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

Monday, August 29, 2011

Lots of pretties at the end of August.

It's hard to believe August is almost over and school is just about to start.  It feels like summer just began.  There is still a lot blooming and still a few more flowers to come.  I've been working on having more blooming towards the end of summer and going into fall.  It seems though, that a lot of the late summer bloomers don't last quite as long.  There are other flowers that seem to have been blooming for months like hardy fuchsias, agastache, hydrangeas and Monarda.  
I've also been moving lots of plants around.  For some reason that urge always seems to strike when we are having our hottest weather of the summer, which means extra watering trying to save the freshly moved plants.  I know it's not when you are supposed to move plants, but aside from the extra watering, the plants seem to do fine.

 Rose of Sharon 'Minerva'.  It seems to bloom right when the leaves decide to yellow and fall off every year.  I love the flowers, but it's not my favorite looking plant otherwise.

 Chelone or Turtlehead is looking really pretty right now.  It would probably like more water than it gets.

 Clematis 'Ville de Lyon' bloomed very late and has lots of tiny flowers this year.

 Daylily 'Ruby d'Oro'

 Hydrangea 'Nikko Blue'

 The entry garden - Hydrangea 'Nikko Blue', Fuchsia 'Pat's Dream' and Rose 'Harlow Carr'.  This rose has really prickly canes.

 Echinacea 'Green Envy'


 Sedum 'Autumn Joy', Red Valerian on the right and Crocosmia, that was sent to me by Darla a couple of years ago, on the left.

 Kniphofia 'Border Ballet' is new to my garden this year.

 Sunflowers are just starting to open.

 The unknown pink rose ('Heritage'?) with Cupid's Dart behind it.

 I planted what I thought was supposed to be a small sunflower (18" high on the packet) in the raised beds.  The leaves on this are HUGE.

 It was a bit overcast when I took pictures today.  The small shrub by itself is a replacement Mexican Orange (Choysia) for the one that didn't survive the move when I divided the bed back in February.

I've started pulling annuals out of pots and thinking about what I'll plant in them for fall.  It's sad getting rid of the summer bloomers, but it is fun starting fresh with at least a few containers.  I've sown seeds for fall vegetables for the first time.  So far I've got Chard 'Bright Lights', Carrots, radishes and beets.  I plan to start some Kale and Pak Choy soon too.
All words and photos in this post are property of A Gardener in Progress. Pin It

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Not ready yet.

A few days ago I would've sworn I could feel the beginnings of fall in the air.  The cooler evenings (not that we've really had any warm evenings this summer), getting darker earlier (that always makes me sad) and the Ponderosa Pine needles dropping all over the deck (my least favorite thing to clean up).  But the weather has decided that it's finally summer and it's been quite warm.  Over the weekend we finally hit the high 80's and aside from some rain and lower temps a couple of days ago it's been up the 80's and predicted to stay that way through the weekend.  During the month of August I'm typically sick of dragging hoses around and start letting most plants fend for themselves.  This year I barely had to water at all until August, making me less annoyed with watering and now wanting me to keep summer going as long as possible.  I'm not ready to let the plants fend for themselves, in fact I'm making it my duty to protect them from the heat.  I'm not ready for summer to end, it's just arrived in this part of the country.

It's hard to believe that Violas are still blooming in August.  Most flowers started blooming late, and many have been hanging on for months.  One that I really can't believe is still going are the Sweet Peas, they've usually all been pulled up a month ago.

A cute new addition to the garden this year is Tennessee Coneflower (Echinacea tennesseensis).

Another new Coneflower is 'Milkshake'.

Agastaches have become a real favorite over the last couple of years.  This yellow one is 'Summer Glow'.

Aster 'Monch' was finally moved from it's old spot of part sun to full sun and loves it.  Time to move the other one out front too now.

Some of my absolute favorite flowers here.  Rudbeckia 'Cherry Brandy', Agastache 'Apricot Sunrise' and Monarda 'Raspberry Wine'.

