http://theweeklygardener.com/ - Jun 20, 2013 4:16:29 AM - Apr 3, 2012 1:29:46 PM
White and yellow flowers
If you have a vegetable garden grow squash for their blossoms even if you don't like the fruit. The flowers are also edible and provide a quick and festive way to decorate a salad.
This plant is so productive I can't believe it! Lots of hot peppers, looks like.
While the female flowers turn into fruit eventually, the splendid golden yellow male ones bloom for just a few hours and fade the same day. They bloom daily the whole summer, providing brilliant color for the vegetable garden. You can't help but smile when their cheery trumpets open to greet the sunshine.
Squash is traditionally a sprawling plant that requires a lot of square footage for a good yield but the newer varieties are compact enough even for the smallest gardens. They grow well in containers, provided they get enough water and nutrients and are happy to clamber vertical supports if the space is tight.
The plants I had last year started relatively late but produced a lot after that. Zucchini is the perfect vegetable for impatient gardeners, they literally grow a couple of inches a day and can be harvested in about a week.
Start squash directly in the garden after all danger of frost has passed. There is no point in starting them indoors, they sprout quickly and grow fast and like cucumbers and melons don't like being transplanted anyway.
Squash needs a lot of moisture, all cucurbits do, so water generously. Don't worry that you won't know when it needs more, its leaves wilt very dramatically under the strong rays of the morning sun and its pathetic demeanor will guilt you into providing some tender loving care.
This year I planted a new tomato variety and I am very curious to see how productive it is. Its fruit is supposed to be abundant, large and meaty, the most popular kind for salads and sandwiches.
These indeterminate tomatoes produce gradually over the entire summer, not all at once, like the tomato paste varieties, and the plants look very much like the cherry tomatoes I have been growing for the past three years.
I started them from seed and they grew really fast, very healthy and deep green, it seems that this cultivar lives up to its reputation. The variety was popular for many decades because it is reliable, healthy and extremely productive.
Its fruits are large, six to ten inches in diameter, but they grow in large clusters like the miniature varieties. It is supposed to have a perfect balance of sweetness and acidity and a smooth, delicate texture.
Despite the cool weather tomatoes bloomed sooner than last year. Their flowers are not as pretty as other vegetables', they can't match the large and sunny squash blossoms or the sophisticated purple of the eggplants, but they make me happier than any other flower because I know that every one of these modest blossoms will bear fruit.
I am always fascinated by vegetal kinetics, if you ever watched a time lapse movie of an opening flower or a springy sprout you can't help but be amazed at the gracefully fluid motion with which seemingly static plants engage their surroundings.
Just before opening this melon colored squash bud decided to perform a half twist. Why? I don't know, only it does.
I haven't looked very closely yet to see if there is tiny fruit attached to the flowers; the cucumbers are prolific bloomers this year so we are sure to see harvest. It rained a lot and the weather was unseasonably cool, but they are catching up lately.
This year's is a large fruited variety with high water content, these are the best for small gardens, I noticed.
And more roses
Cottage garden roses
When a cottage garden is well designed it makes you forget the planning that went into creating it and takes over by establishing new hierarchies, thriving on apparent randomness and developing a personality of its own.
Cute as a button!
More of these artful rosettes, too bad it's a once blooming rose!
Roses are very good companions in this environment, blend in flawlessly and add a romantic touch to the eager spikes of veronicas, tall stalks of delphiniums and fresh energy of daisies.
Cottage garden roses don't have the aristocratic look of the long stemmed hybrid teas, their flowers show up in bunches on gently arched stems to mingle with the fringed yarrow leaves and the fragrant lily cups.
Surrounded by gladioli, liatris, bee-balms and zinnias, projected on the delicate weave of the sweet peas in the background, the summer garden would be incomplete without them, the quintessential summer flowers.
There is no such thing as a disappointing rose, each one charms you in its own way and you end up filling your garden with them if you have the space and the sun exposure.
