April 22, 2009

Let the Blooms Begin

I've been spending my days outside in the garden and not paying attention to anything else. I've been pulling weeds, planting perennials, potting annuals and sowing seeds. I finally took time this morning to stop and see what's blooming.

First of all, let me give an update on Cinnamon Bunny, that hungry baby rabbit that lives in my garden along with a few other critters. She's been making herself at home in the cottage garden. I learned that I should spray the repellent at the bottom of the plants (where baby bunny noses sniff), not just the tops.

The two Rosa banksiae 'Lutea' (Lady Banks Roses) are blooming quite beautifully right now. One is trained to go over the gable garden gate and the other is by the main cottage garden gate. I keep these in check with pruning the nearly thornless stems. The pale yellow blooms (no fragrance) are abundant this year. Both were planted in the fall of 2005. Lady Banks is suitable for zones 6a-11.

The Encore® Azaleas are just starting the spring bloom. In a few days, they should be in full bloom. In spring, they bloom a few weeks later than other varieties, but will repeat the blooms again in the fall. I've been very happy with the performance, although two of the azaleas with bi-color blooms reverted to the solid magenta color.

My oldest plantings of iris x hollandica (Dutch iris) are in full bloom. I'm still waiting on the Dutch iris 'Telestar' and 'Rosario', planted in fall 2008, to bloom. It won't be long and I'm excited to see how the colors work in the garden with plantings of allium 'Purple Sensation'.

For those who wonder if you can grow lilacs in the south, I'm pleased to introduce you to the petite S. patula 'Miss Kim' ('Miss Kim' lilac). In full disclosure, it has been a real struggle for her to get to this glorious point of bloom as she is rated for zones 3a-7b (I'm in 7b but it can feel like zone 8).

The last two years, we've had April frosts that killed off the buds. Prior to that, she was planted in my cottage garden, where it was too hot in the summer and she dropped her leaves in the drought.

'Miss Kim' is now happily residing between the waterfall garden and butterfly garden (east location) where she is being watched over by an osmanthus fragrans (fragrant tea olive) that is also beginning to bloom right now. The two fragrances work well together. A burgundy loropetalum chinense (probably 'Ruby') is also blooming along with these two sweeties. The burgundy foliage and magenta blooms of the loropetalum and the lilac blooms are a nice color combination.

Over the next few days and weeks, the garden will launch into more and more blooms that will lead up to the peak bloom of my garden in mid-July.
Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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