june bloom day

After a slow start, things are really picking up…just in time for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. This post contains a few questions that I am hoping will turn up some answers as comments (always appreciated).

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Sambucus negra ‘Eva’ anchors an entry berm that is just starting to come together. It is blooming for the first time this year. Here you see it nestled up to Hydrangea quercifolia, which is just budding up (also a first timer).

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Looking at it from the other side of the berm, Allium caesium is just pushing through the dark foliage and beginning to unfurl its sky blue balls.

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An unknown Euphorbia is crowding in (can anyone identify it?). I seem to have fallen into the old trap of over-planting, but right now it is perfect…and isn’t that what shovels are for?

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After having been moved several times, I hope the Eremurus has found a happy home. These are in the very early stage of blooming, but by next Bloom Day they will have passed their peak. They will be a vibrant shade of pale orange. I planted ‘Cleopatra’, which should be a deeper orange, almost red, but it shows no signs of putting up flower spikes this year. I am willing to baby Eremurus and do whatever it takes to see her thrive.

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So here’s my next question: when a friend gave me this red lily three years ago, there were two blooming stems. It has grown into an ever larger clump. Should I be digging up and dividing the bulbs? It seems to be doing a fine job without intervention, but I would hate to lose these fireworks through neglect.

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In my last garden, I allowed Nigella to get out of hand. It’s obvious, from the heavenly blue petals and feathery foliage, how it was able to insinuate itself into this one. I just must keep repeating to myself, over and over, “I will not allow ‘Love-in-a-mist’ to set seed.” The seeds are actually quite a nice alternative to poppyseed, with a peppery crunch; the seedpods themselves have a whimsical, alien life-form appearance…making the aforementioned oath harder to carry out than one might think.

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Another prolific self-seeder is Lychnis coronaria. I took the above picture in early spring, when the foliage formed a velvety, dense carpet.

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Now it is stretching out and putting forth the first of a summer’s worth of blooms. And now the fun begins: deadhead, deadhead, deadhead.

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The shallots have formed these drumsticks, about to shed their papery casing and unfurl like their allium cousins. So…am I supposed to let this happen if big, pungent shallots are the goal? I read that digging should wait until the leaves begin to wither and die. These escaped last year’s dig, when the resulting shallots were disappointingly small. Those are Marion berries along the back wall. They mostly fall prey to the bears every year. The yellow flowers on the left are kale.

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Two flats of Blue Star Creeper, or Laurentia fluviatilis, plugs purchased from Home Depot went into the east berm early on. Now they form an ever expanding carpet of green, spangled with tiny pale blue blossoms throughout the summer.

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Has anyone seen a foxglove do this before? They volunteer all over the place here, sometimes surprising in their choices of where to put down roots. Several of them have done this thing, where the uppermost blossom on the stalk blooms out to form an up-facing cup. The rest of the stalk sports the customary drooping gloves for foxes. I have never seen this before this year. Anyone know what’s up with that?

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Last, this exotic bloom graces what is essentially a houseplant. I have no name to go with it. Help me if you can.

I should have taken my pictures yesterday, when it was overcast, but I used up all of my gardening chops digging, weeding and hauling rocks in the cool weather. Not that I reject the beautiful sunshine of today, but I might have gotten some overall shots of the berms as they are developing. Ah, well…we may end the day exhausted and sated, but never quite ‘finished’. Georgia O’Keefe said something about never being quite ‘there’ with the recently completed painting. It was always the next painting that drew her along her life’s path.

3 Responses to “june bloom day”

  1. Karen Says:

    Hi Ricki - Thanks so much for stopping by my blog, I always love to find another NW blogger to yak with. I’m afraid I’m no help with the foxglove question (or any of the others, for that matter). But I love your Sambucus negra, I saw that plant in another garden and really wanted to find out what it was, so thanks for answering MY question! A great blog and wonderful commenter/plant ID person is Grace Peterson, another OR gal. Have you read her at all? She is here: http://www.gracepete.com/ and always comes through for me with those thorny plant questions. Good luck and hope you get some good answers! I am glad for the heads-up on nigella, BTW - I have let it come over from the neighbors and will probably live to regret it. I even passed along some seed pods to a curious teenager today, hope her family doesn’t hate me someday!

  2. Daphne Says:

    Goodness. I’ve never seen a foxglove do that. I haven’t a clue. I love your love-in-a-mist. It is very pretty.

  3. Loree / danger garden Says:

    Ricki - I found your blog through your comment on Karen’s blog. Love your pictures! I think I can identify your Euphorbia as ‘Euphorbia polychroma’ - gotta get back to work now but I’ve marked your blog and plan to come back and spend more time soon. BTW I’m going to the ANLD tour…sounds like fun!

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