April 20, 2008

Spring Rains

The spring rains have been frequent and the garden is looking alive with color. The oldest part of the garden was planted in Fall 2005. It is encouraging to see the bulbs planted that first year put on another show. The Dutch Iris are favorites with the family and visitors. There are two large clumps beside the entrance pathway. Had it not been for the drought this past fall, I would have planted many more. I will definitely try to select more colors to scatter throughout the garden to add to the daffodils and bluebells.

The lavender is full bloom! It is quite vigorous again, having ignored the drought. I took these photos in the evening following a heavy rain, so the stems are beaten down a bit. Yet, I love the colors of the late evening with the garden drenched by the rain. The Japanese Maple is also in full glory right now. The cottage pinks (dianthus) edging the pathway are heavy with fragrance. The leaves of the Knock Out Roses are multiple colors along the fence. The clematis vines are scampering and climbing every which way, while a Lady Banksia rose of yellow is in full bloom by the gate.

The Encore Azaleas (in a standard form) are just beginning to bloom. That's creeping jenny used as a groundcover with Purple Palace Heuchera. Last year, I had impatiens coming up through the creeping jenny. I've not yet planted any annuals this year. I will probably wait until late May.

The hummingbirds showed up a few weeks ago. Besides keeping the feeders full for the little fellows, we have planted appetizing flowers for them such as the crossvine on the obelisk at the corner of the patio. It's a bit lopsided with blooms as it was going to close off our little path (an extension created after the vine was planted) so we keep it trimmed for access to another patio and more pathways.

Salvia greggii Navajo Red is also a favorite food for the hummingbirds. There is a grouping of these planted on a slope beside our large willow tree. All the birds that visit our garden and feeders like to hang out in the willow tree.

Our greyhound enjoys the garden! We adopted our adorable "Charm" almost five years ago from Project Racing Home, located just south of Greensboro. Project Racing Home is holding an open house on Saturday, May 17th, from noon until 4:00pm. If you stop by, I'll be there with plants for sale to help with some fund raising. I'll try to bring a nice, but limited, collection of interesting perennials for the event. There will be a lot going on at the open house that will be fun for families. It's a great chance to get out and support these wonderful retired racing greyhounds. To find out more about adopting a greyhound, please visit Get A Greyhound.

I'm trying very hard to control myself with regards to extending the garden this year. I still have a lot of rearrangement underway as I move and divide my existing plants. I will definitely be adding more host plants for Monarch and swallowtail butterflies with asclepias and bronze fennel. I look forward to the return of butterflies. I've spotted a few already, but haven't been able to get close enough yet for identification. As they appear, I'll begin posting butterfly photos.

Happy Gardening!

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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