Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Oregano Anyone?

I have a small raised bed in the garden that used to be my vegetable garden.  I realized a few years later that I needed more space to grow my veggies.  The raised bed was turned over to the herbs.  Oregano thoroughly enjoys the raised bed and I have to literally hack it back each spring or it would take over everything.  I have bee balm and daylillies growing around the outside of the bed.  I am a big fan of bee balm.  The deer and rabbits stay away from it and it is a spreader, but not invasively so.  Daylillies, well...that's a different story.  I no longer purchase daylillies.  They are a real treat for the deer and the first thing that gets eaten each Spring when the deer wander through.  It is one of the biggest battles that I have every June.  I just want a few days to see those gorgeous orange daylily blooms before the deer devour them, but most of the time the deer win the battle and they are eaten to the ground before I see a single bloom.  Ugh..
It's iris time in the garden!  The purple iris is a bearded variety.  I received the white iris at a plant swap in our neighborhood a few years ago.  It is a roof iris. The best thing about plant swaps is that you go home with something that you probably would never have purchased at a nursery and they always turn out to be the best plants.  Why?  Typically these are the plants that a neighbor is giving away because it has spread and prospered for them.  Plant people are generally pretty friendly and they are not going to give you something that isn't a keeper. 
A friend of mine called me this week.  She has lived here for two or three years and is interested in gardening.  She calls me when she is at the nursery to ask about particular plants before she purchases them.  This week she called and wanted to know how lavender does in Southeast Virginia.  I told her I have had good luck (in a pot) and bad luck (in the ground) with lavender.  It is pretty particular with the soil conditions and clay soil is not it's favorite.  I said to my friend, if you want a similar plant that is not fussy at all go with Catnip (Nepeta). It will bloom starting about now and continue until the Fall.  It isn't picky about how much water it gets and it has a beautiful spreading/mounding effect.  I love it!  Oh and did I mention it is drought tolerant and the deer/rabbits stay away from it?  Perfection!
Homestead Purple Verbena is in bloom and that means the butterflies are here too.  Swallowtails were in the garden this week.  There was one out while I was taking pictures, but it wouldn't rest long enough for me to get a good shot of it.  Next time maybe:)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Spring in Bloom

  The garden  has been growing and changing for 10 years now.  Each Spring I love to see how much everything has changed since last year.  The azaleas in the background were purchased in little gallon containers many years ago.  The light pink in the background is also azalea, but it is a deciduous type.

One of my favorite summer plants is catmint.  I love it because the blue flowers go with everything.  The leaves are a gorgeous gray and the deer and rabbits stay away from it!  I decided to try planting creeping phlox next to the row of catmint and I am really happy with the combo.

 Salvia 'Blue Hill' is another favorite in the spring.  Again the deer and rabbits don't touch it.  It will be blooming in a few weeks. I only wish it had a longer bloom period. It blooms right about the time the peonies are in bloom and the pink Knock Out Roses first bloom.  It's a real show!  You can see the gold sprawling plant in between the stepping stones is Creeping Jenny.  I also have Brazilian Verbena coming up along with Lily of the Nile which I moved last year.  We'll see if it likes the new location better than the last.

New combo this year!  Leopards Bane and Columbine.  I am crossing my fingers it will make it through the hot summer.  I haven't had luck with Columbine here yet.  I put it in a semi-shady location this time. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

April Garden Work

April in Williamsburg, Virginia....we have jumped from 55 degrees to 80 degrees within the past two weeks.  This is typical of Southeast Virginia in the Spring!  I love to garden and am sharing pictures and tips for others on this blog.  The birdhouse is a new edition to the garden this year.  I love how it looks with red camellias that are in bloom.  I have planted Spirea 'Ogon' in front of it.  In the background is a cherry blossom tree and azaleas in bloom.  The yellow flowering shrub is the tail end of bloom time for the forsythia.
Spring is a time to get a jump start on weeds before they spread and also time to put mulch down to help cut down on weeds and conserve water.  I have been doing plenty of weeding and mulching this past month!  The plants in this picture include Sedum 'Autumn Joy', various daylilies and iris and a butterfly bush that I cut back last month.  The yellow flowers are pansies.  I like to add pots of flowers to my perennial garden in the early spring to brighten it up before things really start to pop.
This is an area that I always have trouble with.  I can't seem to get the color combination right.  Any way, there is bee balm, green cone flowers, iris, shasta daisies, veronica and more butterfly bushes.  The small yellow flowers that are behind the bird bath is Leopards Bane.  A new edition this year.