Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Some Surprises

Last spring at the Garden Bloggers Spring Fling we had Southern Living give us a presentation about new plants.  It was fun to see new cultivars that have been developed.  When the presentation was over, a list was sent around for us to sign up to possibly receive one of these plants -- sort of to test them in our gardens.  Who wouldn't sign up for a free plant?  Well, many (perhaps all) of us did receive four plants from Southern Living.  I will do a full post about the progress of these plants after the growing season.  My plants arrived in October, two of them were Mahonia eurybracteata 'Soft Caress'.  I like the yellow blooms on Mahonia, but the sharp leaves of the M. aquifolium were a problem.   Well, Soft Caress has SOFT foliage, not stiff and not spiny.  I was thrilled to have a couple of these for my shady garden in the backyard.  

Sadly the deer loved it as well.  I send Aimee Coker an email (she is the contact person who emailed us for mailing address and garden conditions) and told her I was unable to give feedback on this Mahonia.  
Then...... in the past week or so I was walking through the garden, checking on this spring's progress and look what I found!!   This tiny growth is my Mahonia!!!  My back garden is large enough that if something dies or is eaten, I leave it....mark it with a stick to remind myself of the location and wait.  Well, it looks like the waiting has paid off.   I will spray some deer deterrent on the new growth every week or so, telling those deer to feed elsewhere.   

Speaking of eating in the garden....this was my Furfugium japonica, prior name- Ligularia tussilaginea.  The hole was a lot larger than a typical vole hole.   I was not happy about this!!  Nor was I thrilled about some mysterious underground critter that was larger than a vole (rat???) eating my plants from below.  

I stamped down the hole, pushing the remaining roots to have soil contact....put my stick in the soil to mark the spot and waited.   I thought about getting some kind of trap, like a large mouse trap, but didn't want to deal with what it caught.  Ignore it, that is good for now.    Well, once again patience has paid off.  

The hole has disappeared or rather has not reappeared and the Furfugium is putting out new spring foliage.
I love nice little surprises like this!
We have had a good amount of rain in the past few days, spurring on more spring growth.  I like having the 'overhead' view of the garden.  Slowly but surely the garden is filling in.   I will do a yearly comparison in July but wanted to give you a fresh spring shot.

Yes, there are a lot of weeds out there....I still need to mulch and along the shoreline there are bales of pinestraw from last year.  I got tired of getting chigger bites and quit spreading it.  
 Here is a pieced together photo of the backyard.  This is the view that a certain blogger got to see.

Saturday I got a Facebook message from Skeeter asking if we were going to be home on Sunday afternoon.
Yes, Skeeter and her husband  Mark stopped by on their way home from Asheville on Sunday afternoon! They had a nice trip to Asheville and Biltmore but the rains and thunder here were kind of limiting garden tours.  I know she and Mark will come back, we live pretty close.  Garden blogger visits are lots of fun!
 Skeeter brought a couple cute garden items ---they are already in place.  Really cute.   Thanks so much!  I will think of you every time I see them.

Both are by the front door, welcoming visitors with a splash of color.  Thanks so much Skeeter!!  What a nice surprise to have them visit.

I have a few new 'visitors' in the parsley.  This year it looks like I will have to share my parsley with these caterpillars to the Black Swallowtail.

As they grow (and eat my parsley) will they be around long enough to become Black Swallowtails ......

.....or will they be bird food??  Here is Mr. Eastern Towhee.. hanging out in the backyard.

And a newly identified bird, Mr. Yellow-breasted Chat, seen on a walk with the dogs.  Pays to keep your camera with you!!

Do you have some nice surprises in your garden?

©Copyright 2012 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wildflowers - Some Found, Some Purchased

Earlier this month I was able to go up to the SC Native Plant Society plant sale.  There were lots of great plants to be purchased.  I missed the sale last year, so I was ready this year....I even brought my wagon with me.

The haul included two Ilex verticillata- deciduous hollies- one male one female, two Lindera benzoin- Spicebush, a native azalea, a green coneflower- Rudbeckia laciniata, Vernonia noveboracensis- Ironweed, and a pitcher plant- Sarracenia rubra.
Last year when we were at the North Carolina Arboretum I was drooling over the beautiful pitcher plants.  One might even say I coveted those beauties.  As I made my first lap at the native plant sale, it was the first thing I put in my wagon.  Hot dog.   I had been thinking about a spot for it since last year...before I knew I could find one for sale.   It seems to be quite happy in a low spot in the full sun in my backyard.  Cross your fingers that it stays as happy as it seems to be so far!

