29 April 2016

Leap Year

The woodland phlox (Phlox divaricata) was purchased at the annual spring garden sale at the local botanical garden, Green Spring. I do like to grow natives and feel a bit of guilt because I do not exclusively limit my garden to them. This one was sold in the native plant vendor section. It did not have much of a label, except for "Woodland Phlox".

My newfound native came with a small cluster of flowers on a thin but upright stalk. It was planted in a lightly shaded bed with shade compatriots tradescantia, hosta, and astilbe and hydrangea, in the forefront front of them all. The internet says to expect a height of 12-inches (30 cm). The plant stopped blooming in summer and did not do anything for the rest of the year. Early morning sun bathed the area, but for most of the day it received dappled shade under an ever increasing neighbor's maple tree to the south.

Last year, it started to spread. There was an upright section that produced clusters of spring blooms, and a horizontal section that spread out flat to the ground. But it did have several flower stalks clustered together, indicating that it was growing.

It survived that nasty winter. Natives can survive beasts and weather in the wild, but sometimes do not survive me.

All those horizontal sections running along the surface of the ground last year produced dozens of flower stalks this year. The result is a mound of light blue, slightly fragrant flower clusters. If memory serves me, I was able to enjoy these flowers for over a month.

This wildflower phlox is native to woodlands of the eastern United States, north from Quebec, south to Texas. Yes, I know Quebec is Canada. Woodland phlox likes moist, fertile, loose soil. I have one out of three with my Virginia clay -- moist clay.

Common cultivars are 'Blue Moon' most resembling my plant, and 'Clouds of Perfume.' The flowers have nectar in the base of the long tubes, so insects need long tongues to get to it. Butterflies and hummingbirds are supposed like them best. I like them second best. They bloom at a place in the yard where hydrangea, hosta, and astilbe are still getting ready for their show to come later.

For The Record:
  • Heavy clay soil with mulch and organic amendments
  • Mostly shade
  • Very little fertilizer
  • No serious pests/disease

Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: azalea, viburnum, dutch iris, coreopsis

15 April 2016

April 2016 Bloom Day

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day
What's blooming in the garden on the 15th of the month

Leave the office early on a sunny Friday afternoon. Rush home to beat the rush hour traffic. Test out the new nuclear powered camera for the first time on the blog. See what's in the zone 7a garden.

I still have the simple rustic Canon Elph that I used for nine years -- for all blog photos up to now -- except for a few iPad and iPhone photos. But the new Canon T5i, well, there are as many settings as the space shuttle. Let's try figuring this contraption out to get closer than the old camera did. One photo was taken with a lens attachment that did not produce a clear image. Put that attachment in the closet or sell it.

My, I have a lot of white photos. I just realized that after looking at what I shot this afternoon. But the white is not all in one place except on my blog. The sun is setting, on another Bloom Day.

Maybe a new camera will help me take photos like A Tidewater Gardener, you think? Nah, no way.

Cornus florida

Azalea 'Snow'

Spirea prunifolia (Bridal Wreath)

Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum 'Shasta'
Looking better now -- years after I severely pruned it and almost lost it

Pieris japonica cultivar

Phlox divaricata -- this is its third year and its leaping!

Tulip 'Princess Irene' not looking good in its second year

Narcissus poeticus -- the late fragrant daffodil even the ant appreciates

For other garden bloggers bloom day photos, check out our host at blog May Dreams Gardens.