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.  


  1. Wow! So beautiful. You have really done an outstanding job, Kris.

    I grew cactus zinnias a few years back, and they were very lush and full and the size of the blooms was amazing. But, the colors were pretty wild (which I love), but not sure how you feel on that.
    I really like the driveway border area. Looks like a great spot to relax. Do you??
    LOL--Does ANY gardener???
    Enjoy the day

    1. When I moved in here 2002, that circle of blacktop was bare and ran right into an empty lawn. Oh yes, I do sit and enjoy it -- at least long enough to take a pic! I looked at pics of cactus zins. I love saturated colors (like you get in geraniums). I'll see if I can find a pack of seeds next spring to try. The State Fair have the best deep colors I've ever seen in zins and will make sure I have some of those next year.

      Looking forward to your monthly roundup post! Hope things are going well for you (and your dry-mouthed deer *heh*).

  2. Your yard looks so nice and tidy and the view from your deck is one I would love to sit and look at! :)
    My seed grown zinnias just never amounted to anything this year. I like them for the butterflies and of course this year we seem to have some nice monarch activity around the yard. Glad I have milkweed for them.. I have three healthy looking chrysalis, a sadly deformed chrysalis and a newly hatched egg in the sun room right now and this afternoon the yard was visited by a monarch and she laid several more eggs. I haven't looked too closely but a quick scan turned up about six. I need more containers! :)

    1. I get a couple of monarchs every year on the (now deer damaged) milkweed. I've seen eggs, but most of the time the wasps eat the eggs so I don't get caterpillars.

      Good thing I took that pic of the turnaround. 2 nights ago the deer ate 95% of the geraniums. :-(

  3. I enjoy looking at those beds too! This makes three years in a row that I haven't managed to get zinnias planted....ridiculous since I have the seeds.

    Sorry about the deer and the geraniums........

  4. Oh no about the geraniums! darn deer. :(

    the monarchs are really stepping up the egg laying and I fear I may not have enough to feed them....I will probably have to leave some outside, but I hate to as that is why I bring them in....so I don't lose them to predators, etc.

  5. What is the big purpley/pink colored plant that is next to the blue birdbath? In the top wide angle shot, it really pops!

    1. Ashley - that is common phlox. It has a heavenly fragrance and once blooming, will go into Fall if deadheaded.


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