Friday, April 16, 2010

Spring Surprises, and Stuff and Nonsense

Lots of things just pop up here. I don't know if birds "plant" some of them, or if they just come in on the wind.. Somewhow the new "stuff" usually manages to plant itself in the right spot. I have a couple of dogwoods and several redbuds that I've acquired that way, a mimosa, a black locust, and a few junipers that I've trimmed to interesting shapes.

Last fall I discovered a small sassafrass growing in the fence row, so we dug it out and put it back in the woods. Since its taproot got slightly mangled in the process, we held out little hope for its survival, but surprise, this spring, the little thing has leaves!

How do those plants move themselves like they do? About 3 years ago, I planted a lime green aquilegia next to a hosta that I thought would complement it with its lovely color. It did fine for two years, and now it is gone out of that bed. I found it, full grown, in the lower hosta bed, a good 20' away, under a dogwood. There also was a lovely white ajuga clump in that same bed. It disappeared also, to be found down a path next to a ground cover of euonuymous. Both of those plants have increased dramatically--but not where I put them!  How do they DO that?

The garden club has come and gone, and what an enjoyable evening it was! Perfect weather, good friends and wonderful food! Next month someone else will host a garden party. Oh yes, they all loved the garden!

A pretty happen-stance combination, ajuga flowers through creeping phlox. Pink lily of the valley is in the background.

Lunaria (money plant) in the foreground with woodland phlox divaricata. I love this combination! Lunaria is a biennial that always reseeds itself, and every year there is a different look.

I don't know if I like trilliums better white or when they age to pink. Either way, they are some of the most lovely spring flowers in the woods!

I peeked under the umbrellas of the mayapples, and look what I found!

False Solomon's seal is almost as interesting in bud as it is in flower. I am finding these spreading all through the woods this year.  A very welcome surprise!

Dwarf crested iris (iris cristata) just popped into bloom overnight! These actually came from an Arkansas woods, many years ago, a gift from a friend.

Fairy bells (disporum sessile variegatum), is actually a Japanese native wildflower, distantly related to the Solomon's seal family. I got it from the now gone and much missed Rocknoll Nursery, many years ago. It languished in another bed for years until transplanted to the current hosta bed, where it has flourished. This is the first year I've seen blooms! It is quite beautiful, about 12" tall, and not invasive, but spreads stoloniferously very nicely. A wonderful non-native worth seeking out. Very pretty with ferns and hostas.

I just cannot resist a pretty face, any more than I can resist checking out every garden center I pass. I found this charming pink pussytoes (antennaria Rubra) at Lowe's this afternoon. I divided this plant in two, it probably could have been three.

I also loved this little hernaria
"Sea Foam". Just right for my shade garden, likes morning sun only!

We discovered wild plum (Prunus americana) growing in the woods Out Beyond. It looks a lot like wild cherry, bark and all, but the leaves are more round. I would really like this to be growing in our woods; and it might be, if I haven't pulled out all the seedlings thinking they were wild cherry. Now I'll have to look at each one before I pull it! It blooms in the woods usually before serviceberry. Sometimes it has pinkish blooms.

Still lots of spring beauties (claytonia virginica) blooming Out Beyond. I mow a path through it each year, but not yet!

A nice surprise by my recycle bins. Where did you come from, my pretty?

Other stuff: our city had a truckload sale of rain barrels and composters. We picked up two of these rain barrels, and will hook up a soaker hose to water beds on the north and south sides of the house. Now I have to plant something low in front of them to hide those concrete blocks. They should save on our water bills, that is, provided it rains!

And nonsense! This rock creation is in the loosely termed "Japanese garden".  Those are Japanese roof irises(iris tectorum) in front of it. The roundish rock on top is a local "mineral egg".

It is in front of a little Japanese maple, Seriyu, which is a green upright lace leaf that only gets about 15' x'10' This is its third year. I carried it home from Wildwood Farm in Kenwood, Ca,  on my lap on an airplane! It has grown almost 6" this spring so far.  

I love dandelion puffs! I always spray some of these delicate beauties with extra-hold hairspray and they will last for a long time in a vase or a dried flower arrangement.

A little rain turned the yellow oak pollen on the hosta leaves into golden drops!

Another beauty, Aquilegia canadensis, our native columbine.

An update on the bluebird/ woodpecker feud: nobody seems to have claimed the woodpecker hole in the hackberry tree. It is still empty! The bluebirds have gone back to the edge of Out Beyond and I don't know where the woodpeckers are nesting, but I still see them around. There are lots of trees with dead limbs for them to have claimed!

"There is a mockingbird
Singing in the oak tree.
 He sounds delirious,
Leaping and catching air with his wings.
Perhaps he is drunk with spring!"


  1. Would the hair spray idea work with other seeds? Ligularia seeds and milkweed seeds look cool right before they fly in the wind. Your water barrel is a nice set up. We have two of them and they work wonderfully. great pics and post. jim

  2. It might work, give it a try! I have sprayed other fluffy seed heads too. Also acrylic spray fixative (from the art supply store)works well.

  3. I usually put a thin wire up thru the stems too as they tend to be floppy and fall over.