Garden Photo of the Day

A Colorful Garden

Diane LaSauce share the colors of her central Virginia garden. A little rain can't keep a colorful garden down!

"These photos reveal what is blooming this month in my central Virginia gardens. Despite weeks of persistent rain, my garden strolls are filled with color. Chives and violas provide edibles for the kitchen."

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2015 Peony city market May

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  1. diane_lasauce 05/13/2016

    Thank you Diane. The peonies are just plumping now, so I thought I would include a photo from last season. The other photos are captures that never fail to dazzle my morning strolls.

  2. lindanewber 05/13/2016

    Gorgeous flowers Diane. Love that black tulip. Do you put your chive and viola blossoms in salads.

    1. diane_lasauce 05/13/2016

      Linda, that black tulip is actually an iris just beginning to open...stunning flower which I rescued along with the other iris featured and both seem to enjoy my gardens, as they multiplied three-fold last year. This one's scent is like grape soda.

      And YES, violas and chive flowers make splendid/tasty garnish for salads, omelets and desserts!

  3. user-3565112 05/13/2016

    I believe these beautiful photos illustrate how tough & resilient flowers can be despite their delicate appearance. This spring has been different but your flowers look terrific. Thank you for these photos on another gray rainy morning in Md., good luck, Joe

    1. diane_lasauce 05/13/2016

      Thank you Joe. Although the poor poppies get hammered by daily rains, I managed to capture one in its full on to peony harvest...hundreds of stems in the garden now...on their way to market in the next two weeks...

  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 05/13/2016

    Can you hear my sighs of admiration in the air above your garden, Diane? Your photos present each flower like it is a beautiful desesrt in a 5 star restaurant. I love the vibrancy of color in the reddish orange (or orangey red) poppy. ..amazing how such delicate tissue thin petals pack so much eye appeal.

    1. diane_lasauce 05/13/2016

      Indeed I too am in awe of the delicate poppy flowers...too bad they are hammered daily by endless rains and drizzle...a spring to forget, yet memorable flowers speak.

      Thank you Mandy for your continued kind comments and support for this damp gardener!

      PS Has any reader successfully held poppies as a cut flower? I have heard of holding the cut stem over a flame, yet never tried it. Are poppies just those fleeting beauties for the garden only?

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 05/13/2016

        I've cut oriental poppies and seared the end. If you get them just right after they've opened and sear on the spot, they last a little longer than if you were to just let the sap run out, but not much. Long enough to enjoy, I guess.

  5. NCYarden 05/13/2016

    A blast of blooms. Lovely photos, Diane. I'm taken with those big happy clematis faces, but can't help but smile at the dainty bleeding hearts. And I suppose that almost black iris appeals to my dark side (ha!)...just such an unusual color, but one to still be admired. I need something like for a nice contrast in my garden. All very beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

    1. diane_lasauce 05/13/2016

      And just think that old clematis spent years under a cypress tree until I found a place for it in a deep shrub border. She shows off every year now in celebration!
      And for that dark iris, it really turns a deep purple when open. I will never know its name, as I rescued it from an abandoned garden along with its sister. Both are highly fragrant! I love sweet garden surprises!
      Thanks for your kind comments.

      1. NCYarden 05/13/2016

        I'm stoked you rescued those irises. Sympathy for the plants...I'm a sucker too. They are fortunate to have found a place in your garden to thrive - the reward is sweet blooms.

        1. diane_lasauce 05/13/2016

          Yes, in these parts I am known as a plant/bulb rustler. Hundreds of old daffodils and now these iris found their way to my gardens via some rescue operation. ;-)

  6. VikkiVA 05/13/2016

    Here in SE Virginia we actually have sun this morning. Your garden photos are the icing on the cake. I love the delicately thin petals of Poppies however, they don't do well in this area. Thank you for sharing yours. What is the flower in the first picture Diane? Vikki in VA

    1. diane_lasauce 05/13/2016

      Vikki, I do hope you shove that sun in my direction today! Tomorrows farmers market will be lack-luster without the sunshine and sales will suffer while the cut iris and peonies need to find homes!
      As for those poppies, years ago I tossed seed into one border and nothing happened for a few years, then voila! the patch comes up each and every year, despite horrific winters and springs. A bullet proof plant for sure.
      The first photo is of a Virginia bluebell, a real garden charmer.
      I garden just outside Charlottesville in the foothills of Albemarle County.

