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

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What I've been working on and a thank you.

I thought I would take a few pictures of the area behind my pond that I've been working on. One reason was that hopefully next summer I'll look back at these pictures and think, "Wow, look how much everything has grown." The sun is so low now there really hasn't been a good time of day to take pictures in the backyard so I thought I'd run out and take some while the clouds were covering it.
I removed almost everything but the hardy fuchsia in this area. I added lots of compost to the soil before I replanted anything. It looked so strange to see that much bare ground in my yard, but I've quickly filled in a lot of that empty space.

The Oakleaf Hydrangea looks awful in this picture, but in person it doesn't look so bad. The reddish shrub is the Ninebark (Physocarpus) Coppertina 'Mindia'. There are Heucheras, Echinacea 'Sundown', Penstemon 'Husker Red', Phygelius 'Coral Princess' and other perennials.

This is the corner of the pond where I added Japanese Blood Grass 'Red Baron' and some more Heucheras.

Phygelius 'Coral Princess'

Geranium 'Rozanne'

Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra) 'All Gold'

I'd also like to say congratulations to all of the Blotanical award winners. I didn't win any, but I have to say the excitement of seeing my blog nominated was as good as winning to me. I started this blog as a way of keeping track of things I worked on in my garden and a way to connect with other gardeners who felt the same way about gardening as I do. Gardening has been such a wonderful way to teach my girls about how important taking care of our world is. That by what we do in our small yard can benefit animals, birds, insects and our neighbors. It has been fun being able to share what we do and that so many people have found it interesting is just unbelievable to me. I want to say thank you to all of you that take the time to visit my blog whether it's daily, once a week or just when you have time. Thank you also to everyone that voted for my blog, especially when there are so many wonderful blogs to choose from, and thank you to all of my garden friends I've made since I started this blog.
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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

End of month view - September 2009

I thought I would join in with The Patient Gardener and start taking an end of month picture of the same place each month.  I do something similar mid-month with my pond, but for this I thought I'd find another area that has lots of seasonal changes.  It'll be fun to look back each month at the changes and also help to see what changes I might like to make.

This is our entry garden with our beautiful Japanese Maple 'Orido Nishiki'.  The wind was really blowing so the right side of the tree looks much more yellow than it actually is.  The upper left part of the tree is where the fall color changes have started.  Underneath are two large hydrangeas, hostas, heucheras, fuchsias and other various perennials.  There will be lots of tulips and crocuses planted here soon, I usually wait as long as possible to give the squirrels less time to find them.  They've already been digging around all my newly planted plants.

The foliage from the Muscari is coming up, it seems to do this every fall.  I like the grassy look it adds.  These are just a couple of the Heucheras I've planted here this summer.

I'm sure the end of next month will find this tree fully colored and beginning to lose it's leaves.  I might've even gotten some of the bulbs planted by then!
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Monday, September 28, 2009

Enjoying them while they're here.

I'm just beginning to really see signs of fall in our yard.  A couple of trees have just barely started to have a hint of red in their leaves, the grass is wet in the morning and the evenings are definitely cooler. 

 The Dogwood leaves have started to redden.

Japanese 'Orido Nishiki' seems to mostly be changing color on the branches that see the most sun.  Most of the tree is still green.

I realized the other night when letting our little white dog out for her last time that evening that it was too cold to stand out there like I've been doing all summer.  Now I need to grab a blanket if I want to stand on the deck and look at the moon.  This summer felt like it could never end.  As much as I complained about all the watering, it was fun having a summer that we could almost count on the weather being nice.  That's a very unusual thing to be able to do in the Seattle area during the summer.  I've found that I'm trying to really get out and look at the garden often and enjoy the flowers for as long as possible.  We don't usually have the first frost until around November 11, but I was was looking online and found that it's possible to have an early one mid October.  That's not too far away!  
These are some of the newly opened flowers in my yard:

Rose 'Honey Perfume'

Rose 'Gertrude Jekyll' has the most buds and flowers that it's had all summer now that it finally has settled in to the new bed I made for it.

Another Sunflower planted by the birds.

Blue Pickerel Weed

Clematis 'Josephine' has several flowers in different stages of blooming.  I'm so glad I moved it into this container on my deck, I doubt it would've bloomed again where it was let alone be alive at all.

I'm going to be enjoying these flowers as long as I can, because before long they'll be a memory of a great summer.
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Friday, September 25, 2009

Fertilizer Friday - Compost: Does a garden good!

