Sunday, May 31, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
I can't say enought good things about Freecycle. If you don't know it, it is an online group where you can post about things you'd like to give away or things you need. No money is exchanged - everything is free. Groups are for the local area. We have a fairly active group here, and though I've never gotten anything - after certain age you really don't need so many 'things' - but I've given away plenty, a trumpet, an air conditioner, a ceiling fan, a garden seeder and weed whip, an old typewriter, yarn, fabric, chestnuts, a lot of bamboo, and probably more I can't remember. It's so nice to find homes for things I don't need any more and that someone else does need. I'll certainly keep using it and if you don't know it you should check it out. Lots of garden related stuff this time of year.
No rain yesterday except a few drips. We really didn't need any more just yet. In a week we'll need rain, but we've already had almost 2 inches this week. Lots of weeds got pulled and I pruned (again) the overenthusiastic forsythia that had formed a tunnel over the path into my shed. Crawling under the forsythia is not fun and so, once again, it was trimmed back. I know you're not supposed to prune things repeatedly so you don't cut off next years bloom, but with forsythia it doesn't seem to matter so much and as I've said before, I like paths that I can walk on without my machete.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Weather here is certainly tropical lately - sort of like you need gills to breathe. We had just under an inch of rain yesterday and lots more rain expected today. The weeds will probably be permanently ahead of me after this, but everything (weeds included, unfortunately) is just so lush and green - much moreso than we have seen in a number of years with droughty summers. I will just enjoy it and try to overlook the worst of the weeds and then spend a lot of time getting rid of them once the rains stop which should be tomorrow. Several tour groups are coming to see the gardens in mid June, so I need to spend a lot of time neatening up the weeds (actually not neatening them up, but rather sending them to the compost heap) and taking walks with my pruning shears to re-open paths where plants have gotten a bit overenthusiastic after all of this rain. Hank likes the 'jungle look', but I find it a bit tiring after awhile to take garden walks where I feel like I need a machete just to wander around the garden. A little jungle is OK, but a bit more formality and order is needed in most places. Hopefully I can get to it by tomorrow when the rains let up for a few days. If anyone out there just loves to pull out thistle, I have at least a half acre that is thick with it right now (really a daylily bed, but you can't tell anymore) and would gladly offer plants in exchange for willing volunteers.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Here is a picture I have been waiting to take for a month or more. This is the leaf from Hamamelis 'Double Gold'. I had taken a picture of the bloom when we first got the plant earlier in the season, but the yellow flowers weren't why we bought this one. Here is a picture of the leaves, the first variegated witch hazel that we have in the gardens. I think it is going to be a nice addition.
Monday, May 25, 2009
US Memoial day Another place with some information is American Legion and VFW and Poppies
The poppy pictures were taken over the last few days. Most are unnamed ones, bought as mixtures and the few that had names have been lost or forgotten. Poppies regularly seed and so new ones are always popping up. There are shorter ones available in the Pizacatto (not sure of the spelling on that one) Series and they aren't as likely to be toppled by the winds in a thunderstorm.
Poppies present a sort of problem for the perennial gardener since, lovely as they are, they go dormant after bloom and leave a bit of a hole in the border. The reappear in the fall, after the rains start, and stay evergreen over the winter (deer and bunny food). I do love them, so wouldn't be without them in the garden, despite their flaws and the shortness of their bloom season. Ours are in what was 3 -100 foot rows, now a wide hundred foot patch since they have self-seeded randomly. If you want to use poppies in a vase inside, carry matches or a lighter when you go out to pick in the garden. The only way to get the flowers to last is to sear the end of the stem right after picking. Otherwise they lose all of their sap and wilt quickly. Searing the stems will allow them to last for several days, or until the kitties play with them to the point that they are shredded.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Next is 'Cambridge Scarlet', the first one I bought. Back then I was told it grew in shade, and that's where this one has always lived. I think it would be happier in sun, but since it grows and blooms, I'm leaving well enough alone. It is in a bed with mostly hostas and ferns and the bright color is a definite benefit there. As with a number of the older varieties, this one has a tendency towards developing a bit of mildew in humid, hot Augusts.
Now that I see this picture, 'Claire Grace' is probably about as close color wise to the wild one as I have seen. Still rather lavender and with a more grey leaf.
This is probably my biggest, tallest, thickest stemmed one. 'Marshall's Delight' is another older variety and very dependable. I always have plenty of this one to sell of give away because it is just so 'enthusiastic'.
Last is 'Petite Delight', a wonderful color on a shorter plant. This has been less hardy here, but is does survive.
Monarda are pretty adaptable. I have them in dappled shade and full sun. Most are in what would be called good garden soil, nothing special. If yours tend to develop mildew, the only thing you can do short of chemicals, it give them more sun and be sure they get good air circulation. They increase by runners and I've never seen one pop up elsewhere in the garden from seed. They are somehow related to the mints and have a minty scent to the foliage. I don't think the blooms have a scent, but they attract all manner of butterflies nonetheless.
