Friday, June 30, 2006

June Overhead

I like to take overhead pictures of my garden to get a sense of the over-all layout of the garden. Sometimes looking at the garden from above is the only way to see patterns that are there or should be there, problem areas and what to do about them, and generally how everything looks at once. I see barespots that need to be filled and a tree that needs to be replaced, but I am mostly happy with what I am seeing. Although it doesn't look as neat and trim as it did last year, I like the more casual, cottagey look.

Here's a nice clear picture with the garden hose. Oops!

And here is a not so clear picture without the garden hose.

Monday, June 26, 2006

More Pictures

Here are the mystery lilies from last year. I found a tag that said that they were called "Ivory Pixies". I love the moonlight color.

Here are my "Plum Crazy" hibiscus. They are doing FABULOUS this year. I'm hoping that they will be as long lived as the hibiscus that the Agriculture department has on campus. I love the huge, ruffly flowers of this one. It is by far my favorite of all the hibiscus that I have tried to grow. I got a little lazy with the plant corral this year, but I still like the way that this looks.

Ah! My beautiful delphiniums! I will always have delphiniums. I find that they are fairly easy for me to grow and they are just so lovely. I have discovered that they are greedy eaters, so you do need to add nutrients to the soil more often than with other plants, but I think that it is well worth it. I also discovered this year that aphids love them. A little sevin dust took care of those pests. Normally I don't like to use pesticides, but squishing them was too hard to do without also damaging the plants.

This is the same berm that was featured in the last post; this picture is just shot from a different side. This berm was a real problem last year because it was lacking in plant material, but this year it is my most scenic area.

And here is my tiny rock garden. It has doubled in size from last year. I still have about three feet on three sides that can be added, so there will be more pictures of the progress this summer.

Friday, June 23, 2006

I Love It When A Plan Comes Together

I moved into my house 8 years ago. The yard was just grass with a couple of trees. Over the years the garden went from a couple of small planting beds to huge swaths. This year is the first year that it actually seems to be pulling together. I'm so excited about it I decided to post some pictures.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Taming the Jungle

I spent the day yesterday gardening with my son. My son was looking for jobs to earn money (because we make him earn the money he gets from us) so I told him that he could tear out all the weeds from the area under the lilac facing the back alley. It has been a trouble spot for years, but I just never had the time to get around to it. He hopped right in and got it all done. He got it done so fast that I forgot to grab the camera for a before picture, so you will just have to imagine this area over-run with elm seedings, several different kind of vines, lilac suckers, burrdock, and several unidentified weeds.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Everything's Coming Up Roses

I have always tried to convince myself and others that I didn't want to grow roses because they were so fussy, but I have been so inspired by my success with the two climbing roses that I have been purchasing more roses and adding a bunch to my wish list.

I have noticed that many of the gardeners around here have roses that are already four feet tall and full of blooms. I want some of those. In fact, one house looks like half their garden is roses. I never see them covering these roses in the fall, so they must be hardy shrub roses. I have thought about going to their house and asking about them, but maybe I will just wing it, as usual.

This year so far I have bought four roses, all from Menards (an upper Midwest mega-hardware store - the original Home Depot). I got all four roses for a mere $9! Can't beat a price like that. It makes it a lot easier to try out plants.

I bought a Tiffany tea rose. I had seen this in bloom at Shopko, but decided that even at $10 I wouldn't get it since I didn't know exactly where I would put it. But when I saw it bareroot at Menards for $2 I knew I could find a spot for it. It is a beautiful pink rose with a wonderful scent. It is doing well and I look forward to seeing it in bloom.

This of course is not my picture since my rose has about 4 inches of growth. I got this picture from, but soon, soon.

I like the hint of yellow in the center and the large silky petals. I planted this next to my gazebo so that I could enjoy it while relaxing under the canopy of the future morning glories drinking iced tea.

A few weeks later my husband and I went to Menards to get gravel for his zen garden and saw the bareroot roses were now only $1! Well, I had to get more! I picked up two: Irish Gold and Granada. I didn't really know much about either of them. I mostly bought them based on the quality of the stock available and the description on the packages.

