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

Friday, July 30, 2010

Fertilizer Friday - new flowers to flaunt.

Another week has passed by so quickly it seems like just yesterday I was doing last Friday's post.  The garden is looking good this week with new blooms and roses on another round of flowers.  I still have quite a few bare spots I'd like to fill and am trying to keep in mind bloom times as I fill them.  I tend to pull up the annuals and then fill all the empty places in with what end up being end of summer bloomers and then once Spring rolls around I feel like nothing blooms until mid July.  Now that I've realized what I'm doing it's easier to make sure there is more year round interest rather than everything blooming at the same time and having to wait a long time for new blooms.  I've also found that I've done far less plant moving this summer than usual.  I think I'm finally getting the right plant in the right place, although it took many years for some of them to get there.

 I'm so happy that Rose 'Gertrude Jekyll' has started blooming again.  I was a bit concerned about how it would end up doing this year.  Both this and 'Abraham Darby' were really hit with black spot pretty bad, but after using an organic spray and some organic rose fertilizer they both look much better.

 I always forget how many Phlox I have until they start blooming.  The plant blends in so well with everything else, then suddenly I'm surprised by all the bright spots of color.  I've lost track of which are which now.

 This one is the reverse coloring of the one above it and also reseeds quite a bit.

 I always remember 'David' since it's the only white one.  It also reseeds like crazy.

 Echinacea 'Double Decker' which is now in it's third year in my garden and also in it's third year of not being a double.  It did have some strange extra petals last year, but nothing like it supposed to look.

 Behind the Echinacea is Aster 'Monch' which I moved last year.  It's in more sun and is growing up instead of reaching sideways for the sun.

 A new Echinacea 'Summer Sky' which is the color of the powdered cheese that comes with macaroni, not that I've ever served any of that to my kids.  ☺  Not sure if I like the color, a little fluorescent, and I'm not sure I would've bought it if it was in bloom at the time.

 By this time of year Dragonflies are constantly swooping over our yards.  I love seeing their shadows float by when I'm outside.  This one seemed to like landing on the warm stones and pavement to rest.

 I've never had Sweet Peas bloom this long, they are usually long done by now.  These are planted by the back door and the scent really carries.  I keep picking little bouquets to put around the house.  Sweet Peas are one flower I do pick regularly, one to prolong the bloom time and two because they smell so good I like them in as many rooms as possible.

I'm so happy the Pear trees are producing pears in their second year.  They each have about 6 pears which seem to be growing quickly now.  Our apple tree still just has one apple, the fig tree is loaded with figs and the Blueberries are ripening and at the tart and juicy stage which is just how I love them.  There has been a baby Robin that loves them as well, almost every time I walk through the area the blueberries are I see him hopping around underneath.  He doesn't even seemed scared of me when I walk by, just looks up and then keeps going.

Tootsie hosts Fertilizer Friday each week.  This week she is sharing garden pictures from non-blogging gardeners so they can get a chance to share their pretty gardens with all of us. 
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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Adventures of another hummingbird.

This past winter I watched a hummingbird's adventure in our back yard.  We had an unusually cold couple of weeks, and this one hummingbird seemed to rely on me hanging the feeder out early each morning.  At this time of year there's no need for filling feeders because there are so many of their favorite flowers blooming.  They are all over the front yard; Fuchsias, Monarda, Verbena bonariensis and the Butterfly bush seem to be the favorites.  Several times a day two will fly past me, one being chased by another.  Sometimes as one is feeding on a flower another will hide in a tree chirping.
As I walked out the front door I thought I would try to get some pictures of one of them on the Monarda 'Jacob Cline' since that's always the most popular.

 How lucky that there was one of the Butterfly Bush right then.  I was surprised it wasn't on the Bee Balm since that really is the favorite.
She didn't stay long, but I did get a couple of pictures.

 After she left I thought I'd get the camera focused on the 'Jacob Cline' that I was sure would have a visitor soon.  But, then I thought I saw movement under the plants.