I look at the photo that accompanies this article (, a David Austin rose) and wonder who could ask more of a flower; the perfectly formed corollas are held tightly in the cup of their outward petals and their middles unfold in a neatly quartered pattern that reminds me of antique bourbon roses.
You don't know how much sunshine means to roses, they make do without anything else if they have eight hours of full sun exposure a day.
I remember from my early gardening days watching with wretched covetousness an abandoned rose bush that somebody planted in an empty corner and forgot about.
Nobody watered it or treated it for the never ending list of rose diseases (which they only get, by the way, if they don't have enough sunlight), and in the absence of pruning it grew tall, almost like a little tree.
It was literally weighed down by flowers, so many they didn't fit on the branches, and scented the air around it effortlessly, as if to spite me.
I, of course, was doting on my rose, using an entire arsenal of nutrients, fungicides, insect repellants, and watering it the second the dirt around it dried up. Late in the season it sprung a little bud, delicate and hanging on to a very flimsy stem and then black spot stripped it of all its foliage, leaving it barren and vulnerable.
Whoever says roses are difficult planted them in the wrong spot. They just need sunshine, is all. The cheerful drop of happiness in the picture is Crown Princess Margareta which I almost gave up on but decided to move at the last minute when its dried up canes made a last effort of springing forth new growth.
It is supposed to be extremely disease resistant and bloom with abandon repeatedly throughout the summer. I'm looking forward to that.
Roses are hardy plants but need time to settle into their new surroundings and may not spoil you with flowers the first year. Last spring their sparse flowers peeked from under foliage just long enough for me to know that it does indeed bloom.
Look at it now! Ballerina - an old hybrid from the thirties. It is supposed to be covered in orange hips when winter approaches like a lit Christmas tree.
Literally, since roses are edible and in some cultures they feature in cuisine as often as other spices. If you haven't tried rose petal preserves you may find this exotic treat a bit unusual, the shredded petals are squishy and chewy and have a consistency that makes you think of plastic wrap.
Use the most fragrant roses for dessert delicacies. Rose de Rescht is the most common choice for syrups, sherbets and preserves, but any damask or full flowered rugosa will do.
Painting with light
It is not the change of the seasons or the succession of blooms that keeps the garden always new, but the light. It completely reframes the views making you see familiar places for the first time again.
The blossoms of this rose turn to a soft and delicate off white as they mature, they look like scented antique paper and lace.
Sometimes the tired sun dips everything in gold, mellowing the contours, softening sharp edges, making everything glow with warm hues.
Other times the light is cheerful and bright and every plant sparkles and bursts with freshness and vigor.
Right before the rain the flower beds are tinted silver and purple and you can almost feel the weight of the heavy sky bearing down on them.
Sometimes the sun is crude and intense, revealing every flaw of the tender foliage. It makes the gardener squint like a vampire caught in the sunlight and imbues the landscape with the peaceful sadness of roses growing on a grave.
There is the sudden dimming of the light when thick clouds pass over the sky that sends shivers down the spine and makes one wrap a shawl around for comfort even though the sun is burning overhead.
And then there are moments like the one captured in this photograph when a passing shadow makes light dance on a painted rose and brings it to life in such a way that you can't take your eyes off of it.
Summer came suddenly as it often does changing temperatures over night and forcing every plant in the flower bed to adjust. The garden looks needy, I can feel it wanting for something but I can't tell what. The light is crude and unforgiving, almost too harsh for the delicate petals, with no spring sweetness at all.
There is no humidity in the air and even though it rained only two days ago the vegetation shrivels, forgetting the lush abandon of previous weeks. It is getting hot and all the non-repeating roses are in a hurry to complete their annual bloom before temperatures reach one hundred degrees.
Farmers' wealth of weather observations predicts that harsh winters are usually followed by equally extreme summers. I feel haunted by the roughness of the weather, there is too much wilderness in it, it grates my sensitivity.
