My Garden This Week

March 28, 2015

Nemophila insignis '5 Spot'
Nemophila insignis ‘5 Spot’

Summer-like temperatures arrived this past week and decided to stick around for a few days. Bright sunshine caused flowers almost as bright to appear seemingly overnight. Above is a specimen of Nemophila insignis ‘5 Spot’ which I came across growing beneath a tree. I’m pretty sure this little flower is the result of a packet of wildflower mix I tossed out last fall, as are the Nemophila insignis ‘Baby Blue Eyes’ below. Both of these flowers are annuals and reach a height of only about six inches. They do well in partial to full shade.

The first Iris of the season always seem to be white or yellow. This year they’re white. Only two have opened up so far but there’s a multitude of buds on the plants. Many of them appear to be lavender or purple, though sometimes the tint of the buds can be deceiving.

This Pink Flowering Almond Bush (Prunus glandulosa) has really outdone itself this year. While all of the bushes in the garden are flowering well, the profusion of blossoms on this one is simply amazing!

Pink Flowering Almond Bush (Prunus glandulosa)
Pink Flowering Almond Bush (Prunus glandulosa)

These medium-sized shrubs can tolerate various soil and weather conditions quite well. They’ve been in full bloom for about two weeks now and the flowers should probably last another week or so.

Below is a Forsythia bush that has been in full bloom for several weeks. I meant to get a picture of it sooner but didn’t get to it until today! Some of the blossoms are beginning to fade away but I was able to get these two photos of some that remain quite brilliant. Forsythia are native to eastern Asia and southeastern Europe. They add a beautiful splotch of yellow to the garden at this time of year and their foliage remains a robust green throughout the summer.

Lilac (Syringa) bushes are also blooming profusely. Some have so many flower clusters that their aroma is almost overpowering. Several good rains we’ve had this month have definitely benefited all of the trees and shrubs!

The Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) is native to Texas. These can be very striking trees in the spring, as the beautiful dark pink blooms appear before the leaves do. The tree to which the blooms in this photo belong is actually located at the side of our house but on our neighbor’s property.

Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)
Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum) are a prolific plant. They fare pretty well throughout the winter then come to life in the spring. The ones pictured below were limp and straggly only a week or so ago. They’ve rebounded from the cold weather quite nicely.

Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum)
Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum)

Here’s a look at the blooms of the Bugleweed ‘Catlin’s Giant’ (Ajuga reptans ‘Catlin’s Giant’) I posted about last week. Though it can’t be seen in this photo, the plant itself is beginning to send out runners. I plan to allow it to spread a foot or so in either direction but will keep it in check!

Bugleweed ‘Catlin’s Giant’ (Ajuga reptans ‘Catlin’s Giant’)
Bugleweed ‘Catlin’s Giant’ (Ajuga reptans ‘Catlin’s Giant’)

As you can see from the picture below, some areas of my garden need to be cleaned out! These Rocket Larkspur (Consolida ajacis) have really overstepped their bounds. Several Mexican Hat Flowers (Ratibida columnifera) are almost hidden among them!

Rocket Larkspur (Consolida ajacis) and Mexican Hat Flower (Ratibida columnifera)
Rocket Larkspur (Consolida ajacis) and Mexican Hat Flower (Ratibida columnifera)

I’ve been doing some planting and transplanting this week. Some different types of plants — mostly perennials — will be making an appearance in my garden and yard this year. Hopefully! A number of bulbs are starting to emerge and I hope to share their blooms and foliage in the coming months. My seeds haven’t made it into the ground yet. That’s on my calendar for this coming week!

“And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” Genesis 1:29
Holy Bible: King James Version–

 

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My Garden This Week

March 21, 2015

Spring is finally here and the garden is beginning to come to life. Above are photos of the flowers and buds that brightened the past week. I discovered the Grape Hyacinth (Muscari armeniacum) just this morning. For the past several years they’ve barely shown themselves and have disappeared before having a chance to even bloom.

Leaf buds, seedlings and sprouts have been making an appearance this week as well. The Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (top row) is a cutting that I rooted late last summer and planted in the fall. It’s not much to look at right now but it will grow quickly once the warm weather decides to stick around. I was surprised to see the Snow On The Mountain (Euphorbia marginata) seedlings already up (middle row). There are quite a few of them scattered around several flower beds. And at least one Turk’s Cap (Malvaviscus arboreus) is showing leaf buds (bottom row).

Evergreen Tree Seedling
Evergreen Tree Seedling

Here is a small evergreen tree seedling that I found at the base of another tree last summer. I transplanted it to another area and managed to keep it alive. It’s doing quite well and has a beautiful color. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to identify it.

Tree Branches and Rain
Tree Branches and Rain

We had some very beneficial rain on Thursday. The weather service only measured about a quarter of an inch, but we received about three quarters of an inch at our house. It’s also been raining lightly this evening. No drought-busters but welcome nonetheless.

