The Weekly Gardener 1

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Flowers in Bloom

Stormy Weather

Miniature Roses

The weather is still moody, and after a couple of days of sunshine the clouds are back. The garden took the stormy weather in stride and kept the bloom on schedule.

Temperatures dropped into the sixties again, the rain started pouring again, it must be monsoon season. The foliage is so thick and fleshy it almost gets in its own way. I hope that between the abundant rain and the fertilizer the plants got a good start for summer.

The red hot poker has three flowers already, what a handsome plant and quite care free, if you are looking for maintenance free summer bulbs for your sunny border.

I found hyssop at the plant nursery and couldn't help myself, I've been curious about this plant for a long time. Surprisingly, it isn't scented, not the foliage, anyway. Maybe the flowers? Wait and see.

After the rain stops I'll have to go through the flower beds and pull out the plethora of weeds that are now thriving on rain and high phosphorous organic fertilizer. I can't tell what is what anymore, it's all a compact wild green mess.

In the middle of the chaos, and in the shade no less, the offspring of the Morden Blush rose I lost to the dreadful winter three years back decided to sprout a flower. I'm still baffled by its enthusiasm. The whole plant is hardly taller than the neighboring violets.

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A Gift from the Garden

Foxgloves

Every year the garden surprises me in some way. I didn't plant foxgloves but they showed up all by themselves, the pretty little darlings.

Foxgloves are biennial plants and after they propagate they die down. If you want to keep them in the garden for a third year pick the flowers before they go to seed, but don't bring them inside if you're superstitious, it's supposed to be bad luck.

A valuable medicinal plant, foxglove slows down the heart, and it can do so to very dangerous levels, so please use discernment in regards to planting it if you have small children. All parts of the plants are toxic if consumed.

They like ideal conditions, the ones that are seldom available in one's garden: rich woodland soil that drains well but keeps its moisture, part shade but enough morning sunshine to encourage their bloom. They reseed easily, and if you have a designated spot for them, they will propagate to give you two year plants, and therefore flowers, every year.

If you have large areas that don't get disturbed, and the right conditions, they will naturalize, creating graceful drifts that move like waves from year to year. The plants can get very tall, six feet or so, and their stems are not very sturdy, so you will need to stake them or otherwise protect them from strong winds.