Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Bright. Colorful. COLD!

As I type this, it's only 60F - today's high.  Same high as yesterday.  Sunday wasn't much better.  The front moved through Saturday night giving us another .8" of rain.  Since then it's been cold. And damp.  And cloudy.  I'm wearing a hooded sweatshirt.  INSIDE!  Oh well, I'll take this over the usual July 90s!

Meanwhile, here's a different perspective on the driveway border beds.  As you can see by the overhanging branches, the Snowdrift crabapple (like the Prairie Fire and the side-of-the-house Robinson Crabapple) is really short on leaves this year.  Thankfully the condition doesn't seem to have impacted fruit production.

The Zahara zinnias have finally gotten to the point were I might like them.  It's taken them 2 months to really fill in.  What I don't like them is that just as they get a nice flush of flowers on them, they are submerged by the next/taller buds.  So while the plants may be full of bloom, they aren't easy to see all the time.  One tick in their favor - the colors are much more saturated and bright than the Cut-n-come-agains.

And the size is nice.  For the first time in years I can see to the beds behind the borders.  But another con - there is very little, if any, bee/butterfly traffic.  Still, it could be that the long polar winter wiped out a lot of the pollinators.

So I'm not sure if I'll do them again.

Speaking of bright saturated colors, the State Fair zins I planted back in the bins along 'sunny lane' are really big blooms with super deep colors.  Unfortunately, unlike the Cut-n-come-agains, they are tall narrow plants.  Even planted a mere 16-18" apart, they have never filled in. *sigh*  I guess they still haven't invented the 'perfect' zinnia yet. LOL  The only thing along the lane that is filled in are the purple potatoes (under netting) in the closest bed.

It'll probably go down to high 40s -- again.  May & June were (worldwide!) the warmest 2 months in recorded history, so I'm not really complaining about the frequent polar cools downs we've had in July.  One thing for sure, not only can you do a lot outside (check sidebar blogs) when the days are cool, but the nights make for some really fine sleeping weather!

For a final pic - here's the view from the deck this evening.  I love looking through so many gardens: birdbath bed, border bed, crab bed, arbor bed, then the ring bed and beyond.  At last, the place is really getting some character.  Interest.  Depth.  

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Oh yay! Hot weather - cool cukes.

To say that the cuke harvest is going well could be an understatement.  Click the pic for details.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Another happy day.


After 'enjoying' 12" of rain in June, July has given us a measly .5" --- until today!

Privacy fence extension cedar planks getting their first wetting.
I could look at that new fence all day!

It's coming down as I type.

I heard the 1st patter around 1:00 am. and now, over 8 hours later, it's still raining.

No wind.  No thunder.  No lightning.  No drenching downpour.  No drama.

Just rain.  Light and steady.  After 8.5 hours, we've gotten just shy of 3/4".  No worry about gutters overflowing, basement leaking, water running off and swelling the creek.

Just blessed gentle rain.  Sitting in the sunroom with a cup or two of tea this morning was just heavenly as the it pattered on the sunroof.  When the rain comes gently like this, the parched ground gets a chance to open up and absorb it instead of something pelting that just runs off.

Even the gardener relaxes, breathes a little deeper, sits a little calmer.

Oh, there is a big weather change coming.  After a week of nights in the 40s, days in the high 60s (just 59 right now), the big hot wet is coming next week with with temps in the 90s and storms all around.

But for now - today - right this minute - it couldn't get much better.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Oh happy day!

Happy happy joy joy!!

We put the cedar planks up on the fence extension.  What a difference!

Details will be posted soon on the Garden Projects page.  Keep checking the sidebar blogs for updates.

Happy happy joy joy!!

(Quick history - older posts:  Quick Privacy .... Frost & Fabric)

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Holiday

How's that for a flag?

Happy Independence Day.  Be safe.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Got Milk(weed)?

For the first time in 2 years, the milkweed have managed to flower this year.  (Between deer and drought they've had a rough time.)

Yesterday I saw 2 monarchs hovering around the sweetly-scented blooms and was also delighted to notice that there were bees too.  (Bees of any kind have been very scarce this year.  I've not even seen any of the destructive carpenter bees - yet.)

Anyway, I wish you could smell these blooms.  Like honey.

While the bees and butterflies were busy, yours truly has been just as busy. 

Check out the Veg Page, Garden Projects Page and the Flowers Page. (Sidebar links)  Yep, I'm obviously feeling much better this year and the gardens are getting way more attention these days.

Need ACCESS?  <== click link

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Zombie in my garden and other stories

.... a zombie oak leaf hydrangea!   I posted earlier (and a plea) about the dying plant that had lost all of it's lower bark so no nutrients can travel up to the rest of the plant.   I expected the plant to die.  Well, it's not dead.  But it's not alive either.  I've noticed that after a rain (not a quickie, but something lasting about an hour) the dangling, diminishing leaves 'perk up'.  Then they return to dangle mode.  What's happening?  The leaves are absorbing water through osmosis.  They don't know they are dead.  They are on life support.  It's kinda gruesome watching it die such a prolonged death.  (Note to self:  update living will.... ick!)  (CLICK PICS TO ENLARGE)

Otherwhere, the water DID kill something.  Something that I didn't think water would be detrimental.  Can you guess?

A WILLOW!  Yep, the Nishiki willow DROWNED.   My fault.  2-3 years ago I sunk the willow, pot and all, half-way into the soil in front of the garage.  While 2011,12 & 13 where dry years, it was easy to keep the willow watered right in the pot.  It didn't suffer any burning at all.   But this year.... *glub*.  The roots had grown through the pot, plugging all the drain hole.  The feeder roots where a solid mass.  This year the roots could not breath.  So - kaput!  Lesson learned.

Okay, dying and dead.  Here's a rebirth.   Last year the garage rhody did not look good.  This year - just nasty.  Even the green showing in this pic was brittle and falling off.  I thought I would have to just take it out.  But when I had at it with the lopers, I found enough good stuff inside to carry on!  Yay.  

And for something that is THRIVING? Check out the H.F.Young clematis!   Talk about large and in charge!

Good thing I beefed up the trellis earlier this year.  It's drop dead gorgeous right now.

The rains keep coming - almost 11" so far this month.  Bad for gutter & drainage, great for not having to water anything once it's planted.  So I'm taking advantage of not having to water....

These things just jumped into the car.  *heh*  I couldn't help but replenish my winter-killed geraniums.  And OH LOOK!  I found some TALL zinnias (State Fair).  I've been kicking myself this spring for only starting Zaharas.  Little bitty things.  I missed my in-your-face Cut-n-Come Agains, so these State Fairs should feed my need for a taller breed. And I have just the place to put them.   Stay tuned.

For more action, check out the sidebar blog updates for Garden Projects & Flowers