This is a specimen of the common or bull thistle – Scottish emblem etc. According to the books it should reach a heigh of around three feet tall and certainly no more than five on a good day. This specimen which has established itself in the garden has, as you can , see not read the books and has exceeded all expectations. We are allowing it to flower but not to set and distribute seeds – 500 seeds per flower with an in-soil viability of ten years!
A portion of the garden with insect attracting native flowers – monarda, golden rod, two species of milkweed. The monarda also attracts Hummingbirds. There is a dogwood in there too but its flowers came earlier in the year.
A friend of ours in the next street over has converted her front garden lawn into a medly of native flowers. We could not do this with our garden because we have so many trees and heavy shade – we are installing ferns – but this is simply perfect. Slightly envious.
There are several mature Catalpa trees in the streets around home and most have bene flowering for several days now. Ours came with the house and had been planted in deep shade behind some huge pine trees. It’s coping with life but it is not ideally situated and struggles to find encouraging sunbeams … bit now we have flowers. And what flowers they are.
There has been a short hiatus in the garden between the spring flowers, mostly shades of blue some yellow, and the early summer flowering. One of the first is this beautiful white Iris sibirica. A very elegant flower.
This Rhododendron was hidden in a very shady corner of the garden when we moved here in 1998 and was not “doing” at all well. Rhododendrons can handle shade but do like a bit of sunshine. However, in recent years it has decided that as the environment it finds itself in is not going to improve it had better put some effort into making the best of what it has got by itself. This June it really doing rather well – colour in that corner is just what was needed … but oh, what a time we had to wait.
We planted three of these roses in the garden a couple of decades ago. One didn’t last long, crowded out by encroaching dogwoods. Two are still with us but overshadowed and so the leaves and flowers are quite high on bare stems. This chap was planted in the front by an ambitious squirrel and after several years of slow growth is now making a good living.
The flowers come only once and last a bare week but are quite gorgeous. The seed-containing hips are apparently some of the biggest of any rose and a red/orange delight in the fall. really though the rose is grown for its beautiful foliage. It is native to the mountains of central and southern Europe, from Spanish Pyrenees east to Bulgaria, and north to Germany and Poland.