Thursday, June 30, 2005

My Favorite Lily

FYI- My favorite lily of all time is a dwarf oriental by the name of Mr. Ed (pictured here, but really, this pic I found on the web does not do these lilies justice!). If you find this lily, buy it!! It has gorgeously shaped leaves, the flowers are fabulous, and the scent of this particular lily is heavenly!! I just absolutely love them. They kind of remind me of a scoop of freshly mashed potatoes with a little pepper on top. YUM! Unfortunately, I have been having trouble tracking them down since my last one died from an unfortunate accident about five years ago. But I did get a hold of a supplier (Van Bourgondien in my sidebar) that can get them for me this fall. And I will be buying lots of them!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

I Love Ferns!

We bought these ferns for the shade garden not so long ago. We both love ferns and I don't find them very hard to grow at all. They do take awhile to get established and make a nice sized clump, but I have time.
Recurved Broad Buckler Fern
Dryopteris dilatata 'Recurved Form'. These said that they get about 14-18" high, but then when I looked them up online, it said that they get 24-36" high! Oh MY! I think I planted them in the wrong place. I hope they move well. I haven't ever had any trouble moving ferns before, so I'm sure that they will be fine. Besides, like I said, ferns take awhile to really get going, so I won't have to worry about moving them any time soon.
This one is a tatting fern. Found in 1857 in Ireland, in the garden of Mrs. Frizell; thus, it is called Athyrium filix-femina 'Frizelliae'. It only gets 18"tall, so it is a great front of border fern. SSB picked both of these ferns out. I think he did a great job and I can't wait to see what he picks out next for his garden.

Saturday, June 25, 2005


These are more of my lilies, and hey! I actually know what these ones are called. They are "Italia" asiatic lilies. They started out as three bulbs about 5 years ago and now I have a huge patch of them. In fact, I might have to move some of them next year.

I really like lilies and there are so many different kinds. They are sort of like the tulips of summer. They don't really need any special care, except mine tend to fall over so I do have to set up supports for them. I will post on the special cages that I make for them. They're really neat and easy to make.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Mystery Solved?

I have added a few new cool links to my side bar. There is one in particular that I think helped me figure out the lily mystery. If you thought the other lily index I found was great, you will wet your pants when you see this one! Going through this one and having my photos of my own lilies I believe I have found matches for the pale yellow one and the squirrel gift lily.
This one looks almost exactly like the pale yellow one that I want more of. I had thought that the photo of Royal Respect L/A hybrid from the other index looked similar, but this photo almost 100% confirms my belief. Don't they look like they could be from the same bunch? (the web pic is on top and mine is on the bottom).I don't remember planting anything called Royal Respect, but then again, I get a lot of containers that just say "lily" or "hosta" and don't say what variety it is. This may have been the case with this one. I might have also gotten this from a friend. I have completely forgotten where I even got it from or when I planted it!

And here is my best match for the squirrel gifted lily. Once again, side by side they look like a pretty good match, huh? (web pic on top, mine on the bottom) This one is Good Night asiatic. This one isn't as convincing a match as the pale yellow one, so I am definitely keeping my eyes open for a better match. Look at the way the petals on mine have openings in between while Good Night is more overlapping. The speckles on Good Night also seem to be much darker. Mine has speckles in a red-orange shade. It could just be the pictures. The lighting is different and theirs seems to have a shade of blue to it. So, it could still be a match.

Giant Plant Invasion

Here are some other giants I found while surfing for the name of the plant that I saw in Scotland (just to be sure that in fact it was from the same family, which I have yet to figure out. Oh well, give me time). This looks somewhat like the one that I saw in Scotland. They are related; they have the same genus. It's name is Gunnera insignis, more commonly known as "Sombrilla de Pobre" (umbrella of the poor). It is a native of the rain forests of Central America and South America.
This one is Darmera peltata, also called by some "Umbrella Plant". It looks like it could be a cross between the Astilboides tabularis that I planted in my garden and the "Umbrella of the Poor". The flowers of all these plants are facinating. They seem to be relics from the times of the dinosaurs. And they have the size to be too!
HERE are the plants that I saw in Scotland! I just found them. I love Google!! They are called Gunnera manicata. I could walk right under the canopy of the Gunnera manicata that I saw in Scotland with just a little hunching over. I wonder how big they must get in the rainforest where they don't have to worry about going dormant for the winter! Spring Hill Nursery sells them, but they say that they are zone 7-10. Is Scotland really 7-10? I don't think so. They get snow, and I have been told that it gets really cold in the winter. And I saw these in the Highlands where it gets the coldest. There must be a hardier variety out there somewhere or they really don't know what COLD is in Scotland!