New in the garden this spring was Erysimum 'Apricot Twist'.  It was in bloom when I bought in April and said on the tag it would bloom through May.  Well, it hasn't stopped blooming since April and shows no signs of stopping.  It also has a delicious scent.

I have it planted near Daylily 'Strawberry Candy' and they look beautiful together.  This picture isn't the best, but hopefully you get the idea.

I know probably most of the country is ready for signs of fall, but I'm just not ready yet!
All of you in the way of Hurricane Irene I hope you stay safe and it passes by quickly without damage or injury.
All words and photos in this post are property of A Gardener in Progress. Pin It

Monday, August 22, 2011

SAGBUTT and Ciscoe - how much more fun could I have had?

Yesterday was such a fun day and I wanted to share some of it.  I had the fun in joining up with some other local garden bloggers for a SAGBUTT meeting (Seattle Area Garden Bloggers United To Talk).  Yes, we know the name is funny, and that's what makes this group so great!  There's nothing like being with other people that enjoy gardening as much as I do.  Melanthia of Garden Muse hosted the meeting at her home where we talked, ate and got to enjoy seeing her garden and chickens.  It was fun seeing bloggers that I hadn't seen for awhile and also get to meet some new ones whose blogs I've been following.  I felt like I already knew them as soon as I saw them.  After the meeting we were lucky enough thanks to Kit 'Aerie-el' of Gardener's Roost to go on a garden tour.  I was only able to visit one which belongs to local gardening expert Ciscoe Morris and his wife. Hopefully the other SAGBUTT members will share more of the other gardens on their blogs so I can see what I missed.
Here are some pictures from Ciscoe's garden.  His garden definitely matched his enthusiastic personality!

The "hellstrip" surrounding his corner lot was all planted with a mix of perennials, shrubs and fruit trees.

This summer Eryingiums have become a new favorite of mine.  I'm still looking for one that gets such a nice blue color.  When the Littlest Gardener saw this picture she said, "Hey, that's Sea Holly!"

Lots of colorful foliage and textures throughout his garden.

Someone pointed out that each of the apples had been wrapped to protect them.

Lots and lots of Cacti filled the driveway, many were in bloom.  They are overwintered in the garage.

This was one of my favorite pieces of garden art.  These metal bats were hanging from the pergola rafters.  Now I want one for my garden!

This was the view from the patio under the pergola.  The large trunk to the right is from an old Wisteria.  In this corner is a water feature along with lots of really interesting plants.

Part of the water feature.

A flower bed in the back garden.  Meeting Ciscoe in person was a pleasure.  You could just tell how much he loves gardening and the joy he gets from sharing his knowledge with other gardeners.  It was the same joy that I felt when talking with the other garden bloggers that day.

Other bloggers that I had the pleasure of seeing were: Paula of Petunia's Garden, Nola of Life on Tiger Mountain, Alison of Bonney Lassie, Julia of Polka Dot Galoshes and Yvonne.  Plans were made for upcoming meetings at local public gardens, private gardens, seed swaps and other great events.  Join the Facebook page for the group if you are interested in joining in.
All words and photos in this post are property of A Gardener in Progress. Pin It

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Gardening with my family - the payoff.

Earlier this year my husband and I decided to finally put our dream of raised beds and a picket fence for our front yard.  When he planned to take the same week off in February that our kids had off from school we figured it would be another mild week of our strange winter weather.  Up until then we'd had one short spell of unusually cold weather in November, followed by above normal temps. 

Then the week of planned garden renovation came and of course it snowed and was below freezing, turning what we knew would be a physically difficult job into an even more difficult job once the ground froze, the gravel pile froze and it was just too cold some days to do work.  But we knew that in the summer we'd be really glad that the hard part was done and we could then enjoy the fun part.

And we were right.  It was worth all that hard work just 6 months ago!  Now the payoff isn't only picking fresh vegetables, but the other things our family has gotten out of it. 

