garden mysteries

Not of the thrills and chills, page-turning kind, but puzzlements of the head-scratching kind.

Carpinus japonica

I might have missed seeing the odd kink in this limb of the Hornbeam (Carpinus japonica), had I not been doing some pruning. As taught by Mike Smith at Joy Creek, it requires careful consideration and active looking to do it right. I spared this limb so I can keep an eye on it just to see if it has any more nature-defying tricks to perform.

deformed bearded iris

This was supposed to be a regular bearded iris, but instead put forth these strange, spidery forms. It at least sticks to the expected color, which is more than I can say of some.

broken daylily

Every year, I find one or two broken stems on Hemerocallis ‘Still Life’. It strikes me as odd: if the deer had taken a liking to it, or if they were simply blunderbussing around, I would expect more damage. Maybe the young ones are going through their vandal stage.

Hemerocallis ‘Still Life’ buds

I brought them in to put in a vase. I don’t know if such tight buds will ever open, but it’s worth a try.

oddly formed rose leaves

There is a red rose bush right outside the front deck. Its flowers are so heavy that they weigh down the branches, so I pick them in bud to enjoy the heady fragrance. The top leaf is what to expect from a rose. The bottom one, instead of individual leaves, has three that have fused to form a single leaf…haven’t seen that before.

Physocarpus oputifolius ‘Summer Wine’

The rains have weighted down the Phsocarpus opuntifolius ‘Summer Wine’ to the point where it is smothering all the pretty little things that were so carefully planned to coordinate with its bloom cycle. Instead of an upright fountain, it has assumed the persona of a cascading waterfall, drowning everything in its path. Of course I failed to photograph this area when everything was in perfect balance.

Nicotiana glauca seedlings

I ordered some unusual seeds and babied them along until they looked like the Nicotiana glauca on the right. So far, so good. I set most of them outside my studio door to harden off and look, on the left, at the bloody stumps that remained when I brought them back in for the night.

Nicotiana glutinosa

The plot thickens: Nicotiana glutinosa put directly in the ground suffered only minor damage.

Castor Bean and Lion’s Tail

The Castor Bean seedling on the left may be protected by the fact that it is highly poisonous. The Lion’s Tail on the right, though, seems every bit as tender and succulent as the Nicotianas that were right beside them.

Iris confusa tattered leaves

Hostas have a reputation for attracting slugs, but they remain pristine while poor, innocent Iris confusa shows all the signs of recent ravishment.

round green pot

In the “best laid plans” category, the one Sedum makinoi ‘Ogon’ is out-competing the two Laurentia fluviatilis, and the whole ground cover thing overpowers the Nandina domestica filamentosa that was supposed to be the star of this composition.

Campsis tagliabuena ‘Madame Galen’

And the Campsis tagliabuena ‘Madame Galen’ that was meant to drape itself over the top of the fence is instead throwing up suckers all over the place.

Kniphofia multiflora shoot

All of my Kniphofias to date have been evergreen, so when K. multiflora disappeared I gave it up for lost and stuck some K. ‘Percy’s Pride’ in that bed to take its place. Now I see a fresh shoot poking its nose up through Percy’s strappy foliage. It will be interesting to see if/how these two learn to cohabit.

Astrantia gives birth

Some of the surprises are happy ones. This Astrantia, having occupied this spot in solitude for many years, is suddenly giving birth to a bunch of young-un’s. Yep, the garden throws new mysteries my way almost every day, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. How about you? Is your plot plotting to stump you in new and intriguing ways? Are any of my mysteries ones you have already unraveled? Do tell!

11 thoughts on “garden mysteries

  1. So much of your garden is a mystery to me–you live so close and yet you deal with deer, gophers, and a different microclimate. Ogon had been similarly robust for me–it’s currently swallowing some agaves!

  2. So happy about your Astrantias! Mine have been seeded around quite a bit…and, for the moment, I’m just letting them…since they are so pretty, and seem happy in a spot where nothing else will grow!

  3. Mark & Gaz~You got that right: spice and wonder are what it’s all about.

    Heather~I find Ogon unpredictable. Where I’d hoped it would spread like mad, it’s barely making it. Guess it likes that pot, but not the other spot.

    Scott~I’m usually happy to see a plant taking initiative.

    Loree~I was sort of wondering if the leaf was the rose’s version of a thalidamide baby. I was ready for some rain, but it can stop now. A gentle drizzle now and then would be just right. Don’t tell our Texas friends I’m complaining.

  4. Methinks the daylily dilemma is the work of an evil cutworm. I must say the Ninebark looks splendid, cascading over all its underlings. Serendipity, although annoying is enjoyable too. Love your post!

  5. Grace~Thanks for reminding me how much I dig serendipity.

    Peter~My backside has had about all it can take: scooting around on it in pursuit of the evil weeds.

    Sarah~I’ve not heard that song, but it must have been written by a non-gardener.

  6. Barbara: Nope…it swelled and looked promising for a while, but finally browned and dropped off before blooming. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

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