Tag Archive for sedum

June in bloom in rain-drenched Connecticut

The first half of June dropped 10 inches of rain on my Connecticut garden, making the days leading up to June 2013 Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day soggy. Temperatures remain in the 50’s at night and 70’s during the day when, so often, the sun struggles to shine.

Lush greenery abounds throughout the rain-drenched gardens, dotted by shades of yellow, and blue, and shades of pink ranging from deep to pale to peachy tones.

Native Mountain Laurel, the Connecticut state flower, have been spectacular this year. They line and dot the edges of the woods surrounding our more cultivated land.

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In places, foxglove (digitalis, unknown variety) have self-sown along the woodland edge, particularly near my compost piles where seeds must have escaped when spent foxglove spires went into the compost.

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I don’t mind the self-sowing foxglove. Bees and hummingbirds love the flowers and deer leave the flowers and foliage alone.

Foxglove spires stand tall above yellow-blooming sedum that mimic the foliage of the small Spiraea ‘Double Play Gold’ in the foreground and Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ at the far end. Blue-green Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla mollis) and blue-silver Lamb’s ear (Stachys byzantina) contrast against these yellows and the yellow-green Hayscented fern that loves to spread from the woodland edges into my perennial beds.

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No matter the time of day these combinations provide a cheery view from the front porch and my office window and help transition into the area just beyond where I hope young viburnum, magnolia, kalmia, summersweet, juniper and clethra eventually form a shrub/small tree backdrop. But for now, ornamental grasses serve as backdrop foliage.

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Along the west side of the house, what I call the triangle bed is filled with a river of sedum surrounded by Rose campion (Lychnis coronaria), Lamb’s Ear, and Santolina in the foreground. I’ve planted many different combinations in this bed, many were plant combos deer have found quite yummy. But deer mostly leave this combo alone, only occasionally browsing the tops of yet-to-bloom veronica in the background.

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In the rear garden, totally fenced from deer, roses are the most prominent blooms at the moment. They seem happy to take over now that earlier iris have passed and later iris have yet to open.

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This peachy Star Rose is accompanied by nearly-open lavender blooms and nearby scabiosa.

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Further along in this long narrow bed blooms another Star Rose, Pearl Sevillana (left).

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At the far end of the bed is my newest rose, the Blushing Knock Out Rosa ‘Radyod’ (right) which holds her own between two holly shrubs and a white-blooming lilac, and blooms from early June through frost.

Now that you’ve seen my top June picks, it’s time to visit May Dreams Gardens, where Carol hosts Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. There you’ll find many, many more gardens to visit.

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Now you sedum–overwintered

Succulent plants, such as sedum and hens and chicks, seem to be maintaining continuing popularity, with good cause. Succulents are easy to grow, drought tolerant, and come in enough varieties and sizes to suit nearly every gardening taste. But did you know how easy it is to overwinter potted sedum and sempervivum, the botanical name for hens and chicks?

Last June I potted  sedum and hens and chicks in matching cobalt blue ceramic pots.

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The combination was instantly wonderful and remained so until the end of the growing season in my zone 6 Connecticut garden. (Scroll over the photo above to see the botanical names of the succulents used.) I did not want to lose the combination so, rather than transplant these succulents to a garden bed before storing the ceramic pots away for the winter, I stored the succulent-filled pots in the garage near a southwest-facing window. Through the cold winter months the pots only received minimal water when the soil felt good and dry. The plants stayed in a state of suspended animation during the coldest parts of winter – they held their color but did not grow. As the sun became stronger in late winter and early spring the succulents began to grow.

Here’s how one of the pots looked when placed back outside this April 13.

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Its sister pot looked the same.

This is how the pots look today.

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The plants have already begun cascading over the edges of the pots.

The pair adds striking color during a time when plants in adjacent perennial beds are still in early stages of growth.

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Best of all, these containers will continue to fill out and look wonderful from spring through autumn as long as the soil remains on the dry side. All this entails is moving the containers off the saucers so rain-soaked soil can drain. Succulents such as sedum and hens and chicks grow best in drier soil, making them ideal container plants for busy people with little time to fuss with watering. With the added bonus of overwintering well, the busy gardener can plant a container like this just once to enjoy multiple seasons and years.

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October reds – Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day

Reds are the highlighted colors in my Connecticut gardens for this October 2012 Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day.

Some red shades are in blossom form, like this sedum which shined in pink just one month ago.

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And in the mums, that finally started to grab center stage just before our first freeze two days ago.  I wasn’t concerned when the camera captured them in a frosty coating.

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Mums often shine after a touch of cold. These recouped quite nicely.

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Other, more tender plants, such as coleus, white zinnias, basil, peppers, and ageratum succumbed to the 28 degree temperatures that greeted the October 13 sunrise in my zone 6 gardens. Still, a few hardy souls press on with blooms not as perfect as they were during summer and early autumn. Autumn blossoms are so often a contrast of ugliness and beauty, and life and death.

This rose blossom glows in spite of the black spot that mars its leaves.

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This phlox, which has been in constant bloom since early summer, is not quite ready to give in to the cold, sending out lovely small flowers in contrast to its dying leaves.

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Nasturtium are fighting frost with flowers.

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And Alpine strawberries chuckle at chilled air.

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But these specks of pink and white and yellow are the last hint of summer amongst autumn reds. If, as a New England gardener, you have focused all your gardening efforts on blossoms, you are missing out on the best of autumn … brilliantly-hued foliage.

Trees in southern Connecticut are still in the golden stage of autumn.

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Reds are provided by ornamental grasses shining in the autumn sun.

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The red foliage of coast leucothoe.

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And the brilliant hues of blueberry shrubs.

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Even waning strawberry foliage offers up striking reds against a blue strawberry jar.

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Northern gardeners relish even the smallest of blooms and slightest hint of color knowing that October freezes will continue to nip away at remaining flowers until all are gone. Then we will relish colorful blossoms and foliage in gardens all over the world by visiting May Dreams Gardens where Carole kindly hosts Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day on the fifteenth of each month. Head there now to see what other gardens have blooming today.

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