Gardening update – part 2 of 2 — Of pruning, blooming, and life-cycles

All my beautiful irisis look like this now.

Sad, but also one of the things I like most about gardening with perennials—they show, in a very clear and visual way, the cycle of life. Each plant goes through its cycle of emerging from the ground, budding, blooming, and then fading. They remind me how fleeting life is and to savor each moment.

Soon I will have to go out and deadhead all these stems.  I do it for visual purposes; I should look it up online to see if it is good for the plant or not.

I replaced the pansies in my deck flower boxes with these gorgeous petunias. Usually I prefer a mix of flowers in containers, but this year I fell in love with these petunias en masse.

I hate to throw away live plants, so I replanted the pansies down in the cleared space in the woods below the St. Francis garden. If you look closely, you can see three little bunches of their smiling faces. If they thrive here, even if they fade out in the heat of the summer, they may bloom again in the fall.

We planted some pink impatiens in the lower level of the garden. Before Mark cleared out the honeysuckle that was hanging over the garden, this was a shaded area. Now it seems to be getting quite a lot of sun. I hope my shade-loving perennials— the bleeding hearts, lily of the valley, and astilbe—will still do okay with this sun-exposure change.

These knock-out roses are at the top of the St. Francis garden. We put two of these plants in last year, and added a third this year. The new one, not shown in this photo, is looking a little wimpy. These two appear to have something wrong with their leaves. Mildew perhaps? I’ll have to look it up. Even though knock-outs are supposed to be relatively care-free, that has not been my experience. (I really don’t like using chemicals in my gardens to help the roses.)

Location is everything with perennials, and I hit the right spot when I planted this woolly thyme last year. I love its low, soft carpet.

The princess spirea are in full bloom.  Almost all of the landscaping plants, including the spirea, were here when we moved in last year.  Spirea remind me of my childhood for some reason.

Maybe we liked to lightly rub our fingers across the soft little flowers as children.

Because of all the rain, and because we’ve focused our efforts on eliminating the Chameleon ivy from the garden, I am way behind on my trimming and pruning chores.  Although I like most plants to have a free, natural look, I do like to sheer the boxwoods to a neat shape with my electric hedge trimmers.

I’ll probably prune back the barberry bushes by hand with my pruning sheers. I was told that to help keep a natural shape on bushes, I should grab the longest shoots and cut them a few inches down into the bulk of the bush.

I’ll prune the viburnum the same way. I love the fragrance of the flowers these bushes produce in early spring.

When we moved in, we had five overgrown viburnum monstrosities. Last spring I whacked them all way back. Most are doing well with my brutal rejuvenation attempt.

There is a giant hosta in front.

It has huge leaves that catch all kinds of things.

The leaves also catch the notice of our four-legged friends who apparently have enjoyed them for a snack, or maybe a full meal.

The daylilies in the front are full of buds and ready to bloom. The ones in the side, or Angel Garden, are a bit behind these. (Perhaps they’re being thwarted by the ivy.)

These two hosta are very dense and huge. I probably should divide them soon, but right now I enjoy the way they look.

Here’s my little pot of sunshine. It looks sparsely planted for the moment, but I’m hoping these petunias will do their thing in time.

I hope you have a fragance-filled, sunny, bloomin’ day.


See more posts about gardening in my series.

12 thoughts on “Gardening update – part 2 of 2 — Of pruning, blooming, and life-cycles”

  1. I’ll have to pass this post on to Mrs Dim – we’re gearing up to build her raised beds after a year in the new house. She’d kill for half these plants! Your garden looks gorgeous, congratulations.

  2. I love this post – since I can’t run down the street to see it for myself, this really makes me feel like I’m part of your life.

    I bought a membership to the local botanical garden. Last weekend I took a ton of iris pictures, but towards the end the sun got harsh and several groups of them didn’t photograph very well. I went back today (Saturday, 6/4) to try to get them again and they are already dying and / or dead.

    I don’t know about irises, but I know that tulips, daffodils, lilies and other flowering perennial plants should be deadheaded. It helps return their energy to the bulb root for the next year.


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