The color dirt

This morning I spent a couple of hours transplanting a Veronica that had found itself covered by my Monarda stand which was an unexpected success. I was surprised, though to find that that cultivar was of the purple variety, not the red that I expected. Anyway, more on that some other time.

This first picture is what has taken over the corner of my front porch. I brought it home in a tiny container, and it has over the years blossomed, literally, into this huge white-flowered queen. It is an Oakleaf Hydrangea, or Quercifolia. It has shredding bark to keep it attractive in the winter, white flowers that have been on it for at least a month now and huge leaves that are coarse but sturdy. Just recently, it had attracted so many bees that it literally hummed with their drunk delight. The flowers are interesting to me, as they are squarish. I find that quite amusing because you don’t usually see such a large specimen that you can look at closely. At least when the bees are less busy.
The honey was fragrant this summer. You can see the yellow stains on the leaves where the pollen just dripped off the plant as the bees disturbed it with their harvesting. I found myself sneezing after hanging with this guy/gal for a while. I think of it as a female presence – it is queenly in habit. It has fully covered the corner and takes care of the maintenance…none.
In the spring, however, you need to go out and prune this back so that it can branch out and have more blooms. I’m looking forward to many more years of this lovely plant.
Echinacea was moved to my front garden a couple of years ago, and after a few starts, had a great bloom season this year. The flowers are long-lasting, large, and fun to photograph. It is next to my driveway, but not really in the way. The only problem is that a long stem may fall after the heavy rains and lie prostrate. Just try to push it upwards and this will solve that. The flowers are really lasting a long time this summer. I don’t think I deadheaded once. Meanwhile, they offer lots of food for the bees and butterflies and have a great presence because of their bright color.

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