Saturday, May 26, 2012

Tree Peony ~ Unfurling For Over 3,000 Years

 Tree Peonies in the garden are a horticultural and cultural link to ancient China. Actually, early on these bodacious beauties were grown for medicinal purposes, but who could deny that they feed and heal the spirit as well. 
A small shrub that survives in my jungle of a garden, reaching up towards four feet, high above the horrid ocean of bishop's weed . . . that haunts me by day and even in my dreams.
Here are a few portraits capturing some of the many moods of our elegant Tree Peonies . . . wearing jewel-like droplets, honeybees and sometimes becoming chalices of light. 


Holding the sun and years of history within folds of petals.
Tree Peonies bloom earlier than their herbaceous cousins and retain their large woody stems even when the plant is dormant.
I am tempted to break my vow of only adding native plants to my multi-cultural gardens henceforth . . .  and sneaking a few more of China's national flowers in between some of our natives. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

It's That Chime Again ~ Blossoms and Butterflies In The May Garden

Late Viburnums, Wisteria and Korean Lilacs take center stage.

Wisteria chimes dangle their tempting panicles of blooms.
If we could hear the flowers sing, I feel sure Wisteria would sound similar to a glass harp

The dwarf lilacs are now having their show and pollinators are enjoying their bounty of nectar. 

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Papillo glaucus, sipping 'Fairytale' dwarf lilac. 

Early florescence above ~ today below.

American Lady (American Painted Lady) Vanessa virginiensis, - above and below - ecstatic for the elixir of 'Miss Kim' lilac. I usually do not see these migrating beauties until later in the summer. 

'Miss Kim' Lilac in the mist with a Magnolia (right) that never quits blooming. 

Early Lilacs and Viburnums have faded, while the later to bloom of both are coming into their own along with the Hawthorn trees in the distance. Viburnum plicatum in Upper South Garden is full blown right now. 

Viburnum plicatum fully opening in the light.

Another Doublefile Viburnum in North Garden looking over towards 'Fairytale' lilac . . . just beginning to bloom.

Now the Viburnum is wholly unfurled ~ 'Fairytale' lilac in background.

Lacey blooms creating lovely background for tree peony.

Later these Doublefile Viburnums will bear fruit that the birds go crazy for.
Here are a couple of old bluebird and tree swallow houses. I prefer this design to our new ones and will have them copied. Many years of fledgelings flew out into the world from these nest boxes.

Viburnum sargentii 'Onondaga' early stage of blooming . . .  before climbing hydrangea on Shag Bark Hickory in Upper South Garden.

Today looking over towards Middle Meadow Garden.

When the flowers first open they are an off-white color . . .

becoming more white with age.

I love and revere all the many trees and plants here at Flower Hill Farm . . . but OH, when wildlife call the gardens, fields and forest home I get very excited to discover who lives so nearby and REALLY happy to make new acquaintances. This TINY American Copper Lycaena phlaeas americana, looks very fresh and would sit still . . .  in the south field . . . long enough for me to capture a few portraits. What a precious vibrant butterfly!! 

I tend to avoid being in the gardens during the heat of the day, but that is exactly the best time to see butterflies, so, instead of going out with my garden spade and clippers in those hours . . .  I take my camera.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Quietly Walking About the Mid May Garden

Joyous song and fragrance fills the air about our hillside habitat and gardens.

Male Indigo Bunting

Delicious Viburnum and French Lilac

Lilac and Viburnum Looking Towards Mount Holyoke Range

French Lilac and Lilac Topiary Looking Over Toward Walnut Hill

French Lilacs and Lilac Topiary Looking Over Towards Carey Hill and High Ridge

Lilac Topiary Looking Into Lower Garden

Dwarf Fothergilla  and Lilacs Looking Down Towards Apple Gateway and Blueberry Field

Same As Above Only More to the Left

Tiger Swallowtail on Lilac

Viburnums Looking Down Toward Oak in Lower North Field From Inside Upper Garden

Between Viburnums Looking Down Towards Middle Meadow Garden Edge Japanese Maple

Japanese Maple and Three Graces ~ Crabapples and North Garden

Father Hugo Rose in Middle Meadow Garden

Male Baltimore Oriole 

Female Baltimore Oriole 

French Lilac and Weeping Crabapple Looking Up From North Garden Towards Rock Maples

French Lilacs and Fairytale Lilac Looking Out Barn Studio Towards North Field Birches

Looking Up From South Rock Garden ~ Gray Birch, Lilacs and Viburnum  Before  Rock Maple

Same As Above Further Along the Path

Looking Back Towards Gray Birch

Red Admiral on Lilac

Wisteria Before Lilac 

Magnolia Before Viburnum and Lilac Topiary

Red Admiral on Lilac Topiary

Joy spreads throughout the sweet petals of lilacs and viburnums and in vibrant wings of returning butterflies and birds . . .  cycles of life unfold. Unfurling wildflowers reaching up towards the light fill fields with dappled beauty . . .  bearing nurturing nectar for a bounty of pollinators. Colorful unsettled male birds are jousting with beaks and unarmored wings, while other bonded pairs are building nests and feeding young.
Spring is a riot of procreation. 

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