The Arch City Gardener

Journeys In St. Louis Gardening and Beyond


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A Peony’s palette

For the first time since I planted them 3 years ago, the peonies are rich with buds. I planted Shirley Temple and Eden’s Perfume varieties.

The photo above of Shiley Temple was taken early in the week after a rain. By the end of the week she was in full bloom.

A close up shows just how lovely these blooms are. The plant tag describes this plant as highly fragrant but I would disagree. I don’t pick up much of a scent.

I’m keeping an eye on Eden’s Perfume, which is heavy with buds. It has never bloomed before. Fingers crossed that this is the year.

The blooms emerge a soft pink, evolve into a blush color and eventually turn white. Truly a plant worth watching.

Last night and today heavy rains rolled through bringing with them more than 2 inches of rain, and flattening dear Shirley. Not to worry though, as I have my first vase of flowers from the garden this season.


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A stunning day to garden

I love Saturdays, or even more to the point, I live for Saturdays. Especially early May Saturdays when the weather is pleasant, the nurseries are brimming with plants and I have all the time in the world to play in the garden.

Temperatures are on the cooler side for this time of year, and I noted it was a brisk 38 when I stepped barefoot onto the patio. Normally the low is around 52. I hauled several annuals into the garage last night including Kimberly fern, hibiscus and gerbera daisies because they forecast temperatures down to 34.

The azalea reacted predictably by shedding some of its lovely pink petals. But it is nearly done with its fashion show anyway.

So much is emerging right now. I do believe this is my favorite time to garden. The oak leaf hydrangea is beginning to bud. Within a month it will be an explosion of 12 inch blooms.

I checked on the budding white “Shirley Temple” peonies I planted in 2017. I’ve had my eye those and the “Eden’s Perfume” peonies I planted that year because they’ve not really bloomed well. This year there are buds on all of them. I’m feeling pretty optimistic.

My coffee inspection led me to the “May Night” salvia I moved to a raised bed last spring. No complaints here! It sits by betony, which I installed last year. I also moved some of of the salvia to a large bed at the edge of the patio and it too is doing nicely. The betony is bushy and looks vigorous but no blooms yet.

Also enjoying a moment is the variegated Solomon seal. A transplant from a friend’s garden a few years ago, I have divided it this season and shared with a neighbor. I love its string of pearl-like blooms. They are short lived.

The Japanese Forest Grass is emerging nicely. I was worried it looked a bit lackluster, but is seems to be rebounding for another year in the shade garden.

Hostas are another tried and true and rugged as can be plant frequently found in many area gardens, including mine. The morning stroll found them enjoying this spectacular morning as much as I did. I have several varieties but I do not know their names as I got them from garden club plant sales or as cuttings from friends.

I hope you’re enjoying your garden in your corner of the world.


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Time off for the garden

Friday turned out to be a perfect day to take off from the clattering at my keyboard and spend some time digging in the garden.

When I last wrote, we’d had some nice rain. That was followed by some heavy rain with about 2 inches over a couple of days. Which was followed by some dry, but cool, weather. Which brought us to Friday which was perfect for getting outside–sunny skies, temperatures in the 70s and the ground soft and easy to work.

As I began dividing the astilbe, I was thinking of how much I enjoy working in the garden and quickly amended that thought to playing in the garden. For there are days like last Friday that are so enjoyable they feel like play.

On a delightful day such as it was, even the weeding felt fine. I spent quite some time plucking violets from their unwelcome place amid the yarrow.

It was a day for spreading mulch. My mulch man places it throughout the beds and I spread it about. Tbis job takes a few days if I take my time with it.

And it was perfect for trimming the vines (Virginia creeper?) Climbing the fence and creating a wall of greenery.

It was a pleasant day for plucking up wayward black eyed Susan’s and dividing ostrich fern for friends and neighbors, trimming the Russian sage and watching with anticipation the beauty yet to bloom.

I savor days like these because I know that days like these are fleeting. As May advances toward Memorial Day it brings with it increasing heat and humidity. And that’s when play day chores like Friday’s begin to feel like work.