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

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

So, how's the weather?

I've realized that I talk about our weather fairly often in my blog.  I guess that's what people bring up when they are having a hard time trying to start up a conversation.  Aside from the rain today, there really isn't much happening garden related.  I tried to be creative and take pictures by standing on the porch and showing views from our front door, but realized that this is the day before garbage day and the background would be full of garbage cans and parked cars.  So that topic was out.  Then I thought I'd take some nice raindrop pictures, but the wind kept blowing as I tried to focus the camera.  The thought of taking the end of month view pictures came up, but after looking at the dying Japanese Maple I decided it was too depressing to show the tree even worse looking than last month (click here to see last month's end of month view).
One new thing I noticed was that the magnolia tree seems to have flower buds forming.  It never bloomed this spring... is it normal to bloom in the fall?  Other than that, not much is happening today.
So instead I just took pictures with no real topic behind this post other than I thought they looked pretty.

Fuchsia 'Pat's Dream'

Rose 'Lady Emma Hamilton' is finally trying to bloom.   Her last buds were all broken off by a basketball mishap.  I guess the rain will prevent anyone from playing sports in the driveway.

The unknown pink rose.

Pink Flower Carpet rose

Juicy looking pears!  I'm trying to figure out when to pick them, any suggestions?

Salvia on it's second bloom after being cut all the way back a month ago.

Black-eyed Susans

This Salvia is just now blooming for the first time this "summer".

How do you come up with topics, especially on days that there doesn't seem to be something going on but have some pictures to share?  Do you like the topic to be thought provoking or educational?  Do you talk about your weather?  I know some people may find weather topics uninteresting, but I honestly like hearing what it's doing in other parts of the world and how it affects the garden.  
So, how is your weather today?
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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Getting ready for change.

As much as I love spring and summer I find that I'm looking forward to fall already.  The garden is still looking good and it seems that I'm almost enjoying it more now than I did for a lot of the summer.  The highs have been in the 60's and are predicted to stay there for the week.  We had some rain during the week which gave the garden a good soaking, I've hardly had to water this year which is the exact opposite of last year.  By this time last year the yard was pretty much yellow leaves and dried up sticks, this year it's still green, although some of the flowers in the full sun area didn't like the variation in heat and are on the crispy side.  This summer seemed to come in 3 day increments where it would go from the 60's up to the 90's for a few days and then drop back down again.  An unusual summer for sure.
As I did a little cleanup yesterday in the backyard, I stopped for a while to just sit and "be".
  I'm usually so busy working in the yard or worrying about something that I rarely take the time to just enjoy it at that moment.  I noticed that the light is changing.  Our backyard is shady and with such a cool summer I realized we didn't spend that much time back there, we tended to be in the front yard where it's very sunny.  Now there is a bit more sun during the day when the sun shines from a different angle.  I saw that the squirrels are very busy gathering their seeds and nuts already.  I've barely seen them in our yard all summer and suddenly they are back digging and running off with something in their mouths.  

 We saw at least one new baby fish in the pond.  Even though we find some every year it's still fun discovering a tiny little fish darting out from under the lily pads.  The pads are beginning to yellow, but I saw at least one new flower bud making it's way to the surface.  The fuchsias are having a great year, just loaded with flowers.

 I'm starting to focus on late summer/fall bloomers when I plant shop.  Sweet Pea chose this beauty for the front shady garden that I've been rearranging - Toad Lily (Tricyrtis hirta) 'Empress'.  She sure does have good taste!  I actually even bought my first bulbs as well - Allium 'Purple Sensation', I had such good luck with them this year I knew I wanted more.

As empty as the shed garden still looks I can see that almost all of the plants are doing really well here, aside from a deciduous Azalea that seems to require a lot of extra water.  I'm adding to our house repair/wishlist list "electricity to the new shed".  Probably not something that will happen anytime soon, much more practical things need to be taken care of first ☺, but still I can dream for now.  I'm picturing myself hiding away out there during the late fall or winter starting seeds or something fun like that.

 The pollinators have not slowed down yet, they must not notice any changes coming.  The Skippers are busy and seem to love the Lavender.  I had no idea it would attract these guys when I planted them last year.  I found a butterfly on the Daphne 'Summer Ice' which has not stopped blooming since late Winter, I'd never seen a butterfly on it before. 
I've also noticed an increase in bird activity in the garden.  There always seems to be a lull in visitors mid summer, but not now.  The Chickadees, Nuthatches, Juncos and Hummingbirds have been at feeders, birdbaths and the pond.

 I'm sure hoping the tomatoes are getting ready for a change.  This has not been a good year at all for them.  I'm starting to find quite a few green ones and am crossing my fingers that they eventually turn red.  These are the 'Tigerella' variety that I started from seed.

 With more rain predicted for the next few days I'll be lighting the new pumpkin spice candle and reading through the new garden magazines, all which seem to be filled with pretty fall container ideas.  Time to start planning how I'll change the containers on the deck...
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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

August Garden Bouquet of the Month.

