Friday, May 24, 2013

New Plants: Lupine & Yellow Lady Slipper

Wild Blue Lupine
Picked up replacement Wild Blue Lupine from Twombly Nursery in Monroe today.  The previous lupine succumbed to the voles last year. Twombly does have a good selection of native plants IF you know exactly what you are looking for and are familiar with which plants are native and which just look like they should be native. Twombly does have a habit of mixing them up. Earth Tones is normally my choice for natives because    when you absolutely want a native plant, you can't screw up and grab something non-native. 

Small Yellow Ladyslipper
Today they had some beautiful Small Yellow Ladyslippers available, so I purchased one for Eklund. These are not your normal Pink Lady Slippers, which we already have up on top of the hill under the pines where the soil is very acidic. The Pink Lady Slippers cannot be transplanted and we were just lucky they happened to be growing there. Yellow Ladyslippers are native to the northeast, but you probably would not find them in Shelton because they prefer neutral, damp soil.  There is one section of the back beds that I have been adding dolomite to for those types of natives, so that's where I put it. It is a shady spot but right on the edge, so it might get an hour or two of sun. Hopefully it will be moist enough. Water does seep out of the hill for much of the year. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Swamp Azalea Pest Revealed

Every year the poor little Swamp Azalea out front next to the main steps mysterious loses all its leaves. Nothing but the leaf veins are left.  It's able to grow new leaves, but it is definitely hard on the shrub. 

This year I finally caught the culprits, which appear to be Azalea Sawfly larvae, which originated in South Africa. They are very well camouflaged and I crushed dozens if not hundreds, but kept finding more.  Some were very tiny and just hatched, so I stopped at home and grabbed some insecticide.

The active ingredient is Pyrethrin, which qualifies as organic, but it's an insecticide of last resort since it does kill just about every bug you spray it with. Normally I do not use pesticides in the garden, but in this case it seemed necessary. The Swamp Azalea has not evolved with the Azalea Saw Fly and has no natural defense.

After several hours weeding, transplanting, and weed-whacking, the garden looks pretty good. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

In Bloom

Red Trillium
Pink Lady Slipper up on the Heath Walk

Spring Beauties

Bellwort, with Violets and Mayapple. 

Foam Flower, with Woodland Phlox and Jacob's Ladder in the background

This Jacob's Ladder came up naturally from seed.


Wild Columbine

Jacob's Ladder  loves the garden and keeps expanding

Virginia Strawberry

New Plantings

The spring dry spell has ended, allowing some new plantings to replace those lost from voles or from being in the wrong spot.  Experience has shown that some parts of the garden are shadier or dryer or wetter than first thought. Plant the right plant in the wrong spot and it just won't take.  Funding came from gift certificates.

Wild Ginger, added to the garden in a new location (far back right side)

We already have some Wild Ginger in the garden, but I wanted to expand this plant to a second location. It likes partial to full shade and moist conditions. I know of one small patch of Wild Ginger growing wild in Shelton, and it would be nice to expand this native. Sadly, it is a plant that foragers dig up for cooking. The roots smell exactly like the regular ginger you cook with, which I discovered while dividing a clump.

Heartleaved Skullcap (Scutellaria ovata) 

Skullcap has attractive foliage and can handle both shade and dry conditions, which is hard to find.  It may die back when it gets too hot out.  This is a new species for the garden.

Oak Leaf Hydrangea
Oak Leaf Hydrangea can grow to more than six feet tall, but we're starting out tiny.  I was looking for a part to full shade location that would be moist but not waterlogged, and where the shrub would block the view of the other plants. The spot I chose had horrible soil -- nothing but compacted clay and rock, so I had to dig out a big hole and mix a lot of leaf compost in. All the rocks in the photo were originally in that hole.  This hydrangea is native in the southeast Appalachians.

Field Pussytoes
All our field pussytoes mysteriously vanished over the winter, so these are replacements. This time they were planted on a dry spot out front rather than on the strawberry hill, which can be soaked for weeks at a time.

Wild Pink (Silene Carolininiana).  Previously planted on a spot that was too wet. 
Wild Pink is another plant that we previously had on the wet/dry strawberry slope, but it perished there. Just too shady and wet.  This time it's out front to the right of the front steps.

Wild Pink growing wild at Indian Well State Park
Coincidentally, I found the same species growing on the Paugussett Trail two days later, growing out of shear rock, near the overlook at Indian Well.  The flower was literally growing on the trail, getting stepped on. And yet it died when planted in a spot that was too wet.

Sundrop (Oenothera 'Cold Crick'). Adding to what we have. 
Sundrops is a favorite at the garden. This is a natural primrose hybrid that doesn't spread all over the garden. The voles took their toll on this plant over the past few years.

Thread-leaf Bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii). 
 Thread-leaf Bluestar is a new one at the garden.  Is is drought tolerant and can handle full sun to part shade, and is deer resistant.
Two Leaf Miterwort (Mitella diphylla)  
Two Leaf Miterwort is another new species for the garden with attractive foliage. Handles dry to moist soils in part to full shade.

Canada Anemone
And finally, more Canada Anemones.  Love the foliage, and they will spread in the right location. This one and the miterwort prefer a higher pH than what we normally have in Shelton, so they will need to be limed.