Rainy Sunday


Thunderstorms are rumbling through right now, along with some torrential rain, so my gardening was cut a little short today.  I love thunderstorms though, so I’m content to sit in my darkening kitchen typing this post, rather than being outside weeding and deadheading peonies.

Have I mentioned that it’s been an abnormally cool and wet spring and early summer? We’ve had rain 6 out of the past 7 days, and that’s been the norm since April.

The vegetable garden is less than pleased, but the perennials and newly planted trees and shrubs are loving it.  So are the weeds, which have taken over every border I’ve yet to get to for “spring” clean-up (i.e., weeding, edging and mulching)…at this rate I might make it through the final border by fall!

Below are some photos of the plants in bloom this weekend.  Enjoy!

Astilbe beginning to flower in the shade garden


The last hoorah for the peonies for this season
Finally some of the clematis is making its way up the arbor
A shrub rose that I grew from a cutting from a local gardener – no idea what type it is, but it blooms like crazy all summer long — with catmint underplanted
Astilbe in the front with Sweet William, Spirea and yet to open Shasta Daisies behind
Alnwick Rose – a shrub rose bred by David Austin; repeat flowering and wonderfully fragrant, I selected it for the new rose hedge last year.  I planted 11 of them in an arc to close off the new rose garden.  They will hopefully reach their full height of 3-4 feet next season.
A new addition in the rose garden this season, Heuchara ‘Red Sea.’  I’m in love with this foliage!
Allium seedhead with water droplets in the rose garden
Clematis ‘Venosa violacea’ – the 1st blossom of the season with loads more to come
View of portions of shade garden (forefront), circle garden and peony border from upstairs hall window
I don’t recall planting this, but I think it’s Campanula barbata (Bearded Bellflower). If anyone knows otherwise, please let me know!
Hippolyte Rose – an old rose that is cold-hardy.  I added this one last year in the rose garden.  I love the deep purple color; the photo doesn’t accurately capture the color.
Dianthus hybrid
Sweet William – I grow these from seed so the colors are always a surprise

Baby Robin


We’ve been quite lucky this spring.  We’ve been graced with an Eastern Phoebe nesting in our sheep barn; building her nest atop a light fixture.  She successfully hatched 3 babies, who seemed to take very little time at all to go from tiny creatures to full fledglings flitting about the barn for a day or two, and then poof – gone into the wild.

We also had a couple of tree swallows who nested in the bird house situated between the orchard and sheep pasture.  I just noticed a couple of young ones flying about with the parents the other day.  They’ll be heading out soon as well.

Lastly, we had a female robin take up residence in an old robin’s nest atop out front door. She gave it a little make-over (everyone’s a critic) before settling in to lay her eggs.  There were 3 eggs, but the babies have hatched and as of yesterday, I’ve only see two heads pop up whenever I’ve stepped out onto the porch to water the container plants.  This morning, Nora noticed that one of the young ones (photo above) had left the nest.  

Mom is still very much around, bringing a constant supply of worms and screaming vociferously whenever we even contemplate stepping out the door.  I expect we’ll see the 2nd one venture out soon.


The rocking chair.  It is a presence in the American psyche; at least in rural America.


To me it connotes warmth, the seat by the fire on a cold, winter evening; the comfort and security of being enfolded in the arms of a loving grandparent; the serenity and peace of a quiet evening on the porch, fireflies lighting up like a thousand candles in the dark, a cooling breeze brushing aside the heat of the summer day. 

This Weekend in the Garden

IMG_7857.JPG“Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful,’ and sitting in the shade.”  — Rudyard Kipling

Peony ‘Sarah Bernhardt’

Peonies are opening all over the garden.  I’ve added many over the past couple of years — so many I forgot where I planted some of them until they began to pop up in early spring.  Although they bloom for only a brief time, I feel about peonies the way many gardeners feel about roses; I can’t imagine my garden without them.

Peony ‘Duchess De Nemours’ with Alchemilla mollis
Peony ‘Shirley Temple’
Part of the Peony “Old Time Collection”

“The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies.”  — Gertrude Jekyll

Anchusa azurea ‘Dropmore’ with campanula


“Gardening simply does not allow one to be mentally old, because too many hopes and dreams are yet to be realized.”  — Allan Armitage

Penstemon ‘Pocahontas’ with bumble bee


Clematis are as omnipresent as peonies in the garden.

I’m not sure what this is. It was supposed to be ‘Josephine’ as well, and clearly is not.


Clematis ‘Josephine’
Clematis ‘Belle of Woking’


“I like gardening — it’s a place where I find myself when I need to lose myself.” — Alice Sebold

Peony, catmint and foxglove


Siberian Iris
Sweet William
Bleeding Heart
Penstemon, catmint and Rosa ‘Grootendorst’




I’m slowly making my way around the garden borders for the first of the season clean-up — edging, weeding, dividing and relocating as needed.  Sadly, it’s already June 11th and I’m only half way there!


I have no idea how I ended up with more than 13 mixed borders, a vegetable garden, an orchard (fruit trees, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and currants), and a separate, rather large, pumpkin patch (thankfully planted over with a green manure crop this season to rebuild the soil).


I think my garden has expanded past the size that I can comfortably handle…


And yet, I’ve already enlarged the gazebo border this season (as in I’ve covered it with cardboard and straw to kill the grass; not that I’ve actually found the time to plant it out yet).



I can’t seem to stop myself!  Reminds me of the following quote by Phyllis McGinley…

“The trouble with gardening is that is does not remain an avocation.
It becomes an obsession.”


When, I ask myself constantly, is enough, enough?  I’ve made 3 trips to the local nursery this week AND ordered plants online from Bluestone Perennials because they wisely sent me a 50% off email – they knew I couldn’t resist the compulsion to buy more plants!  I feel like I need an intervention.

Yesterday’s Blooms

“Flowers… are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty out-values all the utilities of the world.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson


Clematis “Miss Bateman” – such simplicity and such beauty


“Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature.” – Gerard de Nerval


Bearded Iris ‘Innocent Star’


A flower blossoms for its own joy.” – Oscar Wilde


Bearded Iris ‘Raptor Red’ – bold and delicate simultaneously


“Where flowers bloom so does hope.” – Lady Bird Johnson    


Lupines and catmint
More lupine
Anchusa azurea (also known as Italian Bugloss)
Dianthus gratianopolitanus ‘Firewitch’ – nothing subtle about this color