This month was a little more of a challenge finding flowers for a bouquet.  Yes, I do have quite a bit blooming, but with many of the flowers looking a bit ragged it was hard to make myself cut the ones that are in good shape still.  Most of the bouquets that have been in our home over the last month are tiny ones that the Littlest Gardener has picked.

I was kind of laughing at myself as I carried the bouquet around, posing it in different places for the best lighting.  For this month I have rose 'Iceberg', Scabiosa, Verbena bonariensis, Liatris and Hosta and Solomon's Seal foliage.

The deck had good lighting too, except that I had to keep moving all the toys and rain boots from the background.  You just never know what you will find when walking around the backyard, it's definitely obvious that kids play back here.

The Echinaceas are one of the stars of the garden right now.  Trying to take them from the bees was a tricky job.

The Rose 'Iceberg' is blooming again.  Verbena bonariensis are dropping their little flowers onto the petals of the roses.

Liatris 'Kobold' is another favorite of the bees right now.  I just love these unusual flowers.

And in the background of my bouquet "photo shoot" was Gracie soaking up the sun.  With Cookie the rabbit making the blog the other day, I thought it was only fair that Gracie show how she spends her time outside with us.  You can also see that both the Pine tree and the big Japanese Maple are dropping needles/leaves already.

Noelle from Ramblings from a Desert Garden hosts the monthly garden bouquet each month.  Visit her to see her pretty bouquet or to join in with your own.
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Monday, August 23, 2010

Late Summer blooms...

As others have been noticing, Fall definitely seems to already be in the air here.  After a very short and strange summer it feels like it's already finishing up.  Many of the flowers I normally have blooming at the end of August were no shows.  The Dahlias only had some leaves come up and there are no Zinnias or Sunflowers around.  Luckily there are still quite a few flowers that are hanging on now, although many are looking pretty dried up from the temperatures fluctuating between the 90's for a few days and then down to the 60's the next few.  Even the grass is much greener than usual for this time of year. 

 A view of the front of the house shows that the Black-eyed Susans, Agastache, Abelia, Phlox, Monarda and Lilies are blooming.  You can also see how terrible the Japanese Maple in the background looks.   I've realized the soil in that bed just never dried out, it's that way across the whole front of our house, the other plants don't seem to mind it.  We've decided to leave it in and see what happens with it next Spring, but I'm not feeling too hopeful.  I've noticed that many Maples of different types around here are turning yellow far ahead of the rest of the trees.

 Echinacea 'Green Envy' in it's second year is doing really well.

 Echinacea 'Fragrant Angel' is also in it's second year, but taking it's time to become established.

 More flowers in the butterfly garden are drawing bees and Skippers to them.  I've never seen so many Skippers in our yard ever, they are almost impossible to get a good picture of.  The furthest back plant is Caryopteris 'Worcester Gold' and Aster 'Monch' is in front of it.

 Oriental Lilies are blooming.  These white ones are looking the best now and the scent carries around the front yard.

 Campanula rotundifolia 'Olympica' is doing amazingly well.  I hope to find lots more of it next year.  This was found at a local fruit market, all the plants that I bought at the fruit market are doing exceptionally well.

 Towards the end of the summer we have lots and lots of Dragonflies.  I've seen about three different types, this red one is the newest kind to come visiting.  I think this is a Red Darner on the Phlox.

 Phlox 'David' still looks so fresh.  I've noticed in my yard that the Phloxes much prefer to be in part shade, otherwise as soon as any afternoon sun hits them they droop and turn brown.  I even have some growing under a Pine tree that look really good.

Not a flower but our cute little Cookie out enjoying some time in the front grass.  He's been enjoying the tiny carrots that Sweet Pea has been pulling from her garden.  I didn't realize that rabbits could be so social and friendly, maybe he's the exception.

Even though I'm not really ready for summer to end, now feeling the cooler evenings coming I have to say I'm looking a little forward to Fall.  And if that isn't thinking far enough ahead I've read two places now that the Pacific Northwest is predicted to have and cold and very snowy winter.  Okay, I'll quit getting ahead of myself and enjoy the rest of Summer ☀
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Friday, August 20, 2010

The Pond in August.

First I wanted to thank everyone who stopped by to comment on my last post.  We went on a vacation to Southern California about a week ago and the sun and the beach were relaxing and made me excited to get back in the garden again.  I did love seeing the gardens there and was surprised at how many plants I recognized after seeing them on many blogs that I follow.   I took quite a few pictures at the Mission San Juan Capistrano and will share them on another post. 
When we returned home the temperature was up in the 90's so it was a little hot to garden, but while I watered I saw how things were doing and realized that a weed that used to appear in one area of my yard seems to be taking over everywhere.  After doing some research I found that it's called Oxalis corniculata.  My Mom told me to try plain old vinegar on it.  Has anyone tried this?
I also realized I hadn't taken any pictures of the pond this month and thought I share them in this post.

Water Lily 'Charles de Meurville' has it's first bloom of the year!  The water lilies have really been slow this year and I'm beginning to think they may be done for the season already.

