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

Friday, June 20, 2014

Wax on - Wax off

After last year's health issues, continuing deer devastation and then the loss of so many plant varieties due to the polar winter, the beds are in major transition status.

Some have been revamped (such as the crabapple bed (earlier entry) changing from a colorful flower bed to a shade bed full of greens and textures).


The ring bed is on it's own.  So much died.  So much eaten.  All I'm doing is mowing around the shape of the ring to preserve it for some future decision.

Stump bed is simple enough to maintain.  Once I cut back the daffodil greens, the Shasta daisies, liatris, bearded iris, Russian sage, catmint and that sorry excuse for a crabapple - the Prairie Fire - can take care of themselves for this year. (The daffs also need thinning!  Daffs multiply like crazy here!)

The beds under the sweet gum trees were a total bust.  Nothing ever grew there (azaleas, ground cover, etc.) and keeping it mulched was a pain. So  I've pulled out all the dead bodies and sown grass seed.  With the frequent rain, the grass is coming in nicely.

The bed that sported that (alas, winter killed) Black Knight butterfly bush is now graced with a  little Sargent crabapple and this year is densely planted with dwarf French marigold for color (the deer don't seem to like them).

The arbor bed - well, it's become just a deer buffet.  And a mess.  (Thankfully, the dense foliage on the trees in the crabapple bed now screen this rampant chaos from the deck.) The phlox and daylily haven't a chance.  I'm not fond of the peonies at all.  And the whole thing has become choked with Dutch iris, daylily and daffodils.  I'm going to (over the year) tear out everything, saving only the flowering plum, Montauk Daisy, some coneflower, a dwarf lilac and maybe the false indigo (baptesia) and white hardy hybiscus.  These listed will most likely be rehomed. (Note ring bed behind arbor bed.)

What will happen to the arbor bed?  I'm going to make it a fenced in (and I mean TALL fenced) vegetable garden.  I'm tired of growing veg against the privacy fence.  Not enough morning light (this pic and arbor pic showing light at same time of day) and the afternoon light becomes too hot due to being reflected back onto the plants from the fence itself.

No, making a veg bed out of the arbor bed only makes logical sense.  Best light, easy enough to fence, etc.   It'll be some work.  Hardest part will be THROWING PLANTS AWAY.  Ouch.

Meanwhile, back at the swing bed, that, too, is being revamped.  Even ENLARGED.   I want the swing to have a better setting.  So I'm extending the bed back about 5 feet.  This will allow for a small decorative fence half-way into the new extension, then flanked with some nice shrubs and bordered with some of the fine hostas I've grown from seed (forefront of pic).

So there will be a dance of sorts between enlarging the swing bed and unloading the arbor bed.  I'm hoping for more help on this.  Yeah, riiiiight.  Like I can count on THAT.

Bottom line, this year it's not about the plants (food).  It's about the beds (place setting).  I'm tired of feeding deer.  If I make the beds more hardscape than soft, at least the eye will enjoy the symmetry  and flow of the beds themselves.  And I'll have less heartache when dealing with deer.

As for current veg/flower status -- check the sidebar blogs.  I've posted updates there.