BTW- did you know that -40 degrees Farenheit is -40 degrees Centigrade? I learned that from an Aussie couple I befriended in Ireland. I just checked it on Temperature Converter and by golly, they were right!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

My New Shade Find

This was one of my unusual finds for the shade garden. It is Astilboides tabularis. I loved the shape, because I love lily pads and mushrooms and this reminds me of both. The garden center that I got it from has display gardens and this was in it. Theirs was rather large- probably mid-thigh. I figured that was perfect since I don't have many tall plants in SSBs shade garden. Then I Google Imaged it and came up with these monster beauties:

Holy Hugeness, Batman!

Mystery Lily

Actually, I have a lot of mystery lilies, but this was the one that I was trying to figure out when I found the lily index. Unfortunately, the index did not help me out. It did look like it might be somewhere along the line of Royal Fantasy or Royal Respect. If you have any guesses as to what the name of this lily is, please let me know. I love this lily and would like to be able to label it for garden visitors.

Oh, and speaking of mystery lilies...the other one that the squirrels planted was the same kind as the first one I posted. I really liked that one, so I was glad to see that, but I was kind of hoping for a new kind. I guess I'm lily crazy.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Lily Photo Index

I found this great site where they have a photo index of tons of lilies! I found it during a search to figure out what the pale yellow asiatic lily that is now blooming in my garden is. There is no photo for Lemon Queen, unfortunately, but I think that is what it is. Or maybe Lemon Frost? They actually look like the Royal Fantasy in this index, but I don't recognize that name. I really hate it when I lose track of plant names. Anyway, here is the link to that awesome site! Lily Photo Index

I was also having trouble figuring out what was the difference between Asiatic and Oriental lilies. Snow Creek Gardens website (which has its own very nice collection of lily pictures) had a pretty good explanation:

Asiatic Hybrids generally have in their background many different Lilium species which originated from several areas of Asia. They are early-bloomers, usually with no fragrance, but multiply rapidly. Asiatics have the greatest range of colors and more variance in flower shape and bloomtime.

Oriental Hybrids were developed from only a few species native to Japan. They are heavily scented, with much larger flowers, and bloom later than most other types of Lilium. Many Oriental lilies have raised papillae in the petal nectaries. This "starfish-looking" characteristic will, at times, have yellow or crimson accents. Oriental bulbs tend to increase in size, with taller stems and more blooms each year. Because they slowly produce multiple bulbs from natural division, lift and divide bulbs every 3 to 5 years, or if stems become crowded.

Well, that helps, but I don't think it gives me a clear enough picture. If you have any extra information on this, please let me know.

Monday, June 20, 2005

If You Don't Like the Weather In Wisconsin...

wait a minute. That's the old saying here. I am experiencing the truth of that saying right now. It has been hot and sunny since about 9am. I got off from work at 11am went to the dentist (clean bill of health!) then picked up my son at theatre camp. When I got home I was so hot and tired that I decided to relax a little. After all, it was hot and sunny, there was time to get to those plants that I bought yesterday.

I dropped my son off at Tae Kwon Do then came home to plant those little beauties. I fell into quite a deal yesterday. I got fifteen 4in potted perennials for $45! They had gotten big enough to put in the gallon pots, but the nursery wasn't going to do that until Monday. If I had waited to stop there, the same plants would have been three times as much!

