Archives For -Blooming This Week


The garden is in peak spring lushness here. I shot these photos earlier this week. Since then we have had  a nice rain and everything is even greener! Almost all of the plants are out but the leaves haven’t had a chance to be eaten by bugs (or bunnies) or scorched by the summer sun. I thought I would highlight a few of my favorite pairings and plants for offering texture.


Above is a partial sun area of the garden. The Virginia Bluebells are still looking lovely, which I like for their nodding blue flowers, but also for their nice oval leaves. Here they are paired with a Rheingold Globe Arborvitae and hosta. I bought the Rheingold on clearance at Home Depot a couple of years ago. I had another one which didn’t make it, but if I find these again for a good price I will definitely pick a couple up. The color and texture are really nice and they only get to be about 30″. So far it has also kept its “globe” shape really well.


This image is in my partial shade garden back by the garage. I really like how the Golden Spiderwort ‘Sweet Kate’ brightens up the bed. It tends to die back in the hot weather, but for now I am really enjoying it. It is paired with a Japanese painted fern, forget-me-knots, geraniums.


Another spot in the same garden with more painted Japanese ferns, bleeding heart and caramel heuchera. In the back are the lovely tall ostrich ferns, hosta and toad lilies.


Our garden mascot, the blue goat along with some brunnera. You can see that the painted Japanese fern makes are reoccurring appearance in this bed.


I picked up this Peony (Paeonia Japonica) a couple of years ago at a plant sale. It prefers shade and is doing quite well in my shady side yard. The red stems are quite lovely with the large delicate flower.


I think my favorite tulip remains to be the Viridiflora variety. I like how this one pairs with the hosta. These also seem to be fine in this partial shade location (they just bloom a couple of weeks later than their sunny friends).


Lastly I wanted to highlight Euphorbia or spurge. I picked up mine at the Scott Arboretum plant exchange, where there always seems to be plentiful quantities.  It was one of those plants that I wasn’t that into but I was looking for something that would do well in deep shade under the pine tree and I also put some in a partial sun position as a filler plant. The sap is poisonous, so I have been careful to keep it behind other plants to minimize the chance that the kids will get near it. And the verdict, the one in deep shade hasn’t bloomed but did fine all last summer in the dry weather and the one in partial sun look like this! I am thinking I might pair it with the Virginia Bluebells, although it is a lot more aggressive than the bluebells and could overwhelm it.

This weekend is the Scott Arboretum Plant Exchange, one of my favorite events of the year. Who knows what beauties I will find this year. Stay tuned!

What is blooming in your garden?

P.S. My AC contractor is suppose to be here later today with the Air Handling Unit for the Third Floor. I am so excited!



I guess all it takes sometimes is a week of warm weather to get everything growing! This past week has been pretty epic in terms of how fast everything has grown and started flowering. We also managed to finally install the vintage chimney pot in the garden. I am planning on putting some sort of pot on top, although I haven’t found anything suitable yet. We found a date of 1916 on the top. In the meantime I will spend my time imagining the big chimney that this sat on.


Lungwort (Pulmaria) ‘Majeste’

My lungwort has been blooming like crazy. It could actually use some dividing. I love the mix of blue and purple flowers on the ‘majeste’ variety. The whiteness of the leaves is also nice later in the season. The only downside is that when you transplant them, they are really unhappy for a few months. By the fall they usually are regrowing nice new leaves, but they spend the summer looking half dead.

Virginia Bluebell

Virginia Bluebell

The Virginia Bluebells have a similar flower to the lungwort, but are quite a bit larger. These are a favorite of mine. They have been slowly expanding in several clumps in my side garden (in part-sun). They leaves are a really nice vivid green and I really like that they are a native plant.



Another native that I actually planted at the same time as the bluebells is the trillium. Both of these were planted as ridiculously small root stock that took a full year to come up (I had actually abandoned all hope). The trillium is really a lovely little jewel in the shade garden. They don’t last very long, once the heat of the summer sets in they will disappear until next year. The leaves on the trillium are really quite beautiful.  I bought both of these on ebay from a place in Tennessee (whose name escapes me). There appear to be several sellers now selling the Trillium and Virginia Bluebells.


