Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Perennial Surprise

We were away for the Memorial Day weekend and had a chance to gawk at the rich farmland along Lake Ontario and the beautiful mountain farms and homesteads of the Green Mountains. We found no shortage of daydreams during the many hours in the car each day. (Ahh, wouldn't 10 acres of field on the Lincoln Gap Road and a sailboat on Lake Champlain be lovely?)

The heat switched on over the weekend and has stayed on, and we returned to the tail-end of the lilacs, the urgent need for thinning salad greens, and a few surprises in the form of blooming perennial shrubs.

I had purchased three or four small perennial shrubs on sale two autumns ago and planted on the base of the wooded slope in the side yard. One shrub was eliminated through the indiscriminate dumping of excavation debris - to be fair, the pepperbush was not exactly thriving or much larger than any of the other vegetation. I vaguely recalled having bought more than one azalea, but I could not find it this spring and figured it had also succumbed to death by clean fill.

Pink azalea flowers look like a bit like hibiscus.

Well - the darn thing did survive! I walked up the side steps and saw a ball of pale pink tropical-looking flowers lying on the forest floor. The azalea had taken a beating, and the flower stalk had been knocked or perhaps trampled to the ground.

Oh so pretty... I love the radial symmetry.
The other wonder of the side yard this week is the rhododendron. Our first spring here (3 years ago), I found a scraggly, half-dead rhody planted in the center of the patio behind the studio and relocated it to the very edge of the side yard. The scrawny plant took a while to establish and never flowered until this weekend. The photo doesn't do it justice, but it is a beautiful bright red color and attracts bees like crazy!

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