Monday, May 5, 2014

Spring has sprung and is almost done!


Well, where to begin? The months of March and April flew by, signifying a busy time for me. Naturally, since it was spring, there was lots to do in the garden. But I've been busy in other ways, not least of which is retiring from the corporate world (knock on wood)!! I've been busy trying to get back into shape, traveling a little, garden coaching, writing a few articles for Louisiana Gardener, helping to get the farmers market started for the season, purging things from the attic, and wondering in general how I managed to have a full-time job and still do all those same things (minus the getting in shape)!

'Painted Lady' sweet peas

Lots of things have been happening in my yard these couple months so I thought I'd catch you up on a few plants. I'm trying yet another new-to-me sweet pea this year, 'Painted Lady'. It's an old heirloom plant dating back to 1737. It's the first named sweet pea cultivar. It is not a floriferous or tall as others I've grown, but maybe it needs some more time.

One of the raised beds. It's filled mostly with cottage garden-type plants. White irises are on the left, 'Painted Lady' sweet pea is growing up the tuteur.

April Beauty daffodil, aka Twin Sisters

All the daffodils finished blooming some time ago but then all of a sudden April Beauty pops open some lovely yet diminutive blooms. I had totally forgotten I'd even planted them.

Gulf Coast penstemon

This penstemon is new for me this year. Seems to be a good bee attracting plant.

'Belinda's Dream' rose (with a yellow iris in the background)

It's now rose season, actually almost past the first flush of blooms here.

The garden on the side of the backyard with 'Belinda's Dream' rose (pink), Majesty rose (red), and yellow iris.

Unnamed yellow iris

I have too many of these yellow bearded iris. They're nice, but I want more variety (and a clear yellow one). I brought the original roots, blue and yellow ones, with me when we moved here nine years ago. For some reason the yellow ones are starting to predominate so I will be giving some of those away soon.

'Sombreuil' climbing rose

Unknown penstemon; any guesses?

This white penstemon with light purple stripes was supposed to be a scarlet penstemon. Hmm, not very scarlet. I got it at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center's plant sale last fall. I have another penstemon about to start blooming, maybe that's the scarlet one!

Yucca aloifolia ‘Purpurea’

This is the easiest and nicest yucca - purple yucca. I brought it back with me from the Garden Bloggers Fling in Seattle in 2011. I leave it out all winter and I barely remember to water it. Get one if you can.

Pure Blonde liriope

So what do you think about this liriope? Pure Blonde is supposed to have white leaves when cut back. Sure enough, at least for a little while. I have this in a little bit of shade so I think that's delaying the greening up. I will reserve judgement on this till I have it longer (this was a gift from Southern Living).

Some of my container veggies

Always experimenting, I've got some veggies going in pots. Peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, and chard. They look pretty now but we'll see what summer will bring!

'Fireworks' clematis

Baptisia australis

Here's another plant I picked up at a blogger fling - Baptisia australis, a native with some fabulous color. I got this at the Asheville fling in 2012 and it finally decided to bloom this year. I can't wait for it to hit its "leap" stage next year (as in "sleep, creep, leap").

Little Women rose

I am also loving this rose, Little Women. It's only lightly fragrant but it is a real trooper with no diseases.

Little Women rose, white iris, 'Darcy Bussell' rose, and tada... 'Monsieur Jules Elie' peony

I saved the most exciting (to me) plant for last, 'Monsieur Jules Elie' peony, a peony that debuted in 1888. This is supposed to be one of the peonies that does well in the South. This is its third year (its "leap" year) and it has lots of buds. Of course, the fact that we had prolonged periods of cold this winter may explain why it's doing so well (most peonies need a period of chilling). But this has made me want to plant more of them. Oh my.

'Monsieur Jules Elie' peony

So that's a wrap of some of the latest goings on in my garden. Soon the poppies, larkspur, and daylilies will be blooming. I hope to blog about those before they're gone and summer has its stranglehold on us!

This post was written by Jean McWeeney for my blog Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog. Copyright 2014. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.


  1. Loveliness. Don't you just love the spring bloomers! They are so sweet. I hope to see you in Austin.~~Dee

  2. I've been retired now for 7 years, and I often wonder, too, how I used to get everything done! But then I didn't garden and do many of the things I do now, not to mention that's how all the clutter first accumulated:) So many lovely blooms in your garden right now; I'm glad you took time to share them with us, Jean. One of the things I love about spring is all the surprises, like your late-blooming daffodils.

  3. Your garden looks wonderful.
    I love the peony. I've written the name down. Hope I can find one.

  4. I'm new to your blog and must say that your pictures are absolutely beautifull! I love the one with the yellow iris the most. I'm going to have a look to your older posts. Looking forward to that!

  5. I'm glad you posted a picture of your Yucca aloifolia ‘Purpurea’. Now I know what to expect from mine, which I bought at the San Fran Fling, and I love it!

  6. Your garden is so beautiful. Love the baptisia and the clematis. And your roses are really putting on a show. And that sweet pea — it’s just so — sweet!


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