Monday, May 18, 2009
We may have had frost last night, but I haven't been outside to check on things yet. My thermometer says 33 and that's not a good thing.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
This last one is listed as Persicaria 'Lance Corporal' though it is related to the others and I'm not sure what they're decided on for the official name - Persicaria or Tovara. I've seen all of them listed under either name. This has the chevron like 'Painter's Palette'. It seems to take a little more sun, but I keep it in a shady spot and keep in confined to just a couple of plants because this one, unlike the others, is invasive, extremely so, and I had a rather large patch of it before I realized it was just a bit too much. It is a pretty plant, though, and I won't get rid of it all together. The leaf color can vary from green through chartreuse, to almost gold, depending on the light conditions.
All of these bloom in the fall and have a slender bloom scape which rises above the plant and has red flowers, pinhead sized, which run along the scape. Quite unusual and pretty. Tomorrow I'll do the other Persicarias, which I tend to call Persicarias (rather than Tovaras) and keep separate (at least in my head) from these because they have a different flower.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
This morning I thought I'd do Yuccas since they are going to be blooming soon. No scapes yet, but any day now. I first encountered yuccas in person on my farm in West Virginia. I had seen them in books, but never knew any one who grew them. Guess they weren't big in Philadelphia. I guess I always assumed they were hot desert things. I couldn't have been more wrong. Though some of them really prefer a sandy soil, a number of them will grow in a sunny (or even not all that sunny) spot in just plain old average garden soil.
This first one is Yucca filamentosa 'Color Guard' and has a green leaf with a narrow yellow edge. All of the Yuccas spread by underground runners and you will get a clump eventually, though not right away. They like to settle in first. Most all will have a tall bloomscape with creamy white flowers. This next one is Yucca filamentosa 'Golden Sword'. It is the reverse coloring of the last one, yellow with a green edge.
It is a bit more fussy than the filamentosas, but still not a hard thing to grow. Most of these, not counting the bloomscapes, are about 18 inches to 2 feet tall.
This is the one I call the friendly yucca. It is Yucca flacida 'Ivory'. As it's name implies, its leaves are soft, almost droopy sometimes. Very un-yucca-like. Some of the other varieties are very sharp on the tips of the leaves and can be unpleasant to weed around. Not quite like a cactus, but still pointy.
Last but not least, it good old Yucca filamentosa, the common one found on old farmsteads, or where farms used to be, and about as dependable as they come. I have them growing in sun and shade and they bloom equally well in both spots. The bloomscapes on these are sometimes 5 feet tall and covered with large, bell-shaped white flowers. Just the thing to add a tropical look to a very un-tropical garden.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
The next on is one of my favorite Veronicas, 'Sunny Border Blue'. I have it growing in full sun and part shade and it seems to do equally well in both spots. It is probably about 18 inches tall, though sometimes it needs a bit of staking to keep it tall and not sort of leaning. The blue flowers are a darker color than the 'Georgia Blue' and are spikes instead of little tiny flowers. It blooms from mid-summer till frost. I have also found this one to be a good cut flower.
This last picture is another of the really dependable Veronicas, 'Giles van Hees'. This one is much shorter, the foliage not over about 3 or 4 inches tall and the spikes, maybe up to 8 inches and a lovely shade of pink. It also blooms pretty much all summer and until frost and has come back in the 3 or 4 places I grow it for at least the last 6 years, making a large clump each year. These flowers, too, are good in an arrangement, though in this case it needs to be a miniature arrangement in a tiny vase.
In addition to these, Veronicas come in a wide range of colors including white, blues, pinks and purples. The common name is Speedwell, though I've just always known them as Veronicas.
They are easy to grow either by division or from seed. In any of its forms, Veronica is a great addition to any garden from the rock garden to the front of the border to the back.
Today's project, in addition to hopefully selling some plants, it to dig my new asparagus bed. I'm actually looking forward to it, maybe not so much for the digging, but for the eventual eating.
Friday, May 8, 2009
The peony season has started. Actually one of the extra earlies bloomed last week, but now there are beginning to be bits of bloom all over the yard. This fern leaf peony is always one of the first to bloom. There is also a double form with blossoms so tightly packed with petals that they take several weeks to open. That is one of my favorites (yeah, right, I know, whatever is blooming today has a good chance of being called my favorite). With all of the rain we've been having I have high hopes for a perfectly glorious peony season since they, along with everything else in the gardens are just growing wonderfully this year. I do love peony season because, like daffodil season, there are plenty of blooms to bring into the house. Hostas and daylilies are lovely, but neither give me those long-lasting bouquets for the table that I get from daffodils and peonies, and the scent of peonies is lovely, though subtle. Tree peonies will be a bit later getting started, and I'll be posting photos of both kinds off and on over the next month.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
The picture is one I took to send to my kids who I'd told about my newly redecorated water plant holder but kept forgetting to take a picture of. I needed something where people could see the plants without walking all over the 10 acres to the different ponds. I've not gotten it all stocked up yet, but we're getting there. It is just an old freezer that didn't work any more. Freezers are a pain to get rid of, especially one this old and heavy, so I was trying to find a new use for it. This seems to work just fine. Last fall I painted it green and got the outlines and backgrounds of the fish, and a few weeks ago I got the details put in. I'm going to continue the story on the other side - if it ever stops raining. There are plenty more Dr. Seuss fish to go...
