Thursday, March 24, 2011

Capturing Spring

Can you believe I almost have roses? This bud is on my David Austin "Golden Celebration" rose. My Austins are covered in buds. I think by the end of the week next week I'll have many beautiful blooms to show off.
"Homestead Purple" verbena is blooming its little heart out under the irises.

And do you spot those iris buds? I should have iris blooms by next weekend!
But that's next week. Spiraea "Van Houtte" is enjoying the spotlight this week. It is covered in pretty blooms.
The bees love it.

Pansies are a staple in my spring garden.
I just love these with their purple, white, butter yellow, and lemon yellow blooms.
And then a pot of orange pansies to complement the new house color. The knockouts will be blooming soon as well. I like to sit here with a book and a cup of tea or glass of wine. Livin' the good life.
Thank you all for your comments about the house color. I am so glad that so many of you like it. I think it might grow on me. Maybe I am just shocked because it is so different compared to the old color. But, you know, I like it darn it. I can't wait to see what it looks like with lantana and knockouts in bloom.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

What's Blooming Now

I missed the official Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day on March 15... I always seem to... But I do have wonderful things blooming in my garden.

Carolina jessamine...

Daffodils... a 2009 Christmas present from my grandmother.
Sweet olive... I love sweet olive. The fragrance is amazing coming from such a tiny flower.
And a peeping tom... hehe.
Also, the blog isn't the only thing around here that has gotten an update. We got the house painted. Here is a before photo from January... before the paint and before I cut back roses and lantana.
And here's an after photo.
Yep, its yellow. It is Sherwin Williams Cupola Yellow (SW7692). I have mixed feelings about it. I really did not like the peachy, pinky stucco before. My plan was to keep the color in the neutral zone but lean towards the yellow side of the color spectrum... I don't think I exactly accomplished that with this color.

On one hand I say, "Damn, that's bright..." and on the other hand I say, "Of course it looks bright now when the lawn and perennials are dormant and drab looking!" Maybe once I have some hot pink knockout roses, bright yellow, orange, and pink lantanas, purple irises, and pretty white and yellow shasta daisies blooming it won't look quite so bright. Ha, am I kidding myself?

Opinions, please?! Be honest. I neither love or hate this color, and since we really only have two walls with this paint on it (front and back) it would be easy to change. Nevertheless, I am waiting until everything greens up to make my final decision.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Japanese Magnolia Tree

This is my last post in the Japanese Magnolia series. These are all photos from last week when it was at peak bloom. Over the past year, I've concentrated most of my efforts in this part of the yard. I purchased three azaleas, purple fountain grass (dead in the pot though and needs to be replaced), two camelias, and a few lily of the nile. I still have some work to do (like replacing that dead fountain grass) and plan to do a nice, long post on all the improvements once I am done. Now back to the Japanese Magnolia tree...
I planted this tree four - maybe five - years ago. My plan was for it to fill this spot and provide some privacy in our suburban backyard. My understanding is that these trees grow to be 15 to 20 feet tall and wide. Just perfect for this space - towering over the azaleas, cascading over the fence, reaching to the sky to shield us from the neighbor's back windows.

But, this tree has been such a slow grower. I have definitely seen improvement over the years, but it hasn't grown to be nearly as tall as quickly as I'd hoped it would. I know part of the reason that it is growing slowly is that it is planted so near a large, established oak tree, its roots competing for water and nutrients underneath the ground.

I love its rich pink color. How that color pops in spring and coordinates with the new 'Spellbound' camelias. I do wish I had more blooms, though, and I guess that only comes with a larger tree. Are Japanese magnolias known to be slow growers?

Here, the blooms stand out against a bright blue sky.

And their pink shade glows in the sunset.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Japanese Magnolia Blooms

I took these photos a couple of days ago when the blooms were at their peak. We've had crazy thunderstorms here over the past 24 hours, so many of the blooms have dropped.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Spring Buds on Mardi Gras

Last year we had a really late spring. All the spring flowers seemed to bloom at once - irises, carolina jessamine, azaleas, phlox. This year many of the early bloomers are putting on buds and will flush into bloom much earlier than last year.

There are tiny, furry buds on the 'Purple Formosa' azaleas.

The clematis vines are budding, too. See all the pretty new leaves and hairy little buds?
The 'Van Houtte' spiraea is covered in tiny buds, too.
I pruned roses two weekends in a row - February 19th and 26th. Now they are budding out and are healthy looking. I hope to keep them looking healthy all year this year.

One thing missing from the garden this year is the pink creeping phlox. Photo below is from Green Gate Farms on the web...I just can't keep this stuff alive! I don't know what I am doing wrong. My guess is that the perennial bed where it is planted gets too much sun and too little water in August. I've bought and planted the pretty groundcover two years in a row because I really want it in my garden. Boo-hoo.

It is a rainy, stormy day here. The forecast has us in a flash flood watch with a possibility of severe weather. I guess I am getting my cool, wet spring after all.

Happy Mardi Gras everyone!

Monday, March 07, 2011

Japanese Magnolia Buds

My Japanese Magnolia began blooming last week, and I was able to capture its pretty blooms over the course of three days as they were opening up.

It was very warm here last week - in the upper 70s and low 80s. Temperatures have dropped back down to the mid-50s, and I am glad. Spring is supposed to be cool and wet. I don't want a warm and dry spring.

More magnolia blooms tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Home Brew Give Away @ A Five-Leaf Clover

My friend Casey over at A Five-Leaf Clover is giving away some of their home brewed Stone Ruination IPA in celebration of her 100th post. Head over to her blog and sign up! And drop her a line of congratulations for reaching the 100 mark!