Another shade plant that has shown up out of no where are my Bleeding Hearts. They were literally a few inches tall last week and now the larger ones are over 18″ high with flowers. I don’t usually choose pink flowers, but I will always make an exception for these shade loving plants. Mine have also grown large enough to divide and I have been adding them to several of my planting beds.


Kerria Japonica with Lunwort ‘Majeste’ below

Finally I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my Kerria Japonica. It is a bit of a weed (it sends out little runners) but it gives such a good show this time of year. I like to cut it back a little bit later in the spring, but right now I am enjoying this at both my back gate and side gate. This plant will grow in almost full sun to shade. The only down side of the sun location is that the flowers bleach out.

What is blooming in your yard?

To take a peak at all of my garden blooms click here.



Spring is finally here! We have reached the week in the spring where EVERYTHING makes an appearance. Granted it is still mostly little tiny sprouts and buds, but it is so nice to finally see all my little plant friends coming out of the ground. The weather has been warm for several days now, so everything is coming up fast. We were even able to be outside without coats! I managed to get a little bit of mulch down and part of the first round of weeding is complete. I was comparing this week to last year and we are almost a full month behind (granted we were a month ahead last year).


The daffodils have been in bloom for about a week now. Most of ours line our front steps, which is always a welcome appearance. I am actually thinking that I may divide several bunches this year, as the bunch is quite large and dense. That should allow them to multiply more, which is always welcomed. I may move some to the rear of the yard, to help add some additionally early spring blooms, especially since the squirrels and bunnies have eaten my crocuses even faster this year.


Also in the front yard is the Chionodoxa. Most of these are planted to the right of my front steps. They are there to replace the purple flowers from the vinca.


An ongoing battle for me is to remove the vinca front the front yard (I have almost removed it from one side but in the meantime the other side has been OVERTAKEN by it). It is VERY aggressive, but I have had a soft spot for it due to the purple flowers. It is actually one of the first things I wrote about when I started the blog. So 2 years later, I think the chiondoxa is a good choice, although I need A LOT more. The good news is in their second year blooming they have definitely come back stronger. I was a little disappointed last year, so much that I didn’t order any this past fall. Now I know that I need to order several hundred more (fortunately they are cheap and easy to put in since they are so small).


Speaking of purple flowers, my lungwort just started flowering. It is a favorite of mine, variegated leaves and purple flowers. The only caveat is that it doesn’t like full sun, so it isn’t an option for my front yard. This is another plant that I will be dividing this season. It actually looks terrible when you do it and you think it might not make it, but then it come back the next year all happy.


I thought I would leave you with a picture of the main shade garden. You can see it is still looking a bit sparse. It should really fill in the next couple of weeks, but it is hard to be patient. I also think it is good reminder how hard it is to have a garden that looks good all year around.  Just look how it looked last year at this time…


What is blooming in your yard?

To take a peak at all of my garden blooms click here.

I will be back with some progress on the upstairs hall soon!

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I was suppose to get this post up yesterday, but well it didn’t happen. I did manage to get out into the garden very late in the afternoon to shoot some photos though. I realized that I need to get out there to do some weeding and mulching soon. My neighbors were out last weekend prepping their beds! Now I just need some warm weather (it is actually snowing outside at the moment). I thought I would show the sad state of the yard right now. The grass needs some MAJOR help. And the planting beds are looking bare at the moment. I’ve been trying to think of ways to add year around interest and even have 3 miniature heavenly bamboo to put in (which have been overwintering behind the shed). It is interesting to see how it compares to last year. We are definitely not as far ahead. Last year the daffodils were blooming (and I would say we have another 2 weeks before that will happen).

But on to the plants that are currently making me smile…



The snowdrops are usually the first bulb to bloom in late winter. I actually think that they may be behind schedule. They often bloom in February but mine just started blooming in full last week. Most of mine are transplants from around the yard (I think this is the only “free” plant that came with the house). I think it survived because it can grow in the lawn. The only downside to them is that I inevitably dig a bunch of them up by accident since they die back fairly early. Although I think that may help with the multiplying, as I usually spread out the bulbs when  I do come across them. If you look closely at the picture of the backyard you can see them scattered in the side and rear planting beds.  In the picture above you can see them with some geraniums which managed to overwinter without much complete dying back.


