Tag Archives: Weigela

August Garden Surprises

I took a walk around the yard today just checking everything out. It must have been a while I’d done that, since I had quite a few, luckily mostly pleasant, surprises.

This Rose Of Sharon has always grown in the shadow of surrounding trees which are no longer there.  I never understood why it was planted there and remained quite a runt and hardly flowered.  We left it since it was back in a corner and not hurting anything.   Not this year!  With all the new sun and space, it has flourished and has been blooming like gangbusters.

Rose of Sharon


Rose of Sharon


Double Bloom Rose of Sharon

Next to the big Rose of Sharon is a small one I bought on clearance.  It was in even more shade and really never grew much.  It was pretty much overrun by hosts and ferns.  All of a sudden this year, it started blooming.  It’s flowers are the more traditional hibiscus looking type.

Rose of Sharon

Then there’s this white Rose of Sharon that just appeared from nowhere.  I thought it was a weed growing up next to the fence.  Kept cutting it back, but it was quite persistent.  After apparently not weeding for while, it unexpectedly flowered!!  My persistent weed was a very pretty white Rose of Sharon.  It actually picked a pretty spot to grow, so this one is staying put.   I also finally know what all those persistent weeds/baby trees in less desirable locations around the yard are.  I am a bit puzzled though where this one came from.   It must be a traveller from a neighbor’s yard since all the Rose of Sharons in my yard are purple.

Rose of Sharon

I apparently really haven’t weeded very much lately and this huge thistle has grown about 6 ft tall behind the white David phlox.  I would have pulled it out, except that it is was being visited by some lovely bumblebees and goldfinches.  I think it’ll stay for the summer.


Last fall, I had moved some plants around so this spring, when things were coming up, I wasn’t entirely sure what and where things were.  Early on,  I saw these little grass like leaves that I couldn’t decide if they were weeds or flowers.  I let them be since they weren’t too obnoxious.  Just this week, they finally put out a single daylily bloom.  Seems that some Happy Returns day lilies had found a new home.  Reminds me that, “When in doubt, don’t pull it out!”.

Happy Returns Daylily

I have 2 Knock Out Roses that are a few years old.  They’ve struggled with Japanese Beetle attacks, and then this past winter really did a job on them. They looked pretty haggard, but I left them alone to see what would happen.  Finally, one is putting out a few blooms.  I’m going to trim off the dead stems and be extra vigilant about the Japanese Beetles.  Hopefully the plant will be strong enough to come back healthier next year.

Knock Out Rose

I”m not quite sure why my 1 year old Wine and Roses Weigela is blooming a second time this season.  In any case, it’s healthy and looking great in this spot.

Wine and Roses Weigela

While I don’t have any pictures, I am excited to have seen a few hummingbirds in the yard recently.  They haven’t come to the feeder, so either they don’t like my food selection or there’s enough natural food for them.

Hummingbird Feeder

Last, but not least in my opinion, are these French Favorite Marigolds from Botanical Interests  that I grew from seeds.  I have never had such beautiful marigolds grow in the spot (and for as long as we’ve lived here, this has been my marigold garden).

French Favorite Marigold

Have you had any pleasant garden surprises this year?

Assessing Winter’s Damage

While most of the garden has burst forth finally, quite a few things have been mighty slow, while others have obviously not survived the winter.  From what I’ve been hearing, everyone has suffered some loss in the garden from the long, cold, snowy winter.   In comparison to some, I think I’ve fared pretty well since I didn’t lose any major specimens.  Mostly I’ve had to just be patient as everything slowly unfolds this year.

The trees and shrubs look pretty healthy, except for some winter burn on the yews.  Unfortunately, these dead spots will not recover and will need to be pruned out as soon as new growth can be seen.  Depending on how bad the damage is, it may look odd for a while until the shrub fills in.  Yews are one of the faster growing evergreens, so if I’m lucky it may fill in within one growing season.


This yew below suffered the most damage.  That’s because it’s placed much too close to the dryer vent, which pumped out damaging warm air onto it all winter.  Not much I can do about that but prune off the dead branches and hope it isn’t too ugly after.

Yew; Winter Burn





Some of the other shrubs, like the Ninebark and Weigela, have a fair amount of dead wood this year.  That’s easy enough to prune out after the new growth has emerged.  Don’t be in too much of a rush to prune, especially this year when things have leafed out so late.  Otherwise, you may be trimming out slow growth, rather than dead wood.




Three fountain grasses and a lavender plant also succumbed to the winter.   I watched them for a while and saw no signs of life, except some weeds that were moving in.  In this location, I’ve had trouble with the grasses in prior years, so this is a good time to remove them and try something different

Stephi Gardens

Stephi Gardens


Lavender (surrounded by Dead Man’s fingers)















This lavender is barely showing signs of life.  But, it’s better than nothing.






Earlier this spring, I thought the potted Hens and Chicks had survived their winter outdoors.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. A couple weeks later, they are pretty much dried up and dead.  The red coloring faked me into thinking it was alive, but it was basically just freeze-dried!  This was the first time I left them in the pot outdoors instead of in the unheated porch.  Next year, back in the porch.  The ones that had been planted around some landscaping rocks also didn’t survive.   They were fairly established, so I’m disappointed they didn’t survive.  The rest of the sedums and succulents are just fine.

Hens and Chicks

How did your plants do this winter?


Yet another problem area addressed

As I’ve worked on the problem areas in the front yard, I created another sore spot in the area where we moved the Annabelle hydrangeas from. On the north side of the house were the 4 hydrangeas and a row of Hicks yews. The hydrangeas had to go because they were just too big for the space, leaving big gaps at either end. They look great where they are now!



It’s is a difficult place to plant because it is on the north side and under the soffit of the house. Therefore very shady and somewhat dry. The yews have done just fine, but I do give them at least about a watering can full of water dumped right down the center every 2-3 weeks during the summer and into fall. I didn’t want to add more yews, but instead wanted a deciduous plant that could take those conditions. I watched the location for a few weeks and decided it gets about 3 hours max of full sun. I settled on Wine and Roses Weigela. While it would flower better and have darker leaf color in full sun, I think it will look good in the space, and be a good contrast to the yews, even in this less than ideal location. If it does awful, I like the plant enough to move it to a different location after a couple of years.




This area still looks a little sad, especially without the mulch in yet, but I’ve learned in the past to be patient and let plants grow into the space. I’ve had to dig too much up after a few years because too many flowers, shrubs and even trees were planted too close together. Money down the drain! In a few years this will grow to be a healthy plant and not be overflowing the space.