Blooming in Mid-June

Though I have left crape myrtles, ginger lilies, and cannas behind, there are some favorites from the South I could not give up, even if I have to keep them in containers and have them shipped from Louisiana or California. Here are the salvias,ever-blooming and ignored by deer and woodchucks.

This is “Cold Hardy Pink”, reputedly hardy in Zone 5. It is a dry land Gregg salvia from the West and grows in sandy soil.

“Mystic Spires” is a smaller version of “Indigo Spires”, and is one of the few tender salvias I see here in garden centers. It sells fast, and at one store I saw 7 plants surrounded by pink tape, and marked “sold”. Someone knew a good plant.

Here is “Love and Wishes”, one of the “Wish” series that followed “Wendy’s Wish”. Blooming always, and dry soil tolerant- why do the garden stores here ignore it?

Not a salvia,but similar, is Phygelius “Magenta”. I could not make this plant grow in Tennessee, but it is happy here in New Hampshire, though it is tender and likes a container.

Tough, and in bloom most days is the Mexican Petunia,Ruellia brittoniana. Cuttings root easily in water. Here it is in a pot.

Next are two of my favorite Million Bells(Calibrachoa) . They are called “Mini-Famous”.

Lastly- a flower I have never grown before and have only seen in English garden picture books. Canterbury Bells, a biennial I found at Goffstown Ace Hardware. This is the pink one. The blue is not open yet. I put it in a container and not in the garden bed because it dies after bloom and would leave blank dirt that I would have to scramble to patch.

And here is my most precious of seedlings. Chrysopsis villosa, the Prairie Golden Aster. The seed came from Prairie Moon on line. I had this in Nashville. It is made of iron and will bloom in 100 degree dry heat and drought. Small yellow daisies on a three foot plant that blooms from mid summer to frost. Ruth Clausen, in “Essential Perennials” wonders why it is so little known and little grown. Zone 5.

I buy plants from:

Annie’s Annuals- California

Almost Eden-Louisiana

Flowers by the Sea-California

Lupines in Dunbarton

Across the road, down from Dunn Cottage and its daffodils, is a small conservation area. Naturalized lupines are blooming there now, and I stopped to take pictures. Anyone who thinks to pick these or dig them out, would see, as they grow closer that these flowers are surrounded by “Leaves of three, Let it be!”.

Poison Ivy everywhere-

Garden escapes are everywhere along the back roads- daylilies, Dame’s Rocket, Siberian iris. They take care of themselves.

I had bought two peat trays of seedling lupines to plant in my dry garden. I sent them to my sister’s garden instead because of a baby woodchuck who comes out of the rock wall when I am not out there. He ate the leaves of the lupines, ate the baby cosmos, and trimmed the petunias. I have ordered repellent from Amazon, as violence is out of the question.

Tall Evening Primrose

I found several fine specimens of Oenothera biennis, the tall evening primrose, growing in a ragged section of the lawn. I wanted them for the new dry border so I dug them out, potted them up, and put them on a shady porch to wait out transplant shock. Then I went onto the Internet where I read that these plants were impossible to transplant, would never live, and needed to be grown from seed.

I doubted this. This is a tough plant that can grow out of a crack in stone, that can grow in sand. Why would transplanting discourage it to death?

Had I planted it in hot sun right into the garden it might have failed. But when I transplant this late in the season, I always shelter plants in place, in pots, and always in shade.

The two plants sulked for days, but now at two weeks, here they are.

I will keep them in the pots another few weeks as insurance, then into the border they will go. They came off the porch into the sun 3 days ago.

The point of this little post is not just about transplanting, it is about gardening advice one finds on the Internet. Someone sees that someone else tried to transplant the tall evening primrose and failed, and that failure takes legs and runs off in all directions.

New Hampshire Desert

The ground I garden on is the same ground that defeated New Englanders trying to farm and live on hillsides away from the fertile valleys of the Merrimack and Connecticut rivers. They abandoned their plots after the Civil War, and left for the more docile, welcoming soils of the Midwest.

Always dry, this soil is harsher this spring since no rain has fallen in a month. But the lowbush blueberries and the roadside and ditch weeds will abide.

This photo is of the lawn in front of a granite retaining wall. Feral daylilies hug the wall base because the foot of a wall is a moister place to be. Not one tuber tries to venture out.

But look at what does dare to grow here-

Hawkweed,cinquefoil, and in the center, Aster lateriflorum.

Just the place for a new garden bed! I have already dug out this aster and some others I found to save them from the mower man, if he gets to this patch of ground before my shovel does-

What will I grow here?

Russian sages, globe thistles, white perennial scabious, Clary sage, Silver King artemesia, “Fireworks” gomphrena-

Then, looking to the power lines and the harsh fields- the Old Field goldenrods, the Showy goldenrods, the Heath asters, and the Calico aster, the biennial tall Evening Primrose.

