Saturday, April 3, 2010


'Purple Robe' black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)

Things move fast in the spring, and there's much to report, garden-wise.

The Pond is Carpeted
We ordered up 3 cu.yds. of sand from good ol' Bert's Dirts on Thursday. That's way more sand than we needed for the pond (by about 2.25 cu.yds.), but we've got a big walkway to lay down, plus we need to take up the kitchen patio and re-lay it properly. So that sand won't go to waste.

In any event, we put 1-2" on all of the pond's horizontal surfaces as a cushion/protection against sharp pointy things. Then we spread out our carpet remnants and the ones given us by our nice neighbor, Ms. D. Even our combined remnants were not enough, but another neighbor, Mr. H., dropped by to offer us his carpet remnants, so now I think we're solid. How lucky was that?--2 different neighbors had spare carpet at just the time we needed it.

The carpet (fuzzy side up) is our cheapola underlayment. I'm hoping this week to lay out the (painfully large pile of) ooftish for the 45 mm rubber liner. Which is pretty darn exciting--after a month or so of it being a stagnant mudhole, we're on the cusp of turning this pond thing around.

There will almost certainly be a series of further delays once we have the plastic down: we'll need to look into pumps/filters, that lovely fountain I want, fish, plants, a rock edging, getting electricity out to the pond to run everything, and in the very vague and distant future, a crushed granite terracey-thing and lighting around the edges. Oh, and landscaping all around.

But I think that by next weekend it will at least contain water, which will be pretty cool too. Our 'Purple Robe' blacklocust (Robinia pseudoacacia) is just starting to bloom with great plummy, languid, wisteria-like blossoms--how lovely to have them hanging gracefully over the water!

Rose Season Begins in Earnest
The best of the bunch: still 'Ducher,' a dense green shrub absolutely head to toe in pretty lemony-white rosettes.

'Ducher,' laden with blooms

Other goodies: Second best is probably 'Duchesse de Brabant,' with 'Georgetown Tea' close behind. Reliable and graceful 'Duchesse' bears many fairly uniform bowls of clear pink, while GT's blooms are constantly mutable and surprising--each a different shade or combination of shades of pink, and their shapes ranging from pointy proto-hybrid-teas to Bourbonesque cabbages.

A particularly cabbagey "Georgetown Tea"

Viewed from up the street, one of 'Cramoisi Superieurs' is superimposed on top of 'Duchesse'--I'm surprised at how much I like the combination of colors. Cramoisi is a dark pinky-purply red, and Duchesse is a bright middle pink--you'd think the combination would be revoltingly Valentinesy, but for whatever reason (perhaps the unfussy nature of these two roses?), it's really just very, very harmonious.

Lovely and amazing 'Souvenir de la Malmaison' has put on its first blooms--great, huge cabbagey things in the most restrained pale pink possible.

'Climbing Old Blush' is just starting to pop--the gazebo is positively roofed with rosebuds, and I'm very much looking forward to the full show.

'Climbing Old Blush' blooming on the gazebo

Also, the hedge of 'Mutabilis' roses is in full flower. Most of the pictures I took came out lousy, but the color was surprisingly good on this one:

A young 'Mutabilis' rose

Some of last year's plants are putting on their first proper show. The last of the cemetery irises are still in bloom, and to my surprise the Drimiopsis and a wood violet both appear to be making a comeback.

The oak-leaf hydrangea that was so desolate all last year is full of new leaves and even its first flower buds. We bought a second OLH at the Peckerwood open house, and it's doing much better than the first, even though it's smaller--more flower buds and no sulky foliage. Not sure if this is due to weather or to an inherent superiority of the Peckerwood strain.

An oak-leaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) bud

In addition, the columbine are taller and bushier than they were last year. The one below was a stowaway in the Japanese maple's pot, and now it looks like it's trying to strangle the poor maple.

Columbines smothering a Japanese maple

And the 'Purple Robe' black locust is rewarding us again with gorgeous panicles of plummy, fragrant flowers. It's odd that you don't see more of these around. Funny to think that we got it by chance and just chunked it in the ground to see. And now it's giving us so much gorgeousness.

'Purple Robe' black locust

New Plants
We bought a couple of 'Archduke Charleses' in our recent visit to the Antique Rose Emporium--they're already full of flowers, a bit bigger than Cramoisi's. They're going to make a little hedge to bracket the far end of the kitchen patio--it currently just sort of peters out in this rather disheartening way.

Blossoms on our new 'Archduke Charles'

We also picked up a blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium sp.) I had bought two 4" BEG at the LBJ Wildflower plant sale, but they are kinda scraggley, weedy things with tiny, pale blooms. The one from ARE has tidier, more attractive foliage and larger, deep indigo blooms. I wish I'd bought more.


Sue Swift said...

Love the oak-leaved hydrangea. Look forward to seeing it in flower.

Elgin_house said...

Me too! It looks like they're about to pop, too.

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