The past week was a good one for my garden. I can’t wait to see what the next seven days will bring!

Bugleweed: Ajuga reptans

Bugleweed 'Catlin's Giant' (Ajuga reptans 'Catlin's Giant')
Bugleweed ‘Catlin’s Giant’ (Ajuga reptans ‘Catlin’s Giant’)

Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans) is a semi-evergreen herbaceous perennial in the Lamiaceae (Mint) family. Gardeners use quite a few cultivars of this plant as ground covers. In most cases it grows at a moderate rate and usually reaches a height of no more than six inches. Tall stalks bearing purple or blue flowers form during the spring and early summer. This example from my garden is known as Ajuga Reptans ‘Catlin’s Giant’. Over the past few days it has begun to bloom.

Bugleweed 'Catlin's Giant' (Ajuga reptans 'Catlin's Giant')
Bugleweed ‘Catlin’s Giant’ (Ajuga reptans ‘Catlin’s Giant’)

I picked this plant up on sale at a local nursery last summer. I was worried about how it would survive the winter. It looked quite pitiful following several bouts of ice and snow, as many of the outer leaves died back, but it made it through the cold weather quite well.

Bugleweed 'Catlin's Giant' (Ajuga reptans 'Catlin's Giant')
Bugleweed ‘Catlin’s Giant’ (Ajuga reptans ‘Catlin’s Giant’)

One day last week I noticed that new foliage had begun to form.

Bugleweed 'Catlin's Giant' (Ajuga reptans 'Catlin's Giant')
Bugleweed ‘Catlin’s Giant’ (Ajuga reptans ‘Catlin’s Giant’)

Along with the green and bronze leaves came the beginnings of some short flower spikes hosting new buds.

Bugleweed 'Catlin's Giant' (Ajuga reptans 'Catlin's Giant')
Bugleweed ‘Catlin’s Giant’ (Ajuga reptans ‘Catlin’s Giant’)

The buds have quickly evolved into small purple blossoms.

Bugleweed 'Catlin's Giant' (Ajuga reptans 'Catlin's Giant')
Bugleweed ‘Catlin’s Giant’ (Ajuga reptans ‘Catlin’s Giant’)

Ajuga reptans survives in conditions of full sun to part shade. Due to a negative past experience with a similar cultivar (translation: it kicked the bucket) I decided to plant this one in an area of almost complete shade beneath a tree.

Bugleweed 'Catlin's Giant' (Ajuga reptans 'Catlin's Giant')
Bugleweed ‘Catlin’s Giant’ (Ajuga reptans ‘Catlin’s Giant’)

Though it has survived, up to this point it has not made an attempt to spread. Hopefully that will happen this year.

Bugleweed 'Catlin's Giant' (Ajuga reptans 'Catlin's Giant')
Bugleweed ‘Catlin’s Giant’ (Ajuga reptans ‘Catlin’s Giant’)

I don’t intend to use Bugleweed as a ground cover, but as a specimen plant. I will be happy if it spreads just a few feet. It’s not a Texas native and as such I don’t want it to take up too much of my limited garden space. It also has a habit of choking out other plants so I plan to keep it in check!

Here are some facts about Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans):

  • Bugleweed is native to Europe, western Asia and northern Africa.
  • Bugleweed is known by such names as Bugleherb, Common Bugle, Blue Bugle and Carpet Bugleweed.
  • Popular cultivars of Ajuga reptans include Burgundy Glow, Black Scallop, Chocolate Chip, Bronze Beauty, Silver Beauty and Metallica Crispa.
  • The cultivar ‘Catlin’s Giant’ received the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society (United Kingdom).
  • Bugleweed is a primary or secondary nectar source for many butterflies of Europe, Russia and Asia, such as the Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Boloria euphrosyne) and the Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui). It attracts bees and hummingbirds.
  • Bugleweed makes a good accent plant due to its texture and it’s green and bronze foliage color.
  • This plant can be propagated easily by dividing its runners or by seed, though the germination rate of seeds can be quite low.
  • Some parts of Bugleweed are used in folk medicine.

Last Autumn ‘Catlin’s Giant’ was uniformly dark green in color (below). As evidenced by the previous photos, the foliage color is currently quite different!

Bugleweed 'Catlin's Giant' (Ajuga reptans 'Catlin's Giant')
Bugleweed ‘Catlin’s Giant’ (Ajuga reptans ‘Catlin’s Giant’)

Wordless Wednesday: Pretty In Pink

Pink Flowering Almond Bush (Prunus glandulosa)

Pink Flowering Almond Bush (Prunus glandulosa)

Pink Flowering Almond Bush (Prunus glandulosa)

Pink Flowering Almond Bush (Prunus glandulosa)