While we are on the subject of crocuses, here is the Barr’s Purple. I LOVE the color and they are suppose to be squirrel resistant but something likes to munch on them in my yard (yes I am looking at you bunnies!). I planted a lot of them in the fall of 2011. Then I admired them last spring and watched them disappear over 3 days, completely munched off. What I don’t understand is if you head over to Swarthmore (the next town over) you see lawns filled with crocuses. I guess maybe the bunnies haven’t made their way over there. hmmm….


For the first time my Golden Lotus Hellebore is blooming! I picked it up from Carolyn’s Shade Garden in the Fall 2011. I bought 2. It looks like I only have 1 left and it didn’t bloom last year.  I was pretty excited to see in now though! It is currently facing away from the house, so I had to really lean down to get this shot. It is a double hellebore and is quite pretty in person.


My regular hellebores which are a mix of white and white with a purple edge are also blooming. This patch, which came from a friend, started off fairly small but has turned into quite a nice grouping. I have even spread some of the seedlings around. Unfortunately the seedlings are still too young to bloom, but they seem to have settled in nicely.


I wanted to show off the leaves of these tulips. This is Red Riding hood from  Brent and Becky’s. I bought these probably 6 years ago or so from them. It produces small red flowers that sit low the ground, but the leaves are really the star. I’m also impressed that they have come back so well, since most tulips tend to die back after a few years.


Finally I will leave you with a picture of the heavenly bamboo (nandina ‘Gulf Stream’) in the front yard. I planted these in front of the bay window back in the Fall of 2011. They have filled in so nicely! My plan actually worked!  And as a bonus they max out at 30″ tall, so no pruning required! I still need to do some more planting around them, but It is nice to have year around color here.

What is blooming in your yard?



With the unseasonably warm weather I thought it was about time that I headed outside to check on the garden. We have only had a couple of really cold days this season, so a number of plants are confused. I have been very pleasantly surprised with a couple of the cabbages that I bought this fall. This is the first time I have planted these and I thought that they would be long gone by now. The pink ones are fairing better than the darker purple ones, but the fact that they aren’t all shriveled up but nice and full is impressive.


A couple of my succulents (hen and chicks) have also been quite happy. The one above is in my front urn. The one below is still in the nursery pot because I never got around to planting it. I am really liking these little guys as fillers for my pots and planters. They tend to get a little lost when the other plants are in full bloom, but they sit there so nicely, helping to fend off the weeds. And now that most everything has died back, they provide nice texture and color. Both of these are mostly green in the summer, but with the colder weather have added a nice red to the tips.



Speaking of succulents, my Autumn Joy Sedum are sprouting. I thought that they sprouted early last year at the end of February. I guess we will see if we get some serious snow or cold, how they fair.


I am still in love with the Nandina Domestica ‘Gulf Stream’ (Heavenly Bamboo) that I planted in the fall of 2011. This miniature variety does not produce berries, but the colors are so nice and it looks so good this time of year (all year for that matter). I also planted a regular one with berries by our driveway and it is doing equally well.


Finally I thought I would show you some of the hellebores. My main grouping of common hellebores have not started blooming yet, but this other patch of Helleborus foetidus are just starting to. I picked these up at the Scott Arboretum Plant Exchange a couple of years ago but this is the first time that they are going to bloom for me, so I am pretty excited about that. The only issue is that they are kind of tall, so I may need to do some more rearranging in the planting bed later this spring.


Do you have anything interesting blooming in your garden?

P.S. To see previous Blooming This Week posts (and imagine warmer weather) click here.

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Purple Aster with Amsonia

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend! We had a nice warm day on Sunday, probably one of the last for the season. Unfortunately it is nearing the end of the gardening season here. There isn’t a lot in bloom at the moment and I have run out of steam in the garden.  The garden is looking a little weathered and there is a lot of weeding to do but I thought I would show you the last couple of bright spots in the yard.  I am still in love with the Amsonia in my yard and am always looking for new spots to put it in. It starts out slow in the spring with some blue flowers but it is a show stopper this time of year in a lovely lime green that will fade to yellow as the leaves change. The asters are also in bloom. I have a short purple (exact variety unknown). I keep thinking that I should plant some tall varieties for the back of the bed.

