Sunday, May 27, 2007

Springtime Waning

We are now entering that weird in-between time where it doesn't feel like spring anymore but it isn't quite summer yet either. The last of my spring bulbs have finished and the black locust are blooming.

OH! The black locust has such an enveloping, wonderful scent! I look forward to its bloom every year. It is a wonderful garden tree in that it grows FAST but strong; provides dappled light; offers interest in the way of bark (older trees), leaves, flowers, and generally inedible bean shaped fruit; it has a narrow canopy footprint, and the leaves are small enough to leave where they land. The problem comes in their aggressive seedlings. This tree has quite a few offspring every year and they will not be denied! The saplings are very thorny (they lose their thorns as they get older) and the entire root must be dug out to get rid of them. You could also let them grow until they are an inch or two thick and cut them down, but even then the tree will try to sucker. They actually are much easier to remove than elm, though. I spent an hour yesterday cutting elm sapling out of my lilac bush - and I will have to do it again and again because I can not dig out the root where they are.

Another item blooming right now is my dogwood.
I have not noticed any scent with it, but the shrub is beautiful enough.

They are not necessarily easy to grow, no matter what you hear. The majority of the other variegated dogwood around town look pretty shabby. Other than a fertilizer spike at planting (which I do with most of my shrubs) I didn't do anything special with this one, I guess I just got lucky.

If you give this a try, I would suggest growing it in full sun as I have noticed about the other variegated dogwoods around town, the more shade they get, the less happy they look.

One plant that really doesn't mind a little shade is the columbine. Several years ago I started some Barlow columbine from seed. I originally had four plants. They weren't too keen on exactly where I had planted them (a little too close to the pine, I'm guessing) and one by one they died over a two year period. The spring after the last died, a couple of their offspring showed up. And now I get new ones every year.

These are just two of the Barlows that I have this year. My husband and I remembered the columbine munchers from last year and were right on top of them this year. I squished them right on the leaves while they were still tiny. They didn't stand a chance.

Here is the rodgersia with it's flower. Not a real impressive flower, but it's the leaves that I want. This plant at maturity will be about hip high. Not as big as the astilboides (which I just found out is related to the rodgersia), but still a very interesting plant.

I want to get a mass of them growing to help fill in the Asian shade garden that we are expanding. Again, it is not meant to be a true Japanese or Chinese garden, it is merely inspired by them; Fusion, as my husband calls it. And hopefully it will be an inspiration in its own right.

This is the work that I did yesterday. It was supposed to rain all day, so I got up started my runs to the compost center as soon as they opened at 8am and figured that I would just get loads until it started to rain. I was able to get enough to lay out the whole garden. My idea here was a Taoist theme of "going with the flow". I think out of all the philosophies that I have studied, Taoism makes the most sense. If you have not read The Tao of Pooh I highly recommend it.

The path is a river, an old river, the kind of river that has over the years gone from rushingly trying to push its way through the world to gently and wisely finding its way through. It is not concerned with the speed of the journey, it values the journey itself. This river guides those traveling it through the garden slowly so that they may enjoy the journey too.


Blogger kris said...

Pretty garden space and lovely philosophy! I've found with my hybrid columbines that they bloom really great for a couple years, then disappear for a year or two, and then come back looking as great as ever. Don't know if that's what they're supposed to do, but it's always a welcome surprise when they reappear!

5/28/2007 8:55 AM  
Blogger Blackswamp_Girl said...

I LOVE the Foo Dogs!!!! Those are great--are they cement/concrete or some kind of resin, or... ? I can't wait to watch this develop. How cool. :)

5/28/2007 10:30 PM  
Blogger Lisa Blair said...

I like the river! With the Foo dogs standing watch it does feel lazy and wise.

5/29/2007 9:49 AM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Kris, welcome to my blog, and thanks! I am going to try to start a few more of these from seed to get a bigger patch of them as they reseed.

Blackswamp Girl, they are resin I believe. I can't wait either!

Lisa, thanks. Since we don't have am actual water element in this garden, I have to mimic one, but I think it does the trick!

5/29/2007 10:51 PM  
Blogger OldRoses said...

Hee hee! That path I've worn to my composter? I'm going to start calling it a river! Kitchen scraps gently flowing to the composter, on their way to reincarnation as food for the soil. Oh, the possibilities.

6/03/2007 12:50 AM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

OldRoses, I love the idea of your kitchen scraps being reincarnated as beautiful flowers.

6/04/2007 7:45 AM  
Blogger Zoey said...

That is going to be a nice garden area. I love the dogs, too. It seems like I remember you posting about acquirig those....or am I only dreaming? LOL.

Are you making raised bed right on top of the grass? I love the "flow"--you won't find any straight line gardens at my house.

Will be eagerly looking forward to your progress.

6/04/2007 3:51 PM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Zoey, yes, I did a post last year about the dogs.

I am piling the compost right on top of the grass with nothing in between. I have found that it works just as well as anything!

7/18/2007 11:44 AM  

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