Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Blooms I Might Miss and Blooms I Missed Showing You

I expect to be in Portugal when you read this, taking many pictures and storing up adventures to tell you about when I return. While I may find a computer and Internet to post occasionally, I'm concentrating on just being there and enjoying Paterfamilias' company. But I've taken advantage of Blogger's delayed publishing feature to leave some posts so that you don't forget me while I'm gone. Comments are welcome as always, and I’ll see them if/when I check my e-mail. I might not be able to answer them from Europe, but I’ll do my best to respond when I get back.

I forgot to show you these ajuga (bugleweed) on the May Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. I think they're very pretty, but you can see that the area is in major need of a clean-up. Indeed, I'm thinking of digging this patch up completely and putting some shrubs in, replacing the perennials for a bit more structure. I started this bed with perennials only, digging out the turf around the arbutus tree and putting in whatever caught my fancy over the years. This spot not only competes with the tree for water and nutrients but is also under full sun all day long. I don't need my plants to be completely xeric, but pretty close as I only water when it's really necessary. Most of these guys have been very tolerant workhorses so I'm reluctant to take them out, but I'm getting more and more unhappy with the encroaching crabgrass and general scrubbiness. It may be time to finally establish some clearer lines with some well-chosen shrubs. Most books say that's where you should begin but many gardeners begin with the more emotional pull to flowers, which so often means perennials or even annuals. But I'm learning . . . Not far from the ajuga, also in the area I'm thinking of cleaning up, are several types of allium and they're surely going to burst open into their star-head blooms while we're away. I'm hoping this one may even do so this weekend so I can get a preview before we leave. They turn into wonderful globes which make amazingly sculptural seedheads. Not a bloom, of course, but with that same promise of incipient growth, here is the fern unfurling. It will have a fresh new coat by the time we return.
This clematis -- Guernesey Cream -- tangles together with the Honeysuckle Lonicera Periclymenum 'Serotina' up the arbutus trunk, and this year I think it's going to be quite spectacular, splashing its creamy blossoms against the arbutus' rust and pistachio. Again, I'm hoping some blossoms will wait for us. I don't think the Honeysuckle will be blooming much before we get back, but if it does, I'm not worried as it has a long flowering time. I'm not too worried about missing the Duchess of Edinburgh double-flowered clematis as the blooms don't look ready to open yet.
Also taking its time is the Rosemary, although it's starting to open this week -- weeks behind my neighbour's right next door! What a difference those micro-climates can make.And no blooms yet on this Physocarpus (Ninebark), but I wanted you to see the beautiful gold of its foliage. I'm not sure what I'd do if I had to choose between dark purple/red, glaucous (blue-grey-green) and golden/chartreuse foliage. I love each of them for the effect they have on the surrounding greens and the various bloom colours, but nothing brightens the garden as magically as the gold.

Aronia melanocarpa (Black chokeberry) will be flowering for the first time in our garden while we're gone. We enjoyed its black berries last fall and I hope we'll catch the tail end of its blooms when we get back. If not, its glossy leaves will suffice until it berries up again in the fall. Every summer, I get impatient with the columbine as the leaves become mildewy and they take up space without offering enough colour or structure (although the leaves are an attractive enough shape, I admit). But every spring, I admire the old-fashioned charm of their flowers. They'll come into their glory without my company, but even now, the buds themselves are so graceful.
We leave Lisbon on the 11th, flying to London and then directly back to Vancouver. I'll want a day or two to catch my breath and then I'll be deluging you with photos and stories galore.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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