14 September 2009

i think maybe yellow is my favorite color

B put together a bunch of soft yellow flowers this weekend that he set on a table in the parlor. During dinner on Saturday night with friends, I kept craning my neck to catch of a glimpse of that arrangement glowing in the next room.

Three flowers only: Dahlias “Clair de Lune” and “Yellow Gem” and Helianthus “Lemon Queen.”

clematis paniculata, take 2

Leave it to B to figure out how beautifully a branch of Clematis paniculata can hang on a beam inside (he tucked the cut end into a wall vase).

I had a message on my cell phone today from Alan, who stopped by this weekend to hang out with and feed the cats while we were away (thanks, Alan!). While he was in our apartment, he looked across the way and saw a beautiful large plant with white blossoms that seemed to be doing really well in a pot on someone’s terrace over on Perry Street. Had I seen this plant? Did I know what it was? I actually hadn’t noticed it before (I can’t imagine why not, because it is beautiful), and when we arrived home last night it was too late and dark for me to identify it then. However, when I opened the blinds this morning, this is what I saw: A huge, drooping mound of—mmm-hmm, that’s right—Clematis paniculata. That is one monster plant. I love it.

Alan asked whether I thought it had been growing for decades or merely a few years. I’m guessing a few years only, but I’m not so certain. I mean, this guy is huge. What do you think?

(I’m guessing Alan has designs on some C. paniculata of his own for next year.)

Addendum: Hmmmmmm, I’m looking more closely at the leaves of that balcony plant now, and I’ve decided I am way too hasty in pronouncing it C. paniculata, even though the effect it produces is very C. paniculata-y. But I honestly don’t know what it is. Any ideas?

09 September 2009

clematis paniculata

Planted on the slope and not on a trellis to determine whether it would creep and cover. Somewhat successful. Man, that slope looks weedy!

I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.

note to nancy


Clearly I am doing something right with the dahlias out by the chicken coop, “Andries Orange” in particular, which is as tall as I am. He’s going in the back row next year, and “Little Beeswings” is moving up to the front, because I can’t see him at all.

What is less clear to me is how to fix the rest of the garden, which suffered this summer from too much rain, too much cold, too much traffic (our house painter mostly missed the plants in the garden next to the house, but still and all), and way too little weeding. I have a cow barn full of leaves to shred and use for mulch. I have a little compost left from the load delivered last year, but because it wasn’t cooked enough, using it is like laying a carpet of weeds I have never seen before. Don’t even look toward the bed at the bottom of the driveway; the weeds in that are taller than I am and have choked out most of my zinnias. Where to begin?

Our tomatoes have been killed off by late blight, which is depressing, but on the positive front, I planted lettuce for the fall two weeks ago, and it’s coming right along. I also commandeered one of B’s boxes in early August and planted some zinnias and cosmos, which are in bloom now. On the minus side: this year the vegetable garden has been quite the hangout for deer, woodchucks, skunks, and who knows what else, which means we’ll have to shell out for a fence next spring.
  • Minus: “BlackGold” cherry tree from Miller Nurseries pooped out on me about three weeks after I planted it, even with all the tender, loving care provided.
  • Plus: Fringe tree (Chionianthus virginicus) planted and thriving.
  • Minus: I have lost the delphiniums to the weeds.
  • Plus: Anemone tomentosa “Robustissima” planted last year are blooming now.
  • Minus: Long and steep slope is still a weedy mess.
  • Plus: However, there are definite “zones” of plants there; that’s something that didn’t exist before.
  • Minus: Herbs planted near the patio are way too crowded.
  • Plus: We have lots and lots of herbs.
All in all, there is a ton to be done, always is. However, I am grateful that I am not in full poop-out mode as of the beginning of September, which is where I usually am this time of year. B and I are planning on extending the garden all the way around the patio, because we love the embrace of the garden on the south end. I would also like to make more of a garden on the north side of the house, which gets morning sunlight and might be the perfect spot for some partial shade plants.

Sigh. How does your garden grow?