I had bought 4 more delphiniums (2 "Cherry Blossom" and 2 "Black Knight" I actually thought they'd be darker- oh well). I have had extremely good luck with delphiniums. And they are just lovely. There aren't any other gardens around here that have them either, so I feel special. My favorite of all are "Guinevere". I was lucky enough to find them this year to replace the only one that I had, and had lost last year. But that's aside from this story...
I also got 2 pots of mixed helenium, which I absolutely love but have been having trouble growing. I got it to grow once, but it was being taken over by rasberries and needed to be moved. It did not like being moved- or maybe it didn't like where I moved it. Either way, I have not had any luck with it since.
There are 2 pots of "Golden Queen" globeflower. Another one that I have had a lot of trouble growing although everyone I tell that to proceeds to tell me how easy it is to grow. Maybe this is my year!
Two pots of "Princess Victoria Louise" Oriental poppy. I love the non-orange Oriental poppies, but I have trouble keeping them alive for more than three years. Try, try again.
Two pots of Wartburg star aster. It is a light lilac color with a gold eye. I was told that these too were easy to grow, so I will probably kill them.
Then I picked up some of the stranger plants for added interest. My husband especially likes the strange plants. I got a pot each of Edelweiss, "Voodoo" sedum (really pretty, and I never have trouble with sedum), and donkeytail spurge. That last one I don't think I have ever heard of before, but it qualifies as weird.

So where was I? Oh yes! I just got home and was proceeding to get the plants in the ground before I forgot about them. (This is something that I do a lot. I buy a bunch of plants and then never get them in the ground. What a waste of money and plant life! ) I got all my stuff outside, dug a hole, got one plant in the ground and then the wind came out of nowhere! I looked up and the sky was turning black. CRAP! I scurried to gather all my water perishables (like my camera) into the house along with the new plants. The wind was really starting to howl and blow things around. I scrambled to complete the severe thunderstorm garden checklist (folding up chairs and tables, securing the greenhouse, weighting down the kangaroo containers -these are cool, get them if you find them- Target has them for about $12 each). As I was herding the dog into the house, hail began to fall. Sucky, SUCK SUCK! I hate hail!! (I have a history with hail that I may recount someday).

So there go my plans for getting the stuff planted. And now you and I both know why some of my plants never make it into the ground. I have the best of intentions, but stuff like this always happens to get in my way when I'm trying to get something done. But, I guess, considering the hail, maybe it was devine intervention that kept me from planting the rest of the plants (I'm not really buying this though since the hail ended up not being big enough to do any serious damage anyway).

BTW- I'm pretty sure that you already know this, but just to be consistent, all of those linked pictures are from the web.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

My Backyard - June

Here is a current picture of my main garden. Unfortunately, I'm not sure that it looks that much different than the picture that I took right after my graduation party. Guess I need more plants! ;)

We did weed the paths a little. We have Mini Nuggets (I think they are cedar) in the path. They remind me of the campgrounds from my childhood. They would pave the paths through the forests with a very similar material. The smell is nice and they look good, but I might switch to sand. I would like to be able to walk through my garden barefoot, sand keeps down the weeds better, plus it is a different color than the garden bed soil.

All my gardens are a work in progress, of course. Is a garden ever really "finished" though? That's part of the fun. I see my gardens as a mandala. They are only temporary art that is changed by nature, people and time.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Please Kids, Try This At Home

I forgot to even mention the real reason I was bringing up the hibiscus in the first place! Big duh on me! A week after I planted the Plum Crazy hibiscus I knocked one of the shoots off the plant. ARGH! Tragedy! But I was a fast thinker and pushed the shoot into some compost moistened with Miracle Grow water. I unfortunately had used all my rooting compound and had never gotten around to getting more, so I would just have to wait and see.

The first two days it didn't even seem to notice that it had left the mother plant. Then it went limp. Oh no, well, I'll just wait. It kept going more and more limp, but the stem without leaves stayed upright. Day by day the leaves went brown and dropped off. It looked like it was losing the fight.

Then as the last few leaves dropped off, the whole stem straightened up and I could see at the base of each of the now departed leaves were new leaves. And when I checked, yes, there definitely were roots growing! I wasn't sure that it would even work, but I'm so glad that I tried it. Now I know how to propagate them too. If I can ever get them to actually survive that is.

If you think it looks sad right now, you should have seen it before! Can you see the new leaves starting to come in? I've already planted it out in the garden (about four days ago) and it is doing just fine.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Hardy Hibiscus

A few years back I planted some hardy hibiscus "Southern Bell" and "Lady Baltimore". Both of them only came up one more year and then died. I know they grow around here. The University has tons of them and they come up every year without problem. So I continue trying.