Common Toad Lilies

The toad lilies are looking great (except for the few that got chomped down by the bunnies). The mounds of these plants are really good about expanding. I divided the ones that I bought a couple of years ago before I put them in the garden and now they are huge again. Next year I will probably divide a few of these to spread them out further.

Common Toad Lily Flower

They look so much like orchids, how can you go wrong?

The Shade Garden with one of our pumpkin friends

And of course the garden wouldn’t be complete without some pumpkins. In our case Maisie picked out some pumpkin decorations which decorate the shade garden that we pass on our way to the garage every day.

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Urn filled with perennials: Feather Grass, October Daphne Sedum and Hen and Chicks

It feels like Fall today! We had some major storms come through yesterday and suddenly the air is crisp and the sky is blue. All the rain means that he garden is looking leggy, floppy and overgrown. Fortunately there are a few plants still in bloom.

Autumn Joy Sedum mixed with pulmonaria ‘majeste’ , toad lilies (still to bloom), and hosta

My Autumn Joy Sedum (stonecrop) and another unknown pink variety are in their second week of full blooms. I have to say that I never use to like the stonecrops, I just didn’t find them very exciting. But now, I use them as a “fill” plant in full sun to part shade (they tend to be more floppy in shady spots but still bloom quite well). They are quite bullet proof and easy to propagate.

Stonecrop (sedum) of unknown variety

To propagate all you need to do is pinch off a small section (about 4-6″) and stick it in the ground (or in water first if you like). With damp soil they take quite well. At the same time they don’t self seed all over the yard like some other perennials I know. Speaking of which, my Ironweed in all of its legginess is in full bloom. It has  not been well behaved lately and I have had to pull out quite a few volunteer plants (not the end of the world or anything but still annoying).

Ironweed Flowers

I planted the Ironweed to help provide privacy between us and a certain neighbor (which it does quite well). It grows to at least 8′ here.

Ironweed growing in between our fence and our neighbors

It has even self seeded in between our fences, which is pretty nice because they act as supports, so they don’t tumble over.

Black & Yellow Garden Spider

We have also had TONS of spiders this year.  This one is a HUGE black and yellow garden spider, which fortunately is totally harmless. I really like its zig-zag web pattern. He did give me a little scare and required some googling to confirm that he was harmless. Phew!

Now to see if I can actually carve out some time to weed!

P.S. The pawpaws are browning on my counter. I am also working on perfecting my pawpaw ice cream recipe and hope to share soon. I know there are a couple of people that I owe seeds. These will be coming soon! Let me know if you are interested, I’ve got a pretty big pile going.

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Big Leaf Magnolia (Magnolia Ashei) with Amazing Red Seed Pod

I am overdue in updating you on the garden. It has been such a hot, wet and buggy summer, that we haven’t spent much time in the yard. The frequent rain has meant that the garden is a weedy mosquito infested mess! I need to pull out a bunch of bamboo, weed like crazy and cut back a lot of overgrown shrubs and trees. In the meantime, there hasn’t been very much blooming. All of my mid-summer blooms started and finished early, leaving my garden feeling a little sad. Fortunately there are a couple of brights spots.

I am in awe of my big leaf magnolia. It normally gets seed pods, but nothing like this year. The seeds are this amazing hot pinky red! I am not sure if it is the weather or maybe the age of the tree.

Native Honeysuckle

My native honeysuckle has gone on blooming forever (since April)! It is also currently overtaking our back steps (making it a bit difficult to get through with a big bag of groceries), but I have been reluctant to cut it since the hummingbirds have been here almost every day and the bees are so happy. I was worried when it started blooming so early that it would be finished early and not provide a good source of nectar for the hummingbirds. Fortunately I was wrong.

Swamp Sunflowers, Ironweed & Joe Pye Weed: Late Summer/Early Fall Tall Native Perennials

Also several of my large native perennials are in bloom including the wamp sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius), ironweed (Vernonia altissima) and joe pye weed (Eutrochium). These are all tall lanky plants. I haven’t done any staking but the ironweed and swamp sunflowers could definitely use it. They are each at least 7′ tall right now.

Paw Paw Fruit, almost ready for harvest!