The Gold Sword Yucca, for architecture and as a foil to all the flowering.

Marsh Marigolds

These Marsh Marigolds were blooming last month along a stream in New Boston. I had not seen this flower since I was a child, and I am now old. I was going to post this photo earlier, but spent April unnerved. Every week the plants I ordered in February and March came via UPS or the mailman. I bought them before shadows came over everything, and I wondered if I would be dead or sick when they arrived, for I have a dangerous job.

I have started work now on the dooryard garden of a house 20 years shy of 300 years old. There are persistent plants out there, some too persistent. Lily of the Valley, the Rambunctious Bellflower, Spiderwort, white and purple violets. The bed liberated from the Lily of the Valley had to be dug out three times, and it is still not clean. Along the front, behind a lilac, the buckwheat that is the Kudzu of New Hampshire is still sneaking above ground, and I see it with a foot hold in foundation cracks.

The sun is dropping now, and I am headed out till late dusk to do tasks I avoided at 2pm when it was 87 degrees. And my best friend in Nashville thinks I have moved to the frozen North-


Snowy Fields along the Piscataquod River.

When I began this blog last year I was staying with my sister on a hill south of Concord. I cleaned up and replanted her gardens, and added additional beds on the south west side of her house where her lawn jumps off into a goldenrod field below. I will be taking care of this garden this year, and editing, adding, tweaking if needed. But now, I have a place of my own , an apartment in an old house along the Piscataquod River on the highway west and south of Goffstown, NH. To the southeast are the Uncanoonuc Mountains( which are really just two modest hills), and to the southwest is Mont Vernon, a village of unworldly beauty.

My landlords are letting me plant a vegetable garden in front of an old barn. They are also allowing me to put in a small flower garden in the dooryard of my apartment. The aspect is fortunate, with a winter- sunny south west exposure. The moss I see growing makes me wonder about the two small trees there, and to the south is a line of very old and very tall maples, which the owners are now tapping . Winter is misleading when it comes to the sunny hours. Only the leaves will later reveal the truth.

Another sister is moving to Sandwich , on the Cape, and has asked for my help in planning a garden there. What is more appealing than Zone 7 for a formerly southern gardener.

As of today. I am planning nothing. It is too early. I am bringing along the salvias I wintered over in my sister’s frigid mud room. Mystic Spires, Salvia greggi, and Amistad. They did well for me in my sister’s garden, and are now in a big south window in my apartment along with Fuschia Gartenmeister, one of the best shade garden plants I have ever grown.

Two days ago I had a red wing at my feeder. The snow is receding on the fields I would walk, if they were not so waterlogged. There is a pond behind my apartment, and when the peepers start they will be deafening.

It is not always about gardening- Today’s best Headline

November is inching toward us, the sun is low behind the trees, nothing in the garden is left to bloom, and the news is jarring and surreal.

And then we have this- on the CNN website- and I knew all was proceeding as planned. The Day of the Human will end, and the rats and the cockroaches will rise.

The rats, abetted by scientists, are already in training., and CNN has this exclusive:

“Rats have learned how to drive and steer their own tiny cars in exchange for Fruit Loops”.

Oh how I wish both E.B. White and George Carlin had lived to read this-

A Granite Turtle

Having spent almost four decades living on limestone, I now live among a multitude of granite remnants scraped from the bedrock by glaciers and randomly dropped everywhere . Impediments to early settlers, who broke backs and plows moving them and stacking them into walls, they are merely picturesque to us, unless we are trying to plant a tree.

I made a garden turtle a couple of weeks ago and put him in a parched part of the garden, where the drainage is extreme. Not the usual home for a sea turtle-

I think he is reading the plant label.

I left the label as a marker. I hope winter does not turn it into a tombstone!

Late Color in the October Garden

There has been no frost on this hill to stop the zinnias, but they are in suspended animation from the chill and the very low sun that barely clears the trees.

Still there is color.

I did not grow bergenias in Nashville, though I once saw them along a shady path near the mansion at the Cheekwood Botanical Gardens. I put two in the Bow garden this spring. They were substantial plants I found in a Henniker nursery. They did not bloom, and having seen their fall leaves, I do not care if they ever do. Their color is that of the Cortland apple.

How I wish the Monkshood, or aconitum had bloomed earlier, when I would not have to worry about it freezing.

This plant is over 60 inches tall.

I thought this tardy chrysanthemum was “Clara Curtis” , but it is pinker than the flowers I remember from my youth. How late its flowering is-

Even the hostas are sadly beautiful as they go ready to go underground.

Lastly, the Japanese woodland salvia “Momobana”.