April – the tree peonies aren’t doing it for me

treepeony2I have a tree peony smack in the middle of my tiny front garden bed. I clearly had high hopes for it. I’m going to move it. I’d planned on it even before my husband commented on the single, over-sized flower on the gawky, leggy plant, but that pretty much finished off this plant’s chances to strut in my yard. My husband doesn’t usually notice plants – and receiving adverse commentary? That’s a truly bad sign. Plus, the flower color isn’t what I thought it was going to be – so I’m sentencing it to purgatory in the semi-shady, this-is-where-things-go-to-wait-until-I-find-the-right-place-for-them (or they die) bed. treepeony

You could argue that I should give it more time. It’s only had a year in that spot. I should prune it, or fertilize it or at least give it some companions (I’m having decision difficulties). It can go have time in purgatory and see if it redeems itself. I have to say that it’s one flower is quite lovely – and enormous. You could make quite a flower arrangement – in a BIG vase – around it. But front garden bed- nope. A plant for the front bed needs to do a lot more than this plant does, or probably ever will. You could also argue that surrounding the poor thing with nothing but a sea of mulch is rude but in the front garden bed I want a plant that shines even if it is alone in a bunch of wood chips.

I’ve also seen a few other tree peonies around and the ones I’ve noticed have this reddish new growth, usually a nice sign, that clashes with the flowers. Oops.

So, I realize that this is a small sample size with which to nix a whole class of plants but there are a lot of gorgeous and/or useful plants out there. So to purgatory it goes.

 

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April – Snail death in the vegetable beds

tattered sorrel

tattered sorrel

My sorrel is unsatisfactory. First, it is sending up flowering stalks. Isn’t it early for that? Is that what sorrel is supposed to do in earliest spring? Also, it is terribly tattered. It’s spring, all should be fresh and tender. I suspect snails but they’d had to work awfully hard to get to the sorrel. It is in a bed raised about 2′ off the ground surrounded by gravel which is in turn surrounded by a sea of concrete walk, drive and asphalt road.

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March – Akebia (species unknown)

akebiaI couldn’t resist taking pictures of these Akebia flowers. I should note that Akebia quinata (this is clearly Akebia but may be a different species) is a rampant deciduous vine and by rampant I mean running amuck and eating small outbuildings. Most vines are rampant.  I had a passion flower (Passiflora caerula) find it’s way through a perfectly good concrete foundation and start growing in my basement once and then there were the kiwis – you need two of those since male and female flowers are on separate plants – they were scary. Actually, most vines abilities to put on growth is a bit frightening – except a few clematis and some hot-weather-loving annual vines I’ve tried to grow that never achieved anything beyond puny.

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April- Spirea reverting

Common reversion, green leaves among the gold

Common reversion, green leaves among the gold

Variegated plants often “revert” or return to their green progenitor types. When they do, the green, given time, takes over. More chlorophyll in those green leaves = faster growth and the variegation you paid extra for is gone. Sometimes plants with colored foliage revert like you see in the photo above. But I’ve never seen one do it the way this spirea has chosen to on some other leaves (photos below). Look at some of these leaves. Aren’t they cool?

halfleaf

FYI, if you want to keep the plant you bought – prune off those all green branches as soon as you see them!

followingveins

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March – Crazy Loropetalum

Photo taken 3/12/15

Photo taken 3/12/15

Well, I thought I was done with this blog but I keep seeing plants that are interesting and taking pictures of them when I’m out so I’ll keep posting – even if only erratically.

I saw this crazy Loropetalum a few weeks ago, blooming like crazy. I don’t think it usually runs amuck like this at this time of year.

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