The rugosa roses spring forth in careless bloom, profligate and tough, ready for anything. They spread, the rough beauties of the wild, forming thickets and hedges, careless, thorny and brazenly prolific.
Their flowers last only a few days but there are so many of them opening one after another like botanical fireworks. They smell of cloves and citrus and cover the branches with intense magenta petals, slightly crinkled as if they just fell out of bed.
The garden works its magic around me: it sprouts forth bloom, develops structure, fills empty patches and establishes hierarchies only it understands; it looks as if I am not needed at all and this makes me sad.
Bishop's Castle is an English rose with cupped fully double pink flowers. It is supposed to repeat reliably over the summer, but it didn't do that for me so far. When the flowers are in bloom they are very beautiful, soft and romantic, and with a pure rose scent.
This year it promises to spoil me with sprays of flowers.
Of good cheer
The little "Gourmet Popcorn" has more flowers than leaves at this point. It is a delightful china miniature rose whose flowers are apple scented. It blooms all summer and doesn't need much care.
It even tolerates lower sun exposure and still blooms reliably.
The rose in the picture is neither an antique nor high maintenance. It is a beautiful Canadian hybrid called
I learned the most important facts about roses from my grandfather and they go like this.
Roses in the landscape
The picture doesn't do them justice, they are absolutely enchanting!
Roses are not fussy plants, if they have full sun exposure they will put up with conditions that few perennials can withstand: drought, heavy soils, extreme temperatures on both sides of the spectrum and even salty water.
If you are a passionate rosarian by all means go after the hard to find, hard to care for heirloom rose breeds but if you want low maintenance plants that bloom all the time plant hybrids and landscaping roses, they perform very reliably.
For great effect use a mass planting of the same rose, rose bushes thrive when planted with their own kind and the use of one color enhances your landscaping design.
Have patience with roses, they need time to become established. Don't get discouraged if they don't bloom the first year, they are using all their resources to get acclimated to the new location. Some rose shrubs do the opposite and try to put out flowers immediately to ensure the plant's future just in case the mother plant doesn't thrive. Professional gardeners recommend to remove the buds as they appear so that the plant uses all its energy to develop a healthy root system.
If you want roses to bloom, feed them, they are hungry plants.
There are no roses for shade. There are some shade tolerant roses but don't expect them to flourish if the location has less than 6 hours of full sun exposure a day.
The wilder the variety, the more resilient it is. Rugosas create dense and thorny thickets and make up for the ruggedness with splendid clove scented flowers and bright orange hips.
Roses make wonderful neighbors and will blend beautifully with other perennials.
Us hopeful rosarians have to admit that roses are not just another pretty flower. There is something very special and noble about them, the older they are the more rare and valued their flowers and often the more persnickety they get.
Here are some cultivars to test your rosarian mettle. Plant only if you are willing to dedicate a lot of time to these cherished varieties:
Souvenir de la Malmaison, a delightfully fragrant bourbon, feels very at home in warmer climates, not so fond of winter. Susceptible to black spot, needs winter protection.
Reine des Violettes, as its name implies, has flowers that look like they're made of royal purple with an intoxicating scent, more sensitive than a mimosa and really high maintenance.
Mme Alfred Carriere, a climber with large cupped flowers, blooms generously and is wonderfully fragrant, but like all noisettes dislikes both cold and humidity.
Alfred de Dalmas, an exquisitely fragrant moss rose. Enough said. I quote: "many moss roses are susceptible to aphids, slugs, snails, fungus and rot".
Blush noisette, sophisticated and fragrant, doesn't survive winter above zone seven.
I personally started Tuscany, an old velvet Gallica, twice, but it might just be me... I will try until I succeed.
To keep your spirits up around this high maintenance environment plant some fail proof old roses like Roseraie de l'Hay (any rugosa, really) , Leda (an unbelievable painted Damask, alas, not fragrant) or Mutabilis if you live in a zone warmer than 6.
