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New Adventures In The Garden – Despite Pandemic

Bleeding Heart

‘Goldheart’ with red bleeding hearts has just begun to bloom.

New adventures are beginning. Last Thursday four new roses were delivered from the Antique Rose Emporium (ARE). And then it snowed. Well, only a little bit of snow, and the roses are resting in our side porch, gathering strength after the trip from Texas. Three hellebores and two primroses from the Greenfield Farmers Coop joined them, all waiting to get their feet into the soil.

New Roses for  the New Rose Walk

Quietness and Carefree Beauty are pink Buck roses and will be about five feet tall. I have always had several Buck roses on the Rose Walk because they are so hardy and need very little fussing. They have been planted in the new bed opposite roses on the other side of the walk.

The Lady of Shallot, a David Austin rose, wears shades of orange and apricot, on her stately form of up to six feet.

Gruss an Aachen is a polyantha in shades of pink and peach. I was not sure of the size. The ARE says three to four feet tall and wide but several other sites say it is small, only two feet tall and wide. After much consideration I decided to place this petite rose between the Alchymist and Fantin-Latour roses, who were transplanted against our new fence last fall. They are quite tall.

I will need one more rose to fill the U-shaped space that is now my very short Rose Walk. Roses do not like to get their feet wet, and this space is as far from the swamp as my garden can go.

It is important to include pollinators in a garden. I can claim a good number of plants attractive to bees, butterflies and birds in my garden. However, roses are of little interest to any of these creatures. The roses attract me!

The new Rose Walk will now begin at the fifteen by six foot fence we installed last year. The rose side of the fence will get lots of south and west sun; the other side of the fence will enjoy the eastern shade. The beautiful and fragrant Japanese tree lilac shades that spot, except in the early spring before it leafs out.

Native Plant Trust

Ferns died in another too-wet spot, and I turned to the Native Plant Trust, of which I am a member. Long named the New England Wildflower Society, it now has a new name, Native Plant Trust. It continues to support native plant conservation and education. Their website www.nativeplanttrust.org is a great place to learn about identifying and caring for native plants.

Looking at the list of available plants I zeroed in on those that love wetlands. Last year the ferns I had planted drowned and died.  This year I bought Hibiscus moscheuto. I did not know there were water-loving hibiscus but H. moscheuto, is also known as swamp mallow. It is described as a shrubby wildflower, and is beautiful. At five feet tall, with a three foot spread, it will make a substantial statement in the back part of our third planting bed. The pink and white flower is lovely and while each blossom will only bloom for a day, the plant will bloom for several weeks.

            I also purchased two Liatris spicata “Kobold’s Original.’ This variety of blazing star grows to about two to three feet tall with an 18 inch spread. The purple flowers are lovely and I think a generous clump is just what my wet garden needs. Liatris also attracts bees, butterflies and birds as does the hibiscus. Fortunately for me, it is possible to order plants for pickup from Nasami Farm, an arm of the Native Plant Trust.

Hellebores There and Here

Hellebores

My friend’s hellebores

A friend invited me to see her hellebores, also known as Lenten Roses because they bloom so early in the spring. They also thrive in shade.  My friend stayed inside her house while I walked around her garden inspired and gaining more inspiration by the minute. I had never had a hellebore. Now I must have hellebores. I immediately made my trip to the Farmers Coop and bought three. Only Hellebore hybridis Ivory Prince is blooming in subtle shades of green. The other two, First Dance and Maid of Honor, promise yellow and pink flowers, but none are in sight at the moment.

My friend also lent me a beautiful book about hellebores which did make me tremble a bit. There is a lot to learn about hellebores. What I would call petals are actually sepals. They surround petals that have been so transformed over the ages that they are reduced to nectaries, with stamens and pistils. The gardener needs good eyes, and good knowledge.

The hellebores are now planted on the shady side of our fence. There is a need for more shade plants. Maybe I will move some of my ever-expanding collection of epimediums, with their winsome and delicate spring flowers.

Hostas come in every shade of green with gold and silver highlights, and in every size are a shade garden stand-by. How will I choose?

Brunnera marophylla has large, heart shaped leaves and dainty little blue flowers in early spring.

Waldsteinia

Waldsteinia

Waldsteinia fragariodes, or barren strawberry is a great groundcover with strawberry-like flat foliage that is handsome into the fall. The cheerful yellow flowers bloom early in the spring.

It is cold today as I write, but spring is happening! ###

Between the Rows  April 25, 2020