May 26, 2013

Collectables, Treasures, and Native Plants in My Garden

Sinocalycanthus raulstonii 'Hartlage Wine' is an under used shrub, an intergeneric cross between our native  Eastern Sweetshrub Calycanthus floridus and the Chinese counterpart, Sinocalycanthus. Still relatively new ( created in the 1990's) the larger this shrub gets, the more I adore it.
In many parts of the country, especially here in the North East, this weekend which typically marks the unofficial start of summer, feels more like winter - with ice pellet yesterday, and night-time temps dipping into the 30's tonight, summer seems like a long way away. It makes me happy that I have waited until after Memorial day to plant my tender annuals and vegetables ( I just transplanted my seedling tomatoes last weekend!), but there is no holding back spring, which I can see as I strolled around the garden today during a break in our well-needed rainstorm. The sun broke through the clouds, and even though a bitter, cold breeze kept gloves on even while I weeded, I took some time to snap some shots of some remarkable plants blooming in the garden on this chilly, spring weekend in late May.

Another native American tree rarely seen in garden is the Snow Bell, or Halesia monticola more commonly seen in mid-Atlantic states than in New England.

Saruma henryi, a Chinese native woodland plant blooms on the north side of the house. With pale, yellow blossoms and velvety heart-shaped leaves, this shade lover is winning my heart. This year, it is nearly a foot and a half, tall.

Primula polyneura blooms out near the chicken coops. Less thug-like than its close relative, Primula kisoana ( as if P. kisoana is really thug like, but it does spread a little), this primrose has more of a candelabra stem, and blossoms which are more showy in the garden.  I have no idea where we got these plants, but I have a colony growing near the woods.

Our native Mayapple has sweet blossoms, but they are always hidden below the umbrella-like foliage of this Podophyllum. I have to pick a few, just to get a photo of the flower which nods below the single leaf.

Our Goldfinches are in full, breeding splendor now - with brilliant yellow feathers, they are fearless, visiting some of the feeder near the kitchen window. This one seems to want some sunflower seeds to augment his diet of thistle seed.

Aesculus pavia, our native red Buckeye, a relative of the Horse Chestnut, brightens a green corner near the greenhouse with it's firecracker-like blossoms. A small tree, this one never seems to get taller than I am.

Yellow Rhododendrons remain rare, and this one blooms with trusses that first open pink, then turn bright yellow, and later turning to a pale primrose yellow. I long lost the variety name.

I was so excited to see this visitor to our suet feeders ( which I have decided to keep up for the summer to encourage catbirds, and other insect eaters closer to the house). This Brown Thrasher is a large relative of the Catbird, and as an omnivore, he enjoys both insect and nuts.

A large (tall) native water iris, Iris pseudacorus blooms in our pond. Nearly 5 feet tall, this is one which we found growing near our fishing spot with white flowers, in the wild, it is more typically yellow ( as in the foreground).
It prefers wet feet, but it also grows well in the border.


  1. Great post! Definitely opened my eyes to a few new ideas! Great pictures too by the way.

  2. Anonymous9:19 AM

    Iris pseudacorus is not native to the United States.


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