Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Last Days of May

We're in the last few days of May.  June is the beginning of "real summer"-- also the beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season (which runs through the end of November, but peaks in August and September).

The white crepe myrtles have begun to bloom, which feels earlier than last year.  However, I haven't checked last year's photos to see if that's true or not.

Crepe Myrtle

'Purple Pizzazz' salvia, with fuzzy Mexican bush sage (Salvia leucantha) in the background:

'Purple Pizzazz' Salvia

Both our 'Little Gem' magnolias have been flowering, though I don't pay that much attention to them, since they're in the front yard...

'Little Gem' Magnolia

There were two of these odd-looking, dusty, hairy beetles (maybe "bumble flower scarab beetles"?) on one bloom.  I'm not sure if they're harmful to the tree, but that tree does have some limbs with withered, brown leaves... In any case, I left these alone.

Insect on 'Little Gem' Bloom

The blanket flowers that returned from last year are hanging in there, but most look a little rough.  Fortunately, there's a new bunch started from seed (some by me, some by Mother Nature).  I may try cutting back the old ones.  If they don't recover, at least the new generation is waiting to take over.

Blanket Flower

The butterfly vine (Mascagnia macroptera)-- from Mom, last autumn-- has begun to flower.  It seems decently healthy-- came through the winter just fine!

Butterfly Vine

Remember that I mentioned having moved some daylilies from another part of the garden to flank the stepping stone path?  Here's an overview shot.  Plenty of room for more, but even just this few makes the area feel more like a garden:

Flower Garden - North Side

Macro of one of the few remaining colorful achillea (most are plain white):


Flower Garden

Bog sage (Salvia uliginosa).  I'm enjoying this one, so far.  It's grown tall quickly, the blue is beautiful, and the bees seem to like it.  Apparently it can be a bit of a spreader, but I think it'll be okay.  There's plenty of room, where it is, and if it starts growing wider than I want, I'll happily dig up some starts for one or two other places-- and offer some to other gardeners in my family.

Bog Sage

Bog Sage

Bog Sage

Bog Sage

The roses of Sharon have begun to bloom.  So far, it's just the all-whites and these pinky-purples with red centers.  The new ones from Mom (white-w/red-center and double pinky-purple) have yet to bloom, but it's possible.  However, they're still on the small side, so they might need more time to flower, and the cuttings from Granny W. are smaller still, so I doubt they'll bloom for at least another two or three years.

Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon

The KO roses have started another wave of bloom:

Red KO Rose

As have the 'Joseph's Coat' and the 'Peggy Martin' (pictured below), though both of those are significantly less impressive than the first wave.  Even the unknown pink climbing rose has opened up a few more flowers.

'Peggy Martin' Rose

The clump of river oats (a.k.a. northern sea oats) I planted last year has come back with a vengeance.  It's starting to look like what I'd envisioned when I bought the plant.  Much taller and thicker, this year.  The clumps I started from seed (from this mother plant) in spring are doing well, too-- but of course they're nowhere near this big.  I fully expect them to rival "Big Mama" by next year, though.

River Oats

River Oats

River Oats

I put two pots of the seedlings on either side of the starter clump (down in the shady curve of river birch and crepe myrtles).  The rest of my pots of river oat seedlings went to another relatively shady spot-- between the circular gravel sitting area and the banana shrub.

I'm planning to cut off the seedheads to avoid vigorous self-sowing.  We'll see how that goes... I've read a horror story or two about what happens when you let this plant go to seed, but I've also seen people saying that if you remove the seedheads before the "oats" fully mature and drop to the ground (which is easily done), it's not a problem.

I might not mind the grass spreading a bit down in the shady corner.  After all, it's a native plant, and there's nothing much it can out-compete down there, as things stand.  However, the clumps by the banana shrub are pretty close to some perennial beds that I don't want to become overgrown with grasses.

Does this qualify as "living dangerously"?