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A GARDEN WALK IN MAY

Anne K Moore
Photographs: Anne K Moore

This spring found me flat on my back in the hospital with a ruptured appendix. Once I was able to do a little walking in May, I strolled through the garden with my camera. Here are a few of my springtime finds, blooming without any help from a gardener (me).

Since I am a Yankee by birth, I grew up with peony flowers so full of luscious colors their petals squeezed together to make a full head of fragrance. Here in the South, these old-time peonies just don’t do very well. I grow these two peonies, the single white called Crinkled White and the really weird and funky Bric a Brac because they don’t need the chilling hours the northern peonies require.

These two Clivias bloom reliably for me every year. They are tender and have to be wintered indoors but that is about the only special care they need. They even do not have to have water or fertilizer for the approximately 3 months they spend in their rest period. Raise them as you would amaryllis with summers outdoors in filtered sunlight, a rest indoors at 50-65 degrees (I use our attached garage as a resting place), and a wake-up call with water and bright light. I usually put them to bed in October or November and bring them out of hibernation in January. Clivias are also called Kaffir Lily and/or Flame Lily. They can be left outdoors in USDA Zone 9.

I like my new companion planting on the rustic arbor my husband built. Overhead is the native wisteria selection, ‘Amethyst Falls’ and running up the side is the large flowering blue clematis ‘Will Goodwin’. On the bright blue arbor, the David Austin climbing rose, ‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles, is blooming most beautifully this year. All of the roses seem to have liked our crummy cold winter. They have all put on a lovely show. They are probably happy to have survived.

Proven Winners sent one of my all time favorite shrubs to me to trial in my garden. I love the black foliage and pink flowers of the Sambucus ‘Black Lace’. The pink had faded a bit in the bright sunshine before I managed a walk to see it. It would do better in a bit of noonday shade. You can tell by the shape of the flower heads that it is in the elderberry family, although this well-behaved elderberry does not set fruit or reseed.

It is time for me to be back in the garden digging in the dirt. Hope you are having a dirt-filled spring!

Posted May 15, 2014


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