There is a lot of bold color in the yard now with the azaleas taking center stage. The butterflies have been thick on the blooms, busier than I remember the past few years. The butterfly below is what I believe to be an Eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly (Papilio glaucus). Mississippi butterfly list. Click the image for a bigger view. This would be a great time for a spring party because the landscape does some of the decorating for me.
But they aren’t the only ones with magnificent color. For the last week the wisteria has been peaking. I’m hoping what I have is Wisteria frutescens (American wisteria), but I am not sure. The American species is reported to be less aggressive than the Asian species. Time to do some taxonomic work. Wisteria escapes from landscape cultivation. You can see it escaped into the wild, blooming high up into the tree canopies on the road sides, or you can find it with maximum blooms trained as a standard and trimmed to a 4′ shrub in people’s front yards. My own wisteria (which I dug up from under some shrubs in my yard and transplanted onto an arbor) is more of a loose vine that trails up and over an arbor and onto a nearly dead fruit tree. The dying tree makes an excellent structure for the wisteria to climb upon. This is the first year it has bloomed, having planted a volunteer sprout in the spring of 2013. I hope to train another “volunteer” into a standard that will be heavily pruned for a massive amount of flower clusters in the future.
The wisteria has a very sweet perfume, that lightly scents the air. But if it is spring perfume you are seeking, then I am excited to share my new acquisition: a banana shrub (Michelia figo). This member of the magnolia family easily perfumes a fifteen by fifteen foot area near my patio. It smells so delicious I want to eat it, or at least whip up a batch of banana daiquiris. It looked really awful at the nursery, but it was the only one. I hope to make it happy and fertilizer it gently all year with fish emulsion to bring it back to full vigor.
Also blooming now in my front yard, is the native member of the Lamiaceae family: lyreleaf sage. I wrote a bit more about it in a March 2014 post. After it finishes flowering, THEN I’ll mow that part of the yard.
Although it has been flowering for a while now, the Loropetalum is still quite striking. I guess its pretty easy to see why it has a common name of “fringe flower”. Have I mentioned my Loropetalum are about 15′ tall? Huge, huge, huge. But you know, I like them like that because they provide a great screen for the rear of my home. Today I was happy to see that the lower area which has thinned out because the branches are so tall (this is what happens when you don’t keep them trimmed to 5-6 feet), now has a lot of new undergrowth. I plan to keep the under branches trimmed to about three feet to keep a good lower screen. Until then I will keep planting other lower shrubs and bulbs that enjoy the space and help to fill in the gaps.
The final shot for today is a pansy blossom. I got these out of a trash pile that someone had thrown away in changing over from winter color to spring. I can hardly turn away from plants thrown in the trash.
Your spry garden friend,
The Garden Maiden
All images and text copyright 2015 The Garden Maiden