Friday, June 22, 2012

Late June blooms

I planted three old garden roses bare-root this spring, and only one has a bloom on it this year. (I gather that's not unusual - they take a while to get going.) It's an alba rose called 'Madame Legras de St. Germain', and it's lovely!

Rosa alba 'Madame Legras de St. Germain'
It is fully double, pure white with a green "button" center, and has a very nice sweet and fruity perfume. Foliage so far looks great - alba roses do not typically suffer from disease issues. I hope it will be 6 feet tall and covered in blooms sometime soon! (hah)

My stokesia (Stokes' Aster) has also started blooming - huge saucer-shaped disks of purple-blue. It looks kind of like a goofy but charming alien.

Stokesia 'Bluestone'

Stokesia 'Bluestone' with Sedum 'Angelina', platycodon, and pink petunias

Also blooming now are these early lilies - I love all lilies, but the LA hybrids are my favorite. Supposedly LA hybrids are fragrant, but I can't detect much of a scent on the ones I have (at least, it's nothing compared to oriental lilies).

LA hybrid lily 'Golden Tycoon'

Asiatic lily NOID

Friday, June 15, 2012

June Blooms

A wave of flowers is beginning again after a bit of a lull following the peonies. Here's a sampling of what's blooming in mid-June this year:

Astilbe 'Visions in Red'
Astilbe - this one is 'Visions in Red'. It is the earliest of my three astilbes to bloom, and the most compact. I love the deep red color of the blooms!

Astrantia 'Roma'
 Also blooming in the shade are these astrantias (Masterwort), which are still quite small (planted bare root this spring). I love the delicate silvery-pink flowers, and the foliage is quite attractive as well. They are difficult to photograph - here's a close-up of the flowers:

Astrantia 'Roma'
Thalictrum ichangense 'Evening Star'

This diminutive thalictrum is delicate wonder in the shade. As you can see, it looks very unlike the more familiar tall thalictrums (which I also love) - this less common species from China is a tiny creature, with wonderful silver-veined leaves, red stems, and delicate starburst pink flowers. And, at least so far, the rabbits have not taken a single bite of it (something I can say about very few plants in my garden - my rabbits have very adventurous palates!). Behind it is Carex flaccosperma, which I think makes a good foliage companion.

Rose 'The Fairy'
My new little Fairy rose is blooming - the blooms are so cute! I picked this popular rose up on a whim at a garden center. It's a very ordinary plant, but no less valuable to gardeners who love easy, healthy, happy roses.

Tradescantia andersoniana 'Blue Stone'
The tradescantia (spiderwort) keeps pumping out blooms. The foliage is a bit "informal" (read: messy looking), but it blooms all summer and the overall effect is cheery. Sedum 'Angelina', spilling out over the rocks, is sending up its alien-wand flower spikes and will bloom soon.

Asiatic lily
This red Asiatic lily was a gift, so I unfortunately do not know its name. It has proved to be a trooper though, coming back strong this year despite repeated rabbit attacks. My LA hybrid lilies are just about to pop, and the Orientals have lots of buds. Hopefully it will be a good lily year!

Penstemon 'Riding Hood Blue'
These penstemons (Beardtongue) are another recent addition I made this June. I have totally failed to capture their wonderful airy blooms on camera properly - in real life they infuse this little corner with a silky blue-pink haze. I'm not sure how long-lived they will be (I don't normally go in for things with short life-spans...), but for now, they are proving satisfactory in this spot. As you can see, Geranium sanguineum var. striatum continues to bloom in the background. This will need shearing soon, after which it will grow new foliage and resume blooming from late summer into fall.

Visit Carol's Garden Blogger's Bloom Day to see what's blooming in gardens across the world on this day!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Explorer Roses at Olbrich

It was rose season during my most recent visit to Olbrich Botanical Gardens - hooray!
Roses with allium, catmint, heuchera, geranium
I missed the rugosa display this year (bleepers!), but I did catch the shrub roses in their full glory. The ones that impressed me the most were the ultra-hardy Canadian Explorer series of roses. They all looked so healthy and abundant! I love the flowers of any rose, but many have awful foliage and awkward shapes. The Explorers all looked great.

George Vancouver was perhaps my favorite. I had not seen this one before and found it arresting. The flowers are a brilliant coral red color - a wonderful glow in the garden!

Explorer rose 'George Vancouver'
 It is a relatively small plant with a tidy habit. Here it is in a mixed border with willow and geranium.

Explorer rose 'George Vancouver' with Salix integra 'Hakuro Nishiki' and geranium
John Davis is my other favorite - this one is gigantic. It looks like it emerged from a fairy tale. At Olbrich they have lots of these growing up through enormous tuteurs. Here it is intermingling with an unlabeled clematis. This specimen was at least 8 feet tall - this is a close-up of its mid-section!

Explorer rose 'John Davis' with clematis
Here it is growing alone, in a mixed planting with catmint, tiarella, allium 'Globemaster', and other delights. This specimen is much smaller than the others I saw - not sure if it's just younger or if they prune this one back drastically to squeeze it into the space. Either way, as you can see it makes a very dense bush smothered in full double blooms.
Explorer rose 'John Davis'
William Baffin is an Explorer that is planted often up here - and it is a happy, healthy thing for sure! The individual blooms are not very fine on close inspection, but the overall effect is breathtaking when this tall climber blooms. At Olbrich they have several of these planted around the stone arches at the base of their beautiful rose tower.

Explorer rose 'William Baffin'
I want to plant more roses in my garden (if I can ever remove the gigantic gravel pit from the only remaining sunny spot in my yard... long story). I think I will have to make room for an Explorer or two!
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