  7. User avater
    HelloFromMD 05/13/2016

    Hi Diane, your photo of Virginia bluebells is so pretty. Really captured the beauty of that bloom. I started with a couple 25 years ago. Lost them and then tried again. That shade garden didn't really support my new plants until the organic matter really rotted down and made beautiful soil. My bluebells are now so successful they are practically weeds. My phlox divaricata forms large pools of blue. But I can't get tiarella established. Do you have success with that? I haven't tried our native pachysandra either. Have you? Do you have a couple of favorite shade plants you recommend?

    1. diane_lasauce 05/13/2016

      Those bluebells are a joy every spring and they happily self-sow. Mostly happy under the old dogwood, yet others pop up in the creeping pachysandra around the Oakleaf hydrangeas. Although pachysandra is now considered an invasive, I am happy to host it in large patches in two deep shrub borders where I do not plan to garden. They creep slowly, tolerate some sun, slow down water on my sloped property, and so far seem bullet proof.

      1. User avater
        meander_michaele 05/13/2016

        How interesting that pachysandra is considered invasive...just from creeping? It doesn't reseed like other naughties, does it? I feel about it the same way you do. I have patches of it that I give myself permission to ignore and let it be just a sea of green serenity

  8. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 05/13/2016

    So beautiful, Diane. Good luck at market tomorrow.
    I'm glad I read through the comments because I, too, though the unfurling black iris was one of those parrot tulips. Both iris are stunning and I love the various scents of the german iris. My mother had one called Wabash that was similar to your bi-color, but with white standards instead of yellow.
    Do you have problems with iris borers? They are devastating in my garden and keep me from giving much space to German iris.
    The peony photo from last year is art.
    Love the black flares on your opium poppy. I have a double one that color, but I prefer the singles, especially when they have that flare.

    1. diane_lasauce 05/13/2016

      Thanks Tim. So my iris are German? Thanks.
      Iris borer? Don't tell me I have something else to tackle...right now I am in iris honeymoon phase, as I just rescued them year before last. No evil things yet except for a few thrips that I knock out with regularity.
      Poppies are so special in the garden, as they come up with abandon and color the landscape with stunning form and beauty.

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 05/13/2016

        So I had to confirm what I thought. Tall Bearded irises are also called German Irises because they are cultivars of Iris germanica. Shreiners has great photos, great iris and is great for identifying iris. Your bicolor looks like historical iris Edith Wolford to me.
        Here in Ohio, the first sign of borers is long, dark green, mushy streaks on the leaves. The borers work their way down into the fleshy rhizomes to take up residence. If the infestation is bad, the iris fan yellows, turns mushy and can be pulled right off the rhizome. They are pretty yucky. Hope you don't have them down your way.
        All the best!

        1. diane_lasauce 05/15/2016

          Tim, you are the BEST! Thanks for the research! Oh, I do hope that my rescued bi-color iris is historical.
          Although the grand stems attracted many noses at market yesterday, no one offered to purchase them until the very end, when one of my devoted customers took the lot home to his wife.
          I will enjoy these happy blooms in my gardens from now on and only those visiting will whiff the intoxicating scents.
          Borers beware!!!

  9. cynthiamccain 05/13/2016

    It looks like you're farther along with your blooms; here in central MD I'm still waiting for my poppies to open. I tried to do a month's worth of gardening in one afternoon yesterday. I know we'll be glad of the rain totals later on in the season, but right now it's getting a little old. Your photos will help keep me going. Thanks, Diane!

    1. diane_lasauce 05/13/2016

      I did a year's worth of gardening last November and again in March...nearly did my knees in, yet I seem to be recovered with the help of a great orthopedics doc at UVA. I keep saying, enough of the big projects, then as in March, huge edits were conducted and now I have so much room to plan new views...only if the rain will subside for a few days and help my past due chores and allow the week old Eastern bluebird chicks a chance at bugging.

