Tag Archives: rhododendron

Big News Coming, But Not Today


The purple Rhododendron in front just started blooming.

Two (count them–TWO!) irises in my gardens have buds. Just as Cate has offered me a few new Irises, a few of my stubborn old ones are finally starting to cooperate.


This mini lilac and two pink ones are still in bloom.

Today, just some random, I mowed and was outside, photos of what’s blooming now.

The rose that never blooms

"The rose that never blooms," a tall climbing thing in the garden by the house, has started to bloom.


Volunteer bush in back appears to be honeysuckle.


Clematis part one--the dominant plants.


Clematis Part 2--the smaller plant on the same trellis.

Lilac again

Lilac again as final image.

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A Few Signs of Fall Approaching

First morning glory

First morning glory of late summer, 2010. It and the cool weather are signs that fall isn't that far away from Iowa.

Today, I did some silly guerrilla gardening—I “rescued” three tress, two cotton woods and one native willow.

The willow was growing in a crack at the size of a tennis court where Ben and I played a very wet final game, since he is off to Iowa State tomorrow. The cottonwoods were sprouting in some gravel at the construction area where a new Walgreen’s store went up in our neighborhood.

Given their previous locations, none of the trees was wanted. Given that I planted them late in the season in the woods behind our fence, it’s unlikely any will survive—if they don’t get eaten by deer, they probably don’t have adequate roots to snap out of transplant shock, anyway. And even if they did, it’s late August. Transplants won’t have much time to gather strength before the big winter sleep comes.

Oh well. Given its vigorous growth, I think there is a good chance by baby catalpa tree in my yard will make it through the winter, but we’ll see.

Roses again in bloom

Front garden rose, had been severely eaten earlier, but Japanese beetles are gone now.

Anyway, here are a few random garden pictures. First, the signs of approaching fall—the first morning glory bloomed this morning, and there are lots of buds which promise many more future trumpet-shaped flowers. I also planted moon flowers on these trellises, we’ll see if any of them show.

A “lantern” has turned orange, putting on its early fall plumage.

And the creeping rose in the front garden is suddenly bursting with pretty pink flowers—celebrating, I think, that it’s no longer being eaten away by Japanese beetles, whose season has passed.

These photos, by the way, are with my older 3.2 megapixel Fuji camera, not the new 10 megapixel Kodak that I usually use. The Fuji doesn’t’ have either the storage or the zoom of the Kodak, so I’m pretty excited that the photos are OK. The Nashville plant photos later in this post are Kodak camera creations.

Lantern plant in front garden with seed pod already turning orange.

It was cool today in Cedar Rapids, Iowa—upper 50s this morning, afternoon high in the 70s. I almost needed a sweater. It was quite a contrast with the weather I experienced in Nashville, which I returned from Sunday. Below are a few plants from near the conference site in Nashville, with a few comment on each.

Not sure what this tree is--common in Nashville and I noticed specimen all they way into southern Illinois. Very brown seed pods on large trees with snaggle-edged leaves, fruit looks like large black ball bearings.

What appears to be a rhododendron, 100 times too big. Note it's twice as tall as an old two-story building. Southern blog friends, is this really a rhododendron tree? Buds in next images to help id.

Buds on the large tree--look like over-sized rhododendron buds, but too close to blooming--this would be a rhododendron bud in Iowa in May ...

Closer look at bud. It looks better at a distance.

Nashville cats may play clean as country water (given the May floods and what floodwater is like, those nonsenical lyrics make less sense than usual), but they probably wouldn't catch this cardinal. No, not mine, this is a boy, anyway--females have brown and pink plumage, much more muted.


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First Blooms on a Fine Spring Day

Mystery tree

I think it may be service berry or choke berry, but don't know which--anyway, one of the mystery trees has bloomed. These are all of the flowers, by the way, so it didn't bloom all that much ....

Have a run set with Theresa later, but in the meantime have had too much to do to train much this week. I better get in gear, because an old man cannot afford to not be ready for a long, hot, hilly run.

Anyway, although some plants are being stubborn—no Sargent crab apple blooms this spring, though tree seems robust—there are some new things breaking into bloom for the first time.

Well. The first new one is “new” only because it has never bloomed before—one of the two 12-foot mystery trees near the clothes line has little white flowers. Just a few, and its partner has none—so I don’t know if there will be any fruit to aid in identification this fall or not. At least, it’s nice to know that this blooming tree will, after three or four years, start to bloom.


One of two clusters of flowers on young, 5-foot redbud.

I planted two little redbuds that came in the same Arbor Day Foundation package of 10. The one that died back to the ground and sprouted from the base last year seems good and dead this spring, which makes me wish more fervently that a catalpa survives (four sprouted, two have subsequently keeled over). But the other one, in a shadier corner of the yard actually bloomed, just a little bit. Shown is one of two remote clusters of pink flowers.

The older, taller redbud that is south of this little tree is in full bloom mode, and hopefully will encourage this little one. At least, if it has a few blooms this year, there is hope for more next year.

Most spectacular is a new lilac bush Audrey had me plant under our bedroom windows last year. It is blooming like crazy this spring—nice. It was already 3 feet ball when planted and grew to close to 6 feet last year, so it should have bloomed, but my record with lilacs is a bit mixed, so this one blooming is good to see (and smell).

Finally—on to the front yard. Many of the bulbs purchased last October the day Elizabeth was born and planted in the wall garden are doing well. Red tulips are in bloom, some crocuses have come and gone and a few are still on the way, and daffodils and hyacinth are doing fine. The lacy peonies in the background of one photo are indeed the “Martian” ones from the farm, not yet blooming, but looking like red is the chosen color.

New lilac

New lilac is blooming quite well. Nice spring perfume.

We also dug up an overgrown evergreen that was threatening access to our front steps, and planted two rhododendrons. One of the two is in full bloom. The other looks slightly sick, so we’ll see.

We have more old overgrown evergreens in front that will come out this summer.

Any ideas for shade-tolerant bushes to replace them?

Flowers in wall garden

Hyacinth, daffodils and lacy peonies in "wall" garden.


In Clinton, they brought in an old steamboat, the "Rhododendron," as a museum when we lived there in the 1960s. One of two rhododendron bushes in front is blooming well.


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