The rose in the picture is neither an antique nor a high maintenance one. It is a beautiful Canadian hybrid called Morden Blush that has all the qualities and none of the shortcomings of the old-fashioned varieties.
Every year I look forward to see this rose flushed with flowers. The red buds open to fully double white rosettes tinged in deep raspberry hues. The flowers open all at once in a splurge of delicate petals that fall apart at the lightest touch when they start fading.
The shrub leans to the ground in a leisurely way, sprawling over the flower beds, gracefully bending its branches with clover-like foliage under the weight of its blooms.
The first flower on this shrub this year, and no, I still don't know what rose it is. My faithful floribundas started blooming very reliably since I learned that they do not need pruning, ever.
All tall, vase shaped roses that bloom once a year develop their flower buds on old wood. I have to confess I spent several years with no flowers at all until I found out this useful piece of information.
The walls of our gardens, the hedges, define spaces, imply boundaries and create soft retreats for the hot days of summer. A hedge can transform an awkward and unusable spot into a lovely secluded space.
Crane's Bill in bloom. It's flowers are modest compared to the bright copper, purple, red and gold foliage they display in the fall.
The fuzzy honeysuckle contours trace edges for the landscape, soft and lacy in the breeze and accompanied by sweet scent.
Sheltered between walls and greenery a little outdoor room provides respite from the noise, heat and daily grind, with just enough space for a little bench and a fountain surrounded by the contrast of low growing and imposing stately perennials.
The bottom of the living wall blends with the graduated heights of the planted floor to make the delimitation line almost disappear, no sharpness, no hard lines.
Tall bushes arch gently over the smaller growies, providing shade for the lush hostas and homes for many birds and squirrels.
Anyway, my point is if you plant a hedge, choose a fragrant one, such as: lilac, mock orange, honeysuckle, butterfly bush, abelia, or viburnum.
If you are blessed with a sunny spot there is nothing more romantic than an old climbing rose in bloom draping over the top of a garden wall.
Every shade of purple
Changing the color of the ground is another great way do delineate a space: a mass planting of orange flowers, a field of yellow tulips, a delicate cover of blue plumbago.
My garden decided to paint an entire flower bed purple this year. I've got every shade of purple, from mauve to indigo; low growing bugle weed, tall wavering alliums, delicate sweet violets, intense grape hyacinths, real navy blue hyacinths, and crocuses. The purple garden phlox will start blooming any day now, followed by the butterfly bush and the deep burgundy daylilies.
It feels as if the garden internalized the unseasonably cold weather and took on cool shades of blue, purple and lavender to match it. It's finally warm now, we skipped spring again this year and moved from 50F to 80F in two days. The plants are growing at an accelerated pace, trying to catch up for the weeks of gradually warming weather that didn't happen.
After you tend to a perennial garden for a while you learn that even though the same plants come back year after year the flower beds never look the same.
What a charming picture is this winding path sprinkled with purple flowers! Sometimes the camera adds its own magic.
If your garden is blessed with the charmingly difficult dry shade, lily-of-the-valley can be a very successful groundcover to address this problem. It tends to spread, so if you can make it take root in one of those doomed garden spots you've got yourself a solution.
The best location for it is very light or dappled shade, or a location that receives full sun only in the morning. It blooms significantly more in full sunlight, but its foliage, like that of hostas, tends to get scorched in the summer, dry up and look pitiful.
The quickest way to dress up a mailbox, a trellis or a wall, vines gracefully expand small gardens and turn boring corners into charming havens. Annual vines grow very fast to cover large areas but if you have the time and the patience, start the perennial classics - honeysuckle, clematis, wisteria, climbing roses.
I just wanted to show off my beautiful Clematis Jackmanii, heavy with its huge purple flowers this year.
The sweetheart flower
The flower borders look so cool and romantic, covered in delicate blue and violet flowers that form a lacy layer over the fresh green foliage. Blue eyed Mary and bugleweed stay close to the ground while the tall stems of giant alliums and cobalt blue German irises sway gently in the wind.
If you guessed strawberry flowers, you are right. I am very impressed!
Somewhere in the background the white flowers of honesty compete for attention with the thick clumps of lilac in bloom. I stopped for a minute to admire the unexpected color combination basking in the sunshine.
As enchanting as the fairytale imagery was there is one spring flower missing from the blue themed vegetal tapestry - forget-me-nots.
They stand alone in a remote corner of the flower bed as if concerned that being a part of an ensemble would weaken the impact of their perfect little blossoms. Who could blame them, have you ever seen something so cute? Such exquisite detail and a very sophisticated color combination to boot!
The truth is they don't like the intense sun rays, their foliage is delicate and tends to lose too much moisture to evaporation.
I am not very fond of growing biennials, but in this case I made an exception. It takes too much patience and garden realty to wait two years for flowers, and then wait two more years to see them again. Here they are, however, the sweetheart flowers!
I am absolutely fascinated by this plant. I don't know what it is about it, its name, its relative scarcity, the unusual way the blossoms are aligned along the stems, unlike any flower I've ever seen.
I waited a long time to get it, hesitating over mail-in orders and proper planting times, not knowing how it behaves in larger plantings, debating where it would best fit in my garden.
As I was checking out the shade perennials at the local plant nursery I stumbled upon it, with its trademark flowers that cast no doubt about its identity, just chilling between the ferns and the hostas.
Solomon's Seal is a full shade plant and a very reliable one at that. It tolerates deep shade as long as it has enough water and will spread if the conditions are favorable. In harmony with its unusual flowering pattern, it doesn't spread like the other shade plants, forming a clump that grows in time and needs dividing. Its stems stand alone, like wheat stalks, forming a grid over the covered area.
This graceful flower is an American native, at home in woodland settings and hardy to zones 3 through 9. It is not supposed to be high maintenance, but then again most shade plants aren't. They are used to make do with less resources than their pampered sun loving counterparts.
I can't believe it actually grows in my garden. It looks very elegant with its singular arching stems festooned with white flowers. I hope it likes its location and thrives.
Squills are very, very old plants, so old that ancient Greek medicine mentions them. Don't try them in this capacity, they are extremely toxic! Look on the bright side, nothing will eat them, so you are guaranteed to see flowers year after year.
They are supposed to thrive in dry shade, so you might want to give them a try if you have an impossible foundation planting. I haven't tried that myself, but I will, very soon.
Gardening enthusiasts are usually very conscientious about planting spring bulbs, but not many people appreciate the wealth of flowers that the summer blooming bulbs can bring.
Giant alliums create very dramatic statements in the landscape and are better suited as specimens, their massive inflorescence tends to get lost in mass plantings.
The blossoms opened and the fully double flowers are white and fragrant as a dream. Lilacs are spectacular in mass plantings where they bloom at the same time with an abandon of color and perfume that dazzles for a full month.
In the shade
The first fluffy buds of tiarella, and the reason this plant is called "foam flower"
Visiting a lilac forest in May is akin to entering an impressionist painting, every shade between pure white and the deepest purple is splashed across the branches, mixed in suave pastels of lavender and rosy magenta, blue violet and burgundy.
Given the romantic aura that surrounds these trees when they are in bloom I am surprised there aren't more legends and stories built around them, the lore of lilacs is very scarce. They are associated with Easter because of their blooming time and they symbolize love, but what flower doesn't!
Lilacs take a very long time to mature; once established they perform reliably year after year. They like to be planted in mass but need full sun, otherwise they don't produce many flowers. The sprawling trees are prone to powdery mildew which tends to overwinter in the ground if not addressed and manifest itself in August and September when really dry and hot weather conditions stress the bushes.
Don't ever prune a lilac! It blooms on old wood and like any tree should benefit from a location where its arching growth habit is a feature not a drawback.
So happy to have it in my garden, I'm just sad that the purple one didn't make it past its second year.
There is a list of plants you might think twice about adding to your flower beds. Make sure you love them dearly because once in your garden, always in your garden: French mallow, bee balm, mint, daylilies, sweet violets, bugleweed, nicotiana. Add to this list the money plant, Lunaria Annua.
It is a delightful annual that exchanges dainty white flowers for oval translucent pods in the fall. The pods look like coins born on tall stalks, hence the name, and make it a staple plant for florists and interior decorators.
Money plant is one of the most prolific reseeders I know, one plant can fill an entire flower bed in one season. Since I had way too many I decided to populate some shaded borders that aren't very friendly to new plants. They thrive anywhere! Dry clay in the shade, no problem. Given how hard it is to get decent blooms in full shade this plant is nothing short of miraculous. I wish it were fragrant too, but I like it anyway. It grows big, two to three foot tall and two foot wide and it really stands out in the shade, it is a statement plant.
Money plants lend themselves to mass plantings, they have the resilience, growth habit and long lasting garden interest of the sedums.
In the fall they go through a second though short lived period of bloom when their flowers intermingle with the dried up cellophane pods for a very dramatic look.
At this point I don't think there are any garden conditions under which this plant doesn't thrive so if you have an impossible corner with dry shade and heavy clay by all means give it a try.
I took the opportunity to show off this plant a little more, it is too bad it only blooms for a few weeks out of a year. Lily of the valley is a symbol of humility as it is said to have been born of Mary's crying.
It would be the most beautiful and innocent flower for weddings, however old wives tales recommend to avoid it, since just like pearls it represents tears.
One of the understated perennials that should feature in every shade garden, epimedium sports delicate mounds of heart shaped foliage topped by the small bells of white flowers.
It is a very long lived plant that will thrive in full shade if given enough water. It needs some trimming in spring, to get rid of the spent foliage and show off the pretty flowers.
The garden is still hesitating, the larger flowers haven't sprung yet but the tiny ones cover the flower beds with a cheerful patchwork of mostly blue blossoms. The violets are beside themselves, they spread since last year and covered all the shaded borders with delicately painted flowers and heart shaped leaves. The grape hyacinths create compact masses of delft blue.
This picture may not look like much to you, but it took eight years, I repeat, eight, to see this French lilac bloom. I don't even know what color it is, I planted a white one and a purple one and only one survived.
There are some giant alliums that I planted a long time ago and I'm looking forward to every spring. They never disappoint, with their round inflorescences eight inches across, deep violet and long lasting. Spreading vigorously between larger plantings the bugleweed sprouts dusty blue spears and blue-eyed Mary softens the contours around the feet of the crab apple tree.
Many hyacinths bloomed, most of them dark blue, the more fragrant ones, but the daffodils just started, dangling half opened blossoms over the compact masses of forget-me-nots.
The lilacs are ready to burst open and this year my long suffering patience has been rewarded with blossoms on the French lilac which is supposed to be exceptionally fragrant. I mentioned many times that gardening is an art of waiting and I had to wait eight years for this one.
I would cherish the cool blue hues of this year's spring (every year a color dominates no matter what I plant, for instance last year was a yellow one), if the temperature wasn't still bone chilling so late in the spring.
I walked back inside past the periwinkle and startled a blue jay, a quite unusual visitor, along the way. Still too cold to enjoy the outdoors.
I wish lily of the valley stayed in bloom longer. Plants are so particular about their surroundings, and one person's pest is another person's treasure.
Lily of the valley sometimes features on the invasive plants list, and it is true that if it finds the right conditions it tends to take over. I haven't figured out yet what the right conditions are, though.