 One of our neighbor cat's was rolling around under the plants, probably breaking more stems of my flowers.  Since they seem to do a pretty good job keeping moles and squirrels and other unwelcome visitors away from the yard in the past few years I've gotten over being annoyed with them.
Then I saw his brother peering out, this one is much more shy.
I figured no hummingbirds would be around with two cats under the plants, but was quickly surprised when an angry hummingbird began dive bombing the black cat and chirping angrily at him.

 She flew just over head to a Weeping Willow and chirped repeatedly, I guess hoping the cats and I would leave.

Here it looks like she dropped her wings down as if to say "I give up" even though she did try dive bombing the cats another time.  She eventually flew off and I chased the cats away.  Not long after I saw her through the window getting the nectar she was after in peace, by then I had given up getting any closer pictures and just watched from inside.
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Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I got outside early yesterday morning to see what was happening in the front garden.  What I quickly noticed was that there were many, many Bumblebees either passed out on the flowers or slowly buzzing around them.  On one small part of a  plant there were 4 that looked sprawled out, like they'd been up late partying the night before.  Is it possible to get drunk on pollen?  If so I think they were sleeping it off then.

 Curled up on the Coneflower.

 Sleeping it off on a Black-eyed Susan.  What is it about this flower that makes me think of chocolate?  I asked my husband if it made him think of anything, thinking that that chocolate brown center gave everyone the same idea, but he said no, didn't remind him of anything.

 Coneflowers seemed to be a popular place to nap.

 Two Bumblebees napping in the Fleabane.

 The bee on the Liatris is hidden in the upper middle of the Liatris.  This is by far the most popular flower with the bees now.  During the heat of the day it is covered in bees.

This poor guy didn't even make it to a flower, he just landed on the Phlox leaf and stretched out there.

A few hours later the bees had all woken up and moved on, but it really made me smile to see so many napping in the garden after a busy day of pollinating.
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Monday, July 26, 2010

The July pond - a little clean up.

Even with the heat we had this weekend I did manage to get some work done around the pond.  I had allowed the Larkspur (which I love) to kind of take over and grow over everything.  I kept going out to "thin" them a bit but when I saw the flowers covered in bees I felt guilty taking their flowers away.  The flowers though had gotten to the point that they were not looking as good and were definitely blocking sun and water from the smaller plants I had put in last fall.  It was time for them to get a chance to grow.

Compared to most years we have far fewer lily pads and flowers.  Other than that everything else in and around the pond is looking good with the dry warm weather we've had.

This is the side that I pulled up the Larkspur.  Many of these plants were new last fall or early this spring.  I've been trying to make this area more low maintenance because the front yard does take a lot of time with weeding, deadheading, staking, watering, etc.  I've been adding more shrubs and trying to add more evergreen plants as well.  Hopefully in a couple of years the Ninebark (Physocarpus) 'Coppertina', the new Hydrangea 'Limelight', Juniper 'Gold Cone', Azalea and Beautyberry (Callicarpa) will fill in more.  Not seen in this picture but behind where I was standing is a Flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum), Azalea and a variegated Rhododendron.  In the sunnier spots are Cape Fuchsia (Phygelius), Echinacea, Penstemon and Daylilies.

One lone Water Lily 'Sioux'

 Looking across the pond everything is looking full and pretty good.

 One of the Echinacea 'Sundown'.  It has grown quite a bit since last year, even under the Larkspur.

 This Hollyhock planted itself here.  It's so pretty and looks nothing like the other Hollyhocks I have.

 Fuchsia magellanica blooming by the pond.  I didn't realize it would spread from the roots.  It's come up about a foot from where the original plant is.

Ligularia 'Othello'   Definitely not one of my favorite flower colors, it's hard to tell from this picture that it's a goldish orangey yellow, but it's a flower so I won't complain.  The leaves really took a beating from all the slugs earlier this year and are just full of holes.

Even though I normally love the crowded and overflowing look of gardens it felt good clearing out the Larkspur and Poppies that had finished.  It was nice to see that my original plan is still coming together and that the plants are starting to fill in more.
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Friday, July 23, 2010

Fertilizer Friday - Some new color in the garden.