  10. sheila_schultz 05/13/2016

    Beautiful, beautiful blooms, Diane, each and every one! I haven't grown poppies for years for some unknown reason, but their fragile, crepe paper petals always make me swoon... and then there are your sweet bleeding hearts! What is it about that plant that always makes me think of times gone by?
    I hope your rains slow down soon, even though your plants seem to be thriving! We had 6 weeks of constant rain last spring and my gardens had a lushness never seen before... but it was incredibly tough for the humans. It allowed us to be drought free for a while, but gardeners were a depressed lot!

    1. diane_lasauce 05/13/2016

      Sheila, That explains why I was so cranky this week! Rain for more than two weeks! Although rain never bothered my mood when I lived in Portland, extended periods of rain as a Virginia gardener, especially during peak bloom time in May, causes me to scowl, as harvest is challenged and fungal issues are not far behind...

      1. sheila_schultz 05/13/2016

        Yep I get it, especially with what you do! Last year I was beside myself, I had to keep all the plants for our client's container gardens inside my house before install so they wouldn't rot and get trashed! It was a joke!!! I was not a happy camper.
        May the sun shine consistently on your gardens very, very soon! Good luck!

        1. diane_lasauce 05/15/2016

          What we do in the name of fine gardens, Sheila. Thank you for your words of support. We gardeners must stick together...thanks to GPOD for this platform!!

      2. cynthiamccain 05/14/2016

        Gee, you lived in Portland, too, Diane? I really struggled with the rainy season out there, being a transplanted Easterner. Two weeks of rain here really is nothing, and everything is so lush and green--it's a lot better than having to deal with wildfires!

        1. diane_lasauce 05/15/2016

          Cynthia, I cannot think of the perfect gardening spot in the US. We must "grow where we are planted" and make the most of our zones. I adored living in the PNW, yet returned to the east coast where my early life began. Must admit I dream of returning to PNW, yet currently my gardens tether me here in central VA.

  11. user-4691082 05/13/2016

    I love all the photos, but that white dicentra really captured my heart this morning! We'll just keep hanging in there amidst all this drizzle and gloom! GPOD certainly helps!

    1. diane_lasauce 05/13/2016

      Rhonda, indeed GPOD is the best tonic going for the drenched gardener!
      Thank you all for your kind and supportive made my day! Diane

  12. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 05/13/2016

    Oh, just beautiful, Diane, and please send some of that rain out here to Whidbey Is. as we are already quite dry and dealing with watering to keep our blooms going. Your poppies are so beautifully delicate as is that bleeding heart. That is one plant ( well not the only one) that I can't seem to grow here. Your clematis reminds me of a favorite that we grew in WI called "Nellie Moser'. It flowered earlier than most and then had the most interesting whorls that remained after the flowers died that were almost as pretty as the flowers. Do you grow all herbaceous peonies? While we have several Itoh and tree peonies that are certainly gorgeous and great for cut flowers , they just don't have that great old fashioned peony scent. Good luck at the market and best wishes for a little sunshine.

    1. diane_lasauce 05/13/2016

      Linda, Nellie Moser rings a bell, as I once did research on that clematis. Since it was on the property when I arrived fifteen years ago, I am pleased to see it thrives with no care at all and indeed the whorls are a second bonus...
      My peonies are from my home place on LI gifted by the new owner fourteen years ago. I had the opportunity to meet her in the late 90's and tour my first home, and she generously sent me tubers when I bought my first home in 2001.
      I divided the resident peony into 25+ plants (shared many) and they produced the very next year...the dark ones seen in the photo.
      As much as I lust after tree peonies, they are not in my small garden budget...Itoh I must research as I am not familiar with those.
      Thanks for your comments from your beautiful world...
      Sending rain, Diane

      1. User avater
        LindaonWhidbey 05/14/2016

        Yes, Diane, you're right about tree peonies being expensive and we invested in some in WI that never survived so gave up until we moved out here. We have friends here through gardening club that are really into peonies and have been generous enough to share some of their Itohs, also known as intersectionals, crosses between herbaceous and tree peonies. They get to be large shrubby bushes loaded with giant flowers and the shrubs last til fall and get great color. We're getting addicted. As more people are growing them, they are also becoming less expensive. One of our favorites is Bartzella which is yellow with a diameter of about 7". My husband finds it fragrant but I think it smells like peanut butter:) Also, if I didn't tell you, your photos are exceptional.

        1. diane_lasauce 05/15/2016

          Linda, I am loving that Bartzella! Where do you garden? Thanks for sharing this info...I may need a new garden.

