Sunday, March 23, 2008 – Easter Sunday

A trip to the mailbox provided me with a surprise – a blooming Clematis armandii. This vine was looking dried and shriveled. With enough rain, I figured it got ‘bit’ from the cold winds. With brownish, crinkled leaves, it stilled flowered. I am still not convinced it will fully survive. Clematis Armandii does best in zone 7b-9. Only marginal here and best in a protected area. The one on the shed suffered the same fate. We should never underestimate chilly winds.

Roses are leafing out – in particular, Stairway to Heaven on the arbor leading to the children’s garden. It just seemed like the foliage popped overnight. Now 3 years old, I think this will be the year for Stairway to Heaven to shine.

This reminded me to fertilize my roses. March is the time to do so. I added a slow release fertilizer.

Again, I need to mention the Rosemary blooming, if for no other reason than Tony Avent mentions it as well in his Plant Delights e-newsletter. It just goes to show with all that he has going on in the national treasure he tends at Juniper Level Botanic Garden, he can still notice the Rosemary.

My friend Carol has the rosemary lining her front walk where they are sheared into hedges. It is very effective. Why rosemary is not used as a fantastic shrub more often alludes me. And it is drought tolerant. I also add a little grit as mulch under the leaves so they won’t sit in water after a rain. It is also necessary to plant Rosemary in well drain soil.

Lara Rose can’t keep up with her bird seeding responsibilities. Not sure if the birds are eating faster than she is getting it in the feeders or if she is really getting it out as often as she says she is. I make a note to check feeders more often. Of course, this is only their supplemental feed. There is plenty available in the wild. But I want the birds where I can see them, so I add supplemental feed.

We had a little rain…I measured maybe 1/8 of an inch, but the rain barrel was full…maybe that needs to be my new standard!

Spoke to the Coley Forest North Garden Club on garden accents – one of my favorite topics. With garden accents, no water is needed. No pruning, no special soil conditions, does well in sun or shade, and offers year round color and texture. The only con would be little scent, but the low maintenance makes up for that. With many more pros and cons, it is a wonder why there are not more planted in every garden.

The Peonies are coming up! I have both tree peony (Paeonia suffruticosa) and herbaceous Peony (Paeonia lactiflora.) If you want to help the heavy blooms, put cages down on the ground now. Then when the foliage is fuller, raise the cage top up and then stake. That way, you don’t have to look at the cage until the foliage fills in.

The iris have never looked more beautiful!

For years I re-planted Phlox (Phlox subulata) or moss Phlox on my sunny wall accent in my mixed boarder. Every year I loose it. I always thought it was because it was shaded out by the canopy of tall perennials. This year I tried it again, but between some stepping stones. Within an hour, it was nibbled to nothing. I now know bunnies do like my Phlox.

I planted my connoisseur plants. If you give a little extra to the JC Raulston Arboretum, you are rewarded with their connoisseur plants. I qualify for 2 each year – the lowest level. This year, I asked Tim Alderton, Head Gardener at the JCRA, to choose for me. I got an Azalea (Rhododendron ‘Gulf Shore’) and Toad Lily (Tricyrtis ‘Amanagowa’)

The Carolina jessamine I planted in the center of the formal rose garden looks nice. It was a good choice giving some evergreen to this area that needs color in the winter and the yellow flowers bloom before the roses, making this the perfect choice.

Aster spotted the seasons first sulfur butterfly – he’s a good spotter.

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