The weeks of summer are flying by fast.  I start losing track of what day is what and before I know it, it's Friday.  Not worrying about the day of the week is nice during summer vacation with the kids, but before long we'll be getting up very early as my oldest daughter starts Junior High in just over a month.  I've been noticing that the days are getting shorter and so we're trying to get the most out of what's left of summer. 
I've noticed other bloggers mentioning that this time of the summer they aren't always very happy with how their gardens are looking, either from heat or just that it's an in between time in the garden.  I've been feeling a bit of that myself now that so many annuals like Poppies and Larkspur that had added so much color are finished, there are some very bare looking places.  And so my plan for the weekend will be to rework the bed behind the pond again trying to give it more structure so that when that there's something going on between bloom times of flowers.
Tiger Lily
I will definitely be adding more of these next year, the yellow ones as well.

 Penstemon 'Red Rocks'
I had moved this one from the backyard earlier this year, it took awhile to recover but is now blooming like crazy.
A Lupine seedling from the white flowered one in my front yard.

 Water Lily 'Sioux'
The water lilies sure were late in getting started this year.  There were two flowers, both smaller than the usual size.  I see at least one more bud coming up.

 Persian Cornflower (Centaurea dealbata)
This is the longest this has ever bloomed.  Normally it blooms for a few weeks then is finished.  It's been a couple of months of flowers so far.

 Monarda 'Coral Reef'
This Monarda is usually the last one to bloom.

Fertilizer Friday is hosted by Tootsie Time every Friday.  To see what flowers she and other gardeners are flaunting this week, or to join in yourself, stop by her blog. 
Happy Friday!
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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Seeing things in another light.

I've read a few posts recently talking about lighting and best times of the day to take pictures and where the sun should be.  It seems that good lighting and the time I take pictures rarely coincide.  Usually when I have time is when the sun is at it's brightest and really washes out the color.  Last evening I decided to try taking some pictures and see how they look in the evening light.  These were all taken after 7 p.m.

 Rose 'Tamora' was in blazing direct sunlight even at 7 p.m. so I stood in front trying to create my own shade.  I think the color looks very close to true.  This rose was new this year and went from being shorter than the lavender in front to suddenly being quite a bit taller.  It has a very nice scent.

 I love this combination of yellows - Yarrow and Coreopsis both look as bright as the sun blooming together.

 Hydrangea 'Preziosa' is taking on a blue tone this year, the last couple of years it aged to a nice dark pink.  I've done nothing different to the soil.  It was in the shade of the Dogwood tree when I took the picture.

 I've decided this was definitely mislabeled and as a couple of people suggested it's probably Monarda 'Raspberry Wine'.  This is one of the few times I don't mind the mislabel, because it actually looks really pretty with the flowers around it.

 At the end of the flower bed it's still getting a lot of sun even in the evening.  Coreopsis and Red Valerian (Centranthus ruber) seem to like all the sun they've gotten lately.

 My Oriental Lilies don't look as good as usual this year.  This is Oriental Lily 'Triumphator'.  Several more lilies will be blooming soon, but I'm really disappointed that the squirrels dug up my very favorites.

 A new Clematis 'Inspiration' that I'm growing on a trellis in the front bed that it was supposed to share with 'Josephine'.  'Josephine' just dried up and withered away.  I've left the roots in the ground for the small chance that it reappears.

Campanula 'Pantaloons' is difficult to photograph no matter what the lighting is.  It is a very soft pink and polka dotted on the inside.  I was happy to notice that the clump is beginning to spread and will probably be able to be divided next Spring.  This year seems to be the year of Campanulas, I've added quite a few this year.

I love the lighting on Hydrangea 'Pia'.  This was the only picture that turned out very well from the backyard.  By late afternoon it's mostly shaded from the house and trees.

We've had such nice weather lately.  After getting off to such a slow start this year we've actually ended up having really nice weather.  It's hard to complain about too much sun while taking pictures, guess I'll just have to keep trying different times of day.
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