Planting native plants makes such good sense to me.  These are the plants that need no extra coddling once established.  They are beneficial to the animals or insects in your garden.  For example, the Lindera benzoin, spicebush, is a host plant for the Spicebush butterfly...who wouldn't want more butterflies in their garden?   The hollies will be a food source for birds in the winter and who doesn't love those red berries?  Great color in the winter landscape.
More updates on the other newbies as they grow and flourish in the garden.  

The first spring we lived here I found some Leucothoe Doghobble,  growing in the lowlands by the lake.  I moved some into the garden part of the backyard and hoped it would take hold.  There are three different Leucothoe... L. fontanesiana, L. axillaris, L. racemosa....all of them native.  I am not sure which one mine might be, but sure love the delicate white blooms.  They are similar to the little bells of the native Vaccinium and Pieris japonica.

 The leaves are arranged alternately along a crooked stem, hobbled...hence the name Doghobble.  Sometimes common names are so unflattering.

You might remember the Aesculus pavia Red Buckeye trees (six inch tall) I brought with me from Virginia.  I have nurtured these little guys for the last three years....this year one of them put forth a flower stalk.  This is a great tree to have in your garden as it is one of the early bloomers that attract hummingbirds.

Hoping next year that the second one will put up a flower stalk as well.
Another red trumpet flower that attracts the hummingbirds this time of year is the native honeysuckle, Lonicera sempervirens.  I cut this one back hard last year to replace the support it was growing on with a larger one.   Didn't seem to bother it too much, there are lots of flowers.

Two deciduous azaleas in the garden have been blooming in the last few weeks.  This one is Rhododendron x 'Tallulah Sunrise'

A new one this year is Rhododendron x 'Lemon Lights'  Sure glad this one bloomed, my other yellow one, 'Admiral Semmes' hasn't bloomed this year....looks like the flower buds were nibbled.

This time of year in the South the non-native Wisteria are blooming...those that are taking over the landscape... can you say invasive?   I am a sucker for purple blooms....so when I found this native Wisteria, I  tried to figure out where I could plant it, finally deciding along the driveway.  Meet Wisteria frutescens 'Amethyst Falls'.   More on this one when these buds open!

There are other vines blooming in the woods now, this is one I had hoped to find on my property, but so far no luck.  This one is on the property a couple lots over.  Bignonia capreolata, Crossvine...another trumpet shaped bloom frequented by those cute little hummingbirds.

This find in my front woods is a nice surprise...I believe it to be Amelanchier arborea, Serviceberry.  Maybe it is not... but for now that is my ID.   Any other ideas as to its identification?

When taking the dogs for a walk I always have my eyes open-- never know what little blooms will come into view.  This is a Sisyrinchium albidum, White blue-eyed grass.  We have the Blue-eyed grass growing here as well, though right now it is the white one blooming.  

Today before we went out on the boat I was pulling weeds (lots of them!) along the bank.  I came upon a new flower, a mystery.  I have never seen this blooming in my yard before.   The petals are shiny and the foliage looks like flat leaf parsley.  Any ideas?  I like these little surprises.  Hope it comes back again next year.

For those of you who are interested in more native plants and wildflowers, head over to Gail's blog- Clay and Limestone for Wildflower Wednesday.  I know I have learned a lot from her posts....and those who also participate in the Wildflower postings.  

You never know who is eating bugs in your garden.....Eastern Fence Lizard-- make sure you don't use pesticides.

©Copyright 2012 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

From Albino to Thunder and Waiting on Chocolate

It is that time of year again, Albino Skunk Music Festival!  This is the spring festival (rather FEST---TUU-- VAAAAAAAAALL) for Albino Skunk.  You might remember we have gone a few other times, each one a wonderful experience.    I didn't  post the first one (for some reason!?!) and the second time we went the post is here.   As in the past, the directional signs were professionally done and easy to read. 
This is Mr. Albino Skunk.  

