Oh, this is the joy of the rose--that it blooms and goes.
- Willa Cather
Viewing entries tagged Phlox divaricata
I’m definitely in my yellow period now. The blues and purples of Forget-me-nots and Phlox are memories; the pinks of Rhododendrons and Laurels have faded now, too. Every year in June I notice a pattern of yellows across the garden. It brings light and cheer to the yard and draws the eye along. Right now the Ladies’ Mantle (Alchemilla mollis) is at its peak, spilling lemon froth over the edges of the borders. I love this plant for both its rain-catching foliage and its ethereal flowers.
Next are the yellow Foxgloves (Digitalis ambigua), which are peppered around the garden and have been in flower for about three weeks. The Feverfew (Chrysanthemum parthenium) has opened early, and though its tiny, daisy-like flowers are white, their buttery centers pick up the theme. A sunny sprinkling of Loosetrife (Lysimachia punctata) and Sundrops (Oenothera fruticosa) beckons me further. Sedum acre sprawls across the rock garden and is just starting to become a sea of yellow.
These plants now in bloom tie in with the yellow Corydalis (Corydalis lutea) whose flowers are a given from April to October. And I haven’t even mentioned the golden foliage of the Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’), some of the Hostas (H. 'Guacamole' is a favorite), the Golden Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’) and the golden Chamaecyparis that anchor the beds. One last and lesser known golden shrub is Forsythia 'Gold Leaf'. This cultivar doesn't bloom as generously as the traditional green plant, but its foliage makes up for that.
The yellows compliment the green background, of course, but they also look great with blue, as in the glaucus foliage of Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’ and H. ‘Blue Angel’. And they bring drama to the burgundy of Heuchera micrantha ‘Palace Purple.’ They even flatter the hot pinks of Astilbes (A. arendsii ‘Rhythm and Blues’) and Impatiens. In fact, with yellow foliage, who needs flowers at all?
Tags: shade gardening, CT gardening, gardening in zone 6, gardening in the Northeast, Gardening in New England, organic gardening, Phlox divaricata, Myosotis sylvatica, Forget-Me-Not, Alchemilla mollis, Ladies' Mantle, Sedum acre, Sundrops, Oenothera fruticosa, Chrysanthemum parthenium, Feverfew, Chamaecyparis, Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola', Japanese Forest Grass, Corydalis lutea, Hosta 'Guacamole', Astilbe arendsii 'Rhythm and Blues', Astilbe arendsii, Astilbe, H. micrantha 'Palace purple', Heuchera micrantha, Hosta 'Blue Angel', Hosta sieboldiana 'Elegans', Hosta, Digitalis ambigua, perennial Foxglove, Foxglove, Golden Creeping Jenny, Loosestrife, Lysimachia punctata, Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea', gold foliage, yellow
The honeymoon is over. Yes, that heavenly period in early spring when all around us produces bright, perfect new growth—glossy leaves, plump buds, flawless blossoms—is at an end. Now it’s time to collect our combat gear and prepare to do battle with the myriad forces that are determined to undermine the beauty of our gardens.
Insects, slugs, rodents, fungi…they’ve all come out to feast on the sweet, tender vegetation we have nurtured. Everyone I talk to has complaints. Jill’s crabapple (Malus species) has been decimated by the winter moth caterpillar (Operophtera brumata) that is prevalent this year. Pat is inundated with snails. Bonnie and I both have lungwort (Pulmonaria) that looks like Swiss cheese thanks to the slugs. A woodchuck is nipping the tops off my coneflowers, and a squirrel is dining on my sweet potato vine (Ipomea batata).
It happens every year, and I guess I hope every year that this time it won’t. It’s only when damage has been done that I take action. For me this year, the slugs have been the worst. With several weeks of off and on rain, they are plentiful and hungry. Besides the lungwort, they’ve chewed on my day lily foliage, lamium, hostas and phlox. So off I go with a large container of Slug Magic (www.bonide.com) to sprinkle on the ground around the bases of all these plants. This is just one brand name; the key ingredient to look for is iron phosphate. Iron phosphate should take care of the snails, too, though I haven’t had them in my garden—yet. One consolation is that the lungwort foliage can be cut back and will renew itself quickly with fresh new leaves.
Tags: Malus, crabapple, late winter, early spring, fungi, rodents, insects, snails, Operophtera brumata, winter moth caterpillar, Ipomea, Sweet potato vine, Lungwort, Slug Magic, Hostas, Lamium, day lily, iron phosphate, Phlox divaricata, Critter Ridder, woodchuck, squirrel damage, squirrels, Safer, Bonide, Globe thistle, Echinops ritro, Echinacea, Coneflower, Bacillus thuringiensis, Bt, Neem oil, Spinosad, slugs
Next, I head out with Critter Ridder (www.havahart.com) to sprinkle around the coneflowers (Echinacea) and other plants favored by the woodchucks and squirrels. The woodchuck seems to like fuzzy and prickly foliage, including Globe Thistle (Echinops ritro).
As for the winter moth caterpillar, according to Jill it can be sprayed with Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), a biological insecticide available from Bonide, Safer and other companies) when it is newly hatched. Later, as the little “loopers” swing on their silken strands, Spinosad (from Monterey at www.montereylawngarden.com , Green Light at www.greenlightco.com and others) and Neem oil (from Monterey or from Garden Safe at www.Lowes.com) are organic options. The other approach would be to spray susceptible trees (such as crabapple, maple, oak and fruit trees) with dormant oil (from Bonide and more) in late winter to smother the eggs.
The main thing, I guess, is to accept that these challenges are business as usual in the garden and I should anticipate them every year. These remedies are effective and the key is to apply them promptly at the first sign of trouble. It's all part of nature’s plan, and gardening will never be about perfection!
What an enchanting little plant this is, the native yellow Celandine poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum)! My friend Jill gave it to me, saying it would bloom in the shade. And she was right. In its third year, it has tripled in size, going from one blossom the first season to 8 this spring and counting.
The contrast of the intense yellow flower petals against the grayed, fuzzy green foliage gives it a luminous quality. And it stands defiantly in a challenging, partly shaded dry spot among rocks. A member of the Papaver family, the Celandine poppy makes a charming, easy and less common addition to the woodland garden.
The plant is known for self-seeding and becoming “weedy.” But don’t confuse it with the very similar but invasive weed, Chelidonium majus, also known as Greater Celandine. The weed's flowers are smaller, and it is easy to identify by breaking a stem to reveal its bright orange sap.
Stylophorum diphyllum is supposed to bloom in late spring, continuing sporadically through the summer. Mine began flowering in early April—of course, this is no year by which to judge. It looks fresh and pretty among blue Forget-me-nots (Myosotis sylvatica), but would also be lovely with Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica), Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia) and Creeping phlox (Phlox divaricata).
Tags: orange sap, Chelidonium majus, Greater Celandine, weeds, gardening in the Northeast, gardening in zone 6, Gardening in New England, CT gardening, easy care perennials, perennials, shade gardening, dry shade garden, Phlox divaricata, Creeping phlox, Tiarella cordifolia, Foamflower, Aquilegia canadensis, Columbine, Mertensia virginica, Virginia bluebells, Myosotis sylvatica, Forget-Me-Not, Celandine poppy, Stylophorum diphyllum