Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – August 2016

Tufted hair grass (Deschampsia cespitosa) and clematis arbor in the side garden at Hayefield [Nancy J. Ondra]

Despite chirpy assurances from area weather reporters that “everyone” in our region has repeatedly gotten soaking rains over the past month, a few of us, at least, have not shared in the bounty. Barely 1 inch of rain over the last 4 weeks, combined with an unusually dry June and July and long stretches of brutally hot weather, does not make for joyous gardening. To be honest, I was [this] close to simply skipping Bloom Day this month. Then this little guy changed my mind. Continue reading

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – July 2016

The Side Garden in early July [Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield]

Hot and dry have been two repeating themes over the past month, but it’s midsummer now, so those factors aren’t all that unusual. Several other appearances have been unexpected, though.

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Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – June 2016

The Side Garden at Hayefield in June [Nancy J. Ondra]

With so much going on in the garden this time of year, it would be easy enough to do a Bloom Day post every week without getting boring. I’ve limited myself to just the past 10 days for this once-a-month extravaganza, and there’s still a lot to show, so let’s get right to the good stuff, focusing first on what’s in flower.

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Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – May 2016

Narrowleaf blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium); Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield

Narrowleaf blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium)

After a speedy start, spring in our part of Pennsylvania has slowed considerably, due to several weeks of cool, damp weather. It’s nice in a way, as the flowers that are opening are lasting a long time, and there’s lots of lush new foliage to admire too–so much, in fact, that I’ll try to keep the chat to a minimum and focus on the interesting stuff, beginning with the wild things. Continue reading

Matchmaking with Bulbs – Part 2

'Mars' allium (Allium) with golden lemon balm (Melissa officinalis 'All Gold') and bigroot geranium (Geranium macrorrhizum); Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield

‘Mars’ allium (Allium) with golden lemon balm (Melissa officinalis ‘All Gold’) and bigroot geranium (Geranium macrorrhizum)

In Part 1 of Matchmaking with Bulbs, I covered some ways of choosing flowering and foliage partners to create beautiful combinations with bulbs. Another way to choose companions is consider them from a practical angle: plants that will look good when the bulbs aren’t at their best, or that will support or protect slender bulb stems and blooms. Continue reading

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – April 2016

Bearsfoot hellebore (Helleborus foetidus) with Allegheny pachysandra (Pachysandra procumbens) and glory-of-the-snow (Chionodoxa luciliae); Nancy J. Ondra at Hayefield

Bearsfoot hellebore (Helleborus foetidus) with Allegheny pachysandra (Pachysandra procumbens) and glory-of-the-snow (Chionodoxa luciliae)

I was all prepared to bemoan the wild weather extremes we’ve had over the past month, and how the timing of the plants is so far off normal, until I looked back through my previous April Bloom Day posts:  2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. They provided a much-needed reminder that the only thing predictable about our weather this time of year is its unpredictability. So, I’ll just accept that everything is as it’s meant to be, plant-wise, and enjoy what looks lovely now.

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Matchmaking with Hardy Bulbs – Part 1

'Gladiator' allium (Allium) with 'Silver and Gold' yellow-twig dogwood (Cornus sericea), 'Edith Wolford' bearded iris, and--in the back--Arkansas bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii); Nancy J Ondra at Hayefield

‘Gladiator’ allium (Allium) with ‘Silver and Gold’ yellow-twig dogwood (Cornus sericea), ‘Edith Wolford’ bearded iris, and–in the back–Arkansas bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii) [May 22, 2013]

When I was writing The Perennial Matchmaker, my original plan was to include an entire section devoted to combinations featuring hardy bulbs, but as the pages filled up with other perennials, I was lucky to keep even a few set aside for alliums and lilies. Now, though, seems like an excellent time to indulge in an in-depth appreciation of these little bundles of beauty, so think of this as a bonus chapter. Continue reading

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