"One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it brings."

Friday, July 31, 2009

Fertilizer Friday - Heat Wave.

It's Fertilizer Friday and this week has been HOT!  It was nice to wake up to overcast skies, although no rain is predicted, and the forecast of mid 80's today.  All the compost I added in early spring has paid off this summer.  It helped to hold the moisture in the soil after watering on these hot days, as well as adding organic fertilizer for the plants.  My husband even said he thought this was the best our yard has looked.  The grass is a different story, but honestly I kind of ignore the grass anyway, it would be so much nicer if there was less of it.  

The unknown pink rose is on about it's third round of flowers.

Liatris 'Kobold'

Rose of Sharon (hibiscus syriacus) 'Minerva'.  The one we have is grown as a standard, it's a great substitute for a place that isn't quite big enough for a tree.  This is always a late bloomer and it's flowers don't last too long, but they are very pretty while they last.

In the evening I found a big bumblebee squeezing into the bud of one of the flowers, another tried to follow it in.

This Phlox is looking great during the heat, no wilting at all, and full of flowers.  I've noticed that 'David' seems to be the most intolerant to heat, it wilts quickly.

This poor little Meyer Lemon tree was bought for us by my Father-in-Law.  I put it in the sunny side yard and kind of forgot it was there.  The leaves were crisp and falling off when I finally remembered it.  I bought a new pot and some new potting soil and it's already got a lot of new growth on it.  A few teeny tiny lemons starting too.  My in-laws are coming to visit next week and I'd have been embarrassed if they noticed it looking so bad, it was kind of expensive for such a small plant.

One flower open and a few more buds coming.  This one I smell every time I walk by.  It's a zone 9 tree, but from what I've read they can survive in the Seattle area if kept protected.  I haven't figured out what I'll do with it this winter yet.  Anyone overwinter them in Zone 8 or have any helpful hints?

Cardinal Flower (lobelia cardinalis) is a hummingbird attracter.  This is grown in a pot right in the pond.  I have another lavender one growing in a whiskey barrel.  It's interesting to see that the one growing right in the pond with lots of fish fertilizer is much further ahead of the one growing in soil.

Unknown Aster.  This is a fast growing one and will bloom into fall.

Larkspur 'Sydney Blue Picotee' is one I started by winter sowing.  It's very pretty, but I do like the 'Shades of Blue' better I think.

I hope you'll head over to Tootsie Time to find more gardeners flaunting their flowers!

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Thursday, July 30, 2009


There are certain plants that sometimes just don't make it my garden, usually it's because they just don't perform or are too picky, so those are the ones that move out to someone else's garden.  Then there are the ones that I would never get rid of because they show they tolerate just about any conditions.  
I found after yesterday's heat, a record breaking 106 degrees here (and the hottest day ever recorded in Seattle), that some plants barely flinched, where as others are brown and laying wilted on the ground no matter how much water they were given.  I know the climate is changing here and more and more of these tough plants will need to be added.  
Here are some definite keepers:

Hollyhock 'Queeny Mix' which I started by winter sowing this year.  Hollyhocks do not normally bloom the first year, and this was a wonderful surprise.  It just looks so fresh, you'd never know it's handled record breaking dry and hot weather here.

Spiraea 'Magic Carpet' in it's second bloom.  I followed Frances' advice on pruning it right after it bloomed and now it's covered in fresh pink flowers.

Rose 'Abraham Darby' disease free and producing several new buds.

Unknown Hydrangea given to me by my husband many years ago.  It was the type that came in a florist's pot from the grocery store.  I planted it in the ground on a whim and now it it's about 3 feet high.

Of course the Echinaceas are doing great, but I just had to take more pictures of them.  
This is 'Double Decker' which should have petals coming from the center as well.  I still like the double layer of petals around the center even if it's not quite what I was expecting.

'Green Envy' has lots of flowers.

'Big Sky Sundown'

This is a baby of 'Magnus' although I've now found 3 like this one.  Much smaller petals and yellow around the center.  It almost looks like it was crossed with a Zinnia.  Could that be possible?

I haven't gone to the backyard yet, and I'm heading out to water it.  Hopefully my wilted plants of yesterday will have been refreshed by the cooler temperature of 85 during the night.  This should be the last day of 100 + weather.  
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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wilting Wednesday.

We are having some record breaking heat here in the Seattle area and really, all the people, animals and plants are doing is wilting.  It is especially hard for people here because most do not have air conditioning in their homes.  I was up early watering trying to save my plants, and the girls and I have already made a run to Dairy Queen for ice cream.

I'm not sure if this picture shows just how wilted things are looking.

This is the temperature on our shaded deck at 12:30 p.m.

This is where the girls will try to cool off, at least this corner of the yard gives the feeling of coolness even though it's not.  Many of my shade plants are flat on the ground, even with the watering I've been doing.

Tomorrow is supposed to be up over 100 again here.  I really feel bad for the kids and the elderly that are so effected by the heat.  Our home was 86 degrees inside last night, and I'm sure many people had even warmer houses.  We are lucky that we have large trees that shade our house for most of the afternoon.  
Anyone else wilting today?
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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Stop and smell the lilies.

This is what I do every time I walk by the Oriental lilies.  The flowers don't last all that long so I give them a sniff every time I walk by.  I also encourage my husband, kids, mom, friends or anyone else that might be at our house now.  I have to say these are one of my favorite smelling flowers.  Most of these are planted by the front door so they are easy to bend forward to smell.
These were planted a few years ago and I was sure I'd be able to match them up to their tags and identify them.  Well, I was wrong.  Oh well, I have figured out some.  As more bloom I may be able to figure out more.