As I've mentioned before, I'm really not very good about fertilizing.  I try to remember the roses (organic fertilizer) and have started using Miracle Gro Soil in my containers, but really that's all I do.  My favorite and easiest way to "fertilize" is to put down fresh compost each spring, and what a difference it makes.  The previous couple of springs the compost job was overlooked, I was a little busy with the girls and there wasn't much time to water let alone spread compost.  This spring it was at the top of my "to do" list, I knew it had to be done.  What a difference it made this summer.  My plants were much taller, fuller and had more flowers than ever.  This wasn't because they had been in the ground for awhile, many of them were planted where they are only a year or two ago.  We even had one of the driest summers on record that required more watering than usual.  I'm sure the difference was getting the compost spread and mixed in the soil around the plants.  
Things are still look good this far into September:
Rose 'Iceberg' is getting close to 6 feet tall, Verbena bonariensis is almost as tall and Cleome 'Rose Queen' isn't too far behind.   The "Lazy Gardener" Dahlias are still blooming like crazy.  I even had our neighbors from across the street comment on the Dahlias, I've promised them a division.

Nicotiana 'Sensation' was a winter sown annual that I cut back several weeks ago.  They are blooming heavier now than they did all summer.  What a wonderful fragrance they have on these cool mornings we've had.

Pink Flower Carpet Rose blooming again, I've lost track how of how many times it's bloomed.

Phlox is on it's last blooms, but they still look fresh.  This is 'Bright Eyes' (finally found its tag), it's by far the longest blooming Phlox in my garden and also has been resistant to powdery mildew.

This far side of the front garden is out of the hoses reach, unless I really want to unwind the whole thing and drag it over here it doesn't get much extra water.  I see many seedlings of Red Valerian sprouting.  Also blooming besides the Red Valerian (Centranthus ruber) is Moonbeam Coreopsis, Rudbeckia 'Rustic Colors', Cosmos 'Bright Lights' and Bachelor Buttons 'Blue Boy'.

Rose 'Julia Child' has lots of buds.  I read that Julia Child hand picked this to be the rose that was named in her honor.

Pink Penstemon, I love this one.  I thought it had died over the winter, it was black and not a sign of green anywhere.  It bloomed later than usual, but it's loaded with flowers now.

Another late bloomer was this Monarda which I don't remember planting and found hidden under an overgrown daylily.

Join Tootsie at Tootsie Time to see more beautiful flowers for Fertilizer Friday.
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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Some new favorites from this summer!

Like most gardeners I tried lots of new plants this spring and summer, most I was quite happy with.  I thought I'd share some of my new favorite flowers from this past summer in this post.  I highly recommend them all after seeing how well they did in my Zone 8 garden.  Not fussy and not much required other than a bit of water now and then.

For annuals a few new favorites are:
Lantana 'Honey Blush'.  I will be planting lots more Lantana next year.  I'd read about them and wondered if they were as great as people said.  I say, "Yes, they are great!"

Cleome 'Rose Queen'.  To be honest I did plant them last year, but in a place where they had no sun or space, so my fault they didn't have a chance.  This year they are in full sun with room to grow and they have gotten huge!  Over 5 feet tall and branching in all different directions with these pretty flowers.  They do have some prickles on the stems, but if they are in the middle of the border you'll never notice.

Zinnia 'Apricot Blush' was started from seed.  I told the story earlier of the Littlest Gardener dumping the seeds into her water table, so I picked up the table and poured it into the nearest flower bed and this beauty sprouted.  It's flowers get quite big, about 4" or 5" across when they are fully opened.  'Green Envy' was another great Zinnia, easy to start from seed and a very pretty color.

A few favorite perennials which I can only say how well they did this summer and will update in the spring to say if they survived winter.  They were tough and easy and are all still blooming like crazy:
Diascia 'Coral Canyon'.  It was a tiny plant when I bought it and has filled and looks great draping over the front of a full sun part of the garden.

Echinacea 'Tiki Torch' is a taller variety and looks great mixed in with other Echinaceas and Salvias.  That orange flower really catches your eye without being too bright.

 Variegated Erysimum or Wallflower.  I planted this early spring and it hasn't stopped blooming since.  It is in full sun at the front of the butterfly garden.  The purple flowers change into a rusty color as they age.

 A new favorite shrub:
Hydrangea 'Endless Summer' has been blooming for the last couple of months.  It came with a couple of flowers on it, and since has produced at least 5 or 6 more on this small shrub.  I have it planted near the Dogwood tree and it gets a good amount of shade.  My sister that lives just up the road from here planted one last summer and it survived the winter fine and has bloomed all summer for her.

I haven't bought much in the way of garden gear or tools, although I'm thinking some type of knife would be helpful with the dividing of perennials I've started doing.  But we did need something very important here:
The Littlest Gardener completely wore out her Hello Kitty rain boots.  I really didn't know it was possible to wear them out in the driest summer in a very long time, but they did.  She luckily was able to find a new pair of Hello Kitty rain boots to wear while helping in the garden.

