Some years ago when I began creating gardens at our new home, planting flowers was a means to an end. At the time my goal was to incorporate floral images into artwork for fabric printing.

I’ve only begun processing some of my new flower images for this year. I’m just starting the rhododendron above, superimposed on a blue Orrefors crystal vase.

Five years ago, we excavated the side yard to mitigate standing water. Once the yard was drained, the space was reimagined as a formal garden -close to the house, so I could keep an eye on watering and pest control.

This is the first Spring I’ve finally realized, that as the garden space has progressed, it’s become a living canvas where I can design in 3D, incorporating texture and colors year round. I love it!

For Memorial Day 2021, I’ve compiled a series of May images from my garden-before the cold rains! I hope you’ve stayed dry and warm. Geeze!

The garden gate is always closed unless I’m toting a wheelbarrow. I tried to convince Larry to go for a high privacy fence but no go. The low one allows visitors to enjoy the garden on driving up to the house. I’m good with that. I’m already plotting taller trees inside the garden for cover.
This is a view looking toward the gate, you can see one of the summer flower pots on the bottom right. The stone wall and stand of giant maples were the only things here when we moved in. I covered the top of the stone wall with hosta and Lilies of the Valley to dress up the base of the maples. The lilac tree was moved from a crowded corner of the house taking center stage.
With the gate behind me, I shot the garden featuring the miniature Korean lilac surrounded by boxwoods. The lilac delivers a wonderful scent that permeates the garden each May. This year, I’ll be pruning it right after bloom to lighten the branch load. Top left, you can see the blue arrow juniper we planted in the tree stump on the hill. The jury is out as to whether it can thrive there. I hope so!
Every few years, we have the canopy trees over top the garden pruned to allow enough sun. The peonies are struggling with the shade factor. And yet, I think the more dense the garden gets as the bushes mature, the more I enjoy the abundant shades of green. For the first time in two years, the eleven boxwoods look like they’re on the road to recovery after a leaf miner infestation. YAY!
My garden began as an azalea garden, so azaleas are scattered throughout. They peak so early (now)
that I’ve been adding later blooming plants like rhododendron, hydrangea and a new little hardy hibiscus tree. The white tulip magnolia we planted a couple years ago on the top of the hill has been flower stingyI counted two blooms! Feeding time. The gladiolas are just sprouting.
Standing at the gate, you can see the left side of the garden. Last fall, I started working on blank spots on the hill. It’s great to see it filling out now. I put in a new oak leaf hydrangea and added a couple more bearded iris next to the metal bench.
I will plant more allium this fall, they’re great pops of color-blooming now throughout the garden. I think I need a few more white ones. I continue to discover new hosta varieties which faithfully reappear throughout the garden each Spring. Very low maintenance yet lovely to look at. ( I have no deer eaters either!) I have one fragrant hosta with large white flowers that bloom end of season.
Mona the duck is holding court near the astilbe corner. The Japanese Maple is an elderly but special garden resident. I find a lot of baby seedlings from it. I’d like to nurture a replacement or two. Back left in the photo is the iris corner-currently yellow but I just found a stand of purple ones outside the garden to fill in with. Yellow is really not welcome here yet. Blue, pink, purple, white and lavender (and greens of course) form my palette in the garden.
In closing, a rhododendron I’m very proud of. I pulled it out of a bad spot when it was only a couple feet tall. For years it grew and grew with no flowers at all. One year I gave it a stern talking to and it coughed up a single flower. Last year, I treated it with Espoma’s Triple Phosphate and netted eight blooms. We’ll be pruning and fertilizing again. Stay tuned!
Ironically, the rhode blooms alongside a late blooming, double flowered azalea that looks like family. Rhode Left, Azalea Right. See what I mean?

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