'Tom Pouce'

Unknown, but could be Asiatic Lily 'Mount Duckling'.

This is about 5 feet tall and it's flowers have actually stayed intact much longer than the rest of the lilies.

I think this is from the 'Summer Wine' collection, I guess it's a white wine.  There are 3 variations on the tag.

Do you think the Littlest Gardener loves her Drumstick ice cream as much as I love the lilies?  She was covered by the time she finished.

When I was finished taking pictures of the lilies I noticed that I had the yellow lily pollen all over the camera, usually it's all over the end of my nose.
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Monday, July 27, 2009

Bring on the sun!

I just read an article stating that Seattle has broken a record for the longest dry spell between May 20 to July 19.  The last time there was this much dry weather was back in 1891.  We had a very light sprinkling of rain on Saturday night, but that's it for rain.  It hit at least 90 again yesterday.  Many of us in this area hate to complain too much because we can have some cool and rainy summers, but the watering part is getting a little old.  About once a week I take a "watering day off" where I figure the flowers can fend for themselves.  So far, they've been fine.
These flowers seem to be enjoying every degree of heat they get and are blooming their heads off.

Zinnia 'California Giants Mix' that the littlest gardener planted.  They've just started to bloom.

Here are the Zinnias with Echinacea 'Magnus' and Larkspur 'Shades of Blue'.

Cosmos 'Sensation Mix' another we started from seed.  I love this dark pink, I think it's my favorite color so far.

Oriental Lily 'Tom Pouce' has pretty pink stripes on the edges which are a little difficult to see in the picture.

Agastache 'Pink Panther' was planted about a month ago and growing like a weed.

Echinacea 'Double Decker' isn't looking double again this year.

Butterfly Bush (Buddleia alternifolia) grows much more like a giant shrub than the B. davidii.  It smells so good and attracts hummingbirds.

Black-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia) and their chocolatey centers.  I always crave chocolate after I look at these, maybe it's just me.

Yarrow (Achillea filipendulina) 'Goldplate and Coreopsis verticillata 'Moonbeam' blooming together.  This Yarrow does not spread or reseed.

Even warmer weather is predicted this week, and no rain in the foreseeable future.  Now to decide which day will be my "watering day off".
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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Something I've always wanted for a bargain.

This time of year is great for the start of sales and discounts on plants and garden supplies.  I always keep my eye out for a deal when I'm out now.  The home improvement stores are clearing out all the summer merchandise and there are some great deals to be had.  I've also noticed two of the nurseries I frequent have started clubs that give the members extra percentages off plants year round, and one even lets you accrue points for additional discounts throughout the year.  Neither of them required any joining fees or send annoying junk emails.  This is definitely something to look into where you live, you never know what you could be missing.  
Anyway, I've always wanted some type of arbor in my garden, but didn't want to spend a lot of money on one.  Besides that, I didn't know where I would put one.  Once the railings on the deck came down I knew the perfect spot, right at the beginning of the pathway.  I came across this simple arbor and found it on sale for $35, a deal too good to pass up.

I love how it welcomes you down the path.   I set the posts in quick drying cement (which we already had) so it won't blow over in one of our many fall or winter windstorms.  I went to a nursery that has given me a discount and bought a Clematis 'Comtesse de Bouchard' to grow on it.  It cost about $6.00!

It was a little shady when I took this picture, but you can see how it frames the pond.

So, for not much money I was able to get something for the garden that I've always wanted.  I'm still on the lookout for some nice big planters for my deck and hopefully I'll find some great deals on those before the stores are fully stocked with Halloween decorations, which I've already started seeing.
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Friday, July 24, 2009

Fertilizer Friday - Front yard flowers.

Yesterday didn't end up being very sunny or warm so the trip to the beach was postponed, instead we had a fun day at the park.  Because it was overcast some of my pictures don't seem very bright, but that's okay, the flowers were bright in person.
For this Fertilizer Friday I thought I would show some of what's happening in the front yard.

Cosmos 'Bright Lights' has it's first bloom.  I got this packet of seeds for free, and it's so pretty I'll be glad to buy them next year.  Bachelor Buttons and Coreopsis are blooming behind them.

Pretty pink Mallow that came free with an order years ago.  I used to have it spread around, but instead moved it all in a group a couple of years ago.  I like how it looks much better this way.  Dahlias and Liatris are blooming behind them.

One of the many unknown phlox in the garden.  This is blooming by more Liatris and Scabiosa 'Butterfly Blue'.

More unknown phlox, it could be 'Bright Eyes'.  The flowers are so heavy it's falling over, guess I need to stake it up.

Fuchsia 'Pink Marshmallow' has giant blooms on it.  I have it in a planter with other shade plants, but think next year it needs to be in a hanging basket by itself.

Hydrangea 'Preziosa' again, look at all the different colors on one shrub.

A quick view of the butterfly garden.  It's looking so pretty and really filling in.  Can you spot Echinacea 'Tiki Torch'?  It's the bright orangish one on the right.

Echinacea 'Tiki Torch' up close and all the way open.  I really hope this one comes back, it really makes quite an impact even for a new plant.

Echinacea 'Big Sky Sundown' is starting to bloom.  I'd read that some of these weren't very winter hardy, but this one made it through a very cold one.  I even moved it to this spot in the Spring.

Rose 'Kimberlina' suffered through the dry hot weather she was planted in and is now looking great.  I really had to keep it watered and deadheaded and I think that dose of fertilizer a few weeks ago really helped.  'Gertrude Jekyll' is looking stressed now, but I'm hoping if I give it the same care I gave this one it should pull through.

Visit Tootsie Time to see lots more beautiful flowers in other gardens.
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