Last year I bought Kopper King, but it didn't get planted until really late. It still hasn't come up this year, but then I do have noted in my journal that one hibiscus did not come up until the 26th of June! Now that's rolling out of bed late!

I love how huge the flowers were, and I always got tons of compliments and inquiries, so this year, I'm trying another one- "Plum Crazy". I like it because, if you haven't already noticed, I like pinks and purples and this one is a little of both. I also like the femine frilliness of it. And from some of the pictures it looks like it is veined. I love veined flowers! (once again- I got this from a website selling these plants since mine has not yet flowered)

Plum Crazy

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Foam Flowers

These have just finish blooming. They are part shade plants. I have them tucked in with a bunch of shrubs in my front, soon to be woodland, garden. I bought these because I liked the foliage. Their shape is different than a lot of plants, plus there are streaks of chocolate running along the veins. Mmmm...chocolate!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Garden Shoe Challenge

I was reading this post on OldRoses blog where she was posting a picture of her gardening shoes. She said that CrazyGramma wanted a garden shoe line up. I know I'm really late in getting mine up, but here they are non-the-less. (BTW: it was raining when I took these pictures, that's what the spots are)

These are my romp around the garden shoes. I wear them for weeding and walking through the garden to check on plants. I like them because they are:
1. easy to get on and off
2. easy to clean
3. soft and cushy
4. waterproof
5. dark so as not to look dirty
6. cool and airy
7. cheap ($1!)
8. comfortable, the straps don't rub on my feet like
other flip-flops have
9. And of course, they are SO GIRLY!!


These are my Down-to-Business garden footwear. I use these for digging big holes to either get weeds out or put plants in. They are waterproof so they come in handy when I have to get shin deep in the mud. What fun!!

I love these for getting compost because the compost can't work it's way in unless I get a little too carried away. Plus I feel so fashionable! Ooo-la-la!

Aren't they just adorable? Easy to clean, comfortable, and easy to get on and off, who could ask for more?

A Gift from the Tree Rats

OK, now I usually rag on the squirrels and how they are always second guessing my plant placement, but this one they got right. A squirrel planted this lily in my foundation planter two years ago and this is the first year it has bloomed. It's just lovely! Thanks squirrels!

They planted another on the other side of the house and I think that it is finally going to bloom this year too. They planted it in the shade though, so I don't know how well it will bloom. We will see I guess.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Texas Flame Tulips

These parrot tulips are done flowering this year, but I had this nice picture that I thought that some of you might enjoy. They are a parrot tulip and have a very large flower (what do they say about everything being bigger in Texas- I just remember that you aren't supposed to mess with Texas).

There are supposed to be five of them, but three of them decided not to flower this year. Sometimes bulbs need to take a break. In fact, if you see that your tulips aren't flowering well, you can try clipping off the flowers that year that way they can store energy instead of using it to make flowers. Give them a good dose of fertilizer that year, too, to give them a boost for next year. If they are really tired though, you may want to give them a two year break.

You should always clip the seed heads from your bulbs. They take up way too much energy from your bulbs. You may get some new tulips from them, but it will take YEARS before they will be big enough to actually bloom, so it's really not worth it.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

More From the Shade Garden

These Jack-in-the-Pulpits are another special item in SSBs shade garden. I got them from a rental home we own. The renters did not know what they were and were mowing over them, so I carefully dug them all up and moved them to our house.

This is the first year that they have flowered since I moved them about three years ago. I'm just glad to see that they are doing well and getting more established every year.

Jack-in-the-Pulpits are native to Wisconsin. At one time they were a protected species because so many people were going out into the woods to dig them up for their own garden. Trilliums were another species protected for this very reason. I know the trilliums have been removed from the list, but I'm not sure if the Jack-in-the-Pulpits have been. I hope I didn't do anything illegal by moving them. In my defense, they were not going to survive where they were and now they are doing just dandy.