Irish Gold was described as having "very large, fragrant blooms of butter yellow with a touch of blush in cool weather. Dark glossy foliage. Vigorous. Everblooming Hybrid Tea Rose".

I got this picture from too since my rootstock is basically just a stick in the ground. I like the closed, full blooms. This is also called "Grandpa Dickson" since it was hybridized by Dickson in Northern Ireland in 1966. It is the winner of many awards and is said to have a light fragrance.

I planted this in a bed by the road that had a large open spot. It will look lovely in front of the airy pink Queen of the Prairie and along side my sea of echinacea.

The other rootstock that I bought for $1 was Granada. I got the image from also.

This one is said to have a spicy scent but is not reliably winter hardy. :(
We will see. If it does not do well, at least it was only $1. Most fancy annuals are more expensive that that!

All the roses-roses photos were taken by Bob Bauer. Isn't he a great photographer? He also has a great sense of humor. I suggest a visit to that website. It is really lovely and informative!

My last rose purchase, Carefree Delight, was also one that I had seen at Shopko but decided that at $15 I could wait until I found a really good place to put it. Then I went to Menards and found it in a smaller pot for $5. Sure, why not?

This picture is of the actual rose that I bought. It is light and airy. The petals are dark pink on the underside and light pink on top. The dual tone gives them great dimension and interest. It is VERY THORNY though, so this wouldn't be good for an area that gets a lot of traffic. I haven't noticed too much of a scent yet, I mostly got it to fill in an area that needed flowers.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Among the Living

One of the things that I love about spring is watching my plants come up and seeing what made it through the winter. Some I have no doubt will survive, while there are others that I am just crossing my fingers for. A few of the plants that didn't make it:

Butterfly weed: I think I accidentally buried it.

Butterfly Blue and Pink Scabiosa: This is the third time that I have tried to grow it. In it's defense, I was trying to over-winter it in a big patio pot. Maybe fourth time is a charm?

Loosestrife: Once again, did not take it out of it's pot.

Lady Fern: It looked like it might make it earlier this spring and now it is gone.

Buckler Fern: No idea what happened to it! Late riser?

And *sniff* BOTH of my beloved Guinevere delphinum! BOTH! I'm actually ready to give up on them. I have other delphinum that although they are not quite as pretty as Guinevere are much less fragile.

But the ones that made it I think more than make up for the ones that did not:

Plum Crazy hardy hibiscus: this one is coming back even stronger with lots of shoots. The shoot that I broke off and stared last year was doing OK, but I think I killed it - oh well. At least I have the main plant and that one is already almost 2 feet tall! And they are supposed to be notorious for coming up late!

Tatting fern: this one I bought for SSB and since he already lost one fern, I was glad to see this one thriving.

Desdemona ligularia: I have had trouble with these plants in the past, but I think that I have them mastered now. This variety I even planted in what last year was part shade but what is this year full sun and they are doing great!! In fact, on the days when my other ligularia are wilting in the heat and I need to go water them, this one didn't even seem to notice - EVEN IN FULL SUN!!

Climbing roses: both of them came back just fine this year. In fact, the success has inspired me to buy more roses. I did discover that the paper cones are better than the styrofoam. They don't trap moisture in them which means that the roses won't get moldy.

Alba Rose gas plant: I love this plant and was so glad to see it come back. I think that I will be getting more of these.

Edelweiss: I have tried these twice before and have finally got it down. I put it in a rock garden in full sun. The soil is highly organic, but is raised so there is lots of drainage. It is full and fabulous!

And of course, Astilboides tabularis: Yes! this one made it through with flying colors! I will eventually have to move at least 7 plants to give it room, but I couldn't be happier!

Oh, and I spoke too quickly on the lady fern. I decided to get what I could find of it in a pot and put it in the shade - it is coming up! YAY!

And I thought you might like to know that I really started writing this May 31. That's how far behind I am getting with everything!