Saturday, May 3, 2014

Gardenblogging Part VI

Leaves starting to unfurl on a shrub we planted maybe three years ago? I think it was either the same time as we planted the viburnums or a few months to a year after. Either way, this shrub has not grown anywhere near as much as the viburnums have; the viburnums are taller than me now, and this guy still doesn't come up to my knee.

Wildflower Blogging

I've been posting a bunch of pictures of flowers from my garden --- lilacs, viburnums, bleeding hearts, vincas, and whatever this red thing is --- so now I want to change it up by posting pictures of a flower my mom and I did not plant.

We get a lot of violets growing in the shady parts of the yard --- under the deck, in the grassy zone adjoining the flowerbed, and under the maple tree with the red flowering bush next to it --- and I'm always very happy to see them, so this year I thought I'd take some pictures.

This is also the first time I've noticed that they are in fact blue, not purple!

(So the old verse is true, it's not just that nothing rhymes with purple ...) 
Look at the way the color seems to be coming from veins in the petals. (Also, the flower is a little battered --- I probably should've taken its picture when I first noticed it, instead of waiting until later).

Finally, since I mentioned verse, I want to quote a poem I like that mentions violets.

    She dwelt among the untrodden ways
    Beside the springs of Dove,
    A Maid whom there were none to praise
    And very few to love:

    A violet by a mossy stone
    Half hidden from the eye!
    Fair as a star, when only one
    Is shining in the sky.

    She lived unknown, and few could know
    When Lucy ceased to be;
    But she is in her grave, and, oh,
    The difference to me! 

Gardenblogging, Part V

Like the first couple pictures in my vinca post, these were actually taken last year. This plant flowers early, and I didn't get a picture of it in time this year.
I don't know what this thing is --- it's a woody shrub that's growing practically right on top of one of the maple trees in our yard. It's very sparse --- only a few branches --- compared to all the free-standing shrubs we have.

Here are some pictures that show more of it, and how it leans against the trunk of the tree:
We also didn't plant this --- either the people who lived here before us did, or it volunteered, grown from a seed misplaced by a bird or squirrel or something.

It's my favorite of all our plants. I'd like to paint it sometime.

Gardenblogging, Part IV

Bleeding hearts!

Gardenblogging, Part III

Vincas! The above photos were taken on different days --- different years, actually --- the top two on a sunny day and the bottom one on a cloudy day.

The individual blooms are so tiny you can't really take a picture where they show up clearly that also shows the whole area they cover. So here are a couple pictures where I've tried to show that --- they carpet a fairly large stretch of ground at the base of a black walnut tree growing right next to the huge drainage ditch running through our backyard. 

My mom wanted them there so that we'd have something covering the ground/keeping the soil in place, but not grass that we'd have to mow, because the dropoff is very abrupt and you could go right into the ditch if you're not careful. We have an ongoing project to do that all along the creekbed, replace the grass with low-growing, creeping ground-cover plants, preferably flowering ones. Alas, most of the stretch of ground we want to cover isn't as shady as it is under the walnut, so we can't just cover our side of the ditch with vincas.

Gardenblogging, Part II

(Cross-posted from my Tumblr)

Here are some pictures of one of the viburnums --- we have three, but I only took pictures of one. We planted them some years ago (Three? Four? Probably not five, but I can't rule that out either), and out of all our relatively new shrubs they are probably the ones that are flourishing the best in our yard, aside from the Roses of Sharon and maybe the butterfly bushes.

It's a tough environment for plants, with its combination of heavy clay soil and extreme heat and dryness.

The informational materials that came with the little saplings that we bought said that this type of viburnum grows into sort of a roundish bush with a diameter of six to twelve feet, and to a height of something like five to eight feet or six to ten feet. (I don't remember which of those it was.)

So they're smaller than they would be under ideal growing conditions.

Here's me standing next to one, so that you can see how tall it is:
I'm 5'8", and you can see that the tallest branch on the bush extends a little bit above my head, maybe enough to make it past the six-foot mark.

Look at how big those flowers are!

(Here are some more pictures of them)

Gardenblogging, Part I

(Cross-posted from my Tumblr)

Here are a bunch of pictures of the lilac bush next to my house:

Those pictures give a good idea of the size and shape of the whole plant, but they don't really do justice to individual flowers.

So here are some closer-up shots: