Friday, May 15, 2009

Native Bloom Day

This fine Garden Bloggers Bloom Day was spent working at Client # 5's until it started raining and then heading higher up the mountain to Client # 4's where it wasn't raining, to consult on a design for a new front bed. We then headed off to a nursery to buy plants and then it really started to rain and I headed home.

There was a small flash flood that did a number on a farmer's freshly plowed corn field in the valley below Crab Tree Bald pretty close to home. A normally very small stream pushed a lot of debris into the culvert where it flows under the highway. It overflowed and headed downhill via an alternate route. I was a bit concerned about what I might see climbing the mountain to get home.

Fortunately all was well closer to home. It must have been a very localized downpour on the west face of Crab Tree Bald.

A second visit to the native plant garden in Lake Junaluska was slipped in on my way home from work one day earlier in the week. Frankly there are days now when I am just too tired to type, so these pictures did not make it in to the post with the Yellow Lady Slipper orchid.

This Chionanthus virginicus, Fringe Tree, was in full bloom. I may need to get one of these. I did get a Cotinus coggygia, the Smoketree which is very similar in habit and appearance.

I was hoping to get to the native plant garden in time to see the azaleas and rhododendrons in bloom, but I missed their peak. A few unidentified native azaleas were still blooming.

Entering the garden I was enveloped by a sweet intoxicating aroma. The Calycanthus floridus, Sweet Shrub, were in bloom and are highly fragrant. The shrubs are kind of rangy in appearance and the flower is distinctly odd. Maybe there will be room for some of them some where though they are not a must have.

The pale yellow cultivar Calycanthus floridus 'Athens' was in the garden too. I did grow one of the straight species from seed last year, but it does not appear to have survived the winter in its small pot on the deck.

This Baptisia alba, White Wild Indigo was very striking. Me likes. I have blue Baptisia seeds I collected and need to sow now that it is warm and I have fresh potting soil.

Adding to the alluring fragrance coming from the garden was this Magnolia tripetala, Umbrella Tree. It is a bit reminiscent of the Schefflera actinophylla in Hawaii.

I'm already wondering how I am going to fit everything I may need into my small mountaintop garden. I want to rearrange the trees.

It stopped raining enough before dark to plant a single replacement tomato for one that keeled over unexpectedly. Of course one replacement tomato became three. How can you buy just one tomato? I also planted another row of potatoes "Yukon Gold' and raked away the mulch in preparation for the planting of the corn.

I am not the only gardener who broke the rules this spring. My neighbor down the road with a sizable vegetable garden already has his corn up on the average last frost date for our area. These people know things.

One thing I can say about the roadside vegetable garden so far this rainy spring is, "Damn Slugs!!!" I'm no purist. I have been putting out slug bait.

The abundant yellow and purple iris bloom in the foreground on the small rise above the roadside vegetable garden. Half this patch has been given away to make room for things considered more desirable, as in something new and different. The lush wildflower greenery surrounding the vegetable garden should give you some indication of the weed suppressing power of a thick layer of wood chip mulch.

In the thunderstorm mist on a mountain, a vegetable garden tries to grow faster than the slugs can eat it. Why oh why with all this lush fresh growth do they crawl across sharp pointy wood chips to eat my melons, squash and cucumber seedlings?

The answer to this question and more might be found by following links to blooming blogs around the world from the Garden Bloggers Bloom Day headquarters, home of Miss Carol, master vegetable grower and varmint battler.


Grace Peterson said...

Well, I guess it's the old "Would you rather eat hamburger or prime rib?" adage. Slugs aren't stupid. :)

I use slug bait too. The pellets work great because you don't need very many to get the slugs' attention.

Speaking of natives/wildflowers (you were) have you visited my blog? While hiking in Oregon's finest forests I stumbled upon Calypso bulbosa. I'd be interested in your take on it.

Carol said...

I liked your statement, "I might have to move some trees". Easier said than done, but go for it. I loved your post, all the pics, the prose. Alas, I have no answer for your slugs, I don't see too many around here, so far. But having written that, I'll probably walk outside in a few minutes and see thousands.

But what is reallllly scary... I've yet to see a rabbit this spring. My garden is open, bare, unprotected, and still, no rabbits.

Thanks for joining in for bloom day!

Christopher C. NC said...

Gail those slugs must have homing devices for juicy produce seedlings. Maybe tomorrow I will try to find the other orchid that is rumored to be here. I wonder if the Oregon woods have as many as could be here.

Carol I wish I could wave a magic wand to rearrange the trees. No wabbit yet. He must be toying with you.

lola said...

Sorry to hear about your slug problem. I heard that if you put beer in a shallow container they will go for it---no more slug.
Looks like Uncle Ernie is keeping an eye on things. One anyway.

Les said...

I have noticed that not all of the Calycanthus florida smells the same, some are very fragrant others not at all, and they are supposed to be the same. 'Athens' always seems to be fragrant, like over-ripe strawberries. I second the beer in an old pie pan. It is perversly satisfying seeing them drowned.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

That's a gorgeous Chionanthus. It's what my baby shrub wants to be when it grows up. I've never smelled the straight species of Calycanthus. I have 'Athens,' which I love & have placed prominently. It's fun to listen to people's opinions on the scent of its blooms. Sorry about your slugfest. The slugs around here are just starting to get going. I imagine them carrying around little bridges to cross the woodchips & crushed eggshells to reach the goodies.

Aaron Milano said...

Great post--just found this blog on a Google Search and will definitely share this with my friends at



Christopher C. NC said...

Lola, Les, shallow dishes of beer would be so diluted in a matter of minutes will all the rain we have been having of late.

Hi MMcD. The Calycanthus doesn't tickle my fancy like the Chionanthus does. Could be the Chionanthus is much showier and my fear of heavily suckering shrubs like the Calycanthus could be.

Hi Aaron. thanks for stopping by.