25 April 2014

Wood Phlox Comes To Life

This is the newest rookie perennial in the garden. There was this plant sale at a local historic house museum last spring; who can resist a tent full of plants for sale, especially if they are for a good cause. (I don't remember the cause, but did purchase a plant.)

The wood phlox (Phlox divaricata) came in a 2-inch pot (5 cm) and was planted in a mostly shady spot. It was sold to me as a shade variety of the creeping phlox without as many blooms, and as a native.

The phlox did not do much all of last year after I assured it that I will care for it. But this spring it sprung forth a burst of new growth and is blooming. Note, it is not similar to the creeping phlox.

Flowers are larger, and more dispersed. The plant produces stems that are much more upright at about 10-inches in height (25 cm). These will probably turn into runners and spread. To me, wood phlox more accurately resembles an upright vinca minor. After reading that the flowers are fragrant, I had to shove my nose down to the ground and test this out. There is a slight fragrance.

The most impressive characteristic is its robust growth after being planted in heavy clay soil and after surviving Hell Winter. Although not covered with blossoms as thickly as the garden catalogs (what plant ever is,) it begins to fill in the front of a wide barren shady spot. And someone might even try some cuttings or divisions for another barren spot further down the yard that needs something to compliment the white dogwood, white azaleas, and white viburnum.

For The Record:
  • New bed with heavy clay soil with some organic amendments
  • Mostly light shade
  • Small amount of fertilizer
  • No serious pests/disease

Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: Dogwood, midseason tulips, wood phlox, poet
    daffodils, leucojum, muscari

09 April 2014

Hyacinths Sliced And Diced

The hyacinths (Hyacinth orientalis) are in bloom, even ones that were hacked to pieces last year. I was digging in the dirt to make room for some pepper plants in the front cottage garden. A few good-looking vegetables are now planted in this garden, and last year bell pepper plants were being set down. The trowel blasted into a few white hyacinth bulbs below the surface that forgot to tell me where they were hiding.

The pieces were cleaned off and planted with hope they would multiply like a starfish, each piece growing anew. It worked! This year, all pieces grew, and they all had blooms, more or less. These are not Fine Gardening Magazine materials, but blooms nonetheless. White blooms came up from the remnants, although some only have three or four flowers in the cluster.

My other mistake was to plant some of the chunks on top of previously established tulips as well as previous planted blue Sky Jacket hyacinths. Anyone read the book, "Now Where Did I Plant Those?"

In past years, hyacinths forced inside were later planted outdoors. The following spring will
bring small blooms, but great blooms the year after. (Being toxic, they make a lovely addition to my poison garden.) So, the blue Sky Jacket hyacinths finished their blooms, and were planted in the front cottage garden. (Note, when forced indoors, the color is a lighter blue.) A month later, when hyacinth leaves had died down, it was pepper planting time.

Does my spring bulb arrangement announce, "Drunken gardener lives here?"

For The Record:
  • Rich well-drained soil
  • Full sun
  • No fertilizer
  • No serious pests/disease

Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: hyacinth, magnolia, rhododendron mucronulatum,
    Ice follies daffodils