Two good rains and cool temperatures have helped the plants grow and the flowers last longer. Some areas are bursting with flowers while others are slowly waking up. Although our frost free date is past our nights are still chilly and the warm weather plants cannot be planted out. None the less, there is plenty in the garden to enjoy and more coming every day.

The white azaleas ‘Delaware Valley’ in the front of the house have opened fully and give a lovely display.

Lady Banks rose is covering the arbor to the secret garden giving a look of abundance.

The large pink clematis, ‘Dr. Ruppert’, has begun blooming as it grows on a trellis in the secret garden.

A blue large flowered clematis, ‘Little ugly Duckling’, has its feet in the secret garden but has been trained to grow through the holes in the wall.  The shoots in the shade of the wall are covered with buds.

But the shoots on the outside of the wall in the sun are covered with flowers already.

Both the blue of  ‘Little Ugly Duckling’ and the rose of ‘Dr. Ruppert’ are picked up by my earliest cranesbill, Geranium himalayense with its blue flowers tinged with rose.

The lily of the valley are just beginning to open.

As is the Solomon’s seal.  The variegated leaves of this variety remain attractive all season.

The American wisteria is slowly coming into bloom.  The flowers are not as long and pendulous as the asian kind but the vine will rebloom.

The garden with the iris beds continues to develop with a large mass of two tone yellow iris.

The rich brown color of the falls give a depth and texture to the flowers and fits in well with autumn colors when the plant blooms a second time.

The white iris are looking good.

The flowers are large, the leaves tall and robust looking but they are very susceptible to iris leaf spot.  I have divided them and sprayed them but the problem continues.  The problem is worst when they are blooming and will subside as spring turns into summer but it is a constant source of concern.

The bed of Spanish bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica) is full of color.  Although these blue flowers are in full bloom, the pink ones are not.

The old fashioned shrub, weigela is just beginning to open.  My mother loved her weigela in the garden of our family home in Manhasset, N. Y. and it grows just as well here in North Carolina.

Their pink tubular flowers, borne in full clusters, attract humming birds.

I usually think of red twig dogwood as adding interest to the winter garden but it is blooming now and putting out attractive green leaves.

The flowers are born in fuzzy white clusters.  How different the flowers are from the dogwood tree also blooming now.

The variegated leaves of another red twig dogwood,   Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’, are complemented by the white flowers of sweet woodruff.

I grow this red twig dogwood especially for its very beautiful leaves.

‘Tiny Tim’ euphorbia is blooming in its inconspicuous way.  Note the single bright blue blossom of Geranium ‘Johnson Blue’.

I am very partial to green flowers and this is one of the most interesting.

The dianthus ‘Fire Witch’ is brightens the pastel border.

It is the longest blooming of my dianthus and has tidy blue green foliage that looks good when the plant is not in bloom.

Elsewhere in the same border valerian, Centranthus ruber, has begun.  The pink flowers are nicely set off by the lovely blue-gray foliage.

Valerian will bloom a relatively long time before giving in to the heat and humidity.

This blue flase indigo is the first of my baptisia to bloom.  The vivid blue flowers are set off by blue-green foliage that is handsome all season.  The black seeds pods that follow the flowers are decorative and  interesting.

This wild butter cup is the first plant to blooming the yellow border and we decided to enjoy it rather than pull it out just now.

The flowers are a lovely golden yellow; too bad it can get weedy.

You might wonder why I conclude with a picture of dirt.  Well, here lies the potential for this year’s vegetable garden.  We just had it rototilled and the radishes, musclun, and beets are being planted as I type.

It’s hard to imagine that a delicious crop will spring from this soil in the near future.  Can’t wait!

Garden Journal pointer

By Karen