This is a Chinese ginger. I don't know or care if it is edible, or even if it flowers. I got it because I really dig the foliage. I hope it multiplies well, or I'm going to have to get more. It really brings a lot of interest to an already interesting shade garden.

I got it from a garden center that has been in the area for a really long time, but for some reason, this is the first time I have ever visited it. They have beautiful plants that are reasonably priced too. This ginger was about $7. I will definitely be going back to that nursery!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Blue Ravine II

I finally got some personal pictures of my very own Blue Ravine clematis. It is just gorgeous, and this is the most it has ever flowered. Maybe I won't move it after all.

The Shade Garden

This is the shade garden that I made for my husband. I figured that he has done so much over the years to help me make all these gardens that he should have one just for him. This garden is situated under a very large white pine, so it can be done. (Oops, I missed a dandelion!)

These are tulips that I planted last fall. I can't find the name for them. Dang, I really need to get organized! I do try to save all the bulb packages and plant tags so that I can figure out what things are later in case I lose track, but now I have to try and figure out where I put them all.

These are Shavakski's ligularia (Ligularia prezwalskii). I had so much trouble growing ligularia at first. I killed two Othellos and nearly killed this ligularia. Then I tried watering the bejeezus out of them. Ta-Da! I still have to water them through the really hot summer months because the tree keeps a lot of the rain from ever reaching the plants underneath, plus the tree is a water hog, but it is worth the extra work. Besides, it's nice to sit on the bench with the mister going on a hot day.

These are also ligularia- Dark Leaf (or Othello?). Love them! They have Tim Burtonish daisy-like flowers which are really nice, but mainly grew this for the awesome foliage.

Maidenhair ferns are one of my personal favorites. I love their jet black stem and the airy, tropical looking fronds. My horse loved to eat these, so they are also a little tribute to her.

Ferns. Love em! This is the Japanese painted fern. It is a slow grower, but then again, so are my other ferns. SSB (my husband) really loves ferns, so I see more ferns in this garden's future. Also, there are purple sorrels in here. I saved them from a work site several years ago and am really glad to see that they have taken to their new home. They really seem to like this fern, because this is the only place they are growing now; nestled in with the fern.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Shade Garden

I will be posting pictures of my husband's shade garden here as soon as I get time to work out all the kinks. Later today, perhaps?


Several years ago I planted some Barlow mix columbine from seeds. Last year I lost the last of the original four that had managed to come up that first year. I was disappointed to see that last one go, and wasn't sure if I would have the patience to start anymore from seeds (I had to start them inside in peat pellets- little bit too much work for this gardener).

But, this year, I found this little ray of hope. It is a seedling from one of the original four. Even though it is very small and scrawny, it is beautiful! I hope I can keep the rabbits from eating this one up. They leave all the wild columbine alone and just eat the ones I plant. Little bastards!

I think there also may be more. There are many other seedlings in the area that have simliar foliage and not like the foliage of the wild-type. That would simply be wonderful to have a whole patch of these little gems.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The Tragic Rose

I was reading CrazyGramma's comment on the "Shirley Tulip Mystery" post and it reminded me of my own hard to kill rose story.

When I moved into my house there was a scrubby looking rose growing in a very shady corner of the house. It was spindly and close to the foundation. I thought, it must be a wild rose; it's planted in the wrong spot to be anything else. I proceeded to pull it up and throw it in the compost pile. It started to grow in the compost pile- which was also in the shade. I had my husband bring it to the community compost pile to get rid of it. There, mission accomplished.

Until next year, it came back up in the original spot. Damn! So I pulled it out again. But the next year it came back, AGAIN! So I dug it out. There! That ought to do it, I thought.

But the following year it came back again. Just long enough to bloom. It was a beautiful, petite flower that had a strong sweet rosey scent. Just beautiful! I tried to do everything at this point to save it, but it was too late.

Not too long after it's demise, an older woman who had help take care of the house when the second owners had lived here approached me to tell me how beautiful the gardens were coming along. She told me how the woman who had lived in the house had LOVED to garden and would be so happy that I had moved in and done all the things that she had never gotten around to doing.

I thanked her. She then went on to tell me of this rose that the woman had planted. "It was the most beautiful rose! It was a climbing rose and at one time had covered this back portion of the house." She motions to the area that the "wild" rose had been growing.