 Music is what we are here for!!

We went on Friday, music started about 2:00 PM.  First up was Darby Wilcox and her band....called Darby and the Peepshow.  Darby is a local gal from Greenville, SC.  I would call her singing sassy and spunky.  Great band to open the festival.

Some random folks enjoying the festival.  It was a beautiful day.  

After Darby was a band called Brushfire Stankgrass from Asheville.  They claim it isn't bluegrass, but stankgrass.  According to their website stankgrass is mixing their bluegrass chops with a pinch of jazz, reggae, rock and punk.  

The venue is comfortable under mature oaks on nicely sloping land making for a great view of the bandstand.  On the backside of the stage area is the camping area.  Behind the camera are the vendors, the kid's area, food and drinks, and the merchandise table.  

The band we were looking forward to seeing was next.  Hurray for the Riff Raff is great.   A folk/country band from New Orleans is their description, but only scratches the surface of the band.  Lead singer and songwriter is Alynda lee Segarra.  Her voice is amazing.

After Hurray for the Riff Raff came Rayna Gellert and Scott Miller.   I enjoyed Rayna's smile...and her singing and her fiddle playing ...but boy -- great smile.  Scott Miller, songwriter from Virginia/Tennessee, had a lot of fun narrative to go along with his music.  Love his song 'Lo Siento Spanishburg West Virginia'

The Brushfire Stankgrass guys came back for another set around dinner time.

 Hurray for the Riff Raff also came back for another set.  Junebug Waltz was one of the numbers they did.

A repeat to the Albino Skunk Music Festival was next-- Town Mountain, a bluegrass band.  Great musicianship with these guys.  The finale for their set was Orange Blossom Special....out of this world.

Town Mountain finished about 10:30 PM and we decided it was time to head home even though there was more music to be played.  Looking forward to the fall festival...not sure who is coming yet but I know it will be a great time.  The Albino Skunk Music Festival goes for a couple days, but we had other plans for Saturday.

Saturday found us heading to one of our other music spots...Newberry Opera House to see Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder.   Last year we saw Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder perform their bluegrass show.  This year they combined bluegrass and country, pure bluegrass has no drums, usually just mandolin, banjo, fiddle and guitar.  Look at Ricky's hand....he is an outstanding mandolin player.

This is the full set when additional players came out for the country numbers.  What a great library of hits.

Oh, did I mention Chocolate?  Well this is the best chocolate money can buy.... plain and simple.  (this is a lovely surprise from my husband)
 This isn't the kind of Chocolate I was talking about.... though I am enjoying every last bite!

Coming up in May is a concert I am really excited about....Carolina Chocolate Drops!!  We will see them at the Handlebar in Greenville.   We saw them last July at the Handlebar and look forward to seeing them again!!

It has been and will continue to be a musical spring.

©Copyright 2012 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Pink and White and Pink and White and....

My front garden wasn't what I wanted it to be last year.  I moved some of the Phlox subulata to the backyard where I had some erosion issues.  This allowed me to add some new plantings to the front garden. This spring I find I had a color theme going on.
I like having white in the garden as it really is a nice bright spot.  From the house forward the white plants are- Iberis sempervirens, Candytuft, Phlox subulata, a white variety, and finally a white Iceplant, Delosperma 'Jewel of Desert Moonstone'.   The phlox will fade into the summer as will the Iberis so other color will dominate the garden later in the season.

The pink color, again coming from the house forward, Loropetalum 'Daruma', Dianthus 'Sunflor Margarita', Loropetalum 'Purple Pixie' a weeping form of Loropetalum, Delosperma 'Jewel of Desert Garnet', and a a weeping Redbud, Cercis canadensis 'Ruby Falls'.

Here are the close-ups of the Delospermas and Dianthus--
Delosperma 'Jewel of Desert Garnet'

Delosperma 'Jewel of Desert Moonstone'

Dianthus 'Sunflor Margarita'

Apparently I have an affection for pink blooms.  This time of year a pretty pink in the garden makes me smile!
Still working my way through blog posts, with Google Reader going away in July I have been trying out a few other readers.  Feedly from Google is ok, though not perfect and Bloglovin' also not a favorite.  I don't know which one I will use in the future, do you have a favorite?

©Copyright 2012 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.