I'd love to hear some of your new favorites from this summer.
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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Rearranging the garden and keeping focused.

I've been busy doing lots of rearranging in the garden recently.  I find myself having a hard time staying focused on one place at a time though.  It's sort of the same way I am in the house.  I go to clean a room only to find things that go in another room, once I take them there I start on another project before I've returned to finish the project I started first.  Well, in the garden as I dig up a plant and instead of just putting in a pot or in the shade, I try to find a place to plant it right then.  That usually means I have to move something else to make room for it.  Then I have to find new homes for the ones I just dug up to make room for the first plant, meanwhile the original spot I started has now been abandoned. 
I've been trying to stay focused on the area behind my pond that I dug up over the weekend.  I've been pretty good staying focused, although I did end up doing quite a bit of rearranging in the front yard to make room for the lilies I dug from the backyard, and I must say it's an area that I've been working on all summer and had planned to move the lilies to already.  So, really that wasn't a total distraction, at least that's what I'm telling myself and my husband.

Here's a little of what's going on so far: 
Geranium 'Rozanne' has been on my list for sometime now.

Heuchera 'Marmalade' is planted near the pond edge with a couple of other different Heucheras, both in the purplish-red family.  Japanese Blood Grass 'Red Baron' is close by too.

Echinacea 'Sundown' is going to be planted not too far from 'Marmalade', it hasn't been moved yet, and that's only because it's supposed to be 85 degrees today.  Currently it's in the butterfly garden, but the Butterfly Bush is growing over it, so it needs to be moved anyway.

Fuchsia magellanica 'Aurea' was one I thought had died last year.  I found one tiny little leaf trying to sprout when I moved an Astillbe earlier this summer.  I moved it to a container and nursed it back to health.  It should bloom next year.

Beautyberry (Callicarpa) 'Profusion' is planted in front of the fence and has lots of room to grow.

Ninebark (Physocarpus) Coppertina 'Mindia' is a new shrub that I just bought.  It's got the most beautiful coloring.  It's also got lots of room to grow, they can get quite large.

So, that's just some of what I'm trying to stay focused on.  There is lots more going on in this bed but the sun has been so bright in the backyard now that I've had a hard time taking a picture of the whole area.  The sun already seems so much lower and really is affecting the lighting in picture taking.  I'm sure we'll have an overcast day soon and I will take more pictures then to share.

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Looking good today.

This morning started off as pretty cool and everything covered in a heavy layer of dew.  The Littlest Gardener wanted to go out and ride her tricycle (which she learned is hard to do in rain boots) and I took the time to do a bit of transplanting and finding homes for plants that got moved out of the backyard.  I've been reorganizing a few beds and think they are going to look much better next spring and summer.  I'm realizing that I have areas that all bloom at once and then nothing happens the rest of the spring or summer.  
After we cleaned ourselves up I went out to take pictures of some of the things that were really standing out to me today.  The sun made a nice appearance and really brightened things up.

Looking down the path everything looks so much fresher after all the rain we had the last two days.

One of my fall planters Carex 'Prairie Fire' and unnamed orange Pansies.

Months ago I planted Clematis 'Josephine' in my garden.  It was clear she hated where she was and I thought it had actually died.  I dug it up and put it in a planter on the deck where I could water and keep an eye on it.  Soon after it was moved new leaves started appearing and not long after, buds.  I couldn't wait to take a picture of the almost opened flowers.  Of course I'll take more when it fully opens.  I think I'll just let it grow in here.

Hardy Fuchsia 'Queen Esther' hasn't gotten any taller, but has been blooming since I planted it this spring.

Japanese Anemone 'Honorine Jobert' has such pretty white flowers, but still not as tall as it normally is.

It's hard to see just how pretty these two look together.  Hydrangea 'Preziosa' is one I highly recommend for seasonal interest.  The flowers and foliage are continually changing colors.  Abelia 'Edward Goucher' has light pink new foliage and pink bell shaped flowers.

Campanula 'Summertime Blues' is a non stop bloomer which stays on the short side.

And finally, Rose 'Abraham Darby' in his new spot.  I realized where it was I had to climb through so many plants to enjoy it that it needed to moved closer to the front.  I know it gets tall, but most of the things behind it will bloom and be finished in spring.  The rest of the summer we can easily lean in for a whiff of it's wonderful scent.

Later this week I'll try to share pictures of the places I've been rearranging.  They aren't all that exciting now since not much is in bloom, but next year should be great.  I'm already looking forward to it!
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