Saturday, September 19, 2009

More surprises in the garden

I'm continuing the 'garden surprise' theme on this post because, well, there have been more surprises! ;-D

First off, we had a couple days of very high winds, gusts that even toppled over those 3 pots in the pic above. But the castor beans rode it out! I watched those things dance back and forth for hours, but none of them snapped. After that I did notice that the stems (actually trunks now) were starting to deform from their own weight, so I lent a little support by bungee-ing them to the fence frame behind them. (See, the frame really was a set of stakes for the castor beans after all!)

By the way - those plants (which I might mention are only 4 months old from germination!!) are now blowing past the 13 FOOT MARK!

Here's another surprise I found yesterday. I was gazing out the front bedroom window and noticed a spot of color on the Robinson crabapple I installed last Fall. (But it got re-installed early mid-June this year. Deer had nibble off all the branches heading away from the house and all the rest were heading toward it. Can't have that. So I dug it up and rotated it 180 degrees.)

It didn't seem to mind at all, although it must have gotten a little dizzy due to that spin around. Here it is - blooming away at the end of branch.

Here's a great surprise. One of the packs of gift seeds I received from a gal from the GardenWeb Winter Sowing forum was Lobelia Cardinalis (cardinal flower). I got great WS germination and have planted clumps all around the place and gave away probably just as many. The hummers LOVE the tall red flower spikes.

So the other day I was out in the Arbor garden doing some deadheading and was taken aback to see a shaft of bright BLUE in the middle of a clump of red (cardinal flowers and red salvias). Whoa!! It was a lobelia - but Lobelia Siphilitica - blue lobelia). Apparently a stray seed ended up in the wrong seed pack! And while it seems only the hummer enjoys the cardinal flowers, it's the native bees that are all over this blue beauty. :-D Hopefully it'll still have time before frost to set seed so I can germinate more next year.

And lookee here. Just a couple of days ago I posted on the Propagation Page that I did not believe the WS'd native asters would bloom this year and here they are. Well, I guess a single blossom doesn't actually constitute a 'they', but I'm seeing more buds now so soon they will be 'them' in no time. LOL

And as a followup to the previous post, here is the last apricot daylily bloom that greeted me this morning. It still just amazes me - a daylily not only reblooming, but so late in the season.

I'm beginning to believe that plants actually have personality, and seem to enjoy keeping the gardener on their toes. You just never know what's going to happen next.... LOL I'll keep an eye out and continue to keep talking to them. But the day they talk THAT'll be some post!

Monday, September 7, 2009

#1 Reason why I garden


(This entry was originally posted 9/7 and this update to it is posted on 9/15:

Amy over at Tales of a Transplanted Gardener (a great blog, BTW), tagged me with a Meme award (see her comment to the original post). Thank you, Amy, for your thoughtfulness. And while this initial post actually revealed 7 things about myself (before tagged and asked to do so), I must respectfully decline the award. Why?

Here, then, is a bonus revelation about myself: I'm writing this blog not for personal accolades, but to, in some small part, encourage awareness of the plight of native bees, pollinators and other garden critters. My goal is to write entries that are informative and (I hope) entertaining. (Stick around for the jokes...;-D)

Sometimes a bit of information about animals or insects allows us to see them in a new light, as part of a bigger process. Sometimes just a few *tweeks* in our gardens can result in a big difference in the life of some beleaguered (or beloved) creature.

So, thanks again, Amy. If anything, you and the other readers of this blog (and comments) are all the reward I could hope to get out of this project. Thank you all....)


It's not because I can be outside all hours of the day, all days of the year. I'm continually drawn to the open air and sunshine, so, sure, this is one of the reasons I garden.

Also I'm an 'antsy' sort of person and don't enjoy just sitting down when I could be walking around and futzing at something. Gardens make a good target for futzing. So that's another reason why I garden.

It's not because I feel good about providing forage for all kinds of creatures (some common, some in trouble): bees, butterflies, moths, skippers, hummingbirds, wasps, birds, nectar flies, preying mantises, toads, squirrels, hawks.... The list is getting pretty long. :-D And it is one of the reasons I garden.

It's not because I can grow tasty, organic fruits and vegetables - especially varieties that (thankfully) don't ship well, thus making them a real treat when they are available. So that is one of the reasons.

It's not because I can meet and share gardening plants and process with other folks who enjoy the same passion for creating beauty using plants. But this is certainly one of the reasons.

And it's not because I can renew my relationship with Nature, the Earth and the Cosmos through the daily dance between myself and other living things that grow or visit my gardens. But boy, that is way up on the reason list.

No. My very BEST reason I garden is because of things like this:

Yes, it's a nice apricot colored daylily. Not much excitement there. I had these at my old house for 5 years and brought them here to this house 7 years ago. They are lovely and dependable bloomers, usually between July 4th and the end of the month. They did that this year, just like the plum daylillies. Then they all died down and the leaves browned. I enjoyed them in their turn, then moved on to other plants that now needed to be tended. If I thought of the daylillies at all it was to envision them next year in their new digs behind the privacy fence.

But imagine my surprise this morning when, sipping my coffee on the deck, I looked out and saw an unexpected pop of color in the Arbor garden. Wha...? I jumped up to investigate, not even bothering to get out of my slippers and into garden clogs due to the heavy dew. Wet feet be damned, I just HAD to see what this was!

And there it was. A full stalk of 6-8 apricot buds, 2 of them wide open to the grey Labor Day morning. Just blooming away as if it was no big deal.

So THIS is the BEST reason I garden. The constant SURPRISE of a garden.

If my hobby was stamp collecting or knitting or sculpting or collecting something the one thing you could COUNT on is that however you LEFT things at the end of the day, it would surely be the SAME way when you came back to it. The 3 cent stamps would still be 3 cents, the sleeve would still be the same length, the sculpture would have just as many arms as you expected and your collection of something would not have changed. But in GARDENING you just don't know WHAT's gonna happen when you're not looking.

And most of the time -- to our knowledge or to our senses -- there is not always a good explanation as to WHY some things happen. All I know is how much I LOVE surprises and take huge delight when they DO happen. :-D