Why I Love Gardening

I am always amazed by how quickly a new garden fills in. Year one is always difficult – the garden is so sparse that I freely admit to over-planting. But the reward comes in year two.

Here is my foundation garden last year at about this time:

June 15, 2017

And here it is this year:

In foreground starting from back left: Cranesbill Geranium ‘Rozanne,Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker’s Red,Viburnum Nudum ‘Brandywine,‘ then three New Jersey Tea in front, and a Butterfly Weed in the bottom left corner. The background has wild strawberry groundcover, Summersweet Clethra ‘Ruby Spice’ on the left, and Winterberry on the right

So rewarding! Everything has filled in so nicely. The red Beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis) above looks so much better than last year, when it just flopped over onto the ground. I suppose it didn’t take the stress of planting well, though it has clearly recovered. Another view:

Wild strawberry, Penstemon and Cranesbill

I only lost two plants, both of them butterfly weed, though I don’t think butterfly weed is a difficult plant. One of them looked sickly almost from the time I planted it last year – I didn’t expect it to survive the winter and it didn’t.  The other I planted too close to the bird feeder – I think it was trampled by squirrels and I know it was stepped on by garden visitors. I would have given up as well.

Blooming now are blue-eyed grass, mouse-ear coreopsis, and the cranesbill, beardtongue and viburnum in the photos above. The blue-eyed grass and coreopsis started blooming at the end of May/beginning of June and are still at it, the others just began blooming in the last week. A friend gave me the coreopsis last year, so this is the first time I’ve seen it in bloom and it is a stunner. I love the rich gold flowers, and will need a few more for some much needed late spring/early summer color:

Mouse-ear Coreopsis and Blue-Eyed Grass in early June

The blue-eyed grass is one of my favorites. I purchased three of the variety ‘Lucerne’ last year and they bloomed just about all summer long. Blue-eyed grass is a type of iris, and I’ve actually spotted two or three of the native plant elsewhere on our property! I moved one to our garden to see how it does since it was lost in the grass of our yard. I believe the species has a much shorter blooming period than ‘Lucerne,’ but reseed more readily.

The butterfly weed and New Jersey tea are getting close to blooming – next week will be colorful:

Butterfly Weed and New Jersey Tea ready to bloom

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