          1. User avater
            LindaonWhidbey 05/16/2016

            Hi Diane,
            We have a little over 2 acres on Whidbey Is., WA, and are having fun playing outside in a totally different zone , 8a, versus the zone 4/5 that we spent most of our lives in in Madison, WI. That Bartzella is amazing and probably the most successful of all of the Itohs but there is another called 'Cora Louise' that I have my eye on. I think that a friend may have one for me this fall. It's white with a purple center. Happy Gardening.

  13. schatzi 05/13/2016

    The rain can't be all bad - your flowers are gorgeous! Love 'em all! Happy Spring!

    1. diane_lasauce 05/13/2016

      Shirley, The weeds think I am on holiday...just wait for the first sunny day!
      Photos here reveal only the beautiful, not the bad and ugly!
      Thanks for your kind comments.

      1. schatzi 05/13/2016

        Don't feel like the Lone Ranger - I spend my life weeding and never even seem to catch up, much less get ahead of the weeds. Let's concentrate on the beautiful!

        1. diane_lasauce 05/15/2016

          Thanks for your support Shirley! Let us keep up the fight and promote beauty whenever we can. My photos are highly selected during those brief peak moments of splendor.

  14. janeeliz 05/13/2016

    So many STUNNERS! I'd love to see your whole garden! Beautiful peonies, poppies... ALL! Love the white bleeding heart/small narcissus combo. What is it? My bleeding hearts are so late this year that I think all the Narcissus will have gone by. HAVE YOU BEEN INSPIRED BY CHANTICLEER? Please send photos showing more of your garden.

    1. diane_lasauce 05/15/2016

      Thanks Jane. That narcissus is so old none of my gardening friends can identify it. It is an early bloomer and prolific. I must dig those up as they are in so much shade now, they do not bloom. Your kind comments are greatly appreciated!

  15. Cenepk10 05/14/2016

    Yes yes !!!! What Jane Donelon said. I loved them all. Thanks for sharing.

    1. diane_lasauce 05/15/2016

      Thank you!

  16. ClareRocky 05/14/2016

    Diane, all of these blooms from your garden are fabulous and you've done such a great job of capturing their beauty in these photos. I share your dismay as a gardener with all the rain this spring. I agree that the lushness is great but I'm getting antsy to get out there and tend the garden. Your poppies are fabulous! I wish we could grow them here, but the groundhog seems to like them as much as we do. Please keep sending your beautiful pictures so we can all enjoy them.

    1. diane_lasauce 05/15/2016

      Clare, your sweet comments are so appreciated!
      Today is the day I visit the weeds in the deep shrub borders and have a conversation...where do you garden?

      1. ClareRocky 05/15/2016

        I'm in northern New Jersey, Diane -- zone 6b or 7a. While we had a very mild winter this year, spring has been cold and damp. Can't wait for things to warm up!

  17. user-7007498 05/15/2016

    Diane: I am late to the discussion. Horrible week at work. I am now just catching up on the GPOD photos I missed last week. Your photos are beautiful. The poppies are absolutely stunning. I have tried to grow them multiple times in Harrisburg, but they always peter out and die. Oh well. Isn't this weather crazy. Every day, cloudy, rainy and cool. I definitely have developed a sunlight deficiency.

    We are expecting temps to get to 36 degrees Sunday night, so I am starting to get nervous, as I have already planted most of my annuals/tropicals in my garden. Keeping my fingers crossed.

    Thanks for sharing the awesome photos.

    1. diane_lasauce 05/15/2016

      I feel your pain Kevin. Temps should drop to 38 here tonight. I rarely plant annuals here, and my few containers sit empty. They may stay that way until peony harvest season is over. Hundreds of stems on 24 plants require 2X daily cutting/conditioning for market.
      We finally had sun yesterday, then heavy winds and a shower blew through after two. Thankfully a neighbor mowed my turf when I was away so my Sunday chores will be lessened today. Now for those darned wild violets and other invasive weeds who have attempted to take over during these weeks of rain.
      Keep up your spirits! Diane

  18. imsoshy 05/16/2016

    Interested in your initial blue flower, what is it?? I have one growing naturally in a side bed, never planted but it is beautiful.

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