Happy Earth Day! This would be an obvious day for working in the garden, but unfortunately we will have thunderstorms rolling through for most of the day (though luckily the potential for tornadoes seems to be southeast of our location). Here are a few pictures taken this morning before the rain, rounded out with a couple taken earlier this week.
1. Paeonia ‘America’
I planted this herbaceous peony about three years ago. It produced its first buds last year, but they all froze and aborted. This year, two buds survived, and I finally have the first flower. Each day, the flower starts to open after I leave for work and closes before I get home, so it was tricky to get a photo. The flower is already closing in this picture, and I only saw it partially open because I left work early to catch eldest offspring’s last high school tennis match.
2. Paeonia obovata (Japanese woodland peony)
This peony does well the shade under a dogwood, where it grows among trilliums and Calanthe orchids. The white-flowered form sometimes goes by Paeonia japonica, but Kew lists that name as a synonum of P. obovata.
3. Calycanthus floridus (eastern sweetshrub, Carolina allspice)
This native woodland shrub is famed for its fragrance, which is often compared to fresh strawberries. My plant smells more like overripe fruit–not horrible, but not something I’d seek out. If buying one to grow close to the house, it’s probably best to shop for plants in flower and give them a sniff test before laying down your money.
4. Actias luna (luna moth)
Luna moths only live for a few days after completing metamorphosis, and this one was at the end of its lifespan. It could no longer fly, and was fluttering weakly across the lawn this morning.
5. Quercus phellos (willow oak) growing on Juniperus virginiana (eastern red cedar)
Not in my garden, but local, are two of my favorite individual trees. The pale green leaves are a small willow oak which is growing epiphytically on a red cedar. The oak must have grown from an acorn that fell or was deposited by a squirrel into a crack in the trunk of a red cedar. Enough water and organic debris sifts down to keep the oak alive, and I have been watching it grow slowly for almost a decade. Each spring, it’s always encouraging to see that the little oak has survived another year.
6. Allium schoenoprasum (chives)
Garlic chives, Allium tuberosum, seem to be more vigorous in this climate, but this little clump of chives is doing fairly well. It’s in a raised bed shared with walking onions and garlic chives, which are permanent residents of the bed, and two varieties of garlic (softneck and hardneck), which will be harvested in June.
Jim at Garden Ruminations is the host of Six on Saturday. Head over there to see his Six for this week and find links to the blogs of other participants.