Archive for the ‘garden’ Category

Bursts of Color

The months of June and July continued to bring bursts of color to my garden. In some cases, these bursts of color were more subdued, in others quite showy and earned praise from a neighbor.

First we start in the backyard. It’s a good thing that I have a tendency to look down while walking because if I didn’t I would have totally missed this little Pincushion Flower. A volunteer, I surmise, since it was all by itself.

Now that the local raccoon has stopped digging in my flowerpot, my impatiens are doing well.

In my side garden we come upon one of the few Asiatic Lilies that the deer (or woodchuck) didn’t eat.

On the other side of the same garden we find some delicate pink Astilbe.

Here are some unknown purple flowers. When I took this picture, the lily had already overbloomed as you can see in the background.

Here is a closer look at the purple blossoms.

This picture was taken more recently in the same garden. The purple flowers are waning and the Black Eyed Susans are showing their beauty. The Astilbe in the lower left has long since turned brown.

Wherever there are beautiful flowers, there are also weeds. Here’s a weed with beautiful purple and yellow flowers. I don’t know what it’s called, but clearly this is one of the weeds that will give me trouble year after year. It likes to grow under trees and among the ivy and is difficult to pull out by the roots. What I couldn’t pull out, I cut back, but when I did the scent this plant gave off was horrible!

Moving to the garden on the other side of the driveway we come upon some more Asiatic Lilies.

Surrounding the Asiatic Lilies is Creeping Bellflower, a plant that’s considered an invasive species. I’ll have to keep my eye on it yearly to make sure it doesn’t grow beyond its current boundaries.

At the front of our house the Clematis and Shasta Daisies are blooming.

In the background, behind the colorful dog lawn ornament you’ll see a Butterfly Bush, only this Butterfly Bush looks more like a tree. I don’t know enough about Butterfly Bushes to know if there’s some way I could cut it back to get it to be more bushy or not, so I’ll stick to just minimal cutting for now. Here’s a picture of some blossoms. It does have a nice fragrance.

Nearby, in a later picture, we have more Black Eyed Susans and some Tall Phlox. The heat of July is taking its toll.

Here’s some Coreopsis Grandiflora hidden behind a bush in the same garden.

Dotted here and there throughout the gardens are daylilies.

Some pale pink ones:

Some pale yellow ones:

Some bright yellow ones:

And some striped ones:

Moving on here’s some Variegated Obedient Plant. And, I can attest to its obedience. One of these plants was actually growing horizontally across the sidewalk. I picked it up and propped it up against one of the other plants. Now it grows tall and straight!

My porch petunias are doing well this year.

Some of my roses are still blooming.

Another of those volunteers, Lupine, with Sedium in the background:

Here’s some Bergamot. Yes, it does smell like tea!

A neighbor stopped by one day while I was outside in the yard and asked me what those red flowers were. At the time I didn’t know. She was planning a garden for her yard and wanted some red flowers and admired mine. I told her that she could come by anytime and take some. She took a picture instead.

A Thank You to my husband’s Aunt Martha for the early birthday present: the book Perennials for Michigan by Nancy Szerlag and Alison Beck ©2002 by Lone Pine Publishing International.

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… Irises

I know that the saying goes “stop and smell the roses,” but in my yard I stop and smell the irises. Why? They smell like grape juice. “Huh?” you say. That was my reaction too. I had never heard of (or smelled) such a thing before. But, yes, they do exist and they smell heavenly! You can even say I’m addicted. The full name for these irises are Iris Pallida ‘Argentea Variegata’ and you can find more about them here.

A closer look at the blossom:

There were a few more surprises this time when visiting my garden. Finding lilies of the valley are always a surprise because they grow under large leaves. One can overlook these so easily.

Then nearby I saw that this plant had blossomed. I don’t know what kind of plant it is, but I didn’t expect it to have these tiny yellow blossoms.

Then behind a large bleeding heart bush I found these little delicate flowers…

Coral Bells, I think. They grow on these long stalks.

I saw that my rhododendrons were blooming nicely, so I went over and took a couple of pictures.

Then I saw the buttercups.