The other exciting thing in the garden right now is the Paw Paw Tree. We are getting close to harvest! I actually pulled a soft one off the tree today. I don’t think it is quite ripe yet, but it is getting close. The fruits are actually weighing down the tree right now. I think all of the rain has really increased their size.

What is blooming in your yard right now?


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Sam with Silphium perfoliatum (Cup Plant) &   Helianthus angustifolius (swamp sunflower) behind. Both are giant native flowers that bloom in mid-late summer. Both self-seed but are impressive this time of year.

Yesterday morning I managed to get myself outside to take a few pictures of the garden with my helper. It has been so hot until this weekend, that I have just been running back and forth between the driveway and the house and spending as little time as possible outside. I hope you enjoy seeing some perennials that thrive in the heat! As you would expect it is a lot of the native flowers that are doing especially well, including the black-eyed susans, joe pye weed and hardy hibiscus.

On a personal note, I will be taking a break from the blog for a little bit. Life is been crazy (in both good and bad ways) so I have decided that I need to take a couple of things off of my plate for the time being, including writing in every day. So for the next couple of weeks you will be seeing less from me. Please still feel free to email me or send a comment. I love to hear from everyone! I hope to come back inspired and full of new ideas.

Black-Eyed Susans

Joe Pye Weed

Hardy Hibiscus

Sam’s Hand with the Giant Hardy Hibiscus (Disco Ball)

Standard Garden Phlox


Cherry Tomatoes

One surprise in the last week is that the crocosmia that I planted last year as bulbs have popped up in a couple of places. I have tried bulbs twice now and live plants once. I had finally given up thinking it wasn’t the right plant for my garden. It is not native but it is suppose to be an easy to grow bulb and thrives in hot sun and dry soil (the bulb can rot in wet soil). I planted this over a year ago (you typically plant them in the spring and they should bloom in the summer). I think I planted about 12 bulbs and have three blooming. It is nice to have this little garden present especially in this heat.

Shade Garden still looking pretty good without watering (and my new clock that I got for my birthday)!

My shade garden is also doing quite well given the weather. I think it helps that most of the plants are pretty established and it doesn’t get the crazy hot afternoon sun. Although all of the flowers on my hostas burned out in a couple of days.

What is blooming in your garden?

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Front Yard: It is feeling very “cottage garden” right now

I am having a bit of a post Fourth of July hangover. It has been HOT here, so I have been bad about photographing the garden. Fortunately there are still some flowers blooming!

The super sunny front garden is in its summer glory. The coneflowers, daisies and hardy hibiscus could care less that it is literally 100 degrees out. There is definitely something to be said for native plantings.

Hardy Hibiscus Disco Ball

Balloon Flower (short variety)

Red Beebalm

My hardy hibiscus is back and beautiful. These grow quite well from seed. If anyone is interested in any seeds, let me know. I have found planting them in the ground rather than in a pot is the most effective way to grow these. They are perennials, although I have noticed that some of the older plants (4-5 years old) don’t do quite as well. Fortunately I have a lot now thanks to reseeding them. The flowers are large (7-8 dia) and although each one only lasts for a day, they are so stunning!

My balloon flowers are mostly in the backyard, but these are another flower that will self seed nearby (no need to do it yourself). I am not sure which variety this is, but I do know that it is one of the shorter species. I have a neighbor who has the taller (24-36″ tall) variety and he always has to stake them. Mine are only about 6-12 tall and work well at the front of a planting bed. My only word of caution is that they come up LATE. I have more than once dug them up accidentally thinking that there isn’t anything growing.

My bee balms are blooming in all their weird wonderful glory. These are a little aggressive with runners, so I try and keep them by themselves since they have been known to take over beds. They tend to grow into our lawn, but Mr. S. just mows them over and enjoys the nice scent. These are supposedly good for making tea (but I haven’t tried it).

Red Lily

Ruffled Peach Lily

My Little Helper

The lilies are still going strong. I don’t know the varieties of either of these, but the ruffled peach one came from a grower in SC from my inlaws.

Maisie was “helping” when I took the pictures and asked if she could be included. How could I say no to my favorite flower of all?

I am still working on my post of Sarah’s front porch and yard. Hopefully tomorrow I will be finished. I am trying to spend some time highlighting the changes in detail. Can’t wait to show it to everyone!