Thursday, May 12, 2016

Garden surprises!

The weather here in the Northern West Virginia Panhandle has been pretty rainy with cold mornings, and afternoons either cool or fairly warm. I walked out at lunchtime today and I got a whiff of something that makes me shudder – not from the cold – but from the onset of my LEAST FAVORITE weather: HHH. Hot, Hazy and Humid. It’s amazing to me how our biology dictates to what degree we can tolerate this weather. I really dislike it and I wilt like the proverbial ice cube.

I had two happy gardening surprises this week. One of the most joyful things about spring is the emergence of the perennials in the garden. But even more exciting are those that pop up after being planted for the first time the fall before.

I walked out of my house this morning and looked over at the two clematii (?) clematises. They were in small three inch pots and barely had healthy vines and leaves on them before I planted them in the Fall. 

Clematis jackmanii
One was a shocking hot pink and the other a Jackmanii – deep dark purple. I planted them together hoping that they will climb up the front of my house and intertwine together and look beautiful! Of course I worried all winter they would live at all, but they did! They look healthy and I keep saying “they”, but I don’t know if both survived or only one survived! 

Well, I got a partial answer today when I went out this morning and there was a gigantic pink flower open as if to greet me and say “I made it, Ann!” 
The pink clematis survived, but I don't know it's name!

Tonight I stepped out on my front porch to look down on the big pink flower and there is another next to it getting ready to bloom. I studied all the leaves that were climbing up the twine trellis I made to see if I could see a difference in them. I believe I did – the pink flowered leaves seem a bit wider than the other leaves I see, so I hope the thinner ones are the Jackmanii.

Then it dawned on me: Clematis blooms at all different times of the season. Some bloom in the spring, some in mid-summer some in late summer. I didn’t think about this when I planted my two last fall. AND, the pink that is blooming is not the flower on the tag of the plant that I planted. Mine is a very large pale pink with a slightly darker stripe on it. It is definitely not the hot pink with a big bushy center! Lesson learned: The tags don’t always tell you what you’re really getting.

I found out that Jackmanii blooms in June.  So, my plan to have them overlap blooms may or may not pan out. 

Clematis have a GREAT seed pod. These alone give the plant a unique visual interest after the flowers fade, as seen here:

Annie's Tips: Keep your tags from your plants together in an envelope or container. That way you'll know for sure if what you planted is what is growing, and you can go over the growing tips needed for that plant! Not only that keep the receipt for the plant with the tag because most stores will give you a refund within a year of purchase if the plant doesn't make it!

A good perennial resource is here. They tell me that hummingbirds love clematis - and bunnies don’t! (I’ve got lots of them.) I’m so excited!

Check out my clematis board on Pinterest

My other gardening surprise this week was the one and only living thing on my property when I bought my house  a year ago this past March (besides the two giant trees in the back yard): a very sickly looking lilac bush.
This was from last summer. I think it was in shock. It doesn't look like the same bush. See how the leaves are all folded up?
It was whacked down considerably so I could have my porch built. I was not sure it would survive, but look at it now!
Before the buds opened. Look at the leaves compared to above photo.

So lush and pretty!

                                      Thank you little lilac bush. I’ll take good care of you.

What were you most happy to see pop up this spring?

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  1. Thanks, for reading, Rita! I never thought the lilac bush would survive because it looked so awful - but it made it through!

  2. Your clematii/clematises (I don't know which one to use either) are beautiful! I have had Jackmanii for quite awhile and their flowers are gorgeous. And your lilac bush looks awesome. Looks like it needed some TLC. Also, it looks like it could be one of the lilac bushes that bloom all season long, but it's hard to tell. Nice job!

  3. Thanks Sue! That lilac bush definitely looked like it was dried up and shriveled and on it's way out. I gave it a lot of water last summer because it was really dry, so it revived itself.

  4. Beautiful! I miss my garden. I'll have to come back often to see what is blooming next.

    1. Thank you Sandy for stopping by! I love reading about your travels and hope my blog will be as fun and interesting as yours is!