even more plants

I’m still putting together my list of plants I’d like to include in our gardens.

Borage photo Borage_zpsfuofti3e.jpg

I grew Borage in the front garden at our home downstate, and it was so easy to grow, I almost couldn’t believe it. I just threw down seeds and – voila – I had a lovely patch of Borage. It has a lovely fuzzy texture, and the rather delicate blossoms are a beautiful purple color fading to white toward the center. In that zone 6 garden, it self-seeded and came back every year. I’ll have to see if that holds true here in zone 5. It also has a pretty long blooming season, which of course I love. I never tried it then, but apparently the blossoms have a honey-esque taste! It’s also supposed to be a good companion plant for spinach, tomatoes, and strawberries, which I’m going to keep in mind as I continue planning.

Iris photo iris_zpsr764vxuz.jpg

So many gardens contain Iris and for good reason. It’s a lovely bloom and even the foliage looks elegant. Of course there are a zillion variations to choose from, and I’ll likely go with whatever comes my way. I already have one passed along from my mom last fall!

Coreopsis photo Coreopsis_zps7zaryzhy.jpg

Coreopsis is a plant that I happened to start growing downstate because I found a few of them on clearance at the home improvement store. They turned out to be awesome! Some butterflies eat the foliage, and the flowers attract them as well. Speaking of which, they usually have a TON of blossoms which is really striking against the somewhat delicate-looking foliage.

Marigold photo Marigold_zpsvqem9jqf.jpg

For classic annuals, you can’t miss with Marigolds. They also self-seeded in my garden downstate, though I don’t think they probably will here in zone 5. It’s easy to save the seeds, though! These flowers are awesome companion plants and theoretically discourage mosquitoes from hanging around. Given my allergic reaction to mosquito bites, I’ll try whatever I can do keep them away.

Russian Sage photo Russian Sage_zps6d9o5zrh.jpg

Russian Sage is another plant I was introduced to by purchasing a clearance-aisle not-in-great-shape plant. I really dig the way it grows – it gets tall-ish, but doesn’t tend to droop over and isn’t a thick plant, so it provides a nice backdrop for other plants without making the area seem too crowded. It also blooms well into October and attracts bees and birds.

Penstemon photo Penstemon_zpskeoqbrri.jpg

I didn’t grow Penstemon very much – I think I got some on sale somewhere – but I did like it a lot and would like to grow it again. Theoretically it is attractive to hummingbirds!

Verbena photo Verbena_zpsa6t7ohry.jpg

Verbena is another classic that I think will fit in well in my cottage garden. It also attracts butterflies and has beautiful blossoms.

Yarrow photo Yarrow_zpsujriafdb.jpg

Finally for this post, we have Yarrow. Yet another plant I started growing downstate because I found some on clearance, I found that I loved the fern-y foliage and tiny clustered blooms. It attracts both pollinators and predatory insects (who will eat other, less desirable insects).

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spring has sprung

Like just about everywhere else, spring has come very early to this neck of the woods. Our winter was extremely mild and most of March we’ve had temperatures in the 70s and 80s. It’s ridiculous! Kind of nice, but I miss the transitional weather. I’m a fan of temps in the mid-50s to mid-60s and while we had quite a few days in that range during the so-called winter, I hope next year we have a more traditional spring season.

The first week of March, all my Crocus came up and most of them bloomed almost immediately.

crocus in the front garden

Eventually I would like this entire front border of the garden/yard to be filled with early bloomers. It’s still a little sparse, but they do multiply every year, so I’ll get there eventually.

crocus in the front garden

There was an ant crawling around inside this bloom:

crocus in the front garden

Early onset BUGS is definitely a side effect of this weird-ass weather. There were HUGE swarms of gnats out the other night as I was taking photographs. They were everywhere! Ewwwwww.

By the second week of March, all the Crocus were up and blooming:

early blooms in the front garden

as were other early bloomers like Reticulated Iris:

early blooms in the front garden

and Siberian Squill (which wasn’t quite blooming yet as of this photo):

early blooms in the front garden

Even though the winter was mild, it was wintery enough to destroy the mini gargoyles I accidentally left out.

what remains of the gargoyle I left out all winter

OOPS. I have a little bit of clean-up left to get all the tiny pieces picked up. That’s what I get from leaving a dollar store item out in the elements, I suppose! As an aside, the chopstick I accidentally left out (used for helping Blythe stand up) was completely unblemished.

The second week of March I started picking up leaf mulch from the garden. It’s really early to do this, but I couldn’t help but want to be out in the garden, and I thought it seemed worth risking. Some of the early bloomers were having trouble poking through all the leaves (I put them on a little too heavy in some spots) and I wanted to free them.

There were also a number of plants starting to sprout under the leaves and it was so neat to see them all green (or in some cases all white due to lack of exposure to the sun – even neater! I love science.) when I unburied them.

Here are some Lamb’s Ears ‘Helene Von Stein’ in the process of being uncovered:

front garden second week of March

and a week or so later:

front garden

By this, the third week of March, the Purple Wintercreeper is going crazy-go-nuts! It budded out earlier in the month and now it’s been growing super fast. It’s really filling in under the red maple tree this year:

under the red maple

The Poppy Anemones are starting to almost bloom now, too.

poppy anemone

The Sedum is sprouting, too. I just adore the way this stuff looks at all stages.

Stonecrop 'Munstead Red'

Even with last year’s now-not-so-gorgeous growth sticking out, I still like it.

Stonecrop 'Munstead Red'

The Artemisia is coming back, too:

Artemisia 'Powis Castle'

I have a few different varieties in the front garden. That one is ‘Powis Castle’ and it’s one of my favorite plants. The ‘Silver Mound’ is also coming up all over (I have it throughout the front garden):

front garden

(That Lavender needs a haircut!)

The Vinca is blooming, too:

Periwinkle Vinca

The blossoms on this plant may be tiny, but they are stunning! I feel like these photos look ‘shopped for color enhancement, but they aren’t. The flower color is just that intense!

Periwinkle Vinca

The Russian Sage is also sprouting teeny tiny leaves!

Russian Sage 'Filigran'

Are those not adorable?

It doesn’t look like a whole lot at this stage, but the garden is really coming along.

front garden

I think that this year I will have more fully or near-fully developed plants than babies, for the first time. I’m really excited to see how it progresses through the next few months!

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