September 20, 2011

What Does It Really Look Like?

Look at the complex mix of pinks and purples and creams in this hydrangea bud.  Wouldn't you like to know what emerges when this opens up? 
It's Hydrangea serrata 'Bluebird'.  The lacecap bloom of this mountain hydrangea could be a beautifully mixed cocktail of color just as the tight buds are.  Or it could open all pinky rose and mauve.  Maybe it will be more blue as the name suggests, perhaps with a ring of clear white flowers surrounding the center.

I wouldn't know.  The deer get here before the buds open and decapitate the shrub.  The whole thing. 

Would you know where in my garden to find this delightful pea-like flower?  Isn't that a classy combination of rich magenta and white?
This color combination robes every inch of a bush clover.  It's Lespedeza 'Edo-Shibori', and unlike other big rangy bush clovers, this cultivar stays a manageable size overall.

But from a distance you wouldn't know what these flowers really look like.  They are so tiny, covering the shrub profusely in September, but the magenta and white flowers are invisible.  The shrub has its charms, arching and waving in the breeze rather beautifully, but the blooms are itty bitty and washed out.  I just don't know what the flowers look like until I get up very close.
The deer leave this lespedeza alone.  A friend says his bush clover is eaten to the ground --- twigs, branches, flowers and leaves, the whole thing.

But not in my garden.  The deer here are too busy with my hydrangeas to bother with the bush clover.  I guess I should be thankful for that.

And here is a little surprise: a delicate autumn crocus has popped up under a caryopteris shrub.

Cyndy from Gardening Asylum dug some from her old garden before she moved her whole asylum south this summer, and I stuck them in the ground in my garden.  Talk about wondering what it looks like!  Autumn crocus disappears all summer.  There is no foliage, nothing to let you know you planted anything.  Then, just when you are wondering if it's there and what it might ever look like, it pops up as sweet as can be.


  1. That's odd, the deer eat just the flowers and not the rest of the shrub? There's just no reasoning with deer is there?

  2. Those rotten deer. Darn the luck anyway. You did have good luck with the lezpedezia (sp) I haven't seen this before. The little blooms are beautiful close and give a pretty glow to the shrub from further away. Love those fall crocus. I used to have some. They must have been accidently dug up at one time. Hmmmmmm

  3. I had the same problem with my H. 'Bluebird' for years. I'd get one or two little flowers and that was it. I finally moved it to a spot in the garden that is not as heavily deer-browsed and it flowers wonderfully now. Fingers crossed the deer don't find it again!

  4. That crocus is sweet! So sorry about the deer depriving you of flowers, too. We don't have the deer problem here, yet, although I have seen them across the street, looking at my garden. I sent some threatening brainwaves towards them, stay away!!!!


  5. I was looking forward to seeing the hydrangea bloom and then I scrolled down a bit further. I hope that it at least tasted good! I have never seen your Lespedeza 'Edo-Shibori' and noted its name. Shrubs that bloom at this time of year are worth searching out in my local nursery. Wasn't it nice of Cyndy to give you that pretty mauve going away present. I must stop over and say hi to her.

  6. Oh, don't even get me started with wildlife eating the plants! What the drought hasn't claimed, the bunnies have! Your crocus are a wonderful autumn surprise...lovely.
    The spider lily is the same here - nothing all summer then bam, in a couple of days, blooms!

  7. Marguerite, it really is strange that they don't eat the leaves, just the buds. They did the same to my panicle hydrangeas.

    Lisa, the lespedeza does kind of shimmer from afar. It has the tiniest of blooms, even up close.

    Debbie, I guess I knew my 'Bluebird' was planted in a deer path (my mistake). Every year when it snows I see tracks crossing exactly where I put this plant, so I should have expected depredation.

    Frances, I wish I could keep my deer across the street . . . or even just out in the meadow, there is plenty for them to eat out there.

    Jennifer, isn't it fun to discover new plants on other blogs. I found out about lespedeza 'Edo Shibori' on Michaela's blog Gardener's Eden (it's on my sidebar).

    Cat, I guess everyone has wildlife issues! And water issues --- you have way too little and we have too much up here.

  8. I'm so sorry about your hydrangeas, Laurrie. I've always thought deer were such beautiful animals, but I'd definitely encourage some hunters into my yard if the deer started chomping my hydrangeas! The fall crocus is a lovely surprise.

  9. Rose, I have to agree that the deer are beautiful to look at, but they do such damage to my newest plantings that I despair sometimes.


Sorry about requiring code verification -- I experimented with turning it off to make commenting easier, and I got too much spam. Thanks for taking the time to comment, and to type in silly codes. I appreciate hearing from you.