The girls were playing behind the pond while I watered.  Sweet Pea made them crowns of ferns and Hosta leaves to wear.

Fuchsia magellanica is blooming like crazy and has spread up towards the waterfall.

Turtlehead (Chelone) is a little past it's prime, but I thought I'd take some pictures anyway.

Clematis 'Ville de Lyon' is still blooming, although the flowers are much smaller.

Hydrangea 'Limelight' was added right before we went away and dried out a bit, but it looks like it'll be fine.

Bugbane (Actaea racemosa) was moved again earlier this year and seems to like it's new spot behind the pond.

This view is similar to the one at the bottom of my blog.  I did a lot changing since then.  The flowers that were here before didn't bloom until the end of summer leaving not much of interest the rest of the year.  I'm hoping the Japanese Blood Grass will keep filling in between the Heucheras.

I'm hoping to get out and do some cleanup on the front yard this weekend and am looking forward to going plant shopping soon.  
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Friday, August 6, 2010

Blogging vacation.

It seems like lately there just aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done, and I feel like the garden is being neglected this summer.  Aside from weeding, which seems to be never ending,  and deadheading I haven't done a whole lot to it this summer.  I did start on my shed garden which is looking pretty good, but really for the most part I just haven't really been in the mood like I normally am.  I know usually towards the end of August I've gotten tired of watering and then get rejuvenated in the fall, but this year I've felt the way I normally feel at the end of the season for a lot of the summer.  Do other gardeners go through cycles like this?  I do love my garden and still enjoy gardening, it just seems this year it hasn't felt the same as usual.  I've blamed most of my garden woes on the bad weather we had earlier in the year, maybe I can blame my garden mood on that too.☺
Well, enough of the complaining.  I really shouldn't complain when the garden is blooming it's head off despite the gardener not doing much to it.  Maybe that's the problem, the garden doesn't really need me.  Did I make it so low maintenance that now there's not much for me to do?  Hmmm...

Oakleaf Hydrangea 'Snow Queen'
Thank you to everyone that stops by to read or comment.  I appreciate the time it takes, as I know life is busy for all of us.  I'm sure once school resumes I'll be able to spend a little more time visiting your blogs and seeing how your gardens are growing.
I won't be around much for the next couple of  weeks since summer vacation is wrapping up.  I'll still try to visit, but probably won't be posting too much.  
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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Some things to be happy about!

Thank you to everyone who gave input and suggestions about what could be wrong with our Japanese Maple tree.  I love that there are so many knowledgeable gardeners out there willing to help.  I'll keep you posted if I'm able to find a way to save the tree, but it doesn't sound too promising for now.  I'm pretty sure it is Collar Rot or Phytophthora.  It sounds like there isn't a lot that can be done aside from pulling soil away and treating with a fungicide, but that seems to be only slightly effective.  I guess we'll just enjoy it while it's here.  It surprising how fast you can get attached to a tree.
But, luckily with one disappointment in the garden there are usually several things to help cheer you up.
I found that there are some Zinnia seedlings, not many but a few at least.  I discovered that a Dahlia has sprouted, I had given up on them but one has decided to send up some foliage, so maybe there's a chance for a bloom.  The Pink blueberries ripened but the Littlest Gardener and her little friends couldn't wait to eat them before I could take any pictures.  My Hollyhocks seeds from Tina are starting to grow too!

 The Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) has started to bloom and the bumblebees are very happy about that.

 Some of the Oriental Lilies are blooming.  They are smaller than usual this year, but I'm just happy to see them.

 The driveway garden has a row of Lavender blooming right in front of this area.  It is covered in just about every type of bee possible.  A very strange bee looking insect was "attacking" the other bees, it even came after me.  I tried to get a picture of it but it wouldn't land long enough.  I think it was a drone fly, which is a honeybee drone mimic.  It's interesting how many insects you can find just watching one small spot in a garden for a short time.

 Caryopteris 'Wocester Gold' was moved during the heat of the summer last year and survived.

 My very first Calendula which was grown by seed sent to my by Laurie.  This was another seed I had given up on ever seeing grow.  I was very happily surprised while out watering to see this pretty flower.

 Nicotiana 'Limelight' was something I saw in a seed catalog last year.  I ordered the seeds, started them by wintersowing and waited and waited and waited for something to happen.  Once the heat started the plants started growing quickly and now are blooming.

 Sedum 'Autumn Joy' always reminds me of broccoli when it's at this stage.

And this pretty flower was visiting from the neighbors yard.  It's hidden behind a Hydrangea in their yard and I guess thought peeking through the fence it would be admired.  I'm guessing it's a Crocosmia.  Maybe it knew that just a few feet away is the Crocosmia that Darla sent me is growing, although I don't think it will bloom this year.

Now today I need to get out and do some watering.  I've been very lazy about it this summer.  We started off so wet here and it hasn't been that hot so the ground hasn't really dried out.  But the poor containers and newly planted things still need regular watering.  It seems like when I'm standing there watering with the hose is often when I notice the new things happening in the garden.
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