Earlier in the week, I realized that my presence was agitating a hummingbird in the tree above me. After a few minutes of observation, I discovered that the little female was building a nest. She'd zip in with a tiny piece of white fluff held in the tip of her bill, land on the nest, do some quick actions, then buzz away again. The picture isn't sharp, but that's her sitting in the nest in the center of the photo. This is the first hummingbird nest I've ever discovered in the yard.
Back to its original location from last year, I planted one of the cuttings I made from the Beefsteak Plant (Perilla 'Magilla') in one of the front yard beds. It did quit nicely there previously, growing to almost four foot. Here's hoping I get the same results this year (and I've still got more cuttings to try elsewhere).
Finally changed the status of my two Mexican Turk's Cap (Malvaviscus arboreus var. mexicanus) from dormant to dead. Same is also true of a few plants that were transplanted right before the big freezes hit: Coral Nymph Sage (Salvia coccinea 'Coral Nymph'), Smooth-Leaf Sage (Salvia miniata) & Pink Dianthera (Dianthera candicans). I guess the winter's 18 degrees was just too low or too soon.
So in to some of these vacant spots (plus some that were empty to begin with), I did some planting. A Giant Spiderwort (Tradescantia gigantea), already looking wilted, went behind some Liriope. Three Red Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) and three Lyreleaf Sage (Salvia lyrata) went into the backyard beds. Have tried both with limited to no success in the past, but it appears the time has come for another attempt.
Been on the lookout for Husker's Red Penstemon (Penstemon digitalis 'Husker's Red'), and I finally captured this elusive quarry. Really like the red coloration in the leaves, and I'm hopeful that it will bloom as well my other penstemons.
In a deeply shady section, where it can cascade over some railroad ties, I'm trying the Spreading Plum Yew (Cephalotaxus harringtonia 'Prostrata'). It is supposed to do well even in significant shade, so I'm interested to see how it does for me. The picture was taken during the sunniest part of the day for this spot: it gets maybe 1-2 hours of dappled light and then no direct sun the remainder of the time.
To fill in the holes made by the deceased Mexican Turk's Caps, I'm trying two plants that are new to my shady garden: Goldmound Spirea (Spiraea japonica 'Goldmound') & White Margin Snow Rose (Serissa foetida 'Improved').
The Goldmound Spirea is covered in chartreuse foliage which really stands out in the dappled shade. It presently has several unopened buds destined to be clusters of tiny light pink flowers. Wouldn't be surprised if this is the only year it blooms, but I'm mainly interested in those neon leaves anyway (though I certainly wouldn't turn away any returning blooms!).
I was completely unfamiliar with White Margin Snow Rose, so this was a nice discovery. The small variegated leaves are joined by occasional tiny white blossoms. But, again, its the foliage that steals the show.
Beautiful weekend to be in the garden...