Monday, April 11, 2011

A Gift from Hail and other Garden Miscellany

A hail storm on Saturday littered the yard with torn leaves and debris. Fortunately there was no structural or car damage, but it's messy around here for sure. Checking things out the morning after the storm, I found dozens of these little cone bouquets. Normally you wouldn't see them because they are at least 30 or 40 feet up in a shortleaf pine tree (Pinus echinata). I love the colors, don't you? These are the male cones -- they will be releasing tons of yellow pollen soon.

Mushroom ID?  Is this what I think it is ?! on Twitpic
Look what else I found and tell me if you know how to tell the difference between yellow morels and false morels. Or are these something else entirely?  If they are morels, I can't believe they were only feet from my patio! I haven't found any others, so it isn't exactly a gourmet meal at this point. I hope nothing ruins them, though,  -- like the dog plowing over them -- until they are of good size.

I worked in the streetside gardens at Wing Haven for a little while this week.  We deadheaded beautiful pink pansies (Elizabeth Clarkson's favorite color), dug weeds out, and planted a few new things. There is a nice mix there -- wallflowers, tulips, summer snowflake, rosemary and other herbs, roses, and of course the pansies.  Pinks, purples, whites and the gray-green of herbs is so pretty together, and the fragrances are so pleasant.  Wing Haven's plant sale starts for members tomorrow and for the public on Wednesday.

Here's some of what's waiting for us at our house -- a dozen phlox.  Some are 'Blue Moon' a cultivar of native Phlox divaricata, and  'Chattahoochee,'  a more deer resistant hybrid of P. divaricata and P. pilosa. There will be lots of planting to do, in general, because we have added beds since last year.  There are a few Euphorbia 'Ruby Glow' there, a creeping, pink-flowered sedum, and some culinary herbs.  I'll be looking for native shrubs at the nurseries and plant sales in the next few weeks.

I also had another class this week as part of UNC Charlotte's Native Plant Studies program.  I learned some horticulture, propagated a viburnum, planted some seeds and did a seed depth experiment.  During the break, I learned even more by picking the brain of a master gardener in the class.  If you're close to Charlotte, consider taking the program.  It's a lot of fun.

Afterwards I went to the gardens and greenhouse to take photos.  Wildflowers are blooming all over the Glen.

Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica)

Rue anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides)

Roundleaf Ragwort (Senecio obovatus).  Maybe.  I think.

Pinxterbloom Azalea (Rhododendron periclymenoides)

Across the gravel walkway from the Glen, where there are mostly native plants,  to the Susie Harwood Garden where there are plants from all over the world that do well in Piedmont gardens.

Azaleas and native columbine.

Pretty blue Woodland Phlox.

Tree peony

A bigleaf magnolia just leafing out.

Bigleaf magnolias are beautiful trees with lemony-scented flowers and leaves larger than any other trees outside the tropics.  They are shade/part sun-loving natives from Gaston County, North Carolina.  A few are usually available at UNC Charlotte's plant sales, but get there early.  The next sale will be April 22 and 23.

Plants for the sale.