Archive for June, 2009

Bloom Day – June 2009

The blooms are a bit sparse right now: the cool spring has delayed things like the hydrangeas and swamp marsh phlox.  Nevertheless, there are things blooming…..

Thyme and a mystery groundcover

….like thyme and a mystery yellow-flowered groundcover inherited from the previous homeowner.  Any ideas about what this could be?

Wild iris

Wild iris (Iris shrevei)


  • Celandine poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum)
  • Canada anemone (Anemone canadensis)
  • Peonies
  • Petunias
  • Lavender ‘Blue Cushion’
  • Chives

There are also many things setting fruit right now….
Baptisia pods
….like the Baptisia australis. I wonder if I should be deadheading this?


  • raspberries
  • invasive bittersweet (all the berries will end up in a village compost heap, believe me!)
  • ‘Autumn Brilliance’ serviceberry (pictures when they start ripening)
  • Celandine poppies

On the down side of things, the wild hyacinth looks about dead – it never bloomed this year. The strawberries are spreading everywhere, but don’t seem to be coughing up any fruits, darn it!  But pretty much everything else is going great guns, if a week or two behind their normal schedule.

Bittersweet update

Two bittersweets

I was worried earlier about how long it would take for the new native bittersweet (Celastrus scandens) I planted last fall to cover the trellis. I’m pleasantly surprised to see how quickly the new stuff is growing!  The older non-native (C. orbiculatus) plant is on the left, the native plant is on the right.  With only a couple of months of growth, it’s over halfway up the trellis.  The folks at Moonshine Designs raised some very healthy plants!  I’m continuing to cut back the invasive plant as much as possible, leaving just enough so the trellis doesn’t look barren.  I’m hoping to have all of the orbiculatus out of here by the end of the year.

Do note that you can really tell the difference between the leaves of the invasive versus the native in the photo above.  The invasive’s leaves are rounder, thicker, and glossier than the natives.  There’s also a subtle difference in the distribution of the flowers.

Update: The C. orbiculatus is gone!

Shades of Green

Sunny pond

A cool and wet spring/early summer means that everything is very lushly green.

The sunny bed

The sunny bed by the bittersweet (more about that later) is full of different green shades and textures.  The Proven Winners petunia from Spring Fling provides a bit of color among all the herbs.

Celandine poppies will grow anywhere!

The a/c hasn’t been turned on yet this year, so a Celandine poppy is growing in a highly unlikely position. Guess it’s shade tolerant, huh?

Summer is here

Summer in the garden!

Summer has arrived in Chicago, so it’s finally time to start using the patio.  Nothing is quite as relaxing as sipping wine while listening to the waterfall.

Wild blue flag iris

The wild irises (Iris shrevei) are blooming both in the pond and out of it. The pickerel weed (Pontederia cordata) is poking up above the water, and the lizard’s tail (Saururus cernuus) has spread over quite a bit of the pond.

Last of the baptisia blooms

On the other side of the pond, the blue false indigo (Baptisia australis) is almost done blooming. The goldfish have lost their springtime shyness, and are now begging for food every time a human wanders near the edge of the pond.

Dutchman's pipe flower

The Dutchman’s pipe (Aristolochia macrophylla) is still blooming, amazingly enough.  The vine is having a great year, and may take over the entire garage trellis.

Spring Fling, Days 2 & 3

Whew – all the hubbub with Spring Fling kept me from posting more photos until now. I kept forgetting my camera, too, so this is yet more iPhone as landscape camera.

Carolyn's fish

What with the bus running late and Rick Bayless‘ garden being “my” event, I didn’t take any pictures there. Other gardeners were more on the ball and took loads of pictures and got the word from Bill Shores about urban organic gardening. Lunch at Andies was delicious, and then we got to poke around Carolyn Gail‘s lovely garden and home. Her goldfish are large and gorgeous – I can only hope my shubunkins look like hers eventually.

Ginkgo garden shed

Next, we stopped at the Ginkgo community garden to see some more urban organic food gardening. I was enamored with vine-twined shed, along with the healthy gardens and big fruit trees in an open lot in Wrigleyville.

GPC fern room

Sunday, a few sturdy souls headed out to Garfield Park Conservatory, a jewel on the West Side. I can’t get enough of Jens Jensen‘s fern room there, although it’s not as compelling now as it is in February.  (Jens Jensen also designed the big park straddling the continental divide just a few blocks west of my house.  Have I mentioned how much I love living in Oak Park?)

GPC chive blossoms

The outdoor gardens there were gorgeous, although the lily pond doesn’t appear to be up and running yet. I was charmed by the beds of chive flowers.

I hope everyone had a good time visiting Chicago. It was exhausting for all of the committee members, but I think it was rewarding too. I’m glad I met so many of you in person, and I have a lot more blogs to follow now!