My heart sank and I thought- Ugh! Did I really do that? I really felt like an idiot. And just so you can understand what an idiot I really was, here is a picture of the mysterious rose in all it's glory (once again, got the picture from the web since the rose is now dead- the picture is actually from where I will be promptly ordering a replacement).

zephirine_drouhin-300ZÉPHIRINE DROUHIN  

You know, I laugh. That rose was so hard to kill and I never stopped to consider just letting it grow since it was so determined. I wonder if the spirit of that woman had been protecting it. If so, she must have been quite a woman, because I swear that rose gave me the finger with it's last glorious bloom right before it died.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Blue Ravine Clematis

I got this clematis from a Kmart over four years ago. It was less than $2 if you can believe it. I have been growing it next to my clothes line pole hoping that it would climb it. It seems to be repelled by it though, and refuses to grab on. I may move it this year, but before I did that I had to find out if I could replace it if I totally screwed up. Yep, there's a place in the Cities that sells them, so I'm good to go.

This is a picture that I got from the web. It has been too overcast here to get a good picture of them. But they look just like this, blue with a little glow to them, so I didn't think that you would mind. It is blooming right now and will bloom again later this summer, too. Just beautiful. I love clematises.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Bulbs Inherited

I looked these bulbs up once, but since then have forgotten what they are. We got them with the house. They used to spread across our lawn, but have been progressively retreating into a garden near the epicenter. They must come up from seeds fairly well, because I have also been finding them in other parts of the garden that are far away from where they originally were. I don't mind. They are not really invasive since they die back after they bloom. Plus it is nice to have all that extra color in the spring when everything seems so brown otherwise.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

A Rhododendron By Any Other Name...

Thanks to OldRoses for her response on the rhododendron/azalea question. I decided to look it up (guess I could have just done that before, huh?). Many scientific papers that I was encountering were even calling them by both- so I looked up "what is azalea" and got this from Wikipedia:

Azaleas are flowering shrubs making up part of the genus Rhododendron. Originally azaleas were classed as a different genus of plant, but now they are recognised as two of the eight sub-genera of rhododendrons - subgenus Pentanthera typified by Rhododendron nudiflorum and subgenus Tsutsusi typified by Rhododendron tsutsusi.

There are deciduous azaleas, and evergreen azaleas. One of the major differences between azaleas and the rest of the rhododendron family is their size. Another is their flower growth. Rhododendrons grow their flowers in clusters, while most azaleas have terminal blooms (one flower per flower stem). However, they have so many stems that during the flowering season they are a solid mass of colour. Azaleas are recognised by these flowers blooming all at once, in a showy display for a month or two in spring. The exception to this rule is a small group of azaleas which grow their flowers in tight terminal clusters that look like little balls of colour.

Plant enthusiasts have created hybrid azaleas for hundreds of years. This human genetic modification has produced over 10,000 different cultivars which are propagated by cuttings. Azalea seeds can also be collected and germinated.

Azaleas should be grown in well-drained garden soil or in pots, in a cool, shady position. Fertilizer is optional, although some species do need regular pruning.

So azaleas are rhododendrons (not the other way around though). Got it. Now that makes much more sense!


This azalea we inherited with the house and I just love it! It blooms like crazy and is a wonderful pink color. The color theme for the front of the house is shades of pink and purples, and this is certainly the center piece in the spring. The flowers come out before the leaves so all you see are the flowers (not as if these flowers couldn't out-compete the leaves anyway though!). I have tried to get another to grow on the other corner of the house, but I just have never had any luck. I'm actually surprised that this one grows so well here. It is right in front of a downspout and our foundation is limestone (azaleas are said to prefer acidic soil), plus our neighbor boy tried to pull it out a few years back. Despite all this though it comes back strong each year and it's blooming right now! Oh Joy!

(btw: can anyone tell me what is the difference between azaleas and rhododendrons? I've seen the same plant called both, so it's a little confusing to me.)

Greenland Tulips

These are SSBs favorite tulip and they are certainly one of mine. I have to get these out of the shadow of the burning bush this year though because I don't think they are doing very well there. And I definitely have to find more of these to plant this fall.