the garden is leaping toward summer

There is so much going on in the garden this week that I don’t know where to start. Spring lingers in the peonies and the irises. Summer beckons as the daylily scapes begin to shoot upward.

The columbine are setting seed. They self sow easily. If you have a columbine plant, you’ll find new plants in the bed next year. If you want to save seed to sow them where you want them, wait for the seedpods to turn brown. When they begin to split, collect the seeds. These columbine are hybrids, so the new plants may not look like the parent plant. But they are all beautiful.

columbine with seedpods

Carpenter bees chew wood, but do not eat it. They consume nectar and pollen like they would find on this columbine, pollinating as they feed. Male carpenter bees do not have stingers. You can tell a male carpenter bee by the white spot on its face. They are very curious and will buzz around people but are not aggressive. My grand-daughter was excited to actually touch one as it hovered near her on the east porch the other day.

carpenter bee on columbine

Peony ‘Monsieur Jules Elie’ looks great paired with Siberian iris ‘Caesar’s Brother.’

Peony 'Monsieur Jules Elie' and Siberian iris 'Caeser's Brother'

‘Monsieur Jules Elie’

Peony 'Monsieur Jules Elie'

The peonies that opened first are now finishing their bloom time. But others are just opening, like ‘Nymph.’

Peony 'Nymph'

Another late blooming peony…just getting started.


The iris ‘Alabaster Unicorn’ has a unique pointed beard, like a unicorn’s horn. It’s a beautiful clear white with yellow beards and white horns.

Iris 'Alabaster Unicorn'

Yellow Flag Iris

yellow flag iris

The hostas seem particularly vigorous this year. Anyone else having the same experience?

Hosta ‘Squash Casserole’

Hosta 'Squash Casserole'

The hosta ‘Big Mama’ has been in our garden for several years. It hasn’t done much until this year, but this spring it has certainly taken off.

hosta 'Big Mama'

Hosta ‘Golden Meadows’

Hosta 'Golden Meadows'

Hosta ‘Midwest Magic’

Hosta 'Midwest Magic'

The hosta ‘Love Pat’ languished in the garden until we moved it to this bed. Now it’s looking much better. Sometimes you have to move them around until you find the place they like.

Hosta 'Love Pat'

The hosta on the left is ‘Orange Marmalade.’ The large green one behind it to the right is a sport from the ‘Orange Marmalade.’ A sport is a shoot of a plant that is different from the original. Amazing that it can be SO different, isn’t it?

hosta bed

The rhododendron in the front yard has finished blooming, but the one in the back is just getting started.


The Queen Anne’s Lace had reseeded itself in the yard. We dig a lot of it out, but do like to leave some because it’s a host plant for Black Swallowtail caterpillars.

Queen Anne's Lace

False Indigo…a great plant for the garden, if you have room. It can grow four feet tall and spread as much as six feet wide. When you plant it, be sure you want it there because it does not transplant well. It’s a native Illinois prairie plant and likes full sun.

false indigo

Lacecap hydrangea

lacecap hydrangea

All the hydrangea bushes are loaded with blossoms this year.

hydrangea blossoms

I took a lot of pictures today, but I’d better quit here. Why don’t you sit in the garden for a while and relax? You are always welcome!

fenced garden

You can visit other gardens at Tootsie’s Fertilizer Friday link party.



  1. Genny
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    I talked to a gal at the pool yesterday about peonies. She may visit your web site, then come by next weekend to see your yard when she is going to SIU to see her daughter. She collects peonies, in a much smaller way than you. Her name is Jeanie. Unless she see contacts you on the website she will not know your name or address.

  2. Mary Cavalier
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Beautiful photos – beautiful gardens. We have a hosta that is just taking off this year 🙂
    I love Queen Anne’s Lace and Columbine. Thanks for the respite – enjoyed the break.

  3. Posted May 4, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Permalink


    you’ve captured the essence of your plants so nicely and backlit…wow – nice job!

  4. Posted May 4, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    You do have a lot going on in your garden. I think I’d really enjoy taking a break on your garden seat after wandering around your lovely garden. I just adore that white Iris, and the Rhodo is stunning.

  5. Lavender Cottage
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    You have some wonderful plants in your garden; a nice collection of peonies and hostas.
    It always amazes me how moving a plant from one bed to another can give it the boost it needs to get growing.

  6. Denise Bird
    Posted May 5, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, your garden is lovely!

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