I tried starting it from pips, rhizomes, more pips, in various locations, in dry shade, in cool shade, in part sun, around the downspout. It finally started to take root but is very slow to spread and looks more like the isolated clumps of hostas than the ground cover it is supposed to be.
Lily of the valley is not very eager to expand in the shade but likes bright sunlight even less. There its foliage takes on a dusty and scorched look and it will adamantly hide its pretty flowers to protect them.
It finally started blooming, fresh and fragrant under emerald green leaves, the pampered blossom of the shade garden.
It's not easy being a tomato
The poor tomatoes were pounded by repeated almost freezing temperatures and are a little under the weather. They still look salvageable but not happy at all. The cold streak continues which may very well be a blessing, I don't think they'd adjust very well to a steep temperature differential.
Night temperatures in the thirties and fifty degrees during the day, way to go, spring. I hate the cold.
White and Blue
I planted lots of grape hyacinths last fall as part of a blue and white garden, complete with indigo hyacinths, white daffodils and forget-me-nots, a very peaceful space. Soon the giant alliums will bloom to complete the picture.
Grape hyacinths stay in bloom for more than a month and are some of the most undervalued flowers of spring. There are some new cultivars that come in cotton candy pink, but I only got the white and the blue ones.
Is it spring yet?
You can tell it's spring if...
... the bleeding hearts are in bloom. At least I hope so. This year graced us with a very late freeze right after I planted the vegetables, of course.
The tomatoes and peppers took it in stride, and seem no worse for the experience, but the unfortunate eggplants won't stand for such indignity, being hot climate plants and all. Well, we'll see if they recover and maybe replace them later.
My new shade garden
I'm so excited, all the plants I started last fall in the shade garden literally doubled in size. Here is one of the tiarella plants.
Crazy weather, I tell you, one year you have flowers blooming in January, the next you have snow in April. The perennials seem to be on top of the problem, waiting for signals only they understand until the conditions are favorable for their development.
The back yard started early, as usual, due to its southern exposure and sheltered environment, and the rest of the garden is trying to catch up. Now that the bleeding hearts are in bloom I think warm weather is officially here.
There are so many new dicentra cultivars, sporting unusual colors and blooming through the summer, but this is still my favorite with its old fashioned pink pendants festooned with white.
Ok, so is it spring yet? Got daffodils, got hyacinths, got bleeding hearts, yeap!
Yesterday I spent some time learning about clouds, which ones predict good weather, which ones hang on until they wear out their welcome and which signal an approaching downpour.
I put the newly acquired knowledge to good use and watched long cirrus clouds, "mare's tails", get pushed fast over the clear firmament and forecast fair weather.
As we grow up we start deciding what details in our lives are worth our energy and attention and watching clouds usually doesn't pass the importance test, despite the fact that the sky goes to great lengths to amaze us.
I got the spring blues: the sky that is never bluer than in April, the periwinkle flowers that almost glow in the sunshine, the old fashioned hyacinths, the ones with the strongest perfume, that don the deep and intense color of the sea, the little violets that smile as they snuggle in their sweetheart leaves.
The cirrus wisps gave way to fluffy cumulus clouds, thick as pillows, that started accumulating just in time for tomorrow's rain. The warm air smells like plum and apple blossoms.
The money plant
The money plant is a biennial but you'd never know it because once established in the garden it will reseed prolifically. Since its eager descendents tried to take over the front flower bed I dug up a few and populated less than friendly areas in dry shade.
It seems to thrive anywhere with minimum effort. The flowers come in purple and white and give way to round green fruit that looks like shimmery silver coins when dry.
Peonies rule the entire month of May. The variety in the photo, Sarah Bernhardt, has huge white fragrant flowers, so heavy they weigh the stems down.
I love peonies and wish they bloomed longer than a month, but they are spectacular anyway. If you start them from rhizomes be patient and heed the old folks' wisdom: "first year sleep, second year creep, third year leap." They live very long lives, fifty years or more, so what's the rush?