Looking Out My Back Door – June 10, 2013

More irises and more herbaceous peonies are blooming.

Herbaceous Peony

Herbaceous Peony

ii 001-35I remember when I was a girl my mother had many peony plants of various colors in the garden.  She would pick a nice healthy  bouquet of them and place the arrangement in front of the mirror that hung over the bookcase in the living room. The reflection in the mirror gave the illusion of a bouquet twice the actual size. 

We often had fresh flowers in the house back then.  There were all kinds of perennials in the garden and there was always an ample selection to choose from.jj 030-35  

My grandparents lived with us during the summer. They tended that garden and I believe they took delight in doing so.  My grandmother would remove the spent blossoms and do some light weeding.  My grandfather would get a board and the edger and keep the edge of the lawn perfectly straight where it met the flower beds.  I think they probably planned the next day’s activities in their minds as they drifted off to sleep at night.

In The Sunken Garden

In The Sunken Garden

The old faded picture above shows some of the garden.  That’s me, in the middle, with my sister, Mary, on the left and cousin, Mary Rose, on the right.  We’re standing by the birdbath in the sunken garden.

Coral Bells Among the Daisies

Coral Bells Among the Daisies

There were many coral bells interspersed among the perennials and my mother would use them as fillers in her arrangements similar to the way baby’s breath is commonly used today.  Coral bells is Heuchera sanquinea, which is Alumroot, part of the Saxifraga family.  Heuchera is a wonderful perennial as the foliage has such beautiful diversity in shape and color; and they grow in such pleasing mound formations.

The foxgloves are appearing in and around my garden now.

Foxglove

Foxglove

 I say they are “appearing” as that is what they do, they just show up wherever they want and it’s just fine with me.  From year to year, I never know where, or if, I will see them.  They vary in shade from white, to light pink to medium pink.

Some of them this year are huge, easily measuring 4 feet tall.

I have a wonderful book entitled “Taylor’s Encyclopedia of Gardening” first published in 1936, my edition published in 1948.  This book states that foxglove “…is one of the handsomest of garden plants, its leaves yielding an important heart remedy”…that being digitalis.

Foxglove Out by the Barn

Foxglove Out by the Barn

The planter in the lower courtyard has been filled with basil plants and I’ve already harvested some for a pasta recipe.  The aroma and taste of fresh basil is heavenly to me.  Just sprinkling a handful of basil onto a salad transforms that salad into a gourmet treat.  And fresh pesto!  Ah, fresh pesto with garlic, pine nuts, fresh basil, parmesean cheese and good quality olive oil … a meal fit for a king.

Along with the basil I’ve planted some lantana, both the upright yellow variety as well as the hanging purple variety which will drape over the edge.  Lantana provides a gorgeous splash of color to the planter and the butterflies and dragonflies love it.

What’s great about lantana is that it doesn’t need to be deadheaded and it will just keep on blooming like crazy until the first frost (as it is really a tropical plant).

Basil and Lantana

Basil and Lantana

Sweet william is also popping up here and there.  Most of the perennials on the property were already here when I arrived.  In the beginning, I really had no idea of much of what was growing here and the sweet william was a pleasant surprise.

Sweet William

Sweet William

There is the dark, almost magenta color sweet william as well as a vibrant pink.

Butterfly on Sweet William

Butterfly on Sweet William

Sweet william is part of the Dianthus species of the family Caryophyllaceae.

And that’s some of what’s going on in the garden today, June 10, 2013.  And yes, the hummingbirds are doing just fine and the pole beans are continuing to grow.

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