyrtis formosana ‘Gilt Edge’, above), and of the green heron that has discovered our koi pond. A blue heron regularly visits the shallow, bog area of the pond, but the much smaller green heron must stand nearer the pond’s edge. We think that the birds have been mostly unsuccessful in capturing the pond’s koi for a meal, though a three year old was recently found several paces from the pond. My wife suspects the herons might have better luck with the pond’s abundant frogs.

Too large to to fit beneath anthers of the the toad lily's flower, bumblebees circle the bloom, piercing through the petals

Too large to to fit beneath anthers of the the toad lily’s flower, bumblebees circle the bloom, piercing through the petals for nectar.

While I expected to return to find some new blooms, I am a bit surprised by the number. Probably, I shouldn’t be, but after seeing the garden daily for months the gardener fails to realize how quickly one flower fades while another begins. Fortunately, I’ve missed very little while traveling, and this morning and afternoon I’ve spent hours catching up. But, not in labor, though a few weeds have been plucked.Sparkling Burgundy pineapple lily

The clump of pineapple lilies (Eucomis comosa ‘Sparkling Burgundy’, above) is a bit further along into bloom than I expected, and after a week with little rainfall the heavy flower has collapsed into the neighboring hydrangea. Other pineapple lilies, and clumps divided from ‘Sparkling Burgundy’ do not show any signs of flower spikes, and perhaps they will not bloom this summer.Passion flower vine

The passion flower vine (Passiflora incarnata, above) has reached the ceiling of the summerhouse, where it will be encouraged to trail along a wire that is anchored into the beam that extends between posts. The first bloom has arrived, which I found engulfed in a mass of Japanese beetles. Once these were dislodged, the flower was unharmed, though beetles are likely to damage many early flowers. There are many buds, and as the vine continues to spread there will be many more in the next two months.Joe Pye weed

The Joe Pye weeds (Eupatorium dubium ‘Little Joe’, above) growing beside the koi pond are flowering. and ones in the wetland that borders the rear garden with a bit of shade are nearly in bloom. Behind the garden are several native Joe Pyes that arch far over head, but ‘Little Joe’ grows only chest high, a more appropriate size for this garden. On a cloudy day only a few pollinators visit the flowers, but with bright sunshine there will be a variety of bees and swallowtail butterflies (below).Swallowtail butterflies on Joe Pye

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