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Memorial Day weekend in the United States is the unofficial start of the summer, and many people spend their extra time off working in their yards and gardens.  However, for some of us, Memorial Day is the height of allergy season, with tree pollen and fluffy dandelion seeds blowing about in the otherwise refreshing breeze, neighbors on all sides mowing their grass, and the rhododendrons bursting into glorious bloom.  It was a beautiful Hell for me and my sinus cavities, and I had no choice but to retreat indoors.  More’s the pity, because the weather all three of those days was ideal, IDEAL, I tell you, for working outside!

Therefore, this week’s views tell a story of work to be done!

The rock garden has gone primarily green now that the Basket of Gold Alyssum, Candytuft, and Creeping Phlox have mostly finished.  The ferns are staging their annual late-spring coup!  001The exception is at the far end, where some irises are blooming for the first time in three years, the bright rhododendron is opening, and some Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ are blooming:006003Across from the rock garden, the “Blue and Yellow” garden features plenty of purple today, with more Allium and a perennial geranium a friend shared from her garden.  This bed needs a LOT of work to get up to snuff:009In the front garden, here are the glorious rhododendrons.  The one on the far left is still recovering from some deer damage it sustained two winters ago:045From a distance, the Terrace Garden looks fairly tidy and cared for:032Look a bit more closely, though, and you can easily find the work to be done!  035

The Cosmos which were so beautiful here last summer re-seeded themselves vigorously!  I have some thinning to do here:036And more thinning farther down, in Dogwood Corner, where the Cleome have propagated wildly!  This picture shows but a tiny portion of the ground the seedlings cover:038While almost all the shrubbery, planted a mere eleven months ago, survived its first, and very hard, winter, this poor Mountain Fire bush (Pieris japonica) fared poorly and needs to be replaced:034And, in spite of my treating them with an anti-dessicant in early December, the Boxwoods in front of the wall sustained some winterkill.  Before the pollen descended upon me, I trimmed two-thirds of the bushes, but there are still eight that look like this:033All is not gloom and doom, though!  There are a few nice blooms in the perennial section of the Terrace Garden, and lots of plants well on their way:013A few daffodils are still blooming here and there, in spite of some high heat and humidity in the past few weeks.  This is Narcissus ‘Manly’.  I think it’s gorgeous:Narcissus 'Manly'In Dogwood Corner, the Kousa Dogwood is starting to bloom:023The flower of the Kousa Dogwood (Cornus kousa) is actually the center, berry like cluster in the center of the four green bracts surrounding it.  These bracts will grow larger and turn white as they mature.  In the fall, the flowers turn into raspberry-red berries.

Also in Dogwood Corner, Camassia leichtlinii ‘Caerulea’ has begun to bloom.  This is a new bulb to me, and I am very pleased with it so far!  042 (You can see more Cleome seedlings in the background!)

There are also some more Allium blooming in Dogwood Corner.  I feel like I need something yellow in there to help balance out the blue and purple.  Perhaps some very late blooming daffodils?

Hopefully the trees and grass will soon slow down their pollen production and I will be able to get out there to get some work done so next Tuesday’s view may be even lovelier!