Meanwhile I nearly overlooked these flowers:

So unassuming until I took a closer look:

Here’s some hidden lamium:

Then here’s some not so hidden:

Some flowers are difficult to overlook. They just seem to say “Look at me!”

Besides the rhododendrons above, there’s Phlox.

These cornflowers:

A closer look at the blossom:

Oriental poppies are another.

And peonies, of course.

And we must not forget to stop and smell the roses.

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Stop and Smell the…

Hmm… my roses haven’t yet started to bloom so I can’t stop and smell them yet. But here are some flowers (and flowering trees) that have been blooming recently in my garden. And, yes, I have stopped and smelled the blossoms. Although I have to admit that except for the apple blossoms the others don’t seem too fragrant. They are pretty nonetheless.

And, yes, I’ll need my readers’ help with the names of some of these flowers again. I have a feeling reader input is going to be needed throughout the spring and summer. As always, click on the picture to get a closer view.

First, we’ll start with my front yard…

Apple tree

The crab apple tree on the southern side of our yard. Evergreen ground cover of some sort underneath. Unfortunately the grass has taken over and is impossible to remove without digging up the ground cover. I've just taken to clipping the grass to keep it looking at least halfways decent. This picture was taken before I clipped.


Allium growing beside the apple tree.


A close-up of the allium blossoms.


My sickly azalia has blooms nonetheless. I had another azalia a few feet to the north that died. I'll have to replace that one sometime. Hopefully I can save this one. Maybe it just needs fertilizer?

Azalia blooms. Newly planted Everbearing strawberry plant in the background left. The strawberry plant seems to be thriving.

June Bearing Strawberry

The recently planted June Bearing Strawberry plant (not the one seen in the picture above). I can't believe it has a blossom already. We may actually get a strawberry this year. The last time I planted strawberries, at my previous residence, it took a year before I saw a blossom.

Tree and dog stake

A very scrawny looking tree. Don't know what kind it is, but I do know that it has purple flowers in the late summer/early autumn. The dog ornament I bought at the East Lansing art fair a few years back.


Forget-me-nots. (Thanks Amy for the identification.) The flowers were actually bright blue, not green as they show up here. I say "were" because my husband mowed over them this weekend. Glad I captured them digitally before that happened!

Apple Tree

Those forget-me-nots were growing under this apple tree, on the northern side of our yard.

Now the side garden…

Hosta with cat ornament

A hosta. One of many in the side and backyard gardens. The little cat garden ornament I bought this weekend at the East Lansing art fair.

By garage

The garden by the garage. The white flowers are bleeding heart. I think the purple flowers closest to you are violets. The other purple flowers are columbine.




A close-up of the columbine.


Here's a closer look yet. Gorgeous!

Bleeding Heart

A larger bleeding heart.

And, finally, the backyard….


Another one of those unknown plants. Sorry for the blurriness.


Dame's Rocket.


Another unknown.


Sweet woodruff.


Close-up of sweet woodruff.

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April Showers…

…bring May flowers, of course.

The yard of the house my husband and I recently moved into is professionally landscaped. Unfortunately, it did not come with a professional landscaper. So, this spring I’ve been trying to identify the various plants that dot the landscape. Some are easy to identify. Other’s not so much. Perhaps some of my readers out there can help. Here’s a little walk-through of some of the plants that are currently flowering in our garden. (Click on the photo, to see a bigger picture.)

[Update 5/11/2011: Thanks to Martha Smith, Brigitte Darnay, and Monique Magee for helping me identify all of the unknowns!]


Grape hyacynth.

Rhododendron in bloom.

Daffodils and Muscari

Daffodils and Muscari near our lamp post


Johnny Jump-ups, aka wild pansies. We have a few clumps of these growing in our lawn and another larger clump actually growing in the garden.






Ferns on the south side of the house.


Vinca. That ivy is everywhere there's an evergreen in the neighborhood.


More ivy and more vinca, but of a different color.

Squirrel on birdfeeder.

Squirrel trying to figure out the squirrel-proof birdfeeder. Yes, he (or she) did figure it out. The birds, other than the sparrows and goldfinches however, still haven't figured out how to get the seeds.


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