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
This plant is a miniature Solomon Seal, only about 8 inches tall, variegated, and with a single bell shaped flower. Over the years it has formed a patch about a foot square. It has just come up in the past few days - very quickly - and is already blooming, as you can see. It does need its own spot because it is so dainty and would be lost in an overcrowded perennial border. It gets morning sun and then is in dappled the dappled shade of the chestnut trees for the rest of the day.
Monday, May 4, 2009
#2 is Polystichum acrostichoides, Christmas Fern. That one was pretty easy.
#3 Adiantum pedatum, Maiden Hair Fern
#4 I don't seem to have a picture of when it matures, but it is Meadow Horsetail, another version of the more commonly known large one. I'll try and get pictures of the 3 that we grow and do a post on them sometime soon.
#5 Is on of the lilies, I think it is Lilium regale, but can't be quite sure on that. They look pretty much the same, or some version of this when they come up.
#6 Polygonatum x hybridum 'Grace Baker'. Now I didn't really expect anyone to get this one, but it was just so interesting I included it. This is a smaller polygonatum, only about a foot tall that grows in deep shade here and has a very streaky variegation.
#7 Hosta 'White Wall Tire'. I can't imagine why I don't have a more mature picture of this one. It starts out all white and then as the weeks go on, develops green veins, slowly becoming a light green all over. Quite robust for something with so much white in the leaf. It can take quite a bit of sun.
#8 Tradescantia 'Sweet Kate'. Another one without a good 'grown-up' pictures. This is a lovely spiderwort that has gold leaves and purple flowers. It will self seed, but more of my seedlings seem to come true. If you have parts that revert to green, they need to be removed because the green parts will be more robust and take over the plant.
#9 Polygonum japonicum 'Tricolor'. This is a lovely buckwheat, sometimes called Mexican Bamboo, though I've only seen that name in catalogs; never actually knew someone who called it that. We grow two variegated versions of Polygonum, this one being the larger, probably getting 6 feet tall. It has a splashed white and pink variegation with some green. The other one is less red coming up, more like a whitish/pink asparagus and has a white and green splashed variegation.
#10 Last but not least, is one I thought I had a picture of - no I'm sure I had a picture of - but can't find one now. Actually I can't find pictures of any of the arisaemas, which is what this is. Arisaema griffithii. Don't hold me to that spelling. It's as hard to say as it is to spell. It is a large Jack-in-the-Pulpit which leaves at least a foot across and dark green and black spathes. Not somthing you'd overlook when walking around the garden. I'll try and get a picture of this one today if it's all opened up. This rain is rushing things along, so there's a chance it's ready for its portrait.
I'll check over the answers I received and announce the winner tomorrow.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
What does do well for us, and has for years, are some of the variegated ones. This first one has an edge variegation. and is called Convallaria majilis 'Variegata'. Another of those quite descriptive, but exceedingly unimaginative names. The edge will be more distinct in more sun and more distinct at the beginning of the season. This one spreads rampantly and I always have plenty of it to sell or give away.
The second one we grow is Convallaria majilis 'Albo Striata', this despite the fact that it has yellow/gold stripes and not white. It spreads a little less enthusiastically, but it does spread. You will find a few unvariegated leaves and you just remove them.
Friday, May 1, 2009
It comes up and blooms about when the other weedy ones do, but it is pure white. I've tried collecting seeds and starting them, but with no luck. Fortunately, it self seeds a bit around the garden. We started with one near the house, gotten from friends, and there are now probably about a dozen plants of it in that vicinity. The curious thing is that one appeared at the back of the garden, quite a distance away. That has formed an even bigger colony. I've never tried to dig one up to share, but with so many now, maybe I'll do that. I know how hard it is to dig the weedy ones out, so I just haven't done it. Most would be impossible to dig since they seem to like to seed themselves into very rocky places. Not sure if you can see it, but this one is growing out from under a rock.
We're expecting some amount of rain every day for the next week. I guess I'm just going to have to be wet since there is so much to do and every day of rain just makes the weeds grow more.
No answers on the quiz yet???? If you don't want to post your guesses for all of the world to see, you can send them to me at jane(at)hootowlhollow(dot)com I'm the only one who has access to that account. Remember, the most right wins even if that's only one right answer.