For example my hope that my husband would take on some of the vegetable garden chores so he could find some relaxation in standing and watering or pulling a few weeds (believe me, it can be relaxing).  I've seen him many times checking the garden, work bag still on his shoulder, before he's come in from his very long work day.  Last evening I looked up to see him grabbing a pair of garden scissors  from the front potting bench.  When I went out to see what he was up to, he told me he needed to cut the flowers of of the greens and lettuce so they didn't go to seed.  He said, "What's it called?  Bolting?"  Never did I think he would be that interested.  He's also been having a great time going out and picking chard and other greens to cook with.

Another great thing my oldest daughter said to me the other night was how it was fun to have a "job" that was going out and picking the green beans, patty pan squash and blueberries.  Her and her little sister laughed and were so excited as they found more and more to pick.  Much more fun that taking out the trash or cleaning your room I guess.

The garden is far from perfect, not quite everything went as planned.  I had hoped for more edible flowers, but not everything flourished as I hoped.  But I did get some pretty Dahlias, and they are as pretty as I thought they would look blooming among the greens.

We're still waiting for the tomatoes to turn red.  The Littlest Gardener occasionally will find a red cherry tomato and will feed it to me as I garden.  I've never been fed while weeding before!

I'm sure some would say the beds are overcrowded, but how could I say no to Sweet Pea when she went to the trouble of digging up the plants and bringing them home from school.  She started them in science class for a class garden.  She was very proud of the squash and tomato plants and they are all doing well.

Never would I have expected back when we started the garden project back in February, that Sweet Pea would use her Christmas Amazon.com gift card to buy 'Pumpkin Peppers' seeds.  She did that all on her own and was very excited to show me the seeds when they arrived.  Now the interesting ornamental peppers are starting to turn orange.

Something else interesting I've found, we'd never seen evidence of the garden fairies in the front yard before.  Now I've started finding signs of them this summer.  Guess they like the changes too.

Since we've finished our garden renovation we've also ended up with a whole other place to spend with each other and family and friends.  We've had many meals in our new eating space, as well as somewhere to just sit and talk.

So gardening in the front yard has had a better payoff than more gardening space for flowers and food.  It's taught us about new things, some we didn't even know we were interested in, a place for imagination and play and fun.  I hope you can find some of the same joys gardening with your family.
All words and photos in this post are property of A Gardener in Progress. Pin It

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fertilizer Friday!

I'm finally prepared to join in with Tootsie Time and participate in Fertilizer Friday.  The garden is still loaded with flowers and I've been really good about going out and deadheading as much as possible to encourage more blooms.  Aside from some organic rose fertilizer and compost I don't do any other fertilizing.

 Cupid's Dart (Catananche caerulea) is a great late summer bloomer.  Every single year I forget to stake it up and it lays on the edge of the driveway.  I love the color of the flowers.

 The Rudbeckias seem to have bloomed overnight.

 This Phlox has just gone crazy this year.  I didn't realize how much it could spread.

 A Daylily from behind the pond.

 One of my favorites are Tiger Lilies!

 Clematis 'Ville de Lyon' is one of my favorite and most easy Clematises to grow.  This one and  'Jackmanii superba', 'Alionushka' and 'Etoille Violette' are always the most prolific bloomers and lush looking Clematises in my garden.

 Fuchsia magellanica by the pond has started spreading and I had to cut it back quite a bit, it was taking over everything.

 Oakleaf Hydrangea 'Snow Queen' does very well in dry shade.

 Water lily 'Sioux' has been light on flowers this year.

 'Stargazer' lilies are perfuming the whole front yard.

 Rudbeckia 'Cherry Brandy' is new this summer.

 Some of the front garden.  We've had more butterflies than usual this year, which still isn't that many compared to other parts of the country, but it's so relaxing to watch to them float through the garden.  Just sitting outside today there were 3 types of butterflies, dragonflies, damselflies (which were landing on our dog Gracie), hummingbirds and lots of bees of all types.  Seeing them makes me realize I'm doing something right in the garden.

I'm still picking Sweet Pea blooms which has been a nice make up for our cool summer.  Right now the Sweet Peas, Lilies and Butterfly Bush have the whole front garden smelling so sweet.
Be sure to visit Tootsie to see what she and other gardeners are sharing from their gardens today.
All words and photos in this post are property of A Gardener in Progress. Pin It